Category: News

Nintendo Direct, Game Industry News, and a summary of the week’s gaming headlines

Nintendo Direct.
I’m only going to run down the major headliners of the 40-minute June 18 Nintendo Direct, because if you’re into it you have either watched it or you’ve watched your favourite Youtuber’s summary. If you’re not, you probably don’t want a mega rundown. So here they are:

  • Mario lovers are getting Mario & Luigi: Brothership coming November 7, this year. It looks to be a dual-control platformer. As well as Super Mario Party Jamboree, a massive party game with the ability to host up to 20 players. Play it October 17.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns HD is coming Jan 16, 2025, with 80 levels plus some from the original 3DS hit.
  • Zelda fans were hit with a Nintendo Switch Online addition of Zelda: A Link to the Past Four Swords (basically multiplayer Link). Then the new title The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom was announced to much fanfare, where you play as Zelda and create echoes in your adventure to save Link. Coming September 26 this year.
  • And finally, in Metroid news, also coming to Nintendo Switch Online Metroid Zero Mission is coming to the collection. And the long-anticipated, after the announcement of it back at E3 2017, Metroid Prime 4 will be gracing our consoles sometime in 2025.

There was a heap more, with the announcement and release dates of Just Dance 2025, Dragon Quest 3, some Marvel vs Capcom collections… lots of stuff.
Want to learn more? Follow the links on our Facebook @zedgamesau

Game Industry News
This week saw the closure of Game Industry’s 2022 and 2023 “Best Places to Work in Canada” studio Timbre Games by owner Sumo Group before the release of its first game. This is included in the 15% downsizing Sumo Group, a subsidiary of Chinese giant Tencent, had announced on June 11 (~250 people). Paradox Interactive is closing down their Tectonic Studio, makers of the upcoming life sim Life by You after Deputy CEO reportedly called the early access title “lacking in some key areas” and “the road leading to release… far too long and uncertain.” (24 people)
After sales lagged on Wizard with a Gun, developer Galvanic Games has closed their doors (12 people). Embracer Group also blamed lacklustre sales for this week’s closing of Pieces Interactive, developer of Alone in the Dark released in March (42 people). VRChat has also announced a 30% reduction in staff (~30 people) blaming plateauing sales and a lack of management. And after the announcement in May of Microsoft’s closure of Tango Gameworks, the studio finally closed its doors this week.
In the wake of all the layoffs, the big name companies’ CEOs and shareholders in the industry continue to profit, with EA CEO’s compensation increased by 22% to over USD$25 million. And this after cutting 5% of its workforce in Feb (~670 people) for restructuring.
At least Gearbox has been somewhat released from Embracer Groups failing model with its deal with Take-Two Interactive closing this week. The deal moves most of the IP and studios under Take-Two’s wings. Including hits such as Borderlands, Risk of Rain, Homeworld, and Duke Nukem, but leaving behind the studios and IP of Lost Boys Interactive and Cryptic Studios.
But not all is lost, with staff from layoffs forming advisory companies – such as those from indie studio Modern Wolf forming Secret Sauce – or creating “support studios” like CodeDev: The Unreal Guys who work as a specialist team to help studios work with the Unreal engine.
But the industry is struggling. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz Tencent advisor and former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden is cautioning the industry to take a more patient approach to game development.

“It’s human nature, right? If you’re at the craps table and someone’s got the hot hand and they’re running the table… you just want to jump on that train and get a piece of that before it goes. That’s why patience is the thing that’s important. The industry is losing patience. It’s ‘we need to find a way to solve this problem in six months’ in an industry where nothing gets done in six months.”

And now for the week in gaming headlines.

And don’t forget – to read more follow the links in our Facebook profile @zedgamesau

And now for the week in gaming releases.
There’s Fallout in you CoD with a bundle dropping today, and the VR title Blade and Sorcery has finally left early access.
Now, on Friday June 21. Visual novel sci-fi detective game Times & Galaxy comes to PC and consoles. And after 25m copies sold since release, the expansion Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree comes to PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Also don’t forget to be a good tarnished if you grab this and “…be mindful of spoilers for those who want to tread into the Realm of Shadow with nothing but their determination and their minds unclouded.”
Saturday June 22 brings us the retro helicopter top-down shooter Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess coming to PC. On Monday June 24, detective sim Uncover the Smoking Gun comes to PC.
Tuesday June 25 brings us Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit, coming to Netflix mobile. Be the ball in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble coming to Switch. For the VR gamers Riven PC MQ Remake is coming to Meta Quest. The DLC A Little to the Left: Seeing Stars is coming to all platforms. And bouncy farm sim Southfield is coming to PC.
On Wednesday June 26, 2D visual novel and narrative adventure Until Then comes to PC and PS5, and PS1-era styled cartoon precision platformer Frogun Encore is coming to PC and Consoles.
And finally on Thursday June 27, the remaster Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD is coming to Switch. Battle Royal MOBA Battle Crush is coming to PC, Switch and mobile. And lastly, the remake of Atari’s “Sprint” NeoSprint is coming to PC and consoles.

