A rogue developer (or developers) appears to have hidden a message in Metal Gear Survive, lambasting Survive’s director and producer while mourning Kojima Productions, the former developer of the series.
Right after you’re prompted to enter your name at the beginning of Survive’s campaign, you’ll see it added to a clipboard among a group of other military code-names. Eagle eyed users on both Reddit and Twitter have noticed that if you take the first letter of each of the last names on that page, it spells out “KJP Forever”, which could be interpreted as “Kojima Productions Forever” (with a break between the P and the F for the player’s custom name).
For the second consecutive week, and the sixth since its launch, EA’s FIFA 18 takes the top spot on the UK sales chart for the week ending February 24. Also in the week, chart mainstay Grand Theft Auto V moves up a couple of positions to No.2, while Call of Duty: WWII moves up five spots to No.3.
Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World stays at No.4 for the second week in a row, and is follwed by EA Sports UFC 3 at No. 5. Konami’s Metal Gear Survive makes it debut at No.6, while Shadow of the Colossus, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey sit in the No.7, No.8, and No.9 spots. Finally, Assassin’s Creed Origins finishes off the top 10.
You can read the full top 10 sales chart below, courtesy of UKIE and Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.
In 2012, Subset Games released FTL–a strategy roguelite whose best moments were when everything worked like a well-oiled machine, but also when you were frantically trying to adapt to dangerous, unexpected situations in the spur of the moment. Into The Breach, Subset’s sophomore effort, again has you enacting carefully planned strategies. The difference is that when the going gets tough, Into The Breach’s turn-based mechanics and tactical tools allow you to improvise precisely, and respond purposefully, with perfectly choreographed counters in an aggressive ballet that feels amazing to conduct again and again.
In a world where giant monsters called Vek threaten the earth, humanity has devised equally giant, human-operated mechs to combat them. Humanity has also invented time-travel technology to give pilots the opportunity to go back in time and start the whole conflict over, should the worst happen. You command a squad of three mech pilots whose purpose is to deter the advances of the Vek, one region at a time, through four different island stages with the ultimate goal of destroying their hive.
In each region, your primary objective is to stop Vek from causing collateral damage–each civilian building destroyed depletes part of the game’s overall power grid meter, and if it hits zero, your game is over. However, Vek almost always outnumber your squad, with even more continually spawning in, which makes wiping them out entirely a difficult task. Into The Breach is a tactics game with an emphasis on deterrence and creatively mitigating damage with the limited tools at your disposal.
It’s a daunting task, but there is one central feature that makes this process enjoyable and manageable: Every action the enemy will make in their next attack phase is clearly telegraphed through the UI during your turn. You can see which tile a particular Vek will hit and how much damage it will do, meaning you can assess your priorities and the response options you have available, then take direct steps to address the fated outcome. In the critical moments, just before a Vek flattens a hospital, you might dash in and tackle it out of range, and into the firing line of another Vek. Or, if your mech lacks close-combat abilities, you might move into harm’s way to prevent the building from destruction. You might notice that more Vek will be spawning from the ground, and decide to throw a boulder on the tile to stop them from emerging, or shoot an off-the-mark missile, letting the explosion push another Vek on top of it.
Knowing the exact outcome of each action means that Into The Breach feels like a game of violent chess, in the best way possible. Each turn will have you pondering over possible moves and outcomes, threats you can feasibly attend to, and pieces you can afford to sacrifice–common characteristics found in any good turn-based tactics game. But because the possibility spaces of Into The Breach skirmishes are so confined (every battle takes place on an 8×8 grid, just like a chessboard, filled with impassable squares) decisions can be reached quickly, and momentum rarely comes to a standstill for long.
What also makes these decisions so entertaining to consider is not just the novelty of the way different components can interact in delightful ways, it’s the certainty of how they will interact. Into The Breach is a tactical game that features a relative lack of probability, uncertainty, and risk. Attacks will always connect and do a distinct amount of damage, the grid-based scenarios mean units move and take actions in exact distances, and nothing ever occurs without at least some warning. The transparency and amount of information communicated provide great peace of mind, since every action you take will go as planned.
The only exception is that when a Vek attacks a building, there is a tiny chance that the building will withstand damage. The probability of this happening is related to your overall grid power and can be increased, but the percentage value is always so low that this rare occurrence feels more like a miracle when it happens, rather than a coin toss you can take a chance on.
The game’s time-travel conceit also has a part to play here–you have the ability to undo unit movement, and each battle gives you a single opportunity to completely rewind and re-perform a turn. It’s possible to execute your most optimal plan for each scenario every time, and the result is that turns in battle can feel like choreographed moves in an action movie, a confidently flawless dance of wind-ups, feints, counters, and turnabouts.
