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Shelve your party hats as no 'Halo 3: Anniversary' is scheduled

Halo 3: Believe
It’s hard to believe, but Halo 3 is quickly coming up on its 10th anniversary. The early Xbox 360 game promised to “finish the fight” between the humans, Covenant, and Flood, and though the series eventually continued with two more sequels, the game still holds a special place in our hearts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like 343 Industries has any plans to remaster it.

Responding to a fan’s comment on Reddit, 343 community manager Brian Jarrard said that “there is no Halo 3: Anniversary,” which certainly limits the prospects of a new Halo shooter releasing in 2017. Xbox head Phil Spencer has already said that Halo 6 won’t be released in 2017 and it won’t even be announced at E3 next month.

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This would be the first time a Halo game didn’t receive a full remaster for its tenth anniversary. Halo: Combat Evolved received the treatment for Xbox 360 in 2011, while Halo 2 was essentially turned into a new game as part of The Master Chief Collection in 2014, with entirely remade cinematics and sound effects that occasionally impressed us more than Halo 5: Guardians.

The game also suffered from severe matchmaking issues at launch and for several months afterward, with players often unable to join multiplayer matches at all. 343 Industries subsequently offered an apology gift to earlier purchasers in the form of Halo 3: ODST, which released as a standalone expansion for Halo 3 back in 2008.

We aren’t without a Halo game in 2017, however. Halo Wars 2 — a real-time strategy spin-off that takes place shortly after the events of Halo 5 — is quite a bit of fun in its own right, though players used to first-person shooters might find it challenging. The Halo series actually began as a strategy game before morphing into the shooter we know today. And if you still haven’t had enough Halo, you can always build a 1,000-piece Mega Construx replica of the giant Elephant vehicle.

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Valheim finally comes to Xbox next month with full crossplay
Valheim player standing in a field.

Iron Gate Studio and Coffee Stain Publishing confirmed that the Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One versions of Valheim will finally launch on March 14. The early access Xbox Game Preview title will be included as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription when it releases on consoles, as it is already available via the PC version of the service.

The announcement came as part of IGN's 2023 Fan Fest event. In addition to a release date announcement, we also saw a gameplay trailer showing it running on Xbox Series X, which seemed on par with how the game runs on higher-end PCs. We also learned that Valheim will support full crossplay between PC and Xbox consoles when it finally launches. This release marks the first time Valheim will be available on console since the fantasy survival game rose to popularity in early 2021. For the time being, this also means that Valheim is an Xbox console exclusive.

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Redfall: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more
Promo art for the vampire shooter Redfall.

Following its E3 2021 reveal, Microsoft has ramped up the marketing for Redfall, a new cooperative shooter from Arkane Austin, the team behind 2017's Prey. But Redfall aims to be something completely different from the studio's past game, with a new vampire theme set on the fictional island of Redfall, Massachusetts. But what exactly is Redfall, how will it play, and when will it launch?

Below is everything you need to know about the upcoming cooperative FPS, Redfall.

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7 Steam Next Fest demos to check out: Meet Your Maker, Afterimage, and more
A giant fortress looms in Meet Your Maker.

