Tag: cyberpunk 2077

Game Engine Price Gouging, CD Projekt Spends Big, and final call for 3DS and Wii U online gaming


Game Engine Dev News
After the backlash against Unity’s contentious plan to charge developers extra fees for each game installation as of last month, Unity is parting ways with CEO John Riccitiello. Riccitiello has stepped down as CEO, and all major seats at the Unity Table, effective immediately. Unity’s announcement of his near decade-long tenure ending rave about his contributions rather than his recent price gouging – sorry, I meant subscription model.
While the change in pricing structure from Unity was almost universally panned, it hasn’t stopped Epic from taking the idea on board with the announcement of a per-seat licensing fee for licensees in Film, TV, Automotive and other fields… but excluding the gaming industry. This would primarily affect studios using the technology for real-time CGI like Disney (The Mandalorian), Warner (The Batman), and HBO (Westworld), as well as small companies who primarily use the system for 3D animation (3rd World Studios). This price restructuring also comes after a recent layoff of nearly 900 employees. CEO Tim Sweeney has attributed these changes to recent financial difficulties at Epic Games, primarily due to the company’s heavy reliance on Fortnite’s revenue over the last 6 years.

CD Projekt Makes Headlines
CD Projekt have announced the cost of bringing Cyberpunk 2077 Update 2.0 to all platforms as well as the recently well received DLC Phantom Liberty totalled around $125.9 million dollars. That’s almost $200 million in Aussie dollar bucks.
In totally unrelated news also at CD Projekt, CD Projekt employees, along with others in the Polish video game industry, have formed a union in response to multiple rounds of layoffs at the studio in the last year (totalling around 170 lost jobs). The union’s goal is to improve workplace and industry standards with legal power and a stronger collective voice. The union aims to address these issues and protect the gaming industry’s potential by providing a stronger voice in times of crisis.
Hopefully this gives them the job security they need, unlike the Dragon Age: Dreadwolf QA unionised workers we reported on in June of 22 who have all been laid off in September. Bioware’s head of marketing, Liz Corless, said in an email this was due to “…the end of a fixed term client contract.” And according to a former employee Keywords Studio (their employer) has “…no more work available” while posting job vacancies for QA work. The union has filed a complaint against the studio this week.

Nintendo Formally Steps Away From The WiiU & 3DS.
Nintendo announced this week that they will formally be discontinuing the online support for the Wii U and 3DS in April of 2024. This will include all online play, ranking systems, and data distribution for all Nintendo titles. However, this does not include eShop support! You will still be able to update and redownload purchased software. And for you Pokéfans, the Pokémon bank and Poké Transporter will also continue to be supported until further notice.

And now for some upcoming games!
Friday October 13, get ready for Christmas with The Grinch: Christmas Adventures and Transformers: Earthspark – Expedition both coming to PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch.
Monday October 16, cozy hex strategy game Growth comes to PC.
Tuesday October 17, cyberpunk RPG Cyber Knights: Flashpoint comes to PC, or enjoy the roguelike autobattler Legend Creatures 2. Both coming to PC.
Oh and Sonic Superstars is also coming to everything the 17th as well.
Wednesday October 18 brings us Alaskan Road Truckers coming to PC.
And next week on Thursday October 19 comes a heap with The 7th Guest VR for PC VR, Quest and PSVR2. Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express from developer Microids coming to PC and Consoles. Or how about you get your vehicle combat experience with Chaos on Wheels coming to PC. Pick up the twin stick shooter and tower defence game Endless Dungeon, coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Maybe battle for your sanity in the Lovecraftian horror Forgive Me Father 2 coming to PC. Or for a social experience, grab a friend to rob the rich to give to the poor in the co-op action game based in a Robin Hood world Gangs of Sherwood coming to PC and next gen consoles. Or shoot at your friends in the large scale, top down, multiplayer shooter Operation Valor coming to PC. Or just play a few games with them with The Jackbox Party Pack 10 coming to most platforms.

Starfield Hype, Unity Meltdown, E3 is Dead, Long Live E4, and some extra tasty Gaming Bytes

Starfield Hype
This week marked the launch of Todd “it just works” Howard/Bethesda’s shiny new RPG, Starfield. Starfield went supernova, instantly becoming the biggest Bethesda launch of all time, and since its release it has hoarded over 6 million players, with over a million concurrent players shooting into the stratosphere when counting over all platforms. With official mod support coming next year, PC players have had the hardest time since release, with Intel and Nvidia systems copping the brunt of the issues. Todd Howard’s response for people with PCs?

“You might need to upgrade your PC.”

