This week we're playing a new indie game that's already getting some high praise; watching HBO's "Suicide Squad" spinoff; and learning about a new point-and-click adventure game set in an oil town — but it's more beautiful than it sounds.
Activision Blizzard: What it means for the devs
Making sense of Microsoft’s purchase of one of the world’s largest third-party publishers isn’t an easy task, given just how far-reaching the impact of the deal will be on the future of the industry. But GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless breaks down the larger forces at play in this excellent analysis for Polygon. Reading it will help you understand why it’s a big deal and how it speaks to the major industry shifts of the last few years.
Norco: A beautiful new indie game
New Yorker staff writer Julian Lucas wrote this week about the transfixing pixel art landscapes of indie game Norco. The title, made by the five-person team at Geography of Robots, is an ambitious upcoming work in a growing line of environmentally conscious video game narratives. It tells the story of a refinery town based on the real-world Louisiana location of the same name, which is home to a major Shell Oil Company site.
'Peacemaker': New episodes out now
HBO’s new “Suicide Squad” spinoff from director James Gunn features the delightfully dumb wannabe superhero played by John Cena, back for a second act after his role as a misguided villain in the 2021 DC reboot. The first four episodes are on HBO Max now and feature some of Gunn’s signature dark comedy and witty writing, with a series run through Feb. 17.
Inscryption: Out now on Steam
This roguelike deck-building game is almost impossible to describe without ruining some part of its central narrative thrust. But the indie game from developer Daniel Mullins Games is one of the most creative and unorthodox video game storytelling exercises in recent memory. It’s nominated for a host of awards at the upcoming Independent Game Festival, including game of the year. For $20 on Steam, it’s worth seeing why everyone has been talking about it endlessly for the past three months.
'Gangs of London': A second season is coming out soon
From the mind of “The Raid” creator Gareth Evans, “Gangs of London” is a modern-day crime drama about the chaotic and violent aftermath of the London underworld’s power vacuum following the murder of a central mob boss. It features some of the most jaw-dropping action scene choreography on television, though the squeamish should stay away as it’s about as disturbing as a horror film. The series, originally from Sky, has since landed at AMC+ with a second season in the works.
Nobody Saves the World: Out now on Xbox Game Pass
Indie developer Drinkbox Studios, known for the Guacamelee series, released its first new game since 2018 this week, and it’s already amassing rave reviews. The game is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler featuring Zelda-like elements, but with a Final Fantasy-inspired job system that lets your character, Nobody, transform into one of 15 forms. It’s out on Xbox Game Pass, meaning you have no reason not to give it a try.
This list of recommendations originally appeared in the Entertainment newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.