Tag: Microsoft

Anti-Toxic AI, Good Bye Volition, and Stray Movie!

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.

Goodbye Volition

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.

STRAY MOVIE

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!

September 7

  • The Dragoness: Command of the Flame – Switch
  • Toss! – PC VR, Quest, PSVR 2

September 8

  • Fae Farm – PC, Switch
  • NBA 2K24 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch

September 12

  • Eternights – PC, PS5, PS4
  • The Isle Tide Hotel – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch

September 13

  • Heretic’s Fork – PC
  • Super Bomberman R 2 – PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch

September 14

  • 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!

Last Hopes Dashed, Transformers Lost, and Mutant Turtles

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!

August 3rd

  • Adore (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Flutter Away (PC)
  • Tiny Thor (Switch)

August 4th

  • Death Becomes You (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

August 8th

  • Gord (PC, PS5, XSX)
  • Tower of Fantasy (PS5, PS4)
  • WrestleQuest (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

August 9th

  • Legend Bowl (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

August 10th

  • 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!

GLORBO

It’s a new week, so lets go #Glorbo
This week Zahra, Hazel and Caroline go (hedge) hog with gaming news, a recap over the who, what, where, when, and that of this years Queensland Games Festival, and then the team talks of the sadness that the lackluster new series of Sonic Prime brought them.

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.

Stare Into The Sun: Some things you can’t explain, but you can feel


SURPRISE EARLY PODCAST!
In celebration of our collaboration with Netherworld for the Indie Dev Night we’re releasing this weeks podcast EARLY! So listen in as Maylee, Hazel, & Paul talk gaming news, this years not E3 announcements and Hazel does a special In Memoriam for the online phenomenon Blazeball.
So gather your salutes, gird your tear ducts, and open your ear holes.

Volvy


Time to gather your infinite multiverse everything everywhere spider selves around the sparking gigabyte motherboard that is Zed Games.

This week Hazel wrangles Maylee and Tobi through the week in gaming news, and swings through the everything bagel that is a review of the movie “Spider-Man: Across The Spider Verse”. All while Paul spends some time exploring not quite inside of “Planet of Lana”.

Zelda Tumbles, Amazon Doubles Down, & Activision-Blizzard Again?


More in Activision-Blizzard-Microsoft News

The EU Commission into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard has been approved after an extensive investigation. Microsoft has agreed to provide free licenses for the next 10 years to cloud streaming services allowing residents in the European Economic Area to stream Activision-Blizzard games on any cloud platform, addressing the competition concerns identified by the Commission. However, the merger still faces challenges with the FTC filing in the US and continues to be blocked pending appeal in the UK. 1-4


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_23_2705

In other Activision Blizzard News, the company has abandoned its original plans for Overwatch 2’s separate co-op PvE mode… a major selling point that got players to move somewhat objective free from Overwatch 1 to 2. Now the game will incorporate co-op gameplay and experiences into the live-service model, disappointing fans who had been eagerly anticipating the depth and progression of the original vision.5-7 These views have been best summarised by user Uchihagod53,

“The f**k was the point of [Overwatch 2] then?”

Zelda: The Good, Bad and … ooo look at the pretty colours…

Fans have been disappointed at the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, with a player finishing the game in just over an hour and a half (speed runner gymnast86),8 the inability to pet dogs,9 and lack of unlimited bombs.10
Despite this, Tears of the Kingdom has received overwhelmingly positive reviews with around 97 on Metacritic and OpenCritic, making it the highest-rated game of 2023 and the highest-rated Switch game to date. The critical success of Tears of the Kingdom has made it the biggest Zelda game launch in the UK and is expected to be one of the biggest and best-selling games of the year worldwide.11, 12 Players can also look forward to more in the future with Eiji Aonuma (the series manager and producer of Tears of the Kingdom) stating that future Zelda series games will continue to embrace the open-world format introduced in Breath of the Wild. Aonuma compares this shift to how Ocarina of Time established a format for subsequent Zelda games in the late 90s.13

Amazon Doubles Down on Lord of the Rings MMO

After talks broke down between Tencent and Amazon in 2021, Amazon decided to abandon their stake in a Lord of the Rings MMORPG.14 However, the rights for the franchise recently reverted to Middle-Earth Enterprises leading to new discussions with Amazon and the eventual partnership between Amazon’s New World team and the Embracer Group. The game is currently being pitched as an MMO separate from the Lord of the Rings projects, rather aiming for gameplay experiences over faithful adaptation with an over 10-year lifespan.15-17
However Lord of the Rings Online fans are not worried about this game taking over the franchise even in the face of potential server shutdowns and resource allocation, instead pointing to the lacklustre performance of Amazon’s MMO New World.18

And Here’s Some Tasty Gaming Bytes

  • You can finally 100% The Burning Shores DLC of Horizon Forbidden West, now that they’ve added the ONE Brimshine Sliver so that you can finally buy and upgrade everything.19
  • In a new acquisition to the gaming community Sea Lions have become gamers, with US Navy’s Spike traversing mazes WITHOUT fishy bribery and showing delight when winning games.20
  • And finally the relaxing, co-op-able game Powerwash Simulator has hit 7 million users,21, 22 making us ask the question,

“Why meditate when you can simulate?”

https://twitter.com/PowerWashSim/status/1656646241353101320?s=20

And now for some upcoming games.

