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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.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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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Nintendo reveals new Kirby game, seemingly by mistake

Nintendo website mistakenly outs a new Kirby game for the Switch.

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Kirby Fighters 2 - Nintendo Switch
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Nintendo website mistakenly outs a new Kirby game for the Switch.

Nintendo’s wildly ad-hoc method of announcing new games this year has reached new, erm, heights today with the seemingly inadvertent reveal of Kirby Fighters 2 for the Nintendo Switch.

The listing appears on the Play Nintendo website, under the Gamer Finder section. A click on the Switch filter reveals the following game and description.

Kirby Fighters 2

“Choose from a cast of Kirby’s most iconic copy abilities—including the brand-new Wrestler ability—and duke it out to be the last Kirby standing. Familiar friends and foes like Bandana Waddle Dee and King Dedede also make an appearance as playable characters in the Kirby Fighters 2 game, available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch™ system.”

And just in case the listing is removed, here’s a screen grab for our big scrapbook of video game leaks.

Kirby Fighters 2 - Nintendo Switch listing

Kirby Fighters 2 is priced at USD 19.99 and appears to be a follow-up to the Nintendo 3DS eShop exclusive Kirby Fighters Deluxe, which was itself spun-off from a bonus mode in the excellent 2014 platformer Kirby: Triple Deluxe.

Via Wario64


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Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 is digital only, won’t feature cross-save

The upgrade path for the Marvel’s Spider-Man remaster on PlayStation 5 is nearly as messy as Control’s.

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Marvels Spider-Man
Sony

The upgrade path for the Marvel’s Spider-Man remaster on PlayStation 5 is nearly as messy as Control’s.

Next-gen remasters like the PS5 Remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man are becoming a complicated business. We’ve already seen controversy spring up over limited eligibility in accessing the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 “free upgrade” of Remedy’s Control.

After a session responding to queries on Twitter, Insomniac has confirmed some of the limitations of the PS5 version of their acclaimed game.

On free upgrades to the original for PS4 players…

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered likely has no free upgrade for PS4 owners, since physical media for the former version will play the original via backwards compatibility and it has its own trophy list.

On cross-generational saves…

Insomniac confirmed that there will be no cross-gen saves for the remaster.

On a physical release for the Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition…

The remaster will be digital-only and currently the only way to get your hands on it will be to get the pricier PS5-only Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition for £70. No other route or upgrade for now.

Where you will get a free upgrade…

The yet to be released Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales will allow for a free upgrade to a PS5 version. However, since the Ultimate Edition isn’t available for PS4, there’s currently no way to access Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered without (re)purchasing Spider-Man Miles Morales on PS5.

It’s a fair number of caveats, then, but unlike the Control next-gen version – which will be replicating the existing PC version – the Spider-Man remaster is a more significant endeavour.

“The remaster for the PS5 is no simple up-res,” details the Playstation Blog. “Many of the game’s art assets have been completely updated to take advantage of the PS5 console’s horsepower. You’ll see better-looking characters with improved skin, eyes, hair, and facial animation (including our new, next-generation Peter Parker).”

“You’ll also see ray-traced reflections and ambient shadows, improved lighting, more pedestrians and vehicles stretching further into the distance, and the same optional performance mode offered on Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, allowing you to finally play the game at a targeted 60FPS frame rate. We’ll be supporting near-instant loading, 3D audio, and the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback. Lastly, we’re adding three amazing new Spider-Man suits, new photo mode features, and even new trophies for those of you looking to Platinum the game all over again.”

That kind of overhaul does help to justify the lack of a free upgrade. Still, it’s hard to see how Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered isn’t going to spark something similar to Control’s controversy with limited access and the above limitations. It’s just another chapter in the increasingly confusing saga of next-gen upgrade announcements.

Ray-traced reflections, though? That should make for some pretty puddles.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for further demystification of the next-gen upgrades.

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Save up to 85% in four new Xbox One video game sales

This week’s Xbox One Deals with Gold and Spotlight sales are joined by discounts on video games from Activision.

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Xbox One - Resident Evil 2

This week’s Xbox One Deals with Gold and Spotlight sales are joined by discounts on games from Rockstar and Capcom.

If you didn’t manage to pick up an Xbox Series X pre-order, console yourself with some discounts on a range of excellent Xbox One titles.

This week’s Deals with Gold includes cuts on some recent(ish) AAA games like Kingdom Hearts Ⅲ Re Mind, and Devil May Cry 4. The remaster of Final Fantasy VIII is also a favourite in the Thumbsticks office.

Publisher Rockstar is also offering decent savings on titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V, and L.A. Noire. And Capcom has slashed up to 75% off games from the Resident Evil franchise.

A 25% reduction on the bill for Untitled Goose Game is our pick from this week’s Spotlight selection.

This week’s Xbox One deals are available until September 28, 2020. Here’s a quick rundown of the best bargains on offer. Each game is available from the Xbox digital games store and Microsoft web store.

