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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.

Support Thumbsticks

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


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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Remedy gives incredible prize to Control photo mode contest winner

The winner, a talented video game photographer, received a very special bundle from the Federal Bureau of Control.

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Steffi McMaken Control Remedy winning photo
@StefanieMcMaken

The winner, a talented video game photographer, received a very special bundle from the Federal Bureau of Control.

Photo modes have become a popular addition to games. They’re not always in at release – developers have to prioritise bug fixing and polish in the run-in to release – but they tend to get patched in fairly quickly.

Why? Because people absolutely love them.

It makes sense for developers, too. Giving your fans an easy way to not only share your game, but make it look brilliant? It’s a marketing no-brainer. And there are some very talented virtual photographers out there, making games look very pretty indeed. (They’re certainly far better at capturing the beauty of video games than a reviewer trying to hit a deadline, that’s for sure.)

Remedy, developer of the brilliant Control, added a photo mode soon after release (after performance and bug fixing). It was the first piece of post-release content for the game. And why wouldn’t you when your game is as visually striking as Control?

Remedy also ran a photo mode contest, with prizes on offer for the top three, including t-shirts, posters, and other cool contraband from the Federal Bureau of Control. The overall winner, Stefanie McMaken, has now received her prize. It’s a bit special.

(That’s a framed print of her winning entry, signed on the back by over 50 of the crew at Remedy, plus a letter from the Federal Bureau of Control. Suitably redacted, naturally.)

This might be Steffi’s first competition win, but she’s no stranger to virtual photography.

“I’ve always liked to take screenshots before – to me, it’s like taking pictures on your journey through a video game,” Stefanie told Thumbsticks via direct message. “I like to look at them later, remembering a certain mission perhaps, a really emotional moment or an epic boss fight. But Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was the first game I’ve played that had an actual Photo Mode. That’s what also made me go back to check out Twitter, and, to my pleasant surprise, there really was such a thing as virtual photography! I was delighted to see people sharing what amazing moments they managed to capture!”

Steffi also hosts #PhotoModeMonday, a Twitter hashtag (like #AdventureGameFriday or #ScreenshotSaturday) that celebrates the best of virtual photography. On Mondays, obviously.

“Strictly speaking, I am just temporarily hosting it,” she said. Stefanie is minding the store while the hashtag’s originator, Twitter user @PhotoModeAddict, is out of action through illness. “I promised I would keep it alive until he returns.”

“With Control, what fascinated me immediately was the different genre. As wonderful as it is, we’ve all ridden horses through beautiful landscapes by now, we’ve raced cars through numerous cities and travelled through space (not that any of that ever gets old) but being in a… basically, possessed house? Where all kinds of crazy sh*t can happen? Now that sounded intriguing! Plus – big bonus – it came with a photo mode!”

“So, when Remedy held that #CaptureControl contest, it was a no brainer,” Steffi said. “The photo mode they put in is also so nice and simple to navigate and manoeuvre! It also comes with some really sweet filters – that’s how I got my shot to look like that.”

“I am still psyched over it, they certainly put in an effort to frame it so nicely, too,” she continued. “I am utterly impressed with Remedy!”

We always had our suspicions that Remedy was one of the good guys. Talking to Steffi about how much this very personal package means to her, we couldn’t be surer of our instincts.


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New Nintendo Switch releases: January 27-31, 2020

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition headlines this week’s lineup of new eShop releases for the Nintendo Switch.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition headlines this week’s lineup of new eShop releases for the Nintendo Switch.

Cardboard Computer’s Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is our eShop release of the week by some distance. The game debuted way back in 2013 and has received four acts – plus a few interludes – in the years since. The TV Edition includes all content released to date and the concluding fifth and final act. It’s a remarkable piece of game design and storytelling, and another essential Switch purchase.

Other new releases include Coffee Talk, an interesting new adventure game from Toge Productions. Set within a fantasy Seattle coffee shop, players meet a colourful cast of characters – including orcs, aliens and mermaids – and endeavour to solve their problems with warm conversation and cups of tasty java.

Finally, in the week that Brexit arrives, cheer yourself up with Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition, a “time-pressure RPG” set against a backdrop of political turmoil in Europe.

Here’s the current lineup of confirmed new Switch games. We’ll update the lineup if things change throughout the week.

Nintendo Switch releases: January 27-31, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

  • Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator
  • Super Tennis

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

  • Actual Sunlight
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
  • It came from space and ate our brains

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

  • Coffee Talk
  • Horse Farm
  • Music Racer

Thursday, January 30, 2020

  • Arcade Archives Tecmo Bowl
  • Arc of Alchemist
  • Ascendant Hearts
  • Aviary Attorney: Definitive Edition
  • Bookbound Brigade
  • Code Shifter
  • Eclipse: Edge of Light
  • Never Again
  • Prison Princess
  • Sisters Royale
  • Skellboy
  • Speaking Simulator
  • Uoris DX

Friday, January 31, 2020

  • Ash of Gods: Redemption
  • Bridge Constructor: Ultimate Edition
  • Heroland
  • Hypercharge Unboxed
  • Indie Gems Bundle: JRPG Edition
  • Milo’s Quest
  • Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition
  • Reknum
  • Super Battle Cards
  • Touchdown Pinball
  • Willy Jetman: Astromonkey’s Revenge

If none of these new games are to your liking, take a look at this week’s new Nintendo eShop discounts.


