Category: News

Expansions, Emulations, Settlements, and a new PokePhone

Blizzard Announces World Of Warcraft Updates

Both World of Warcraft Classic, and regular retail have had expansions announced this week, with the much loved Wrath of the Lich King expansion coming to classic, and a new expansion “Dragonflight” announced for retail. The Dragonflight expansion brings a new playable humanoid dragon race (with an exclusive class), level cap, region, and for the first time in almost 20 years, a change in UI design. Blizzard has stated that they are paying close attention to older systems, like professions and talents, to freshen up the experience for legacy players.


Nintendo Switch Online to add Gameboy Emulation?

Files containing emulators for both Gameboy and Gameboy Advance on the Nintendo Switch have leaked online, with twitter users uploading footage of emulators booting up and running on the switch. Other leaking accounts have mentioned that the emulators currently only work on Switch dev kits. Some of the confirmed working titles include Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, Metroid Fusion, Wario Land 4, and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Although nothing has been officially announced, it does seem likely that these emulators will be made available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers at some point in the future.


Halo Composers Settle with Microsoft After Royalties Dispute

2 months after filing a suit against Microsoft for unpaid royalties, Halo composers Marty O’Donnell and Mike Salvatori have seemingly settled with Microsoft, after O’Donnell tweeted “Microsoft and O’Donnell/Salvatori Inc are pleased to have amicably resolved their differences” The pair’s original claim was that Microsoft signed a contract that guaranteed 20% of the profits made from their music. At the time, they told Eurogamer “If this is 20% then it doesn’t seem like Microsoft is really making much money”. Their pre-trial date was May 9, but proceedings have been called off due to the apparent settlement.


Samsung announces Pokemon Edition Galaxy Z Flip

For fans of Pokemon, Samsung has announced a partnership with Nintendo for a limited edition “Ash Red” Galaxy Z Fip 3. It comes with pokeball themed packaging, a clear Pikachu phone case with ring stand, a pokedex pouch, pikachu tail keychain, pokeball pop socket, and interchangeable pokemon options to swap out with pikachu plates included with the pikachu case. What’s the catch? You need to live in South Korea. If you’re keen, there are ways to get the extra accessories for a standard Galaxy Flip online, and there’s always Ebay.

Lego & Sony Invest in Epic’s Metaverse, NFTs Ups & Downs and Aussies Win At The BAFTA.

Sony & Lego invest $2 billion into Epic’s metaverse.
On April 7th Epic released a press statement announcing a partnership between LEGO Group and Epic Games. KIRKBI, the company behind LEGO, announced an investment of $1 billion into Epic for the purpose of creating an age-appropriate, safe digital environment to empower kids to become confident creators within Epic’s metaverse. Online journalists from IGN and Destructoid have speculated that this will be a creation space akin to Roblox, or at least a competitor to their market. Within a week of this, Sony revealed that they have also invested $1 billion into Epic’s metaverse vision, aiming to accelerate Epic’s vision to build spaces where players can be creative and thrive. Further statements on Epic’s plans for the metaverse, including release window and details, are expected later this year.

NFT Gaming News: F1 out, SEGA in.
In NFT news, Animoca Brands has been unable to renew it’s licence with Formula 1 leading to the shut down of one of the first official NFT powered racing game F1 Delta Time. After having the most expensive NFT trade in 2019 with a car in game trading for $100,000 and touting a “play to earn” gaming model, players are left with NFT’s that are now ostensibly worthless.
Players have been given the option to trade their NFTs into the REVV Racing on Polygon ecosystem for “equivalent cars… based on the rarity and power of [the] original” and other replacement tokens.
On the other side of the coin, SEGA has announced a 5 year plan to create a “SuperGame”. According to VP Shuji Utsumi, this would leverage triple A titles currently in development to “go beyond the traditional framework of games”. However, shortly after the announcement SEGA’s CEO CFO, and COO responded with hesitancy, asserting that should players not want NFTs or Play to earn strategies, they would back off the technology.

