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The 10 biggest gaming stories from the past few days (May 31, 2019)

Expecting the calm before the storm of E3 gaming announcements? How about the storm before the storm?

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Death Stranding video game Fragile

Expecting the calm before the storm of E3 gaming announcements? How about the storm before the storm?

From time to time, we run round-ups of gaming stories you might have missed. To be honest, you probably haven’t missed most of these. But it’s been a hell of a week, so a round-up of everything that’s gone on is probably very useful.

Buckle up, folks: it’s been a busy one.

Death Stranding? More like head scratching

Kojima Productions has released a near-nine minute trailer for its upcoming epic, Death Stranding. If you’ve not seen it, it’s probably best you just watch.

What?

Er, no, really – what?

I just, erm… what?

We’re seriously none the wiser, other than these three things:

  1. The Death Stranding release date has been set as November 8, 2019. (And if you hadn’t guessed, that probably rules out The Last of Us Part 2 for this Autumn.)
  2. Female characters called Fragile and Mama, following on from MGS V’s Quiet? Kojima’s wearing his Oedipus complex on his sleeve in Death Stranding.
  3. We don’t recall who said it on Twitter, but “Norman Reedus: haulin’ foetus” might be the best elevator pitch for this baffling game we’re ever going to get.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

After reports of unrest in Activision’s usually metronomic Call of Duty development schedule, things are changing. Development duties have changed for 2020’s COD, which now looks like it will be a Treyarch/Black Ops title, but before that, we’ve got 2019’s offering to attend to.

And it’s going to be called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Yes, again. (No, not Modern Warfour, or Modern Fourfare, as some suggested. Or even Modern Warfare IIII. God, that Roman numeral thing was dumb, wasn’t it?)

As is usually the way with Call of Duty games, it looks like it’s going to struggle to tread the line between “Oorah! War is awesome!” and “War is the worst of humanity” in its narrative. Still, it looks seriously impressive. And it starts with a big “ACTUAL IN-GAME FOOTAGE” disclaimer at the beginning. Activision knows what its audience cares about.

The new Modern Warfare will be with us on October 26, 2019.

Destiny 2

There’s something about to be announced for Destiny 2. We don’t know what it contains yet – most likely the third season of story and content – but the newly emancipated Bungie is planning a reveal of some description on June 6, 2019.

Baldur’s Gate 3

Thanks to some sneaky snooping from Twitter user @Kunkken, it looks like Larian Studios is working on Baldur’s Gate 3. No details forthcoming on this one just yet, but this one is huge if true. Which it looks like it could be.

The Avengers Project

Sorry, is Death Stranding, and Modern Warfare, and Destiny 2, and Baldur’s Gate 3 not enough for you? What more do you want, blood? Fine. Remember The Avengers Project teaser that Marvel Entertainment and Square Enix dropped in January 2017?

The tone of The Avengers Project teaser makes a lot more sense in the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, doesn’t it?

We’re going to see more of it at this year’s E3. (It’s already in the calendar, so check back on our E3 2019 coverage for more on this in a couple of weeks.)

Who you gonna call?

No, the MRAs haven’t clubbed together enough money to remake Paul Feig’s brilliant Ghostbusters flick. (They’re more concerned with trying to undo all the foreshadowing they missed/didn’t understand in Game of Thrones at the moment, anyway.)

This is a very unexpected remaster of 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game. That’s remarkable for a few reasons:

  1. We weren’t expecting it. At all. Not even a little bit.
  2. It’s actually a really interesting game, and one of the rare not terrible video game adaptations of a beloved movie.
  3. It’s got the most amazing credits, including writing credits for Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, with voice performances from Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Aykroyd, and Ramis. Oh, and video game VO legend Troy Baker is the voice of Slimer.

It’s coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and is expected later this year.

Pokémon Sleep

The Pokémon Company announced four new things in a Nintendo Direct-alike video presentation, including:

  1. A new Detective Pikachu game for the Nintendo Switch.
  2. A mobile Pokémon game, where you battle against legendary trainers from the series.
  3. An online service for storing and trading Pokémon, called Pokémon Home.
  4. A new sleep-tracking app.

No really, there’s a sleep-tracking app coming in 2020, called Pokémon Sleep. The Pokémon Company is determined to make us healthier, isn’t it? When in truth, it’s going to learn we spend more time in bed than Snorlax. It’s our ages.

