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8 things to watch out for this week

1. Sam Barlow, of Her Story fame, is removing the barrier to interactive storytelling with #WarGames

Unfortunately, it’s pretty rare that mobile games – despite their innovation and ingenious use of platform – get the critical recognition they deserve. But, with Her Story, creator Sam Barlow pushed into mainstream consciousness, and took home a sweep of BAFTAs and other awards. His new project brings interactive storytelling to a wider audience with players engaging via #WarGames – loosely inspired by the 1980s Matthew Broderick movie War Games – is a partnership with a new interactive TV startup called Eko, and is kind of a game/TV hybrid, but in a very different way to Quantum Break. #WarGames unfolds across several windows on your phone, or your PC, and at any point you can choose to interact with one of the windows. The game will take note of which screens you interact with, and then change how the plot evolves depending on your choices. It’s a very subtle version of something like “they will remember that” from Telltale Games, and if it’s anything as good as Her Story, it’ll be one to watch and play for yourself. Sam Loveridge

What: #WarGames
Where: Head to the HelloEko website for all the details
When: From March 14

2. Women rule the world(s) in A Wrinkle in Time

Disney is set to bust the box office once again with the release of A Wrinkle in Time, which hits cinemas today in the US and March 23 in the UK. Mixing a traditional magical setting with a more modern take on female roles, A Wrinkle in Time sees 14-year-old Storm Reid take on the role of Meg Murry who, along with her younger brother and friend, is transported to a new world and has to fight to save it. The reason everyone’s talking about it is because its cast is packed full of strong women, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Oh, and did I mention it’s directed by one of the best female filmmakers around right now, Ava DuVernay? If that’s not enough to convince you that this movie - which has the tagline ‘Be A Warrior’ - encourages female empowerment, the young hero herself is a highly intelligent individual who ultimate rescues her lost father (and everyone else). Girl power. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: A Wrinkle in Time
Where: Cinemas
When: Out now in the US and March 23 in the UK

3. The Sims Mobile proves that the Sims really can be mobile

For us Simmers, the Sims Mobile has been a long time coming. We’ve all spent hours (read days, weeks and months), playing The Sims 4 on PC and Mac, and more recently consoles too, but getting an actual Sims experience in your pocket has been something in the works for a while. And just like that, EA just released it, without any fanfare at all. But what’s great is that it’s better than expected. It’ll never quite compare to the experience you can get with a mouse and keyboard of course, but The Sims Mobile feels like the best mobile version possible. The Sims Freeplay was fine, but much more akin to the likes of The Simpsons Tapped Out than your normal Sims experience. The Sims Mobile, on the other hand, is much more about crafting stories, building homes and falling in love. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s free. Sam Loveridge

What: The Sims Mobile
Where: Android and iOS
When: Out now

4. The Council is out, and could be the choice-based narrative game you’ve been waiting for

Your mother has disappeared. No, stop, come back! Not your real mother – the mother of Louis de Richet, the man at the centre of The Council and coincidentally who you’ll be playing in this new narrative, choice-based game. Unlike the likes of Telltale, The Council is more like a slow-burn detective case where you’ll have to get to know the powerful people around you before you can start to pull their strings and get some answers. Tread carefully, though – if you anger any of them they’ll lash out, leaving you with physical scars that’ll affect how the rest of the characters act towards you. Ripe for replaying and trying out different approaches, The Council could be exactly the breath of fresh air that narrative games need right now if it gets its consequence-based system right. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: The Council
When: March 13
Where: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Playing with your friends is great, but when there’s a little bit of sabotage involved, everything gets a bit more fun. No-one thought Monopoly was fun, unless someone was cheating, stealing money from the bank or basically being a property-related dictator, right? Or was that just my family… Well, Franctics – the latest in the PlayLink games for PS4 - channels that true definition of competition by putting you and three friends through a series of mini-games to see who's the best. But Fox, your host, will give players secret tasks and challenges focused on sabotaging the proceedings to make the mini-games more interesting. It's utter madness, brings on lots of laughter at each player's hilarious betrayal. Make Fox your new best friend. Sam Loveridge.