Aussie wins at the BAFTA.
On April 7th, the 18th BAFTA Games Awards 2022 took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and streamed online, opening with a classical remix of Manic Miner and Greig’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. This year’s BAFTA Games Award honoured Aussies with several awards for gaming excellence with Artful Escape being awarded for its Artistic Achievement, and Unpacking being celebrated for its narrative and awarded the publicly voted for, and corporately sponsored, EE Game of The Year.
Other games that received several awards were: It Takes Two, taking home the awards for Original Property and Multiplayer, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, taking both Animation and Technical Achievement awards. The most awarded game of this year’s BAFTA Game Awards, Returnal which was awarded Best Game, Music, and Audio Achievement.

Now for some game releases
On April 14th atmospheric physics-destruction building game Abriss is coming to PC, Cat Cafe Manager that Zahra will be reviewing next week is coming to PC and Switch, and remasters for Bush Hockey League and Tormented Souls are coming to the Switch. Taito Milestones, a collection of Taito’s arcade legacy, also comes to switch on April 15th.
Jumping forward, on April 20th , the action, rogue-lite Ember Knights comes to early access on Steam, and the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed remaster comes to Switch. And on April 21st, coming to PC, why not make aliens soylent green meals in Godlike Burger, try the logic puzzling automation game, Velone, or wrestle with morality in a dark comedy in Trolley Problem, Inc, from The Yogscast. Coming to PC, Xbox, and Switch, the retro-inspired 2D Action RPG Anuchard. And lastly in Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles, become a squishy bioluminescent creature solving 3D puzzles, coming to the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

New Monkey Island and Tomb Raider games and E3 is CANCELLED

This week in gaming news

E3 Is Cancelled
This year’s E3 has gone from in-person to online-only to completely cancelled per a report from IGN. The games industry trade mega-show has suffered from pandemic-related issues in the last couple of years and this year is no different with the show being completely cancelled for the 2nd time in 3 years. The news comes less than two weeks after this year’s Game Developer Conference went ahead in-person despite online criticism. Geoff Keighley, front-man for The Game Awards, quickly stepped in after the news to promote the fact that his Summer Game Fest event will be going ahead this year.

Unreal Engine 5 Releases
Epic Games has finally released the much-anticipated Unreal Engine 5 to the public. The latest version of the popular game engine was announced more than 2 years ago and has seen use in some in-house projects like Fortnite and The Matrix Awakens, but this is the first time the toolkit has been available to developers and hobbyists at large. Epic promises that Unreal 5 comes with major technical improvements and new features ready for the next generation of consoles and game development. The engine ships with free access to resources such as Lyra, a multiplayer shooter game which developers can use as the base for their own projects, and a huge library of assets from The Matrix Awakens. Epic Game’s controversial royalty model will remain in place although Epic has announced alongside the release that they will waive their customary 5% royalty fees on the first US$1M in revenue that a game generates.

New Tomb Raider Game Coming
One of the first major games to be announced on Epic’s new Unreal Engine 5 is a brand new entry in the Tomb Raider franchise from developer Crystal Dynamics. Not much is known about the new game which will be the first since 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but Crystal Dynamics are excited about the gameplay opportunities the new engine opens up. Other titles set to develop on Unreal Engine 5 include future installments in the Gears of War and The Witcher franchises.

New Monkey Island Announced For Later This Year
Another show-stopper sequel has just been announced, Return to Monkey Island, a brand new installment in the classic adventure game franchise, is set to release later this year. The game was initially announced on April Fools to the initial disappointment of much of the gaming world, but the first trailer has now released and confirmed that the game is for real. Not only that but development is being headed up by the creator of the original franchise, Ron Gilbert, with help of much of his original team from the LucasArts days under the banner of Gilbert’s studio Terrible Toybox. Gilbert has apparently been working on the game in secret for the last two years leading up to this announcement, which came as a shock to many fans of the series as it’s been nearly 13 years since the release of the last installment by Telltale Games.

Upcoming Releases
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition [Switch] – April 7
Demeo: PC Edition [PC] – April 7
Green Hell VR [Quest] – April 7
Slipstream [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch] – April 7

Dreamvibe [PC] – April 8

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim [Switch] – April 12
Back 4 Blood: Tunnels of Terror DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO] – April 12
B.I.O.T.A. [PC] – April 12
Planet Zoo: Wetlands Animal Pack DLC [PC] – April 12
Uragun [PC] – April 12

Ambition, Amazon, PlayStation Tiers, and More

Amazon Games Studio Head Steps Down

Mike Frazzini, who helped start Amazon Game Studios, is stepping down in order to focus on his family. Having been an Amazon employee for many years, moving from the books section to Amazon Game Studios, despite being somewhat of a game novice at the time, he had faced criticism for veering too far from the traditional, game-making playbook, while the division cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The company did release the online PC game New World, bringing hope that video games could become Amazon’s greatest entertainment category. Time will tell how Amazon Games Studio navigates a change in leadership, and what it produces next.

