Screen Australia Does Gaming A Solid, It Smells Like Gaming, AI In The News, And More Activision Blizzard Headlines.

Government backs Aussie gaming.
Screen Australia has announced the backing of Aussie games to the tune of $3 million AUD through it’s “Games: Expansion Pack” fund and “First Nations Games Studio” fund. The First Nations Games Studio fund awarded AU$600,000 to two studios, Guck, & Awesome Black, both working on projects related to First Nations storytelling and talent development. Additionally, the Games: Expansion Pack fund provided AU$2.4 million in funding to 21 different studios across the country. The funded games cover a wide range of genres and platforms and aim to accelerate skills and creativity within the Australian games industry. Additionally, the Federal Government has introduced the Digital Games Tax Offset, providing a 30% refundable tax offset for projects with budgets over $500,000. Click the following for a list of all the projects funded and their synopses.

Smell Like a Gamer
In recent news, Xbox is going a bit crazy with the themed sweepstakes with both a Barbie movie tie in with a Barbie Dream House Custom Console, and Barbie and Ken controller face plates. But they pulled out all the stops for the game release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. This release not only has a sweepstake for four controllers designed after each of the turtles themselves, but the can also “…come with a built-in scent diffuser shaped like a slice of delicious New York ‘za.” Smell-O-Vision at it’s finest. If you’re interested in the TMNT Mutant Mayhem Controller this giveaway will be running till August 13 this year, where you will need to retweet the Xbox Game Pass sweepstakes tweet or whatever they will end up being called with the X rebrand.

AI in the News Goes Glorbo
This week the World of Warcraft Reddit community tricked an online publishing AI by feeding it false data about a made-up character, Glorbo, it’s mandatory item Klikclac, and their nemesis Quackion, the Aspect of Ducks, resulting in the generation of fake content presented as actual news under the pseudonym Lucy Reed. This account is credited to writing near 80 articles a day with potentially little to no oversight. This incident raises questions about the validity of AI automated publishing and the potential impact on the increased value of human generated, or at least human moderated, content.

Now in Activision Blizzard News
Sigh… Look I’m just as sick as you that these guys keep being in the news. TL;DR is basically, they screwed up the Diablo 4 season release and people are complaining that company’s being cheap, of unfair nerfing, that the menu design is tricking people into buying the season pass, of new items causing nausea, and that some player’s characters butts are out in the open. Also, that the FTC has backed out of the whole merger with Microsoft blockage, and Overwatch 2 is coming to Steam. To read more about these stories, check out the links in the news post on our Facebook page @ZEDgamesau.


And now for a couple of quick bytes:

  • Mods have given your favourite NPCs in Stardew Valley AI Brains, yep, think about that like Jordan Gerblick of GamesRadar;

“…when you know those video game characters had to have their existing inner-workings hollowed out and replaced with the increasingly ominous power of AI, I can only imagine those interactions feeling incredibly creepy – as if it’s not really them anymore.”

(Image credit: Eric Barone)

The mod is Talk to Inworld’s AI Villagers and is now available on NexusMods.

  • And the US Entertainment Software Rating Board wants to scan you and child’s face to validate age with digital purchases. The proposal to the FTC would have you upload a photo into a system controlled by Yoti – an Epic Games subsidiary, with collaboration with company SuperAwesome, which would be analysed and then deleted. They go on to claim the system poses no substantial risk to parents’ privacy.

And now for some of the upcoming game releases.
On Friday July 28, Disney Illusion Island is coming to Switch. Monday 31st, F1 Manager 2023 is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Wednesday August 2nd, Ninja or Die: Shadow of the Sun is coming to PC. And lastly on Thursday August 3rd, explore nature, relax, and take photos in Flutter Away coming to PC.

Fight Your Perspective

Come follow us down the Polaroid trail, drink from the CapCom rapids and bathe in the Baulder’s Gate 3 teasers. This week on Zed Games, Cameron puts the Cam in Cammitment with a review of Capcom‘s Street Fighter 6, Paul stretches his ocular awareness to bring us a review of indi game Viewfinder from Sad Owl Studios, and don’t forget there’s some extra saucy gaming news just to add some sizzle to your step.

So take off your socks and have a listen to the episode above or pick our podcast off the audio bush of your choice.

Neopets, Bears and Local Games, Oh My!


