Alleged GTA Hacker Caught, Cyberpunk 2077: Rebirth, Overwatch 2 goes Freemium, & some Gaming Bytes

Alleged GTA Hacker Caught
Last week we reported the hacking of Rockstar Games Studios and the release of over 90 videos of gameplay footage of the upcoming GTA 6. In response London Police have arrested a 17-year-old as well as a handful of other 16 to 21 year old’s associated with the hacker collective Lapsus$. The individual accused has previously been arrested and charged for similar hacks on Microsoft and Nvidia earlier this year. It has also been revealed that he is currently under investigation by the FBI and US Dept of Justice for an attack on the ride share company Uber.
Over the weekend of the 24th the suspect appeared in court and entered a plea of not-guilty to the charge of computer misuse brought against him. However, he reportedly plead guilty to breaching the bail conditions of his previous arrest. The accused has now “been remanded to a youth detention centre” according to detective inspector Michael O’Sullivan of London Police’s Cyber Crime Unit.

Cyberpunk 2077: Rebirth
In the wake of CD Projekt Red’s & Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Cyberpunk 2077 has rocketed back into the public view, and after 6 major patches, going through delays, forced refunds, and discount hell… Is it finally ready for release?
According to you the players it is, with more reported concurrent players than the Witcher 3 at its peak. Over the last weekend the game accumulated over 1 million total players on steam in one day, leading to Director Pawel Sasko emotionally saying,

“But it’s good to be back, you know. It’s f##king good to be back, honestly.”

While the game still has flaws, players are reporting that they are finding things to love despite them.

Overwatch 2 goes Freemium
With Overwatch 2 free2play coming in the next week new details regarding the F2P model for new versus returning players have been dropped, with new players looking forward to roughly 20 hours of gameplay to unlock the heroes and game modes that returning players will enjoy on release. In this time, they will need to win 50 quick play matches, and complete around 100 matches to unlock all 32 original Overwatch heroes… or you could spend real money and buy the Watchpoint Pack.
Blizzard has also set up new security measures called Defense Matrix, named after D.Va’s shield ability. This system is a set of new moderation tools with SMS Protect binding a phone number to your account (required to play), and a new AI driven audio detection and transcription system recording problematic voice chat and features an automated review system. While this still relies on players reporting abusive speech, the system takes over from there. This system it estimated to be released within a few weeks after release.

Gaming Bytes:
E3 2023 has been announced under Reedpop’s management and is kicking off June 11. This time coming with dedicated business halls and days.

Netflix to open their own internal games studio neighbouring Next Games (also owned by Netflix) in Helsinki, Finland. However, current estimates are that there may be a few years before they can release anything to market.

Now for some game releases!
Coming out Thursday the 29th. Brew your own trouble in Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. Retro 2D puzzle adventure C.A.R.L. comes to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Coming from Subnautica developers Unknown Worlds, turn-based tactical strategy game Moonbreaker comes to PC. Transport railway sim Railgrade is coming to PC, and Switch. And the action RPG Valkyrie Elysium is coming to PlayStation.
On Friday 30th, FIFA 23 is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And on October 4, escape into one of the largest off-road rally experiences with Dakar Desert Rally coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And Overwatch 2 is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch

The Future, Past, Present and Never To Be

GTA6 Suffers Major Leak

Have you been wondering how GTA6 is shaping up? Last week Rockstar suffered a major leak with a significant amount of material form the until now unseen project finding its way onto the internet. Gameplay footage featuring a female and male playable character that had previously been rumoured involved in a variety of GTA activities. Details abound online for those interested. Also included was a significant chunk of Rockstar’s source code allegedly for GTA5 and GTA6. Rockstar has confirmed the leak and made the following statement:

Achtung! Let’s All Kill Hitler!

Those who reside in Germany can rejoice after 30 years you can finally get your hands on seminal first person shooter Wolfenstein 3D. The German ratings board has been reviewing banned art that contains Nazi imagery on a “case-by-case” basis and revoked Wolfenstein 3D’s ban back in 2019 but up until now had not granted it a new classification. 16 year olds in German can now purchase the game while those 18 or older can enjoy the expansion Spear of Destiny.

40’s are the New 30’s

Nvidia have announced their new line up of video cards the 40 due for release later this year starting in October. The cards sport impressive improvements in power, efficiency, ray tracing performance and AI optimisation. Along with updated versions of some of their technology Nvidia also introduced RTX Remix and AI driven platform to assist modders in upscaling old games running on direct x 8 and 9. Increasing texture detail, ray tracing support, model replacement and more all running in a common platform across games. The announcement contains many examples which you can find here.

