The 4th installment in the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect Andromeda, will launch March 21 of 2017 in North America on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Europe will see a release date of March 23, 2017. Andromeda’s story will take place hundreds of years after the events of the original Mass Effect Trilogy, completely separate from the original storyline. Andromeda will be set in a true open world environment instead of the “linear open world” in the first 3 Mass Effect games.

In this article, we’ll explore everything we know so far (most of the important bits, anyway) with Mass Effect: Andromeda. We’re leaving out major speculative pieces in this and instead focusing on information officially released or deduced through careful observation of trailers and screenshots. We’ve also had some interview time with the Andromeda team, and will be including that coverage in this content.

Medieval action/strategy RPG Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord moved one step closer to release when a Steam page was unveiled in October, but still has no official release date.

Confusingly, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a prequel to Mount & Blade: Warband, itself a 2010 standalone expansion to the 2007 game Mount & Blade—it helps to just think of Warband as a complete overhaul of the original. Warband has maintained a loyal fanbase since release—thanks to the winter sale, steamcharts.com reported roughly 12,000 players in-game as of this writing (a bit more than Elder Scrolls Online). In 2012, developer TaleWorlds announced they would follow-up on Warband’s success with Bannerlord, and have been slowly releasing tidbits of information since. Here’s what we know so far:

As 2016 comes to an end, Steam is hosting their annual Winter Sale from now until January 2nd at 10AM PST. Steam’s annual Autumn Sale ran this year from November 23rd to 29th, so if you missed out on that, this is probably the last chance to get some savings for the year. Then again, Steam does sales routinely -- careful use of the wishlist means you’ll get notifications as items go up for sale throughout the year.

For today, we have a list of some of our best PC games of 2016 as well as some titles from 2015 that are discounted significantly. As these Steam sales come to a close, we will just be arriving in Las Vegas for the year’s Consumer Electronics Show, so do follow closely for that! News will ramp-up significantly post-Xmas.

Here is the shortlist:

For a week following the holidays, game news has been non-stop in its roll-out since Christmas day. Valve experienced store downtime on Xmas for a period of about an hour, resultant of an emergency shutoff to protect users from a caching issue that exposed personal information. Valve stated that users have nothing to worry about with regard to credit card information and account data.

That wasn't Santa's only gift to the games industry, though; employees at Red5, developers of Firefall, were reportedly told that payroll would not be issued due to lack of studio finances.

News more specific to games – not just the industry – emerged for The Witcher 3, Escape from Tarkov, and Far Cry Primal. Additional information was revealed about the new Assassin's Creed: The Game: The Movie adaptation. You'll find all that in our news recap video below. Script below that.

This week's game news looks to the worlds of Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, Overwatch, Elite: Dangerous, Paragon, and Steam's account theft.

An interview with CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski went live on Polish site Money.pl, where the CEO – who openly discusses his company's financial efficiency – talks about the White Wolf's future adventures. The company hopes to continue its devotion to the Witcher series, despite initial plans to conclude the story with Wild Hunt. Geralt's story is done, Kicinski told the site, but that doesn't mean The Witcher is. This has been the major delay to Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has internal, unannounced deadlines, but Kicinski said to expect Cyberpunk news in 2016.

Our hardware news recap is over here.

That and all the other week's news items are recapped in the below video:

This week's news cycle was, unsurprisingly, dominated by the two major releases: Fallout 4 and Black Ops III, shipping within a few days of each other. We're anticipating a similar story to be true for next week's blockbuster Battlefront launch.

Big items for the week mostly include Fallout 4's concurrent user record on Steam, alongside its $750 million generated in 24 hours, and Black Ops III's $550 million 72-hour generation, a game which is expected to surpass $1B by the end of the year. Other items, for Battlefield players – not Front, but Field – the “Legacy Operations” DLC will release a free-to-download Dragon Valley remake, updated from Battlefield 2. Outside of the shooter world, Roller Coaster Tycoon World has been delayed into 2016, citing performance and usability/mechanical bugs, and Legacy of the Void has finally shipped to PCs globally.

The video recap, with a bit more detail, is available below:

Last week's game news recap overviewed major No Man's Sky, Star Citizen, and RPG news (including some Fallout 4 discussion). That was our first weekly recap of games industry news and, finding it to be tremendous fun and receiving positive feedback, we've returned with the second episode.

This week was another eventful period for the industry, heralding the arrival of Black Ops III, the Fallout 4 launch trailer, and putting a public spotlight on Valve's advertising during sales. News also erupted surrounding the Warcraft movie trailer, followed shortly by news that The Witcher series has already gone through pre-production for its own movie creation. Granted, the Witcher is technically based on a book – but close enough.

The video game industry's news output is churning in full capacity as November nears. Our contacts and colleagues in the industry are almost ubiquitously undergoing crunch right now, working longer hours to finalize that last bit of content before “going Gold.” That means a lot of news, so we've decided to start rounding-up weekly game news at the end of the week.

This week, the items to watch have been No Man's Sky for its “I've Seen Things” trailer (and release date), Star Citizen for an updated flight model, GOG's introduction of ancient RPGs to its service, Overwatch beta, and Fallout 4's mod support.

Full news coverage in the video, though I've also posted the script below:

Need For Speed is one of the longest-standing racing genres in gaming history, rooted in high-speed police chases and later adding detailed car customization. Need For Speed Underground heavily focused on high-octane street racing, featuring dyno tuning, car tweaking, and import-styled visuals. NFSU2 offered an open world experience on the nighttime streets of various cities.

We normally upload a “benchmark course” video to the site's YouTube channel, dedicated to showcasing just a small part of our extensive testing methodology for each game benchmarked. The previous title we tested was GTA V, and with the launch of the Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt, focus shifts to CD Projekt Red's new game.

This video walks through our benchmark course used during video card benchmarking for the Witcher, an exhaustive process that seeks to uncover the best graphics cards at various settings. We've only got four video cards left in our test tonight, which will be followed-up immediately by an article with FPS charts and other data. More performance articles will follow shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, take a look at the game's hi-fidelity graphics at 4K resolution:

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