This week: No Man’s Sky in positive reception shock, the Nintendo World Championships return, Atari and Jeff Minter reunite, and Valve’s new game causes a collective eye-roll. Here’s our round-up of the week’s most important news from the world of video games.
Atlas Rises in No Man’s Sky
What a difference a year makes. Last August the chatter around No Mans’ Sky was almost entirely negative, focusing on what the game wasn’t rather than what it was. Since then, Hello Games has hunkered down and drip-fed a steady stream of tweaks and improvements. Last week’s Update 1.3 is the most significant yet, adding 30 hours of story content, a host of gameplay changes, and online multiplayer, sort of.
As ever, there’s another smattering of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds news. PC Gamer reports on another Twitch streamer who has been banned for exploiting a glitch, and also follows up on community complaints about the use of paid crates. In more positive news, first-person only servers have rolled out in North America, Europe and Asia.
Fans go mild for Valve’s Artifact
So, Valve have announced a brand new game. It’s called Artifact. It’s a Dota card game. And people aren’t impressed. Even Dota fans.
In addition to the widely shared video – in which you can hear an audible groan as its name is revealed – Artifact‘s teaser trailer has, at the time of writing, amassed 30,500 dislikes to 3,500 likes. Naturally, this will all be forgotten if Valve’s development pedigree is true to form and the game turns out to be wonderful. But, seriously, zero points for imagination.
Jeff Minter and Atari make up make up, and do it all again
Jeff Minter – maker of such varied games as Tempest 2000, Tempest 3000, Space Giraffe, TxK, and Polybius – is teaming up with Atari once again to make… Tempest 4000. Snark aside, I’m quite excited. The game is coming to current-gen consoles, and its expected kaleidoscopic visuals are sure to look as beautiful as a llama in lipstick, especially in 4K.
The Nintendo World Championships are back
The Nintendo World Championships are returning, and will be held at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom in New York City on October 7th, 2017. Qualifiers are being held all over the US for the month, and this time round there are two age brackets: 12 and younger, and 13 and above.
The game Nintendo has picked for the qualifiers is the ageing Mario Kart 7, but with over 67 million 3DS consoles in the wild, it’s probably a safe choice. Interested participants can find their nearest qualifier event on the Nintendo World Championships website. Nice use of the original logo, too.
Operation Blood Orchid coming to Rainbow Six Seige
Rainbow Six Siege is to get a new map, and three new operators. All three will be released to season pass holders from August, 29th and available to other players from September 5th. Ubisoft will announce full details of the update – called Operation Blood Orchid – at Gamescom in two weeks.
A massive Nintendo collection is for sale on eBay
If you have $30,000 to spare – and really like Nintendo – you might want to take a look at Charles Amble eBay listing. Amble’s impressive collection of retro Nintendo items includes over 700 games from the NES, SNES and N64, plus a whole lot more besides.
Fallout gets the board game treatment
Fantasy Flight have announced a new board game based on Bethesda’s Fallout series, and it looks pretty damn good. It’s for one-to-four players, makes neat use of the video game’s core gameplay elements, and is due out before the end of the year. One for the Christmas list, methinks.
Sonic Mania delayed on PC
In a few short days we’ll finally know if Sonic Mania lives up to its billing of being, well, a not-shit Sonic game. However, if you were hoping to play it on PC, you’ll have to wait a few more weeks. Sega says the short delay is to allow for a little more polish. If you pre-ordered Sonic Mania on PC, you will still receive the original Sonic the Hedgehog free bonus on August 15th, 2017.
LawBreakers review round-up
The Cliff Bleszinski-fronted LawBreakers was released this week, and although the game has had an uncertain start to life, it was greeted by a warm critical response.
Evan Lahti, writing at PC Gamer, sets out his stall in the opening line of his review, saying that “LawBreakers succeeds as an FPS because it embraces and gives a middle finger to the last five years of FPS design.”
The game is also recommended by Eurogamer, where Jon Denton says the game “could end up being the best classic competitive shooter released this year.”
Gamespot‘s Miguel Concepcion is slightly more cautious with his praise, but says LawBreakers’ “fresh anti-gravity mechanics transcends its first-glance novel appeal and creates limitless combat situations.”
Xbox Live Creators program opens up
To coincide with the launch of its first games, Microsoft has opened up access to the Xbox Live Creators Program to any developer. The Creators Program allows devs to publish their games directly to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs using a simplified certification process, and without concept approval. Chris Charla, director of [email protected], details the program, and introduces the first batch of game releases.
We’ve added two more system requirement updates to Thumbsticks this week, so if you’re getting the PC versions of F1 2017, or South Park: The Fractured But Whole, take a look to make sure you have the necessary set-up.
To finish up, here are a few more picks from around the web that are well worth reading.
With FMV ‘classic’ Night Trap rereleased on current gen consoles this week, USGamer’s Caty McCarthy takes a look at the history of Full-Motion Video in games.
If you are thinking about diving into Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, but don’t know where to start, Polygon’s Ben Kuchera has pulled together a useful FAQ that details everything a beginner needs to know.
And finally, Brendan Sinclair at GamesIndustry.biz speaks to The Long Dark‘s Raph van Lierop about the challenges keeping fan communities – and the internet – happy. As you might expect, it’s not always easy.
Check out our weekly New Release updates for Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox consoles.