Connect with us

News

The Week in Video Games – February 18, 2018

This week in gaming: PUBG arrives on mobile, System Shock development halted, and Atari cash in on cryptocurrency. Here’s our digest of the week’s most important video games news.

Published

on

PUBG live-action trailer

This week in gaming: PUBG arrives on mobile, System Shock development halted, and Atari cash in on cryptocurrency. Here’s our digest of the week’s most important video games news.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

There was mixed news for PUBG this week. On the plus side, the game has reached an almighty 30 million sales, a huge achievement for game that only left Early Access at the end of 2017.

Unfortunately, this was tempered by reports of the game’s player count declining. Recent numbers indicate a high of 1.7 million concurrent players on PC, some way down from theme’s  2-3 million peak. Yuji Nakamura, the Bloomberg reporter who posted the initial report on Twitter, suggests that cheaters are the primary reason for players turning away.

It probably doesn’t matter anyway, PUBG on PC is old news, it’s PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield on mobile that everyone loves now. The live-action trailer was a sensation across the web last week, and, as Ian Higton at Eurogamer reports, the game is no slouch when it comes to capturing the authentic PUBG feel.

New Nintendo Labo details revealed

Nintendo has released two new videos that reveal more about Nintendo Labo, the upcoming range of cardboard creation kits for the Nintendo Switch. Most impressive is the use of the dinky infra-red camera nestled inside the right Joy-Con. The video shows how the camera can feed footage to the Switch screen, help Labo creations navigate, and scan real world objects to create in-game 3D environments.

System Shock reboot on hiatus

Nightdive Studios has confirmed that development on the reboot of System Shock is being paused. The game raised more than $1.3 million through crowd funding in 2016, but now finds itself in trouble due to an increase in scope. Nightdive CEO, Stephen Kick, says development will resume once a full assessment of the project is completed:

“I have put the team on a hiatus while we reassess our path so that we can return to our vision. We are taking a break, but NOT ending the project. Please accept my personal assurance that we will be back and stronger than ever. System Shock is going to be completed and all of our promises fulfilled. “

Sea of Thieves will want your coin, eventually

Sea of Thieves, the upcoming online pirate game from Rare, will likely add micro-transactions after launch. Speaking to IGN’s Unlocked podcast, executive producer Joe Neate said that the studio is considering the optimum way to implement add-on content.

Thankfully, rather than adding loot crates that provide a gameplay advantage, Rare would prefer micro-transactions to be used for social and cosmetic enhancements. And pet monkeys.

Swery teases his next new game

Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro has teased The Missing, the first game from his new studio, White Owls. Publishing duties are to be handled by Arc System Works.

Get PUBG free with every Xbox One X

Starting today, if you purchase an Xbox One X you’ll get a free copy of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The promotion runs until February 24, 2018.

New Splatoon 2 amiibo announced

Nintendo has announced that Splatoon 2‘s Pearl and Marina will be getting the amiibo treatment later this year. The Splatoon 2: Starter Edition will also be released worldwide on March 16, 2018. The pack includes a copy of the game, some Splatoon 2 stickers, and a one hundred page strategy guide.

Develop:Brighton expands

Organisers of Develop:Brighton, the UK’s primary game development conference, have announced an expanded three-day format for this year’s event. The call for speaker submissions is open until March 14, 2018. Find out more at the Develop:Brighton website.

THQ nordic picks up Koch Media

THQ Nordic has purchased Koch Media, the parent company of Deep Silver, in a deal worth €121 million. The acquisition includes the licences to the Metro and Dead Island franchises.

Secret of Mana remake disappoints

The recent remake of Shadow of the Colossus gave a highly regarded game a sumptuous, but respectful, make over. It appears that Secret of Mana has not received the same treatment from Square Enix.

Writing at Polygon, Jeremy Parish says:

“Remakes should ideally strip away a game’s outdated or broken elements while enshrining its strengths. Secret of Mana’s remake instead emphasizes the parts of the original that didn’t quite work while leeching all joy from the parts that did.”

Nadia Oxford, writing her initial thoughts at USGamer, finds the core game remains enjoyable, but the remake does little to fix its flaws:

“There’s still a lot of hoofing between the same locales, the AI still lacks any kind of brilliance, and the ring menus are somehow worse.”

And it appears that no one has a kind word to say about the game’s reworked soundtrack. Oh well.

