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The Week in Video Games – 8th October, 2017

This week in video games: PUBG in talks to extend Xbox deal, Fortnite boosted by Battle Royale, and arcade mode set for Street Fighter V.

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Middle-earth Shadow of War

This week in video games: PUBG in talks to extend Xbox exclusivity, Fortnite boosted by Battle Royale, and Street Fighter V to get an arcade mode. Here’s your whistle-stop tour of the last week’s news from the wacky world of video games.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to stick with the Xbox One

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) could remain an Xbox One exclusive for longer than originally planned, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Details of the current agreement between Microsoft and Bluehole Inc. are unknown, but it’s thought the existing deal only runs into the start of 2018.

The rumour follows last week’s news of the formation of PUBG Corp, a new company dedicated to the development PUBG, and its various business opportunities.

Fortnite reaches 7 million players, bans thousands

Fortnite‘s new Battle Royale mode has helped the game reach 7 million players. Of course, with a large player base comes the problem of cheaters. Epic has been quick off the mark and banned thousands of ne’er-do-wells. In a blog post, Community Coordinator Nathan Mooney said:

“We’re exploring every measure to ensure these cheaters are removed and stay removed from Fortnite Battle Royale and the Epic ecosystem. We don’t want to give too many clues about what we’re doing, but we are rolling out tools and will continue to do so.”

Middle-earth: Shadow of War review round-up

Reviews of Middle-earth: Shadow of War focus on the return of the first game’s nemesis system, and the controversial introduction of loot crates.

On the first point it appears that things are as they were, as Johnny Chiodini at Eurogamer explains:

“The good news is that the nemesis system returns for the sequel in fine shape. The core experience of tracking down a named orc and learning every last detail about their strengths and weaknesses before destroying them – or getting destroyed – is very much intact, but it now boasts both considerable depth and greater purpose.”

In Philip Kollar and Chris Plante’s joint Polygon review, the upgrade and loot systems cause some head scratching, with Plante saying:

“I sure was overwhelmed by the wealth of skill tree unlocks, weapon modifications, loot, follower upgrades and fortress modifications. Rather than taking a complex system and making it more accessible, the developers have taken a complex system and added layer upon layer.”

These thoughts are echoed by Leon Hurley, writing at GamesRadar:

“There’s almost an Assassin’s Creed 2 feel of map spatter to all the markers for towers, collectables, bits and so on. I’ve not 100% -ed it but you’re easily looking at a triple figure time should you try.”

Capcom reveal Street Fighter V Arcade Edition

Follow a leak, Capcom has confirmed that Street Fighter V Arcade Edition is real, and will be released in mid-January, 2018. The game features 28 characters from the get go – the full season one and two rosters – and each character gets a second V-Trigger. An extra Battle Mode and a revamped UI are also added, along with the all important return of Arcade Mode.

Miiverse channel set up to mark its own demise

There’s only a month to go until Nintendo’s Miiverse social network is shut-down. Along with the various efforts to capture and save its content so that future generations can learn how weird it was, Nintendo has set up its own Everybody’s Message Community. As you might expect, it’s a bittersweet hive of activity, appreciation, and general bonkersness.

Arms goes graphic

Comic book publisher Dark Horse and Nintendo have announced a series of comics based on the hit Nintendo Switch beat ’em up, Arms. The series will launch in 2018 and will feature the work of illustrator Joe Ng.

Ubisoft reveals buy-back program

Ubisoft has announced plans to buy back up to 4 million shares in order to ward off a hostile takeover from Vivendi. The move is the latest in a series of manoeuvres designed to ensure the company’s independence.

Forza 7 review round-up

Forza Motorsport 7 is out now and, well, Forza is Forza is Forza. The game’s VIP pass has caused consternation among players, however, leading to developer Turn 10 promising to make amends. On the road, the franchise remains top of its class.

Joao Diniz Sanches, writing at The Guardian, says:

“This is a rare example of racing fun for the masses and the maestros, one that’s expertly engineered and polished to a level that would make a Concours d’Elegance winner envious.”