Neopets has gone independent.

Dominic Law is the new CEO of The Neopets Team after a management buyout deal was made, allowing Neopets to become independent after its old owners Jumpstart Games was shut down on June 30th 2023.


In a blog post the newly formed team outlined its goal to shift away from NFT’s and crypto and revitalize the website, as well as the creation of a new mobile app, World of Neopets.


Basically after running at a loss for over a decade they’ve got a new team and new funding and a whole page of corporate speak saying they’re going to fix up the place.


Baldur’s Gate 3 – Insert Bear Pun Here


Because I’m doing the news I get to choose what to talk about and I want to talk about the fact that in Baldur’s Gate 3 you can get freaky with a bear.


In the “Panel from Hell: Release Showcase” Larian studios was showing off the game’s romance aspects and the internet exploded when it was revealed you can get intimate with one of your party members in their bear form.


I’m sure there’s a deeper conversation here about sex scenes in games and all that but I’m trapped in the news and have no time for that so instead I’m just here to say ‘lol bear seggs’ and leave it at that.


Queensland Games Festival this Saturday


And it’s that time again friends and enemies, the newly renamed Queensland Games Festival is this Saturday!  Previously known as Game On Festival (or GO423 if you’re nasty) this is a free public event where you can get your peepers on the newest locally made games and meet the people who make them.


The event is on the 22nd of July at the Brisbane Powerhouse from 10am so come on over and support the local Brisbane game industry!




July 20

Homeseek – PC, Killsquard – Playstation, Krzyżacy – The Knights of the Cross – PC, Punch Club 2: Fast Forward – PC, Unholy – PC.


July 21

Pikmin 4 – Switch, Sephonie – Playstation & Xbox & Switch


July 24

Super Catboy – PC


July 25

Remnant 2 PC & PS5 & Xbox Series X


July 26

Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart – PC


Friends and Friendly Dragons

Afternoon Zed Gamers, time to plug your ears with the vibrating pressure of the weekly podcast headed by Maylee, and accompanied by Zahra, Hazel and a secret being. This week the team talks lost games in Gaming News, Zahra takes time out for self care in a review of Amaru: The Self-care Virtual Pet. Maylee then brings the magic with a review of the boardgame Flamecraft.

Sonic’s Dad Sentenced, FIFA and EA Sports are DONE, and Video Games Keep Going Missing :(

Sonic’s Dad Has Been Sentenced

Yuji Naka, former Sega and Square Enix developer, and co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, has now been sentenced after being convicted for insider trading. The punishment? Two and a half years prison time, a probation period of four years, and fines totalling 173 million yen.

However, he has been given a four year suspended sentence due to showing ‘remorse’, meaning that he will not be imprisoned, but will still need to comply with a number of rules presented by the court, and pay the fines.


87% Of Classic Video Games Are Missing

The Video Game History Foundation has revealed a study claiming that the very large majority of older video games are missing or totally unavailable to the public. And the problem may be due to outdated copyright laws.

The Entertainment Software Association claims however that ‘there’s no such thing as an obsolete game’, given that video games are largely digital.

The Video Game History Foundation has argued that ‘in cases where software has become abandoned or when companies are not willing to undertake their own preservation, libraries and other archives should be allowed to preserve and digitally release games’.

VGHF hope that with some changes, future gamers will never have to fondly think back on a childhood game that is just impossible to replay for various reasons, as well as create a more cohesive archive of video games. For historical purposes of course.

Football Rebranded

EA Sports used to be FIFA’s largest commercial partner before the two parted ways. But what is EA Sports to do instead of yet another FIFA game? A new football game, just without all that FIFA branding.

The new game, FC 24, has been revealed with its official announcement trailer, marking the end of an almost 30 year era. It’s rather motivational, although some of the comments seems to expect more of the same. Which isn’t surprising considering that football hasn’t had a major update in around 100 years.

Sega Says Blockchains Aren’t Fun

While ‘what makes a video game a video game’ and ‘what are video games’ and other such questions are often topics for debate among gamers, Sega seems to have figured out that a game should be fun. Shuji Utsumi, Sega’s co-chief operating officer, has reported that although the company were initial supporters of blockchain gaming, have now decided against pursuing it, feeling that it would cheapen their more iconic IPs.

The action in play-to-earn games is boring. What’s the point if games are no fun?” says Utsumi.

