In this weeks podcast we Hey, Hey, Hey it up with Maylee, Paul and Rani discussing the news and new releases. Paul and Maylee lead a discussion of Psychonauts 2, while Paul waxes lyrical on The Artful Escape.
On today’s show Ezie, Elliott and Toby talk News, the Activision Blizzard Lawsuit and Elliott reviews Ghosts of Tsushima Directors Cut.
Roblox Is Getting Voice Chat
The popular online play space will be introducing voice chat as a feature! Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system, where players can create games and environments and then play and interact in those spaces, making it a popular online hangout. Voice chat is on the way, starting with ‘spatial voice’ for developers, to test the concept of realistic conversations within the game, mimicking the way that voices carry in the real world.
There are concerns on how these conversations can be moderated, especially considering that a large portion of Roblox players are minors. As a result, voice chat will have a slow rollout, with initial access only being available to 5000 developers. It has been suggested that voice chat may never be made available to those under 13, depending on how each stage of the rollout progresses.
In addition, Roblox will let users self-report issues, flagging problematic players which may result in losing speaking privileges.
You Will Be Able To Upgrade Horizon Forbidden West To The PS5, But There’s A Cost
With many people unable to get their hands on the PS5, it has been a relief to know that many PS4 games will include a free PS5 upgrade for when players are able to get the next-gen console. So many fans were disappointed when Sony initially announced that Horizon Forbidden West wouldn’t include this upgrade.
Thankfully, Sony has retracted this decision, and people who buy a copy of Horizon Forbidden West for the PS4 will be able to receive a free upgrade allowing them to play it on the PS5.
However, Sony has confirmed that from this point onwards, all PS4 games both digital and physical will come with a $13 AUD upgrade fee for the PS5 version of that same game. This will include games such as Gran Turismo 7, and the next God of War.
Tripwire Interactive CEO Steps Down After Backlash
Tripwire Interactive CEO John Gibson is stepping down following backlash against his tweet supporting the recent Texas restrictive abortion laws, which allowed citizens to sue anyone who aids the procedure.
“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners, and much of our broader community. Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment,” says Tripwire representatives.
Current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO. Alan has worked with the company since its formation in 2005 and takes an active lead in Tripwire’s business and development. There are intentions to address concerns within and outside the company, starting with a company-wide meeting to promote open dialogue.
Upcoming game releases!
- The Artful Escape [PC, XBO]
- Terrain of Magical Expertise [PC]
- Webbed [PC]
- A Day Without Me [PS4, XBO]
- Kraken Academy!! [PC]
- Life is Strange: True Colors [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch, Stadia]
- Lost in Random [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
- NBA 2K22 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
- Tales of Arise [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
- WarioWare: Get it Together [Switch]
- Honey, I Joined a Cult [PC]
- Age of Darkness: Final Stand [PC]
- Fire Commander [PC]
- Merek’s Market [PC, PS4, XBO, Stadia]
- Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town [PC]
- Timberborn [PC]
- Titan Chaser [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
This week Ezie takes over and brings in a new voice, Eliott! Together they take on the week in gaming news, give us the Old One-Two on South East Games’ Paint the Town Red, and press play on Paul’s review of The Forgotten City.
This week Zahra’s locked in the studio for Lockdown and discussing the News, as well as reviewing Evolution. We also get Rani’s awaited review of Immortals Fenyx Rising, and a heartfelt sendoff from Zahra themselves.
This week Paul and Rani talk big news and review Death’s Door and Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
Overwatch under investigation
The US department of Justice antitrust division is looking into the Overwatch League over its soft salary cap policy. The idea behind this investigation is to determine whether the existing policies in the league are anticompetitive. An Activision Blizzard Esports spokesperson told Dot Esports in a recent statement, “we have received an inquiry from the DOJ and are cooperating accordingly, we deliver epic entertainment to our fans and support out players and team in producing the most competitive and enjoyable esports leagues in the world.” The soft salary cap had a threshold of $1.6 million USD in 2020 and if the team were to exceed that amount in annual player salaries Blizzard Esports would have to pay players’ salaries as well as that excess amount to the league as a luxury tax, thus making every dollar over 1.6 million twice as expensive. That luxury tax would then be distributed among the non-offending teams. It’s possible that only a few teams may have passed this threshold however the details are still unclear. A spokesperson from the DOJ declined to comment on the matter and the existence of an investigation.
Nintendo’s OLED Switch drop
A recent surprise announcement from the gaming giants Nintendo showed off a new model of the console with a 7-inch OLED display as well as a bunch of other small hardware updates including bigger storage 64GB and wider kickstand, it even has a built-in ethernet port for all those Lan parties you’re having. There is also improved audio quality. The current Nintendo Switch has a slightly smaller display at 6.2 inches and only 32GB of storage. The Nintendo Switch OLED will be released on the 8th of October at $539AUS and they are available for pre-order now.