Twitch breaks new records, launches Rooms

Video game streaming service Twitch has achieved a new concurrent viewership record. According to a report from Macquarie analyst Benjamin Schachter, viewership hit a peak of 962,000 viewers in January, an increase of 26% from December 2017.

Twitch has also introduced a new Discord-like feature called Rooms. Rooms are topic-led, open 24/7, and enables streamers and viewers to indulge in polite, well-mannered discourse, even when a streamer is not active online.

Rick and Morty heading to PS VR

Adult Swim Games are releasing Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality for PlayStation VR on April 10, 2018. Although a licensed VR game would normally be cause for a shrug, the fact the Job Simulator studio Owlchemy Labs is on development detail – alongside Other Ocean Group – gives us confidence. The game’s Collector’s Edition will also include a Funko Pop! Rick and Morty vinyl figure.

Atari finds another plate to spin

Is there nothing that the latest iteration of Atari won’t try? In addition to the delayed AtariBox console, floundering RollerCoaster Tycoon crowd funding campaign, and notorious speaker hats, the company is also dipping its toe into the cryptocurrency market with the Atari Token coin. The announcement bumped shares in the company up by 60% . It’s all going to end it tears, isn’t it?

And finally…

If you were stranded on a desert island, and had to choose six video games to play forever, what would you choose? In the first of our new Desert Island Games series we shipwreck N++ developer, Raigan Burns.


More from Thumbsticks

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.

Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

News

Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky Origins update

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

Published

on

No Mans Sky book covers
Hello Games / Thumbsticks

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

Did you know that the procedurally-generated aesthetic for No Man’s Sky was based on pulpy, 70s science fiction novel covers?

(We did know, but it’s still fun to watch the video in the post linked above. For all of its “bazillion of procedurally generated planets” pitch, the aesthetic and the atmosphere of No Man’s Sky are still some of its biggest selling points, especially with the very scary Desolation update from a couple of months ago.)

As the free content updates kept coming for No Man’s Sky, each with its own science fiction cover, it built up a bigger picture: a “shelf” of those pulpy sci-fi book covers.

But when Sean Murray, of Hello Games, tweeted a picture of all the covers together following the Desolation update, it did not escape people’s notice that there was only “room” for one more cover left on that artificial bookshelf of pulpy book covers:

And with the No Man’s Sky Origins update set to be revealed next week, people have been worried that might be the last update we see for the game. The final space on the bookshelf will be filled, as it were.

But according to the blog post announcing Origins, “This update will be another small step in a longer journey.”

Perhaps Hello Games isn’t quite done with No Man’s Sky just yet.


Follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily video game news 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.

Continue Reading

News

Play three cool games for free on Xbox One this weekend

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and a creature-infested Louisiana.

Published

on

Sea of Thieves - Xbox One

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and, erm, Louisiana.

Shiver me timbers, Sea of Thieves is free to play on Xbox One this weekend. Rare’s online pirate adventure was somewhat cooly received on release, but who’s cool now? A treasure chest of content and gameplay updates has helped build a thriving community of shipmates, most of whom are welcoming to new deckhands. Nonetheless, take care, there’s always someone waiting to steal a Bilge Rat Doubloon or two when your back is turned.

Players should also keep their wits about them in Hunt: Showdown, the popular PvP first-person hunting game from Crytek. Up to 12 players must venture into the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Your task is to retrieve a bounty from a vicious creature, but once you have that bounty, friends become foes, and you become the target. Hi-jinks ensue.

Finally, Warhammer: Chaosbane is moderately fun hack-and-slash action RPG from EKO Software. If the phrase “fighting battles in the sewers of Nuln” gets your blood pumping, this game is probably for you.

All three games are playable for free until midnight on Sunday for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. As always, any earned achievements and save states carry over into purchased copies of each game. Here’s the lowdown on this week’s related digital discounts.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Hunt: Showdown

  • Standard Edition – 60% off
  • Master Hunter Edition – 50% off

Warhammer: Chaosbane

  • Standard Edition – 65% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 65% off
  • Magnus Edition – 70% off

Sea of Thieves

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

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

Continue Reading

News

Surprise! The Long Dark is out now on Nintendo Switch

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

Published

on

The Long Dark Nintendo Switch
Hinterland / Thumbsticks

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

Nintendo has developed a habit of doing the old “and it’s available on the eShop right now” trick during its Direct presentations. In a summer of interminable video press conferences and wall-to-wall Geoff Keighley and 15-minute trailers for games we won’t see again for a couple of years, it’s a lovely little trait, an instant dopamine hit.