Microsoft’s making moves

This week Microsoft announced that it is bringing Xbox Game Pass to PC gamers, in addition to bringing more of its first-party titles – including Gears 5 and the Age of Empires series – to rival PC storefront, Steam.

It’s also taking 14 Xbox Game Studios titles to their E3 press conference, the most first party games they’ve ever shown at the event.

We’ve got our tickets, so colour us excited for that one. (Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or bookmark our E3 2019 landing page to keep abreast of all the developments.)

That damn library game

Tweet in haste, repent at leisure, right?

That’s the lesson Alexis Kennedy, witty word-wrangler and co-founder of Weather Factory learned last year. He made one of those ill-advised “If I get X number of retweets…” bets with Twitter, and, well, he lost. Or we won. Depending on how you look at it.

https://twitter.com/alexiskennedy/status/1085497284371144704?s=20

That damn library game, a non-stressful expandalone for Cultist Simulator now officially called Book of Hours, is officially announced. You can wishlist the game on Steam right now, and kicks off on Kickstarter later in 2019. The announcement ties in with the release of two additional expansions for Cultist Simulator, Rogue and Priest, which are out now.

Also, Alexis is probably not allowed to tweet any more without running it by co-founder Lottie Bevan. Maybe it’s for best that Weather Factory’s cats are now in charge of the studio?

https://twitter.com/factoryweather/status/1125695636828033024?s=20

What’s in a name?

Remember Milkshake Duck, the surprisingly prescient, endlessly relevant meme-slash-homily for fame on the internet? Well permit us to trot it out once more:

The whole internet loves Playdate, the lovely yellow handheld console with a crank! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you that Playdate is being a jerk to other indie projects.

Missed this story? Here’s the scoop.

Unveiled in this month’s Edge magazine – which is, incidentally, one of the prettiest gaming magazine covers ever – Playdate is a banana-yellow, handheld, boutique video game console with a focus on quirky games. It’s also got a functional crank on the side of it. Yes, you use the crank to control its games in interesting and unique ways.

It’s the brainchild of Panic, the boutique Californian software publisher that more recently branched out into video games with Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game, and has been designed and built with the assistance of Teenage Engineering, the Swedish company famed for its synths and other musical devices. (The crank was Teenage Engineering’s idea, apparently.) Playdate promises to bring weird and wonderful games to its unique form factor, with the likes of Bennet Foddy and Keita Takahashi already on board, and games to release a month at a time, over a year.

Panic has been working on the Playdate handheld for the best part of four years. In that time, it’s secured the web domain play.date, the Twitter handle, @Playdate, and it’s even filed a Trademark with the USPTO for using the name in the context of video games.

Unfortunately, “playdate” is quite a common term. Not just in parenting circles, but also, in the realm of video games. There are probably dozens of events, meetups, and game jams around the world every year that are referred to as a “playdate” of some description. One such event has caught the attention of Panic, which led to one of its organisers, indie developer and zine maker Nathalie Lawhead, writing a blog post about an exchange.

You should absolutely read it from start to finish, but to cut a long story short – this is news in brief, after all – Panic’s founder, Cabel Sasser, emailed the organisers of Playdate (the event) to suggest they change their name. You know, for their own benefit.

The organisers of Playdate (the event) were understandably upset by the heavy-handedness of Sasser’s approach, the implied threat of waving their trademark around, and the suggestion that Panic was doing them (and their audience) a favour in having them pick a different name to “avoid confusing your thing with our thing, and that will be really annoying for your thing”.

We’re not kidding. That’s what the email actually said.

Sasser, to their credit, posted the original email so that people could understand the issue, even though the email does not paint Panic, Sasser, or Playdate (the thing) in a particularly good light. Panic is used to being the indie, the underdog, but in this context, is the large company throwing its weight around.

Sasser has also used social media to respond to various other concerns about Playdate (the thing), including the criticisms that their roster of developers is primarily made up of white dudes, and that they’re laying claim to and even going so far as commercialising and “gentrifying” indie weirdness. Given what we’ve seen thus far – in addition to the trademark snafu – it seems like very real concerns.

It’s an on-going conversation and Panic seems to be taking the criticism on board and trying to learn from it, but learning on the job in the public eye is always difficult.

