In this weeks bulletin, we discuss Militsioner, the new Civ VI update and why it’s a political masterpiece, Hades v1.0, Pendragon, The Invincible, a talk by Ymir, the PS5 launch, a silly CK3 mod, Ghost of Tushima, Foundation and the Stratigraph round-up!

Militsioner creates upset in Russia

Earlier this month, developer Tall Boys released a trailer for their upcoming surreal mystery game Militsioner. Set in post-Soviet Russia, it features an open-puzzle sandbox world where your task is to escape from The Policeman-Giant. I’m not kidding, you need to escape from a massive uniformed man. Aside from all the symbolism you can take from that (Big Brother), a Russian state-sponsored news channel picked up the game and dissected it, claiming it was anti-Russian, anti-police and just plain shady. In a segment where multiple ‘experts’ were interview, the channel went so far to claim that the developers were paid to advance a certain agenda. Polygon’s Patricia Hernandez dove deeper into the meaning behind the game and the upset it caused in Russia. You can read the piece here, or just check out the awesome gameplay trailer for Militsioner below!

Video: Tall Boys

Why Civilization is a political masterpiece

This is a statement which I never thought of putting in the bulletin. Even though I absolutely love the Civilization-series (I mean, I wrote a MA thesis on it), you can’t say it’s particulary (historically) correct in it’s portrayals of politics and political systems. For example: the only representation of communism in Civ VI is a People’s Republic. Let it be said that are many more examples of communistic governments, which are not portrayed in Civ. However, that doesn’t mean that Civ is not a political masterpiece. Or at least, that is what Sam Leith argues on UnHerd. Leith points out that the game was never created to relive the world history, but to rewrite it. It gives the player certain tools and parameters, and the player can adjust those to suite their own history (just like governments can). It’s an interesting take on a game we all love so much (but also criticize because we can).

How do devs build a medieval city?

For over half a year, Foundation has been available in early access on Steam. The game focusses on the growth of medieval cities. In a combination of Age of Empires, Planet Zoo and Northgard (Strategygamer) the game lets you build and grow a medieval village. It is already quite extensive, but is only around 40% done according to the devs, so there is more to come! And for PAX Online x EGX Digital, the devs took viewers for a tour of the game, how it was developed, how you can best set up your village and what is to come in the future. You can check out more about the masterclass on VG24/7 or check the whole video below!

Video: Rock Paper Shotgun

Tony Hawk’s Pro Crusaders 1+2

I’m not making this up, you did read that right: there’s a mod which lets you hit the skatepark and become a skate legend in Crusader Kings III. All jokes aisde, welcome to the wonderful world of CK3 mods. Tony Hawk’s Pro Crusaders 1+2 spices up the game with some skate related events, personalities and events. Genghis Khan will spawn as a Skate Legend, and if you skate enough the succesion of the realm can be decided by the Council of Skate Electors! According to PC Gamer’s Jonathan Bolding it’s something you didn’t know you wanted. There’s many more silly mods out there, but this one earns the crown of awesome mods for CK3.

Image: Steam Community

Ghost of Tsushima with Brian Fleming

It’s been a while since we featured Ghost of Tsushima. Even though we don’t have any game related news, you can now check out an interview with Brian Fleming, the founder of Sucker Punch-productions about the challenges the company faced while producing the game. It’s a very interesting listen from the Game Maker’s Notebook, a series of interviews/podcasts from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. There’s some very cool other podcasts, which you can check out here!

PS5 release date & prices

Staying with the Sony-vibes, the release date and price for the PlayStation 5 was announced this Wednesday. Most likely you’ve already heared all about it, but the PS5 will be launced November 12th (or 19th, depending on where you are in the world). In contrast to the new Xbox Series, it will feature two similar versions with the only difference being a disc drive. The model with a drive will sell for €/$499.99, the one without for €/$399.99. Whereas PlayStation dominated the sales for the last round of consoles, I can see Xbox gaining some ground with their cheaper (and still pretty powerful) Xbox Series S, which will sell for €100 less than the discless PS5. However, to follow the words of Xbox: we should all be happy that there’s so much to choose from, and that everyone can play video games. Both Xbox and PS5 will bring two very powerful next-gen consoles to the market. Gamers rejoice!

Image: screencap from Twitter

Former Witcher 3 devs announce The Invincible

Starward Industries, a dev-team founded by people who worked on titles such as The Witcher 3, Dying Light and Cyberpunk 2077 have announced their new title called The Invincible. It’ll be a first-person Sci-Fi thriller with a retro-future timeline where you embark on a mysterious journey to find the crew of your spaceship. It will feature a retro-future atompunk setting (that sounds so cool) reminiscent of the space race and a non-linear story. The artwork is proper cool as well. No definitive launch date, but it will come to PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X somewhere in 2021!

Image: Starward Industries

Pendragon: Talking Pawns

What do Austin Powers, chess and The Last of Us II have in common? I don’t know, but Jon Ingold of Inkle does know! And he’ll tell you all in a talk for EGX Digital 2020. Jon is also the Narrative Director for Pendragon a narrative driven game (even though they don’t want to call it that) about the Arthurian Legends which will launch next week (22nd of September). The cool part is that Pendragon lets the player make a story throught their actions, whilst the story also influences the actions. It’s a pretty cool way to make a game. Take a look at Jon’s talk below, and definitely join us next week, when we will be streaming Pendragon on Twitch!

Video: inkle Studios

Byzantium will come to Civ VI

New content for Civ VI‘s New Frontier pass has been announced. In the next update, Byzantium will be added as a playable civilization! With Basil II at the helm, you can prepare yourself for some religious warfare. Aside from Byzantium, the September update will also bring the Gauls as a playable civilization (no leader update just yet), new districts and a new game mode: Dramatic Ages. The new game mode enhances the effects of the Dark and Golden Ages already in the game. Check the whole developer update below, and definitely keep your eyes open for One More Turn Season 4!

Video: Civilization VI

Hades v1.0 is here!

Yes, Hades has left Early Access after almost two years. The game is now complete, available for all (it already was, but still). The god-like-rogue dungeon crawler based on Greek Mythology is very awesome, and you should definitely pick it up. And you’re lucky, because until the 24th of September, you can het Hades with a 20% discount on Steam, Nintendo Switch and the Epic Games Store!

The Potential of the Past as Playground: Archaeology and Video Games

Coming Wednesday, you can check out our own Aris ‘Ymir’ Politopoulos in a lecture for Stanford University! From 21:00 to 22:00 (CEST) Aris will talk about video games and history, VALUE’s research into Civilization and about Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Eventually he will answer the question if we play with the past or if our past also play with us. Check out the event details at Stanford University!

Stratigraph Round-Up

It’s been a while since we posted a Stratigraph, but our new intern Corine aka ‘TimesnewRoman’ posted a piece on Pharaoh this week. With the reboot of the 1999 city-building classic coming closer, Corine took a look at how Pharaoh is still regarded as a classic among city-builders, and how it still holds up today. You can read the piece here. Also tune in for our stream next Tuesday, where we will be playing Pharaoh!

Video: Video Game Showcase