Coffee Talk Creator Passed Away

Mohammad Fahmi, creator and writer for the indie visual novel Coffee Talk, has passed away.

“Today we received devastating news that Fahmi, the creator and writer of Coffee Talk, has passed away. May his soul rest in peace, and our hearts are with his family and loved ones. May all the good things he shared, story he wrote, live on with us forever. Thank you Fahmi.” – Coffee Talk team.

Cause of death is unknown at this time.

More Options for PlayStation Players

Sony Interactive Entertainment announces upcoming changes to their subscription services. Starting June, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now will come together into a new PlayStation Plus subscription service that will have three membership tiers. These tiers are:

PlayStation Plus Essential, which provides the same benefits that PlayStation Plus members are currently receiving, including two monthly downloadable games, exclusive discounts, cloud storage for saved games, and online multiplayer access, with the price remaining the same as PlayStation Plus.

PlayStation Plus Extra brings all the benefits of the Essential tier, and includes a catalogue of 400 PS4 and PS5 games downloadable to play.

Finally, PlayStation Plus Premium brings you all the benefits mentioned, 340 additional games, including PS3 games via cloud streaming, and a catalogue of classic games from the PS1, PS2, and PSP generations. Premium also includes time-limited game trials, so you can try before you buy.

Game Connect Asia Pacific Announced

Game Connect Asia Pacific, or GCAP, will be entering its 17th year, taking place in Melbourne during the Melbourne International Games Week from 3rd to 5th of October 2022.

GCAP is committed to professional development, education, and networking experiences for developers in Australia, and abroad. While GCAP will be held in person, a few sessions will be streamed for those who can’t attend, with the focus this year being Ambition.

GCAP promises to challenge attendees to chase their ambitions and create world class products, experiences, studios, and businesses for the global games audience, and will consist of talks, panels, and workshops from experienced industry professionals.

Keep an eye on the GCAP website as more information becomes available, and to find out more about how you can support this event.

And now for some upcoming games!

March 31

  • Coromon (PC, Switch)
  • FixFox (PC)
  • Midnight Ghost Hunt (PC)
  • Pirates of Gravitae (PC)
  • Weird West (PC, PS4, XBO)

April 1

  • Flat Kingdom Paper’s Cut Edition (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Terrorbane (PC, Switch)

April 5

  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

April 7

  • Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition (Switch)
  • Demeo: PC Edition (PC)
  • Slipstream (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

So Much Anticipation

The switch finally adds folders

After 5 years, Nintendo has released a software update that allows users to create folders and sort their software into groups. It doesn’t sound like much, but for Nintendo fans, Christmas has come early. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect. It doesn’t replace the home screen, which still just shows your last 10 opened games. Instead, it gives you the ability to go into your groups from the home screen using another button. Not ideal for those who wanted a cleaner look when they opened up their console. Still, it’s something!

Sony purchases Haven Studios

Sony made an interesting purchase on March 21st, acquiring Haven Studios before their debut title has even been announced! Haven was founded by ex Ubisoft/EA/Google lead Jade Raymond last year in partnership with Sony. They also announced that they were working on a new multiplayer IP for the PlayStation. Clearly Sony is happy with their progress so far! It will be interesting to see what this new AAA game is. Fingers crossed the extra resources Haven gets from Sony help them develop something amazing!

A new Witcher game on the horizon

CD Projekt has confirmed that a new Witcher game is in the works! In partnership with Epic, they’ll be making use of Unreal Engine 5 instead of their own REDengine, which was used for the development of Cyberpunk 2077. They have also assured fans that despite their plans for a long-term partnership with Epic, the new game is not planned to be an Epic Games Store exclusive. Fan theories are already running wild, is the hinted medallion a Cat? A Lynx? Who will we be playing?