More video game news from Thumbsticks

Bookmark our new releases page for the latest Switch, Xbox and PlayStation games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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New PlayStation 4 releases: January 27-31, 2020

Kentucky Route Zero and Journey to the Savage Planet headline next week’s lineup of new PlayStation releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Kentucky Route Zero and Journey to the Savage Planet are the highlights of next week’s new PlayStation 4, PS VR and PS Vita releases.

Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition is our PlayStation 4 pick of the week. The new edition encompasses all five acts – and the ‘interludes’ – of Cardboard Computer’s acclaimed adventure game. It’s an atmospheric subversion of a time-worn genre, and one to be savoured. Enjoy the journey.

Speaking of which, Typhoon Studio’s debut, Journey to the Savage Planet, is a promising science-fiction adventure with a comedic edge. If the likes of No Man’s Sky and The Outer Worlds are too daunting, this could be the perfect trip.

And speaking of games by Obsidian, the studio’s 2018 RPG Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire also arrives on PlayStation 4 next week.

Other new releases include Coffee TalkIt Came From Space And Ate Our Brains and Code Shifter. An early 80s classic also gets an update in shape of Lode Runner Legacy.

Here’s the complete lineup of next week’s new PlayStation Store releases.

New PlayStation 4 releases – January 27-31, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

  • Coffee Talk
  • Journey to the Savage Planet
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
  • Pro Deer Hunting
  • Shadow the Ronin
  • Vigilante Ranger

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

  • Lode Runner Legacy
  • Music Racer
  • Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire
  • Top Run

Thursday, January 30, 2020

  • Arc of Alchemist
  • Autobahn Police Simulator 2
  • Bookbound Brigade
  • Code Shifter
  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III
  • It Came From Space And Ate Our Brains
  • Mad Age & This Guy
  • Milo’s Quest (+ PS Vita)
  • Throw Anything

Friday, January 31, 2020

  • The Inner Friend
  • Kwaidan
  • oOo: Ascension
  • Saboteur!
  • Willy Jetman: Astromonkey’s Revenge

More gaming news from Thumbsticks

Visit our new releases page for updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for a daily news delivery.

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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 like what we do and want to support free, quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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New Xbox One releases: January 27-31, 2020

Kentucky Route Zero and Journey to the Savage Planet headline next week’s new Xbox One video game releases.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Journey to the Savage Planet and Kentucky Route Zero headline next week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases.

Cardboard Computer’s striking point-and-click adventure game, Kentucky Route Zero, comes to an end this week with the release of its fifth and final act. Seven years in the making, it’s rightly acclaimed as a stunning example of what video games can be. It’s pretty much essential.

Comical space adventures also beckon in Journey to the Savage Planet. The debut game from Typhoon Studios is a colourful exploratory adventure in the Douglas Adams vein. Google is evidently impressed and has acquired the studio – which was set up by Ubisoft and Electronic Arts alumni – to make exclusive games for Stadia.

Other new releases include licensed motorcycle racer Supercross 3, Milo’s Quest, and Coffee Talk, a game about helping people with problems from the comforting haze of a Seattle coffee shop.

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 – January 27-31, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

  • Stone

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

  • It Came from Space and Ate Our Brains
  • Journey to the Savage Planet
  • Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate Edition

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

  • Milo’s Quest: Console Edition
  • Music Racer

Thursday, January 30, 2020

  • Code Shifter
  • Monster Energy Supercross 3 – Special Edition

Friday, January 31, 2020

  • Coffee Talk
  • HyperDot
  • Sky Rogue

More video games from Thumbsticks

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. Follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates.

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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 like what we do and want to support free, quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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Wasteland Remastered gets a release date

Wasteland Remastered will upgrade the 1988 RPG’s look just in time for Wasteland 3.

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Wasteland Remastered release date
inXile

Wasteland Remastered will upgrade the 1988 RPG’s look just in time for Wasteland 3.

inXile Entertainment announced the remaster back in 2018, with a scheduled 2019 release. But with release dates prone to slipping, instead, Wasteland Remastered will launch on February 25 2020. That’s my birthday if you’ve been wondering what to get me. [Duly noted – Ed.]

The game will simultaneously launch on Steam, the Windows Store and GOG, inXile said. Additionally, Wasteland Remastered will be available via the console and PC versions of Xbox Game Pass.

“Wasteland Remastered is an overhaul of the 1988 title that brought the post-apocalypse to video games,” inXile said in a post on its website. “The Remastered title brings new graphics, audio, music, and digitizes the physical paragraphs book from the original with brand new artwork.”

Here are the before and after pictures. It’s like weirdly-specific time travel.

Wasteland remastered

The remaster is being handled by Krome Studios. That’s a name I haven’t heard in years. Krome developed the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger games in the PS2 era and rebooted the Spyro franchise in 2006. It also remastered the Bard’s Tale games.

Wasteland 3 is set to launch on May 19. Its predecessors were recently free on GOG.


More video games from Thumbsticks

Head over to our new releases page for the latest Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games. You can also stay up to date by following Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard.

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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 like what we do and want to support free, quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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