And Nintendo used it again, a few times, during its September 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. There were games we knew were coming at some point, like Hades, and games we didn’t, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But they were still a nice surprise.

Then there was The Long Dark, the brilliant, wintry survival epic from Hinterland Games. That, too, got a surprise launch on the Nintendo Switch today. This is a lovely turn of events for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Long Dark is really rather good.
  2. The last we heard, the game’s performance on Switch was quite poor, so it’s excellent that it’s now in a state good enough to release.

There’s also an excellent launch trailer to mark the occasion:

Meanwhile, Hinterland head honcho and The Long Dark director Raph van Lierop took to Twitter to address some players’ confusion that, uncharacteristically, the trailer wasn’t particularly bleak.

We’re looking to heading out into the wilderness and playing The Long Dark later this year. You know, when it gets really cold.


Check out everything else announced in this month’s Nintendo Direct, or follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle 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.

Continue Reading

News

Prepare for Watch Dogs: Legion with this Epic freebie

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

Published

on

Watch Dogs 2 - Marcus Holloway
Ubisoft

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

In Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world game Watch Dogs: Legion, you can play as anyone. In this week’s Epic Games Store freebie, Watch Dogs 2, you play as a very specific person who I like an awful lot. Marcus Holloway, the game’s protagonist, is a genuinely likable, cool, chill dude. He’s also one of the few Black leads in video games.

The game around Marcus is also very cool. Set in modern day San Francisco, Watch Dogs 2 is a slice of sunshine-y fun that hands you a tonne of cool hacker superpowers. If you want to know more, I wrote about it as one of the best (and least realistic) hacking video games on the market here.

The Other Freebies

Also free: Football Manager 2020. This one ain’t for Yanks, like me; it’s about the other kind of football. From my experience playing the sport as a 10-year-old, managing a football team mostly involves keeping the team stocked with Capri Suns and helping them choose a cool name. Our uniforms were blue and white and we called ourselves the Blizzards. Very cool stuff. The beautiful game, indeed.

And, the final freebie is an indie platformer called Stick It to the Man, which has a cool pop-up book aesthetic. Worth a look for the low, low price of free.

And, here’s your friendly reminder that all five episodes of 3 Out of 10 are still free. I’ve played the first two episodes of the “interactive sitcom” about life at the world’s worst game developer and I’m becoming increasingly invested in the story. The minigames have a surprisingly good hit-to-miss ratio, as well.

All of this is free until next Thursday when Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition will be up for grabs.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

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.

Continue Reading

News

The future of VR is wireless as Facebook goes all in on the Oculus Quest 2

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021.

Published

on

Oculus Quest 2
Facebook / Oculus

RIP Oculus Rift.

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021. Sales of the original Quest will also cease. It’s another clarifying move in Facebook’s vision for the future of VR. It comes alongside the recent announcement that a Facebook account will be required to use any Oculus headset by 2023. Indeed, a Facebook account is required to use the Quest 2.

Facebook has reassured users that they will continue to support PC VR via Quest and Oculus Link. The Rift platform of PC software certainly isn’t facing a shut down any time soon.

That said, Facebook seems to be betting big on wireless, mobile experiences being the key to VR reaching mass audience appeal. Whilst the Quest 2 does fold both the wireless and PC-fidelity VR worlds into one headset with a fibre-optic Oculus Link cable – available to preorder separately – it’s telling that this cable isn’t included with the headset itself.

Other USB-C cables should be capable of the PC tethering too via Oculus Link but might provide an inferior performance. Either way, Quest 2 users will be able to access games on the Rift platform that haven’t been adapted especially for its wireless capabilities. These include highly-acclaimed releases like Asgard’s Wrath, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, and Lone Echo. It seems a shame this is slightly deemphasised.

The Quest 2 is launching on October 10 and undercuts the original Quest significantly with a price tag of £299. Despite this, it boasts better specs all-round: a higher resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, higher refresh rate support of  72 Hz (and 90 Hz promised via software update), a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, and 6 GB RAM. Other features like controller-less navigation bring back Kinect memories.

It’s a major shift towards affordable VR and many early reviews signal very positive impressions. Equally, not everyone is sold on the new VR system.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

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.

Continue Reading