Snoop Dogg officially in COD

Soon enough, you’ll be able to play Call of Duty Warzone, Vanguard, and Mobile as none other than Snoop Dogg himself! It was announced that on April 19th you’ll be able to purchase the Snoop Dogg Operator Bundle, with a full operator progression track for Snoop. He’ll arrive earlier on mobile, arriving April 1st through the lucky draw system. The full details for what’s included in the bundle haven’t been released, but it’s an exciting time nonetheless.

Upcoming Gaming Releases

March 24th

  • The Ascent (PS4, PS5)
  • A Memoir Blue (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Expedition Zero (PC)

March 25th

  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo (PC, PS5)
  • Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

March 29th

  • Crusader Kings 3 (PS5, XSX)
  • In Nightmare (PS4)
  • WRC 10 (Switch)

March 31st

  • Coromon (PC, Switch)
  • FixFox (PC)
  • Pirates of Gravitae (PC)
  • Weird West (PC, PS4, XBO)

The Good, The Bad, The Therapeutic

This week in gaming news…

Indie dev gets review bombed on Steam after slipping anti-mask rhetoric in patch notes
The most recent patch notes for indie game Domina featured an angry rant from the developer DolphinBarn, hidden between legitimate updates.  The tirade shared his opinions on mask-mandates and covid-19.

“​​TAKE OFF THE FCKN MASKS,” the patch notes say between legitimate patch updates. “Next time you’re at the grocery store, try showing a woman your face. Be confident, unafraid of the LIES – you might get a girlfriend. Women like confidence. Women don’t like dudes who cover their faces in fear. What are you afraid of? Getting laid? Grow up.”

Many players took issue with the developers’ words, and there has been an intense backlash on social media as well as a deluge of negative reviews on steam. The game previously boasted a “very positive” rating from over 7000 happy players. After the patch notes the game faced a deluge of negative reviews with less than 30% of “recent reviews” having positive things to say. “Politics and personal views should never be part of the game marketing,” reads one review.

Strangely, this isn’t the first time DolphinBarn shared their opinions in the patch notes for Domina. One notable example is a previous update that included a rant about “weak men”, “succubus tiddy” and “solving the energy crisis”.


Tencent Becomes Majority Investor in Tequila Works
Indie developer Tequila Works’ portfolio includes 2012’s Deadlight, and 2017’s Rime. They’re also working on the upcoming “Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story” for publisher Riot Games. A recent twitter post from the Spanish developer has announced that Chinese technology firm Tencent is now the studio’s majority shareholder. It’s unclear if this was the result of a direct negotiation been Tencent and Tequila, trades between independent stakeholders, or a combination of the two. Whatever the case, it seems like the studio is positive about the new partnership!

“For 12 years, the teams at Tequila Works have passionately crafted high-quality titles that radiated our personal sensibilities”, said Tequila Works CEO Raúl Rubio. “But there’s a limit to how much you can grow by yourself”.

Luz Sancho, Tequila Works Chairwoman said: “We are delighted to ally with a partner that allows us to make Tequila Works a stronger studio with access to all the resources required to produce titles of the highest quality, all made with the care and passion our beloved fans know us for as well as the opportunity of bringing these projects to a wider audience.”


Devolver Co-Founder launches therapeutic-game studio with the goal of improving Mental Health.
Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson has announced the formation of a new company focused on using video games as a tool for mental health, DeepWell. DeepWell will define the standard for video games with proven mental health benefits and help players find engaging, enjoyable, and beneficial video games.  A 3-pronged approach will see them producing original titles, working with other developers on titles in production, and certifying already existing games under their standards.

Firstly, they will be developing and publishing original games designed to be therapeutic and entertaining. They aim for these games to appeal to all players, not just those searching to improve their mental health, and to be accessible to broad audiences. Additionally, they have formed an advisory council of over 40 medical researchers, doctors, and veteran game developers. The goal here is to form partnerships with existing developers working on games that have therapeutic potential and assist them in meeting those standards.  Finally, they will work to identify existing games that have potential mental health benefits. Analysing them, highlighting their therapeutic qualities, and where possible, certifying them

Inspiration came when Wilson received letters from around the world discussing the role Fall Guys had played in maintaining their mental health during the brunt of Covid-19.  He could see and feel the positive effect video games could have in the world but knew they lacked the medical knowledge & tools to make them really effective.

His partner former Nextern CEO Ryan Douglas has a medical background and so comes at the problem from the opposite side. He has seen many companies attempt to use video games to deliver therapeutics, but they often fail to be fun and truly engage the user. “If you create [a pill that cures cancer] and people won’t take it, have you really created a treatment, a solution? I think that we need to start saying that the answer is no”.


