Come down and join us in an action packed episode with Hazel, Zahra and Special Guest Ben from 4zzz’s The Brown Couch. This week the team chats Gaming News, the upcoming Gaming Awards nominations, and a review of the cosy co-operative platformer KarmaZoo!
News just keeps on coming like a never ending train it won’t stop it will never stop won’t someone please make it stop?!
League of Geeks Loses Developers
Melbourne-based indie game development studio League of Geeks has just laid off half of its workforce. An estimated 31 experienced game developers are now out of work a few weeks shy of Christmas, with the studio blaming a major source of funding unexpectedly pulling out at the last minute.
Trent Kusters, co-founder and studio director at League of Geeks, told staff that they had to make a decision to stop development of one of their titles. The game, Jumplight Odyssey, was expected to be finished in the first half of 2024, and was released in Early Access back in August. A loan has been taken out to ensure the completion of the studio’s other title, a remake of their earlier hit Solium Infernum, but even that is not guaranteed.
Mr Kusters told the ABC that “The fact that we have to pause this game is just a brutal, brutal reality of the financial implications of everything that’s happening in the industry right now.”
It’s a sobering time for anyone in the trenches of the games industry. This week Electronic Arts announced major layoffs at the studio they recently bought, Codemasters. Frontier Developments, the makers of Elite and several Rollercoaster Tycoon sequels, just laid off 20% of their workforce. Worms developers Team 17 have laid off the majority of their internal development teams. New World Interactive have just been completely shut down by its parent company Embracer Group. It’s rough out there folks, stay strong and look out for each other.
GTA VI Trailer Definitely Is a GTA VI Trailer
Well it’s only taken 10 years but we finally have a trailer for one of the most hotly anticipated sequels in the gaming world has finally seen the light of day. Grand Theft Auto VI is coming some time in 2025, and it’s clear to see where all the time and money has gone. The game will see players returning to the sun-drenched world of Vice City, but instead of the neon-pastels of the ‘80s this one’s set in the social media obsessed modern times.
The trailer features dense crowds, alligators, people twerking on cars and music from Tom Petty. For the first time in a GTA game you can play as a female protagonist, who seems to be half of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde style duo. It’s probably already being picked apart frame by frame by people on YouTube, so check it out even if this isn’t your kind of game because it’s at the very least technically very impressive.
Publishers Take Two also put out a press release confirming the launch platforms will be the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X. Sorry PC owners, you’re just going to have to wait even longer for the inevitable PC port.
Twitch goes offline in South Korea
Do you like the game-centric video streaming service Twitch? Well, spare a thought for our friends in South Korea who are losing access to the platform. Thanks to a unique set of laws in that country that charge content providers for the bandwidth used by viewers, Twitch has announced they are closing down operations there effective immediately. This impacts the jobs of all the local Twitch staff, not to mention the thousands of users who make a considerable living streaming on Twitch.
I guess they can go over to…I don’t know, is Mixer still a thing?
The Street Fighter Alpha 2 Machine At Netherworld Has Been Set To Free Play
That’s it. That’s the whole story. I think this is notable news. See you there.
Fortnite Keeps Fortnitin’
New game modes for Fortnite might not seem that newsworthy, but they’re making a big song and dance about these ones. Lego Fortnite combines the creative world of Lego with the action of Fortnite in something very Minecraft-like, Rocket Racing brings Rocket League into a more conventional racing game with a twist, and there’s Fortnite Festival which is notable for being Rock Band developer Harmonix’s new game. And since they’re all free to play and available now within Fortnite, why not check them out?
Get Ready To Love Llamas!!!
Overnight, Digital Eclipse announced that they’re soon to release Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story in early 2024. This is the second of their Gold Master series, which are not just collections of old games perfectly preserved for modern audiences but are also interactive documentaries. In the Jeff Minter Story you’ll be able to follow the life of the gaming industry’s longest creating and in my mind, most important, indie game developer starting all the way from the Commodore Vic-20 to the release of Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar. The collection will also include the unreleased Attack of the Mutant Camels ‘89 for the ill-fated Konix Multisystem, and a reworked update of his frenetic shoot ‘em up Gridrunner.
It’s nice to know what the best release of next year is already going to be.
New Game Releases
And now, through a series of small miracles, new games are being released today. Here’s some of the highlights:
Arizona Sunshine 2 (PSVR 2, PC VR, Quest)
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC)
The Day Before (PC early access)
Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S)
Briley Witch Chronicles 2 (C64)
Fallout Is Canon!
Fans and fiends of Fallout, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming live-action series coming to Prime Video in April, and if not, now you have! And here’s what we know about it so far: it takes place nine years after the events of Fallout 4, in the year 2296. It’s supposed to be accessible to those unfamiliar with the games, but still contain the humour and vibe of the games. And one more thing; the events in the show will be canon according to Todd Howard.
