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The Week in Video Games – March 25, 2018

This week in video games: it’s all about PUBG, GDC, Ni No Kuni, and Nintendo Nindies. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

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Sea of Thieves

This week in video games: it’s all about PUBG, GDC, Ni No Kuni, and Nintendo Nindies. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is now testing its own Event Mode. Designed to be more than a standard preset custom game, the mode will feature new content. To start with, it will include eight player teams, and a doubled drop rate on rifles. Event mode will be moved to the live server as soon as it’s deemed stable.

Patch 11 was also deployed to the Xbox One version of the game this week. It adds improvements to the game’s stability, inventory management, and UI.

Following hot on the heels of the Fortnite Battle Royale mobile game, the PUBG mobile game – developed and published by Tencent, and previously only available in China – began launching suddenly around the world this week. It’s surprising just how good a job they’ve done.

There was also plenty of PUBG talk at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. One of the highlights was a talk by community manager, Sammie Kang, on how Bluehole built its devoted following of streamers. Brendan Greene also took to the stage to speak about his career and the rivalry with Fortnite. And speaking of conferences, Brendan Greene is also slated to deliver the opening “storytime” keynote at PAX East next month.

Fortnite news

Marketing intelligence company SuperData reports that Fortnite Battle Royale is currently making more money than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, despite – or should that be because of – its free-to-play status. According to the report – discretely titled, Fortnite is eating PUBG’s lunch – Epic’s game is surpassing PUBG in terms of revenue, and Twitch streaming views.

Fortnite was also to be found at GDC, and in Epic’s ‘State of Unreal’ keynote, it was announced that the game will soon receive a suite of video replay editing tools. They will allow players to review completed matches, capture footage, and create highlight reels.

NIntendo Switch breaks records

Nintendo broadcast another Nindie Showcase this week, revealing a new selection of indies heading to the Switch in 2018. Highlights include Lumines Remastered, Pool PanicReigns Kings and Queens, West of Loathing, and The Banner Saga series. Epic Games also announced that ARK: Survival Evolved will also come to the Switch later this year.

Finding these games on an increasingly crowded eShop is becoming a problem, but according to Nintendo’s Damon Baker, this is something the company is actively looking to solve.

Game Developers Conference

In case you missed it, GDC 2018 was on this week. And as we do every year, we’ve been there, attending talks and producing reports for everyone who couldn’t make it. There’s more to follow, but here are some of our early entries:

And the winner is…

GDC also features a number of awards. We already knew about Tim Schafer’s lifetime achievement and Rami Ismail’s ambassador awards – and why Nolan Bushnell didn’t receive the pioneer award, as originally planned – but there were awards for games, too. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won big at the GDC choice awards, while one of our favourites, Night in the Woods, triumphed at the IGF awards.

Didn’t go to GDC?

If you didn’t get to go to GDC, or have come back inspired and looking for more development help, check out our guide to some indie alternatives, with perspectives from the people who setup and run them.

Vive Pro revealed

HTC have announced the new Vive Pro headset, an upgrade on their original unit. The Pro has a number of features to bolster the existing tech, including 2880×1600 resolution, a new redesigned head strap, and built-in noise-cancelling headphones.

The Vive Pro is compatible with SteamVR Tracking 1.0 and 2.0, meaning you will only need to replace the headset if you are making the jump from the original Vive. This new model will cost around £800, with pre-orders open now, and the original Vive headset receives a price cut as a result.

The Atari VCS is a thing

With their fingers in everything from speaker hats to crypto-currencies, we tend exhale a weary sigh when we hear the name Atari these days, but… damn them… there is something undeniably cool about the newly renamed Atari VCS console.

Atari VCS

It’s mainly the retro looks, and the classic Atari joystick-inspired gamepad looks the part, too. As for the games, there’s still no word, and we still think it’s going to be a disaster.

God of War has gone gold

Cory Barlog wrote on the PlayStation blog this week, both to announce that God of War has gone gold, and to offer his thanks to the team at Sony Santa Monica studios.

“This was the scariest, most wonderful thing I have ever done and I can honestly say it would never have been possible without the full-throated support of Sony and the tireless work of the incredible team at Santa Monica Studio.

We have been through a lot together and I would not change a thing. You are the best damn team a director could ever hope for and I am thankful beyond words for every ounce of passion and pride you put into this game.”

It looks to be shaping up into a fine addition to the series, but we still wouldn’t recommend letting Barlog babysit your kids.

World of Tanks update

World of Tanks has been trundling along for four years, and amassed over 160 million players. You could argue that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but developer Wargaming has this week released a major update to the popular tank ’em up.

“Update 1.0 improves the baseline technology for the game, introducing the in-house developed Wargaming Core graphics engine. Thanks to it, we’re now capable of elevating the entire game and can ensure World of Tanks is a fun and immersive experience for years to come.” – Milos Jerabek, development director, World of Tanks PC

Head over to the World of Tanks website for the update’s full patch notes.

