In this weeks bulletin, we discuss mystery adventure game Call of the Sea, gameplay trailers, new content for Civ VI, Empire of Sin, AC: Odyssey, 26 Lego Ideas, Political Communication in Horror Games, Female Fronted FPS, the new Unreal 5 Engine, Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest review, free AC Discovery Tours, the Crusader Kings III release date and an extended look at Ghost of Tsushima! It’s a long one!

Call of the Sea: 1930s tropical adventure

Last week, Microsoft streamed gameplay for their upcoming Xbox Series X. One of the games standing out was Call of the Sea, a mystery-adventure game set in the 1930s. A puzzle-based game, you play the story of Norah, who is looking for her missing husband on a beautiful tropical island. Take a look at the trailer (and it’s awesome visuals) below, or have a look at more screenshots in this Eurogamer article! The game is set to release in late 2020, for the new Xbox as well as PC and the Xbox One!

Video: Xbox

Gameplay trailers should have gameplay in them

While we’re on the topic of gameplay trailers, we should talk about the content of trailers. Often, these ‘gameplay’ trailers feature images which do not represent the finalized product in the slightest. Many companies are guilty of mislabeling their trailers (looking at you, Ubisoft). Zack Zwiezen of Kotaku wrote a feature on this topic, and how he wishes we’re a bit more earnest on the contents of their trailers, and if they are representative of the final product. Read Zack’s feature here!

New content for Civilization VI!

New content for the famous 4X civilization builder Civ VI is coming to us all! Over the coming year, six new DLC’s will be avaliable. In a system called the ‘New Frontiers Pass’, players will receive each of the six packs for download. They include new leaders, new game modes and other additions such as new buildings and districts. These DLC of course come at a (as yet unannounced) price, but some quality of life updates will also be made avaliable for those who do not have the pass. Keep in mind that most of the DLC’s do require you either have the DLC’s Gathering Storm, Rise and Fall, or both! Read more on the Civ website here, or watch the First Look: Maya here!

Image: all the content!

Empire of Sin: great-grandmother as crime boss

Mothers make great crime bosses. At least, that’s what game designer Brenda Romera found out for the game Empire of Sin. Whilst making the strategy game about real life and fictional crime bosses, she found out that her husbands (John Romero, creator of Doom) great-grandmother was a real life crime boss in Mexico during the 1920s! She had to make the game, and for Mothers Day, Paradox released a video on the great-grandmother! Watch it below, or read more on Kotaku!

Video: Paradox Interactive

Why AC: Odyssey is so much fun

I must admit, I’ve never played Odyssey. But I have heard about some of the discussions of what is wrong with the game. However, look past those, and you might see how fun the game actually is. At least, that’s what Chris Tapsell of Eurogamer wrote in this feature! Chris stopped worrying about all that bothers him, and started enjoying the game much more. The secret to Odyssey? ‘Fun sits, loosely, in the space between joy and surprise, and the two of them seem to be absolutely flooding out of Odyssey’s world.’ Read the whole feature here!

Video: Game Clips and Tips

26 Lego ideas up for review

Lego often host community contests for new products. People get to send in designs and the community gets to support the ideas they like the most. Usually, about 10 tot 12 ideas get more than 10.000 votes, but this year 26 (!) ideas have broken the 10.000 mark. Lego will now further the process with interviews and other reviews. Have a look at the 26 ideas here (includes a Lego Rome and Lego Indiana Jones)!

Image: Lego

Political Communication in Digital Horror Games

A very interesting article by Eugen Pfister on political communication in horror games is now translated in English. Originally written in German, the article explores the different ways video games incorporate topics such as class struggle, immigratoin, emancipation and other topics you would normally not suspect in video games. However, as Pfister argues, they are a very important cornerstone of the horror-genre. Read the article here!

Female Fronted FPS

A very interesting article by Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer talks about the rise and fall (and rise) of female fronted FPS. In last couple of years, games which featured female leads have been getting horrible (and completely ridiculous) backlash from some gamers, but the amount of FPS with female leads seem to be slowly rising (from almost none). However, the female lead wasn’t always absent: in 2000, the share between male and female leads was almost equal. Interestingly, since then the scales have diverged again. This interesting dynamic is explored in depth by Ben. The conclusion is not as grim as it might seem. To quote game scholar Cody Mejeur: ‘there’s a lot of work to be done there, too. And maybe looking back at these games can help with that.’ Have a read of this very interesting (but long) article here!

Image: Ringer Illustration

Unreal 5 Engine Revealed!

Epic Games have revealed the new Unreal 5 Engine! The new engine is set to massively increase on photorealism, wanting to achieve similar levels to cinematic CGI! It features some (complicated) new elements, which you can read all about on the Unreal Engine website here, or on this Washington Post artcile here (behind a paywall).

Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest Review

You know we’re not all about digital games, board games are also featured here! Take Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest, a historical wargame about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. To me it looks very interesting, but I’m no connoisseur of board games. As cool as it might seem, the game does sacrifice historical accuracy for creating an odd mix of mechanics, according to Dylan St. Clair of Board Game Quest. Read his whole review here!

Image: Mighty Boards

Assassin’s Creed Origins & Odyssey Discovery Tour for free!

From the 14th until the 21st of May, you can claim the discovery tours of AC Origins and AC Odyssey for free through UPlay! You can roam around in the beautiful worlds of both games, without having to bother with combat. Browse to the Uplay Store, or follow these links (OdysseyOrigins)!

Crusader Kings III releases on September 1st!

Time to get on the medieval strategy hype train! Crusader Kings III, the Paradox Interactive strategy-RPG set in medieval times is destined to release September 1st. You can now pre-order it from Paradox, build your kingdom and become the ruler of them all! Watch the trailer below!

Video: Paradox Interactive

Ghost of Tsushuma extended look

Yesterday, PlayStation posted an extended look of Ghost of Tsushima, an upcoming action-adventure game set in an open world, based on late 13th century feudal Japan. The game revolves around one of the last samurai on the island of Tsushima, just before the Mongol Invasion of the 1270s. Watch the extended look below!

Video: PlayStation