Annual Showcase Season is looking fine

This week in sleepless nights,

It’s Annual Showcase Season again. That time of the year where publishers pull out their wares and cram them into various online showcases to get us all hyped. Traditionally this was all based around the Electronic Entertainment Expo but that is now a thing of the past and now centres around Summer Game Fest.  Fragmented would still be an accurate way of calling it though as while we normally think of a few keys shows this last week has contained over 20 events. And I’ve watched them all. Here are some of the larger announcements.

Summer Game Fest

Summer Game Fest was the first major showcase hosted by Geoff Keighly who is commonly known as the Dorito Pope. In the lead up to the event Geoff messaged to fans that they should lower their expectations for this year’s event despite charging participants an alleged $250K USD per minute.

The show kicked off with Lego Horizon Adventures. A LEGO game based in Sony’s Horizon universe. Surprisingly the game is coming to Switch along with PS5 and PC.

A new game for you snitch loving potheads out there. Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions is coming from Warner Brothers.

Blumhouse, the studio behind films such as Get Out, Insidious, The Purge and so, so many others have thrown their hat into producing videogames. Their first lineup of 6 games is a diverse list of horror adjacent titles. The final game announced, known as Project C is developed by Half Mermaid Productions who are working with Sam Barlow of Her Story fame and film maker Brandon Cronenberg.

Innersloth, developers of Among Us are using their success to create a game fund called Outersloth. The announced titles include Australia’s own Mars First Logistics and a new game from the Thirsty Suitors team, Outerloop Games, which is a cooking game where you pilot a mech currently called Project Dosa.

Do you enjoy Civilisation like millions have?  Well here’s some good news. Th new one is coming out and is called Civilisation 7. Not much is known yet but there will be a gameplay showcase in August.

Lastly Alan Wake 2 will be getting a physical release at last and the first of their major DLC was announced based on the fictional show inside the game, Night Springs.

Devolver Direct

Devolver Digital rarely disappoint with their showcases. Focussing on entertainment over showing off their upcoming games. This year focussed on the 15th birthday of everyone’s favourite, totally real video game character, Volvy.

Among the celebration 2 notable games from well regarded developers were revealed.  From Sébastien Benard the lead designer of Dead Cells came Tenjutsu, a top down, roguelike, martial arts… city planner? And Heart Machine of Hyper Light Drifter fame announced Possessors, a stylish side scrolling action game.

In Aussie Devolver related news there is an upcoming update for Cult of the Lamb. On August 12 the free Unholy Alliance update will be released which will add local co op to the 2022 hit.

Ubisoft Forward

Ubisoft announced a new Anno game, Anno 117. There were updates for most of their current franchises and did a deep dives into the new Japanese based Assassin’s Creed Shadows and Star Wars Outlaws.

Prince of Persia has become a focus for the publisher with the The Rogue Prince of Persia, story DLC announced for The Lost Crown and confirmation that the long awaited and troubled remake of The Sands of Time is still coming with a planned release of 2026.

Xbox Games Showcase

And to wrap up our brief coverage we have Microsoft and they came in with all guns blazing. We got a deep dive into Black Ops 6 and assurances that there will no longer be any platform exclusive content when the game launches on Xbox, PC and Playstation on October 25. The game will however require an internet connection for single player due to streaming textures which they claim will keep install size down.

DOOM: The Dark Ages was announced taking our armoured demon slayer into a medieval inspired setting with some truly creative weapon designs shown off.

Mixtape was announced by Australia own Beethoven & Dinosaur with 90’s kids listening to music and feeling ways about stuff. It really takes me back. Speaking of feeling things, Life is Strange is back and so is the first game’s protagonist Max Caulfield in Life is Strange: Double Exposure

Dragon Age: The Veilguard was officially shown off for the first time with some gameplay along with the new Perfect Dark, Fable and Avowed.

The Show finished off with the announcement of Gears of War: E-Day. Taking the series back to the beginning with the original emergence of the locust and playing into the series more horror roots .

 

There’s far too much to cover in this bulletin. You can go to gamesrecap.io see links to all trailers and conferences including the always entertaining  Wholesome Direct.