Hogwarts Legacy State of Play set for March 18th
Playstation Australia has announced an upcoming State of Play focused entirely on the upcoming game Hogwarts Legacy. Hogwarts Legacy is due out for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC later this year. More than half of the stream will showcase gameplay footage of Hogwarts Legacy captured on the PS5. It will be accompanied with discussion and insight from team members at Avalanche Software. You can catch the stream live on Twitch and Youtube this Friday 8AM (AEDT).

 Upcoming Game Releases:

Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) 18th March

Rune Factory 5 (Switch) – 22nd March






Ukraine, Aussie Highs, Lows and Dinosaur Rain

Continued Ukraine response

As the war in Ukrain continues more gaming companies have officially made statements condemning the Russian aggression and boycotting the state.  Companies no longer selling in Russia include Epic, Microsoft, GOG, Ubisoft, Take Two, Sony, EA who along with stopping sales has also removed Russian teams from FIFA and NHL and even LEGO are stopped shipments.

In more direct support of Ukraine however Necrosoft (the developers of Gunhouse) have put together a Bundle for Ukraine on The proceeds will be split between International Medical Corps who provide medical assistance in the region and Voices for Children supporting children experiencing the horrors of war. For a minimum of $10 USD you will get access to 992 items including games, books and music donated by their developers.  Notable titles include Wandersong, Superhot, A Short Hike, Baba is You, Celeste and many, many more. You can find the bundle on

Australia bans Rimworld

Rimworld, the popular space colony management game has been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it only 8 years after it went on sale. Until this point the game had not been submitted for classification but now had been as  the game was gearing up for an apparent console launch of which the ruling appears to confirm.  Unlike other games that received an RC rating after being on sale previously such as Disco Elysium last year the ban has also removed the game from purchase on steam. Those who already owned the game can continue to play however.

“I’m sorry this news was so sudden and for anyone who is frustrated by this. We are working to resolve this situation and make RimWorld available to everyone again as soon as possible, but we don’t yet know what that might require or how long it may take.” – Ludeon Studios

While you can not buy or redeem the game on steam it is still available DRM free on the developer’s website.

Japanese focused Playstation State of Play

Sony put on a brief State of Play presentation at 8am on Thursday the 10 Australian time. Focussing mostly on games being created by their Japanese partners. The show kicked off with a reveal of Exoprimal from Capcom a futuristic squad focussed shooter where dinosaurs rain from the sky. The show ended with the reveal of two new titles from Square Enix; The DioField Chronicle a tactical RPG and a new Valkyrie Profile game called Valkyrie Elysium taking the series in a more action RPG direction. One of the other big announcements is a free DLC coming to Returnal which will add multiplayer co-op to the game and a new mode endless mode, Tower of Sisyphus.

Australian federal games funding

Australian independent game developers rejoice as Screen Australia has announced the Games: Expansion Pack initiative which will allow developers access to federal screen funding. The initiative is aimed towards small, medium and emerging independent Australian games developers seeking finance for their project. For details of the initiative and apply please check the Screen Australia website. The submissions for 2022 funding close on the 28th or April.

Upcoming Releases

March 11: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO], Submerged: Hidden Depths [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO], Time Loader [PS4, XBO, Switch]

March 12: WWE 2K22 [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]

March 16: GTA 5 [PS5, XSX]

March 17: Tunic [PC, XSX, XBO]

Support for Ukraine, Steam Deck, Pokemon and Gaming Bytes

Developers react to Russia’s war with Ukraine.
In the last week, as Russia invaded Ukraine, several studios, developers, and publishers from around the world have voiced their support for Ukraine and its plight.
International developers such as CD Projekt Red have tweeted

“We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can. Together we can make a huge difference.”

