It’s a brand-new week and time for some shiny, new games to go along with it. Double Fine Productions is bringing its first franchise to virtual reality on February 21 with Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin and gamers can dig into Adam Jensen’s past with a new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided “Criminal Past” DLC on February 23. This week, Ubisoft and Microsoft both take the lead in game promotions with late night comedy, a first-of-its-kind Twitter game and more.

For Honor

We might have been busy and very, very excited for the [a]list summit last week, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t notice this game’s marketing strategy . . .

Released on Valentine’s Day, this fighting game from Ubisoft pits players against one another as legendary warrior types throughout history—samurai, Vikings and medieval knights. Appealing to the PC market specifically, Ubisoft has teamed up with MSI and GeoForce to provide free copies of the game with the purchase of qualifying products. Through April 18, PC gamers can purchase either the MSI X99 graphics card, Z270 graphics card, H270 motherboard or GTX 10 series graphics card to receive a free copy of For Honor through Uplay.

The game received some welcome attention from Conan O’Brien when it was featured on Clueless Gamer on February 2. During a special Super Bowl edition of the segment, Conan was joined by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney, along with other special guests. Let’s just say things got pretty competitive.

Ubisoft hosted a livestream to celebrate For Honor’s launch, but encouraged players to watch other streams or host their own, thanks to a team-up with Amazon. Players with a Prime subscription were given free in-game items as well as other goodies when signing up for a free trial of Twitch Prime. On February 7, Twitch hosted “War of the Factions Live,” a competition that featured popular streamers and celebrities like Jason Momoa (Justice League, Game of Thrones), Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) and UFC champion, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

Halo Wars 2

Releasing on February 21 is Microsoft’s sequel to Halo Warsa real-time strategy (RTS) game set in the sci-fi Halo universe. During E3 2016, a cinematic trailer was released revealing a new threat named Atriox—a Brute (big, bad hairy guy) who rose up against the Covenant (alien enemies from the franchise) and has been bad news for anyone crossing paths with him ever since. A number of subsequent trailers have been devoted to this new character—from the dramatic E3 reveal to Microsoft’s “Characters That Matter” promotions for the Xbox One.

In a first for Twitter, fans were invited play an exclusive card game via Direct Message (DM) from January 19 to February 16. The game called #TwitterHaloWars allowed users to interact with Isabel, the AI character from Halo Wars 2, as well as invite friends to play along. Players were then transported into a training module where they played battle cards against their friends (or the computer) in an escalating three-round war of attacks and counters. Battle winners were provided with unique gameplay GIFs to share, along with exclusive downloadable content in the form of custom vehicle skin packs for use in-game.

“By creating this community experience exclusively on Twitter, we are able to bring fans around the world a truly personalized gaming experience in real-time,” said Dan Ayoub, studio head for strategy games at 343 Industries, in a statement.

Halo wars 2

Those who purchased the Ultimate Edition got early access to Halo Wars 2 beginning on February 17. To celebrate the launch, a live show was broadcast the night before with giveaways, cosplay and footage from the game. Microsoft’s Major Nelson (Larry Hryb) co-hosted the celebration and is currently offering a giveaway on his own website to win an Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle, Halo Wars 2 Banished Official Wired Controller for Xbox One, a Halo Wars 2 Loot Crate, J!NX gift certificates and digital Xbox One codes for copies of the game.

The Halo franchise has always been a source of beautifully designed characters and locales, and this title is no different. To (literally) illustrate this fact Microsoft teamed up with three talented artists to create unique posters for the game, which will be given away from the official Twitter account.

Halo Wars 2 poster
Art by Grzegorz ‘Gabz’ Domaradzki (Source: Microsoft)