Eurogamer‘s Oli Welsh also liked the game, with a few caveats:

“How much you will enjoy Forza 7 may well rest on your ability and willingness to tune out the systemic noise created by the mods and prize crates. I can look past them easily enough, which is why I’m recommending what is, in every other respect, a dazzling, expansive and engaging driving game.”

Swery’s hard life

It’s not looking good for Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s The Good Life. The game’s Fig campaign stands at 22% funded with four days to go. In an interview with Polygon, Swery says he remains committed to the game, despite its likely failure to reach the $1,500,000 funding goal. Perhaps $1,500,000 was too much to ask for a game that, well, looks a little duff?

House leaves the building

After six years in the role, Andrew House has departed as president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment. In a press release, Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony, said:

“Andy and I go back more than 20 years and spent much of this time together, dedicating ourselves to ensuring the success of the PlayStation business.  I would like to thank Andy for his contribution over many years, and wish him every success in the future.”

John Kodera, the current deputy president at SIE, will take over.

Developing The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

We reported on Breath of Wild‘s design process from this year’s GDC, but Nintendo aren’t done giving up their development secrets yet. Capcom’s Matt Walker translated 4gamers‘ write-up of Nintendo ‘s CEDEC talks in a series of tweets, and to make things easier, he’s now compiled them on Medium.

FIFA 18 shoots to No.1

FIFA 18 remains as popular as ever, going straight to the top of the UK charts. This year there’s also a custom-built Switch version, which Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry has put through its paces. Meanwhile, over at USGamer, Kat Bailey takes an in-depth look at how PES 2018 and FIFA 18 compare. And don’t forget, you can now download your favourite team’s FIFA 18 custom cover.

Gran Turismo Sport gets a limited time demo

If you’re struggling to choose between Project Cars 2, Forza 7, and Gran Turismo Sport, here’s a little something that might help. Gran Turismo Sport is getting a free, four-day demo from October 9th. The demo will include a taste of the game’s Sport, Campaign, and Arcade modes.


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New PlayStation 4 releases (August 17-21, 2020)

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One in the coming week.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases

Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Peaky Blinders: Mastermind are among next week’s new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Back at E3 2018, the Thumbsticks team was literally locked in a room with the creative director of Owlcat Games. It was a hot day,. There were no windows. There was a lot of hair in the room. It was an intense experience (to say the least) but a pleasurable one. I don’t think we’ve ever met someone quite so smitten with a specific game genre. The result was Pathfinder: Kingmaker, a loving homage to the classic isometric CRPG’s of yore. The game did very well for itself on PC and now comes to PS4 with all previously released DLC.

Also coming to PS4 is Peaky Blinders: Mastermind, a promising puzzle adventure game from Futurlab which acts as a prequel to the hit BBC TV series. The timeline-based tactical gameplay involves choreographing the actions of the Shelby family to complete a blend action and stealth-based missions. Sounds bostin’.

Other new PS4 games on the way include New Super Lucky’s Tale, PGA Tour 2K21, and a brand new adventure for Samurai Jack.

Details of other new PS4 releases are sketchy, but we’ll update this post throughout the week as we get confirmation of any late additions.

New PlayStation 4 releases: August 17-21, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • Even the Ocean
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition
  • Manifold Garden – TBC
  • Mortal Shell

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

  • Beyond Enemy Lines 2 – TBC
  • Norman’s Great Illusion

Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Fuzzball
  • Gleamlight
  • Peaky Blinders: Mastermind
  • Remnant: From the Ashes – Subject 2923
  • Train World Sim 2

Friday, August 21, 2020

  • Aokana – Four Rhythms Across the Blue
  • Dungeon Scavenger – TBC
  • Party Panic
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time

Playing on Xbox One? Here’s our round-up of next week’s new games.


Head over to the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow the team via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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Save up to 65% in the Xbox Ultimate Game Sale

The big Xbox summer sale kicks off with discounts of up to 65% available on hundreds of Xbox One and PC games.

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Xbox Ultimate Game Sale 2020
Microsoft / The Coalition / Thumbsticks

The big Xbox summer sale kicks off with savings of up to 65% available on hundreds of Xbox One.

