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Release date revealed for Life is Strange 2 Episode 2

There’s also – rather bizarrely – a live-action trailer for Life is Strange 2 Episode 2. 

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Life is Strange 2 Episode 2

There’s also – rather bizarrely – a live-action trailer for Life is Strange 2 Episode 2. 

Let’s get the weird bit out of the way first. Here’s the live-action trailer for Life is Strange 2 Episode 2.

Why is it so weird? Because Life is Strange has built its universe around a specific style, one that feels fitting and just right for the series. To suggest that it would benefit from a live-action interpretation feels almost blasphemous, like we’re cheating on the game with those real-life actors.

Luckily, there are two elements of this Life is Strange 2 trailer that feel better: first, there’s some in-game footage – which is dramatically prettier than the live-action stuff – and secondly, there’s a release date.

Life is Strange 2 Episode 2 launches on January 24, 2018. The second episode will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

If you want to know whether it’s for you? Then you should check out our review of the first episode.

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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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Playstation CEO doesn’t see the Xbox Game Pass model ‘as sustainable’

PlayStation CEO and president Jim Ryan doesn’t see the Xbox Game Pass model “as sustainable” and doesn’t plan to imitate it on PlayStation 5.

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Jim Ryan Xbox Game Pass
Sony / Thumbsticks

That’s a pass from PlayStation supremo Jim Ryan.

In what is likely the most significant divergence in approach to the coming generation, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and president Jim Ryan said in an interview with gamesindustry.biz that PlayStation won’t have its own first-party Xbox Game Pass-esque subscription equivalent for PlayStation 5 anytime soon.

“For us, having a catalogue of games is not something that defines a platform,” Ryan says. “Our pitch, as you’ve heard, is ‘new games, great games’. We have had this conversation before – we are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”

This runs counter to Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s statements last year. In a podcast with Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, he said: “The only concern I ever see people talking about is sustainability. I will say Game Pass right now is doing very well for us, and our developers, the people who are in it.”

He’s also denied that by releasing first-party titles they’ve been burning money. “We feel good in the business that we’re running now. We’re definitely investing in it, but not investing in a way that’s unsustainable.”

Xbox Game Pass is one of the most disruptive new business models right now in the industry, now reaching 15 million subscribers, up from 10 million as of the end of April 2020. This pales in comparison to the 90 million active users of Xbox Live, but speaks to the ultra-fast growth it’s seeing. It’s inspired others to follow suit, including Ubisoft with Uplay Plus, Apple with Apple Arcade and EA with EA Access. (Which itself is soon to be itself bundled with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate/PC subscription.)

Sony’s own Playstation Now, boasting just 2.2 million subscribers, has even incorporated downloads in response to the service.

Developers show mixed to cautious enthusiasm on such a service model. There are positive signs for third-party games, however. Games like Descenders, from UK publisher No More Robots, have seen massive sales boosts for being on the service due to increased visibility.

With the announcement of the acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft today, one effect of this divergence in strategy might allow a switch from system exclusives on Xbox to availability on Game Pass at launch as a system selling point.


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Xbox buys Bethesda, publisher of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom

Game publisher Bethesda Softworks now owned by Microsoft.

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Game publisher Bethesda Softworks is now owned by Microsoft.

The acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media by Microsoft for $7.5 billion might just mean all future releases for popular IPs in the Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Quake and Prey franchises will be Xbox console exclusives.

The exact implications of this are still uncertain. In an interview with Bloomberg, Xbox boss Phil Spencer vaguely clarified that they’ll “take other consoles on a case-by-case basis,” leaving open the possibility of a software-over-hardware strategy, as with Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons after Microsoft acquired Mojang Studios in 2014. Equally, Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is a PC/Xbox exclusive, so there is also that precedent. 

In an interesting twist, it also means Microsoft will have two timed PS5 exclusives, in Arkane Studios’ Deathloop and Tango Gameworks’ GhostWire: Tokyo, a commitment Microsoft has now confirmed it is sticking to.

It has been confirmed that new Bethesda and Zenimax games will join Xbox Game Pass on release for console and PC in what is surely a major competitive move in itself.

The acquisition also reunites Bethesda with Obsidian under Microsoft, meaning Obsidian might once again have access to the Fallout IP for a follow-up to the wildly popular Fallout: New Vegas. It’s certainly something the fans would love to see, even with Obsidian already moving on with its own IP in last year’s The Outer Worlds.

Speaking on the acquisition, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said:

“We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC. One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.

“Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.”

Whilst any Xbox console exclusivity has yet to be confirmed, it’s another set of significant additions to Microsoft’s growing list of first-party Xbox Games studios. Bethesda, id Software, Arkane Studios, MachineGames, and Tango Gameworks all join Microsoft’s earlier acquisitions, including Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Double Fine Productions, Compulsion Games and Undead Labs. Also of note, last week the CEO of Bungie shot down rumours that Bungie had been in similar acquisition talks with Microsoft.

It’s a next-gen strategy that seems to answer criticisms Microsoft faced with the Xbox One, which boasted few first-party exclusives compared to its Sony rival.

Preorders for Microsoft’s two new consoles are set to open tomorrow at different times depending on your region.

Updated: September 21, 2020, 6.55 pm BST

This story has been updated to reflect further comments from Phil Spencer to Bloomberg on whether Bethesda, now an Xbox studio, will still release its games on PS5.