Unity, no longer for the gamer
Unity, the game engine behind Rust, Hollow Knight, and Pokémon Go, and the controversial Creative AI Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, has introduced a controversial new fee for developers. The Runtime Fee, set to take effect in 2024, is a per-install fee that will apply to games that reach a previously established annual revenue threshold and a lifetime install count. Indie developers are concerned that this new policy will kill smaller games with the new system severely affecting their bottom line, and leading devs of free-to-play games questioning if they’d end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more under the new system. Unity’s attempts to provide clarity have so far only fueled devs’ frustration and spawned more questions from those with both currently active and in-development games using the engine. This has led to warnings from industry professionals such as creative director at Necrosoft Games, Brandon Sheffield, stating in an op-ed for Insert Credit, “But now I can say, unequivocally, if you’re starting a new game project, do not use Unity,” and “If you started a project 4 months ago, it’s worth switching to something else. Unity is quite simply not a company to be trusted.”
After regrouping on the evening of September 12, Unity clarified their previous statement, claiming that they will only charge for the initial installation of a game, reversing their previous stance that multiple charges would be made for reinstalls. Unity also stated that the fee will only apply to monetized titles and that charity games and bundles are exempt; however, the announcement has raised further questions about the impact on the free-to-play genre, as well as demo installs. Further, concerns remain about how installs will be tracked, with the potential for abuse by bad actors, and devs concerned about the need to implement third party DRM (Digital Rights Management) in their games.

E3 is Dead, Long Live E4?
With the earlier announcement this week that PAX organiser Reedpop and E3 had cut ties, it may come as unsurprising news that E3 2024 is in doubt. The Entertainment Software Association or ESA who runs E3 have also informed the longstanding home of E3, the LA Convention Center, they will not be there in 2024. However, according to news site GamesIndustry.biz they are “working on a complete reinvention of the E3 show for 2025.” We live in hope.

And now for some Gaming Bytes.
About to load up Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty DLC? Best check your system with Lead Scene Programmer CD PROJEKT RED Filip Pierściński imploring gamers via tweet to check system stability and to “please check conditions of your cooling systems in PC.”
And feeling old? Well Steam turned 20 on the 12th of September , and 25 year old fansite AtariAge has been acquired by Atari.

Now for some upcoming games.
Friday September 15, Baby Shark: Sing & Swim Party comes to Pc, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, and tech themed 3D platformer Boti: Byteland Overclocked comes to PC.
Tuesday September 19, start your week with an open-world high-fantasy strategy RPG Dragonheir: Silent Gods, coming to PC. Or, race to your parking space in You Suck At Parking coming to PS4 and Switch. Can you become a real boy in the Pinocchio soulslike Lies of P, coming to PC, Xbox and PlayStation. And lastly for Tuesday, Mortal Kombat 1 comes to PC, PS5, Xbox Series X and Switch.
Wednesday September 20, kick animal butt in the brawler/party game Party Animals, coming to PC, and Xbox. And, put the shooting or spell slinging in the S of FPS in the dark fantasy roguelite shooter Witchfire, coming to PC.
And finally, Thursday September 21st brings free-to-play medieval warfare PVP Warhaven to PC. Want to release your inner Addams family Thing within to defeat some feet? Then play Super Adventure Hand! coming to PC and Switch. And to finish, Payday 3 is coming to PC and next gen consoles.

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 battle.net 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

Stalking NFTs, Winning Games, and Gaming Bytes

Stalking NFTs
With big brands like Nike and Adidas jumping on Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, it would seem like a mistake for game developers not to do the same. However, Ubisoft’s experimental NFT sales for Ghost Recon Breakpoint appear to have sold just 15 NFTs since their release on the 9th of December.
Jumping on this bandwagon, GSC Game World, developer of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, announced on the 15th of December their intention to introduce NFTs via auction in January of 2022 and later. These NFTs would range from “genesis” collectables to the rights to be scanned using photogrammetry and inserted into the game as an NPC “metahuman”. Within 24 hours after the publication went live, GSC Game World was hit with community backlash and responded with a tweet saying, “Based on the feedback we received, we’ve made a decision to cancel anything NFT-related in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.” but not before doubling down in a now deleted tweet attempting to reason with the community.
It must be noted that in the third quarter of 2021, NFT games such as Sky Mavis’ Axis Infinity reportedly generated about 2.32 billion US dollars in revenue, paving the way as further incentive for future developers to integrate NFTs into games.

Winning Games
In an unprecedented year for games, Hades now sits alongside Oscar-winning Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond’s Colette for being the first game to win a prestigious industry award in 2021.
In this year’s Hugo Awards, the World Science Fiction Society used its bylaws to create the one-off 2021 Best Video Game award. Many games were nominated with Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games and Animal Crossing: New Horizons from Nintendo coming runners-up to the award winner Hades from Super Giant Games. While Super Giant Games were unable to be there, Greg Kasavin, Creative Director and Writer of Hades had the following to say on twitter.