Video game fans will not go wanting on Xbox One this month. In addition to this week’s impressive Deals with Gold and Spotlight savings, Microsoft has launched the Ultimate Game Sale. It discounts some of the biggest games on Xbox by up to 65%, with an additional 10% for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.

It’s an excellent sale for exclusives, with Halo 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Ori and the Will of the Wisp, Forza Horizon 4, and Crackdown 4 all getting decent price cuts. Our first-party highlight is Gears 5, which honours the series’ past and points to its future with considerable style.

Elsewhere you’ll find discounts on a range of games from top IPs including Assassin’s Creed, Batman, Fallout, Call of Duty, Dark Souls, and Resident Evil, to name just a few. Our indie recommendations include the majestic Abzü, the rough and rustic American Fugitive and the sublime Sayonara Wild Hearts.

And if you would prefer something new to play, read our round-up of next week’s new Xbox One releases.

The Ultimate Game Sale runs until August 24 on the Xbox digital games store and Microsoft web store. Here are some more sale recommendations.

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale Highlights

  • ABZU – 60% / 70% off
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – 60% / 67% off
  • American Fugitive – 60% / 70% off
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Deluxe Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins – Gold Edition – 65% / 75% off
  • Batman: Arkham Knight – 50% / 60% off
  • Battlefield V Standard Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle – 30% / 40% off
  • BioShock: The Collection – 65% / 75% off
  • Borderlands 3 – 40% / 50% off
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – 60% / 67% off
  • Call of Duty: WWII – Digital Deluxe Edition – 50% / 60% off
  • Castlevania Anniversary Collection – 40% / 50% off
  • Conan Exiles – 50% / 60% off
  • Crackdown 3 – 50% / 50% off
  • Dark Souls III – 65% / 75% off
  • Darksiders III – Deluxe Edition – 50% / 60% off
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection – 60% / 67% off
  • Dishonored The Complete Collection – 60% / 70% off
  • Doom Eternal Deluxe Edition – 30% / 40% off
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – 30% / 40% off
  • EA Sports FIFA 20 Champions Edition – 65% / 75% off
  • Elite Dangerous: Deluxe Edition – 60% / 70% off
  • Fallout 4 – 60% / 70% off
  • Fallout 76: Wastelanders Deluxe Edition – 30% / 40% off
  • Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition – 50% / 50% off
  • Gears 5 – 50% / 50% off
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint – Ultimate Edition – 60% / 67% off
  • Halo 5: Guardians – 30% / 40% off
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 20% / 30% off
  • Journey to the Savage Planet – 40% / 50% off
  • Life Is Strange 2 – Complete Season – 50% / 60% off
  • Maneater – 10% / 20% offtimate Game Sale
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne – 30% / 40% off
  • Need For Speed Heat – 50% / 60% off
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps – 20% / 20% off
  • Overcooked! 2 – Gourment Edition – 25% / 33% off
  • Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – 65% / 75% off
  • Prey – 60% / 70% off
  • Quantum Break – 65% / 75% off
  • Rare Replay – 40% / 50% off
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – 40% / 50% off
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard – 40% / 50% off
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – 65% / 75% off
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts – 15% / 25% off
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI – 40% / 50% off
  • Sonic Mania – 40% / 50% off
  • Star Wars Battlefront II – 30% / 40% off
  • Team Sonic Racing – 40% / 50% off
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan – 40% / 50% off
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 6 – 25% / 35% off
  • The Outer Worlds – 40% / 50% off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 60% / 70% off
  • Tropico 6 – 40% / 50% off
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 – 65% / 75% off
  • Watch Dogs 1 + Watch Dogs 2 Gold Editions Bundle – 65% / 75% off
  • World War Z – 60% / 70% off
  • Yakuza 0 – 25% / 35% off
  • Yooka-Laylee – 65% / 75% off

For even more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

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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New Xbox One releases (August 17-21, 2020)

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One in the coming week.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

There’s an excellent lineup of new games released on Xbox One next week.

Most notable is the return of two beloved franchises. First to launch is the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. Asobo Studio’s game features a staggering level of detail, including a full simulation of Earth generated with topographical data from Bing Maps. We’ve pulled together a handy guide of all the planes and airports available in the game.

