Tag: game news

I can’t believe it’s not E3 and other premonitions of the future

I can’t believe it’s not E3

E3 is almost upon us or it would be if it were happening this year. While the ultimate fate of what was previously the world’s most notable game industry trade event remains uncertain it hasn’t stopped many of the associated presentations of continuing on their own.  Many conferences had already moved to an online focus to reach consumers. Throughout June there are many announced events and more planned. Highlights include Geoff Keighly’s Summer Games Fest which kicks off on June 10, Wholesome Direct on June 12th and the Xbox & Bethesda games showcase on June 13. Nintendo is expected to have at least one direct during this time and Sony, who has sat out E3 for the last 3 years has remained silent.

You can check out the full schedule in a handy calendar format here.

Raven Software QA Department Unionizes

Quality Assurance workers at Activision Blizzard owned Raven Software have successfully unionised and formed the Game Workers Alliance, a first for a US based Triple A studio. While the department is small it represents a major win in the fight towards unionisation in the industry.

The National Labor Relations Board also found merit in the complaint that Activision Blizzard had tried to interfere with those in the company looking to unionise and had “threatened employees that they cannot talk about or communicate about wages, hours and working conditions”.

The push to unionise came after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activison Blizzard last year regarding a “culture of sexual harassment and toxicity”.

Take-Two completes Zynga acquisition

On May 23rd Take two completed its acquisition of Zynga for 12.7 billion dollars. Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick remarked on the acquisition We are thrilled to complete our combination with Zynga, which is a pivotal step to increase exponentially our Net Bookings from mobile, the fastest-growing segment in interactive entertainment, while also providing us with substantial cost synergies and revenue opportunities.”

The International 2022 Announced

The World’s largest single e-sports event The International for DOTA 2 has announced it will be held in Singapore this year. Venue details have yet to be announced but this year’s event is scheduled sometime in October.

Release Calendar

May 27 – Sniper Elite 5 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) Golfie (PC)

May 28 – Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Kao the Kangaroo (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Microsoft Flight Simulator: Top Gun Maverick DLC (Xbox Series X/S, PC), Pac-Man Museum+ (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

June 1 – Corpse Factory (PC)

June 2 – Silt (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Unpacking Awards, Azure Attack, and No Opposing Chats

Australian Game Developer Awards Winners Announced!

The winners for the Australian Game Developer Awards have been announced, with Queensland and Victorian developers leading the way.

Local game Unpacking by Witch Beam has taken the Game of the Year Award, with the relaxing puzzle game also taking home the Excellence in Accessibility Award. Art Director and Designer Wren Brier says,

“It’s humbling to be part of a roster of amazing studios with incredible games that have won this award. We’re so pleased that Unpacking also took home the Excellence in Accessibility Award as we’re firm believers that video games can and should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Another local game, Webbed, the adorable game about spiders, received Excellence in Gameplay.

Beethoven & Dinosaur took home Excellence in Art and Excellence in Audio Awards for The Artful Escape. Black Lab Games won the Studio of the Year Award.

Steve Wang from Wargaming Sydney was awarded the Adam Lancman Award for his contribution and advocacy for the local games industry.

Chad Toprak, Kathleen Smart, and Ashley Van Wynngard were jointly awarded the Rising Star Award for the impact they’ve made to the industry in a short amount of time.

The Forgotten City by Modern Storyteller took home Excellence in Narrative, The Oregon Trail by Gameloft Brisbane won Excellence in Mobile Games, Sharmila by Chaos Theory Games and the World Food Programme took home Excellence in Serious Games. Pico Tanks by Panda Arcade was awarded Excellence in Ongoing Games, and Video World by Things for Humans won Excellence in Emerging Games.

Largest DDoS Attack Mitigated

Microsoft reveals that its Azure cloud service mitigated a 2.4 terabytes per second denial of service attack this year, which makes this the largest DDoS attack recorded to date.

The attack was carried out using a botnet of around 70,000 bots primarily located across the Asia-Pacific region. The target of

 the attack has been identified as an Azure customer in Europe. The record-breaking attack came in three short waves over the span of 10 minutes, with the first at 2.4 Tbps.

Thankfully the DDoS attack was mitigated, preventing Azure from going down. Previously the DDoS record was a 2.3 Tbps attack on Amazon in February 2020.

League of Legends Removing Opposing Team Chat

Riot Games has announced that chat between opposing teams in League of Legends will be disabled in an attempt to cut down on toxic behaviour.

“While chat can be the source of fun social interaction between teams as well as some good-hearted banter, right now negative interactions outweigh the positives. We’ll evaluate the impact of this change through verbal abuse reports and penalty rates, as well as surveys and direct feedback from you all.”

And now for some upcoming game releases!

