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9 video game stories you might have missed – May 8, 2019

Here’s a round-up of the video game stories you might have missed over the past few days.

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Fortnite defaults

Here’s a round-up of the video game stories you might have missed over the past few days.

You can’t read everything. It’s an uphill battle that we all face, in a tide of social media and endless streams of content.

Nor can we write individual news stories for everything that happens for that matter. We just don’t have the resources for that. So every now and then, we like to do a little round-up of the top video game stories.

US senator moves on loot boxes

As reported on Kotaku by the ever-reliable Jason Scheier, Republican senator for Missouri, Josh Hawley, introduced a bill to curb loot boxes whose “developers knowingly allow minor players to engage in microtransactions”. The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act hopes to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in “games played by minors”.

In a typically tone-deaf response, the ESA said: “Numerous countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling.” It’s the old tax evasion vs. tax avoidance defence, and it’s not a good look for the industry’s biggest trade body.

Working on Mortal Kombat 11 gives developer PTSD

Also on Kotaku, Joshua Rivera talks to a member of the cinematics team on Mortal Kombat 11, about the impact working on such a violent game has had on their personal life.

“You’d walk around the office and one guy would be watching hangings on YouTube, another guy would be looking at pictures of murder victims, someone else would be watching a video of a cow being slaughtered,” they said. “The scary part was always the point at which new people on the project got used to it. And I definitely hit that point.”

While the developer – who understandably wants to remain anonymous, to protect their career – was warned that the work could be “a little violent”, there appears to be little protection or assistance in place to help and protect the team from the sorts of images they’re exposed to on a daily basis, and in far greater detail and for longer durations than anyone playing the game.

Following stories of extreme crunch at NetherRealm, it’s not a positive time for the developer after an otherwise strong critical reception for its latest fighting game.

Fortnite becomes another platform for class-based bullying

In another fantastic report that we wish didn’t need to be written, Polygon’s Patricia Hernandez delves into the degree in which children are being bullied for not being able to buy skins in Fortnite.

The game may be free, but if you’re using the default character? That opens you up to the same sort of ridicule that having fake two-stripe Adidas did when Team Thumbsticks were young. It’s just another excuse for richer kids to bully poorer ones, and in a world where participation in Fortnite is the new norm? It’s a tough cycle to beat.

“I’ve overheard someone being called a ‘default’ at least once,” a teacher tells Hernandez in the report. “It really seems to have stuck in their heads!”

Collectables a go-go

If you like Cyberpunk 2077, but aren’t really sure on the ethos behind it, you might want to head over to CD Projekt Red’s new online merchandise store, where you can pick up branded t-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, socks, lanyards, and canvas shopping bags. Yes, it’s a bit weird, but the stuff looks decent. The Witcher and Gwent are also catered for, and the gear is modelled by CDPR staff and not models, which is a nice touch.

If Pac-Man’s more your thing, then the Pac-Man x Orlinski Official Sculpture might be for you. It’s very expensive as video game collectables go – £125 in the UK, regional prices may vary – but it is a genuinely lovely thing.

Mike Bithell is making a John Wick strategy game

Looking like a cross between X-Com, Hitman Go, and Bithell’s own Volume, John Wick Hex looks like the movie tie-in none of us were expecting. Or indeed, even knew that we wanted. But it’s here anyway, and promises to combine John Wick’s trademark action with the sort of tactical and strategic, moment-to-moment gameplay, like the aforementioned X-Com series and, yes, Mario Plus Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

Ubisoft apparently ‘leaks’ new Ghost Recon game, ‘by accident’

Yes, sometimes leaks genuinely do happen by accident and spoil the best-laid plans of mice and (marketing) men, but in the age of social media, trending and memes, you have to wonder whether these ‘whoops’ moments are on purpose.

Anyway. According to a since-deleted store listing, the new Ghost Recon sequel – allegedly called Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and starring Punisher and The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal – looks to be coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in October 2019. It looks like Ubisoft will be revealing more tomorrow:

You know, in response to the ‘accidental’ leak. Not at all planned.

