Tag: game dev

Palworld Tops, Game Devs Down, and Some Game Bytes

This week in gaming news: Palworld tops the gaming charts and rumour mills, a dismal prediction for Game Devs in 2024, and some special gaming bytes.

For those living under a rock, this week has been dwarfed by the unexpected boom of Palworld into the gaming stratosphere. The monster collecting survival game Palworld, has not only beat out opening week records set by Cyberpunk 2077, Elden Ring and Hogwarts Legacy, selling over 7 million copies in the last 5 days since release, but it also has beaten Valve’s own Counter-Strike 2 All-Time Peak player count, becoming the second most played game of all time with over 1.86 million concurrent players. However, this has not come without hiccups. The game has released in early access on steam and game preview on game pass, so bugs are to be expected, but steam and Microsoft are publishing different versions. Each with their own bugs and server issues that have required emergency meetings with Epic Games backend, and individual updates with expectations that they won’t coalesce until crossplay is established in the future. Until then, Microsoft players will have to deal with the lack of dedicated servers and slow updates, and the quality of life updates seen with steam users.
Internally, developer Pocket Pair has had to deal with a slew of press and player accusations with Community Manager and CEO reporting to have been receiving death threats, “slanderous comments, and outlandish claims.” Some of these being claims they “ripped off Pokémon” and utilised AI to either create the monsters in the game or that GenAI is used in the game. The CEO Takuro Mizobe has responded to at least one claim, stating that “We have absolutely no intention of infringing upon the intellectual property of other companies.” But not all are convinced, with former head of Pokémon’s legal team Dan McGowan saying the game “looks like the usual ripoff nonsense that I would see a thousand times a year when I was Chief Legal Officer of Pokémon.” And not without cause, with a mod already released and removed that not only put Pokémon into Palworld, but also Ash, Misty, and Team Rocket. Creator, Toasted Shoes, put out a statement after the mods removal.

“Nintendo has come for me, please leave me in your thoughts and prayers”

The 2024 Forecast for Game Developers
After more layoffs Game Devs are facing a hard reality this week with Riot laying off 11% of its workforce. That’s 530 people losing their jobs with the blame being put on management’s decision to rapidly expand after the pandemic. And it’s not the only one, with the trend continuing in more studios. 2k’s 31st Union is cutting team members even after the “momentous” move to California. Embracer Group is trying to find a buyer for developer Piranha Bytes. And the developer of recently released VR game Micro Machines: Mini Challenge Mayhem, WIMO Games, has announced they’ve closed their doors with around three dozen staff left out in the cold.
With one third of developers being impacted by layoffs in the last year, and more than half of developers concerned about their futures we can see there are challenges to face in the future. Experts are increasing the worry with expectations the gaming industry will face challenges possibly into 2025 after the abundance of games released in 2020, and 2021 pushing unrealistic release schedules. Despite this, industry leaders are optimistic of the long-term survivability of game development, leaning of the industries resilience and potential growth in the future.

And now for the Gaming Bytes:

  • Awesome Games Done Quick is back with AGDQ2024 streaming over 135 speedruns and raising over 5 million us dollars for The Prevent Cancer Foundation during the week-long event.
  • While earlier this week it was rumoured BulletStorm VR was to be removed from the PS5 Store and auto refunded… it has come to light that only Japan and South Korea will be receiving this golden ticket with the rest of the world left to fend for ourselves.
  • And for those people looking forward to the game Indiana Jones and the Great Ciricle, Harrison Ford is NOT voicing Indiana Jones, rather Troy Baker the voice actor behind The Last of Us’s Joel, BioShock Infinite’s Booker DeWitt , and many more.
  • OH! And the finalists for the Freeplay Awards for 2024 have been announced. If you don’t know what they are, it is the world’s longest-running independent games festival with the awards ceremony to take place on the 29th of February in Melbourne. These awards focus on Australian and New Zealand indi grass roots game artists and developers with this year’s nominees to include Unpacking from Witch Beam Games, Wayward Strand from ghost pattern, and Dap from Melting Parrot, plus many more. For the full list of nominations CLICK HERE

