2019 will bring in four major seasonal updates to the game as usual, with the first one to land being Burnt Horizon carrying its Australian operators and new Outback map. The new operators have gadgets that can hijack drones and trap defenders. See the video below to find out what exactly they are bringing to the table.
Moving along, the second season will have an American and a Danish operator along with a Kafe Dostoyevsky map rework. Beyond that, the third season will introduce operators from Mexico and Peru, as well as a reworked Kanal. And finally, the fourth season of the year brings in operators from India and Kenya with Theme Park being the map getting the rework.
It's clear that this year the developer has its sights set on improving existing maps rather than adding even more to the line-up. This makes sense considering a vast number of them are unused in ranked games for balance reasons. Mid-season events - similar to Halloween House - for breaking up the pace of this rework-heavy year were also confirmed.
The reworks aren't just for maps either, with Ubisoft confirming that during the first half of this year, both Lion and Glaz are slated to change up their gadgets. The enemy outline that appears when Lion uses his gadget has been nerfed to only show pings of enemy locations, but Lion can use the scan much faster. Meanwhile, Glaz's thermal vision will only kick in when he's not moving, making him more of an angle holder.
This year will mark the game crossing the 50 operator mark, and Ubisoft is making it easier for players to unlock older DLC operators. The changes apply to both free and premium currencies. See the image above for the full breakdown.
Ubisoft is also tackling teamkilling penalties in a new way in Operation Burnt Horizon, where following a player's first teamkill, any further damage to teammates will be reflected back to the offender, effectively making toxic players kill themselves. The studio is working on a "forgive" system as well.
Other features that Ubisoft teased for Year 4 include a newcomer playlist, changes to casual and ranked playlists to give players more agency, a lean-spam fix, a reworked deployable shield, and much more that we will see in full as every season comes closer to release.
Rainbow Six Siege Operation Burnt Horizon doesn't have a fixed release date just yet, but those who are willing to download the Rainbow Six Siege Test Client can jump in and try out the season starting tomorrow.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 hopped over to the Epic Games Store in a surprise move last month, dropping the original Steam launch plans. While fan reactions to games switching to the Epic Games Store haven't really been positive, it seems Ubisoft's course of action has been a success.
In an earnings call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the pre-order numbers for the PC version are "higher than for the first Division," with the Ubisoft Store alone bringing in six times as much pre-orders than before.
Driving customers to the Ubisoft Store looks to have been the plan all along for the company, offering an alternative that is still more familiar than the new arrival to the scene. Ubisoft gets to avoid Steam's initial 30% cut while fans who pick up the game from Epic Games Store will still bring in more money thanks to Epic's 12% revenue split offer.
"There is a growing number of distribution platforms fighting for great content," said Guillemot. "With this deal, we saw an opportunity to increase player's exposure to our own store, while at the same time supporting a partner that greatly values our games and provides materially better terms."
According to the original announcement that revealed the move, Ubisoft is planning to bring even more games to the Epic Games Store in 2019, although no specific titles have been named yet.
The Division 2 is slated to launch on March 15, while a four-day open beta will kick off on March 1. Also, Ubisoft announced yesterday that digital pre-orders of the PC version will come with an additional game, giving a choice between Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon Wildlands, or Far Cry Primal.
With Windows 10 19H1 development winding down and an RTM build expected to be released to Windows Insiders next month, Microsoft is already testing builds from 20H1 in the Skip Ahead ring, the feature update that will ship in the first half of 2020. If you want to test the next feature update, which will be available later on this year and is called 19H2, you'll have to stick to the regular Fast ring.
If you're on the Slow ring, you might be feeling left out though, as the ring hasn't received a single 19H1 build yet. As we wrote in an editorial last year, the Slow ring is becoming a pointless joke, and this is the closest we've ever come to an RTM build without seeing a build in the ring.
There's good news though. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc says that it's coming soon, which various members of the Insider team have been saying for a couple of weeks now. Unfortunately, it's not coming as soon as you might have expected, if you were expecting it to arrive any day.
LeBlanc tweeted that while Microsoft does have a Slow ring candidate in mind, that's coming to the Fast ring soon. That means that whatever the new build in the Slow ring is, it's not in the Fast ring yet, so this week is out for a new Slow ring build. If we're lucky, there will be a Fast ring build today and it will be pushed to the Slow ring next week.
But if you're on the Slow ring and you're checking for updates at 10am PT every day, you can relax for now, since the candidate isn't even in the Fast ring yet.
EA's Origin Access subscription program for PC has expanded once again, with the publisher bringing in seven more games that subscribers can play without any restrictions. Possibly the biggest new addition coming straight from EA's coffers is Madden NFL 19, the first Madden game to come to PC since 2007.
The popular exploration game Gone Home and four classic Star Wars games are also part of the new February wave of games. See below for the full list of February games and their store pages:
All of these games are playable by both Origin Access Basicand Premier subscribers. However, the newly added BioWare title, Anthem, is only available in full to those enrolled in the Premier tier, while Basic owners get the 10-hour trial to try out.
The Origin Access Basic tier costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 a year, providing access to over 150 games, a 10% discount on the Origin Store, and various trials for new EA games. Meanwhile, going for Premier will bring the cost up to $14.99 per month and $99.99 per year. This version also carries all of the perks of Basic, but adds on unrestricted access to brand new EA games.
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