State of Play Games and Amanita Design have also joined in donating their earnings to the cause. In some cases, this support has resulted in backlashes from the gaming community. After 11 bit studios declared they would be donating profits from sales of This War of Mine to the Ukrainian Red Cross, they were review bombed by players from China and Russia, and Space Engineers received similar treatment after announcing their support for Ukraine.
Closer to Ukraine, indie developer Crytivo’s CEO Alex Koshelkov announced all profits from February and March, and 1 million Polish zloty, will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross, as well as support for Ukrainian employees while they search for safety. CEO of tiny build also voiced their support for their Ukrainian employees, tweeting “Nobody gets left behind.” Wargaming, developers of World of Tanks, supported their over 550 Ukrainian developers by assisting them to find alternative housing, early salary, and making sure relocation and evacuation efforts are paid for. They also donated a million USD to the Ukrainian Red Cross, and when their creative director posted support for the invasion of Ukraine on social media, they quickly acted “letting him go[sic]” the next day.
With Ukraine calling for support from developers, other companies such as EA Sport and The Chinese Room, developers of Little Orpheus, have joined with others in their support of Ukraine.

Steam Deck
In lighter news, with the limited release of the Steam Deck in the U.S., Gabe Newell, president of Valve Corp, has been spotted hand-delivering signed Steam Decks in Seattle. The Steam Deck released on the 25th of February along with the free game Aperture Desk Job to celebrate the console’s capabilities. Critiques on battery life and gaming power are rife, and some users are already reporting stick drift. Furthermore, while Destiny 2 can run on Linux, Bungie has issued a statement that those who hack Destiny 2 to work on the console will be met with game bans.
However, Gabe Newell has already talked about the future with Steam Deck 2 on the horizon as a possible VR running machine.

Ducks, Kittens and Apple Crocs Coming to Pokémon.
After the announcement earlier this week of a Pokémon Direct, fans were already getting their hopes up for a Gen 9 Pokémon game. And they were not disappointed. Right at the end of the Direct, they announced Pokémon Scarlet and Violet along with the three starters; an attention seeking grass cat called Sprigatito, a relaxed fire type crocodile named Fuecoco, and Quaxly, an earnest new water duck. Both the names and the release video have lead Pokémon fans to speculate that the Gen 9 region will be inspired by Spain, and the game will follow the open world style that has become so popular with the recent release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Now for some quick Gaming Bytes:
● American and British Sign Language support coming to Forza Horizon 5 on March 1st.
● In the 25th annual D.I.C.E. awards show local Brisbane developer Witch Beam won the award for Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game for Unpacking.
● Activision has ended a near 20 year tradition of annual releases of Call of Duty by delaying the next edition in the franchise until 2023.
● Nintendo may have joined the acquisition wars after acquiring long term partner SRD, after working with them for almost 40 years.
● Tokyo Game Show 2022 has revealed the theme of this year will be “Nothing Stops Gaming!!!” and will be a physical event taking place at Makuhari Messe from September 15 to 18.

And finally, some upcoming game releases.
On March 4, Gran Turismo 7 is coming to PlayStation. 80’s synth, arcade platformer, Gunborg: Dark Matter comes to PC, PlayStation, Xbox One and Switch. The upgraded Music Racer: Ultimate comes to next gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles. 2014’s Quest For Infamy gets a console release, releasing on PlayStation, Xbox and Switch. And finally, tactical RPG Triangle Strategy comes to Switch.
And March 10, real time space strategy Distant Worlds 2 comes to PC, and lastly, Submerged sequel Submerged: Hidden Depths, is a relaxing exploration game set in a ruined, water filled world and comes to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Aussies at GDC, Capcom Cops Copy-Paste Claims, GWA Accuses ActiBlizz of Union-Busting

This week in gaming news,

Steam for Chrome OS on the way, after more than 2 years of a slow drip of news about gaming platform and storefront Steam coming to Google’s Chrome OS, Google has quietly announced a small list of Chromebook models that will support Steam in the future through a project codenamed Borealis. The list primarily consists of Acer and ASUS models with internals on the higher end of the spectrum for Chromebooks, for Steam this is just the latest development in the gradual rollout of support for Linux-based systems. Neither company has announced any kind of release timeline for the feature as of yet.

Aussie game devs at GDC, this year’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco will feature 4 panels hosted by Australian industry professionals including hometown heroes Witch Beam Games, developers of last year’s indie hit Unpacking. Wren Brier and Tim Dawson from Witch Beam will present a panel on the game’s narrative design while composer and sound designer Jeff Van Dyck hosts a separate panel about the game’s much-lauded foley work. Leena van Deventer, creative producer on upcoming Melbourne game Dead Static Drive, will be part of a talk on preparing students entering the games industry to create a more inclusive and culturally-informed environment. Dr Benjamin Abraham will also be giving a talk on the environmental impact of the games industry.