Xbox One Deals with Gold Highlights

  • Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise – 75% off
  • Almost There: The Platformer – 85% off
  • Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition – 70% off
  • Devil May Cry 5 – 20% off
  • Devil May Cry HD Collection – 50% off
  • Final Fantasy VIII Remastered – 50% off
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster – 50% off
  • Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age – 50% off
  • GreedFall – 75% off
  • Headspun – 33% off
  • Hover – 67% off
  • Hunt: Showdown – 60% off
  • Kingdom Hearts Ⅲ Re Mind – 25% off
  • Monster Energy Supercross 2 – Special Edition – 75% off
  • MudRunner – American Wilds Edition – 70% off
  • Othercide – 25% off
  • Romancing SaGa 2 – 50% off
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – 85% off
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane – 65% off
  • World of Final Fantasy Maxima – 50% off
  • XenoRaptor – 40% off

Xbox One Spotlight Highlights

  • Crashbots – 60% off
  • Crimson Keep – 75% off
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ – FighterZ Edition – 85% off
  • Ikaruga – 50% off
  • Metaloid: Origin – 30% off
  • Minesweeper Genius – 67% off
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath – 40% off
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 – 40% off
  • Radiant Silvergun – 50% off
  • SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell – 70% off
  • Storm Boy – 80% off
  • Stranded Sails – Explorers Of The Cursed Islands – 40% off
  • Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition – 80% off
  • Tumblestone – 85% off
  • Uncanny Valley – 80% off
  • Untitled Goose Game – 25% off
  • Yet Another Zombie Defense HD – 75% off

Rockstar Publisher Sale Highlights

  • Bully Scholarship Edition – 60% off
  • Grand Theft Auto IV – 65% off
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Edition – 50% off
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition & Great White Shark Card Bundle – 35% off
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 33% off
  • L.A. Noire – 50% off
  • Red Dead Redemption – 67% off
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – 50% off
  • Rockstar Table Tennis – 60% off

Resident Evil Franchise Sale Highlights

  • Resident Evil – 75% off
  • Resident Evil 0 – 75% off
  • Resident Evil 2 – 50% off
  • Resident Evil 3 – 50% off
  • Resident Evil 4 – 60% off
  • Resident Evil 5 – 60% off
  • Resident Evil 6 – 60% off
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard – 50% off
  • Resident Evil Revelations – 60% off
  • Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2 Bundle – 60% off

For more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Doom Eternal on Nintendo Switch is still coming

Panic Button Games’ port of id software’s acclaimed demon shooter is still coming to Nintendo Switch.

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Doom Eternal system requirements
Bethesda / id Software

Doom Eternal on Nintendo Switch is “very close” according to its developer.

Panic Button Games’ port of id Software’s acclaimed demon shooter is still coming, and work on it is almost done. The news comes via Digital Foundry’s interview with the game’s executive producer Marty Stratton for PAX x EGX.

“I know people are anxious,” said Stratton.

In an interview with Eurogamer in 2018, the studio expressed their desire to launch alongside all other platforms. This faced complications, not least the global pandemic.

“We’re trying to make it the best version of the game it possibly can be. So we’ve been working with Panic Button, they’re also – like everybody – work from home, so it’s taking a little bit longer to get there…we want it to be everything it possibly can be. It’s very close, and we’re trying to be very uncompromising with what it needs to be, because there’s a high demand for it.”

“We will be talking about it again, in the not-to-distant future. It is close, but I can’t say exactly how close.”

Panic Button are responsible for many high-quality Switch ports including Doom 2016, Rocket League, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Like these, the Doom Eternal port will aim for 30 fps and should hopefully see a return of gyro/motion controls.

It remains to be seen whether the Switch will bundle in DLC as was done for the Doom 2016 port, since the recently revealed first campaign expansion, The Ancient Gods – Part One, is both more substantial and a standalone release.

The expansion is due 20th October, 2020 and it sounds like we aren’t too far off hearing a release date for the Switch port.

Our editor, Tom Baines, wasn’t too enamoured with the sequel, calling it ‘technically solid, blistering in parts, but lacking in soul.’


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Enjoyed this article?

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Here’s a recap of the latest My Nintendo rewards

Looking to spend your earned My Nintendo Gold and Platinum points? Here’s a quick round of the latest rewards on offer.

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My Nintendo - SNES controller
Nintendo

Looking to spend your earned My Nintendo Gold and Platinum points? Here’s a quick round of the latest rewards on offer.

With Nintendo officially confirming that production on the Nintendo 3DS ended earlier this year, it’s no surprise to see the latest batch of My Nintendo rewards pivot towards physical goods.

Here’s a quick roundup of what’s newly available in Europe and North America.

My Nintendo Rewards – Europe

Super NES Controller for Nintendo Switch

This super cool replica of the iconic SNES controller is perfect for playing the Switch’s library of retro games. Upcoming additions include Donkey Kong Country 2 and Mario’s Super Picross. This wireless controller comes with a USB charging cable and is exclusively available to My Nintendo members. It’s priced at £26.99.

Splatoon 2 Summer Postcard Set

This set of eight Splatoon 2-themed postcards are available in exchange for 400 Platinum Points, plus postage and packing. The postcards measure 10 x 14.8 cm and are printed on 300g/m² card with a matte finish.

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Keychain Set and Splatfest T-shirts

This range of Splatoon 2 tees and keychains feature Mario’s Super Mushroom and Super Star power-ups, both of which are the subjects of an upcoming Splatfest held in honour of the plumber’s 35th Anniversary. The t-shirts cost at £22.99 in the UK and the keychains are 100 Platinum Points.

The rather nice Animal Crossing: New Horizons Reusable Bag also remains available in exchange for 400 Platinum Points.

My Nintendo - Splatoon 2 postcards

My Nintendo Rewards – North America

Nintendo-themed Lunchable packages

Until Dec. 31, famous Nintendo characters are appearing on packs of Lunchables. Inside each box is a code that can be redeemed online for the chance to win a Nintendo Switch prize pack or 100 My Nintendo Platinum Points.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition rewards

New rewards based on Nintendo’s remastered RPG Xenoblade Chronicles include a Phone Ring Holder based on the Monado and a set of three sticker sheets. They cost 400 and 300 Platinum Points, respectively.

Splatoon 2 Summer Postcard Set

This is the same postcard set issued in Europe, and it’s also priced at 400 Platinum Points.

Super Mario Desktop Wallpapers

A series of four Super Mario Bros-themed wallpapers are available depicting the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 2, and Super Mario 3D All-Stars. They cost 50 Platinum Points each.


Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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