This week Paul leads the team with Zahra and the disembodied voice of Maylee, to talk gaming news, english pronunciation, and reviews! With Zahra sprinkling the magic on a review of farming simulation in Homestead Arcana, and Paul loses his head in a review of the puppeteering sequel Another Fisherman’s Tale.
Zelda Tumbles, Amazon Doubles Down, & Activision-Blizzard Again?
More in Activision-Blizzard-Microsoft News
The EU Commission into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard has been approved after an extensive investigation. Microsoft has agreed to provide free licenses for the next 10 years to cloud streaming services allowing residents in the European Economic Area to stream Activision-Blizzard games on any cloud platform, addressing the competition concerns identified by the Commission. However, the merger still faces challenges with the FTC filing in the US and continues to be blocked pending appeal in the UK. 1-4
In other Activision Blizzard News, the company has abandoned its original plans for Overwatch 2’s separate co-op PvE mode… a major selling point that got players to move somewhat objective free from Overwatch 1 to 2. Now the game will incorporate co-op gameplay and experiences into the live-service model, disappointing fans who had been eagerly anticipating the depth and progression of the original vision.5-7 These views have been best summarised by user Uchihagod53,
“The f**k was the point of [Overwatch 2] then?”
Zelda: The Good, Bad and … ooo look at the pretty colours…
Fans have been disappointed at the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, with a player finishing the game in just over an hour and a half (speed runner gymnast86),8 the inability to pet dogs,9 and lack of unlimited bombs.10
Despite this, Tears of the Kingdom has received overwhelmingly positive reviews with around 97 on Metacritic and OpenCritic, making it the highest-rated game of 2023 and the highest-rated Switch game to date. The critical success of Tears of the Kingdom has made it the biggest Zelda game launch in the UK and is expected to be one of the biggest and best-selling games of the year worldwide.11, 12 Players can also look forward to more in the future with Eiji Aonuma (the series manager and producer of Tears of the Kingdom) stating that future Zelda series games will continue to embrace the open-world format introduced in Breath of the Wild. Aonuma compares this shift to how Ocarina of Time established a format for subsequent Zelda games in the late 90s.13
Amazon Doubles Down on Lord of the Rings MMO
After talks broke down between Tencent and Amazon in 2021, Amazon decided to abandon their stake in a Lord of the Rings MMORPG.14 However, the rights for the franchise recently reverted to Middle-Earth Enterprises leading to new discussions with Amazon and the eventual partnership between Amazon’s New World team and the Embracer Group. The game is currently being pitched as an MMO separate from the Lord of the Rings projects, rather aiming for gameplay experiences over faithful adaptation with an over 10-year lifespan.15-17
However Lord of the Rings Online fans are not worried about this game taking over the franchise even in the face of potential server shutdowns and resource allocation, instead pointing to the lacklustre performance of Amazon’s MMO New World.18
And Here’s Some Tasty Gaming Bytes
- You can finally 100% The Burning Shores DLC of Horizon Forbidden West, now that they’ve added the ONE Brimshine Sliver so that you can finally buy and upgrade everything.19
- In a new acquisition to the gaming community Sea Lions have become gamers, with US Navy’s Spike traversing mazes WITHOUT fishy bribery and showing delight when winning games.20
- And finally the relaxing, co-op-able game Powerwash Simulator has hit 7 million users,21, 22 making us ask the question,
“Why meditate when you can simulate?”
And now for some upcoming games.
On Friday 19th, build your own racer in Lego 2K Drive coming to everything.
Monday May 22nd, multiplayer tactical roguelike Inkbound comes to PC.
Tuesday May 23rd, save the post-apocalyptic world in the tactical RPG in Miasma Chronicles or save it as a platforming pixie preservationist in After Us, both coming to PC and Next Gen Consoles. Or lighten up with a cartoonish platform shooter Glitch Busters: Stuck on You coming to PC, PS4 and Switch. Explore the hand-painted puzzle platformer Planet of Lana coming to PC and Xbox. Hit the nostalgia nerve with Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! on the Switch. And Star Trek: Resurgence is coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox.
