Tag: video game news

Rainbows, GameStop, PS5s and Maybe A New Game?

Pride Month Is Here (For Non-Australians)

During pride month, to celebrate our queer communities and embrace it, there are a number of events, parades, and parties galore, and the gaming scene isn’t any different. The Queer Games Bundle makes another appearance in 2022 on itch.io where you can own 588 games for just $60, with all proceeds going directly to the creators of those games.

Tell Me Why is free on Xbox, Riot Games, Fall Guys, and Warframe are having events and added cosmetic items to show your pride and support, and many companies have made statements in support of the LGBTQIA+ communities. So don’t be surprised if your favourite games are looking a bit more vibrant this month.

GameStop Employees Have Stopped

Over the weekend the GameStop in the Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska was closed as overworked and understaffed employees walked out, putting out an explanation as to why:

“Attention GameStop patrons: we regret to inform you that we all quit, our district manager has no respect for us as employees or as human beings. We have been told by our distinct manager that we were supposed to have had this store achieving sales quotas and running perfectly 6 months ago. Which was 3 months before a lot of us even got hired. Unfortunately, despite the staffs’ best efforts, we are not god.”

The notice also pointed patrons towards other establishments for their gaming needs, stating:

“Spend your money at an establishment that respects it’s employees.”

New Kojima Horror Game

Allegedly early footage of a new Hideo Kojima horror game has been leaked, reportedly a title called Overdose. The footage supposedly shows Mama from Death Stranding wearing a blue dress, but the game doesn’t seem to be Death Stranding 2.

Hideo Kojima has expressed interest in making another horror game, stating that he has ideas that would “make you defecate in your pants”.

Kojima Productions had signed a deal with Microsoft for an Xbox-exclusive title, but there’s nothing solid to suggest it could be Overdose, assuming that Overdose is even a real game.

It Might Be Easier To Get A PS5 Soon

Sony has projected that it will sell up to 18 million sales this fiscal year, with that number based on Sony’s ‘current visibility into parts procurement’.

Last fiscal year Sony sold 11.5 million PS5 consoles, and the year before that was only 7.8 million consoles, so 18 million consoles is not a small number. It remains to be seen whether Sony can achieve that 60% jump in producing consoles and selling them.

And now for some upcoming games!

June 9

  • Green Hell VR (Steam VR)
  • Madshot (PC)
  • Postal: Brain Damaged (PC)
  • Pro Cycling Manager 2022 (PC)
  • Tour de France 2022 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 10

  • Mario Strikers: Battle League (Switch)
  • The Quarry (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 14

  • Jurassic World Evolution 2: Dominion Biosyn Expansion (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 16

  • Autonauts (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Overlord: Escape from Nazarick (PC, Switch)
  • Redout 2 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Starship Troopers – Terran Command (PC)

Embracer Group Embraces IPs, Halo Infinite Is More Infinite, and Sonic Is Fast

Embracer Group Takes in Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and More

Development studios Eido-Montreal, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal will be acquired by Embracer Group, who has entered an agreement to acquire the studios as well as multiple IPs such as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain, and many more from the Square Enix catalogue.

The acquisition also includes over 1,100 employees in eight locations, with the total purchase price reaching 300 million USD. This agreement is expected to close later this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome these studios into the Embracer Group. We recognise the fantastic IP, world class creative talent, and track record of excellence that have been demonstrated time and again over the past decades. It has been a great pleasure meeting the leadership teams and discussing future plans for how they can realise their ambitions and become a great part of Embracer,” says Lars Wingefors, Co-founder of Embracer Group.

Alleged Pokemon Thieves Killed

Police officers in Florida, USA opened fire on four suspects who were believed to have stolen Pokemon cards, as well as some pizza. After multiple units converged on a Target in Florida in response to an Audi with obscured registration tags, they spotted two teenagers who were immediately deemed ‘suspicious’ due to wearing hoodies and face masks. A security officer in Target had alleged that the teenagers had stolen some Pokemon cards and a pizza, confirmed via security footage.

Police attempted a takedown and then opened fire on the teenagers, injuring two and fatally wounding another, with a fourth suspect detained. None of the teenagers were carrying any weapons.

County Sheriff Marcos Lopez has defended the actions of the officers involved after facing backlash for the over-the-top response.

Halo Infinite Had A Massive Update

Halo Infinite’s second season is here, and it is a big one! With new maps, modes, and cosmetic items, the detailed patch notes needed a six-chapter table of contents.

Some of the new content includes a King of the Hill, Attrition, and a battle royale inspired Last Spartan Standing game mode.

Updates have also been made to some of the movement abilities, affecting what players call ‘skill jumps’, which utilised movement tricks to pull off some very hectic tricks around the various maps. The left shoulder pad of the Jorge-052 armour kit now also shows the correct texture, for the more observant fans out there.

Sonic Prime Teaser Trailer Is Here

Netflix released a trailer montage showing off some of the kid-friendly animated shows that will be joining the roster. Right at the end we got to have a glimpse at everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog, also giving fans a listen to voice actor Deven Mack’s performance.

And now for some upcoming games!