And now for the upcoming game releases.
Friday the 26th brings us two new releases with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth coming to PC, PlayStation, & Xbox, and Tekken 8 coming to PC and Next Gen Consoles.
On Tuesday the 30th Rugby 24 to PC, PlayStation, & Xbox.
Wednesday the 31st the DLC for 2021’s Eastward, Eastward: Octopia DLC and is coming to PC & Switch
And lastly, Thursday the 1st of February, Granblue Fantasy: Relink comes to PC and PlayStation.

Rapid Fire Reviews

This week Hazel leads the round table with Zahra and Peter to talk Gaming News (from Cam) and the impact of AI. Zahra goes mobile while reviewing sandboarder Alto’s Odyssey developed by Snowman. Caroline then goes digging and gets stuck in(to) the early access game Below the Stone developed by Strollart. And finally Zahra jumps back in for an extra review of mobile creative Let’s Create! Pottery 2 from Infinite Dreams.

Bobby GONE, The Mouse is OUT, Jack Black is Steve, and More!

Bobby Kotick Is Gone

The now-former CEO of Activision Blizzard has officially stepped down now that the 2023 year has ended and the acquisition by Microsoft proceeds. He won’t be the only executive-level employee leaving, with more expected to depart as the transition process develops. Otherwise, the leadership teams for Activision Publishing and Blizzard will remain in place.

The now-vacant CEO spot won’t be filled, and instead executives will report directly to Matt Booty, President of Microsoft Game Content and Studios.

Minecrafters, Grab Your Picks…

If you forgot that there was a Minecraft movie on the way, well, here’s your reminder. And now you also know that Jack Black, who has played Bowser in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, will be starring as the main man himself, Minecraft Steve. You may also know Jack Black from a few other films. The movie will be directed by Jared Hess, known for Nacho Libre, and Napoleon Dynamite.

Jason Momoa had reportedly been in negotiations to voice Minecraft Steve last year.

The Minecraft movie has been in development since 2014, while filming began in December 2023. It is scheduled to release in early April, 2025, meaning it will have been in development for 10-ish years. It hasn’t been the smoothest journey for the movie, as a few directors have dropped out, and the initial release date of May 24th, 2019 obviously not working out.

The Mouse Is OUT!

And a horror game has already been created within 24 hours of ‘Steamboat Willie’ entering the public domain. The game, called Infestation 88, has a terrifying depiction of the mouse hunting the player down in a spooky warehouse.

Disney is rather infamous for its heavy-handed approach to protecting its copyright, as the company has been reported to discourage a stonemason from carving Winnie-the-Pooh into a child’s gravestone. In fact, Steamboat Willie was initially set to enter the public domain in 1984, but the company lobbied US copyright laws to extend to “the life of the author plus 50 years”.

Now that the fated day has finally arrived, along with Infestation 88, a horror movie has been announced, as well as NFTs created, dubstep remixes mixed, and just generally making the mouse do things that Disney definitely wouldn’t approve of.

The 2023 Steam Awards

Let’s round up another round of awards! The Steam Awards is pretty straightforward, nominate your favourite games and then vote for them! Games also can’t win more than two categories.

Sit Back and Relax went to Dave the Diver, and the Labour of Love Award was granted to Red Dead Redemption 2.

Better With Friends went to Lethal Company, and Most Innovative Gameplay went to Starfield.

Outstanding Story-Rich Game and Game of the Year goes to Baldur’s Gate 3.

Some News Nibbles

Peanut Butter, a shiba inu, will be participating in Awesome Games Done Quick, a charity speedrunning event. He is probably the first dog to get into speedrunning video games, and he will be beating Gyromite in front of an audience.

The PlayStation 5 has officially passed 50 million units, managing to sell 10 million units in the latter half of 2023.