It's time for the first Steam Next Fest of 2023. This event on gaming's biggest PC storefront brings independently made games to the forefront, giving players the opportunity to play hundreds of game demos to get an idea of what's coming from outside the AAA space. The February 2023 edition of Steam Next Fest is happening right now and runs until 10 a.m. PT on February 13.
During that time, Steam users will be free to check out as many demos as they want. Still, the massive number of indie game demos available can be overwhelming and tough to sift through. Ahead of the start of this event, I had the opportunity to play through several Steam Next Fest demos early. During that time, the following seven demos stood out to me. From beautifully animated Metroidvanias to surprising genre mashups, these are Steam Next Fest demos you should check out.
Meet Your Maker
Meet Your Maker from Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive is one of the biggest games that's part of Steam Next Fest, but it's also one of the most creative games. It's entirely centered around player-generated content in the works. In it, players build their own post-apocalyptic fortress and explore ones constructed by others to collect material. It's already pretty difficult with one-hit deaths, and you can encounter some truly nasty fortresses made by other players. That said, you can reverse that catharsis by building a formidable base of your own, only making it more difficult as you see where players succeed and fail while taking it on.
It's hard to get too excited for an online-focused game like Meet Your Maker in the wake of so many game shutdowns last week, but this is still one of the most original multiplayer games launching this year. The game's open beta is free and live throughout Steam Next Fest, so check it out ahead of Meet Your Maker's launch for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on April 4.
Afterimage - Release Date Trailer
Afterimage is a Metroidvania fantasy game here to scratch that Hollow Knight itch, as Silksong's release date is still unknown. While it isn't the most revolutionary Metroidvania, much like Ori and the Blind Forest, it stands out because of its beautiful visuals. This game features some of the slickest 2D animations I've seen from an indie game, as each attack and character movement is realized in intricate detail that feels like it belongs in an animated film.
The beautiful backgrounds I ventured through in the demo were pretty, too. If you prioritize the art styles of the games you play and enjoy a solid Metroidvania, give Afterimage a shot. The game will be released for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on April 25.
Bleak Sword DX
Bleak Sword - Apple Arcade
Bleak Sword DX is the latest game to jump from Apple Arcade to new platforms, and players can go hands-on with this enhanced version of the game now ahead of its full release later this year. If you're a fan of minimalist retro graphics and don't mind a bit of a horror tinge, Bleak Sword DX's aesthetic and easy-to-understand mechanics will quickly hook you as you balance your stamina and take down evil creatures in diorama-like levels.
This demo is short but immensely replayable as the game is easy to understand, even if some fights can get tough. And hey, if you want to play more, you can always download the Apple Arcade version of the game. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until Bleak Sword DX arrives with new levels and Randomizer and Boss Rush modes on PC and Nintendo Switch later this year.
Sons of Valhalla
Sons of Valhalla - Announcement Trailer | 2D Side-Scroller, RPG/Strategy Game
Pixel Chest and Hooded Horse's Sons of Valhalla mixes 2D action combat and base-building in one of the more novel genre fusions I encountered during Steam Next Fest. The game follows a Viking warrior resurrected by Odin after death, tasked with building villages and strongholds while attacking enemy outposts and tracking down the Jarl that kidnapped his wife. Base building is a nice change of pace between intense battles where the player's health, stamina, and backup forces must always be accounted for.
Both the base building and combat are relatively simple, but that makes this demo easy to pick up. It can get challenging too, mainly because players must sacrifice a stat-buffing Rune to Odin every time they die. If your favorite film of 2022 was The Northman, and you enjoy clever genre mashups, then you'll want to give Sons of Valhalla's Steam Next Fest demo a shot. Sons of Valhalla is slated to launch for PC later this year.
Teslagrad 2
Teslagrad 2 - Announcement Trailer
The only sequel on this list, Teslagrad 2, is a follow-up to Rain Games' fantastic 2013 electromagnetism-based puzzle game. This is an enjoyable puzzle platformer, but it's spiced up by Lumina's special abilities that allow her to dash through the year and magnetize herself two and away from walls and different energy sources.
As a fan of the original, Teslagrad 2's demo indicated that this would be a worthy follow-up with solid gameplay, beautiful art, and an intriguing plot. If you're like me, I'd recommend checking this demo out during Steam Next Fest so you can see where this series is going. Telsagrad 2 will launch for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch this spring.
Trinity Fusion
Trinity Fusion Reveal Trailer
We've got a lot of side-scrolling roguelikes over the past several years. Still, Trinity Fusion stands out as its incredibly fluid, like Metroid Dread if it had procedurally generated levels and loot drops. Its sci-fi story about three parallel versions of the same person trying to stop the multiverse's destruction is intriguing. At the same time, its procedural generation keeps things fresh, even in this pre-release slice of the game.
The Steam Next Fest demo for Trinity Fusion lets you get a taste of that across all three of the game's playable characters. The game's roguelike nature only increases this demo's replay potential. On top of that, you'll unlock a Boss Rush mode after beating the demo. It's undoubtedly one of Steam Next Fest's most captivating demos, so check it out before Trinity Fusion launches for PC later this year.
Tape to Tape
Tape to Tape - Official Next Fest Promo Trailer
The first game from GitHub founder Chris Wanstrath's new publisher Null Games, Excellent Rectangle's Tape to Tape, is a roguelike hockey game. The game is structured like Slay the Spire, with players venturing along branching paths with various events. Instead of card-based battles, though, fights play out as hockey games. Although it's not as deep as modern hockey simulation games, it still provides quite a bit of arcade-style sports fun that's not really in AAA sports games these days.
2022 was an excellent year for weird sports games; if Tape to Tape is any indication, 2023 will be similar. If you're tired of the more realistic simulation that EA's NHL series delivers year-over-year, give Tape to Tape a shot during Steam NextFest. Tape to Tape will be released for PC later this year.

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