Last time I did one of these posts was late February last year. Right or wrong (I’d probably have to scan back over my posts to confirm) it seems to me that basically since Anthem and The Division 2 my gaming has been far more reactive in nature. This if true I suppose isn’t that surprising. I generally try to avoid hyping myself too far in advance about too many releases.

That way lies madness — or at least disappointment — more often than not.

Still…

It isn’t fun being a grumpy guts all the time. So here’s a bit of an exception. A bit of a look forward into the future of what’s coming next that I might be quite into.

The Division 2: Warlords of New York — Tomorrow

Today even, by the time you read this. Or if you’re really late to the party, it might already be here! (Look, fine. It’s coming out March 3rd 2020.)

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that this thing was announced, and now it’s just around the corner. There is a level cap increase (30 -> 40), new skills, a new specialisation (two words: Flame. Thrower) and of course, as the title suggests, a return to New York.

Most important to me — we get a chance to finally hunt down Aaron Keener, the first wave Division agent who went rogue and kicked so much of this off. It has been a thorn in my side that we never got to close out that chapter of The Division’s story. And now, at last, we will.

But there is also a revamp to the loot system, an addition of a Diablo 3 Paragon-levels style ‘Infinite Progression System’, and a lift in the gear item level available.

I’m sure there’s more. You can check out a video from Arekkz here, or a read more detail on Gamespot here. I’m going in relatively blind to the finer details, so I’m looking forward to that. It isn’t often for me to be hyped about a game and then not tear into every single available detail ages before the thing in question comes out.

I still have all the Year 1 episodic content to go through, too! I haven’t really touched it since the first raid came out. (Huh, looks like I didn’t really ever post about the raid, just posted on it shortly before it came out. It was fine I guess? But I think I really was a bit burnt out on Division 2 by that point.)

Stellaris: Federations Expansion — March 17th

Not sure if I’ll get into Stellaris: Federations this month or not. Entirely possible not with how much content I’ll have to chew on in The Division 2.

But the expansions planned to the Federation system and diplomacy more generally is right up my ally. So far I’ve really appreciated the game updates since Stellaris first launched. We’ve had a Planets 2.0, Fleets 2.0, Resources 2.0. Possibly others I’m now forgetting, this will essentially be Diplomacy 2.0 and Federations 2.0.

Oh, and if you were unfortunate enough to be plagued with the myriad of performance issues that strike mid- to late- games of any sort of galaxy size at the moment, then you may be well pleased to hear that performance has also been a significant focus of the free update that will accompany this expansion.

The best place for all the details, as usual, is the Developer Diaries. (Finding that link also reminded me that there will be a bunch of new Empire Origins to play around with!)

Mount & Blade 2 (Early Access Launch) — March 31st

*excited Squee noises emit from somewhere behind Naithin’s keyboard*

I don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this– wait, yes I do. *checks Wikipedia* I’ve been waiting for this since 2012!

It’s still a tad unclear what exactly will be in scope of this initial Early Access release. If it’s merely a continuation of the Closed Multiplayer Beta that has been running for a wee while now, I’ll hold off for a bit longer. Should it have even a shred of the Singleplayer Sandbox mode though… Welp. I might go hide in a cave for a while with this thing.

And this is all just in March. Oi. I’m somewhat glad now that Cyberpunk 2077 was moved to later in the year now.

Still…

What Else?

Final Fantasy VII for one. April 10th. *drool* I’m still not entirely convinced by all the English voice actors, but everything else just looks amazing. The one thing that might make me hold off on an early purchase is if there is still little to no indication of when / how the remaining parts of FFVII’s story will be released.

Will it be in three parts, aligned more or less to the disc swaps of the original PS1 release? One a year? Longer? More parts? Less? No idea at this stage.

Then there’s Baldur’s Gate 3. Hitting Early Access sometime this year. I didn’t realise until recently that Larian Studios, the dev studio behind the Divinity series was doing this one. But when I found out my interest went up significantly. They’ve done an amazing job of the recent Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2, and the enhanced editions they released of each for free to their player base.

And… while it very much does not fit into the scope of an ‘Early 2020’ hype item, there was the first Diablo IV quarterly update released end of last month. It focuses on the UI, controller support (even for PC) and local co-op on a gameplay front, then also gives a bit of a sneak peak at the ‘Cannibal Tribes’ monster family.

I will admit — I’m still a tad dubious when it comes to controller support influencing PC UI design, even all these years later. We still see examples of this done horribly from time to time. But still — I will admit, we more often these days see it done pretty well. And nothing Blizzard has shown so far for their UI design has me too terrified.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. With Diablo IV not even rating as ‘Soon'(tm) by Blizzard standards yet, we’re in for a long wait for this one. So… I’m still giving hope that the weekly patch cadence of the Wolcen dev’s carries on giving us the fixes we need to render the game more enjoyable across the board.