Square Enix has expressed a desire to apply AI technology ‘more aggressively’ to create ‘new forms of content’ for consumers, with Square Enix president, Takashi Kiryu stating “I believe that generative AI has the potential not only to reshape was we create, but also to fundamentally change the processes by which we create, including programming”.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

January 11

  • War Hospital – PC, PS5, XBX

That’s it for game releases. You have a week to work through your backlog before games start getting released again.

Toasting To A New Year

Come Toast To A New Year with Zed Games!
Get out your fireworks, bread, butter and soul crushing existentialism and raise your breakfast utensils to this week’s Zed Games. Join the Team of Zahra, Hazel and Rani while they chat
Gaming News, Hazel tests the skill ceiling in Toasterball, while Zahra questions reality in the walking simulator The Invincible from Starward Industries.

Hero’s Journey


Greetings Gamers!
This week Paul heads the Zed Games crew with Cam and Peter to talk the week in Gaming News reported by Maylee. The team then discuss the 2023 Gaming Awards, before Paul takes us on a walk on the wild side through the Irish countryside in Highland Song, and Tobi rounds it out with an obsessive look into the idle game Progress Knight.
So grab your walking sticks and auto clicking macros listen here or find us at your favourite podcast player.

This News Is Not AI Generated, I Swear

Fallout Is Canon!

Fans and fiends of Fallout, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming live-action series coming to Prime Video in April, and if not, now you have! And here’s what we know about it so far: it takes place nine years after the events of Fallout 4, in the year 2296. It’s supposed to be accessible to those unfamiliar with the games, but still contain the humour and vibe of the games. And one more thing; the events in the show will be canon according to Todd Howard.

“We view what’s happening in the show as canon. That’s what’s great when someone else looks at your work and then translates it in some fashion.”

It’s not the first time developers have been inspired by a live-action adaptation of their games, as The Last Of Us creators also felt similarly inspired by the live-action show.

What Even Is An Indie Game Anyway?

Dave the Diver is a game that was nominated for Best Indie Game at The Game Awards, which has sparked some discussion over what constitutes an indie game as the team, Mint Rocket, that made the game was a subsidiary of a multi-billion-dollar company, Nexon.

Mint Rocket is a team of less than 30 people and was launched by Nexon as a division that specialises in games, “focusing on the essence of fun”. As a result, many people don’t consider Dave the Diver to be a ‘true indie’.

Geoff Keighly, host and producer of The Game Awards has weighed in, saying “You can argue, does independent mean the budget of the game, does independent mean where the source of financing was, does it mean the team size?”

“The definition of an indie game is hard to define, and that ultimately it’s up to The Game Awards jury to pick nominees.”

Why Does Naruto Sound Like That?

There’s a Naruto fighting game out and about called Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS, it’s got fast-paced ninja battles and a story, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the more awkward line deliveries that have been discovered.

Understandably, it has faced some criticisms, however, the voice actors insist that they didn’t actually record those lines… entirely.

The game covers snippets of events that have taken place across the franchise, and even dives into scenes that would be very familiar to those who have played Naruto games in the past. Except that when comparing the scenes, well, the original line delivery was just better. And fans aren’t the only ones confused about it.

Maile Flanagan, Naruto’s English voice actor, has said “I can guarantee I did not say that line that way… And I guarantee no voice director of Naruto or the games would have me do that in that way.”

Why Does Silent Hill Ascension Sound Like That?

The interactive television series, Silent Hill: Ascension, has sparked rumours that the script might have been written by AI. Users can stream the episodes and collectively vote on choices in the series, influencing its direction. However, some scenes have been facing some scrutiny.

One particular scene of note has the main characters out in the woods, doing Silent Hill business, when a lone NPC comes across them in a flustered state. He declares he has been foraging for berries, and he has foraged for berries for many seasons. And he makes jams. And he offers the jams before disappearing into the forest, presumably to forage for more berries.

Jacob Navok insists that every word in Ascension was written by real people.

And now for some upcoming games!

