Category: News

The Hottest News From E3 2021

This week in gaming news

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3 has come and gone for another year and in its, and other non-official event’s wake we have a mountain of game news and announcements.

Summer Game Fest, Geoff Keighly’s alternative E3 program kicked off the major events of the week starting with an announcement of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Gearbox’s High Fantasy Borderlands’ spinoff staring Tiny Tina. A splattering of other announcements followed including Jeff Goldblum introducing us to Jurassic World Evolution 2, Hideo Kojima announcing Death Stranding Director’s Cut for PS5 and finally the major reveal of footage from Elden Ring, the long-awaited new game by From Software in collaboration with the writer George R.R. Martin which will launch January 19 2022.

Ubisoft hit the ground running showing off gameplay for the latest Far Cry game starring Giancarlo Esposito as well as the upcoming DLC’s which will allow players to play as the antagonists from several of the other games in the series and includes a remastered copy of Blood Dragon. More details for the extreme sports game Rider  s Republic were shown along with the PvE spin off of Rainbow Six Siege, Extraction which will pit the operators against an alien force. A new version of Rocksmith was announced called Rocksmith+, a guitar playing and teaching service that will allow player to use their real instruments and their phone or microphones to connect. The game supports electric, acoustic and bass guitar and you can currently sign up to a beta for the service online. A sequel to the 2017 hit Mario + Rabbids was announced subtitled Sparks of Hope with Mario and his strange collection of Rabbid dopplegangers going on a new cosmic scale adventure. The final announcement for Ubisoft was a reveal of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora a game set in James Cameron’s Avatar universe made by Massive Entertainment who are most well-known for The Division.

Microsoft started their event with the first footage of Bethesda’s long-awaited RPG Starfield. While we are still yet to see gameplay from the title, we were given a glimpse at the universe we will be exploring and details that it is currently slated for release in late 2022 as an Xbox and PC exclusive. The Outer Worlds 2 was announced as early in development, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was shown off with a release of next year along with sequels to Slime Rancher and A Plague Tale. Halo Infinite was confirmed to be release later this year with the multiplayer being made free to play for everyone to enjoy. Forza Horizon 5 was shown with its new Mexican location. Sea of Thieves has a story based cross over in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe coming very soon called A Pirates Life featuring Jack Sparrow and other characters from the film franchise. And the show finished on a reveal of Arcane’s new game Redfall an open world co-op shooter featuring magic, vampires and a lot of style.

Square Enix announced Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy a single player 3rd person adventure where the player controls Star-Lord leading his band of misfits across the universe. It is being developed by Eidos Montreal best known for the modern Deus Ex games and is set for release on October 26. There was also a look at Platinumgames’ new live-service game Babylon’s Fall, the new Life is Strange True Colors and a reveal of the Final Fantasy action spin off Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.

Nintendo apologised that they had no details to share on Metroid Prime 4 but quickly followed up with a reveal of Metroid 5, which is also known as Metroid Dread a title originally in development for the DS 15 years ago which was cancelled due to technical limitations. Mario Party Superstars a collection of boards and minigames from the N64 era was announced along with a remake of Advance Wars 1 and 2 titled Re-Boot Camp. Wario is back with WarioWare: Get it Together a new take on the microgames format with a focus on 2 player games. We got a closer look at Shin Megami Tensei V’s hellish version of demonic otherworld Tokyo which will see release in November. The Nintendo show closed with a look at some Zelda announcements. DLC for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, the remaster of Skyward Sword which releases in July and a new Game & Watch device that includes the original versions of The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link and Link’s Awakening along with an altered version of Vermin that includes Link. We finally got a glimpse at Breath of the Wild 2 which will see Link adventuring into the sky above    Hyrule and utilise a multitude of new powers and tools.

Now that the show is over you can check out many of the games on both Steam and Xbox live. The Steam Next fest will run until June 22nd and included hundreds of demos of unreleased games while Microsoft has released 40 game demos from its [email protected] lineup.