You can unlock up to eight different premade squads, each comprised of three unique units, which focus on entirely different styles of combat. The diversity here is significant enough that each team calls for distinct strategic approaches. The default squad, Rift Walkers, focuses on straightforward, head-first, push-pull techniques. The Blitzkrieg crew works best when corralling Vek together in order to execute a lightning attack that courses through multiple enemies. The Flame Walkers focus on setting everything ablaze and knocking Vek into fire for damage-over-time en masse. Each different combination of mechs can completely change how you perceive a battlefield; things that are obstacles for one squad could be advantageous strategic assets for another.
But where the possibilities of Into The Breach really open up is in its custom and random squad options, and the imaginative experimentation that comes from putting together unique all-star teams with individual mechs from different squads, along with your choice of starting pilot–whom all possess an exclusive trait. You might have a team composed of a mech who shields buildings and units, one that freezes anything on the map into a massive block of ice, one whose sole ability is to push everything surrounding it away, and a pilot that can perform one additional action each turn if they don’t move. Can you complete a run of the game with that custom squad of pacifists? The game’s structure makes these unorthodox options enjoyable challenges that are legitimately interesting to explore.
Into The Breach maintains a roguelike structure of procedurally generated trials and permadeath, but when a campaign goes south not all is lost. If a mech is destroyed during a battle, it will return in the next, only without its pilot and their unique trait. Too much collateral damage is game over but means you have the chance to send one of your living pilots–experience points and bonus traits intact–back in time to captain a new squad, in a new campaign. The game is difficult, but starting over isn’t tiresome because your actions so directly determine outcomes, and you always feel you can improve. And individual battles are so swift and satisfying that they become a craving that you’ll want to keep feeding over and over.
The clean and understated surface elements of Into The Breach complement the precise nature of its mechanics. The simple presentation, as well as the sharp UI layout, is attractively utilitarian and serves as a crucial component of the game’s readability. There is no explicit plot outside of the time-traveling conceit, but the flavor text–small snippets of dialogue for each mech pilot and island leader, whom you’ll encounter again and again throughout multiple playthroughs–adds a modest but pleasant facet of character to contextualize the world and round out the overall tone.
There is so much strategic joy in seeing the potential destruction a swarm of giant monsters is about to unleash on a city, then quickly staging and executing elaborate counter maneuvers to ruin the party. Into The Breach’s focus on foresight makes its turn-based encounters an action-packed, risk-free puzzle, and the remarkable diversity of playstyles afforded by unique units keeps each new run interesting. It’s a pleasure to see what kind of life-threatening predicaments await for you to creatively resolve in every new turn, every new battle, and every new campaign. Into The Breach is a pristine and pragmatic tactical gem with dynamic conflicts that will inspire you to jump back in again, and again, and again.
New Releases is something of a bridge this week. This episode’s games are crossing from February to March with debuts and a few ports. If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner who hasn’t played Payday 2 yet, it’s a good week to give it a go. Bridge Constructor Portal is also headed to Nintendo’s new system, as well as PS4 and Xbox One. Same goes for the shaman adventure Mulaka, which is also headed to PC. Meanwhile, strategy fans can save the world with Into the Breach, and racing fans can rev up with Gravel.
Payday 2 — February 27
Available on: Switch
The crime-spree continues on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Thanks to the Switch’s connectivity, this version offers local co-op, and the Joy-Cons’ HD rumble means you’ll feel the firing of every weapon. The Switch also gets an exclusive fifth playable crew member, named Joy.
- Nintendo Switch’s Payday 2 Release Date Confirmed
- Payday 2 Dev Shows Switch Version In Both Portable And Tabletop Modes
Into the Breach — February 27
Available on: PC
The next game from the duo behind FTL: Faster Than Light is all about saving the world from giant monsters. It’s a minimalist strategy game where you’ll command and upgrade mechs, but watch out: failing even one mission resets the timeline and sends you back to square one.
- FTL Developer Reveals Its New Game, Into The Breach
- Independent Games Festival Awards Nominees Announced
Gravel — February 27
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
This racing game offers four different ways to compete: Cross Country races are long and sprawling, Wild Rush has you take multiple laps in crazy locations, Speed Cross sets you down on real-world tracks, and Stadium lets you go crazy with jumps and stunts. You can see all four modes in action in the video above.
Bridge Constructor Portal — February 28/March 1
Available on: Xbox One, Switch (2/28); Xbox One (3/1)
The goofy crossover game is making its way to consoles. Now, a whole new group of players can build around turrets and sentries using the classic orange and blue portals, repulsion gel, and everything else Aperture Science has come up with.