Upcoming Game releases

Taskmaster VR (Quest 3, Quest 2, PC), Monster Hunter Stories (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC), Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin (PlayStation 4), Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 14

#BLUD (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Still Wakes the Deep (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – June 19

Dicefolk (Switch), Five Nights At Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2 (PlayStation VR2) – June 20

 

 

VR, Mods, Funding and Pokemon News

VR Adaptor Coming Soon

PC games can be played on the Playstation VR2 via an adaptor which will be available on the 7th of August, meaning that in addition to the VR games available on the PS5, the VR2 can be used to play the many VR games available on steam.

 

The adaptor will retail for $94.95 AUD.

https://blog.playstation.com/2024/06/03/playstation-vr2-players-can-access-games-on-pc-with-adapter-starting-on-august-7/

Studio Sanctioned Mods Incoming

Baldur’s Gate 3 is set to become even more mod-able in the near future with the announcement of patch number 7.  The update is set to launch in September and the headliner is the official modding toolkit which will allow for improved compatibility as well as a more convenient experience.  The toolkit will undergo testing via a two-phase process the first being a closed alpha (which started June 3) with a small team of mod creators to further develop the modding tools and in July the closed beta will kick off with around 1000 players (which anyone can sign up for) who will test the mods that were created during the alpha.

 

But that’s not all for lucky number seven, Larian Studios has also indicated that the patch will also include improved evil ending (for all you sickos out there) and some more bug fixes.

 

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1086940/view/4179982568653520452

 

Screen Queensland Funding

 

As part of Screen Queensland’s game project funding (which since it’s last round has been doubled) 14 projects will receive altogether a total of 1 million AUD and another 3 projects will receive 1.1 million AUD.

 

The full list of games funded is available on the Screen Queensland website (but a quick shout-out to Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar which I’ve gotten to play at the last couple of Queensland game festivals and is absolutely delightful).

 

Applications for the next round of funding opens on Friday 7 June and closes on Sunday 21 July.

https://www.gameshub.com/news/news/screen-queensland-games-funding-june-2024-2641288/

 

Pokemon Centre Online Launches for Australia and New Zealand

And now for the most important piece of news of all time, the Australian and New Zealand Pokemon Centre website has been soft launched and my money will never be safe again.

 

The Pokemon Centres are online stores that sell exclusive items like plushes and the like (lifesize Mareep plush my beloved) but ship only to specific regions; America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan with this launch putting Australia and New Zealand on the list.

 

No word yet when the hard launch of the website will be or what differences there will be if any from the soft launch but I am eager to shovel my money into the gaping maw of the pokemon company.

 

https://press-start.com.au/news/nintendo/2024/05/31/the-pokemon-centre-online-is-now-open-in-australia-with-a-soft-launch/amp/

 

GAME RELEASES

 

The Smurfs: Village Party – June 6 – Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

V Rising – June 11 – PS5

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – A Dance of Masks DLC – June 13 – PC, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch

 

LEGOOOOO! And other news

The LEGO-end of Zelda

Yahahaha! The Great Deku Tree, a wise and monotonous figure in The Legend of Zelda series, can be in your home, after significant assembly, for the low-low price of $450. Oh yeah, this is a big one, with 2,500 bricks it stands at about 33cm tall once constructed. Not only that, it’s a 2-in-1 build, with one mimicking the tree’s form in Ocarina of Time, and the other taking after Breath of the Wild. Basically, one has green leaves, the other has pink blossoms.

Included with the build are figures for both versions of Link and Zelda, Hestu, and some Koroks, and there’s even a little sidebuild that your kids can put together while you put the tree together.

Rainbow Six Siege Subscription

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, the online tactical shooter, will be changing to a monthly subscription system, and the news has not made Ubisoft very popular. The change was announced during BLAST Rainbow Six Major in Manchester, with quite a few boos in the audience. You can opt for a cool $10 USD a month, or $80 USD a year, giving you access to exclusive monthly content drops, Legendary items, access to the premium Battle Pass, and a lot more. You’ll also get to skip 10 levels each month.

This is a separate purchase to each season’s battle pass.

Diablo Be Damned

Diablo 4 update released, and version 1.4.1 has had some teething issues. The update was supposed to balance some areas of the game and fix up a few bugs, but instead it disabled Masterworking, an endgame crafting system that was only added recently.

If the fixes worked, then Masterworking was only meant to become cheaper, costing less gold. Oops!

LoL $400

League of Legends has released some special tribute bundles dedicated to the newest additions to Riot’s “Hall of Legends”, Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok. These bundles aren’t new, and often contain skins for the heroes, finishers, cosmetic items, currency, and more.

