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Free update adds Labo support to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Nintendo continues to do brilliant things with cardboard – this time, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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Nintendo Labo Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Nintendo continues to do brilliant things with cardboard – this time, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Breath of the Wild is wonderful, and Super Mario Odyssey is outstanding, but the best game on Nintendo Switch might just be a port of a 2014 Wii U game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

There’s very little you could really do to improve Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in our eyes. It’s the go-to multiplayer game for Team Thumbsticks, both online and in the real world. But Nintendo, to their credit, are still trying their best to eke even more out of a four year old racer.

The latest update is, on the face of it, fairly trivial. But on the other hand, it signals not just Nintendo’s commitment to support an older title like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but to continue to find creative and interesting things to do with its latest toy, the Nintendo Labo.

Yes, they’ve officially added the Nintendo Labo motorbike kit as a supported controller to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It looks brilliant, too.

Our only real complaint is that the game’s big local multiplayer appeal – the ability to use a single Joy-Con per player – means you’re going to need a lot of controllers and a lot of identical Labo kits for our regular multiplayer jamborees. Still, we’re splitting hairs, really.


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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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Large PS5 game install sizes revealed, but will it matter?

PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

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PlayStation 5 consoles
Sony / Thumbsticks

PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

Some PlayStation 5 launch game install sizes have been revealed. Among them we see that Bluepoint’s remaster of Demons Souls will consume 66 GB, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales alone will eat up 50 GB, and with an additional remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man in the game’s Ultimate Edition you will reach an ungodly 105 GB. That’s more or less spot-on the install size of Red Dead Redemption 2 last gen. Just about as large as it ever got.

So does it matter? I’m an infamous install juggler myself. Whilst the logical thing as a PC player has always been to have a large HDD for storage and an SSD for performance, I’ve always opted for a lone SSD of only 500 GB or even as low as 250 GB!

The PS5 will have a peculiarly specific 825 GB of SSD storage space. That’s lower than some might be used to from the previous generation, but those 1 TB consoles were all mechanical drives. The PlayStation 5’s custom solid-state storage will be capable of reading up to 5.5 GB a second of raw data. That puts my 530 MB/s or 0.52 GB/s SSD to shame. Even the very top-end PC SSDs only reach a raw bandwidth of around 5 GB/s, with faster speeds reserved for enterprise drives used in data centre applications. As far as console players are concerned, it’s 100x faster than the PS4’s current mechanical hard drives.

Part of the promise of Sony’s next-gen console, then, is an elimination of “long patch installs” and, presumably, long game installs with it. A fast write-speed is all well and good, but fast downloads and installs of a game juggler like myself will need a fast internet speed to take advantage.

We’ll have to see just how these speeds affect the install process when the console arrives on November 19. (In the UK. We’re not still sore about that. Honest.)


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Three pretty good games are free on Xbox One this weekend

Round up some friends for this week’s crop of Xbox One Free Play Days games. 

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The Division 2 - Xbox One
Ubisoft / Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Round up some friends for this week’s crop of Xbox One Free Play Days games.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a tricky game to love. It’ a reliably solid online action RPG of the type Ubisoft can knockout on a reliably regular basis. However, it doesn’t meaningfully expand on the original, and the game’s overall tone and fence-sitting political stance is a touch wearisome. Nonetheless, it’s a fundamentally well-constructed experience, and free is free.

Meanwhile in Reikland, the forces of Chaos and Skaven need defeating. Buddy up with four players to deliciously dismember hordes of enemies in Warhammer: Vermintide 2. Fatshark’s online co-op extravaganza is an action-packed treat that is helped along by a stirring score from composer Jesper Kyd.

This weekend’s final free game is Bomber Crew from Runner Duck. Don’t let first impressions fool you. This cute looking plane game is a plate-spinning masterclass of real-time strategy.

All three games are free to download and play for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members until midnight on Sunday. Any earned achievements and save states will carry over into purchased copies of each game, two of which are also on sale.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

  • Standard Edition – 67% off

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Ultimate Edition – 75% off

Bookmark our sales and free games pages for the latest video game promotions. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates

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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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Rocket League is now free to play (and comes with a $10 coupon)

Rocket League, the game about cars playing soccer, is now free-to-play. Grabbing the game on the Epic Games Store will net you a $10 coupon.

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Rocket League free 10 dollar coupon
Epic Games

Rocket League, the game about cars playing soccer, is now free-to-play. Grabbing the game on the Epic Games Store will net you a $10 coupon.