Further reading

Kotaku’s Jason Scheier has produced one of his trademark reports, this time into alleged sexual misconduct by senior management at Rockstar Games.

The freebies with this month’s PlayStation Plus and Xbox Games with Gold have also been announced, and there are some excellent titles in there.

There’s also a big sale on Devolver Digital games on Nintendo Switch, to celebrate the publisher’s 10th birthday, and we’ve got a review of its latest release, Gato Roboto, which we rather liked.

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This week’s PlayStation 4 releases (April 6-10, 2020)

Final Fantasy VII Remake headlines this week’s lineup of new PS Store releases for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Final Fantasy VII Remake headlines this week’s lineup of new PS Store releases for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PS VR.

A classic franchise returns to PlayStation 4 this week. Yup, it’s the long-awaited release of Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. Granzella’s game has a long, storied history, beginning life as a PS3 title in 2011 before real-world events caused its postponement. The game’s western release comes at an equally difficult time, but patient fans of the series should be satisfied.

Speaking of patience, this week’s actual big release, Final Fantasy VII Remake, seems to be everything that fans have been waiting for. The long-awaited game is officially out on Friday, but is shipping early in some regions.

Meanwhile, PS VR owners might not be able to play Half-Life: Alyx, but they do get to experience the rush and thrill of Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm. Other new PS4 releases coming this week include Capybara’s BelowNull Drifter, Troubleshooter, and Rush Rover.

Here is the full lineup of new PlayStation Store games for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita.

New PlayStation 4 releases – April 6-10, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • Below
  • Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories
  • Form
  • Galaxy of Pen & Paper +1 Edition
  • Null Drifter
  • Rush Rover (and PS Vita)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Arcade Archives THE TIN STARConvoy: A Tactical Roguelike
  • A Room Where Art Conceals
  • Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • AFL Evolution 2
  • Dissection
  • Drunkn Bar Fight
  • Down the Rabbit Hole
  • Troubleshooter

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Save on classic Zelda with April’s My Nintendo discounts

The latest batch of My Nintendo rewards includes new 3DS game discounts and a seasonal theme.

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My Nintendo - Link from The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

The latest batch of My Nintendo rewards includes new 3DS game discounts and a seasonal theme.

In case you missed it, there’s a new batch of discounts available on the My Nintendo rewards programme. It’s a good month if you want to pick up some older Zelda games. In Europe, the often overlooked Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are both half-price in exchange for 30 Gold Points. You can also revisit a range of revamped Nintendo classics in the excellent Ultimate NES Remix.

In the US, there are discounts on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Monster Hunter Stories, and a couple of new 3DS themes.

Here’s the full rundown of April’s new rewards. Many of last month’s discounts, including Fire Emblem Warriors, are still available, as well as a seven-day free trial for My Nintendo Online.

New My Nintendo rewards – April 2020

EU Gold Point Rewards

  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages – 50% discount – 30 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons – 50% discount – 30 points
  • Ultimate NES Remix – 50% discount – 200 points

EU Platinum Point Rewards

  • Cooking Mama: Bon Appétit! – 30% discount – 220 points

US Gold Point Rewards

  • Fossil Fighters: Frontier – 30% discount – 70 points
  • Mario Party Star Rush – 30% discount – 90 points
  • Mighty Mushrooms Theme – 20 points

US Platinum Point Rewards

  • Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure – 30% discount – 140 points
  • Monster Hunter Stories – 30% discount – 300 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 30% discount – 100 points
  • Pocket Card Jockey – 30% discount – 100 points
  • Yoshi Springtime Siesta Theme – 100 points

Don’t forget, you can also put gold points toward Nintendo Switch games on the eShop. Here’s our roundup of the latest new Switch releases.


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New Nintendo Switch releases (April 6-11, 2020)

This week’s new Nintendo Switch eShop releases include brawling animals, massive earthquakes, space-stations, and dragons. Here’s the full lineup of new games.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

This week’s new Nintendo Switch eShop releases include brawling animals, massive earthquakes, space-stations, and dragons. Here’s the full lineup of new games.

It’s a reasonably quiet week for new Nintendo Switch releases. There are no massive hits to look forward to, but there are a few little gems to enjoy. (Fortunately, we all have Bunny Week to fall back on.)

