Strategy Games News Bulletin - December 13th, 2019

By Joe Robinson 13 Dec 2019 0

A muted week in strategy gaming, although things picked up last-night with a lot of cool high-profile announcements coming out of The Game Awards. If you’ve never heard of them before, don’t worry about it - Geoff Keighley’s current passion-project is trying to offer a BAFTA or perhaps Oscar-like awards experience, and it’s also used as a platform for some announcements. More on that below.

Other than that, things have been a bit slow - we’re approaching the end of the year now, so apart from a smattering of last minute news or releases this column may be a bit leaner than usual going forward.

Meanwhile, in strategy games...

Gears Tactics is alive, and coming next year

As promised, Microsoft showed off more of their XCOM-inspired turn-based tactical strategy game set in the Gears of War universe at the Game Awards last night. Set ten years before the events of the first game, you must lead a (highly customisable) squad of Gear soldiers through the early days of the Locust invasion.

Lots to unpack in that trailer - boss battles, a long campaign, lots of gear and equipment options, and everything else you’d expect from an XCOM-like. Bayoneting people is also in, which is all I care about. Watch the trailer for more details, and look out for the Gears Tactics' release on April 28th, 2020.

New Humankind Trailer

We also got a new trailer for Humankind, Amplitude’s big-budget Civilization-challenging 4X strategy game. The trailer shows off gameplay from different eras via the medium of a light-hearted narrative, but the main purpose is to reveal how players will create and customise the avatars that will represent their civilisation through-out.

Depending on the choices you make, as well as some meta-progression mechanics, your avatar will evolve and change over time, as well as be able to equip different outfits and potentially accessories. Probably not the most ground-breaking feature, but Humankind is about guiding a civilization through a unique journey, and making sure the central avatar reflects this will help with immersion. There was also an indication your creations can be shared.

Game Awards 2019 Best Strategy Game

For a mainstream awards ceremony, the Game Awards’ ‘Strategy’ category was surprisingly on point. There have been awards ceremonies (not necessarily The Game Awards) in years gone by where something like The Sims 3 would win an award in a ‘Strategy’ category, but this year there were some pretty decent nominations:

  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Anno 1800
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms
  • Tropico 6
  • Wargroove

Tropico and Anno 1800 are more management games, sure, but merging Management and Strategy is an acceptable abstraction. Fire Emblem: Three Houses ended up being the winner, which is fine because it is a pretty decent tactical strategy game. It’s one of our favourite Switch Strategy Games, in fact. Fire Emblem also won an award for best ‘Player’s Voice’, whatever that means.

New Commandos Games are coming

The Commandos 2 Remake isn’t due until the New Year, but Kalypso Media already have big plans for their newly acquired franchise. Earlier in the week they announced that they had set up a new internal studio in the Greater Frankfurt area in Germany, whose sole-purpose is to work on the next-generation of Commandos titles. The studio currently doesn’t have a name, and is being headed up by industry veteran Jürgen Reußwig.

Humble Game Awards Sale

In case you didn’t have enough Humble in your life, the discount/fund-raising happy store is running another sale, this time in conjunction with The Game Awards. It’s only running for the next three days but you can get up to 75% off some titles. As mentioned above, there was a decent-ish strategy presence at the show, so you can get the following games at a discount if you don’t own them already:

  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall (33% Discount)
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms (20% Discount)
  • Tropico 6 (30% Discount)

And the rest…

That’s all for this week, enjoy your weekends!

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