New Events, New Legislation, & News

 

Loot box bill filed in Parliament

A bill has been introduced into the Australian Parliament, which could tighten Australia’s notoriously strict video game ratings.  The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Loot Boxes) Bill 2022 aims to have all video games using the loot box business model to be given an R18+ rating regardless of content, which would stop children from engaging with them. Federal politician Andrew Wilkie, an independent, introduced the bill into parliament yesterday. It was also seconded by MP Andrew Wallace.
“By tempting young players with the potential-to-win game-changing items, encouraging risk-taking behaviour for a possible reward, delivering random prizes on an intermittent basis and encouraging them to keep spending money, it’s clear that loot boxes give rise to many of the same emotions and experiences associated with poker machines and other traditional gambling activities,” Wilkie said.

 

GO423 this Weekend

Saturday December 3rd will see the Game On 423 festival at Brisbane Powerhouse once again. GO423 brings together Queensland game developers and studios to showcase their games to the community. It’s an all-ages event that runs from 10am to 5pm and is free to attend!

A group of us from ZedGames will be there on the day running a Game Dev Hot Seat throughout the day. This is bringing the people behind the games on stage so they can share their stories, ideas and ambitions and dive into the process of game development. For game designers early in their career, you can take the chance to consult with experienced developers in mentor sessions. There are also workshops running where you can flex your creative muscles and a trivia head-to-head on stage to round off the day.

For more information check out the Brisbane International Game Developers Association website, we hope to see you there!

 

New Gaming Convention Opens Next Year

Australian game fans rejoice! At least those of you in Victoria. A new gaming convention has been announced – “The Game Expo”.

In their own words, The Game Expo is “THE event dedicated to gaming, celebrating its culture and creativity. TGX is all about YOU, and everyone who loves video games. Whatever you love in gaming, you can find it at The Game Expo.” Details of the schedule aren’t available yet but the website promises a full experience of games tournaments, cosplay competitions, shopping, guests, panels, and an extensive game library available.

Most gaming events and conventions run in the later half of the year when the industry itself is more active. TGX is trying to fill the early-year lull, with the 2023 show scheduled for the 11th and 12th of March. The Game Expo will run at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre which is already home to Pax Australia and GCAP. If you aren’t in Victoria and can’t make the journey, it’s still an exciting sign of the growing demand for gaming events across Australia. For more information visit The Game Expo website.

Upcoming Releases

December 2nd:
– The Callisto Protocol (PS5 | PS4 | Xbox One | Xbox Series X)
– Marvel’s Midnight Suns (PS5 | Xbox Series X)
– Need For Speed Unbound (PS5 | Xbox Series X)

December 6th
– Hello Neighbor (PS5 | PS4 | Xbox | Switch)

SpringCon’22 – Unplugged

WHAT IS SPRINGCON?

An event organised by Springfield Gamers, SpringCon’22 is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort, organisation, and heart in order to create a fun, newbie-friendly tabletop extravaganza.

SpringCon is a celebration of everything to do with tabletop role-playing games, board games, card games, and all the gear, loot, and community that surrounds these hobbies. There is also an emphasis on introducing these hobbies to people who are new, curious, or seeking a new community to join. There were tournaments with some impressive prizes, workshops for learning how to make terrain for tabletop games, demonstrations for various tabletop systems, a bring-and-buy event where attendees could bring in their old boardgames and get something totally new, and so much more. Zed Games got to experience the first ever SpringCon this year, and we are looking forward to seeing what’s on next year!

WHO ARE THE ORGANISERS?

A community effort requires a community, and SpringCon’22 was no exception.

Primarily organised by Neal, the club president of Springfield Gamers, he has a tonne of experience with sharing games, but also teaching and guiding new players, organising regular gaming days and nights, and creating a welcoming environment. He is pictured here with the tournament grand prize, a full tabletop map.

The primary sponsor and vendor was Epic Ipswich, an amazing play space and game store with a fully equipped cafe, perfect for those who want to make an afternoon of it. Whilst having a look at their stall, which was stocked with absolutely everything anyone could possibly need to get into tabletop role-playing games or board-games, we took the opportunity to chat with the stall handlers, who were hugely welcoming, had a lot of information for us, and has instilled a desire to visit Epic Ipswich at some point.

 

Also making an appearance was the League of Extraordinary Gamers Brisbane and the Ipswich Tabletop Association. We got to witness some games and tournaments being run, and the maps, models, gameplay, and the very intense focus required.

We were able to chat with some of the guys from the Ipswich Tabletop Association who gave some great insight into where to get started with miniature painting and were super keen to offer tips.

WHAT WAS THERE?

We’ve mentioned some of the events, but also here are some of the vendors who were there!

Making Morrigan, who creates detailed tabletop pieces that incorporates LED lights and some really cool tricks, including a magic dice box!

Dragonfire Resin & Gaming, a small business that creates 3D printed models, gaming scenery, and just cool stuff.