The Week in game releases

June 22 – Dark Alliance (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights (Switch, PC), Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC)

June 24 – Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Legend of Mana (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC), The Eternal Castle Remastered (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)

 

Games for Aid, E3 Hype, and Capcom Copyright

Send Aid to Palestine

Itch.io a website for indie game developers to sell and download indie games has a special bundle for $5 you receive over 1,000 games from over 800 content creators. All the profit raised will be donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. UNRWA will provide further food assistance to over one million Palestinians in territories with heavy destruction. They are also helping provide emergency mental and physical health protection for those in the region. If you’d like to buy games and help aid Palestine click here to contribute.

Capcom sued for using unlicensed photos in games

The Japanese video game developer and publisher Capcom are in some deep water with a photographer suing the company for copyright infringement. Judy A Juracek has accused the company of using unlicensed photos from her book in multiple games such as Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry. The images are from Judy’s copyrighted book published in 1996 called Surfaces which features over 1200 visual references for different creative artists. It’s taken Judy some time to take action on this claim as she wasn’t positive about the infringement relating to both major games Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry, however it wasn’t until Capcom’s ransomware attack that her suspicions were confirmed. Judy’s lawyers are asking for $12 million in damages as well as up to $25,000 for each photograph used.

The biggest week in gaming is just around the corner. E3 kicks off on the 12th of June for 3 days of video game announcements, release dates and more. Starting with Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, and Gearbox showcasing their latest titles leading up to the event. EA have also dropped their latest game announcement Battlefield 2042. To stay in the loop with all the heavy hitters of the games industry such as Xbox, Bethesda, Square Enix, Capcom, Bandai Namco and more Zed Games have put together a calendar so you can follow along at home.

The week in gaming releases:

June 10:

• Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade [PS5]
• Ninja Gaiden: Master Edition [Switch]
• One Hand Clapping [PC]
• We Are Football [PC]

June 11:

• DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+ [PS4, Switch]
• Guilty Gear -Strive- [PC, PS5, PS4]
• Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart [PS5]

June 13

• Lumberhill [PC]

June 17

• Police Simulator: Patrol Officers [PC]
• Roguebook [PC]

Pre E3, Sonic, Mario and Some Sludge

E3 season is upon us

While E3 doesn’t officially start until the 12th of June companies have already started ramping up coverage. Sony has done a deep dive into the upcoming sequel Horizon: Forbidden West showing off the gameplay for the first time. Alongside it we’ve also had fresh looks at Dying Light 2 and Far Cry 6 as well as announcements for Dragon Quest III HD and Dragon Quest XIII. The God of War sequel has been pushed back to 2022 and confirmed to be a cross generational title, shipping on both PS4 and PS5.

And continuing before the show even begins, we will have the Indie Live Expo, Guerilla Collective, a reveal of the next battlefield and Geoff Keighly’s Summer Game Fest Launch just to name a few events.  To help you navigate all these events at and surrounding this E3 please check out our easy to follow, regularly updated calendar of all events, in local time.

Sonic 30th anniversary

It has been three decades since we first met the Blue Blur and Sega is going all out in celebration. On June 23rd they will be hosting a virtual symphony of Sonic music available to watch for free. Additionally they revealed for the official Tokyo 2020 Olympics video game your athlete will be the option to compete in events wearing a Sonic costume, Sonic DLC for Two Point Hospital and the ability to play the 1996 arcade fighting game Sonic the Fighters withing arcades of the upcoming game Lost Judgement.

Sonic Colors Ultimate was announced along with Sonic Origins, a collection of 5 early sonic games and a teaser for the new Sonic Game from Sonic Team.

And don’t miss out on the 30th anniversary Jewellery collection! You too can adorn yourself with a necklace featuring a jewel encrusted Sonic, Knuckles, Tails or Shadow!

