Happy Friday, and welcome to Replay, WIRED’s one-stop shop for the week’s big videogame news. What’s shakin’? Two things come to mind: Google Stadia is going to be a little light when it launches next week, and there’s a lot of Star Wars in the atmosphere. There’s more than that, though. It’s time to catch up. Let’s go.
Google Stadia Will Lack Some Key Features at Launch, a Lot of Them
One of the biggest, most important parts of any console’s launch is the first impression. If a console gets a bad rap in its first few weeks, it can be hard to fight back against that image. Gamers, after all, are persistent in their biases that way. This could end up being a bit of an issue for Google Stadia.
Why? Well, as Kotaku reports, Google’s approach to the soon-to-launch game streaming platform is a bit different. It will launch with many of its key features pending. Here’s what will be missing: Stream Connect, Stat Share, and Crowd Play—in other words, all the multiplayer and social features for sharing and collaborating on games. The achievement system. The ability to use Chromecast Ultras to play games. Family sharing. And the buddy pass system that allows people to give their friends free three-month Stadia passes. Some of these features will be live in the coming weeks, while others are promised vaguely “at the end of the year” and sometime next year. Oof.
Halo: Reach Is Finally Gracing the PC with Its Halo-y Presence
This is momentous for nostalgic shooter nerds like myself: The first classic Halo game since Halo 2 is about to launch on PC. Revealed yesterday at a major Xbox event in London, Halo: Reach remastered on PC and Xbox One finally has a release date: December 3. In a new twist for major Microsoft games, it will launch on Steam as well as on Microsoft’s standard platforms. And it’ll have all the bells and whistles you might expect from a modern PC port: high frame-rate support, HD-ified textures, mouse and keyboard support, etc. It’s all nice stuff. There’s even a fancy new trailer!
Fortnite Has Stormtroopers Now
Electronic Arts is fronting both a major battle royale, Apex Legends, and an ongoing Star Wars multiplayer shooter, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, both of which could be seen to be, in some ways, in direct competition with a game like Fortnite. Which is why I’m confused to announce that Fortnite now has Star Wars content. If you buy it via the in-game store, you can now put on a stormtrooper skin to dress up your character as an Imperial soldier, which will come in handy as an excuse when you miss all your most important snipes. The skin also comes free with the purchase of EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and for those of us not wanting to spend money to look like movie fascists there’s currently a Star Destroyer floating unsettlingly in the sky above the Fortnite map.
Is an invasion coming? Probably. Is EA worried about Fortnite stealing the thunder from its actual Star Wars games? Apparently not.
Recommendation of the Week: Star Wars: Dark Forces, by LucasArts, on a Lot of Platforms
This week is Star Wars game release week, and I love Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But sometimes you gotta return to the classics. If you want to really dig into the history of games with the Star Wars name on them, start here. Dark Forces is a Doom-style first-person shooter built out into a rip-roaring space adventure, featuring the legendary (and now decidedly non-canon) protagonist Kyle Katarn. It’s basic and clunky, but damn promising. If you have the stomach for old shooters, it’s still one of the best Star Wars games out there.
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