Keegan Gallick

Keegan Gallick

Total War: Warhammer demonstrates a natural, synergistic fusion of two genres -- the long-standing grand-strategy games, Total War, and even longer-standing Warhammer tabletop game. Campaigns in the Warhammer universe like Storm of Chaos have given way to Total War-like experiences; armies roam the world map, growing or unfurling (or ‘crumbling’) with wins and losses. At the same time, combat in Total War has kept its structure and mechanics: units travel in tightly-knit groups, facing and flanking are important parts of the battle, and strategic map utilization can make-up for troop count disparities. Then, of course, having a strong general and maintaining troop morale dictate most heavily the staying power of military forces.

All these points are shared by the Warhammer tabletop game. As much sense as the partnership makes, it marks an astounding new venture for the Total War team -- a first venture into a fantastical environ.

Epic Games made the most of the its stage at GDC 2016. In the company's “State of Unreal” panel, CEO Tim Sweeney packed in as much news in as he could – an empowered battle against CryEngine's latest announcements. The success of the latest iteration of the Unreal Engine was a focus point; according to Sweeney, Unreal Engine 4 now has over 1.5 million users, and the seven largest franchises on the engine have generated over $1 billion in sales each.

The Unreal Engine news wasn't limited to larges titles, though. Last year, Epic announced a grant for indie developers using the Unreal Engine and, not to be outdone by CryEngine's $1 million indie fund, Epic increased their grant from $800,000 to $1.2 million. Epic is additionally partnering with HTC and Valve to bring 500 Vive units to indie developers to increase the development of VR titles.

Cars, spaceships, and a metal band star in this week’s game news recap -- actually, two metal bands, and they’ve both got forthcoming games. In the past week, Epic Games pushed critical announcement regarding its new Paragon MOBA: The game will be entirely free-to-play -- access to all heroes included -- with only monetized cosmetic items. Early beta access costs $20, but will be waived at launch (similar to the successful Dota 2 model). Time will tell how financially viable “cosmetic items only” is for yet another game on the market, but it’s been working out well for Dota 2 so far. Not a bad model to follow.

Other news includes No Man’s Sky, a game we think is well worth a follow, and Dream Theater’s new The Astonishing game and album. Maiden’s in there, too, because Steve Harris has decided to bring Eddie to mobile devices. More in the recap video below. Script follows.

Our initial coverage of RollerCoaster Tycoon World blew-up when we were at PAX Prime 2015. It was the first time anyone had seen real gameplay footage of the tumultuously-made title, which was (at the time) on its third development team. The game seemed like it had promise and, as we learned in a later meeting, was slated for a December launch with two pre-launch betas in the pipe.

Only one of those betas happened -- the other was canceled, and the December launch target got moved. Again. We're now looking at "Early 2016" for RollerCoaster Tycoon World, which will soon be threatened by newcomer "Planet Coaster" (4Q16 launch date). RCTW's got the name and recognition, but has to pull together its development faster than might be feasible. Even just the framerates, as you'll see in the video below, are completely inexcusable for a PC game. Here's hoping things look up for the globally loved title.

In the meantime, Atari has re-re-announced its modding plans. It feels like we're stuck on loop, here -- we talked about modding at PAX Prime ('15) and, based on Atari's newest video, not much has changed -- but they want to make sure everyone remembers that the game exists and has modding support.

Steam today launched the pre-order for their collaboration project with HTC -- the HTC Vive for SteamVR. Those who pre-order get the whole kit-and-caboodle -- the headset, sensors, and controllers -- and a few extra throw-in games. We’ve covered Valve’s VR multiple times, going so far as to explain the “how it works” in-depth here, and we’ve talked about our opinion of the whole thing.

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