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Gaming: First look at Oddworld: Soulstorm; A Plague Tale’s bubonic trailer; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Abe in Oddworld Soulstorm

Oddworld: Soulstorm, the long-awaited sequel to 2014’s Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, has finally gotten its first official trailer, and for patient fans of the quirky hand-crafted dystopian series about blue-green aliens with lots of heart, it’s been a long time coming. 

With the lengthy waits between mainline games from developer Just Add Water, Abe’s return for an expanded Mudokon underdog adventure in Soulstorm can only be a good thing. First introduced all the way back in the original PlayStation era, Oddworld retains a cult following with a voracious hunger for what’s being billed, in Soulstorm, as the second installment in a planned five-game series. 

Check out the teaser trailer below — complete with a nod to that fun train-based set piece the developer highlighted back in March.

As always, the little guy has his work cut out for him in Soulstorm — although this time out, the game is promising to introduce some new strategy-style series tweaks to the classic platforming formula. The developers are touting a big current-gen upgrade for the series’ classic cinematic style of narrative storytelling, promising “intelligent new mechanics, twisted new devices enabling highly explosive deviousness,” and “a big visual and cinematic leap aiming to break new ground for Oddworld.”

Starting right where New ’n’ Tasty ended, Abe (aka Stitch Lips, aka the de facto leader of the Mudokons) has just liberated 300 of his fellow coworkers from RuptureFarms, but now he has to guide them on a lengthy journey without food or shelter. Keeping true to its roots of sticking it to the man, when they “happen upon a bizarre new energy drink called Soulstorm Brew, things appear to look up — but the drink’s sinister implications keep things from being just peachy for too long,” the team teases, promising an “incendiary tale of uprising and infiltration against the latest in soul-sucking consumer products.”

Yep, this is still Oddworld alright — and we can’t wait. There’s still no official release date, but Just Add Water and publisher Oddworld Inhabitants are targeting Oddworld: Soulstorm to arrive sometime next year for both PC and consoles.

If that’s not enough dystopia, next up we have what may be a first: A medieval fantasy game that hinges on escorting an orphaned child to safety at the height of the Bubonic Plague. 

A Plague Tale: Innocence, an all-new, story-focused game IP from developer Asobo Studio, follows brother-sister duo Amicia and Hugo “as they attempt to survive a harsh, brutal world plagued by war and the Black Death,” according to the developer.

Running across war-savaged France from both the Inquisition and “unnatural” hordes of rats, Amicia serves as Hugo’s hand-holding protector on point-to-point safety missions that, via IGN, uses the duo dynamic to unlock puzzles, but also to complicate stealth sections while powering up alchemical skills to repel the floor-covering swarms of contagious vermin. 

The PlayStation 4 exclusive arrives today and promises, according to the studio, a “grim and emotional story” that will leave our diminutive heroes changed as their dynamic builds through a “fantasized version of history” grounded in the dark reality of one of the Middle Ages’ most devastating periods. Sign us up — but vaccinate us first.

Finally, let’s add a pop of color to all this gloom and doom. Dauntless, until now a PC-only game that’s remained in beta for months, is finally arriving next week in its final form as a full free-to-play game for both PC and consoles. 

Set in the fantastical Shattered Isles, Dauntless hinges on stopping its big baddies, the Behemoths, from gorging on aether — the precious magical substance that keeps the isles from falling out of the sky. Highly stylized and replete with a beta-honed crafting and customization system that serves up a variety of weapons loadouts, the Monster Hunter-style action-RPG can be played both solo and online, in up to four-player co-op mode.

Monster artwork for the 2019 video game Dauntless

Via Gamesradar, developer Phoenix Labs has said all microtransactions for the free-to-play game will buy only cosmetic upgrades, and won’t affect a player’s powers and skills. Rather, you can enrich your weapons with the salvaged parts of the Behemoths you slay, in addition to using a variety of materials found throughout the Shattered Isles’ many locations. 

Set to arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic store, Dauntless joins the hunt in full starting May 21.

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