On Zed Games this week Maylee chats with Hazel on this week in gaming news, Zahra talks inspiration at Camp Squiggly, and Paul kick-flips into his review of OlliOlli World.
This week on Zed Games Paul, Elliott, and Hazel talk news, Paul grinds through a review of Elden Ring and Elliott takes us on a drive through Gran Turismo 7.
In Zed Games this week the crew talks news, Healthy Gaming, and Zahra glides through a review of Sky: Children of Light.
This week on Zed Games Tobi brings you the latest in gaming news, Zahra tells you all you need to know about Sonic Forces, and Paul gives you the details on Shadow Warrior 3.
Developers react to Russia’s war with Ukraine.
In the last week, as Russia invaded Ukraine, several studios, developers, and publishers from around the world have voiced their support for Ukraine and its plight.
International developers such as CD Projekt Red have tweeted
“We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can. Together we can make a huge difference.”
State of Play Games and Amanita Design have also joined in donating their earnings to the cause. In some cases, this support has resulted in backlashes from the gaming community. After 11 bit studios declared they would be donating profits from sales of This War of Mine to the Ukrainian Red Cross, they were review bombed by players from China and Russia, and Space Engineers received similar treatment after announcing their support for Ukraine.
Closer to Ukraine, indie developer Crytivo’s CEO Alex Koshelkov announced all profits from February and March, and 1 million Polish zloty, will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross, as well as support for Ukrainian employees while they search for safety. CEO of tiny build also voiced their support for their Ukrainian employees, tweeting “Nobody gets left behind.” Wargaming, developers of World of Tanks, supported their over 550 Ukrainian developers by assisting them to find alternative housing, early salary, and making sure relocation and evacuation efforts are paid for. They also donated a million USD to the Ukrainian Red Cross, and when their creative director posted support for the invasion of Ukraine on social media, they quickly acted “letting him go[sic]” the next day.
With Ukraine calling for support from developers, other companies such as EA Sport and The Chinese Room, developers of Little Orpheus, have joined with others in their support of Ukraine.
In lighter news, with the limited release of the Steam Deck in the U.S., Gabe Newell, president of Valve Corp, has been spotted hand-delivering signed Steam Decks in Seattle. The Steam Deck released on the 25th of February along with the free game Aperture Desk Job to celebrate the console’s capabilities. Critiques on battery life and gaming power are rife, and some users are already reporting stick drift. Furthermore, while Destiny 2 can run on Linux, Bungie has issued a statement that those who hack Destiny 2 to work on the console will be met with game bans.
However, Gabe Newell has already talked about the future with Steam Deck 2 on the horizon as a possible VR running machine.
Ducks, Kittens and Apple Crocs Coming to Pokémon.
After the announcement earlier this week of a Pokémon Direct, fans were already getting their hopes up for a Gen 9 Pokémon game. And they were not disappointed. Right at the end of the Direct, they announced Pokémon Scarlet and Violet along with the three starters; an attention seeking grass cat called Sprigatito, a relaxed fire type crocodile named Fuecoco, and Quaxly, an earnest new water duck. Both the names and the release video have lead Pokémon fans to speculate that the Gen 9 region will be inspired by Spain, and the game will follow the open world style that has become so popular with the recent release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Now for some quick Gaming Bytes:
● American and British Sign Language support coming to Forza Horizon 5 on March 1st.
● In the 25th annual D.I.C.E. awards show local Brisbane developer Witch Beam won the award for Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game for Unpacking.
● Activision has ended a near 20 year tradition of annual releases of Call of Duty by delaying the next edition in the franchise until 2023.
● Nintendo may have joined the acquisition wars after acquiring long term partner SRD, after working with them for almost 40 years.
● Tokyo Game Show 2022 has revealed the theme of this year will be “Nothing Stops Gaming!!!” and will be a physical event taking place at Makuhari Messe from September 15 to 18.
And finally, some upcoming game releases.