The three bundles are called the ‘Risen Legend Collection’, the ‘Immortalized Legend Collection’, and the ‘Signature Immortalized Legend Collection’, going for $60, $375, and almost $680 AUD respectively. It does contain a ‘Final Boss Faker’ title, themed signature move, 100 pass levels, and more, although some fans commented that they expected an Ahri statue to be included for that price.

What Can $700 Million Get You?

Not Star Citizen, that’s for sure! Star Citizen, in development by Cloud Imperium Games, is a multiplayer game based around trading and combat simulations. It was originally announced in 2012, when their kickstarter launched and concluded successfully, raising $6 million, with an estimated release date in June 2014. During development, modules of the game have been released to tide over fans, but the extended development time has garnered a lot of criticism.

Through the sale of ships, ranging in price from $20 to a few grand, and crowdfunding, Cloud Imperium Games has managed to raise over $700 million. So maybe a release date is within the foreseeable future. I doubt that though.

News Nibbles!

Destiny 2: The Final Shape is upon us, and fans seem to be pretty hype about it. The newest trailer shows that yes, Cayde-6 is alive (and we’ve known that for a while) but also Zavala appears to be having a continuation of his midlife crisis. In unrelated news: I’m still in love with Ikora.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be coming to Game Pass at launch, so you could get that CoD fix for a fraction of the price.

Days of Play is here! Running until June 12th, it’s Sony’s season of sales, and coming with it will be an assortment of bonus games for Premium members, which includes PSVR2 games like Walkabout Mini Golf and Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, or PS2 games like Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.

Speaking of game events, we’ve got Summer Game Fest and Devolver Direct on the 8th of June, Wholesome Direct, Women Led Game Showcase, Latin America Game Showcase, and Future Games Show on the 9th of June, Ubisoft Forward, Xbox Games Showcase, and PC Gaming Show on the 10th, and of course, most importantly, the Queensland Games Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse on the 22nd of June.

 

And now for some upcoming games!

May 30th

  • Horizon Chase 2 – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, XSX
  • Umbraclaw – PC

June 3rd

  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road – PC

June 4th

  • Life by You – PC
  • Destiny 2: The Final Shape – PC, PlayStation 5, XSX
  • Star Wars Hunters – Android, Switch
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game – PC, PlayStation 5, XSX/S

That’s it this week in gaming news!

Just a Bunch of Video Game Entertainment News

Mods and Rockers

After years of promise CD Projekt Red have finally released Redkit for The Witcher 3, a comprehensive and more polished set of tools originally used by the developers to create the game. Available on PC the tools allow modders unprecedented access to the game’s scripting, environmental, animation and gameplay tools along with integration with both Steam Workshop and Nexus Mods. The tool is free to use for anyone who owns the game.

Not to be outdone however modders Rovertronic and Arthurtilly have released Mario Builder 64 a level editor for Mario 64. Impressively the level editor can run on real Nin tendo 64 hardware with the use of a flashcart and of course your own personally dumped, legal ROMs

Doritos Wanted Geoff Keighley to Host The Game Awards as the Doritos Pope |  Push Square

Summer Game Fest is Nigh

That time of year is approaching again wherein we are inundated with gaming announcements from a variety of conferences, now headlined by Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest which is scheduled to air on Saturday June 8th at 7am AEST.  The event has over 55 partners showcasing their wares and will be followed by other events such as Day of the Devs, Wholesome Direct, Future Games Show, The Xbox Games Showcase, a Nintendo Direct and Ubisoft Forward along with others.  Known times and dates will be added to the Zed Games’ event calendar.

 

Valve's next game, Deadlock: Leaks and more details | esports.gg

Dead Certain Rumours

Rumours have been flying around Valve’s next title and while we generally don’t report on rumours it does help when there are lots of hands-on reports, screen shots and even video of the unannounced game. Deadlock is a 6 vs 6, 3rd person hero shooter with elements of DOTA and Overwatch. No word on w hen Valve will officially announce it but try to act surprised when they do.

GoT’ta Sell Em All

Despite an 11th hour change blocking the release of Ghosts of Tsushima’s PC port in 180 countries and regions the game has a tremendously successful launch. The game is now Playstations biggest single player launch ever on PC surpassing the 2022 release of God of War.

Nintendo’s Embrace

Nintendo, not normally in the news for acquisitions have acquired Shiver Entertainment from Embracer’ s… embrace. The developer had recently specialised in ports to the Nintendo Switch including Hogwarts Legacy and Mortal Kombat 11.

Shadow of Elden Ring

There’s a trailer out for the Elden Ring DLC Shadow of the Erdtree.  That’s it. That’s my whole story. Go watch it.