There’s a lot to unpack here and more that hasn’t been mentioned. If you’re interested check out all the 30th anniversary celebration details at: www.sonic30th.com

Sludge Life Refused Classification

Publisher Devolver Digital have announced that Sludge Life a quirky first person adventure game first released last year has been refused classification in Australia and therefore will not being seeing its planned Switch release in our country. While the details on the ruling have not yet been released by the Australian Classification Board the publisher is happy to point out the game is still available for purchase via Steam and the Epic Game Store.

Mario Brothers Movie Extended Edition

28 years after its original release fans of the film ‘Super Mario Bros.’ can finally check out an extended version that had never before been seen outside of the production team. Titled ‘The Morton Jankel Cut” after the films co-directors the new version of the film cuts in nearly 20 minutes of additional footage including a rap by Iggy and Spike.

The new cut was put together by a group of fans along with film restorationist Garrett Gilchrist and took 2 years to put together the current cut mostly from vhs sources.  The whole film is available online at archive.org

Releases

June 3 – The Magnificent Trufflepigs [PC]

June 8- Chivalry 2 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO], Edge of Eternity [PC], Backbone [PC], The Elder Scrolls Online [PS5, XSX], The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood DLC [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]

June 10 – Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade [PS5], One Hand Clapping [PC], Chicory: A Colourful Tale [PC, PS4/5] – June 10

Streaming Games, D&D, and Woman Gamers on the Rise

Netflix Making Moves into Games
In the early hours of Friday the 21st of May, The Information published an article claiming Netflix had approached “veteran game industry executives” over the past weeks looking to hire someone to “oversee an expansion into videogames.” Within 3 hours Netflix had informed several outlets that they were seeking to expand on the success of games like those based on Stranger Things and the interactive stories of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and according to GamesRadar Netflix is looking towards a subscription based service akin to Apple Arcade. This confirms what Netflix’s COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters announced in April;

 “There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience…”

Switch Not Getting GamePass
In documents released in the Epic v Apple legal battle a discussion has been unearthed between Microsoft and Nintendo around the topic of bringing xCloud – the Game Pass streaming service – to the Switch. While the documents were heavily redacted it implies, according to gamesindustry.biz, that Microsoft was willing to compensate Nintendo to fulfill Microsoft’s Head of Gaming’s Phil Spencer’s ambition of “…bringing [sic] Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on.” from 2019. Sadly, at least for Spencer, according to the documents talks seem to have dissolved into corporate politeness with Nintendo declining Microsoft’s offer.

D&D Goes Bumper in 2020
In a bumper year for tabletop gaming Wizards of the Coast has boasted that 2020 was their best year ever and 7th consecutive year of growth. With more interest than ever in Dungeons and Dragons, and increased sales even after releasing free content for the “Stay at Home Play at Home” initiative the company has announced crossover content and more in the future. Demographics released show a fairly even split in age, and a 60:40 split between the sexes showing that while this hobby is perceived to be male dominated, the ratio is changing.

Research Released about Women’s Experience of Gaming
In response to an increase in women playing games, recent research by Lenovo and Reach3 Insights have revealed that while, on average, women play the same games as men, they receive a disproportionate amount of harassment based on their gender. Of the 900 women surveyed from China, America and Germany 70% faced judgement of their skills in game based on their gender, 65% experienced gatekeeping and 44% received unsolicited relationship asks while gaming. 59% of those surveyed also said they used non-gendered or male identifiers when playing online to avoid conflict. The research concludes with 71% of women agreeing that increasing the presence of women in gaming ads could foster more inclusive behaviours in gaming.

Upcoming Game Releases.
On May 27th, the psychedelic, genre-busting beat ’em up Kung Fu Jesus comes to PC. And the pixel art, Police Action RPG Pecaminosa come to PC, and Switch.
On May 28th, Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World comes to PS4, and Switch.
On June 1st, the co-operative espionage adventure game Operation: Tango is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And Stonefly, a Ferntree Gully take on a mech adventure is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And the life sim, Hokko Life, is coming to PC on June 2nd.

