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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.

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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.


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Save up to 85% with this week’s new Xbox One deals

Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 headline the latest crop of Xbox One digital game store discounts.

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Xbox Deal with Gold
Microsoft

Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 headline the latest crop of Xbox One digital game store discounts.

There are just two sales on Xbox One this week, but both have a few games worth picking up at bargain prices.

Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 remake is released this Friday, but it’s unlikely to top last year’s stunning update of RE2 which is reduced by 50% on Xbox One. Devil May Cry 5 is also half-price and well worth checking out if you missed it on release.

Other recommended sale titles include Risk of Rain 2Iconoclasts, Don’t Starve Together, and two bundles that bring together Three Fields Entertainment’s range of Dangerous Driving and Danger Zone games.

You can purchase the latest batch of discounted Xbox One games until April 7, 2020. Visit the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft online store for the full range of titles. Here’s the full lineup.

Deals with Gold

  • Agony – 80% off
  • Artifex Mundi Ultimate Collection – 50% off
  • Big Pharma – 30% off
  • Blacksad: Under the Skin – 50% off
  • Bleed 2 – 75% off
  • Call of Cthulhu – 75% off
  • Dead Island: Riptide Definitive Edition – 75% off
  • Decay of Logos – 25% off
  • Desert Child – 50% off
  • Don’t Starve Together: Console Edition – 60% off
  • Doodle God: Crime City – 50% off
  • Doom and Destiny – 35% off
  • Hellfront: Honeymoon – 75% off
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned – 75% off
  • Old Man’s Journey – 50% off
  • RICO – 25% off
  • Risk of Rain 1 + 2 Bundle – 40% off
  • Risk of Rain 2 – 40% off
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – 75% off
  • Shikhondo – Soul Eater – 67% off
  • SolSeraph – 60% off
  • Space Hulk: Tactics – 75% off
  • The Sojourn – 33% off
  • The Technomancer – 75% off
  • Truck Driver – 25% off
  • We Happy Few – 70% off
  • We Happy Few Digital Deluxe – 70% off

Spotlight Sale Highlights

  • Accidents Will Happen Bundle – 60% off
  • AereA – 85% off
  • Albedo and the Cast Bundle – 80% off
  • Alvastia Chronicles – 40% off
  • Antiquia Lost – 30% off
  • Asdivine Hearts – 40% off
  • Bonds of the Skies – 40% off
  • Chronus Arc – 40% off
  • Devil May Cry 5 (With Red Orbs) – 50% off
  • DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition – 67% off
  • Fernz Gate – 40% off
  • Frane: Dragons’ Odyssey – 30% off
  • Iconoclasts – 60% off
  • Illusion of L’Phalcia – 30% off
  • Jydge – 60% off
  • Kona – 80% off
  • Lost Artifacts: Time Machine – 35% off
  • Mighty No. 9 – 80% off
  • Mulaka – 65% off
  • Resident Evil 2 – 50% off
  • Revenant Dogma – 40% off
  • Revenant Saga – 30% off
  • Shiny – 85% off
  • Ultimate Danger Bundle – 60% off
  • Wuppo – 85% off

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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This week’s PlayStation 4 releases (March 30-April 3, 2020)

Resident Evil 3 and Persona 5 Royal headline this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita releases on the PS Store.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Resident Evil 3 and Persona 5 Royal headline this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita releases on the PS Store.

This week’s big new PS4 release is Capcom’s Resident Evil 3. Remade in the RE Engine, the game gets a sumptuous graphical overhaul and employs the same third-person camera used in last year’s stunning RE2 remake. The package also includes the asymmetrical-multiplayer game, Resident Evil: Resistance.

One of the best RPGs of recent years also gets an update in Persona 5 Royal. This expanded version of the game features new music, characters, attacks, locations, puzzles, and story beats. We’re particularly excited to meet new Phantom Thief, Kasumi Yoshizawa, and hang out at the Penguin Sniper cafe to play billiards and darts. We love darts.

We might love darts, but we don’t love chemical bio-weapons. However, that’s what’s in store for players trapped in The Complex. With a script by Lynn Renee Maxcy, The Complex is an interactive cinematic thriller with branching storylines and performances from Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones) and Michelle Mylett (Bad Blood).

If you like the idea of Death Stranding, but not its execution, do check out Totally Reliable Delivery Service. It’s a madcap multiplayer physics-based simulator about delivering parcels. We totally loved what we played last year, and we totally expect it to be totally worth playing.

Other new PS4 releases include Overpass, Snakeybus, and Operencia: The Stolen Sun, a new old-school RPG from Zen Studios, who are best known for their pinball games. It looks promising.

Here is the full lineup of confirmed PlayStation Store games for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita.

New PlayStation 4 releases – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • Battle Rockets (PS Vita only)
  • The Casebook of Arkady Smith
  • The Complex
  • Curious Expedition
  • Final Assault
  • Good Goliath
  • Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher
  • Operencia: The Stolen Sun
  • Overpass
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Random Heroes (+ PS Vita)
  • Snakeybus
  • The Ultimate FMV Bundle
  • The Interactive Movie Bundle

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • The Wizards – Enhanced Edition
  • WurroomInfliction: Extended Cut
  • Yoga Master

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • No releases

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • 8-Bit RTS Series Complete Collection
  • Hyperparasite
  • Resident Evil 3

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Visit our new releases page for weekly updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Thumbsticks needs your support

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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Art of Rally is a diminutive driving delight

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

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art of rally
Funselektor / Thumbsticks

Art of Rally may feature some micro machines, but it’s not just a novelty racer.