Upcoming Game releases

Hauntii (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC), Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Switch), World of Goo 2 (Switch, PC, Mac) – May 23

MultiVersus (PlayStation, Xbox, PC) – May 29

Nine Sols (PC) – May 30

Consoles Fail and Other Gaming News Headlines

No longer console wars, but console turmoil with Xbox and PlayStation going head-to-head in who can create the most controversy this week.

In Xbox News, last week Microsoft announced the studio closures of Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Games, Arkane Austin, and Roundhouse Studios, and according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier it’s not the end. Staff under the Xbox umbrella have been told more cuts are on the way and voluntary buyout offers have been reportedly sent to other ZeniMax Media staff. While addressing the closures Xbox president Sarah Bond claimed this was in response to a “flat” industry over the last year, however leaked audio and emails from within Xbox claims the company is spread too thin and needs to double down on high impact titles, despite posting $15.6 billion US in revenue so far in this financial year.
Hi-Fi Rush from Tango Gameworks has been at the centre of the controversy surrounding the Xbox closures. When the announcement was made by Xbox the studio was not only working on a pitch for a sequel to Hi-Fi Rush it was also seeking to hire new staff. The team was reportedly blinesided by the announcement with Creative Director John Johanas telling Eurogamer last month after they won a BAFTA that the team was in a “good situation” and was able to take risks and own their creative freedom. In the townhall at Xbox the day after the fateful announcement, head of Xbox Games Studios Matt Booty told staff that they “…need smaller games that give us prestige and awards.” Cinematic Editor of Naam based Summerfall Studios, Ethan Taylor weighed in on twitter with

“The $375,000,000 Microsoft payout to known dog scum Bobby Kotick, could pay for the estimated salaries of both Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks employees combined for the next 17 and a half years”

On the other side, PlayStation this week tried its hardest to imitate the Titanic in the fallout of the the announcement last week that Helldivers 2 was to require a PlayStation Network or PSN account. To give a scope to the issue Sony Interactive Entertainment or SIE are facing, Helldivers 2 is SIE’s golden egg, with a boom in players that hasn’t been seen since the pandemic. This choice to enforce PSN Account linking after release led to the review bombing in steam, and the resultant refunds through steam leading to steam delisting the game from all countries where creating a PSN Account is unavailable. Sony eventually capitulated and stated that the link would “…not be moving forward.” However, it doesn’t end there. SIE has continued to support the removal and delisting of Helldivers 2  from countries without PSN coverage, much to the surprise of the team behind Helldivers. In fact, steam users who have pre purchased upcoming PC release of Ghosts of Tsushima Directors Cut and who live in those same countries are receiving auto-refunds. The refund comes with the attached message,

“You are receiving a refund for a game you pre-purchased – Ghost of Tsushima. The publisher of this game is now requiring a secondary account to play portions of this game – and this account cannot be created from your country.”

So what’s the future at Sony? Looks like the company wants to see a future in live service titles, after seeing a decline in PS5 console sales. They plan on doing this with an expansion in the content of Destiny 2: The Final Shape DLC coming in June, and the upcoming release of Concord. This is even after the report that devs are concerned with the sustainability of live service titles.
In the time being, SIE has finally announced the replacement for Jim Ryan, the previous CEO who stepped down September 2023. This will require some changes, as the position will be replaced with a “multi-pronged leadership structure” with PlayStation Studios’ CEO moving to SIE’s new Studio Business Group, taking charge of first-party operations, and Hideaki Nishino being promoted from the SVP of the Platform Experience Group to the new CEO of SIE’s Platform Business Group. Nishino will oversee third-party relations and internal tech development. Only time will tell if this leads to any changes in the future at SIE and PlayStation.

In other news, here’s some quick Gaming Bytes;

  • Warner seems to be in the process of transferring the ownership of Adult Swim Games back to the developers. After Warner announced their inability return titles to devs because of “logistical and resource complaints” the dev of Small Radios Big Televisions, and the maker of Duck Game have both received notice that the titles will be returning to them. And now most titles announced in the Adult Swim closure have returned to steam.
  • If you thought the new characters in the new DLC for Stellaris were AI, you were right. Not only is the text AI driven, but so are the voices. However, bucking the trend, the actors for the two characters are receiving royalties for using their voiceprints.
  • In probably unsurprising news, EA is again floating the idea of putting targeted advertisements into full-price AAA games.
  • It seems that local game devs in Vietnam complained about Steam’s vast portfolio made them unable to compete in the local market and Vietnam Authorities followed through. With all Vietnamese ISPs blocking all access to Steams website and launcher.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 has hit a 95% positive review rating on steam after it’s dismal (and review bombed) release.
  • And lastly, have you signed the petition for gamer ownership yet? It closes May 20, just search EN6080 or follow the links on our socials.
    https://www.aph.gov.au/e-petitions/petition/EN6080