And next week on Thursday May 25th, the sequel to Do Not Feed the Monkeys, Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 is coming to PC and Switch. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And lastly Tennis Manager 2023 is coming to PC.
Mainlining Zelda Zelda
Vampire BBQ, Soccer Scans, and Other Vampire and Sport News
Fire Up The BBQ!
Redfall, the co-op first person shooter that has you fighting off legions of vampires, has teamed up with Smokey Q, an Australian business that specialises in all things BBQ seasoning, to bring the ‘Bite Back Spice Rub’, a unique blend of spices and seasonings to celebrate the game’s release.
The spice rub is supposed to capture the taste of slain vampires, with ingredients such as charcoal powder for added smoke, paprika, and a touch of heat from chipotle. It is gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
The founder of Smokey Q, Paul Lange, described the challenge of making vampire ash sound delicious as exciting, so if you have a very specific craving, it may be worth checking out. In addition, all net proceeds will be going towards Cure Cancer’s blood cancer research. Very appropriate!
In more vampire news, Vampire Survivors, a game that is heavily influenced by the choices you make, has an animated show on the way! The studio will be teaming up with Story Kitchen, who has members that have worked on John Wick, and the Sonic movies.
The studio has said “… the most important thing in Vampire Survivors has always been the story, so we are very excited for this and we hope you are too! It’s still early days for the show, but I can already say that we will be involved so that we can ensure it doesn’t have any vampires (probably)… This won’t affect game development in any way.”
FIFA’s Iffy Body Scans
Sydney Leroux, an olympic gold medalist, and a member of the United States women’s national soccer team, isn’t thrilled with her character’s appearance in the newest FIFA release.
She’s not alone, in that many other footballers are criticising their characters’ appearance in FIFA ‘23.
“Please tell me I did not do an entire body scan for that…” Leroux tweeted, before looking back at FIFA ‘16 where her appearance was significantly more accurate. “They had the headband, the braid, the neck tattoo, the overly plucked brows… deflate my boobs a bit and put a different jersey on. I’ll keep the brows at this point.”
Introducing to the Court of Duty…
Rumor has it that Kevin Durant, NBA champion and a former MVP, will be slam-dunking into the operators lineup for Warzone 2 and Modern Warfare. The official Call of Duty twitter posted a little clip showing an operator parachuting down, mid-dunk, with ‘Easy Money Sniper’ spray painted on the side of a building in the image, notable for being Kevin Durant’s Instagram handle.
Nothing is confirmed yet, but internet sleuths have dissected the few details and the profile of the operator, and it would hardly be the first time an NBA crossover happened.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Jected – Rivals (PC)
- Mia and the Dragon Princess (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Propagation: Paradise Hotel (PC VR, Quest)
- Space Gladiators (PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Duru – About Mole Rats and Depression (PC)
- Hometopia (PC)
- These Doomed Isles: The First God (PC)
- Another Fisherman’s Tale (PC VR, PSVR 2, Quest 2)
- TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 3 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)
That’s it this week in gaming news!
No Squad, No Fortnite, New Second Life, and More Last of Us?
Suicide Squad isn’t Squadding Just Yet
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be taking a little while longer than originally anticipated, with the May release being pushed back to ‘later this year’. Why? Well, after the release of new gameplay footage just last month, the game has been hit with criticism, even by fans who have been looking forward to the Rocksteady game since it was first revealed in August 2020.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has traditionally villanious characters such as Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerange ganging up to take care of some more… ethically murky missions. It wasn’t stated that the reason for the delay was the criticism, but fans have been warned that it’s unlikely to revamp the game, but rather make some tweaks to hopefully make it more enjoyable for players.
This isn’t the first delay for this game, with the originally early 2022 release being pushed back to May this year.
No More Fortnite
… if you use Windows 7 or 8. Future seasons of Fortnite, the massively popular battle royale, will no longer be natively supported on older operating systems. Live service games, examples including Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and Genshin Impact, tend to require a lot of maintenance and constant updates, a task that just isn’t feasible anymore for older operating systems.