Unbanned Games, Rising Sales, and Discord Upgrades

Disco Elysium Gains R18+ Rating

Fans of the critically acclaimed RPG, Disco Elysium will now be able to purchase the game physically, and on consoles, within Australia. Disco Elysium had already been available through digital platforms, such as Steam, for two years previously, however the game had never been submitted for a formal classification rating.

Without a formal classification rating, games cannot be sold on consoles or physically within Australia, and with the game’s depiction of heavy drug usage, and the main character inflicting wounds on himself, going through the process of obtaining a classification rating has its challenges.

After a review however, the game’s ban was overturned, and it has now been given an R18+ classification, as although the dark themes and drug references have high impact, the Review Board found that Disco Elysium’s narrative disincentivises players from taking drugs throughout the overarching game.

Although it means only adults can buy the game on consoles within Australia, it does mean that the game can now actually be available on consoles.

20% of Nintendo Switch Sales Went to Households That Already Owned One

Households seem to like having more than one Nintendo Switch console! Looking at the last financial year, 20% of Nintendo Switch sales were for households that already owned one. That means about 5.8 million sales from the last year were for a secondary console. Potentially as a gift for children or a partner, or to have a dedicated system on the go, in the case of the Switch Lite.

With gaming increasing in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, for entertainment, escapism, or as a form of socialising, it’s little wonder that console sales have reflected that.

Discord Becoming More Inclusive

Discord is going through a lot of changes at the moment to make the app more accessible, easier to use, and friendlier, not only for gamers, but also for all communities. With 78% of Discord users reporting using the app for non-game purposes, there are channels for just about every hobby and interest out there, such as gardening, movies, sewing, book clubs, cooking, and so much more

To assist in this, Stage Channels are getting visual upgrades, and a dedicated space to allow these communities to market themselves to interested users. This discovery space will allow people to browse communities, and join servers they’re interested in.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

May 19:

  • Days Gone (PC)
  • Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Expansion (PC)
  • Never Yield (PC, Switch)

May 20:

  • Grand Casino Tycoon (PC)
  • Just Die Already (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Lacuna (PC)
  • Mayhem in Single Valley (PC)
  • Of Bird and Cage (PC)
  • Puzzle Bobble VR: Vacation Odyssey (Oculus Quest)

May 21:

  • Knockout City (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Miitopia (Switch)
  • Rust (PS4, XBO)

May 25:

  • An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs (PC, XSX)
  • Biomutant (PC, PS4, XBO)
  • King of Seas (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Maneater (Switch)
  • Very Very Valet (Switch)

Who wants to play Monopoly?

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)

The Good, the Bad, and the Lucrative

Cost of Epic Game’s Giveaways Revealed

As part of its ongoing court battles, Epic has published a document detailing it’s game giveaways from the start of the promotion until September 2019. This revealed the total cost, the individual cost, and the amount of players they drew in through the scheme. Over this period, they gave away just over 11 and a half million dollars in free games. Still, this scheme has drawn in a huge amount of new players for Epic and is likely well worth the cost. Big hitters were Batman Arkham, Subnautica, and Mutant Year Zero, each costing over a million for Epic. Smaller indie games cost much less, some costing only around 50 thousand dollars. This does not mean they didn’t pull in their fair share of new players and for player retention, all at a fraction of the cost. This list may provide some ammunition for indie games while bargaining their worth.

Riot Games to begin recording in game voice chat

Riot Games has announced a new tool in it’s arsenal to combat toxic behaviour. A new privacy notice will be implemented next month and, along with it, they will begin to record in-game voice chat in Valorant. Audio is stored on a secure server and will not be accessed unless a report is made and, if no disruptive behaviour is found, will be deleted. “We’re committed to creating our games better for everybody who plays them,” Riot said. “This is another step toward tackling disruptive behaviour across the board, starting with Valorant.” This system will first be trialled in North America before being spread to Oceania and elsewhere. For many who have been exposed to toxic teammates while online gaming, this new system could signal a huge step in the right direction but many still have been quick to point out the privacy problems this poses.