On March 4, Gran Turismo 7 is coming to PlayStation. 80’s synth, arcade platformer, Gunborg: Dark Matter comes to PC, PlayStation, Xbox One and Switch. The upgraded Music Racer: Ultimate comes to next gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles. 2014’s Quest For Infamy gets a console release, releasing on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch. And finally, tactical RPG Triangle Strategy comes to Switch.
And March 10, real time space strategy Distant Worlds 2 comes to PC, and lastly, Submerged sequel Submerged: Hidden Depths, is a relaxing exploration game set in a ruined, water filled world and comes to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
This week Maylee hosts Zed Games with Zahra chatting news before Maylee takes us on a sweaty pain train into a review of Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure. Then Zahra fills us with flights of fancy with a review of Aer: Memories of Old.
In this weeks podcast, Paul and Jango talk gaming news, Rani reviews Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Elliott takes us into the Aussie bush with a review of Ty Tasmanian Tiger.
Lost Ark on top of the charts!
The new fantasy MMO by Smilegate has reached over 1.32 million concurrent players on Steam over their launch weekend. This makes Lost Ark the second highest concurrent peak in Steam history, second only to PUBG: Battlegrounds. It’s a pretty impressive feat for a new title beating out the likes of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and DOTA 2. Originally Lost Ark was released back in South Korea in 2019 and has been brought over to a western audience by Amazon Games. Currently Smilegate have said, “We’re blown away by the number of players that have joined us in Lost Ark since our launch on Friday. Arkesia is filled to the brim with eager players, so we’re working as quickly as possible to set up an entirely new region of servers in Europe.”
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for sale!
The rights that is, and not just to the video games. Variety reported recently that the current owner Saul Zaentz Co. has decided to sell its Tolkien holdings, thus giving up the precious merchandising, movie, video game, and live event rights, this includes all titles from J.R.R. Tolkien. This selling of rights happens to come just in time for Amazon to officially announce its long-awaited television series called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Middle-earth is a very popular place for game developers over the years with many spin-offs and lore link-ins. There are also many projects in the works revolving around The Lord of the Rings franchise. Only time will tell who snaps up the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien with properties expected to sell for a minimum $2 Billion.
Anti-gay law stops Russian fans from The Sims Expansion.
Developers of The Sims have decided to not sell their latest expansion My Wedding Stories in Russia. Russia has strict anti-LGBTIQ “gay propaganda law.” In this latest expansion of The Sims players are allowed to create their dream wedding or a catastrophe, all the marketing for this latest expansion features a lesbian couple of colour Camille and Dominique as they plan their big day. EA have said in an announcement, “As we moved through our development and brand storytelling process, we became aware that the way we wanted to tell Cam and Dom’s story would not be something we could freely share around the world.” “We are steadfast in upholding that commitment by shining a light on and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam’s, so we have made the decision to forgo the release of My Wedding Stories where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws.”
This week in gaming releases:
- Feb 17
- Assassin’s Creed the Ezio Collection [Switch]
- King of Fighters 15 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4]
- The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
- Total War: Warhammer 3 [PC]
- Feb 18
- Horizon Forbidden West [PS5, PS4]
- Feb 22
- Destiny 2: The Witch Queen [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Stadia]
- Ghosts [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
- Sol Cresta [PC, PS4, Switch]
- Tiny Combat Arena [PC]
- Feb 23
- Edge of Eternity cloud version [Switch]
- Final Fantasy 6 (pixel remaster) [PC]
This week Nintendo had several announcements with president Shuntaro Furukawa saying the Switch was in the middle of its lifecycle. With the Switch selling more units than all previous generations of Nintendo’s home consoles, with over 100 million units sold so far, the Switch, Switch Lite, and the new OLED version that released last year, it seems the Switch is closing in on Game Boy’s near 120 million console total. Despite this, year-to-year sales in 2021 dropped by 6% and profits were down 9.3% compared to 2020, after Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ exceptional release. Shuntaro Furukawa also announced they would not be participating in the consolidation wars of Microsoft and Sony, and are instead focussing on strengthening their own company. In better news for Nintendo, Pokémon Legends: Arceus has sold 6.5 million copies in its first week, outselling Sword and Shield which sold 6 million collectively in its release week.