Sega do still plan to allow third parties to use characters from their less popular IPs as NFTs, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing Sonic the Hedgehog NFTs from Sega.

And now for some upcoming games!

July 13

  • Manic Mechanics (Switch)
  • Testament: The Order of High Human (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

July 14

  • Exoprimal (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
  • Jagged Alliance 3 (PC)

July 17

  • Sticky Business (PC)

July 18

  • Murder Is Game Over – Streaming Death (PC)
  • Unidentified Falling Objects (PC, Switch)
  • Viewfinder (PC, PS5)

July 19

  • Blackout Protocol (PC)
  • The Repair House (PC)

July 20

  • Homeseek (PC)
  • Killsquad (PS5, PS4)
  • Punch Club 2: Fast Forward (PC)
  • Unholy (PC)

Government Spies in Our Midst

Zed Gamers, welcome to another week of audio glory!
This week Hazel’s organised a special treat, so with Cameron they welcome Jed Dawson & Finley (Fin) Cameron from Screen Queensland to talk how they can help YOU get your game and game creation career off the ground (paid internships now available)!
Hazel then talks Nova Lands and the problems with automation in gaming.
So fill in your forms and submit them by listening in, or head to your nearest podcast department and find us cowering under the desks of democracy.

New Discoveries & Uncovered Secrets

Classified Sega docs from the 90’s are available to you! Neat!

Earlier this week twitter user MegaDriveShock brought attention to a PDF of classified Sega of America documents which had become available on the Sega Retro wiki. The PDF is 272 pages of documents from the mid-90’s that offer a fascinating peek behind the curtain. They primarily focus on the Saturn console which, while hugely popular in Japan, failed to take off elsewhere in the world.  It’s an absolute bonanza of information including manufacturing costs, retail margins, sales, product strategies, emails, etc and people are pulling out some interesting figures. There’s even this storyboard from a commercial!

If you’d like to read through the pages, you can find them on the Sega Retro Wiki here.


Multi-season wait in store between Overwatch 2 story missions.

During a recent twitch appearance, Jared Neuss (Overwatch 2’s executive producer) revealed that there won’t be additional story missions for at least the next two seasons following the launch of season 6. “It is very much like trying to find that balance between getting [story missions] in front of players quickly because we love story stuff and giving ourselves enough time to make changes or add features.” No exact timeline was given but it seems safe to infer that Blizzard won’t be releasing any further story missions in 2023.


Annapurna Interactive Showcase 2023

At the end of last week Annapurna held a showcase showing off their upcoming games and more. Here’s some of what we saw:

To a T is a game with a premise that sounds delightful but maybe a little shallow – with the story centred around a main character stuck in a T-Pose. Thankfully Annapurna promises there’s depth to this game, and since it’s the newest game by Katamari Damacy director Keita Takahashi, I’m inclined to believe them.

Storyteller, the puzzle game that plays out over a picture book which released earlier this year, is moving to Netflix. As part of their growing catalogue of games Storyteller will be receiving new content & scenarios.

Thirsty Suitors, which has a demo available on steam, now has a release date. The game is a unique mash of turn-based combat, skating, cooking, story, and more. It releases November 2nd to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S (Game Pass!), Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Coming later, in 2024, is Ghost Bike, a game set in the afterlife where players must fight against ghosts as they strive to bring back the true spirit of biking back to Wheel World.

Finally, they showed the reveal trailer for their first in-house game BladeRunner 2033. They haven’t shown too much yet, but fans of the series can look forward to exploring a dystopian LA set between the original Blade Runner movie and Blade Runner 2049.

Upcoming game releases:

July 6th

Gylt coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows

Necrosmith coming to PS5 and Switch

Scarf coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One


July 7th

Feeble Light coming to PS5, Switch, Windows

Garlic coming to PS5 and Switch

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie coming to PS5, PS4, Switch, Windows


July 12th

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals coming to PS5, PS4, Switch, Windows


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

That’s Pretty Pogchamp

Zed Games goes full Pogchamp this week with Hazel, Maylee, and Zahra taking over your podcast primed earholes. This week the team talks the simpler days of the wild west of early gaming experiences, Zahra takes it easy putting their shapes into place in The Shape of Things, then Paul reshapes literary history in The Bookwalker: Thief of Tales.