Mulaka — March 1
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Mulaka is set in a place you don’t usually visit in games: the Sierra Tarahumara in northern Mexico. You’ll take control of a shaman who must restore beauty to the blighted land–and part of every purchase of the game goes toward non-profit organizations working to preserve the real-world location that inspired it.
The upcoming Netflix show based on The Witcher is making progress. Writer Lauren S. Hissrich has finished a draft of the script for the pilot, she announced on Twitter this weekend.
“The Witcher pilot is out for notes, and I’m out for the weekend to spend some time with my kids,” Hissirch wrote. “See you bright and early on Monday!”
— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) February 24, 2018
Hissrich also wrote for Netflix Marvel shows The Defenders and Daredevil, as well as the political TV show The West Wing. In December, it was announced that Hissrich had been hired to work on The Witcher show.
Hissrich is also serving as the Witcher program’s showrunner and executive producer, according to Variety. As of yet, there is no word on who will play main character Geralt or any of the other principal characters. We also don’t know when the show will arrive.
Officially announced in May 2017, the Netflix Witcher show is based on the eight-part novel series written by Andrzej Sapkowski, instead of the games from developer CD Projekt Red. Sapkowski will be working on the English language drama series as a creative consultant.
Netflix is working with Polish company Platige Films on the show. You may not know them by name, but you’re probably familiar with its work. The company produced the stunning Witcher 3 trailer called “The Trail” and also created cinematics for Halo 5: Guardians, among a long list of other projects.
A Polish TV series based on The Witcher aired in 2002, but that has been the only adaptation of the franchise for TV so far. A Witcher movie with some big-name talent behind it was was announced for 2017, but that never happened.
As for the Witcher game series, the newest instalment was 2015’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. No new projects in the series have been announced, and developer CD Projekt Red is now working on the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077.
Black Panther continues to dominate the box office. The superhero movie made $108 million during its second week at the US and Canadian box office, with a further $83.8 million coming from international markets this weekend. So far, the movie has made $704 million in total globally ($400 million domestically and $304 million internationally) since its release earlier this month.
Black Panther becomes just the fourth movie in history to make more than $100 million in its second weekend, the others being Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149.2 million), Jurassic World ($106.6 million), and The Avengers ($103 million).
Movies typically see a massive dropoff in box office results from the first week to the second, but Black Panther’s US haul only dropped 47 percent from the $218 million it made during its opening weekend. That figure represented a record for a February release. This weekend, the Ryan Coogler-directed movie bested three other notable newcomers–Game Night, Annihilation, and Every Day.
What probably helped Black Panther succeed in its second week was its pretty much perfect A-Plus Cinemascore rating. This is derived from audience reviews, so a second week of strong results was probably fuelled by positive word of mouth.
“Black Panther is a top tier Marvel movie with all the humor, style, action, passion, and fun that the MCU has come to embody,” GameSpot’s Michael Rougeau said in his review. “Black Panther is a cultural event that’s going to be hard for Marvel to top, no matter how many worlds Thanos conquers later this year in Infinity War.”
Below you can see the full US/Canadian box office report for the February 23-25 weekend, as compiled by Entertainment Weekly.
- Black Panther — $108 million
- Game Night — $16.6 million
- Peter Rabbit — $12.5 million
- Annihilation — $11 million
- Fifty Shades Freed — $6.9 million
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — $5.7 million
- The 15:17 to Paris — $3.6 million
- The Greatest Showman — $3.4 million
- Every Day — $3.1 million
- Met Opera: La Boheme — $1.9 million
The NFL’s JJ Watt is not the only professional athlete talking about Fortnite these days. Josh Hart, a guard for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, is apparently a big fan of the Battle Royale game. He’s such a big fan that he had Fortnite-inspired shoes commissioned and wore them on the court this weekend.
Los Angeles based artist Salvador Amezcua, who goes by the name Kickstrodamis, created a custom pair of Nike Kobe shoes for Hart. They are pretty slick-looking, with a purple and green colour combination and Hart’s name featured on them. There is also an image of Hart if he were Fortnite character and a line that says “Eliminated By JoshHartNova.” Nice.
— Kickstradomis (@Kickstradomis) February 23, 2018
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) February 24, 2018
Hart wore his cool new Fortnite shoes during at least the warmup of the Lakers’ February 24 matchup against the Sacramento Kings. It’s not clear if he actually wore the shoes during the game itself, as NBA rules might not allow it, but either way, he scored 10 points in the game.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is free to download and play on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, while the Save the World mode is currently still in paid early access. In other news, the game recently kicked off Season 3 and you can buy a Season 3 Battle Pass with 76 items for around $10.