Next up is the return of Rash, Zitz and Pimple in a brand new Battletoads. The game certainly looks the part and couch co-op fun is all but guaranteed. We’re not sure the humour quite hits the mark, but it’s a welcome revival nonetheless.

Other new Xbox One releases include William Chyr’s first-person puzzle game Manifold Garden and golfing simulation, PGA Tour 2K21. The console port of Pathfinder: Kingmaker is one for fans of old-school isometric RPGs, and we’re also curious to see if Peaky Blinders: Mastermind fulfils its promise.

Oh, and how could we forget New Super Lucky’s Tale?

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

New Xbox One releases: August 17-21, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • Helheim Hassle
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Definitive Edition
  • Manifold Garden
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Mortal Shell

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

  • Beyond Enemy Lines 2
  • Even the Ocean
  • FuzzBall
  • Norman’s Great Illusion
  • She Sees Red
  • Stones of the Revenant

Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Battletoads
  • Gleamlight
  • Gryphon Knight Epic: Definitive Edition
  • Peaky Blinders: Mastermind
  • Remnant: From the Ashes – Subject 2923

Friday, August 21, 2020

  • Dungeon Scavenger
  • Harvest Moon: Mad Dash
  • Party Panic
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • PGA Tour 2K21
  • Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
  • The Blobs Fight!

Head over to the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow the team via Flipboard, Facebook, Google 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.


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Injustice 2 (and one other game) is free to play on Xbox One

Injustice 2 and Nascar Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

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Xbox One Free Play Days - Injustice 2
704 Games / NetherRealm Studios / Thumbsticks

Injustice 2 and NASCAR Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

NetherRealm Studios’ excellent superhero fighting game and 704Games roundabout racer are free to download and play on Xbox One until 11:59 pm PT on August 16, 2020.

Injustice 2 pits Batman against Superman in a one-on-one combat jamboree. It’s a well-liked game that balances an engaging story with improved fighting mechanics. NASCAR Heat 5 is the official game of the 2020 season, but – other than a roster update – it offers few improvements over last year’s entry.

As ever, all save progress and unlocked achievements carry over to purchased copies of either game. As luck would have it, there’s a crop of new discounts to encourage such a purchase.

It’s also worth remembering that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited remains free to play on Xbox until August 19, 2020.

Xbox One Free Play Day Deals

Injustice 2

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Ultimate Pack – 80% off

NASCAR Heat 5

  • Standard Edition – 20% off
  • Gold Edition – 20% off

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

For even more video game bargains, visit our dedicated sales and free games pages. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

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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A Total War Saga: Troy, and three other games, are free on the Epic Games Store

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

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A Total War Saga: Troy - Epic Games

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

Creative Assembly’s brand new strategy game will begin retailing at $49.99 tomorrow. But, for now, you can grab the latest entry in the long-running series for free.

Reviews for the new Total War are strong, too. Not quite as strong as the reviews for last year’s game-changing Total War: Three Kingdoms,but, IGN and Eurogamer both recommend it.

All that said, A Total War Saga: Troy isn’t even technically one of this week’s free games. Remnant: From the Ashes and The Alto Collection are the titles currently highlighted in the store’s Free Games section.

Remnant is a 2019 third-person co-op shooter. Its punishing difficulty and tough bosses earned it comparisons to Dark Souls. But, its game feel is more akin to Gears of War.

The Alto Collection is also up for grabs, assembling mobile sand/snowboarding games, Alto’s Adventure (2015) and Alto’s Odyssey (2018).

But, for me, the most interesting free game is 3 Out of 10 EP 2: “Foundation 101.” This is the second episode in Terrible Posture Games’ five-part series. Unlike most episodic games, this one is releasing on a weekly basis, with plans to conclude by early September. I thought, the first episode, Welcome to Shovelworks did a pretty good job blending the game’s animated sitcom storytelling with short and varied interactive sections. I haven’t been blown away by the writing so far, but, hey, you can’t judge a show by its pilot.

With all these games up for grabs, Epic has unveiled next week’s freebies. Expect to get Enter the Gungeon (a free game for the second time) and God’s Trigger next Thursday. Plus, 3 Out of 10 will be back with its third episode.

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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