“We view what’s happening in the show as canon. That’s what’s great when someone else looks at your work and then translates it in some fashion.”
It’s not the first time developers have been inspired by a live-action adaptation of their games, as The Last Of Us creators also felt similarly inspired by the live-action show.
What Even Is An Indie Game Anyway?
Dave the Diver is a game that was nominated for Best Indie Game at The Game Awards, which has sparked some discussion over what constitutes an indie game as the team, Mint Rocket, that made the game was a subsidiary of a multi-billion-dollar company, Nexon.
Mint Rocket is a team of less than 30 people and was launched by Nexon as a division that specialises in games, “focusing on the essence of fun”. As a result, many people don’t consider Dave the Diver to be a ‘true indie’.
Geoff Keighly, host and producer of The Game Awards has weighed in, saying “You can argue, does independent mean the budget of the game, does independent mean where the source of financing was, does it mean the team size?”
“The definition of an indie game is hard to define, and that ultimately it’s up to The Game Awards jury to pick nominees.”
Why Does Naruto Sound Like That?
There’s a Naruto fighting game out and about called Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS, it’s got fast-paced ninja battles and a story, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the more awkward line deliveries that have been discovered.
Understandably, it has faced some criticisms, however, the voice actors insist that they didn’t actually record those lines… entirely.
The game covers snippets of events that have taken place across the franchise, and even dives into scenes that would be very familiar to those who have played Naruto games in the past. Except that when comparing the scenes, well, the original line delivery was just better. And fans aren’t the only ones confused about it.
Maile Flanagan, Naruto’s English voice actor, has said “I can guarantee I did not say that line that way… And I guarantee no voice director of Naruto or the games would have me do that in that way.”
Why Does Silent Hill Ascension Sound Like That?
The interactive television series, Silent Hill: Ascension, has sparked rumours that the script might have been written by AI. Users can stream the episodes and collectively vote on choices in the series, influencing its direction. However, some scenes have been facing some scrutiny.
One particular scene of note has the main characters out in the woods, doing Silent Hill business, when a lone NPC comes across them in a flustered state. He declares he has been foraging for berries, and he has foraged for berries for many seasons. And he makes jams. And he offers the jams before disappearing into the forest, presumably to forage for more berries.
Jacob Navok insists that every word in Ascension was written by real people.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Biomutant – Switch
- Gangs of Sherwood – PC, PS5, XSX
- Hawked – PC
- Pixel Cafe – PC, PS5, XSX, Switch
- This Means Warp – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Tintin Reporter – Cigars of the Pharaoh – PS4
- Toasterball – Switch
- Batman: Arkham Trilogy – Switch
- Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince – Switch
- Make Way – PC
- The Wagadu Chronicles – PC
- Born of Bread – PC
- Tram Simulator Urban Transit – PC
- Arizona Sunshine 2 – PC VR, PSVR 2
- The Day Before – PC
- Lego Bricktales VR – Quest
- Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance – PC
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader – PC, PS5, XSX
That’s it this week in gaming news!
This week the Zed Gamers goes wild, with Maylee talking Roblox in Gaming News, Caroline travels through bits, chips, and cosmic insanity with a review of WORLD OF HORROR (ALL CAPS), and Cameron gets convoluted in a remake/remix/rewind twisty twisted review of Air Twister.
Take-Two Talks Taking More
Last week saw GTA 6 developer Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick have a different take on gaming pricing. While gaming fans hold the game time to price value high, Zelnick wants to take that on board with future titles with a statement to investors saying
“In terms of pricing for any entertainment property, basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say the per hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership, if the title is owned rather than rented or subscribed to.” While this does sound like a dollar per hour measurement, he has clarified the statement this week that this is not a linear relationship, but rather a statement on the value of games. And we can definitely trust the CEO of Take-Two, a company whose biggest earner is GTA Online.
Game Engine Gamemaker Goes Game Dev Friendly
In the wake of Game Publishers Unity and Epic calling for price “restructuring”, Gamemaker, a popular tool for creating 2D and 3D games, has released their new price point and bucked the recent trend. Because of the recent three-fold increase in active users since they joined the Opera family, instead of gouging the user base and changing from a monthly model to a per game install or price per hour played, Gamemaker is celebrating the explosion in users by announcing a new free option for non-commercial use with the ability to export their games to Windows, Mac, and Linux without paying any fees. They’ve also included their asset bundles for use in this free tier. Upgrading is also simple, want to monetise? $99.99USD. Want to put it on consoles? Well, that’s an Enterprise subscription. With games utilising this engine like Undertale, Webbed, Honey, I joined a Cult, and over 290 more listed in Gamemaker’s showcase, we can be sure to see a gamut of Indi games from this engine in the future.
Roblox Sued Over Child Safety
In the pandemic years Roblox saw a massive influx of underage users (over 60% of users are under 16 years of age) due to the social nature and declaration of safety for minors that the platform claims. The community guidelines claim that ““Roblox is a safe space for meeting online friends, chatting, and collaborating on creative projects.” And “If your child is under 13, we make it extremely difficult for strangers on Roblox to contact them.”
