This week, we’re witching, we’re selling, and we’re preserving the past. Things are going pretty nice this week on Replay, as massively multiplayer games get their due and so does Henry Cavill, who was totally underrated as Superman and also has a magical shirt and beard . Let’s get to it.
On Netflix, Henry Cavill Will Be Taking Up the Witcher’s Silver Swords
Geralt, the protagonist of Anrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher novels, made most popular by the novels’ videogame adaptations by CD Projekt Red, is generally portrayed as a crotchety, wizened sort—a noir hero stuck in a fantasy realm. Now, now, I know what you’re thinking: Henry Cavill. Yes? Yes? No?
Well, weird news for you, then: Henry Cavill, former Superman and current pretty, broody man, will play Geralt of Rivia in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of The Witcher, which is set to air at an ambiguous time in the future, with Lauren S. Hissrich as showrunner. This show isn’t a videogame adaptation, per se, but it’s also not not that; the videogames are, at this point, the most iconic and popular leg of the franchise. So it’ll be interesting to see how Cavill does, and doesn’t, live up to the stellar precedent set by CD Projekt Red and voice actor Doug Cockle.
Korea’s Biggest MMO Developer Just Bought the Studio Behind Eve: Online
Eve: Online, probably the most notable cult success in all of gaming, might be going through some changes in the future. And even if it doesn’t, its parent studio, CCP Games, certainly is: this week they were purchased by Pearl Abyss, the Korean company behind the successful MMO Black Desert Online. CCP, based originally in Reykjavik, will operate independently, according to Pearl Abyss, though promises like that often become complicated as the relationship between a parent company and a subsidiary studio deepens over time.
I’m not sure what to make of this news. Neither company is huge, though Pearl Abyss has a much stronger foothold in Korea than it does in the West; and while CCP is not necessarily successful by the measure of a mainstream developer, Eve: Online is wildly beloved by its devoted, specialized fanbase. It’s a game known as more of a career, more of an entirely different existence space, than it is as a game, and any change coming down the pipe from corporate overlords is going to be met with hostility by fans. Here’s hoping Pearl Abyss is ready for that.
Speaking of MMOs, RuneScape Will Now Follow You Wherever You Go
Do you remember RuneScape? Back in middle school and high school, all my friends loved it. The simplistic, free-to-play Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game was far from a polished experience, but it was a compulsively playable one. And it’s an experience that has survived since the mid-’00s, with developer Jagex maintaining both a new version and a classic version, called Old School RuneScape.
Now, impressively, the classic MMO experience will be hitting mobile platforms, coming to iOS and Android on October 30. RuneScape is a playable piece of gaming history, the world-record holder for the most users in any MMO, and quietly an incredibly influential title. Game preservation is not always what it should be, but, if nothing else, you can play RuneScape just about anywhere. And that rules.
Recommendation of the Week: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Honestly, this definitive collective of the first four Halo games has gotten a bad rap. Launching with a bug-ridden, incredibly uneven multiplayer mode, The Master Chief Collection has a reputation as a disappointment, a victim of industry hubris and bad testing. But quite a few updates later, the multiplayer is much more stable than it used to be—and even if it wasn’t, this is the definitive way to experience the singleplayer Halo experience. Mix and match any level in any campaign, in a slick, cohesive package. Halo is one of the best shooter franchises ever made. And this is the best way to play Halo. (Even better: it got added to the Xbox Game Pass library this month, making it free to subscribers.)
Geralt by CD Projekt Red; Cavill by James Devaney/Getty Images