This change has been attributed to Epic wanting to ‘grow our technology and expand the game to fulfill our vision of Fortnite’s future’, which prompted Chapter 4 to be launched on Unreal Engine 5.
It is recommended that players upgrade their operating system, however it is possible to stream it via NVIDIA’s GeForce Now cloud service.
Second Life, New (Mobile) Life
Remember Second Life? The web browser game that allowed users to host rooms and spaces that were fully customisable, using online avatars that were also fully customisable. VRChat before VRChat if you will. It’s no secret that Second Life is responsible for relationships, marriages, break ups, thousands of hours of joy and heartbreak. And now it’s coming to mobile, with the life simulator currently in development.
The Last of Us Influence
With the TV series, The Last of Us, based off the video games by Naughty Dog, there is more interest than ever in the universe, especially as the show introduced new elements that didn’t feature in the games. And now it appears that some of those elements will make their way into future games! This of course depends on whether another game in the series will be introduced, but Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog, has found some inspiration in the show, which may introduce some new levels of horror or lore to the universe!
And now for some upcoming games!
- The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR (PSVR 2)
- River Tails: Stronger Together (PC)
- Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon (Switch)
- The Guise (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Peppa Pig: World Adventures (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- WWE 2K23 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
- Deceive Inc. (PC, PS5, XSX)
- Remnant: From the Ashes (Switch)
- Tchia (PC, PS5, PS4)
- The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution (PSVR 2)
- Have a Nice Death (Switch)
SEASON of C64
This week in Zed Games Zahra is in control with Maylee and Cam as crew, guiding us through the relaxing and interesting world of SEASON: A letter to the future in their review, Cameron tells us all about the Commodore 64 and it’s very vibrant and inventive community who still love this piece of gaming history, and Paul keeps us all up to date with the news.
Play With Caution
DnD OGL goes Boom, more damned Activision Blizzard Shenanigans, and Doors Close on Google Stadia
DnD OGL Update Aftermath
In the aftermath of the Open Game Licence 2.0 leak, Wizards of the Coast have struggled to claw back their fanbase as DnD Beyond servers suffer under the load of mass subscription cancelations. Additionally, several big third-party publishers who would be affected by the new royalty system have tabled their intention to either jump ship or create their own licensing system. Kobold Press teased “Project Black Flag”, Matt Colville’s MCDM Productions is working on both a new OGL as well as a new TTRPG, and Paizo/Pathfinder looking to collaborate on an open RPG license.
In response, a statement was released insisting “It was never our intent to impact the vast majority of the community.” They also tried to clarify stating that any future revisions “…will not include the license back provision that some people were afraid was a means for us to steal work. That thought never crossed our minds.”
Activision Blizzard… when will it end?
As the saga continues, here’s the current headlines coming out of the company that can’t stop making waves.
- Activision Blizzard has refused to acknowledge the union that formed late December. Management at Proletariat issued the statement that leadership “…has always been pro-worker“ and that employees “…deserve some time to process (sic) and to better understand its potential impacts.”
- The Microsoft Activision Blizzard merger that was announced in January 2022 has had new challenges with the European Union filing an antitrust challenge and Google parent Alphabet Inc, and Nvidia are filing for unfair advantages in the gaming market. These join other objections placed with the US Federal Trade Commission to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, and finalised in April.
- In some hearsay arguments Activision Blizzard claims that it was Netease that rejected the six-month extension of their partnership. Various sources cite irreconcilable differences including Netease president referring to an Activision Blizzard executive as a “jerk”. Because of these, after January 23rd several titles will no longer be accessible in China, most notably World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Starcraft, and Overwatch 2.
Doors Close on Stadia
As the curtains close on the experiment that was Google Stadia, refunds have been processed for everything but Pro subscriptions… but payments were also paused the day shutdown was announced. But what about all that hardware you don’t have? Well, if you did manage to get the controller, Google has pushed a self-serve tool to enable Bluetooth connections with the gamepads. Meaning, your Stadia Gamepad may be obsolete, but at least you can still use it on the hardware you didn’t get because you used Stadia.