Have you ever tried to make a 3D driving game in an engine like Unity or Unreal? No, of course, you haven’t. You’re probably a normal person with sensible hobbies. You probably went outside and spoke to people. (In the before times. Nobody goes outside anymore.)

Me? I’m an odd sort. I like to know how things work. So in my neverending quest to produce semi-functional video game demos that never amount to anything, I’ve tried to make a few driving games. It’s surprisingly difficult.

Not that it’s hard to slap some skinny cylinders on a cube (yay, primitives!) and make it roll. Modern game engines come equipped with everything you’ll need to make a functional vehicle. If you put together all the various mechanical bits you’ll get something that works. It can be tweaked and tuned and customised, but is perhaps a bit too twitchy and complex for video game purposes, especially if you’re looking for an accessible, arcade feel.

To get something that plays well? That’s the real challenge. (And for the record, I usually settle on something like this. If it looks dumb but it works, it’s not dumb.)

art of rally night

Art of Rally, an arcade rally game by Funselektor Labs, currently has a free demo available. When I fired it up and started playing with a keyboard, I felt instantly reminded of my own twitchy forays into driving games. But we have all long since learned that the keyboard is not the ideal way to simulate analogue inputs like an accelerator pedal or steering wheel.

Steering was a difficult tap dance across the keys; acceleration was all or nothing; and between the two, uncontrolled slides, spins and crashes were frequent. Then I dug out an Xbox One controller and, suddenly, Art of Rally began to sing.

Just the ability to gradually depress the accelerator – and let’s not understate just how good those analogue triggers are on an Xbox One controller – unlocks a new universe of control. Feathering the accelerator through a shallow bend, near-impossible on the binary clack of a keyboard, is second nature now. Crashing is through exuberance and ambition, not through lack of control. Accidents are fun, not frustrating. (And accidents in Art of Rally are really good fun.)

Whipping through the forests of Finland in Art of Rally, with the squirmy retro rally car wrestled under control, you can appreciate how pretty a picture Funselektor has painted. It’s minimalist and understated, with block colours frothy foliage and bouncy, lo-fi obstacles. This is rallying with a smear of vaseline on the lens and gravel in its heart, which suits its adorable replicas of (what look very much like) a Lancia Delta and Ford Escort RS1800.

art of rally jump

Don’t expect Art of Rally to be a hyper-realistic racer, then. The pared-back visuals and instinctive action tell you where Funselektor’s priorities lie. This pocket rocket will never compete with Codemasters’ efforts on realism and technicality, then, but that’s not the aim here.

But for an accessible, arcade-friendly rally game? We’re expecting Art of Rally to have plenty of depth to back it up. You’d expect nothing less from the creator of (the surprisingly zen) Absolute Drift.


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This week’s Xbox One releases (March 30-April 3, 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

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.

A bumper week of new Xbox One releases is headlined by Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 3. If you enjoyed last year’s stunning update of Resident Evil 2, you can expect the same lavish production values, control refinements, and well-directed scares.

Another nerve-wracking release is The Complex from Little Jade Productions. It’s pitched as “a live-action, cinematic interactive movie sci-fi thriller” about the aftermath of a bio-weapon attack in London. The story is written by Lynn Renee Maxcy, winner of two Writers Guild of America awards for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale. Michelle Mylett and Kate Dickie are among the cast.

If you’re looking for something a little less panic-inducing, you should totally check out Totally Reliable Delivery Service. We played the game at E3 last year and had a blast. It’s funny, chaotic, charming, and sometimes panic-inducing. Oh crap.

Other new games include Lost Artifacts: Golden Island, Random Heroes, and Snakeybus, which, if you haven’t seen it, is exactly the game you think it might be.

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 – March 30-April 3, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • The Complex

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

  • Shaolin vs Wutang
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Random Heroes
  • Lost Artifacts: Golden Island

Thursday, April 2, 2020

  • No releases

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • The Curious Expedition
  • Horror of the Deep
  • HyperParasite
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Snakeybus

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. Jump on the Thumbsticks bandwagon by following us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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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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Final Fantasy VII Remake to ship early in some regions

Disruption to global supply channels means that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped early in Europe and Australia.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake delay
Square Enix

Disruption to global supply channels caused by COVID-19 means that Final Fantasy VII Remake is shipping early in Europe and Australia.

It looks like some players will get the chance to visit Midgar a little sooner than expected. In a statement posted to Twitter, Square Enix says that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipping to Europe and Australia earlier than planned due to the impact of COVID-19 on global supply channels.

In the statement, producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Tetsuya Nomura said:

“These unique circumstances have made it very difficult to align timing of our global shipping. Our highest priority is that all of you, including those who live in countries currently facing the biggest disruption, can play the game at launch, so we made the decision to ship the game far earlier than usual to Europe and Australia. As a result, there is greater chance that some of you in these regions will now get a copy of the game prior to the worldwide release date of April 10.”

Copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be shipped to other Western regions later this week. The game should be available for the official launch date, although it might be prudent to expect short delays and a lower than usual numbers of physical copies available. Such is life. You’ll pull through it.

The statement ends by asking players who get the game early to not spoil the experience for others.

“We know there are potential spoilers that have been out there for over two decades as the original Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997. But Final Fantasy VII Remake is a new game that still has many surprises for everyone.”


This week’s new video game releases

To find out more about this week’s new releases – including Resident Evil 3, Persona 5 Royal, and Totally Reliable Delivery Service – read our full Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One roundups. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for daily news updates.

Thumbsticks needs your support

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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