Games Done Quick 2021
It’s that time of year again where Games Done Quick raises money for good causes. For over 10 years, Games Done Quick has been raising money via speedrunning. Basically, a bunch of awesome volunteers play games at incredible speed for entertainment. The events are live streamed on Twitch.tv nonstop from the 5th of July until the 10th of July. Each streamer will share some tips and tricks around how they get the fastest times from their speed runs. This year’s charity will be Doctors Without Borders which is an international medical humanitarian aid organisation that works in over 70 countries providing lifesaving medical care and speaks out about what they have seen in those areas. Their work aids people based solely in need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. If you’d like to check out Games Done Quick and how you can contribute by clicking here.
Gaming Releases this week:
• July 8
o Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual [PC VR]
• July 9
o Black Skylands [PC]
o Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin [PC, Switch]
• July 13
o Curved Space [Switch]
o Outsider: After Life [PC]
o Where the Heart Leads [PS5, PS4]
o Skydome [PC]
o Space Punks [PC]
• July 15
o Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective [Switch]
o Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game [PC, XBO]
Sony Lawsuits & PlayStation 5 Shortages
A group of gamers is gearing up to file a lawsuit against Sony this week, arguing that the company runs an unlawful monopoly that limits where players are able to purchase digital copies of PlayStation games to only Sony online stores. This group has said that Sony’s monopoly on digital games means, “they are allowed to charge supercompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, that are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market.” This lawsuit is designed to hopefully encourage Sony to create a more consumer friendly environment by suggesting a more competitive retail market that doesn’t result in players paying up to 175 percent more for digital games.
Sony are also expecting massive PlayStation 5 shortages that is predicted to last into 2022. Sony have been having some supply issues that don’t have an end in sight. According to Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said, “If we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand.” Despite supply shortages Sony has sold more than 7.8 million units since November last year. Similar to Sony, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S are also struggling with supply constraints until after June 20th this year.
Filmmaker claims Capcom took Designs for Resident Evil Village
Filmmaker Richard Raaphorst who directed a horror film Frankenstein’s Army in 2013 has shared online a comparison of images from his movie and Resident Evil Village’s character designs. Many fans of the horror film continue to find similarities. Raaphorst said, “It’s a crazy monster movie filled with my own creature designs, one of which has been used – completely without authorization or credit in the newest Resident Evil game.” For now, there doesn’t appear to be any legal action from Raaphorst just that he wished they’d given him credit. If you’d like to take a look at the images (SPOLIER WARNING) click here.
E3 2021 is coming up fast
Starting on June 12th and running for three days until the 15th E3 Expo is only a month away. Coronavirus has had a massive impact of industry events however hopeful we are that they will return soon we still have a way to go and because of this, E3 2021 will be embracing all the virtual technology it can to bring us closer to the exhibitors this year. There are some big game announcements to come that are currently kept secret as well as more sneak peaks into big releases such as Halo: Infinite, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Starfield, Final Fantasy 16, a potentially new Sonic game, not to mention the anticipation for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. If you’d like to get updates on what’s happening as well as where everything is to be streamed head over to www.e3expo.com to sign up, it’s totally free.
Game Releases this week:
May 13th: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids comes out on all platforms
May 14th: Famicom Detective Club (Nintendo Switch), Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, PS4, XBO), Quantum Replica (PS4, XBO, Switch), Subnautica (Switch), Subnautica: Below Zero (PS4 & 5, XSX, XBO, Switch).
May 18th: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice (PS4, XBO, Switch)
Sony PlayStation flip flops over Store Closure
In late March Sony confirmed the online game store closure for Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, and PlayStation Vita on July 2nd. On April 15th users began to feel the first wave of effects, with patch support for many games being removed. This led to many issues, with some users being locked out of previously purchased downloadable content in games, such as Little Big Planet 2 and White Knight Chronicles, with others unable to access online play due to patch requirements. Mysteriously, some of these patches have begun reappearing after public outcry. For a list of affected games please check this link.
On April 19th Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, backtracked on most of the closures in an official PlayStation blog post, stating;
“Upon further reflection, however, it’s clear that we made the wrong decision here. So today I’m happy to say that we will be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices. PSP commerce functionality will retire on July 2, 2021 as planned.”
Further, he wrote that this flip was due to the “incredibly passionate” customer base’s need to be able to purchase “…classic games on PS3 and PS Vita for the foreseeable future…”
Amazon Cancels Lord of the Rings MMO after Tencent Negotiations Fall Through.
In a convoluted tale of Tolkien-esque complexity, Amazon has ended hopes of a free to play Lord of the Rings MMO in the near future.