November 30

  • Biomutant – Switch
  • Gangs of Sherwood – PC, PS5, XSX
  • Hawked – PC
  • Pixel Cafe – PC, PS5, XSX, Switch
  • This Means Warp – PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Tintin Reporter – Cigars of the Pharaoh – PS4
  • Toasterball – Switch

December 1

  • Batman: Arkham Trilogy – Switch
  • Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince – Switch

December 4

  • Make Way – PC
  • The Wagadu Chronicles – PC

December 5

  • Born of Bread – PC
  • Tram Simulator Urban Transit – PC

December 7

  • Arizona Sunshine 2 – PC VR, PSVR 2
  • The Day Before – PC
  • Lego Bricktales VR – Quest
  • Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance – PC
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader – PC, PS5, XSX

That’s it this week in gaming news!

Take-Two Talks Taking More, Gamemaker Goes Game Dev Friendly, Roblox Sued Again, And Gaming Bytes

Take-Two Talks Taking More
Last week saw GTA 6 developer Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick have a different take on gaming pricing. While gaming fans hold the game time to price value high, Zelnick wants to take that on board with future titles with a statement to investors saying
“In terms of pricing for any entertainment property, basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say the per hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership, if the title is owned rather than rented or subscribed to.” While this does sound like a dollar per hour measurement, he has clarified the statement this week that this is not a linear relationship, but rather a statement on the value of games. And we can definitely trust the CEO of Take-Two, a company whose biggest earner is GTA Online.

Game Engine Gamemaker Goes Game Dev Friendly
In the wake of Game Publishers Unity and Epic calling for price “restructuring”, Gamemaker, a popular tool for creating 2D and 3D games, has released their new price point and bucked the recent trend. Because of the recent three-fold increase in active users since they joined the Opera family, instead of gouging the user base and changing from a monthly model to a per game install or price per hour played, Gamemaker is celebrating the explosion in users by announcing a new free option for non-commercial use with the ability to export their games to Windows, Mac, and Linux without paying any fees. They’ve also included their asset bundles for use in this free tier. Upgrading is also simple, want to monetise? $99.99USD. Want to put it on consoles? Well, that’s an Enterprise subscription. With games utilising this engine like Undertale, Webbed, Honey, I joined a Cult, and over 290 more listed in Gamemaker’s showcase, we can be sure to see a gamut of Indi games from this engine in the future.

Roblox Sued Over Child Safety
In the pandemic years Roblox saw a massive influx of underage users (over 60% of users are under 16 years of age) due to the social nature and declaration of safety for minors that the platform claims. The community guidelines claim that ““Roblox is a safe space for meeting online friends, chatting, and collaborating on creative projects.” And “If your child is under 13, we make it extremely difficult for strangers on Roblox to contact them.”
However, a group of parents have filed a civil action suit against Roblox for not meeting their end of the deal, with claims of grooming, sexual content, and the inability to monitor their children’s purchases due to Robux obscuring transaction worth.
Roblox Corp provided a statement to PCGAMER disputing the allegations and reinforced that the site was safe “for people of all ages.”

Now for some quick gaming bytes!

    • Xbox is running a Bluey Sweepstakes to celebrate the upcoming release of Bluey the Videogame coming to PC and consoles. The winner will not only receive the game but also receive a custom Bluey Themed Xbox Series S and controller. Wackadoo!

  • This week Half-Life turned 25 and celebrated by a going free for a limited time. Valve also released a special anniversary update for the game which included bug fixes, official Steam Deck support, multiplayer maps, and more.

Now it’s time for this week’s game releases!

Friday November 24, survive the post apocalypse in the side scroller shooter Evil Diary coming to PC and consoles.
Tuesday the 28th, take a train ride home through civil war in the RTS Last Train Home coming to PC.
On Wednesday the 29th, get stuck in time loops in puzzle/adventure game Orten Was The Case coming to PC and consoles.
And next week on the 30th, find yourself one cup at a time in Pixel Cafe coming to PC, Switch, and next gen consoles. Want to play FTL but as a roguelike with friends? Well, This Means Warp has you covered, coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.