On Friday 19th, build your own racer in Lego 2K Drive coming to everything.
Monday May 22nd, multiplayer tactical roguelike Inkbound comes to PC.
Tuesday May 23rd, save the post-apocalyptic world in the tactical RPG in Miasma Chronicles or save it as a platforming pixie preservationist in After Us, both coming to PC and Next Gen Consoles. Or lighten up with a cartoonish platform shooter Glitch Busters: Stuck on You coming to PC, PS4 and Switch. Explore the hand-painted puzzle platformer Planet of Lana coming to PC and Xbox. Hit the nostalgia nerve with Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! on the Switch. And Star Trek: Resurgence is coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox.
And next week on Thursday May 25th, the sequel to Do Not Feed the Monkeys, Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 is coming to PC and Switch. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And lastly Tennis Manager 2023 is coming to PC.

 

References;

  1. https://www.gameinformer.com/2023/05/15/european-commission-approves-microsofts-activision-blizzard-acquisition
  2. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/european-commission-approves-microsoft-activision-blizzard-deal
  3. https://www.gamesradar.com/microsofts-activision-blizzard-deal-approved-by-european-union/
  4. https://www.gamesradar.com/the-eu-will-require-microsoft-to-bring-activision-games-to-its-cloud-competitors-if-the-buyout-is-successful/
  5. https://www.destructoid.com/overwatch-2-pve-pivoting-from-original-plans-news/
  6. https://www.gamesradar.com/the-death-of-overwatch-2-pve-is-hitting-players-hard-after-years-of-waiting-overwatch-1-died-for-this/
  7. https://www.gamesradar.com/overwatch-2-is-killing-the-pve-mode-it-was-supposed-to-be-built-around/
  8. https://www.gamesradar.com/just-hours-after-launch-the-speedrun-record-for-zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-sits-at-just-over-90-minutes/
  9. https://www.gamesradar.com/i-just-found-out-that-you-cant-pet-the-dog-in-zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-so-now-im-never-playing-it/
  10. https://www.gamesradar.com/the-legend-of-zelda-fans-are-mourning-the-lack-of-remote-bombs-in-tears-of-the-kingdom/
  11. https://www.destructoid.com/tears-of-the-kingdom-metacritic-opencritic-score-nintendo-zelda/
  12. https://www.gamesradar.com/zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-is-officially-the-uks-biggest-zelda-launch-in-history/
  13. https://www.gamesradar.com/expect-more-open-world-zelda-games-after-tears-of-the-kingdom-series-producer-confirms/
  14. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/amazon-cancels-lord-of-the-rings-game
  15. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/amazons-second-attempt-at-making-one-mmo-to-rule-them-all
  16. https://www.gamesradar.com/amazons-lord-of-the-rings-mmo-is-a-game-first-a-reflection-of-the-books-second/
  17. https://www.ign.com/articles/lord-of-the-rings-mmo-coming-from-new-world-developer-amazon-games
  18. https://www.gamesradar.com/new-world-was-a-success-for-a-month-lord-of-the-rings-online-fans-arent-scared-of-amazons-new-lotr-mmo/
  19. https://www.gamesradar.com/horizon-forbidden-west-adds-a-single-missing-crystal-so-players-can-finally-100-the-dlc/
  20. https://www.dexerto.com/gaming/the-us-navy-is-using-video-games-to-train-sea-lions-and-dolphins-2141633/
  21. https://www.gamesindustry.biz/powerwash-simulator-hits-7m-players-news-in-brief
  22. https://www.destructoid.com/powerwash-simulator-has-seen-7-million-players-scrub-up/

Mainlining Zelda Zelda

How we all feeling about Mainlining Zelda? …ZELDA!!
This week in Zed Games, Hazel leads us through this weeks game reviews and Paul brings us the latest in gaming news. In reviews, Zahra follows in their families grappling hook in a review of A Story About My Uncle and Cameron slaps fashion sense into beige doom sprites in Fashion Police Squad. The team then chats advertisers effects on bringing the hype and cutting us deep in game choices.