Owen here, covering Out Tonight while Dave gallivants around San Francisco on a press trip. Or at least, that’s what he told me he was doing. Dave, you better not be lollygagging out on the Best Coast. No lollygagging, Dave.
This week’s releases are very, very sexy, people: Slitherine’s early modern warfare game Pike & Shot is making the jump from PC to iPad tomorrow. Not tonight, strictly speaking — Slitherine will pull the release lever tomorrow morning, but I’ll be sure to let you know when that is.
There are other releases worth looking at for the night owls who want to watch the App Store tick over at midnight. Let’s chat about ‘em and watch videos after the jump.
Up until now we’ve only seen screenshots of Mi-Clos Studio’s forthcoming expanded edition of Out There, but today we can see it in motion and hear it, too. Besides the overhauled graphics engine and the new content, Omega Edition will feature a moody electronic soundtrack composed by Siddhartha Barnhoorn — surely one of the greatest names in games development, right up there with Bear Trickey.
You can get early access to the PC, Linux, or Mac editions of Out There Omega Edition later today when it goes live on the Humble Store — buying a desktop version will net you a free Android version as well. The mobile editions will be out “soon”.
So: a new Sid Meier game was announced earlier today. When I’m dictator, days like this will be international holidays but in the dark interval until then we’ll just have to make do.
Gather your family around the iPad, friends, because I’ve been on an expedition to find every single morsel of information about Sid Meier’s Starships that’s available for public consumption. Nothing has escaped my Sauron-like gaze, and I’ve got it all waiting for you after the jump.
After their big mobile offensive in 2013, I’d been wondering why Uncle Sid & Co at Firaxis had been so quiet in 2014. Well here’s what they’d been beavering away at in secret: Sid Meier’s Starships, just announced for desktops and iPad, coming “early 2015″.
Like the wonderful Ace Patrol games, Spaceships is designed by the hand of Sid Meier himself, creator of Civilization and Railroad Tycoon and too many other strategy classics to mention. It’s set up as a spinoff of last year’s (slightly underwhelming) desktop 4X Civilization: Beyond Earth. According to the details that Firaxis have given to Gamespot, it sounds like Uncle Sid’s Star Trek fan fiction: you travel the galaxy amassing an armada of upgradeable, customizable ships while you win new allies to your cause and get into turn-based battles with the aliens that don’t want to play ball. Procedurally generated maps and “dynamically generated tactical combat” (?) make it sound as though replay value was a big priority.
I have never failed to play a game with Sid Meier’s name on it and I certainly don’t intend to start now. I’ll have more details as soon as I can prise them out of 2K. There’s a trailer below and more screenshots over at Gamespot.
Seattle’s Harebrained Schemes are back at the Kickstarter well to fill their bucket again for more Shadowrun: this time they’re offering up Shadowrun: Hong Kong, their most blandly descriptive title to date, but with their track record I’m willing to issue an indulgence.
Hong Kong will be another standalone expansion pack for the throwback cyberpunk RPG but with one major difference. “We have elected to focus all our efforts on PC in order to deliver the best game we can,” says the pitch, “without the current processing and memory limitations of tablets.”
Well same to you, pal! What a snub. Harebrained’s support for tablets has always felt a bit half-hearted with the rebooted Shadowrun games, always coming months after the PC release and shaved of the user-created content elements. Now our preferred platforms have been kicked to the curb entirely. This is absolutely good news for those of us who still play games on PC, but tablet-only types are left in the cold.
Harebrained Schemes might be the most successful of the wave of nostalgia-powered Kickstarter projects of the past couple of years. The studio successfully razzed the 1990s cyberpunk RPG with 2013’s widely-admired Shadowrun Returns, which they then exceeded with the inarguably superior Shadowrun: Dragonfall — both of which came to iPad and Android tablets.
So why leave mobile high and dry for Shadowrun: Hong Kong? I’m sure that to a great extent we can take HBS at face value: they want to make a PC-native experience with lots of whiz-bang graphics and–I dunno–actual magic. But businesses don’t just leave money on the table for no reason. The unstated truth must be that the two Shadowrun titles must have sold poorly on mobile — or at least they’ve sold an order of magnitude more on PC. And that’s a shame.
Impossible to imagine, I know, but we missed Space Marshals when it dropped last week. And that’s a pity, because it looks like it might be up our street.
Space Marshals is a tactical top-down sci-fi shooter from Swedish studio Pixelbite — but this doesn’t look like a frantic twin-stick bullet orgy. The pace looks downright sedate, at least by shooter standards. There’s also a couple of different approaches to gameplay: guns-blazing or sneaky-sneaky. There’s also a lot of unique guns and variable loadouts.
Most importantly, Space Marshals takes place in a distant future where cowboy hats are back in fashion. At least, I think those are cowboy hats. Might be Pharrell.
2014’s most geekily electrifying game announcement might have been Winning Blimp’s Stratolith, a game about hacking combat drones using an on-screen oscilloscope. I suspect that Winning Blimp may have won some sort of grant from an electrical engineering trade group to pursue this idea; perhaps there’s a soldering iron fencing game or a post-grad thesis advisor sim in the offing.
It’s been quite a while since we heard from Winning Blimp and designer Alex May got in touch over the weekend to correct that. There’s a new video of Stratolith’s gameplay, narrated by May himself who explains exactly how you’ll be hacking enemy units in this sci-fi RTS — namely by creating an oscilloscope wave that cancels out the control signal that the drone is receiving. It’s not as elaborate as the hacking in say, Uplink, but remember that you’re also issuing attack orders to your own drones at the same time — let’s see David from WarGames do that. Punk.
Winning Blimp are currently eyeballing a mid-2015 release date for Stratolith, which is coming to iPad and desktops. Follow Winning Blimp on Twitter and watch the new gameplay video below.