However, a group of parents have filed a civil action suit against Roblox for not meeting their end of the deal, with claims of grooming, sexual content, and the inability to monitor their children’s purchases due to Robux obscuring transaction worth.
Roblox Corp provided a statement to PCGAMER disputing the allegations and reinforced that the site was safe “for people of all ages.”
Now for some quick gaming bytes!
- Xbox is running a Bluey Sweepstakes to celebrate the upcoming release of Bluey the Videogame coming to PC and consoles. The winner will not only receive the game but also receive a custom Bluey Themed Xbox Series S and controller. Wackadoo!
The perfect way to play Bluey The Videogame: with a #Bluey Xbox!
— Xbox (@Xbox) November 17, 2023
- This week Half-Life turned 25 and celebrated by a going free for a limited time. Valve also released a special anniversary update for the game which included bug fixes, official Steam Deck support, multiplayer maps, and more.
Now it’s time for this week’s game releases!
Friday November 24, survive the post apocalypse in the side scroller shooter Evil Diary coming to PC and consoles.
Tuesday the 28th, take a train ride home through civil war in the RTS Last Train Home coming to PC.
On Wednesday the 29th, get stuck in time loops in puzzle/adventure game Orten Was The Case coming to PC and consoles.
And next week on the 30th, find yourself one cup at a time in Pixel Cafe coming to PC, Switch, and next gen consoles. Want to play FTL but as a roguelike with friends? Well, This Means Warp has you covered, coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
Time to REWIND with a special podcast for you lucky ZED listeners!
After the recent news regarding Ben Yahtzee Croshaw rising from the ashes of the escapist into Second Wind, we thought we’d look back through the archives and rewind Zed to play you the interview ‘Razor’ Ray had with him back in the day.
This week Zed Gamers, Paul, Hazel, & Zahra get all Up Close and Personal talking Gaming News, Paul picks apart the puzzler Talos Principal 2 from Croteam, and Zahra gets in early with some wholesome farming in Coral Island from Stairway Games.
The Escapist has lost its entire video team. The Escapist is a video game website that also produces video content – most well known for the short-form video reviews by Yahtzee Croshaw known as Zero Punctuation which has been ongoing since 2007.
The company has been owned by a trail of different parent companies since 2011 (with the company Gamurs Group being the latest). The company began to find stability when Nick Calandra was hired and began to bring in new talent and diversify the content.
And then last week he was fired, allegedly for: “’not achieving goals’ that were never properly set for us, and a lack of understanding of our audience and the team that built that audience.”
And the entire video team resigned. Within days of this mass exodus Calandra announced that he would be starting a new company with everyone who resigned, called Second Wind, a fully creator owned independent company. (which reached the 150K subscribers within 2 days of the channel’s creation)
While some of the creators retain the rights to their IP, Zero Punctuation is still owned by the escapist although Calandra and Croshaw have announced a legally distinct segment called Fully Ramblomatic (which when you’re listening to this will have premiered it’s first episode).
Love to see creators going independent and seeing such an outpouring of support from the community.
In other news Stray Gods and it’s composers (Montaine, Tripod and Austin Wintory) have been nominated for a grammy for Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media in the 2024 Grammys. The other games up for the award are God of War: Ragnarok, Hogwarts Legacy, Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
I'm beyond honored to see STRAY GODS nominated at the Grammys, above all because I get to share this with my wonderful friends from @TripodActual and @actualmontaigne. This was a quintessential team effort. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/OHO8WVcT2o
— Austin Wintory (@awintory) November 10, 2023
Do you remember back in the ancient times of 2021 when the GameStop stocks (something to do with hedge funds) were memeing? Me either but there’s a movie about it to refresh your memory! Called ‘Dumb Money’ it was out in cinemas in September but if you’re like me and somehow missed it you can get it digitally.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR -Quest 2
Astlibra Revision -Switch
Dredge: The Pale Reach DLC – PC, Playstation, Xbox
Flashback 2 – PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
Jagged Alliance 3 -Playstation, Xbox
The Kindeman Remedy -PC
PowerWash Simulator: Back to the Future Special Pack DLC -PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections -PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
Persona 5 Tactica – PC, Xbox
Super Mario RPG -Switch
The Walking Dead: Destinies -PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin – PC, PS5, Xbox Series X
In Stars and Time -PC
Construction Simulator – Spaceport Expansion DLC -PC, Playstation, Xbox
Worldless -PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch
This week Zed Gamers put your hands together for Hazel, Cam, & Peter as they throw bants talking the week in Gaming News, Caroline pokes trash in Hidden Through Time 2: Myths & Magic from Rogueside, Hazel can’t stop playing Trigahex, and they chat the pre-show incoming for GTA6 later this year.