One of the finest cinematic games of the previous generation is free on the Epic Games Store this week.
Last week, Epic upped the number of free games from one to two. These are games that you can claim, download, and keep forever, for absolutely nothing. Well, not nothing. You do have to have an Epic Games account and download the Epic Games Store launcher. (So, yeah, nothing really.)
Last week’s offerings were decidedly indie, featuring This War of Mine and Moonlighter from 11 Bit Studios. This week, the Epic Games Store freebies have gone bigger in budget.
For Honor, from Ubisoft, is on there, for starters. The multiplayer martial arts adventure might not have stolen the show when it launched, but a steady stream of tweaks, fixes, and new content since launch has done wonders. Between For Honor, Steep, and Rainbow Six Siege, it shows just how committed Ubisoft is to keeping its online properties going and popular.
So content and competitions are one thing, but the other thing you need to keep a multiplayer game alive? That’s a player base. And as player numbers begin to naturally dwindle, stolen away by something newer and hotter like the distracted boyfriend meme, making the game available for free is a natural shot in the arm. The bonus for Ubisoft? Epic Games will have no doubt paid them for the privilege. It’s a win for fans of For Honor – they get more people to play against, which will, in turn, keep Ubisoft invested in the game – and the new players get the game for free, courtesy of Tim Sweeney and his Fortnite war chest.
But the real star of the Epic Games Store freebies this week – possibly one of the biggest stars so far – is Remedy’s Alan Wake. The supernatural thriller was released to a positive critical reception and affection for it has only grown over the years. With its Max Payne series long dead, and more recent efforts like Quantum Break interesting but flawed, Alan Wake has remained the jewel in Remedy’s crown, a showcase of its flair for narrative and cinematic that the likes of David de Gruttola (the real name of Quantic Dream’s David Cage) can only dream of.
Remedy has a new game coming, though. Everybody and their dog is excited for Control, which releases later this month, on August 27. Just like Ubisoft’s motivations for giving away For Honor – or rather, for letting Epic pay to do it – the timing makes perfect sense. It’s a way to bring in new players and hook a new audience on Remedy’s masterwork, Alan Wake, with the hopes they’ll convert into Control players at the end of the month.
The first bump’s free, but you have to pay for the rest, as they say. Or rather, the first bump’s on Tim Sweeney, in this instance.