And now for some upcoming games.
Thursday May 16, Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is coming to PC and multiplayer crossplay. If you enjoyed it in 1995, or want to play something inspired by DOOM and Quake, then PO’ed: Definitive Edition is coming to your mainstays. Or get psychic in the sequel to 2064: Read Only Memories, with Read Only Memories: Neurodiver. Coming to PC, Switch, and next gen consoles.
Friday May 17 brings us the next chapter in Morbid: The Seven Acolytes, Morbid: The Lords of Ire, or if you’re craving something different, try My Little Pony—A Zephyr Heights Mystery. Both coming to PC, and Consoles.
Tuesday May 21st brings us the award winning Paper Trail, which is releasing to your favs. The new Ubisoft free to play shooter XDefiant is coming to PC and next gen consoles. And according to fans – the under advertised Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is coming to PC, Xbox X and S.

Level 299.993, Returnal Hype, and Deja Vu

Does This Count as Rage Quitting?

Twitch streamer niru spent April 25 grinding to become the first level 300 player in MapleStory, a free-to-play online multiplayer roleplaying game, originally launched in 2003. This stream was promoted by the developer Nexon, and had over 20,000 viewers.

After nearly 17 hours into the stream, niru then launched into an hour-long rant about the game’s economy, and how the game’s worlds differ.

“Over here [in Heroic] it’s free-to-play friendly… Pay-to-win is accepted here [in Interactive World] but the free-to-play experience is awful and that’s what needs to be improved right now.” niru explained.

He then goes into detail about the number of servers available, the cash shop, as well as a number of other concerns, before ending the stream at level 299. It is estimated that he has spent over 10,000 hours before stopping at 99.993% of the way to level 300.

Niru booted up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the next day, apologising for the way the stream ended the day before, but he certainly doesn’t regret how it ended.

“I genuinely think that that game is not worth playing anymore in Interactive World, and if I just jump ship over to Heroic, then it’s GG. I’m running from the problem, and I’m not doing that. And nothing wrong with Heroic World at all, I have nothing against you.”

Returnal Returns

It’s the three-year anniversary since Returnal, a roguelike shooter that follows Selene Vassos, an astronaut looking for a mysterious signal on the planet Altropos. If you enjoyed this game, then you might look forward to Dark Horse Comics teaming up with Housemarque, as they revealed an animated version of the first issue of an upcoming graphic novel, Returnal: Fallen Asteria.

It’s due to be published on October 22, 2024, with 88 pages of psychological-thriller-goodness.

There has also been an artbook teased, but a release date for that has yet to be announced.

Game Changer Made A Game

Game Changer is a game show that combines puzzle solving, improv comedy, a bit of pranking, and a lot of competition, hosted by CollegeHumor CEO Sam Reich. For the most part, the premise of the show usually involves the contestants trying to figure out the game being played, and the rules associated with the game, throughout the episode.

And now one of those games is a video game you can play, for free, right now. Based off the game ‘Deja Vu’, it has players navigating a maze by choosing to go left or right at junctions. Make the wrong turn and you encounter a silly death.

Developed by Colin Watterson the game “works well on PC, badly on Mac”.

News Nibbles!

Starfield will be getting a big update in May, which will include new difficulty options for gameplay, ship-building customization options, and more quality of life improvements. Land vehicles were also announced to be in development, but we don’t know when those will join the game.

Roll7, responsible for Rollerdrome and OlliOllie World, and Intercept Games, responsible for Kerbal Space Program 2, will be closing down, as Take-Two Interactive announces its plans to lay off as much as 5% of its workforce in the coming months.

The Fallout TV show has hit 65 million viewers in two weeks.

 

And now for some upcoming games!

May 2nd – that’s today!

  • Endless Ocean Luminous Nintendo Switch

May 7th

  • Prison Architect 2 – PC, PS5, XSX

May 8th

  • Animal Well – PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch

Disappearing Games, Fallout Resurgence, Gaming Biz News, and some Bytes for good measure.

