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The biggest PC gaming stories of the week

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The ground squirrel that lives in my backyard has come out of hibernation and begun feasting on the grass I haven't mowed, which means it's officially almost spring: a time for new PC game releases (opens in new tab) and big pre-E3 announcements. PAX East and GDC are directly ahead, and Half-Life: Alyx, Doom Eternal, and Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord are all on the near horizon.

Here's what's going on in PC gaming as we approach some of the games and events that will likely define the year:

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a Hot Coffee mod, and Take-Two wants it gone (opens in new tab)

It's a bit funny that Hot Coffee (opens in new tab), a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas scandal involving a hidden sex scene, was such a big deal back in the 2000s, considering that you can now buy porn on Steam. But it was. Los Angeles sued Take-Two about it for crying out loud. So you can see why the publisher doesn't want any more coffee in its games.

Civ competitor Humankind makes your choice of terrain vital to survival (opens in new tab)

I'm excited for Humankind—a Civilization-like game that isn't Civ, which I'm a bit tired of, sounds great right now—but I was a little surprised to find that this was one of our most-read news articles of the week. I guess we're all in agreement, then!

Rainbow Six Siege's worst operator is getting a flame grenade launcher

Lord Tachanka, Siege's worst and most meme'd character, is finally getting a rework to make him more viable. I'll miss his dumb stationary gun, which was always used for effect more than practicality—picking ol' Chanky was the same as saying "come at me, bro." Cutting up walls with his now-mobile gun does look fun, though:

Valve says Index will be back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx launches (opens in new tab)

Part of the reason for the VR headset shortage is the global coronavirus crisis, according to Valve. But if you were hoping to snag one before the next Half-Life game releases (still feels weird to write that), more are on the way—we just don't know how many.

Here's the new cast for The Witcher season 2 (opens in new tab)

Hell yeah, Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju (who played Tormund) will make an appearance.

Mount & Blade 2 launches in early access on March 31 (opens in new tab)

After years of development, the open-world medieval sandbox finally has a release date—well, an early access release date, but we'll take it.

More things we wrote

Around the office

It was a big week for previews. Chris checked out Hardspace: Shipbreaker (opens in new tab), a game about dismantling spaceships to pay off your debt, and also explored No Man's Sky's new organic vessels and giant skulls (opens in new tab)

Meanwhile, I flew down to Irvine to check out Amazon's MMO, New World (opens in new tab), and then headed to San Francisco to play Chivalry 2 (opens in new tab) and Maneater (opens in new tab). Of all of them, Chivalry 2 left the biggest impression on me. I really want to swing a sword around some more, and you may be able to see why in the video below. (It's because it's fun.)

With James hosting, Chris and I discussed all of those games on this week's podcast (opens in new tab).

Aside from editing that lovely video and others, James discovered that BattleBots still exists—in Besiege (opens in new tab), at least, which just came out of Early Access. Andy Kelly reminded us about FMV classic Star Trek: Borg (opens in new tab), which I recall loving as a 12-year-old, though not as much as the Klingon FMV game (opens in new tab). Finally, Lauren explained (opens in new tab) how speedrunners discovered an incredibly specific level skip in Dark Souls which requires tricking the game into thinking they're about to die.

It was a busy week, so there's lots more to read if you give the old homepage a scroll. Have a great weekend, and if you see me in Rocket League, say 'Wow! Wow! What as save! Calculated.' (The name's fordpinto and the game's Snow Day.)

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Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.