Stellaris: Console Edition arrives in February, the first grand strategy title on PS4, Xbox One

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Stellaris: Console Edition arrives in February, the first grand strategy title on PS4, Xbox One

When Stellaris: Console Edition launches on Feb. 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it will be the first grand strategy game ever released for modern consoles. So how do you fit such a notoriously fiddly format onto a controller? The team at Paradox started by tearing down the entire user interface, and then rebuilding it with the help of the experts at Tantalus Media, the same team responsible for the port of city-builder Cities: Skylines.

“I’m very surprised and very happy with how it actually works,” Paradox game director Daniel Moregård told Polygon in an interview last week. “Most of our job has been feedbacking it, giving pointers, and making sure that the controls never lie to you and are always accurate.”

Yakuza Kiwami coming to Steam in mid-February

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Yakuza Kiwami coming to Steam in mid-February

The Windows PC version of Yakuza Kiwami will be released Feb. 19 on Steam, publisher Sega appeared to announce on Monday.

Sega didn’t put out the news with any fanfare; quite the opposite, in fact. The publisher merely uploaded a brief GIF to Yakuza Kiwami’s Steam page under the heading “MAJIMAAAA!” The GIF, which you can see below, is a clip of Goro Majima — frenemy of Yakuza series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu — emerging from a manhole on a city street.

Mortal Kombat 11’s time-cheating character is the game’s coolest new addition

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Mortal Kombat 11’s time-cheating character is the game’s coolest new addition

When NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 last week, the game’s brand-new character, Geras, might have looked like a fairly standard grappler. He’s armed with a few familiar Mortal Kombat-style teleportation and freeze moves, plus the ability to manipulate stone and sand. But Geras is easily the game’s most intriguing character, thanks to his ability to manipulate time — including the power to influence the in-game timer.

One of Geras’ abilities is called Lost Time and Spare Time. It consists of two moves: Lost Time, which subtracts up to 30 seconds from the clock, and Spare Time, which adds 30 seconds to the clock. Lost Time has some restrictions, naturally. Geras can’t remove the final nine seconds of the match, even if the timer is already under 30 seconds.

Wintry Hitman 2 update lets Agent 47 throw snowballs in Japan

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Wintry Hitman 2 update lets Agent 47 throw snowballs in Japan

Hitman 2’s latest update, released Monday, brings a wintry mix of new content to the game for all players, including the first add-on for Expansion Pass owners.

Headlining the update is a new mission that sends Agent 47 to Hokkaido, Japan, to take out a union-busting factory owner named Dmitri Fedorov. The mission will be available for the duration of an in-game seasonal event that developer IO Interactive calls the Snow Festival. It’s live with Monday’s update and will run through Feb. 12.

Influencer plans say a lot about Epic Games Store’s vision of itself

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Influencer plans say a lot about Epic Games Store’s vision of itself

Tired: user reviews; wired: influencers? The Epic Games Store seems to think so.

In a little more than a month since launching its marketplace, Epic Games itself has emphasized the differences between its marketplace and Steam with things like free and exclusive games, even as it adopts features common to its rival, like a return policy. But until a week ago, Epic hadn’t said much about the biggest difference, which also says a lot about who Epic considers its biggest customers.

Heat wants to be Red Dead Online for the PC, but the developer has a troubled history

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Heat wants to be Red Dead Online for the PC, but the developer has a troubled history

Rockstar Games’ decision not to bring Red Dead Redemption 2 to the PC has left a bit of a vacuum on Steam. For fans of the most powerful and flexible gaming platform who want to ride horses and wield six-shooters, there really isn’t a viable alternative right now. Later this month the team from Codehatch hopes to rectify that situation with a Western-themed MMO called Heat.

Early footage looks OK, with decent lighting and functional, if somewhat blocky, character models. The video trailer itself is suitably bizarre, tailor-made for fans of sandbox sims like Scum and Rust. For instance, rarely have I seen this many diapered babies inside a log cabin before in a video game.

The Shrouded Isle is a horror game about making bad decisions

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The Shrouded Isle is a horror game about making bad decisions

Horror video games are successful when they induce anxiety through visual design and game mechanics. The Shrouded Isle, a cult manager sim that was released in 2017 and recently came to Nintendo Switch, is a successful horror game. While the developers at Kitfox Games took aesthetic inspiration from Lovecraftian lore, I found myself paralyzed by a crippling fear of making the wrong decision, not by a sense of cosmic horror.

In The Shrouded Isle, I’m put in charge of a secluded village controlled by several houses. I must investigate the virtues and vices of each house’s members and appoint an adviser for the season. Those advisers then do their part to control the village, by doing such things as increasing the village’s ignorance to the outside world or bolstering their religious fervor. I reward one of them with the privilege of being sacrificed to the dark god our village worships after they’ve all carried out their tasks, and the cycle begins anew next season.

Anthem: 55 interesting details we’ve gleaned from the tweets of its creators

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Anthem: 55 interesting details we’ve gleaned from the tweets of its creators

Anthem is only a month away, with the beta coming up in a few weeks. But like all live games prior to release, there are tons of tiny details that players want to know before they ready themselves for the long winter of grinding to that endgame.

A collection of BioWare developers — lead producers Ben Irving and Mike Gamble, as well as game director Jonathan Warner — have spent the past several months answering fan questions on Twitter. While most of Anthem’s big revelations come in the form of streams and press releases, some of the smallest and most interesting details only come from these tweets.

The original Allied Races still have a part to play in World of Warcraft’s story

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The original Allied Races still have a part to play in World of Warcraft’s story

In World of Warcraft’s history, some of the most interesting and controversial moments have been the addition of new races. Up until Battle for Azeroth, races would enter the game with the start of an expansion, and players would work their way up from level 1 in a race-specific starting zone that told the story of their people. Allied Races, a new addition, have dealt with factions and races we’ve helped or met in the past. These characters start at level 20, and currently work as an end-game reward for long-time players. These Allied Races have joined both the Horde and the Alliance, and are standing with their new faction against the enemy of the other side.

The Allied Races experiment in World of Warcraft has had its hiccups, including the delay of Zandalari and Kul Tiran characters until Patch 8.1.5; despite that, there’s a strong sense of anticipation that comes along with this new system. We don’t have to wait for expansions anymore, and so there’s a sense that anyone could join any faction. The Vulpera have a lot of neat customization options — will they join the Horde? If so, do the Alliance get the Sethrak?

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wound up on a Donkey Kong 64 Twitch charity stream

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How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wound up on a Donkey Kong 64 Twitch charity stream

H.Bomberguy, aka Harry Brewis, has been streaming Nintendo 64 game Donkey Kong 64 on and off for the past 50-plus hours. He’s doing so to raise money for U.K.-based charity Mermaids, an organization that offers support for transgender children, teenagers, and their families. What started off as an endeavor to “spite” an Irish comedian who opposes the charity organization has turned into a wild, surprising success; Brewis has raised more than $280,000 so far, and his stream has featured cameo appearances from Doom co-creator John Romero, activist Chelsea Manning, and U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brewis started his stream on Twitch on Jan. 18. In a YouTube video announcing the stream, he said he’d never beaten Donkey Kong 64 as a kid. His old save file purportedly shows 59-plus hours of playtime, but just 69 percent completion. Brewis’ goal for the charity stream was to beat the N64 game 100 percent.