Pick of the week is Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories, the long-in-development earthquake survival adventure from Granzella. Based on the free eShop demo, the series hasn’t changed much, but it does have a tangible sense of place and a quietly chilling tone.

If you watched the recent Nintendo Direct, you would have seen Vigor, the self-proclaimed “free-to-play shoot ‘n’ loot game, where you build the Shelter in post-war Norway.” Interested players might just squeeze into the game’s closed beta which begins on Thursday,

Fans of the Picross series should also check out Depixtion, which gets a European release this week. It’s a colourful twist on a classic puzzle format, and value for money too. Other new Switch games include Towertale, Galaxy of Pen & Paper, Tharsis, and Fight of Animals, the bizarre meme animal brawler from Digital Crafter.

Here’s the full lineup of new Nintendo eShop releases. We’ll keep this post updated with new additions throughout the week.

Nintendo Switch releases – April 6-11, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • No releases, go find an egg.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories
  • Grimvalor

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Towertale
  • Galaxy of Pen & Paper
  • Pen and Paper Games Bundle
  • Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike
  • Ubongo

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • Bridge 3
  • Fight of Animals
  • Gunbrick: Reloaded
  • Vigor – Closed Beta
  • Monster Viator

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Depixtion
  • RMX Real Motocross
  • Rush Rover

Saturday, April 11, 2020

  • Tharsis

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New Xbox One releases (April 6-10, 2020)

This week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases includes a classic survival horror, an interactive movie, and a game about delivering parcels that isn’t Death Stranding.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Next week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One releases includes…some games.

Final Fantasy VII Remake isn’t coming to the Xbox One just yet. Instead, players can look forward to Retro Tanks. Yes, folks, it’s a quiet week on Xbox One.

The highlight of the week is probably Null Drifter, the fun and furious twin-stick shooter from Panda Indie Studio. And if you fancy making your own games, BQM – Block Quest Maker is an engaging RPG dungeon-creation tool.

Other new Xbox One releases include console ports of Indietopia’s ageing tactical combat game Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike, and Behold Studios’ ageing RPG, Galaxy of Pen and Paper.

There’s a more comprehensive range of games coming to PlayStation 4. In addition to FFVII Remake, there’s Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories and, erm, Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm.

Each new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the confirmed lineup.

New Xbox One games – April 6-10, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • Construction Simulator 3: Console Edition

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike
  • Galaxy of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
  • Glaive: Brick Breaker
  • Null Drifter
  • Rush Rover

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • Beholder 2

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • BQM – Block Quest Maker
  • Braveland Trilogy
  • Obduction
  • Retro Tanks

If none of these games are to your liking, read about April’s Games with Gold lineup.


Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow on the socials via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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Three nice enough games are free on Xbox this weekend

ICYMI, here’s news of three more games that are currently free to play on Xbox One.

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Xbox One - Elder Scrolls Online
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In case you missed it, here’s news of three more games that are currently free to play on Xbox One.

“Nice.”

My English teacher used to say that you should never use the word “nice” to describe something. But sometimes, it just fits. Xbox Live Gold members and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members have three new games to enjoy this weekend as part of the latest Free Play Days promotion. The lineup is unlikely to get anyone truly excited – outside of fans of each series – but free is free.

WWE 2K20 would normally headline the list, but the latest edition of the long-running wrestling franchise is notoriously rough and was widely panned on release. Nonetheless, if you’re stuck at home with family, the game could be a good bet for some local multiplayer. It will likely make you smile, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Monster Energy Supercross 3 lets players recreate the 2019 AMA Supercross season with a suite of gameplay modes and a robust track creation tool. And if you want to lose yourself in some faraway lands, The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited offers a wealth of adventures to embark on.

WWE 2K20 and Monster Energy Supercross 3 are available to play until midnight on April 5. The Elder Scrolls Online is free to play until April 13.

As always, game progress and achievements can be carried over to purchased copies. And there are some discounts available to tempt you into that purchase.

Free Play Days Discounts

WWE 2K20

  • Standard Edition –  67% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 67% off
  • Originals: Bump in the Night – 35% off
  • Backstage Pass – 35% off

The Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited

  • Standard Edition – 60% off

Monster Energy Supercross 3

  • Standard Edition – 30% off
  • Special Edition – 30% off

Nice enough.


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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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