Welcome to the first of Replay in the new decade! It might be a new year, but we're up to our old tricks: namely, bringing you the latest videogame news. Quite a bit has happened since our last installment. Fret not, we'll catch you up. Let's get started.
No, the Developers of Escape From Tarkov Will Not Create Playable Women Characters
Do you remember Escape From Tarkov? If you don't, that's OK. It released quietly a couple years ago as another gritty military simulator game in a whole world of gritty military simulator games. But over the past couple of months, it's seen a meteoric rise on streaming platforms, which has thrust the game into the spotlight and given developer Battlestate Games a delightful chance to … double down on its questionable decisions.
Decisions like refusing to put playable women characters in their game, which features fairly anonymous, personality-free playable characters. As Kotaku reports, the creators at Battlestate have reiterated that, no, the game will not have playable ladies, because it would require "a huge amount of work" and also, uh, "game lore." Now, it's not clear how much work would go into such a thing—this has been brought up as an excuse before and debated before. But let's be honest: Everything in game development is a huge amount of work. It's a hard job. But which difficult things you choose to do indicates your priorities for what your game is going to be. As of right now, Battlestate does not see playable female characters as one of those priorities. Now you know.
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Platinum Games and Tencent Are Going Into Business Together
Platinum Games is one of the most successful and well-loved third-party developers in the videogame industry. However, in the past few years they've had a rougher time of it, with some canceled games and just not quite as much success as they managed to get earlier in their storied history (with the notable exception of Nier: Automata, our game of the year for 2017, which was a big hit). But here's some positive news for the company: Platinum is getting a major investment from the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, which, the company notes, will allow Platinum to move in new directions, such as self-publishing its games.
Tencent is often viewed warily by Americans, due to its ties to the Chinese government and the way those ties might influence the companies it invests in. But American companies are just as deeply tied into American and European governments, so, y'know. Maybe we can just be happy that Platinum has the money it needs to make more cool stuff. Hopefully.
Kentucky Route Zero Will Reach Its Destination Later This Month
Kentucky Route Zero, a lauded adventure game released piecemeal over the past seven years, is finally getting ready to wrap up. As announced earlier this week, developer Cardboard Computer will release the fifth and final act of the game on January 28. Alongside the traditional PC release, Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition will be coming to consoles the same day, taking all five episodes of adventure game surreality and putting them in players' hands everywhere. For a lot of people, this is a big moment. If you're one of them, get excited.
Recommendation of the Week: Kentucky Route Zero Acts I-IV, on PC
If you're not one of the people referenced above, now is a perfect time to catch up! Ethereal and moody, like a road trip through some obscure part of the Twin Peaks universe, Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful and well-written game that showcases what beautiful and well-written games can do with nothing but art, text, and sound. There's no fighting, no puzzles, nothing challenging except some existential unease. These first four acts aren't very long and are exceptionally rewarding. Start getting ready for the finale right now.