Console Wars Decided by FTC, AI Wars in Gaming Continue, and Diablo 4 News & Secrets Revealed.

The Console Wars Have Been Decided!
In a side note to the highly contested Microsoft acquisition of Activision/Blizzard, is that to validate statements made by the parties presented, certain investigations needed to take place. And so, the FTC has made a statement regarding the console wars. Firstly, Nintendo has been removed from contention due to its hybrid nature, reliance on first party games and – and I quote – “underpowered performance.” So, in the US between Xbox and PlayStation, Generation 7 consoles… Xbox 360 beat the PS3, and in Generation 8, Sony beat out with the PlayStation 4!
While the FTC didn’t comment on the current generation, Microsoft has argued that they have consistently ranked third in the console wars.
While Sony has made it quite clear that it doesn’t want the planned merger to go ahead, Sony’s CEO Jim Ryan has stated in response to the exclusivity of titles such as Starfield “I don’t like it” but “I don’t view it as competitive”, and the possibility of losing Call of Duty in the future. “I’d rather this didn’t happen, but we’ll be OK, we’ll be more than OK.”
In other Microsoft news, Xbox Series X and Game Pass are going to receive a price hike, with the console to get a price closer to the PS5 and the Game Pass monthly subscription to increase around the globe. Oh, and Microsoft has missed its quarterly internal target by around US$780,000,000.
And don’t you PC players think you can scoff in your corner watching all this. You better be sure you can run your moddable version of Starfield. With AMD partnering with Bethesda for release, your precious DLSS and RTX features on your new Nvidia GPU may be left to the wayside. Oh, and there won’t be any keyboard and mouse support for the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol.1 coming in October.

AI in Gaming
The rebellion against AI being involved in game development continues with Jennifer Hale, the Voice Actor (VA) of “FemShep” in Mass Effect and David Hayter, the VA for Solid Snake from Metal Gear, voicing their concern of AI in the gaming industry. Hale has come forward emphasizing the importance of protecting voice actors’ work and voicing support of organizations like NAVA that provide contracts for safeguarding VA rights. Hayter, while less concerned about AI technology’s impact on voice acting due to its lack of “soul”, agrees on the need for legal protection. Meanwhile, the introduction of machine-learning platforms, Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, has sparked concerns among developers and artists regarding the generation of AI-created assets and both the copywrite and plagiarism issues now or in the future due to the art, assets, and their datasets that AI have been trained on.

Diablo 4 News; because I’m playing it and I’m doing the news this week.
Over the weekend Blizzard was hit by a DDOS attack, lengthening the already superfluous wait time to play a game most generally play solo. These attacks lasted around 12 hours and roused players online to ask why the game has joined the “always online” generation. Well, this may be due to the online store which has armour sets that can cost more than the base game, or maybe due to item drops with a higher rarity than winning the lotto with only 2 dropped so far since release. Adam Jackson, lead class designer of the game, confirmed last week that there are six top tier unique items in a tweet, all of which have staggering randomised stats (yes, you could still get this with a bad roll), and I join other players in the sentiment that if one dropped for you “it would be financially irresponsible not to sell your account.”
In other secrets revealed, if you are about to finish the game maybe don’t go skipping that credit roll with several different jump scare styled post-credit endings reported so far. These are all tipped to be clues into the gamut of expansions I’m sure are on the way for Diablo in the future. And if you haven’t looked into the secret cow level, the internet is looking… and they’re getting closer.

Now for some Game releases
So, Friday 30th of June, Master Detective Archives: Rain Code, a detective action game from the minds behind Danganronpa, and party game Everybody 1-2-Switch! both come to the Switch. And time traveling puzzle point and click indie game Crime O’Clock is coming to PC, and Switch.
Tuesday July 4th, break into the subconscious with VA David Hayter on the PSVR2 in Synapse.
And lastly Thursday July 6th, experience the branching narratives of retro inspired JRPG Alterium Shift, or experience bouldering in the climbing sim New Heights, both coming to PC. Last of all, face your fears in horror puzzler Gylt, coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox,

Oh! And in Games coming to TV
Sonic Prime’s new season is airing on Netflix and Among Us is getting its own TV series! It is in development at CBS Studios and is reportedly being led by Owen Denis (Infinity Train) and animated by Titmouse (Big Mouth). However, no airdate has been released.