Games Getting the Thanos Snap
This week saw a couple of games added to the growing list of paid games ripped from digital libraries and slipped from support and server maintenance. PlayStation has chosen to decommission the servers of LittleBigPlanet 3 following the technological issues which resulted in the servers being shut down in January. The multimedia giant seems to have given up trying to fix the problems and instead has decided to just shut up shop, removing support for core gameplay loop of creating and sharing levels. In worse news, Ubisoft has created a new category in your digital library called “Inactive Games”. This is specifically for owners of the purchased game The Crew. When opening the game through the launcher you are now greeted with the message “You no longer have access to this game. Why not check the Store to pursue your adventures?”. Attempts at bypassing said launcher are met with either game key requests or a limited access demo version of the game launching. Ubisoft claims this was necessary “… due to server infrastructure and licencing constraints.”
This trend has been tipped to continue with a report published that claims 70% of game developers are concerned with the sustainability of live service titles. This is also compounded with the overwhelming majority of those surveyed working in teams dedicated to said live service games.
So, what can we do as gamers? The movement to get political is now in full swing with people calling for the preservation of video games. Personally, you can head to stopkillinggames.com and click the “Take Action Here” and follow the links, perhaps even signing the parliamentary petition EN6080 calling for the government to enforce our ownership of games like I have.

Fallout Resurgence
In more positive news, in the wake of the well-received adaptation of the Amazon Prime Fallout series – which if you didn’t know is all canon to the Fallout lore according to Todd “it just works” Howard – the series has incited gamers to return to the base games with sales of Fallout 4, earlier titles, and even the critically panned Fallout 76 jumping up the charts with player counts hitting new peaks or even breaking old records. And for all those living out their postapocalyptic dream for the first time or returning to the series, the games have either received or scheduled to receive next gen updates as this broadcast goes live (April 25th), and probably with all the trademark issues/glitches/problems we have come to expect from Bethesda.
And for the series fans, you’ll be happy to know that Amazon has confirmed a second season is on the way.

Game Industry Biz News
This week videogame company Embracer Group announced they would be dissolving the company and splitting their assets into three separate companies; the first Asmodee Group to focus on the companies table top assets, the temporarily named “Coffee Stain & Friends” to take over the indi to AA game operations, and the – again temporarily named – “Middle-Earth Enterprises and Friends” to take over the high end AAA assets like Tomb Raider and The Lord of the Rings franchises. The CEO of Embracer Group, Lars Wingefors, is bucking the trend of blaming the volatility of the industry, and is taking responsibility, saying;

“As a leader and an owner, sometimes you need to take the blame and you need to be humble about if you’ve made mistakes and if you could have done something differently.
“I’m sure I deserve a lot of criticism, but I don’t think my team or companies deserve all the criticism.”

Atari is also bucking the trend with the relaunch of Infogrames as a publishing label, with purpose of publishing and acquiring IP outside of the Atari brand, and has already purchased the game Totally Reliable Delivery Services from tinyBuild.
And PlayDate – that niche console you’ve heard about from some of our announcers – the maker Panic has shared that of the 70 thousand shipped, over half of the owners have made purchases on the storefront. Because of this support, Panic has revealed that developers of the 181 games have received a sizable payout of over $500 thousand US dollars.

Now Have We Got Some Time for Some Quick Bytes?
Team Fortress 2 has finally gotten 64-bit support, now boasting up to 20% more frames per second! No updates on the bot issues though, but the game has only been out for a meagre 17 years so…
And there’s a new operating system on the horizon. With Meta announcing its new Meta Horizon OS for the VR ecosystem in partnership with ASUS, Lenovo, and Xbox.

And now for some upcoming games.
On April the 25th the “sah gaa” continues with Square Enix’s SaGa: Emerald Beyond coming to PC, PlayStation and Switch, while Bandai Namco brings the manga SAND LAND to life in … wait for it … SAND LAND (all caps) coming to PC, PlayStation and the Xbox series S & X.
Friday April 26 brings us Manor Lords, a medieval strategy where you can sit on your high horse, coming to PC. Or if you feel like turning into a spandex clad Beyblade with a sword and flashing lights, join the masses with Stellar Blade coming to the PlayStation 5. Or go for a different kind of spin in the tennis sim with some big names in Top Spin 2K25 coming to PC and next gen consoles.
And to round out the month, after hitting 40 million players, Sea of Thieves is finally coming to the PS5 Tuesday April 30.

And that’s all this week, in gaming news.

Raising Your Hopes, Just For Fun

This week in gaming news

The I’s Have It

The Developers of Slay the Spire, Darkest Dungeon and Dead Cells have announced an new showcase event to help give a platform to larger indie titles. Benjamin Laulan, co-founder of Evil Empire who took over development of Dead Cells back in 2019 had this to say:

“on one side there are the big showcases such as the Game Awards, which are more for triple-A games and games with really huge budgets. And on the other hand, there are showcases that may be more focused on [smaller] indies. And we couldn’t really identify ourselves as a studio, I mean, between those two. We felt that there was this in-between spot that needed to be filled somehow.”