To show off the new cards and tech an updated, ray traced version of portal was announced which will be available for free. Alongside the release will also be an original tech demo Racer RTX wherein players can race RC cars through 4 impressive environments.

The new cards will retail at a starting price of $1,659 AUD for the base model 4080 and $2,959 AUD for the base 4090.

Even More Money for Star Citizen

Start Citizen, Chris Roberts Crowd Funded spiritual follow up to Wing Commander that originally Kickstarted a decade ago with a release date of 2014 has now raised over half a billion dollars.  Please… just stop…

Upcoming Game Releases

No Place For Bravery (Switch, PC), Serial Cleaners (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Session: Skate Sim (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), Slime Rancher 2 (Xbox Series X/S, PC), The DioField Chronicle (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 23

Shovel Knight Dig (Switch, PC, iOS), Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival (Switch) – September 24

Grounded (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC), Hokko Life (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Life is Strange Remastered Collection (Switch), The Fridge is Red (PC), The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC), Tunic (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch) – September 28

That’s all this week in gaming news.

Lost in Sims

This week the Zed Games team, lead by Hazel, Zahra, and Rani, talks strangeness in gaming news, Paul describes the fairy tail of childhood imagination in the casual puzzle game Lost in Play. Then the team explores The Sims 4 going Free2Play, and how The Sims has influenced their lives.

New Boot Goofin’, Wizards Cast Lawsuit, and A Lot of Games

Palladium and Bungie Collaboration

Destiny guardians are no stranger to making sure they look their best, or most absurd, in-game. So the more fashionable guardians may be excited to learn that Palladium, the shoe company, are collaborating with Bungie to create boots inspired by The Witch Queen. These boots come in tan and black, made of canvas, and have some Destiny 2 flair.

Wizards of the Coast Casts Lawsuit

Wizards of the Coast, the current publisher of the popular Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game, has filed a lawsuit to prevent the release of Star Frontiers: New Genesis, a space opera in a tabletop roleplaying game format, being developed under TSR LLC.

TSR LLC is the latest company to claim the name of TSR Inc., the original publishers for Dungeons & Dragons in 1973. TSR LLC is attempting to revive the original Star Frontiers.

However, with an online leak, Star Frontiers: New Genesis has been facing a significant amount of backlash due to racist and transphobic content, including a ‘negro’ subrace with a maximum intelligence rating of 9.

Wizards of the Coast writes that “it would be irreparably harmed by the publication and distribution of the game using its trademarks because consumers may mistakenly associate Wizards with the reprehensible content of the game, damaging its reputation and goodwill, and undermining its efforts to foster a culture that embraces diversity.

Northeastern University Bomb

A staff member of Northeastern University has suffered injuries to his hands when he opened a package that was detonated.

Investigation is still ongoing, with motive being at the forefront of concerns. It’s been reported that the package contained a note that criticised Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, and the relationship between virtual reality developers and academic institutions.

This note was contained in a hard plastic container, and detonated when the latches were released and the lid was lifted.

Thankfully, the staff member was not seriously injured.


State of Play, Nintendo Direct, and More

Sony, Nintendo, and Ubisoft have made many announcements for upcoming projects and games during Tokyo Game Show, one of the big three gaming conferences.

Sony announced Tekken 8, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition, Demeo, a dungeon crawler, Like a Dragon: Ishin, a Yakuza spin-off, Pacific Drive, a driving survival game, and a new loyalty program called PlayStation Stars.

Nintendo brought The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Fire Emblem: Engage, Pikmin 4, and some old favourites will be coming to the Nintendo Switch Online via the Expansion Pack membership subscription, such as Mario Party 1/2/3, Pokemon Stadium, and GoldenEye 007.

Ubisoft follows up with Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Skull and Bones, a pirate simulator, Rider’s Republic for BMX, skateboarding, and snowboarding fans, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Heartland, and Rainbow Six Mobile, with a partnership announced with Netflix.

And now for some upcoming games!