October 14

  • A Little Golf Journey [PC, Switch]
  • Bonito Days [Switch]
  • Despot’s Game [PC]
  • Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Dungeon Encounters [PC, PS4, Switch]
  • Godstrike [PS4, XBO]
  • Jackbox Party Pack 8 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Ruin Raiders [PC, Switch]
  • Sphere – Flying Cities [PC]

October 15

  • Ancient Stories: Gods of Egypt [PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Crysis Remastered Trilogy [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • Demon Slayer: The Hikonami Chronicles [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • The Good Life [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Greylancer [PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town [PS4, XBO]

October 18

  • Nuclear Blaze [PC]

October 19

  • Dying Light: Platinum Edition [Switch
  • Into The Pit [PC, XBO]
  • War Mongrels [PC]
  • Youtubers Life 2 [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]

October 20

  • Healing Spree [PC]
  • Jars [PC, Switch]

Pax Aus, Handsome Knuckles, Indies and Old Fun

Pax Australia cancelled

PAX Australia had plans on a big return after last year’ s event was cancelled due to the worldwide Covid 19 epidemic. Unfortunately, the event’s organisers have had to pull the plug, releasing the following statement

While PAX is cancelled this year, GCAP the Asia Pacific focussed development conference that kicks off games week in Melbourne each year leading into PAX has announced it will be an all-digital event again. Tickets will be available soon for interested developers.

Knuckles

Idris Elba, People Magazine’s Sexist Man Alive recipient for 2016 has been revealed as the voice of  none other than Knuckles the Echidna in the sequel to 2020s Sonic the Hedgehog movie. The Actor made the announcement on twitter with a picture of the character’s clenched fist and the words “Knock Knock”. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is set to hit theatres on April 8th, 2022.

Indie announcements

This week saw indie showcases by both Nintendo and Microsoft.  Nintendo’s latest Indie World revealed a number of game coming to the console in the near future including a new Shovel Knight game taking the series into the genre of puzzle games. They also surprise dropped 7 games that launched instantly on the eshop. Garden Story, Boyfriend Dungeon, Curious Expeditions 2, Islanders, Slime Rancher: Portable Edition, Australia’s very own Necrobarista and the long-anticipated Axiom Verge sequel.

Microsoft also showed off a number of indie games for its Xbox platforms at this week’s [email protected] event. A new sci fi co-op farming sim called Lightyear Frontier was announced along with Xbox version of games such as The Wandering Village, Lab Rat, Inked: A Tale of love and Sam & Max Save the World Remastered. We also got deeper dives into the upcoming skateboarding game OlliOlli World, showing off the customization options, and the Melbourne developed psychedelic rock platformer The Artful Escape which launches on September 9.

 

More retro Minis

The Amiga 500 mini has been announced. This miniature version of the classic 1980’s PC based platform will ship with 25 games including Another World, The Chaos Engine, Speedball 2 and Worms. It will launch in 2022 with a retail price of $139USD. No Australian price has been announced at this point.

Game Releases

Hades [XSX, XBO] – August 13

Road 96 [Switch, PC] – August 16

Greak: Memories of Azur [PC, PS5, XSX, Switch], Humankind [PC, Stadia] – August 17

Mortal Shell: The Virtuous Cycle DLC [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO], Out of Line [Switch], Skydome [PC] – August 18

Monster Train First Class [Switch], Recompile [PC, PS5, XSX], RiMS Racing [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch], The Vale: Shadow of the Crown [PC, XSX], Twelve Minutes [PC, XBO] – August 19

Freeplay, WitcherCon, Farewell Dogmeat

Freeplay 2021 Awards

Freeplay is Australia’s largest celebration of Australian independent games, and each year displays a diverse array of games, made by developers from all walks of life. This year, the Freeplay Award was granted to Umurangi Generation by Origame Digital, a first person photography game set in the future.

Some other finalists includes:

  • Webbed by Sbug Games for Excellence in Design
  • A Long Goodbye by Dana McKay for Excellence in Narrative
  • Neon Cyborg Cat Club by Edwin Montgomer for Experimental Game Award
  • Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky by Daniel Ferguson for Excellence in Visual Art
  • The Lighthouse At The Edge Of The Universe by Ella Lim for Non-Digital Game Award
  • The Snowgardens by Anthony Cristiano for Student Game Award
  • Mealmates by magicdweedoo for Excellence in Audio
  • UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN by Cecile Richard for Micro-Game Award
  • Before We Leave by Balancing Monkey Games for Across The Ditch Award

For more information about Freeplay, and to check out these finalists, as well as semi-finalists, you can click here.

WitcherCon is Almost Here!

Fans of the books, games, and show will be able to come together for all things Witcher at WitcherCon, a digital convention taking place on July 9 on Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch.

Fans are being warned that there will be no new game announcement, however there is plenty to look forward to, such as a deep dive into the making of the games, the Netflix series, merchandise, and behind-the-scenes footage. In addition, there will be interactive panels with people involved in the creation of The Witcher, with never-before-seen reveals, and explorations into the lore and the world of The Witcher.

There is a lot more to look forward to, so if you’re a fan, definitely check out the full schedule here.

Real Life Dogmeat Passes Away

Fallout fans are probably well aware of Dogmeat, the canine companion who helps and backs up the player through thick and thin. A brave and capable German Shepard, its no secret that Dogmeat is held fondly in many hearts.

The real life inspiration for the Fallout companion, River, has sadly passed away. Fallout 4 senior designer, Joel Burgess, tweets:

“Dogmeat is a tether.  He grounds you in the world, will always stand by you, lead you to your family, and anticipate your needs.  He wants you to be safe and happy.

In other words, he loves you.  

And if love is River’s legacy, I am contented.

Rest in peace, big girl.”

River had won an award for her role in Fallout 4, and true to Dogmeat’s companion role in the game, she had a major role as a companion to developers.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

July 1

July 6 

July 7

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