Capcom accused of recycling stock image Into Street Fighter 6 logo, Capcom announced Street Fighter 6 this week and showed a teaser trailer which features a new logo design with the letters SF in a hexagon. Ars Technica creative director Aurich Lawson pointed out on Twitter that the logo looks nearly identical to an image available on Adobe’s stock image library for US$80. Capcom did take the bold creative risk of making the logo slightly more angular before slapping it on a AAA title however.

Raven Software union and Activision Blizzard enter labour relations hearings, Activision Blizzard and QA workers at subsidiary studio Raven Software have entered a hearing with the US National Labor Review Board to determine which employees will be included in the formation of a union under the new umbrella group Game Workers Alliance.
Raven QA workers have accused Activision Blizzard management of using union-busting tactics by reassigning employees to split them up and embed them with other departments and arguing that all Raven employees should be allowed to vote on whether the department should be able to form a union.
Activision Blizzard has hired Reed Smith, a law firm that openly advertises their experience supporting anti-union campaigns, and issued a statement to Polygon which openly accuses the union of not understanding the games industry and hints at a potential strategy of circumventing collective negotiations with the union to try to sway the votes of individual employees.

This week’s game releases
Feb 24

  • Martha is Death [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Never Alone Arctic Collection coming to Switch

Feb 25

  • Elden Ring [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Grid Legends [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Majora’s Mask coming to Switch
  • Moto Roader MC [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]

Mar 1

  • Elex 2 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Far: Changing Tides [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Little Orpheus [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]

Mar 2

  • 35MM coming to PS4, XBO, Switch

LOTR for Sale, Lost Ark, & Gay Weddings

Lost Ark on top of the charts!

The new fantasy MMO by Smilegate has reached over 1.32 million concurrent players on Steam over their launch weekend. This makes Lost Ark the second highest concurrent peak in Steam history, second only to PUBG: Battlegrounds. It’s a pretty impressive feat for a new title beating out the likes of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and DOTA 2. Originally Lost Ark was released back in South Korea in 2019 and has been brought over to a western audience by Amazon Games. Currently Smilegate have said, “We’re blown away by the number of players that have joined us in Lost Ark since our launch on Friday. Arkesia is filled to the brim with eager players, so we’re working as quickly as possible to set up an entirely new region of servers in Europe.”

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for sale!

The rights that is, and not just to the video games. Variety reported recently that the current owner Saul Zaentz Co. has decided to sell its Tolkien holdings, thus giving up the precious merchandising, movie, video game, and live event rights, this includes all titles from J.R.R. Tolkien. This selling of rights happens to come just in time for Amazon to officially announce its long-awaited television series called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Middle-earth is a very popular place for game developers over the years with many spin-offs and lore link-ins. There are also many projects in the works revolving around The Lord of the Rings franchise. Only time will tell who snaps up the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien with properties expected to sell for a minimum $2 Billion.

Anti-gay law stops Russian fans from The Sims Expansion.

Developers of The Sims have decided to not sell their latest expansion My Wedding Stories in Russia. Russia has strict anti-LGBTIQ “gay propaganda law.” In this latest expansion of The Sims players are allowed to create their dream wedding or a catastrophe, all the marketing for this latest expansion features a lesbian couple of colour Camille and Dominique as they plan their big day. EA have said in an announcement, “As we moved through our development and brand storytelling process, we became aware that the way we wanted to tell Cam and Dom’s story would not be something we could freely share around the world.”  “We are steadfast in upholding that commitment by shining a light on and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam’s, so we have made the decision to forgo the release of My Wedding Stories where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws.”

This week in gaming releases:

  • Feb 17
    • Assassin’s Creed the Ezio Collection [Switch]
    • King of Fighters 15 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4]
    • The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
    • Total War: Warhammer 3 [PC]
  • Feb 18
    • Horizon Forbidden West [PS5, PS4] 
  • Feb 22
    • Destiny 2: The Witch Queen [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Stadia]
    • Ghosts [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
    • Sol Cresta [PC, PS4, Switch]
    • Tiny Combat Arena [PC]
  • Feb 23
    • Edge of Eternity cloud version [Switch]
    • Final Fantasy 6 (pixel remaster) [PC]