Slay The Spire’s Studio co-founder Casey Yano and Darkest Dungeon director Chris Bourassa talking to Gamers Social Club spoke of the difficulty in game funding currently with the “gold mine” of funding like Epic Store deals becoming far more difficult to acquire. Helping boost the Indie scene was one of the main motivations behind the new initiative.

The event is named the Triple-I Initiative and will air 3:00am on April 11th AEST. Be sure to check out the Zed Games Event Calendar on our website.

What could be announced at such a showcase? It’s been revealed that Evil Empire has been working on a new Prince of Persia Roguelite due to enter early access this year and is likely the title the studio has alluded too.  But… what.. ELSE!!!!!!!!!!?

SILKSONG ALERT! SILKSONG ALERT!

Are you ready to have you hopes raised before being dashed spectacularly? On April 1st a store page was made for the much-anticipated Hollow Knight Silksong on Xbox. The game is now visible on Nintendo eshop, PSN, Steam, GOG and Xbox Live. But that’s not all, the title has been officially rated by the ESRB, PEGI, the USK in Germany and the The Game Rating and Administration Committee in South Korea. All this leads to the inevitability it that Silksong will release sometime in the future, just like it could have any time in the last 5 years.

Fashion For your Dragons

If you’re into video games there is a non-zero chance that you also like Dungeons and Dragons and have at some point in your life been a consumer. If inclined you can embrace those two elements with some fashion crossovers releasing in the next week.

Converse will be releasing their Converse x Dungeons & Dragons Collection on April 11th including all sorts of clothing including dungeon appropriate shoes. Black Milk Clothing however will be launching their Dungeons & Dragons lineup on April 9th.

Game Release Schedule

Botany Manor (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Children of the Sun (PC), Gigantic: Rampage Edition (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – April 9

House Flipper 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S), Slave Zero X (Switch) – April 11

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April Fools

Before we wrap the news, here are some of the funniest gaming jokes and pranks from April First this year

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all this week in Gaming News.

NASA Launches, Playdates Missing, and More

Tabletop in SPAAAAACE

NASA has developed and launched a tabletop roleplaying game called ‘The Lost Universe’, which is available for free.

“A dark mystery has settled over the city of Aldastron on the rogue planet of Exlaris. Researchers dedicated to studying the cosmos have disappeared, and the Hubble Space Telescope has vanished from Earth’s timeline. Only an ambitious crew of adventurers can uncover what was lost.”

The mystery supports 4-7 players using level 7-10 characters, and is supposed to be easily adaptable to your preferred TTRPG system. It is available on NASA’s website.

GTA 6 Might Be Delayed

Grand Theft Auto 6 is set to release in early 2025, and might be one of the most highly anticipated games in history, with fans desperate for any scrap of news. Unfortunately, the initial release date may no longer be possible, with a late 2025 or 2026 release looking more likely, allegedly due to production slipping behind.

Employees have reportedly been mandated to return to work five days a week in April, rather than allowing employees, including those hired remotely, to work from home. This shift in policy has been attributed to improving security and quality. There are rumours however that this change is also to help avoid production slipping further behind.

Rockstar are still aiming for an early 2025 release, a late 2025 release seems more plausible, with the 2026 release being a “fallback plan”.

How Many Playdates Are Missing??

Two pallets of the handheld yellow consoles have reportedly gone missing from a shipping centre in Las Vegas. A simple stocktake revealed that $400,000 worth of Playdates aren’t where they’re supposed to be.

FedEx claims that they were delivered but “we have no trace of them”. A few weeks later, a different set of pallets of Playdates were delivered to the construction site next door to the shipping centre.

Those pallets were successfully recovered, which is good, as Playdate aims to start earning a profit this year.

More Help For Game Help

The PlayStation 5 has a feature called Game Help, that developers can use to provide hints for various games, assisting players who might be struggling with a game. Community Game Help will be added as a feature, allowing users to submit gameplay that is automatically captured during specific activities in the game. Once this footage is approved, it will be published as a hint.

This means that players who are stuck can easily access the relevant footage to use as a guide. Players can rate the quality of the hint, so only the most helpful hints are used.

News Nibbles!

A trailer for Sonic Toys Party, an unannounced battle royale party game from Sega, has been leaked, and it looks uncannily like Fall Guys. The trailer got taken down due to a copyright claim however.

Elder Scrolls 6 is playable and sounds fun, according to Bethesda. Yay.

 

And now for some upcoming games!

March 28 – that’s today!

  • Open Roads – PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X
  • Pepper Grinder – Nintendo Switch

That’s it this week in gaming news!