The announcements of today’s Nintendo Direct was packed with sports and ports. In Sports, Mario Strikers Battle League, a Mario soccer game utilising items, skills, and strategy is coming June 10. Nintendo Switch Sport, a new Wii-like sports game including Bowling (with survival mode), Tennis, Chambara, Badminton, Volleyball, and Soccer complete with leg strap, as well as a future Golf game to come. This comes to Switch April 29 with a playtest for Switch Online members February 18 through 20. Baseball game The Show 22 announced cross play to take your game on the go. Disney Speedstorm, a free-to-play cross platform Disney and Pixar action racer to come midyear.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival, a rhythm drum game with 76 songs and a future in-game subscription that will give access to over 500 songs is coming this year.
In DLC announcements, Mario Kart 8 is getting a paid DLC with 48 remastered courses to be released over time named Booster Course Pack. This will be included in the Online Expansion Pack or may be purchased separately. And Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course DLC will be available June 30.
In Ports, Star Wars: Force Unleashed is available from today in the online store, also EarthBound and Earthbound Beginnings have been added to Nintendo Switch Online. Assassin’s Creed Enzio Collection is coming Feb 17, Triangle Strategy March 4, Chrono Cross: The Radican Dreamers Addition, a remake with enhanced soundtrack, is coming April 7, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp April 8, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series July 8, and Live A Live July 22. No Man’s Sky and Front Mission 1st: Remake are coming to the Switch midyear, and SD Gundam Battle Alliance, and Portal: Companion Collection have been announced for 2022.
Surprising Grand Theft Auto News
On February 4th Rockstar surprised fans by announcing in a blog post that they are “actively developing[sic] the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series [and] is well underway.” This same post also confirmed the release date for GTA V and GTA Online coming to PS5 and Xbox series S & X on March 15.
In other surprising news, CEO Strauss Zelnick claimed GTA Trilogy, with a user score of 0.6 on metacritic, “significantly exceeded” expectations. In an investor presentation Take Two-claimed they have sold up to an estimated 10 million copies of the game.
Now in some Gaming Bytes:
In 2021’s financial report Activision Blizzard shared that they are planning the release of a Warcraft franchised mobile “content” to be released this year. There is no indication as to what form this may take.
With the popularity of Wordle and its sale to the New York Times last week, several spinoffs have started to pop-up online. There are both word based options for the Wordle connoisseur with Semantle – a word meaning match, Dordle – a double word match puzzle, Lewdle a humorous addition where only lewd words are allowed, and Gameboy Rom and Wordle Archive for those wanting to take it on the go or check it out historically. For those sick of the word based wordles, Globle has you guessing countries, Squirdle is all Pokémon, and Nerdle is for those math fans.
But for those OG Wordle fans… it seems everything is right there on the webpage. So, before the New York Times takes over, don’t forget to right click and save your way to years of offline Wordle.
If you have another Wordle spinoff we need to know about, leave a comment on our Facebook news post.
Now for some upcoming games:
Friday the 11th free-to-play MMORPG Lost Ark is coming to PC
Pixelated action RPG where your choices matter Infernax is coming to PC, Xbox, PS4 and Switch just in time for Valentine’s Day. On Thursday 17th, King of Fighters 15 comes to PC, Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 4 & 5, and Total War: Warhammer 3 comes to PC and Game Pass.
And that’s all this week in gaming news.
Nobody knows how epic this podcast is… will you take the plunge?
Listen in to Ezie and Elliott talk news, while Paul reviews Nobody Saves the World, and Tobi screams incoherently about Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Dual at Mt. Skullzfyre.