Caitlin Fairchild dice bags, who had a tonne of creative, hand-made dice bags that were both very cute and very funny.

Geektastic Accessories, full of detailed, clever, and really funky accessories (including fabulous d20 earrings).

Terrain workshops were run by Corrupted Quill, and she was so booked out we didn’t even get a chance to chat with her, but we did take a tonne of photos of some of her work.

In addition there were plenty of food and drink stalls available, such as BBQ, potato tornadoes (a personal favourite), gigantic cups of iced tea, and coffee of course, all available outside with plenty of shaded seating. Perfect for recharging after seeing everything in the hall!

WAS IT FUN?

SpringCon was a tremendous amount of fun, but more than that it was engaging, interesting, and inspiring. Even if we couldn’t participate in everything that was available, just chatting to vendors and participants was fascinating as we asked how they got into this hobby, how they started, and their favourite creations or moments.

A common theme? Nearly everyone had, at some point, taken the dive to get into a game that they were curious about, but had no idea where to start, but thanks to friends or a small leap of faith, have been able to put their heart and time into something so detailed, interesting, and a little bit niche. That was a similar story, whether they were creatives, players, or organisers. Of course, a few people had simply grown up with it, but their open-arms approach makes it a lot easier for newbies to make that dive.

 

Truly, the best part of SpringCon is that there will be another one next year!

News? In My Media?

Ads? In My Windows 11?

You’re probably familiar with the start menu in windows, an easy-to-access feature that allows you to access programs quickly. Well, it seems ads will be joining the start menu, with testing underway. Some of these ads will be used to promote Microsoft services. Recommended website listings, and an ad in the account menu, are already present in preview builds, and there’s more features planned for Windows 11.

Windows states on their site, “We’ve been working on adding more valuable content to the Recommended section in Start and are excited to introduce a new content type: websites.

PS5s? In My Honda?

Honda and Sony have recently created a new venture called Sony Honda Mobility, and with this venture comes an interesting proposal: a car designed to maximise the entertainment possibilities Sony has to offer.

That’s right, an electric car that’ll allow drivers to always be prepared with music, movies, and video games.

Yasuhide Mizuno, chair of the joint venture, says that the first car model may hit North American markets by 2025. However, a very specific feature may need to be developed first before we can see PlayStation 5s in cars; autonomous driving. After all, you can’t drive and play video games at the same time.

Shovelware? In My PlayStation Store?

PlayStation is cracking down on shovelware games, that is games that have been reskinned, non-games, and games designed just to give people platinum trophies. A letter to developers states that shovelware games will be either banned or delisted, and involved developers are at risk of being banned from publishing future games.

PlayStation states, “SIE strives to ensure that customers can search and discover the full breadth of experiences on PlayStation, and that partners have a fair means of being discovered. When partners oversaturate or “spam” PlayStation Store with many variants of the same type of content, it can negatively impact both the customer and partner experience.”

Monsters? In My Pocket?

Despite Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s rocky launch, with the games being criticised for glitches, bugs, and generally underwhelming, Nintendo has reported 10 million sales, with it being reported to have the highest global sales level on any of the company’s consoles in the first three days.

However, many players have reported returning their copies due to their experiences with the game, and successfully receiving refunds.

And now for some upcoming games!

November 24

  • Dysterra (PC)

November 25

  • Horse Club Adventures 2 – Hazelwood Stories (PS5, PS4)

November 28

  • Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr: Sororitas DLC (PC)

November 29

  • Gotham Knights: Heroic Assault (PC, PS5, XSX)
  • In Nightmare (PC)
  • The Knight Witch (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Soccer Story (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)

November 30

  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (PC, XSX)

December 1

  • Dwarven Skykeep (PC)
  • Gundam Evolution (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
  • Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered (PC, PS5, PS4, Switch)

Anticipation, Momentum, & Delays…

2022 Game Awards Nominations Revealed

Geoff Keighley, CEO of The Game Awards, has recently announced the nominees for the 2022 awards show. The nominees for the top prize of Game of the year are:

  • A Plague Tale: Requiem (Asobo Studio/Focus Entertainment)
  • Elden Ring (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco)
  • God of War Ragnarök (Sony Santa Monica/SIE)
  • Horizon Forbidden West (Guerrilla Games/SIE)
  • Stray (BlueTwelve Studio/Annapurna)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Monolith Soft/Nintendo)

God of War has dominated these nominations with several nominations beyond Game of the year, including Best Game Direction, Innovation in Accessibility, Best Art Direction, Best Audio Design, and more!  The massively popular Australian game Cult of the Lamb has been nominated for Best Indie where it’s up against Neon White, Sifu, Tunic, & Stray.

With 31 Categories, it’s impossible for us to list them all here but you can check the official site for a complete list. On that site you’ll also be able to have your own say by lodging your vote online.  If you just want to find out the winners, you’ll have to wait until December 9th when the event will be livestreamed from LA via Youtube & Twitch.