It all began in 2018, when Athlon Games signed a licencing agreement with Middle Earth Enterprises to produce and publish a prequel MMO for consoles and PC. Then, in 2019 Amazon partnered with Athlon’s holding company Leyou Technologies to co-create and split publishing responsibilities. However, in December of 2020, just as rumours of release dates of late 2021 to early 2023 began emerging, Tencent Holdings acquired Leyou Technologies in a US$1.5 billion dollar deal.
According to Bloomberg, since this acquisition, contract negotiations have soured, with Amazon “…unable to secure terms to process with the title at this time”, making this game the fifth that Amazon Game Studio has cancelled since 2018.
Nintendo Shuts down Labo Homepage.
Sometime between February 26th and March 5th, Nintendo axed the North American Labo homepage, and now redirects to Labo’s VR Kit sales page. According to Gamesradar, this could possibly signal the end of the cardboard accessories line-up. The kits contained cardboard cut-outs of different shapes that could be made into structures utilised in minigames on the Switch. These kits could easily be repurposed for programming and learning, and were trialled for assistance in STEM curriculums in Australia and North America, and advocated for home-based education. If you are still looking for kits in Australia, the Australian website is still available at Nintendo.com.au/labo. And should you make any mistakes, we have you covered with this link to Labo spare printable parts.
Now for some upcoming games.
On April 22nd Buildings Have Feelings Too is coming to PC, PS4, XBO, & Switch. This city management/puzzle game will have you support businesses and build new friends. And to celebrate Earth day 2021, the “Afrofuturist squad management RPG”, We Are The Caretakers is coming to steam early access with the promise of 10% of the net revenue going to rhino conservation.
On the 28th of April, Alpha Particle, a light puzzle game where you search for your purpose, comes to PC. And Genshin Impact comes to PS5.
Apple Refuses to Testify
Apple is being urged to provide a witness for an upcoming hearing on app stores and digital competition. The demands by Senate Judiciary Committee leaders are becoming more persistent after Apple abruptly decided to not provide a witness a couple of weeks before the hearing. The hearing had been planned for weeks, and Apple had been in discussions with the staff on who would testify on Apple’s behalf.
Apple’s App Store has been under scrutiny by lawmakers over the previous year. In 2019 an investigation had been launched into competition in the tech industry, which includes Apple’s App Store, with a focus on the 30% fees Apple charges app developers. Last year, Fortnite publisher Epic Games sued Apple with the accusation that the company is violating US antitrust laws after the game was removed from the App Store. Apple had won a similar case with Epic Games within Australia, when Fortnite had been pulled from the App Store for listing an alternative method of playing the game that would allow players to pay Epic Games directly, at a 20% discount.
The hearing is set to take place on May 3rd.
French Court Overturns Dismissal Ruling for Ex-Quantic Dream Dev
Revisiting a 2018 court case against Quantic Dream, a French court has overturned the decision of that unfair dismissal case. In 2018 it had been ruled that the employee had been forced out of the studio due to toxic and targeted behaviour.
The court has come to the consensus that the alleged misogynistic, homophobic, and racist culture at Quantic Dream wasn’t the reason for the employee’s departure, so the unfair dismissal ruling doesn’t apply.
The allegations included mentions of a collection of 600 photoshopped images that were alleged to contain discriminatory jokes and altered images of employees. Four former Quantic Dream employees cited the information uncovered by that report as the grounds for their unfair dismissal claims. The court sided with one of those employees, but that has been overturned, as the employee knew about the image in question when it was created in 2015, and therefore was unrelated to their departure in 2018.
Now that individual has been ordered to pay Quantic Dream $12,000.
Quantic Dream is using the ruling as a dismissal of those toxic culture allegations as a whole.
Hearthstone Esports Player Suspended over Abuse Allegations
Hearthstone Esports has announced that one of the game’s Grandmaster tournament players, Paul “Zale” Nemeth, has been suspended due to allegations of domestic abuse.
After nearly three months of silence following these allegations coming to light, and a day before the 2021 Grandmasters season begins, Blizzard finally responded, saying that they are “aware of the allegations and are assessing the matter”. Many Hearthstone fans have expressed relief and approval for Blizzard’s response, and the act of suspending the player.
And now for some upcoming game releases!
- Ashwalkers: A Survival Journey (PC)
- Carly and the Reaperman (PC, VR)
- SaGa Frontier Remastered (PC, PS4, Switch)
- Sea of Thieves Season 2 (PC, XSX, XBO)
- Super Meat Boy Forever (PS4, XBO)
- Don’t Forget Me (PC)
- Maskmaker (PC, VR, PSVR)
- MLB The Show 21 (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
- World Splitter (PC, PS4, Switch)
- Buildings Have Feelings Too! (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Orbital Bullet (PC)
- Judgement (PS5, XSX, Stadia)
- NieR Replicant ver1.22474487139… (PC, PS4, XBO)