PlayStation announces partnership with Discord

“Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network,” Sony said in it’s announcement. The details of this partnership are still somewhat vague, but they did say the goal is to “bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year, allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together” and that more information would be released in the coming months. As cross play becomes more commonplace, the possibility of seamless voice chat between PS5 and PC players is quite exciting. This partnership strikes some as odd since Discord has previously turned down many buyout offers, including Microsoft’s recent 10-billion-dollar bid. Sony won out and now holds an undisclosed stake in Discord.

Gaming Firsts with an Oscar, Olympic Series and Free Xbox Multiplayer.

First Oscar Win for Game Developers

Late last year Respawn Entertainment released Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, a virtual reality first person shooter. To honour the theme of this game, the producers included a gallery mode directed by Anthony Giacchino featuring short films about the veterans of World War II. Included is Colette, the story of her family’s assistance to the French Resistance and her brother’s capture. This 25-minute short rose to fame after winning Best Short Film at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2020, and became the first film produced by a video game studio to win an Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards.

While not directly referenced by the award ceremony, Mr. Giacchino specifically thanked executive producer Peter Hirschmann the director of Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond and everyone at Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment, especially Vince Zampella, the Head of Respawn Entertainment, Dusty Welch, Chief Operating Officer also at Respawn Entertainment, and Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer at Electronic Arts Worldwide Studios. The film was made in conjunction with Oculus and the team at Respawn Entertainment, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.

Gaming Olympics coming in 2020… sort of.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) have announced the first Olympic Virtual Series to take place before the Tokyo 2020 Games, running from the 13th May to Jun 23. The series currently includes five different games, of which the physical games will be monitored by apps such as Zwift, an app for bike training, and an open format for rowing. For non-physical competitions, these will be run by their own platforms for the Series and include; Gran Turismo by Polyphony Digital, a car racing game available on PlayStation Consoles; Virtual Regatta, run by Virtual Regatta SAS, an app available on Android and iOS; and eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment’s highly customisable baseball simulator currently available on PS4 and Switch – and only in Japanese. The IOC’s announcement also made it clear that these events will be open to the public and in ways that will “maximise (sic) online mass participation and prioritise (sic) inclusivity and participation”.

Free to Play games on Xbox now Free to Play.

Microsoft announced on the 21st of April that from that day, all Free to Play games will now no longer require an Xbox Live Gold Subscription for access to online play. This includes Looking for Group options and party chats for those games. The exceptions to this are trials, pre-order demos, or early access for paid games. These will still require membership to Xbox Live Gold to access online multiplayer content. If you currently are subscribed to Xbox Live specifically for this purpose, Microsoft is offering a one-time option to immediately cancel and receive credit based on the remaining time.

Now for some game releases.

On April 30th, the exclusive horror roguelike shooter Returnal is coming to PS5 and New Pokemon Snap will be releasing to the Switch.

Then, for the May the 4th be with you, The Colonists, a cute and relaxing building game is coming to PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and Dark Nights with Poe and Munro, the episodic Full Motion Video, choose your own adventure game, is coming to PS4 and Xbox One.

 

Gaming has been Cancelled

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.

Court, Allegations, and More Court

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!

April 15:

  • 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)

April 16:

  • Super Meat Boy Forever (PS4, XBO)

April 20:

  • Don’t Forget Me (PC)
  • Maskmaker (PC, VR, PSVR)
  • MLB The Show 21 (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

April 21:

  • World Splitter (PC, PS4, Switch)

April 22:

  • Buildings Have Feelings Too! (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Orbital Bullet (PC)

April 23:

  • Judgement (PS5, XSX, Stadia)
  • NieR Replicant ver1.22474487139… (PC, PS4, XBO)