 

Screen Queensland Launches Game-Changing Residency Program

Recently Screen Queensland announced they would be launching a residency program designed to support skill development and growth in early-career games developers. The Screen Queensland Games Residency offers 10 games developers (individuals, duos, or trios) access to a yearlong program including a dedicated co-working space, access to leading industry experts, business mentoring and income support through Self-Employment Allowance. It is the first program of its kind in Australia and is part of Screen Queensland’s commitment to championing local talent and fostering the growth of our games industry. For more information about the program and how to apply, please visit the Screen Queensland website.

 

Overwatch 2 Patch Delayed

Free to play shooter Overwatch 2 had a rocky start when it launched last month, and it’s still dealing with some significant problems. More than 2 weeks ago, Blizzard removed Mei from the hero roster so they could fix a crucial issue in her gameplay. This came not longer after two other heroes had been readded from their temporary detention. The Mid-Season patch was scheduled for November 16th to return Mei to the game, remove several other bugs, introduce a slew of balance updates, and release more cosmetics in the store. Hours before it would go live, then update was delayed when Blizzard discovered a ‘critical issue’ that has not been specified but seems to have threatened the integrity of the game. The only thing that wasn’t put on hold was a new selection of cosmetics to the in-game store – including a new ten USD skin for the still-unplayable Mei. It’s unclear yet if this is part of the game finding its feet or a sign of a consistently tumultuous future.

 

Upcoming Games Releases:

17th November –

Goat Simulator 3 – Playstation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC

 

18th November –

The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet – Nintendo Switch

 

22nd November –

Evil West – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC

Just Dance – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Gungrave G.O.R.E – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC

 

And that’s all, this week, in gaming news.

VR and the End

PSVR 2 Release Details

The Australian release date and price for the PSVR 2 have been announced. For a kingly sum of $879.95 AUD, which is $80 more than the console itself, you can pick yourself up a headset and sense controllers on February 22nd, 2023. Pre-Orders will open on November 15th. Together with the details there was an announcement of 11 games coming to the platform during the release window along with the previously announced Horizon Call of the Mountain. Most titles are already available on other VR platforms, but a new Dark Pictures game was announced as well as a new game in the Crossfire series subtitled Sierra Squad.

If you die in the game, you die in real life

Oculus founder Palmer Lucky has decided to commemorate the date of “the SAO Incident” from the fictional series Sword Art Online in which players were trapped in a virtual world with very real consequences, by creating a VR headset that can kill you.

“I used three of the explosive charge modules I usually use for a different project, tying them to a narrow-band photosensor that can detect when the screen flashes red at a specific frequency, making game-over integration on the part of the developer very easy. When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user.”

Palmer posted the headset on his blog also noting that he considered it an art piece to provoke thought and did not intend to try it out.

Disco Drama

Former leads at Disco Elysium studio ZA/UM have released a statement accusing the current ownership, Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel of gaining control of the developer via fraudulent means.

“Needless to say, it has been a very difficult time for us. After five years of gruelling work we released Disco Elysium, a game beloved by millions. As our reward, we were summarily fired and cut off from our life’s work — the world of Elysium. The company we built has been looted, while our own earnings are insufficient even to cover legal fees.

Until now, we’ve refrained from speaking out. This has been entirely voluntary, out of consideration for the people still working at ZA/UM — and for our own mental health. But given the severity of our suspicions — and the seriousness of the evidence we have — we think it’s time people knew what has transpired at the company.”

Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov who acted as Game Director and Art Director respectively on the hit game along with Writer Helen Hindpere were fired from the company last year. The current owners have fired back claiming the creative leads were fired due to toxic behaviour.

News Bites

  • In what might be the longest gap between release and DLC the Tomorrow Corporation has announced a holiday themed expansion to their 2012 burning-things-in-a-fireplace game Little Inferno. The expansion called Ho Ho Holiday will launch of November 19th.
  • For all you fans of pocket monsters… watch out! The upcoming Pokémon Scarlet & Violet has leaked, and the internet is awash with spoilers. If you’re sensitive to such details, it might be advisable to avoid certain platforms until the games release.
  • Dark Souls Remastered for the PC has finally had its online features returns. The online was originally taken down in January along with the rest of the series due to a hacker exploit. The two sequels returned in October, but the original Prepare to Die Edition is not set ever have its online restored.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now Japan’s highest selling game ever at 10.45 million copies pulling ahead of the previous front runner Pokémon Red / Green / Blue.
  • Nintendo streamed an Indie World event to show off a few upcoming indie titles coming to the switch. The event ended with a announcement of the release window for Queensland’s own Sports Story the follow up to the hit sport rpg Golf Story. The game will be available on the Nintendo Switch this December.

Release Schedule

Tactics Ogre: Reborn (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC), Valkyrie Elysium (PC) – November 11

Floodland (PC), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (PlayStation 5) , Pentiment (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC), Somerville (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – November 15