Dead Cells is coming to cell phones

Dead Cells, the celebrated hack and slash platformer, is coming to iOS devices this summer, courtesy of mobile port specialist, Playdigious. An Android version is expected to follow in due course.

Big sales on big games

There are some great video game sales on the go at the moment, including:

Plus a couple of really great (and very different) games are free on PlayStation Plus this month.

And finally…

In our favourite story of the past few days, PUBG Mobile has been given a wholesome conversion to fit in with Chinese censors. But that’s not our favourite bit. Government censorship isn’t funny.

After publisher Tencent was unable to monetise the game due to stringent restrictions on “violence and decency” by the Chinese government, the game has been rebranded as Game for Peace. It’s basically the same game and players can even carry over their progress, but it’s now filled with Communist Party-friendly imagery, and players wave goodbye after you kill them.

No really, they do. It’s kind of sweet. (If, you know, it wasn’t being done because of State censorship and all.)

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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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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

More video game news from Thumbsticks

Ctrl+D the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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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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New PlayStation 4 releases (April 6-10, 2020)

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

A classic franchise returns to PlayStation 4 next 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, will hopefully be everything fans have been waiting for. We loved what we played back at E3 2019, and also enjoyed the recent demo. Early reports point to a game that is both modern and respectful to the original. Final Fantasy VII Remake 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 include Null Drifter, Troubleshooter, and Rush Rover.

Here is the full lineup of new PlayStation Store games for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita. We’ll update this post with any late additions throughout the week.

New PlayStation 4 releases – April 6-10, 2020

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike
  • A Room Where Art Conceals
  • Sharknado VR: Eye of the Storm

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • Troubleshooter

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake

More from Thumbsticks

Bookmark our new releases page for regular updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on 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
Bethesda / Microsofts / Thumbsticks

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.


For more video game news and offers, follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, 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 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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Indie adventure Windbound looks like Breath of the Wind Waker

Take the mechanics of Breath of the Wild and splice it together with the heart of Wind Waker, and you’ve got something close to Windbound.

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Windbound
Deep Silver / Thumbsticks

Take the mechanics of Breath of the Wild and splice it together with the heart of Wind Waker, and you’ve got something close to Windbound.

At the time, with its cartoon cel-shading and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld version of Hyrule, people sneered at The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Sandwiched between the darker Majora’s Mask on the N64 and Twilight Princess on the Wii, Wind Waker was critically acclaimed, but not terribly well-received by fans.

It’s funny how often fan opinions age badly, isn’t it? Wind Waker is now widely regarded as one of the highlights of the series. It also spawned two direct sequels – The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks – which is a rarity for the series, and its meandering open-world clearly formed part of the blueprint for 2017’s Breath of the Wild.

Announced today by developer 5 Lives Studios – the team behind Satellite Reign – and publisher Deep Silver, indie adventure Windbound clearly carries the spirit of both Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild in its DNA. (With a touch of Rime’s puzzling and The Flame in the Flood’s survival thrown in for good measure.)

The accompanying press release reads:

“Created by Australian developer 5 Lives Studios, Windbound is a beautiful rogue-like 3rd-person survival adventure, fuelled by hunting, exploration and crafting. The player assumes the role of Kara who has been shipwrecked on an unknown land and must learn to adapt and survive, while solving the mysteries of a series of forgotten islands.

Windbound takes the survival genre in a new direction, focusing on nomadic hunting and exploration, together with custom boat building and an immersive tactile sailing experience. The game provides endless replayability options thanks to the procedural world, dynamic wildlife and modular boat crafting.”

Windbound will release for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on August 28, 2020. That’s a smart move by 5 Lives Studios and Deep Silver – if you get the news of the Switch version out of the way early, it’ll stop people begging for it incessantly.


Follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard for regular video game 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 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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