This week Paul, Zahra, and Peter go all out bringing you not only the freshest in Gaming News, but not one, not two, not even three, but 4 REVIEWS!!!!
Paul and Zahra tag team reviewing Gunbrella (ella, ella), “A Nice Little Game” Zahra with – Fern Flower, “Films Are Bigger For Me Than Games” Paul with – It’s a Wrap, and finally, Zahra again with a review of Fishing and Life.
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?
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.
Chillin’ out on Zed Games this week, Maylee, Caroline and Cameron talk the IP buyout trend in this weeks Gaming News discussion, Caroline dives deep into gameplay loops in a review of Dave the Diver, & Maylee tries to get to the relaxation station in Metro Mini.
Call of Duty Uses AI To Find Toxicity
Call of Duty is no stranger to less-than-pleasant behaviour from players, like many massively popular games with an online component. What is Activision doing now to combat it? Activision is now teaming up with Modulate, an AI program developed specifically to filter through voice chat in order to flag, and deal with, problematic behaviour.
It’s still in its early stages, with ToxMod, the tool being used, entering beta testing on North American servers. The tool is already used in a number of online games, but Call of Duty would certainly be a large task.
The program isn’t capable of banning players, but instead will monitor voice chat in real time, flag problematic behaviour depending on context, and then provide this information to moderators to take action. In theory, you can still cuss out your friends when they’re taking their sweet time getting to you, so players shouldn’t be worried about being boisterous.
The game developer company, Deep Silver Volition, developer of titles like Saints Row, and Red Faction, has closed its doors after 30 years of development. It hasn’t been a smooth journey for the company, with Volition’s Saints Row reboot facing negative criticism upon reveal. After a transfer from Embracer, and a multi-billion dollar deal collapsing, Volition has been shut down while Embracer goes through some pretty significant restructuring.
IPs including Saints Row and Red Faction will be transferred to another subsidiary, Plaion.
“For 30 years now you have played our games – sometimes you’ve loved them, sometimes you’ve been disappointed with them, but you’ve always been there… We can’t thank you enough for sticking with us throughout this time.” Volition says in a letter to its community.
Did you like that cat game that came out last year? The one where you’re a little kitty cat in a futuristic city populated by robots? Well, it’ll be hitting the big screen! Annapurna Animation, who developed the film Nimona, will be developing an animated film based off of the game.
“It’s a buddy comedy about a cat and a robot, and there’s such a hilarious dynamic. So, there’s comedy inherent in this, but there’s not one human being in this movie. I think it’s one of the reasons why the game was incredibly popular,” says Robert Baird, Annapurna Animation boss.
Annual Diablo Expansions
Blizzard will be releasing multiple expansions for Diablo IV on an annual basis, with each year being broken up into quarterly seasons, with long-term storylines promised.
This roadmap isn’t unusual for developers, to space out new content on a regular basis. The 11 year long gap between Diablo III and Diablo IV has also been cited as a reason, and it’s hoped that this approach will help rectify that.
Season 2, Season of Blood, has been announced as part of GamesCon opening night.
Arcane Season Two!
Season two of Arcane, the Netflix animated series based off of Riot Games’ League of Legends game, will be premiering in winter 2024 (or summer for us Aussies). Woohoo!
And now for some upcoming games!
- The Dragoness: Command of the Flame – Switch
- Toss! – PC VR, Quest, PSVR 2
- Fae Farm – PC, Switch
- NBA 2K24 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Eternights – PC, PS5, PS4
- The Isle Tide Hotel – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Heretic’s Fork – PC
- Super Bomberman R 2 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- Ad Infinitum – PC, PS5, XSX
- AK-xolotl – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch
- The Crew Motorfest – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO
- Heavy Duty Challenge – PC, PS5, XSX
- Sugar Shack – PC
That’s it this week in gaming news!
This week Paul takes Zahra and Caroline on a journey through Escape Academy, with a review by Zahra, and The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, with a review by Paul. Maylee brings it all together with the week in gaming news!