September 16

  • The Dark Prophecy – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Hidden Through Time: Definitive Edition – PS4, Switch
  • Various Daylife – PS4

September 18

  • Fortnite Season 4 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch

September 19

  • Return to Monkey Island – PC, Switch

September 20

  • Construction Simulator – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO
  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker – PS5, XSX
  • Soulstice – PC, PS5, XSX

September 22

  • The DioField Chronicle – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Gundam Evolution – PC
  • Potion Permit – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Serial Cleaners – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Session: Skate Sim – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO
  • Slime Rancher 2 – PC, XSX
  • Train Life: A Railway Simulator – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO

MIGW Returns, Nintendo Takes Home All The Coins, and A PS5 That Blends Right In

This week in gaming news…

Melbourne International Games Week is Back Again
The eighth annual Melbourne International Games Week will take place in person from 1 to 9 October this year, returning from 2 years of online-only events. Melbourne International Games Week is a major games industry conference for the Asia-Pacific region and this year will host a number of industry events including: High Score: Composition and Sound Art for Games, Game Connect Asia Pacific, Games for Change Asia Pacific Festival, Freeplay Parallels, Australian Game Developer Awards, and the Girls in Games Jam. There’ll also be some fun public events like a week-long accessibility-focused charity stream hosted by Variety.

Mario Kart Tour Has Earned Nearly US$300M
Nintendo launched mobile game Mario Kart Tour 3 years ago to immediate popularity as well as controversy over its gambling-esque “gacha” mechanics that randomly reward players when they spend money on the game. Nintendo announced last week that they’re pulling the gacha mechanics in the game’s next update but not before it made the company almost $300M in revenue since release. The randomised rewards will be replaced with a regular in-game store that will allow players to purchase the items they want for a fixed price.

Sony Releasing Grey Camouflage PS5
Sony unveiled new Playstation 5 covers and accessories this Tuesday with a grey camouflage pattern that has some scratching their heads. While the camouflage patterns have precedent from the PS4 days, up til now Sony had only released solid colours for the console’s cosmetic outer covers and the new pattern is an… interesting look to say the least.

Splitgate Developer Announces Follow-Up Game
The studio behind popular portal-based first-person shooter Splitgate has announced the game will not be receiving new feature updates as the studio, 1047 Games, will start work on the game’s successor. The new game will keep with Splitgate’s core premise of being a competitive shooter with portal mechanics but will be developed from scratch on Unreal Engine 5, giving the developers a chance to explore new ideas without retrofitting them into their existing game.

Upcoming Releases
Now for some upcoming releases, September 8 brings Block’Em!, Hyperviolent, Rift Sweepers and Roadwarden to PC, Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, and Steelrising to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. September 9 brings Betrayal At Club Low and Broken Pieces to PC, Catmaze to Playstation, Xbox, and Switch, NBA 2K23 to Playstation and Xbox, and Splatoon 3 to Switch. September 13 brings Little Orpheus to PC, Playstation, Xbox, and Switch, Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2, SCP: Secret Files and Sunday Gold to PC, Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden to PC, PS4, and Switch, and WW1 Isonzo to PC, Playstation, and Xbox. On September 14 You Suck At Parking comes to PC and Xbox One and Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary comes to PC and Xbox Series X.

That’s all this week in gaming news…

PS5 has some limits, Splatoon players get banned, and Future Games Show announcements!

PS5 Price Increase

This past week, Sony has announced that going forward, all PS5 consoles in Australia, Europe, the UK, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and parts of North America will experience a price increase. In Australia we’re looking at an increase of $50 per console, with the digital edition coming to $649.95 and the standard console increasing to a whopping $799.95. This is the first console to increase in price post-launch, and is a disappointment to those who still haven’t been able to get their hands on one since they came out in late 2020. Both Nintendo and Microsoft have made statements assuring consumers that they have no plans to increase their prices, despite the increased manufacturing costs. 


Nintendo bans cheaters in Splatoon 3 before launch

Fans of the Nintendo shooter Splatoon were in for a treat on the 27th and 28th of August, with Nintendo hosting a Splatfest online, where players could download a demo of Splatoon 3 and play around online with an array of gear and weapons prior to the games launch on September 9th. Of course, this wasn’t enough for some players who downloaded a mod allowing them full access to an open testing lobby. Unfortunately for them, Nintendo already had their anti-cheat system in place and those consoles now have a full ban from Splatoon.


Future Games Show 

On the 25th of August, the Future Games Show gave us a look at a stack of trailers for upcoming games. Snaccoon features a hungry raccoon in a world where snack foods have been banned, Edge of Sanity is a newly announced survival title set for PC, and Backfirewall is a tragedy/comedy set in the world of a smartphone! Alongside some new titles, we also got another look at some previously announced games, such as The new Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me, which was given a release date of November 18th 2022, and yet another trailer for the unreleased remake of System Shock, which still has no date.