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WB Games attempts to distance Hogwarts Legacy from J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts Legacy is embroiled in controversy over its tacit association with the original author of the Wizarding World.

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Hogwarts Legacy
WB Games / Portkey Games

Not exactly the legacy they want.

With the open-world RPG Harry Potter game whose existence was leaked way back in 2018 finally revealed to the world, it should have been a slam dunk of an announcement. Perhaps at one time, it would have been.

But Hogwarts Legacy has instead found itself embroiled in controversy over its tacit association with the original author of the Wizarding World.

In an official FAQ, the publisher of the new Harry Potter game from Portkey Games –⁠ a WB Games subsidiary specifically for Harry Potter games –⁠ and Avalanche Software emphasised that “J.K. Rowling is not directly involved” in its development. It comes as calls for a boycott of the game hit social media over the author’s litany of problematic comments on transgender issues.

It’s not the first time such an FAQ has denied the author’s involvement. 2018’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile game FAQ also featured such a disclaimer. However, the latest FAQ has arguably greater significance now given that in the intervening two years J.K. Rowling has come under greater fire. Whilst in 2018 she was criticised for liking a transphobic tweet in what her PR people called a “middle-aged moment”, the author has since made her own controversial comments about transgender issues.

The increasing backlash against J.K. Rowling and just how it might affect them has never been lost on the game’s developers. Bloomberg reported that many in the team felt “uncomfortable” when the studio’s management didn’t address the author’s comments.

WB Games was more cagey over the potential royalties the author might earn from Hogwarts Legacy, with a spokesperson declining further comment to Kotaku. Whatever the financial arrangement, unlike gaming boycotts –⁠ of, say, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Blizzard, Naughty Dog and EA, where their bottom line is often the target as a means of engendering change in said companies –⁠ this boycott appears more symbolic and personal. As the first significant Harry Potter product to be revealed since the author’s most recent comments, many might see this as an opportunity to distance themselves from the author and a once-beloved franchise that’s become toxic by association.

We’ll have to see if WB Games can do anything more to reassure fans before Hogwarts Legacy’s release in 2021.


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New Xbox One releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

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New Xbox One game releases
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Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline this week’s list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

Xbox One owners can lead a life crime this week in the eagerly anticipated remake of 2002’s Mafia. The city of Lost Heaven has never looked better, but we’re interested to see how Hangar 13 has fleshed out the experience. The addition of motorcycles is a fun place to start.

Meanwhile, players of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw can live their lives on the outer rim of law and order. This sequel from Double Damage builds upon the strong foundations of the first game with improved dogfights, an engaging story, and an even better soundtrack. If you find Elite Dangerous too overwhelming, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is an accessible blend of arcade and simulation sci-fi that scratches the same intergalactic itch.

Other new Xbox One release highlights include Port Royale 4, procedurally generated track laying game Unrailed!, and satirical dungeon crawler, Going Under. Halo ODST‘s Firefight mode is also coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Tuesday.

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any late additions to the lineup.

New Xbox One releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • Halo ODST: Firefight (The Master Chief Collection)
  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
  • Tennis World Tour 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • The Drone Racing League Simulator
  • Jet Set Knights
  • Unrailed!
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Going Under
  • Little Big Workshop
  • Tears of Avia

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Nexomon: Extinction
  • Port Royale 4
  • Sentinels of Freedom
  • Shotgun Farmers
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia

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

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New Nintendo Switch releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and Lost Ember are among the new video games coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop this week.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
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Rebel Galaxy Outlaw and Lost Ember are among the new video games coming to the Nintendo Switch eShop this week.

This week’s crop of new Nintendo Switch releases features some promising new indie games and a bunch of mobile ports. Let’s focus on the cool indie games.

Sci-fi sequel Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is a trading and combat simulation from Double Damage Games. The first game was an ambitious, if flawed, homage to classics like Freelancer. Outlaw continues the space-Western vibe with a kicking country soundtrack, dusty trading posts, odd-ball characters, and improved dogfights. If the port is decent, this could be a gem in Switch’s library.

Another new release we’re keen to see running on Nintendo Switch is Lost Ember from Mooneye Studios. The game had some performance issues on other platforms, but if it runs well, we recommend this touching journey through a majestic and vibrant animal kingdom.

This week’s final pick is CastleStorm II from Zen Studios, the developer best known for its pinball games. Like its predecessor, Castlestorm II is a personality-packed blend of real-time action and tower defence.

Other new Nintendo Switch releases include Unrailed!, Going Under, and the Definitive Edition of fighting platformer Rivals of Aether. There’s also a new crop of games coming to the Nintendo Switch Online NES and SNES libraries.

We’ll update this article throughout the week with any late additions.

New Nintendo Switch releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • Worm Jazz

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • Dungreed
  • Orbt XL
  • Unrailed!
  • Perky Little Things
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure
  • Vigor
  • NSO: S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team
  • NSO: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
  • NSO: Mario’s Super Picross
  • NSO: The Peace Keepers

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Alluris
  • BIG-Bobby-Car – The Big Race
  • Breakpoint
  • Great Conqueror: Rome
  • Lost Ember
  • Micro Pico Racers
  • Going Under
  • Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny
  • Rivals of Aether Definitive Edition
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition
  • Secrets of Me
  • This Is The Zodiac Speaking
  • Wartile

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Jet Set Knights
  • Trollhunters Defenders of Arcadia

Catch up with this week’s new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases.


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