Ni No Kuni II review round-up

Level-5’s Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom has been met with a broadly positive critical response, with the game’s mix of genres and gameplay styles being the focus.

Cam Shea, writing for IGN, says:

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom distinguishes itself from its predecessor by layering fast-paced, real-time combat and an engaging kingdom building system atop more traditional RPG systems

PC Gamer’s Austin Wood, wrote:

Ni No Kuni 2 is gorgeous, charming and constantly evolving. Its combat is layered and exciting, and polished by a medley of systems that let you finely tailor your play style. Its globetrotting coming-of-age story is a bit saccharine, but it’s told well, and packs an ending that still occupies my thoughts.”

 

Sea of Thieves takes to the seas

There were choppy waters for Rare’s Sea of Thieves on its maiden voyage. Reviews have been mixed, but the connection issues that plagued the game’s launch were a bigger problem. With over one million players accessing the game in its first 48 hours, servers buckled, and at one stage Rare had to temporarily prevent new players from signing up. Still, the game has given us an early contender for video game gag of the year, with its literal Day One patch.

This week’s video game sales

If you are look for something to play over Easter, the PlayStation Store Easter sale, the Nintendo eShop Spring into Action sale, and a range of new Humble Store sales should provide enough games for you to choose from.

Weekend reading…

In the latest edition of Cut Scenes, Josh Wise explores the intersection between films and video games with Grand Theft Auto III vs. The Sopranos.

Over on The Verge, Megan Farokhmanesh delivers a sobering report into the troubles that have blighted Telltale Games. It’s a tough read, but helps understand both the endemic issues in our industry, and how Telltale went from one of the hottest studios around to 25% layoffs in just five years.

And if you have ever considered dipping a toe into the, somewhat daunting, Yakuza series, Kotaku has pulled together a useful guide on where to start.


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Diablo anime, Overwatch cartoon in the works

An Overwatch cartoon and Diablo anime are in the works at Activision Blizzard Studios.

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Diablo anime, Overwatch cartoon in the works
Blizzard Entertainment

An Overwatch cartoon and Diablo anime are in the works at Activision Blizzard Studios.

We now know that two animated series based on Blizzard IP are on the way…

…thanks to an update on an executive’s LinkedIn.

Nick van Dyk is co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios, and oversees the corporation’s film and television division. Eagle-eyed folks at GameSpot noticed that van Dyk has updated his job description to include references to upcoming shows based on Diablo and Overwatch.

Van Dyk lists himself as “Executive producer of Diablo, a TV adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s IP, rendered in anime style.” He also states that the show is in pre-production and will be distributed worldwide through Netflix.

Additionally, he says that he has co-developed and sold an animated series based on Overwatch.

There’s no word yet on where the Overwatch cartoon will be available. And, as of right now, we have no time table for when either series will be released.

Given Blizzard’s well-established love for very pretty cinematics, though, this seems like a perfect match.


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You could win an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk 2077 Edition

Well, technically you and a friend could win one each. Which is why it seems baffling that Nvidia made 77 RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk Edition graphics cards.

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Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk 2077 edition
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Well, technically you and a friend could win one each. Which is why it seems baffling that Nvidia made 77 RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk Edition graphics cards.

You’ve got to take your hat off to the licensing folks at CD Projekt Red. We’ve seen Geralt of Rivia pop up in Soulcalibur VI, Monster Hunter World, and Daemon X Machina. (And on Netflix, obviously.)

But now that the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 is (almost, sort of) just around the corner, no doubt their efforts will be moving from the world of The Witcher to Cyberpunk.

The first salvo is this natty yellow graphics card from Nvidia. It’s the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk 2077 edition, and it’s going to be very limited edition. How limited? Just 77 of these cards will be manufactured by Nvidia, and you can only win them through a contest.

Now, this is all well and good. The RTX 2080 Ti is basically the top of the consumer graphics card tree right now, and you’ll have to put down over a grand to get even the most basic model. You can’t argue with the prospect of grabbing one for free as a competition prize.

But, as an exercise in basic mathematics, we invite you to spot what’s wrong with Nvidia’s proposal.

They made 77. And you and a friend can win one each, as a pair, by entering the competition together on Twitter, with reciprocal hashtags and whatnot. 77 is an odd number. You and a friend can win one. 77 is not divisible by 2. There’s going to be a remainder. There’s going to be an RTX 2080 Ti Cyberpunk 2077 edition leftover that nobody wins.

Can we have the 77th one for pointing out the flaw in your plan, Nvidia?


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Save on Link’s Awakening and Wario Ware with My Nintendo

Dust off your stash of Gold and Platinum Points. Discounts on some great video games feature in the latest batch of My Nintendo rewards.

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My Nintendo - Wario Ware Gold
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Dust off your stash of Gold and Platinum Points. The latest batch of My Nintendo rewards features discounts on some great video games.

A new selection of game discounts and digital rewards are now available through the My Nintendo rewards programme in Europe.