Oh! Remember that guy who had 6000 hours in Red Dead Online on the Stadia who was pleading for a character transfer? Well, not only did Rockstar organise a transfer, he also got a gift box from the company. Unfortunately, Rockstar has announced they will no longer be releasing any major content for Red Dead Online, instead focusing on the upcoming GTA6.
And finally, a moment for the death of Google Stadia…
And now, for some upcoming games.
On Friday January 20th, the next instalment in the series Fire Emblem Engages and its Wave 1 DLC are coming to Switch. World War 1 horror survival Trenches emerges from Steam early access onto PlayStation, Xbox, & the Switch.
Tuesday January 24th, the RAM-hungry, RPG, fantasy shooter Forspoken is coming to PC & PS5, and deckbuilding & strategy boardgame mashup Mahokenshi comes to PC.
And on Thursday January 26th, for that nostalgia hit Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is coming to PlayStation and Switch. The strange Hitman: World of Assassination hodgepodge that collects Hitman 1 to 3 as well as Hitman 3: Freelancer Mode are all coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch. Fight the nightmares of a girl in the twin stick shooter NeverAwake, coming to PlayStation and Switch.
New Year New News
Mission: Hitman Changes
Fans of the Hitman series are undergoing some changes in order to create an “ever-expanding” world that could evolve over time. And this next step is set to allow IO Interactive realise the vision they’ve set out to achieve.
Hitman 3 will become HITMAN World of Assassination, and will include access to Hitman 1 and Hitman 2. Those who already own Hitman 3 will get a free upgrade to HITMAN World of Assassination. This also means that World of Assassination will be the only single option to start playing.
“There will be no more confusion over which edition to buy, what content you own, how to redeem Legacy packs or import locations, etc. We’re done with that,” says IO Interactive.
These changes will come into effect on the 26th of January, 2023.
Sonic’s Dad Indicted for Insider Trading
The blue hedgehog’s co-creator, Yuji Naka, along with a former Square Enix employee, Taisuke Sasaki, have both been formally indicted after their arrest in November for alleged insider trading.
Naka has been determined to have confidential information about Square Enix’s plans to develop a Final Fantasy spin-off, and used this information to buy ¥144.7 million yen of company stock, or $1.6 million AUD, knowing that the announcement would cause the stock value to rise.
Square Enix has stated that they are fully committed to working with authorities as the investigation continues. It is unclear when Naka and Sasaki will stand trial.
What’s This? It’s Sephiroth with the Chair!
Kenny Omega, a famous wrestler joined the fray at Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom event in a Sephiroth cosplay, even walking out to his theme song, “One Winged Angel ”.
Kenny Omega has spent a few years in America in AEW, a newer competitor to WWE. Omega however returned to Wrestle Kingdom, which is exactly what it sounds like. And yes, his walk was exactly as cool as you imagine it would be, featuring Sephiroth’s wing, giant screens, and pyrotechnics. Omega also won the match.
YouTuber Logan Paul had developed a “really fun game that makes you money”, CryptoZoo, where you buy currency to spend on egg NFTs that hatch. You can breed these animals to make hybrids, and eventually you’re supposed to be able to cash out money. Members of Paul’s team ended up selling their currency early to make millions, while fans ended up losing thousands.
Logan Paul did address accusations of CryptoZoo being a scam by attempting to discredit his critics, such as investigative YouTuber Stephen “Coffeezilla” Findeisen, who had spent a year looking into CryptoZoo, as well as a slew of scams in the crypto space.
I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
And now for some upcoming games!
- Flash Party (PC)
- Children of Silentown (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Kandria (PC)
- Gatewalkers (PC)
- One Piece Odyssey (PC)
- Rogue AI Simulator (PC)
- Terror of Hemasaurus (Switch)
- Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (PC, PS4, Switch)
That’s it this week in gaming news
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!
- Dysterra (PC)
- Horse Club Adventures 2 – Hazelwood Stories (PS5, PS4)
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr: Sororitas DLC (PC)
- 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)
- Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (PC, XSX)
- Dwarven Skykeep (PC)
- Gundam Evolution (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
- Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered (PC, PS5, PS4, Switch)