The Quest Log: August 25, 2017

The last weekend of August is here. School has started, and the fall is practically upon us. What’s everyone playing this weekend, and what upcoming game releases are you most excited for? Before you know it, we’re going to be swimming in new releases, and it seems like major news highlights are being dropped daily now. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Square Enix announces Secret of Mana 3D remake

Square’s classic JRPG, Secret of Mana, was originally released in the US as Final Fantasy Adventure in 1993 for the SNES. Praised at the time for its colorful graphics, engrossing narrative, and its unique battle system, the game has since been re-released a number of times on a number of platforms, including iOS and Android in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Today, Square Enix revealed that the game would be released yet again, but this time it’s getting a full-fledged makeover with 3D graphics and voice over.

The remake’s aesthetics seem to fit in with Square Enix’s other remakes like Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV, both of which appeared on the DS. While I’m not personally a fan of the art style, I’m thrilled that a new generation of gamers will be able to play a true classic for the first time on modern consoles. It launches for PS4, Vita, and Steam February 15, 2018.

Half-Life writer reveals the possible ending to Half-Life 2: Episode 3

Marc Laidlaw, who departed from Valve in January 2016 after working for the developer for nearly 26 years, spilled the beans this week on how the never-developed Half-Life 2: Episode 3 could have ended via a blog post on his personal site. While the names and identities of the characters in the post, titled “Epistle 3,” are genderswapped, it’s not hard to piece together exactly who’s who in it. It’s an emotional ride with its own plot twists and turns, and a bittersweet look at what might have been. If–like so many of us–you were a fan of Half-Life 2 and still crave some closure after the cliffhanger ending of Episode 2, it’s definitely worth the read. 

Laidlaw’s being cheeky about the post (as you can see in the above Tweet), which sort of makes the whole thing even better.

As it turns out, Divinity Original Sin 2 will be fully voiced

This may not be the biggest news in the industry today, so I’m going to have to just admit my own personal bias towards Divinity: Original Sin 2 again. Larian’s upcoming CRPG has only gotten better since it first entered Early Access late last year, and it’s one of my most anticipated releases for this fall. While Larian had stated in a Kickstarter update some time back that their budget wouldn’t allow for voice over in the game due to its sheer enormity, they surprised backers this morning by announcing they had found a way to make it work. It’s just one more reason to put this game on your radar if you haven’t already, especially if you’re a fan of isometric RPGs, turn-based combat, local co-op, or simply good games.

The Quest Log: May 5, 2017

19 Years Later, Germany Gets the Uncensored Version of Half-Life

The original Half-Life is an undisputed classic whose influence on the FPS genre and virtually all modern gaming truly can’t be understated, but it was deemed a bit too violent for German audiences when it launched in 1998. It’s commonly known that Germany takes a stricter stance on violence in gaming than we typically see in the U.S. with many (of what we’d call) M-rated games being outright banned in the country. To ensure that doesn’t happen, devs often tweak their content to ensure that they can slip under regulations and release at least some version of their game for German audiences. Such was the case for Half-Life, in which enemy marine soldiers were replaced by robots and civilian scientists were rendered invincible.

As of this week, however, a free DLC pack is available via Steam that removes the German version’s censorship and presents Half-Life in its original, fantastic, and violent format. (link only accessible when not signed into a non-German Steam account)

Valve Update Steam Gift Policy, Upset Fans

In other Steam-related news, Valve have updated their policies regarding gift copies of games purchased via their service.  Gifts can now be scheduled for future delivery (e.g., for an upcoming holiday), and non-accepted gifts are now refunded directly to the purchaser’s credit card rather than being stashed in their inventories. That all sounds pretty good, but some users are upset about the change because Steam will no longer allow users to stockpile gift copies of games during Steam’s oft-publicized sales to be handed out on a whim.

Bethesda Asked an Indie Dev to Chang the Name of their Game Because It Contained the Word “Prey”

Prey, the sci-fi horror game by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, launched this week, and word on the street is that it’s pretty great. The game’s title is a holdover from a unique 2006 FPS that 2K published, a sequel to which was announced but ultimately canceled in 2014. This week’s release has a great deal more in common with the System Shock series than it does to its own namesake, but that doesn’t mean that Bethesda aren’t very concerned about preserving the integrity of the title.

In a post on their official blog, No Matter Studios announced that their upcoming indie game, inspired heavily by Shadow of the Colossus, was officially changing its name from “Prey for the Gods” to “Præy for the Gods” in response to a request they received from Zenimax’s (the parent company to Bethesda) notoriously over-eager lawyers. They explain:

“We could’ve fought this and we did think about it for quite a while. Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive. We didn’t want to spend our precious Kickstarter funds, nor did we want to have to ask for additional funds to fight this in court. “

Eventually, they say, they came to an agreement with Zenimax in which No Matter Studios will continue to use their original logo for the upcoming release while still tweaking the way its title will be formally written out.