Back in May 2019, Epic Games purchased Rocket League’s successful indie developer, Psyonix. As a result, yesterday, the game left Steam. And, today, the popular competitive multiplayer game has gone free-to-play. Players who pick the game up in the first 30 days, will also get a $10 coupon for use on the Epic Games Store

The coupon is only available for use on games priced at $14.99 or higher, and is only valid through November 1, 2020. I tried to use the coupon on Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age and Star Wars: Squadrons, and it didn’t work for either. Then, I tried applying it to Red Dead Redemption 2 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. It worked both times. So it appears the coupon is ineligible for use with pre-orders, but should work with anything else in the proper price range.

Regular weekly Epic Games Store freebies

In addition to Rocket League, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition is also free on Epic Games Store. The new, enhanced version of the 2004 park sim comes with all the DLC and has been optimized to run on modern hardware. 

If that isn’t enough free stuff, all five episodes of 3 Out of 10, Terrible Posture Games’ interactive sitcom, are still free. I’ve played the first two episodes, and have mostly enjoyed it so far. Each episode is only 30 minutes to an hour in length, so it’s worth checking it out to see if you’re into it.

Now that Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition is free, Epic has unveiled next week’s get. Pikuniku, the delightful Devolver Digital-published puzzle adventure, will go spare starting next Thursday.


Bookmark our free games page. We know you love free stuff. (And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular free stuff updates.)

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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Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 won’t be a free upgrade

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

Update: 24 September 2020, 4.20 pm BST

Sony has confirmed, via a statement to Kotaku, that PS4 owners of Marvel’s Spider-Man will not receive a free upgrade to Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered is an enhanced version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, and is included as part of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for the PlayStation 5. In addition, players who purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 can upgrade at no additional cost to the PS5 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and can take advantage of a paid-upgrade to download Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered.

There are no plans currently to offer Marvel’s-Spider-Man: Remastered as a standalone. Players with a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 can purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition to experience Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on PS5. Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 also will be backwards compatible on PS5.”

How may times can you say Marvel’s Spider-Man when talking about Marvel’s Spider-Man before Marvel’s Spider-Man stops looking like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man?

Is that all perfectly Marvel’s Spider-Man?

Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Original story: 22 September 2020, 8 pm BST

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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Former Skullgirls and Indivisible devs form new worker-owned studio

New beginnings for former Lab Zero Games developers.

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Future Club logo
Future Club

New beginnings for former Lab Zero Games developers.

Future Club, “an employee-owned cooperative game development studio”, marks a fresh start for former Skullgirls and Indivisible developers after two months of turmoil at Lab Zero Games.

Last month the creative director Mariel Cartwright, senior animator Jonathan Kim, and artist Brian Jun publicly resigned from Lab Zero Games in protest of the alleged abusive and sexual behaviours of its owner, Mike Zaimont, and his subsequent refusal to leave.

It all started with unsavoury comments Zaimont made on stream about the killing of George Floyd. This led to a flurry of accusations of similarly inappropriate and sexual comments and behaviour within the fighting community. The studio then conducted an internal investigation that exposed the systemic nature of that behaviour.

More departures followed. A week later, Lab Zero Games laid off most of the remaining eleven employees with Zaimont telling Kotaku the studio was “…no longer able to meet our payroll obligations.”

It’s understandable given the lack of power in their former situation, then, that the former employees are opting for a flat structure with their new studio. This new chapter was explained in interviews with Kotaku.

“We really want to make sure that everyone at the company has an equal say,” Future Club CEO Francesca Esquenazi told Kotaku. “There isn’t one person at the top who can unilaterally make decisions for everyone else, because that model didn’t work out very well for us [at Lab Zero]. We really want to embrace a model where everyone is an equal owner and has an equal voice.”

The co-op studio model has been similarly adopted by the developers of Night in the Woods, Tonight We Riot, and Dead Cells. Although, Dead Cells’ new studio has now shifted away from this structure as they seek to expand. (And the new studio was given a perhaps too on-the-nose name, Evil Empire, to accompany the change.)

Future Club might differ from the former Dead Cells studio in establishing equal ownership for all workers but with a tiered payment structure. As well as a flatter structure, at Future Club they’re now looking at conflict resolution processes ahead of time.

“There are going to be problems, and you have to know how to deal with it,” said former creative director Mariel Cartwright. “I’ve learned it’s too late to figure out your conflict-resolution process when there’s already conflict. Figuring it out now while we’re still getting along is really, really important and hopefully we can come up with a plan that can carry us through years of working together.”

The new studio is also dedicated to battling crunch.

“I personally have had a lot of crunch in my life and I’m a little over it,” said Cartwright. “What I’ve learned is that the time I can get away from doing the work is where I get inspiration. I can’t become inspired and come up with new ideas when my head is down at the desk working. For everyone’s health but also for our long-term creativity at the studio, it’s important to achieve a good balance for everyone.”

The new studio has “a few pitches nearing a point where they’re ready to be sent to publishers.” Here’s hoping the new structure provides much happier days for the veteran devs.


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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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