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Game

Latest Xbox Free Play Days weekend serves up a ton of Warhammer

Xbox owners with time to burn this weekend might want to check out Microsoft’s Free Play Days promo. This time around, the focus is Warhammer, with three different Warhammer games going free-to-play for this weekend only. As always, if you try the games and decide you like them, they’re also being sold at a discount this weekend.

The first game available through Free Play Days is Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr Complete Collection. Inquisitor – Martyr is an action RPG that first launched in 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. In it, you’ll play as an Inquisitor with multiple character classes to pick from in either solo or co-op play. All editions of the game are on sale for 80% off this weekend, bringing the Standard Edition to $8, the Imperium Edition to $11, and the Complete Collection to $14.

Next up we’ve got Warhammer: Chaosbane. This is the most recent game of the bunch, as it released last year for Xbox One, PS4, and PC before also launching for next-gen consoles. Like Martyr – Inquisitor, Chaosbane is an action RPG that’s at least somewhat similar in design to games like Diablo. Chaosbane offers four player local and online co-op too, so if you’ve got some friends looking to play something this weekend, this could be it.

All of Chaosbane‘s various editions are available at varying discounts this weekend as well. The Xbox One Standard Edition is 70% off list price and is available for $12, while the Xbox One Slayer Edition gets a slightly smaller 60% discount to bring its price to $24. Just as well, the Slayer Edition for Xbox Series X is priced at $24, while the Magnus Edition for Xbox Series X is down to $15.

If you’re looking for something a little more tactical, then Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is the game to check out this weekend, as it boasts more than 50 missions to play through. The Mechanicus Standard Edition is the only version of the game that’s available, and it can be purchased this weekend for $16. Keep in mind that if you play these games and decide to buy them while they’re discounted, your progress and achievements will carry over. The Free Play Days promo and sale pricing are only available to Xbox users who are subscribed to Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, so if you don’t have either of those, you’ll need to sit this one out.

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Game

Warhammer 40K game squeezes rat to control robot dog

Bear with me here, the following journey down this game control rabbit hole is worth the mental gymnastics. The folks at the game company Games Workshop hold the license to the game Warhammer 40,000, AKA Warhammer 40K. This game universe is best known as a tabletop game, complete with massive amounts of paint-it-yourself parts that’ve become more successful than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Game publisher Focus Home Interactive worked with Games Workshop to license Warhammer 40K story elements to create the game Necromunda: Hired Gun. This is a game that takes place in the Warhammer 40K universe. This game will be released soon on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC on June 1, 2021.

Above you’ll see the first major “reveal trailer” for the game Necromunda: Hired Gun. In it, you’ll get a peek at the intense action and bullet-riddle madness that’ll make this game worth a play. If everything we experienced in the best FPS ever made remains just-as-fun here in Necromunda, we should have a winner on our hands. Wall running aplenty – moving all around the map for the win!

But here’s the thing – this is the part that makes this game look like it’s going to be above-and-beyond the pale… in a good way? You’ll get to control a bionic dog. As Kotaku notes, the “cyber-mastiff” will be controlled by the user with a rat-shaped chew toy. This is going to be beyond strange.

The screenshot you see at the head of this article comes from Streum on Studio and Focus Home Interactive, the folks developing and publishing this game. It feels like the first time we ever played Unreal Tournament, or DOOM. It’s weird. It’s sort of disturbing. It’s exactly what we needed to get interested in a game that might otherwise have been lost among the shooters.

Cross your fingers this game is everything it professes to be. We’ll be playing as soon as possible – squeaker rat right out the gate!

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Game

Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond sets mix-up Lord of the Rings, Warhammer 40K

Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro revealed a major bit of news this week with a pair of new card sets. Both exist in a line that’ll be called Universes Beyond. Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond will begin with a set for Lord of the Rings, and another set for Warhammer 40K. This could be amazingly fun and entertaining, or it could be the beginning of the end for the game.*

Two sets for starters

Hasbro (who’ve owned Wizards of the Coast since 1999) announced the new Magic: The Gathering initiative in an investor call this week. They’ve suggested that they’ll have access to properties in the J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth universe. The Hobbit book and the main Lord of the Rings book trilogy are on the table, at the moment.

Warhammer 40,000, or Warhammer 40K, is a tabletop game with miniatures that’s been in-effect since September of 1987. It’s not clear at the moment whether we’ll see Magic characters appear in Warhammer miniatures, but we WILL see Warhammer characters appear in Magic cards.

Release dates have not yet been revealed, we’ll let you know as soon as we know what’s up with the first two sets. Per the investor call this week: Magic Universes Beyond “crossover products” will “take fan-favorite brands and bring them into the Magic play system for exciting new collectible and social play opportunities.”

Avoiding ARC

Back in the year 1998, Wizards of the Coast released a card game called C-23. The game was also known as Jim Lee’s C-23, an awesome comic book series in its own right. The game C-23 was meant to be part of a card game system called the “ARC System.”

The ARC System was an idyllic multi-universe card game system in which the Deckmaster system (like MTG) would set the stage for cross-play among all manner of properties. The ARC System also included Hercules and Xena sets, also from Wizards of the Coast – all sets were released in the year 1998.

The concept was fun, the game was fun, but the ARC System never developed beyond these three sets. Wizards of the Coast effectively abandoned the system and the sets after the release of Hercules in July of 1998. Cross your fingers the same doesn’t happen with Magic now that they’ve jumped the shark.

*NOTE: It’s VERY unlikely that Magic: The Gathering will end any time soon. They’ve already released all manner of bonkers and/or off-the-wall cards from sets from Unglued to My Little Pony, and they’ve been fine. No worries!

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Tech News

Slitherine announces new strategy game set in the Warhammer universe

Slitherine and Black Lab Games today unveiled yet another Warhammer strategy game set to launch in 2021. Fresh on the heels of Sega’s announcement for Total Warhammer III, “Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector,” as it’s called, looks to make this one of the best gaming years ever for the venerable Games Workshop IP’s fans.

One of the most popular tabletop wargaming franchises of all time continues to thrive in the digital format as Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector brings land-based tactics to the front of the battle. A refreshing new take for those who’ve been eagerly awaiting another Slitherine game set in the WH:40K universe.

Black Lab Games, creators of the excellent Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock game also published through Slitherine, has enough clout and pedigree in the strategy gaming (and IP adaptation) community to make this a day-one-must-purchase for most strategy gamers.

But for those still on the fence, Slitherine’s airing a live stream with the game news right now (as of the time of this writing). If you miss it, you should be able to view the stream, including some juicy gameplay videos, in its entirety after the live broadcast has ended.

I checked out a bit of the gameplay footage and the Slitherine/Black Lab crew showed off some really enticing stuff. If you’re into turn-based combat ala X-COM, this game should be on your RADAR.

First off, I like the turn-based options for game modes which include a single-player campaign, the usual multiplayer offerings, and both asynchronous multiplayer and hotseat modes. Huge tip of the hat to the Black Labs developers for including the oft-overlooked ability to play couch co-op with hotseat.

But what’s really got me drooling is the animations (gore!), interesting focus on heroic units and terrain, and what appears to be maps with incredible verticality.

For me, the bottom line is that most games based on non-video-game IPs aren’t very good. But both Slitherine and Black Labs have a blemish-free track record here whether we’re talking about Warhammer 40,0000: Gladius — Relics of War, Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, or the recently announced Starship Troopers – Terran Command. I’m excited for Battlesector

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is scheduled to release on PC in May with console versions to follow later. You can preorder on Steam.

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