What: Frantics
When: Out now
Where: PS4 (and your phone)

6. Annihilation is released on Netflix outside the US, but did the digital deal save the sci-fi masterpiece, or cripple it?

After a few weeks' delay and a downgrade to the small screen, Annililation is finally coming to The World Outside the US on Monday, via Netflix. Written and directed by Ex Machina director (and Dredd writer) Alex Garland, it’s another slab of thoughtful, emotive, highly intelligent sci-fi, trading the claustrophobic robotic ponderings for a dreamlike, pervasively unsettling road-trip through countryside under alien influence. It’s brilliant, beautiful, existentially bothering stuff, but it does rather leave some questions, and not all in regard to the pitch-perfect ambiguity of its storytelling. Like, are such ‘safety net’ distribution deals as this one a healthy thing for cinema, long-term? Annihilation was handed off to Netflix by producing studio Paramount after exec fears that the finished movie was too intelligent to be a mainstream hit. Those fears were probably well-founded, but did a movie as beautiful as Annihilation deserve to lose its warranted big-screen release because of them? Shouldn’t studios just take responsibility and take risks on smarter, more artistic stuff as a matter of duty sometimes? Or should we just be glad that the Netflix deal meant that Annihilation got released anywhere without being cut to pieces and made dumb to studio order? David Houghton

What: Annihilation’s outside-US release
Where: Netflix
When: March 12 

7. Does classic Devil May Cry stand the test of time in a post-Bayonetta world?

Devil May Cry HD Collection

Modern tough-as-nails, third-person action games owe a life debt to the Devil May Cry series. Dante effectively wrote the book on juggling hordes of enemies with flashy combos and over-the-top attacks, lest he slip up and die almost instantly. Now, Capcom has seen fit to re-re-release the Devil May Cry HD Collection on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (itself a port of the PS3 and Xbox 360 HD edition), which bundles the first three games in the series (with a graphical spruce-up) for $29.99. The omission of Devil May Cry 4 and DmC is a shame, seeing as they've both gotten the PS4/Xbox One treatment, but it'll also be interesting to see how the first three games hold up all these years later. DMC2 was critically panned at release and likely hasn't aged any better since, and the genre's come a long way since the original Devil May Cry debuted in 2001. Series creator Hideki Kamiya has arguably eclipsed his previous work with the smashing Bayonetta series – but maybe a new generation will appreciate taking their lumps in these PS2-era gauntlets. Lucas Sullivan

What: Devil May Cry HD Collection
Where: PS4, Xbox One, PC
When: March 13

8. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm's bonus episode Farewell proves this is one of the most mature stories in all games

This week saw the understated launch of the bonus 'Farewell' episode of Life Is Strange: Before The Storm. Available to anyone who bought the Special Edition, it shows us what happened during the few days before Max moved to Seattle, leaving her best friend Chloe behind. Anyone who has played both games knows this coincides with another massive event, which changes the course of Chloe's life forever. It's a sweet hour of play, overly stacked with nostalgia that most won't share. Even as a huge LIS fan, I struggled to care about Chloe and Max's childhood drawings and tapes. What Farewell does incredibly well – as an extension of the whole franchise – is tell a story about the importance of friendship (both when it's active and lost), and the impact of the death of a family member. It highlights the strength of Before The Storm, because it continues to tell a real, emotional story in a wonderfully relatable way, pulling no emotional punches during its darkest moments. This prequel evolved Life Is Strange from a cool supernatural mystery into a fantastic, very human adventure about love, loss, and friendship. It's one of the best stories gaming has told, and if you're one of the majority to 'not get round to playing it yet' then you need to change that immediately. Andy Hartup 

What: Life Is Strange: Before The Storm bonus episode
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Available now

8 Things to Watch This Week picks the best games, movies and shows of the next seven days every Friday at 9am PT / 5pm GMT

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