The week Paul and Zahra pull in Tom from Netherworld to talk the Mario Kart 8 Tournament happening this weekend! The crew also chats Gaming News and Paul takes to time weaving radio waves in a review of Oxenfree II: Lost Signals.
Who Wants Activision’s Transformers on Game Pass?
Does anyone remember those Transformers games for the Xbox 360 developed by Activision? The ones you can no longer buy digitally? Well, Hasbro has expressed an interest in bringing it up for the Game Pass. The problem? Hasbro initially claimed that it was because, “apparently Activision’s not sure what hard drives they’re on in their building. When a company eats a company that eats a company, things get lost…”
They did also follow-up with an apology for saying that Activision lost its Transformers games, stating that the comments were “made in error”.
Hasbro do really want Transformers on the Game Pass however, “Hope is that now that the deal is moving forward with Microsoft and Xbox they’ll go through all of the archives and every hard drive to find it all because it’s an easy Game Pass add.”
So, who knows?
The Last Of Us Knockoff Is Dead
A budget Switch game called The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival, bore a striking resemblance to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, down to the gruff-dad character with an Ellie-like companion. And as you can imagine, it did not last long, with the game being pulled from the Nintendo eShop, and the game’s trailers disappearing from YouTube.
The game’s trailers were less than awe-inspiring, and for those who decided to give The Last Hope a try found their hopes dashed when the entire game is around 20 minutes long and horribly buggy.
While the trailers being pulled can be clearly attributed to Sony submitting copyright claims, The Last Hope’s disappearance from the eShop might be due to caution from the developers, Sony themselves, or Nintendo covering their six o’clock.
Mutant Turtles Invade Minecraft
No no don’t worry, the sea turtles in Minecraft are fine. But our favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be crossing over with Minecraft, which includes a special DLC texture pack featuring Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, special maps for exploring the turtle’s favourite haunts, and you’ll even be able to battle enemies such as Shredder and Krang.
This is of course on top of the pizza-scented Xbox controllers we mentioned the other week. All leading to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film coming out in a few weeks. Hype!
Zoom Zoom Guardians
If you’re participating in this year’s Solstice in Destiny 2, you will be thrilled to learn that you can now use Sparrows in the European Aerial Zone, so you can get to the bad guys really, really quickly, and beat them up quicker than it took me to finish this story. Happy Solstice!
And now for some upcoming games!
- Adore (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Flutter Away (PC)
- Tiny Thor (Switch)
- Death Becomes You (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Gord (PC, PS5, XSX)
- Tower of Fantasy (PS5, PS4)
- WrestleQuest (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Legend Bowl (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Atlas Fallen (PC, PS5, XSX)
- Stray (XSX, XBO)
- Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
That’s it this week in gaming news!
The Queensland Games Festival (formally known as Game On/GO 423) is the biggest celebration of games made right here, in sunny Queensland. Held on the 22nd of July at the Brisbane Powerhouse, this year Zed Games got to witness more games, more developers, more teams, and more interest in this wonderful event.
Our role? To host the Game Dev Hot Seat throughout the day, interviewing devs live on stage so that they may tell us all about their projects. With a massive variety of games, from narrative to first person shooters, to VR games to board games, and games that blend the borders between them all, at this year’s Queensland Games Festival we got to see it all! And after a long day of gaming, it was a tonne of fun to wrap up with an End Game session, with notable figures in the games industry duking it out against the game-master (with a bit of help from the audience!).
On top of that there were also a number of workshops, and discussions, such as the Emerging Developers Room, for those taking their first steps into the industry, and Gameloft Creative Kids, where children had the chance to meet the artists behind My Little Pony, and create some art of their own.
Missed out? Want to know what was shown? Got there and had so much fun and want to check out the games? Here you go:
AND Metal Evil, Halloween Cat-tastrophe, On Point VR, Maiwar VR, Curses and Covens, Gem Hunters, Battlemage vs MechaDinos, Scarlet Pages, and Fossil Diggers VR!
The Queensland Games Festival is made possible with government support through Screen Queensland’s Culture Funding program.