We’re kicking off March 2020 with two hotly-anticipated content drops and PC game releases. Warlords of New York, the first expansion for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, gears up to bring new challenges for agents. Oh, and Black Mesa, the fan-made reimagining of Half-Life, officially launches after almost 16 years in development.
Update: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary has also been made available just now. What a surprise!
Note: For all other PC games releasing in this March, check out our monthly listing here. For everything else that’s coming out throughout the year, as well as in 2021 and beyond, check out the full calendar of PC game release dates.
The Division 2: Warlords of New York
- Developer: Massive Entertainment
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Release Date: March 3
- Store: Uplay
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 launched in March 2019, and it’s been a ride with many ups and downs. In our technical review, I mentioned how the game had dozens of options for you to fine-tune your experience. Meanwhile, in our official review, I thoroughly praised The Division 2‘s level design, “keep you in the action” online matchmaking system, and character building. However, things started to fall apart once I reached the endgame grind.
The Division 2‘s endgame was about as grindy and repetitious as you could think. Though it has a few quirks that were an improvement over its predecessor, you’ll find yourself going through the same missions each world tier. It didn’t help matters that its first raid, Operation Dark Hours, was delayed for a couple of months. Even after a two-month delay, the raid still featured bland mechanics and countless bullet-sponge enemies (unless you stacked “damage vs. elites” affixes). The Division 2, naturally, ended up receiving a lot of flak.
Fast forward and that brings us to The Division 2: Warlords of New York. It took a year, but players are finally getting their first expansion. Warlords of New York takes agents back to Manhattan to track down the elusive Aaron Keener, the antagonist from the previous game. Warlords of New York will also add lots of loot, enemy level scaling, and more content than you can shake a stick at. The level cap has also been increased to 40; early buyers could get a quick boost to level 30 to get ready for The Big Apple.
Will Warlords of New York fix The Division 2‘s problems and core mechanics, or will we see the same shortcomings once more? We’ll find out soon enough.
- Developer: Crowbar Collective
- Publisher: Crowbar Collective
- Release Date: March 5
- Store: Steam
Back in 2004, something big started brewing: it was the release of Valve’s Half-Life 2. That coincided with the development of the Half-Life: Source Overhaul Project, a fan-made reinvention of the 1998 original using Valve’s Source Engine. Lest we forget, Valve even tried to remaster Half-Life using Source the early 2000s, but that was disappointing at best.
Meanwhile, the fan-made project — now renamed Black Mesa — was supposed to be just a mod until Valve gave the team its blessing to turn it into a full-fledged, standalone commercial title. After that, they were off to the races. Little did anyone know that the race would take over a decade and a half to finish.
Numerous changes and tweaks to the Source Engine itself led to several developmental delays. Likewise, Half-Life wasn’t just getting a shiny coat of paint in Black Mesa because programmers even had to reform the geometry, design, and mechanics of certain levels.
The most impressive and highly-touted of these changes was Black Mesa‘s recreation of Xen, the alien homeworld that you visited towards the end of Half-Life. Long considered as the worst part of the classic FPS, Crowbar Collective wanted to make the Xen level feel special. Here’s a comparison video back in 2019 from YouTuber noclick:
Black Mesa entered Steam’s early access program back in 2015, generating a lot of buzz since fans knew it wasn’t going to disappear into the ether. Plus, players could try out the game and partake in the development process. Still, delays, bugs, issues, patches, and betas piled up for years, but players won’t need to wait that long anymore.
Like The Beatles‘ “The Long and Winding Road,” Black Mesa‘s road leads to our doors (or PCs) this week, after nearly 16 years in the making. For those of us who are in our 30s and 40s anticipating this new rendition, you could say that Black Mesa took half our lifetimes (and the developers’, too). It seems only fitting for a remake of a game called Half-Life.
Other content drops this week
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (343 Industries/Bungie): March 3 – We only had a few hints here and there, but the first Halo game has finally arrived on PCs. The announcement was made just a short while ago. You can find it on Steam or the Xbox Game Pass for PC as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Curse of the Dead Gods (Passtech Games): March 3 (Early Access) – Featuring roguelike mechanics, this ARPG lets you use curses that can be a double-edged sword as you delve deeper into dungeons. You can find it on Steam.
Murder by Numbers (Mediatonic): March 6 – This detective game lets you solve various puzzles that’ll eventually unlock clues to be used in your investigation. You can find it on Steam.
Next week’s content drops
Next week’s content drops and PC game releases feature several new games and expansions. Stela, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and My Hero One’s Justice 2 are set to arrive. Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy and Path of Exile: Delirium promise more content for their respective player bases as well. We’ll see you then.
Note: All release dates are for North America.