Pick of the bunch is a 50% discount for the classic Game Boy adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX. Even if you played the recent Nintendo Switch remake, the original has a timeless charm all of its own and is very much worth playing.

Other new additions include a springtime Yoshi Nintendo 3DS theme and the charming low-fi platformer, Bye-Bye BoxBoy!.

The new rewards join those added to My Nintendo at the beginning of February. The highlights are overlooked RPG Ever Oasis, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, and the 3DS version of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Here’s the full rundown on February’s new rewards for Europe. Check back soon for the latest discounts and digital rewards for North America.

My Nintendo rewards – February 2020 additions

EU Gold Point Rewards

  • Ever Oasis (3DS) – 50% discount – 200 points
  • Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS) – 40% discount – 160 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (3DS) – 50% discount – 30 points
  • Mole Mania (3DS) – 50% discount – 15 points
  • Wario Ware Gold (3DS) – 50% discount – 200 points

EU Platinum Point Rewards

  • Bye-Bye BoxBoy! (3DS) – 30% discount – 100 points
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (3DS) – 30% discount – 300 points
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS) – 33% discount – 380 points
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Print-it-yourself cover – 50 points
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore (Mirage Masters) Wallpaper – 50 points
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Wallpaper – 50 points
  • Yoshi’s Springtime Siesta (Theme) – 100 points

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Xbox One releases: February 17-21, 2020

The Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle headlines this week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases.

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New Xbox One game releases
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The Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle headlines this week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases.

Can it really be ten years? Crikey, we feel old, but we’re looking forward to revisiting Bayonetta and Vanquish nonetheless. PlatinumGames’ pair of action classics are reissued this week in a double-pack of remasters. Both games get a visual bump and run at 4K resolution and 60 fps on Xbox One X. A limited-edition physical steel-book release is also available from various retailers, including Amazon.

Also heading to Xbox One is Reigns: Game of Thrones. The game is a fun twist on Nerial’s acclaimed monarch simulator and is definitely worth getting if you’re a fan of George R. R. Martin’s books or the hit HBO series.

Other new games include Bunny Parking, Thief Simulator, and Draugen, which its developer describes as “a single-player, first-person Fjord Noir mystery set in 1920.” Sign us up.

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 – February 17-21, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

  • DCL – The Game
  • Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

  • Bunny Parking
  • Knightin’+
  • Lost Artifacts
  • Thief Simulator

Thursday, February 20, 2020

  • Reigns: Game of Thrones

Friday, February 21, 2020

  • Ailment
  • Draugen
  • Uncharted Tides: Port Royal

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New Nintendo Switch releases: February 17-21, 2020

This week’s lineup of new eShop games for the Nintendo Switch includes an impressive collection of retro classics.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
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This week’s lineup of new eShop games for the Nintendo Switch includes an impressive collection of retro classics.

Not a week goes by without the Nintendo Switch eshop getting at least one retro game or remake. This week we have 27. Gulp!

The fun starts on Wednesday with four new games added to the list of NES and SNES classics available through Nintendo Switch Online. Smash Tennis and Pop ‘n TwinBee are our picks from the new additions.

Even more impressive is the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle from Arc System Works. The collection features no fewer than 18 titles, including arcade classics Double Dragon and Renegade, plus 11 NES games never before released in the West.

We also have nothing but good things to say about Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Puyo Puyo 2. Both games come to the Sega Ages range with some cool new features and game modes. Hamster Corporation also continues its good work with Arcade Archives VS. Mahjong.

Finally, Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is the latest entry in Capcom’s popular action series to get a Switch outing.

Brand new releases include Blood Will Be Spilled, Last Encounter, and the curiously titled sci-fi adventure, Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator. Gulp, again!

Here’s the current roster of new Nintendo Switch releases. We’ll keep the list updated throughout the week.

Nintendo Switch releases – February 17-21, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

  • Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo – US

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

  • 3000th Duel
  • Eliminator Boat Duel – NES
  • Pop ‘n TwinBee – SNES
  • Shadow of the Ninja – NES
  • Smash Tennis – SNES

Thursday, February 20, 2020

  • Blood Will Be Spilled
  • Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition
  • Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Fred3ric
  • Georifters
  • Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story
  • Lines XL
  • Oddmar
  • A Sound Plan
  • Sudoku Relax 4 Winter Snow
  • Sega Ages Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sega Ages Puyo Puyo 2
  • Sudoku Relax 4 Winter Snow
  • Tower of Babel – no mercy
  • Uncharted Tides: Port Royal
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] – EU
  • Vitamin Connection

Friday, February 21, 2020

  • Arcade Archives VS. Mahjong
  • Blood Breed
  • Brief Battles
  • Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator
  • Dark Tower
  • Ego Protocol: Remastered
  • Fishing Adventure
  • King Lucas
  • Knightin’+
  • Last Encounter
  • Otherworldly
  • Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo – EU
  • Ubermosh:Omega
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] – US

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