April-May 2015: Exciting News So Far

brokenage2

I did not really have much time to catch up recently, but there were a couple of notable announcements worth echoing in the past couple of weeks, as well as releases and updates. In case you were playing too much GTA V for your own good, here’s a proper summary of what you should not have missed in the small Linux world of Gaming.

Let’s start first with some announcements/news about upcoming games. Feral has recently let everyone know in their Feral Radar that Shadow of Mordor is expected very soon for Linux (and some screenshots are shown in that article about Steam Machines). A number of people thought that this new port would be released at the same time as the GOTY edition in Early May, but sadly it looks like we need to be a little patient – the release is probably just a few weeks away. The radar also shows GRID Autosport, Companies of Heroes 2 and Arkham Knight coming “soon” – probably sometimes between 2 to 6 months ? Anyway, that’s plenty of AAA titles coming in 2015, and they are all welcome. GRID is especially the one I am really looking forward to, since there is clear lack of racing games on Linux presently.

gridautosport

Next, I’m not sure how reliable this is going to sound, but the guys behind Skullgirls have recently shared that the Linux port is not anymore a matter of volunteers working on the code, but apparently professional porters working at it. Besides the enthusiastic announcement, there’s very little info at all (who does the port? When is it going to be released?) so I would not be too confident as to when we actually get something on our hands. If it does come out, it will probably be the first Fighting Game that does not suck on Linux.

Total War: Warhammer is a new game that is now coming to Linux as well – a cross-over between the Games Workshop franchise and the Total War Series from Sega. There’s very little we know about it so far apart from the video trailer, but well, that’s another AAA game for grabs. Note that this is not the Warhammer 40k kind, but the heroic fantasy kind of Warhammer (i.e. the original one). It will apparently be a turn-based strategy game, just like the rest of the Total War series, probably with real-time battles.

totalwarhammer

Another noteworthy addition in the strategy genre is Cossacks 3, announced via this polygon featured article. Cossacks 1 and 2 were great RTS when they were released and well known to be able to display thousands of characters on a single map to create epic battles. Cossacks 3 looks gorgeous and it looks like it will continue in that tradition of thousand warrior battles.

cossacks3

A new extension for Civilization: Beyond Earth, called Rising Earth, is now planned for all platforms. Civ:BE was not a great game to begin with, so we can only hope it makes it a more worthy experience in the end.

Divinity: Original Sin is getting an Enhanced edition (as a free upgrade for all who purchased the original edition). It’s also planned for Linux, but guys, you had already promised Linux support and how long has it been since we are waiting for its release… so I guess it will be available “when it’s ready”, just like our good old friend Duke Nukem Forever… lower priority indeed, since they are apparently working on a new game.

The ARMA devs are apparently letting an external team work on potential ARMA3 ports (Linux and Mac). There is no indication such ports would ever seen the light of day, but it’s good to know the possibility is being considered. Note that these ports are announced as “non-native”, so it may as well be another eON tech port this time. That would be very exciting – ARMA3 is a clear reference in the category of serious simulators and it has probably a good fit with a bunch of of the Linux audience.

Finally, I don’t care that much for Kickstarter projects since most of them fail to deliver on their promises (especially regarding Linux versions), but if you want to be ripped off and abused again, you can always try your luck with the new project from Castlevania creators. Don’t complain if your butt hurts later, you are warned.

Releases

A bunch of games have been officially released (every though some were already available in pre-release formats):

  • Kerbal Space Program – now in version 1.0. (Lego in Space)
  • Crypt of the Necrodancer (rogue like mixed with a rhythm game)
  • Verdun (ww1 shooter)
  • Specs Ops: a surprise release by VP (using their eON tech), again working with good performance after their recent Bioshock Infinite release (btw bug tracker here, if you are facing issues please report them). There’s always a bunch of VP haters whenever they bring new ports, but hey, they are able to bring new games faster than just everyone else – and as long as they run OK on decent hardware, I don’t see much reason to complain – because Aspyr and Feral are certainly reaching a bottleneck in terms of their porting capacity, so we should be glad that there are other options out there so that we get more than 5 big games a year.
  • Broken Age Part 2 was released on all platforms at the same time.

Key Updates

  • Dying Light: the last update released a couple of days ago brought the performance up, making it now playable on higher end systems when it used to lag bad. Looks like more folks will be able to enjoy the game.
  • Cities: Skyline keeps getting patched, and the latest 1.1 one is correcting a number of bugs on multiple platforms – note that the game is also playable on Linux since the previous patch (the launch performance was really bad) but don’t expect to go much above 30 fps – it’s certainly not working as well on Linux as on Windows, but you can still enjoy it nevertheless.
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 has received a new DLC (Scandinavia) and on top of that, they released a new lighting system for the base game as well, which makes for impressive graphics in late afternoon and early mornings, which shadows spreading between trees and buildings in a very realistic manner.
  • Shadow Warrior received an update soon after its release, providing the same graphical features for Linux as the Windows version. It’s always nice to know we are at least on parity with the other platforms.
  • Half Life 2- Update : a community mod bringing the HL2 graphics to a new level.

I think I covered about everything important. Let me know if you see something obvious that I missed, in the comments.


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