Checkpoint #2: Prepare to go dark…

Modern Warfare reboots, Game Pass on PC, Pokémon 2019 + (much) more

Hey everyone, glad you're here to read our second issue! This has been a major gaming news week — and with E3 around the corner, things are about to get crazier before they get better. Strap yourself in — there's a lot to get through here.

Prepare to go dark…

PC gaming and cross-platform titles

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is rebooting, with a focus on gritty realism. Coming October 25, it'll feature a single-player campaign, the polished multiplayer we expect from CoD games, and squad-based co-op. [theverge]

There's a closer look with developer commentary at [polygon]. The game will have cross-platform play, will supposedly ditch the season pass altogether, and its campaign will feed into its co-op mode.

Some hearts are bound to be broken, though — Modern Warfare doesn't have a Zombies mode. "We're trying to create an authentic, realistic feeling world," Infinity Ward's campaign gameplay director Jacob Minkoff said. [eurogamer]

Xbox Game Pass is coming to Windows 10. While players can play PC-compatible Game Pass titles already thanks to Play Anywhere, this expansion of the Game Pass program will bring some top PC-first developers with it. It'll launch with over 100 titles from Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive and Sega. Timing and pricing are expected to be revealed at E3. [engadget]

On a related note: Microsoft's Xbox Studio titles are about to be sold on Steam. That means Gears 5 and Age of Empires products, among others. [techspot]

It's been an eventful week for classic id Software games. Nvidia is updating 22 year-old Quake II with real-time ray-tracing and calling it Quake II RTX. You can grab the first three levels for Windows or Linux free as shareware. [arstechnica]

Meanwhile, original Id developer John Romero has released Sigil, a fifth episode for nearly 25 year-old DOOM. It's free, so there's nothing stopping you from spending the weekend slaughtering demons. [polygon]

Battlefield 5's first new location came out on Thursday. Mercury is set on the coast of Crete, and is the first of two maps based on 1941's Operation Mercury. [vg247] Meanwhile, players aren't super happy that Dice has removed the Frontlines and Domination game modes entirely, due to low player counts. [kotaku]

Destiny 2's Season of Opulence begins this coming week. It'll feature a new six-player PVE activity in the lost treasure vaults of Calus' Leviathan. [vgr] In bigger news, Bungie will reveal the game's next expansion on Thursday. [trueachievements]

Dauntless has pulled off true cross-platform, and people are really [destructoid] excited [polygon] about it.

Burst Fire

Quick links

This has been a big news week, and with E3 around the corner, we're experimenting with ways to provide you with maximum information and minimal fluff. Burst Fire gives you quick links to stories you may want to explore further on your own.

Black jack

Gaming culture and miscellanea

Now that the historic cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris has been damaged by fire, Assassin's Creed: Unity has the best virtual recreation of the undamaged monument. [rockpapershotgun]

Disneyland just opened its new land, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which features a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon. [polygon] has a close-up look.

Someone has fixed up the Sonic trailer with the cartoon version you were expecting to see the first time around. [destructoid]

You can now have Pokémon weddings in Japan, officially licensed by The Pokémon Company, and I think perhaps that's enough said about that. [kotaku]

If you're a fan of Sea of Thieves, good news: a tabletop RPG of piracy is on the way. [eurogamer]

Draw two

Blizzard news, rumors and reviews

The Overwatch Workshop is doing big things for the game, which had spent some time stagnating prior to the Workshop's release. The most popular mode is an adaptation of the card game Uno [kotaku]. There's even a recreation of Super Smash Bros [pcgamer].

Blizzard is making its Blizzard Pride pin available on the Blizzard Gear Shop until the end of July. It's usually an internal Blizzard item. Blizzard will donate the proceeds to The Trevor Project [wowhead].