“We are incredibly honoured to be the first-ever recipient of a Hugo award in the category of best video game. We, myself included, grew up experiencing these classic works of science fiction and fantasy, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Philip K. Dick, what have you. That’s when we first came across the Hugo Awards name, of course, as kids.
“To have earned this distinction all this time later, especially alongside such an incredible slate of nominees, games of all shapes and sizes, from teams big and small, it really means the world.”

Keep an eye out in the future as there are rumours floating around online that this gaming category may become an annual Hugo event.


Now for some Gaming Bytes:

Finishing First
HowLongToBeat’s stat breakdown of game releases in  2021 show that Resident Evil Village is the most completed game this year with 2.6 thousand completions of the game so far narrowly beating Metroid Dread with 2.2 thousand completions.

CD Projekt Settles
CD Projekt has settled with suing investors over the release of Cyberpunk 2077 to the tune of 1.85 million US Dollars. The lawsuit accused CD Projekt of misleading investors over the release quality of the game and suing for damages incurred by this.

North America Unionises
North America finally has its first ever video game studio union, formed at the Vodeo Games Studio, developers of Beast Breaker that released for PC, Mac, and Switch this year. The Vodeo Workers United union formed to protect independent contracted workers and salaried staff to maintain a fair and equitable workforce and lock in some of the perks they love… like the 4-day work week they currently enjoy.

Sony Faceplates Finally
After exerting legal pressure to stop the creation of personalised faceplates for the PS5 late 2020 and more recently against dbrand in October of this year, Sony has finally released their own personalised faceplates with 5 different colour offerings of Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Nova Pink, Starlight Blue, and Galactic Purple.

Now in upcoming games:
On the 23rd of December the 3D platformer puzzler Scarf released by Uprising Studios has you forming an unbreakable bond with your dragon who is also your scarf on PC and Stadia. Teratopia and Tunnel of Doom are releasing their Switch ports on the 23rd.
On the 24th Tunnel of Doom is also porting to the Xbox One and releasing on the 28th of December, the Switch port of Lacuna.

Re-Logic boycotts Google, CD Projekt: The Saga Continues and Nemesis Patented

Terraria port for Google Stadia Cancelled.

After backing down from a threat to leave Australia over new regulations, and pulling the plug on in-house Stadia game development, the last thing Google needed was more bad press. Well, Google has dug their own grave as Re-Logic, the creators of Terraria, have cancelled their planned Stadia port after Google disabled and removed access to the Re-Logic YouTube account and attached Gmail and Google Drive accounts due to an alleged Terms of Service violation.

After three weeks trying to resolve the issue, co-creator Andrew Spinks turned to Twitter, burning any bridges with the multinational company by publicly tweeting “Doing business with you is a liability.”

Re-Logic has confirmed that while they will continue to support all current purchases of Terraria on Android and Google Play, any future games by Re-Logic will not be supported on Google platforms.

Cyberpunk 2077 and CD Projekt; the Saga continues.

Since the PC release of Cyberpunk 2077, mods have been coming to the rescue to help with some of players’ issues and desires. Sadly, the way in which Cyberpunk 2077 utilised external DLL files allowed hackers to remotely execute code when malicious mods were installed on a player’s computer. This security vulnerability was quickly fixed by the Cyberpunk 2077 community before the 1.12 Hotfix was released by CD Projekt just three days later.

CD Projekt has also announced via twitter that they were recently the victims of a cyber-attack. The announcement included a copy of the ransom note with the attacker claiming to have copied the source code for their most popular games and an unreleased version of the Witcher 3 as well as other files. CD Projekt has stated that to the best of their knowledge, none of the compromised data contained any player or user data. The incident is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities. After the announcement, CD Projekt’s stock dropped by 5%.

Nemesis system patented.

After almost 6 years since the original application, Warner Brothers has finally had the patent approved for the Nemesis system. Originally utilised in Monolith Productions’ Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the Nemesis system is where hierarchical NPCs are physically and hierarchically effected by player interaction. The patent is already being criticised by developers for the vagueness of the patent’s wording and how this may stifle any similar games from being developed.

The patent is optioned for renewal till 2035.

And finally, some game releases:

On February 11th you can look forward to the console release date of 1bit minimalist RTS game Death Crown, the Switch Release of the action-adventure roguelike Undermine, and the PC and console release of the side scrolling adventure Little Nightmares 2.

We also have Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury coming to the Switch on February 12th. And the Mega Man X-inspired multiplayer roguelike 30XX (thirty ex-ex) is coming to PC on February 17th