May 5

  • Best Month Ever (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Trek to Yomi (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters (PC)

May 6

  • Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit (PC)

May 10

  • Songs of Conquest (PC)
  • This War of Mine: Final Cut (PS5, XSX)

May 11

  • Brigandine (PC)
  • Source of Madness (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)

May 12

  • Achilles: Legends Untold (PC)
  • Cantata (PC)
  • The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story (PC, PS5, PS4, Switch)
  • Flippin Kaktus (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]

Roblox Finds Its Voice, Horizon Forbidden West On The Horizon, Tripwire Backlash

Roblox Is Getting Voice Chat

The popular online play space will be introducing voice chat as a feature! Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system, where players can create games and environments and then play and interact in those spaces, making it a popular online hangout. Voice chat is on the way, starting with ‘spatial voice’ for developers, to test the concept of realistic conversations within the game, mimicking the way that voices carry in the real world.

There are concerns on how these conversations can be moderated, especially considering that a large portion of Roblox players are minors. As a result, voice chat will have a slow rollout, with initial access only being available to 5000 developers. It has been suggested that voice chat may never be made available to those under 13, depending on how each stage of the rollout progresses.

In addition, Roblox will let users self-report issues, flagging problematic players which may result in losing speaking privileges.

You Will Be Able To Upgrade Horizon Forbidden West To The PS5, But There’s A Cost

With many people unable to get their hands on the PS5, it has been a relief to know that many PS4 games will include a free PS5 upgrade for when players are able to get the next-gen console. So many fans were disappointed when Sony initially announced that Horizon Forbidden West wouldn’t include this upgrade.

Thankfully, Sony has retracted this decision, and people who buy a copy of Horizon Forbidden West for the PS4 will be able to receive a free upgrade allowing them to play it on the PS5.

However, Sony has confirmed that from this point onwards, all PS4 games both digital and physical will come with a $13 AUD upgrade fee for the PS5 version of that same game. This will include games such as Gran Turismo 7, and the next God of War.

Tripwire Interactive CEO Steps Down After Backlash

Tripwire Interactive CEO John Gibson is stepping down following backlash against his tweet supporting the recent Texas restrictive abortion laws, which allowed citizens to sue anyone who aids the procedure.

“His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners, and much of our broader community. Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment,” says Tripwire representatives.

Current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO. Alan has worked with the company since its formation in 2005 and takes an active lead in Tripwire’s business and development. There are intentions to address concerns within and outside the company, starting with a company-wide meeting to promote open dialogue.

Upcoming game releases!

September 9

  • The Artful Escape [PC, XBO] 
  • Terrain of Magical Expertise [PC]
  • Webbed [PC]

September 10

  • A Day Without Me [PS4, XBO]
  • Kraken Academy!! [PC]
  • Life is Strange: True Colors [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch, Stadia]
  • Lost in Random [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • NBA 2K22 [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Tales of Arise [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • WarioWare: Get it Together [Switch]

September 14

  • Honey, I Joined a Cult [PC]

September 15

  • Age of Darkness: Final Stand [PC]
  • Fire Commander [PC]
  • Merek’s Market [PC, PS4, XBO, Stadia]
  • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town [PC]
  • Timberborn [PC]
  • Titan Chaser [PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]

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

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.

Cancellations, Crunch, & The Cloud

Facebook debuts new cloud-streaming service for Facebook Gaming

This new service will be integrated with Facebook Gaming and is already in the beta form for some users. According to Jason Rubin Facebook’s vice president of play over 200,000 people have already played games on the beta cloud streaming service. Currently there are five games available; Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure, PGA TOUR Gold Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale and WWE SuperCard. Facebook are promising more games as the platforms continues to get better throughout this testing phase. Rubin has said, “Even with latency-tolerant games players may notice some glitches. We’ll occasionally show player rating cards and feedback forms to help improve the experience over time. Cloud game streaming for the masses still has a way to go, and it’s important to embrace both the advantages and the reality of the technology rather than try to oversell where it’ll be in the future.”

Sad news for PS4 lovers as Night Call is no longer coming to the console

Developers Monkey Moon and Black Muffin have announced that the game will not go to PS4, this news comes just a month after the game Uppers was cancelled after 6 years in development. According to the developers of both games it simply comes down to a lack of funds. Night Call’s official twitter account has stated that the game hasn’t done very well with sales not to mention issues with porting the game. A tweet sent out by Night Call has said, “Dear PlayStation players, we’re super sorry to announce that the PS4 version of Night Call is officially cancelled. Please note that we’re probably as disappointed as you are. But we just can’t afford it.” Fortunately, Uppers will still be available to play on the PC for roughly $40 should you be sad about either of these games not coming PS4.

Features being cut from Cyberpunk 2077 ahead of launch and a 21-day delay

With the release of CD Projekt Red’s most anticipated release of the year Cyberpunk 2077 has had some big feature cuts after being delayed 3 times already, actually make that 4. Miles Tost the senior level designer has said, “Cutting features and scope is a very normal part of development, you can witness it so openly with our game, because we happily gave in to community wishes and showed you that 2018 demo.” Tost goes on to emphasise these feature cuts will only enhance the game play experience and that these cuts were “hard decisions” to make for the developers who truly love working on the game. There is much speculation around this as these feature cuts come after not a month ago Cyberpunk 2077 received criticism for its staff working under strenuous working conditions also known as crunch leading up to the game’s launch that appeared to be enforced by the studio. Only time will tell how it all turns out after release on the now new release date 10th of December.