Chapter four of Hearthstone's Dalaran Heist experience — the Underbelly — is now available. Grab the complete bundle for $19.99, or get the individual chapters for $6.99 / 700 gold. [icy-veins]

Blizzard has hinted that we might return to Argus in a future World of Warcraft expansion. Argus was one of the most popular elements of Legion — are you excited for this possibility? [blizzardwatch]

Gotta sleep 'em all

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news

The Pokémon Company had a lot to reveal this week, and I'm not just talking about those licensed weddings. 

The company is looking to gamify sleep — as it used Pokémon Go to gamify walking — with the upcoming title Pokémon Sleep. A new device, the Nintendo Pokemon Go Plus Plus, will track the sleep patterns of players. [cnet]

We also heard about a new cloud-based Pokémon storage system, Pokémon Home. It looks like you'll be able to transfer Pokémon between the Go, Let's Go, Sword and Shield titles. [polygon]

A follow-up to the 3DS title Detective Pikachu is coming to the Nintendo Switch [nintendolife]. 

Rhythmic action-adventure title Cadence of Hyrule — a mashup of The Legend of Zelda and Crypt of the NecroDancer — looks like it'll be coming to the Switch around June 20 [vg247].

Super Mario Maker 2’s best new feature will be a chaotic multiplayer mode [polygon]. But don't expect to play against your friends online [nintendolife].

A new gameplay trailer for PlayStation exclusive Death Stranding is out, and a November 8 launch date has been announced [ign].

Starting in August, the cost of your PlayStation Plus subscription may be increasing if you live in Europe or Asia [vg247].

Square Enix's Marvel game will be called Marvel's Avengers [ign]. More details to come during E3, but we know the game will feature hero customization, a single-player campaign, and multiplayer [ign].

Open the valve

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and emerging tech

Here's a first impressions review of the premium Valve Index virtual reality headset [polygon].

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has received VR support, if you happen to have a Nintendo Labo VR kit around [theverge].

Ryzen rising

Hardware and peripherals

AMD's third generation Ryzen 3000 CPUs pack some serious punch — both in performance and value [wccftech]. AMD also announced its Navi series graphics cards at Computex 2019 [tomshardware].

Another security vulnerability that takes advantage of CPU hyper-threading — ZombieLoad — has joined the stable of existing issues. How much trouble could Intel be in if hyper-threading isn't part of a viable business strategy? [techspot]

Chaos, no conquest

Mobile gaming news

Pokémon Masters is an upcoming Pokémon game for mobile. It's battling-focused, will be available for iOS and Android, with more details coming in June. [gamespot]

Bumpin’ Dungeon is a fun dungeon-crawler-puzzler coming out on iOS and Android in July [toucharcade].

Meanwhile, Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest embodies everything that is wrong with predatory mobile gaming [pockettactics].

Unusual artifacts

Game industry & game development

Twitch had to suspend new accounts from streaming earlier this week after the Artifact category was spammed with disturbing content [dotesports].

A loot box bill has been introduced in the United States Senate by both Republican and Democrat senators [arstechnica]. As with all encounters between government and technology, the outcome isn't looking ideal [gizmodo]. Game industry analysts are betting the bill never passes [venturebeat].

The trade war between the U.S. and China may have consequences for gamers soon enough, with the Trump administration proposing a 25% tariff on game console and board game imports [vg247].

Last week we covered the news that gaming disorder had become part of the DSM. Now we've seen the first psychological test for gaming disorder [eurogamer]. Thoughts? (Hit reply to send me your thoughts on individual stories, feedback on the newsletter as a whole, or just to say hi.)

That’s it for this edition.

Thanks for reading Checkpoint. If you enjoyed reading, please let your gamer friends know about it — you’ll be helping me keep this newsletter going. And don’t forget to follow us on social media to receive interesting gaming updates throughout the week:

I’d also like to thank everyone who subscribed over the past week, and congratulate Ben H., the winner of our Yakuza 0 prize draw! Stay tuned on social for details of our next competition — it’s gonna be an exciting one.

Thanks for your support. See you next time,

- Flob