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The Week in Video Games – April 22, 2018

This week in video games: Brendan Greene speaks about the future of PUBG, Campo Santo joins Valve, and Call of Duty loses its single-player campaign. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

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Campo Santo - Valve

This week in video games: Brendan Greene speaks about the future of PUBG, Campo Santo joins Valve, and Call of Duty loses its single-player campaign. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

Fortnite Battle Royale news

By recent standards it’s been a relatively quiet week on the Fortnite front. Meteors in the sky continue to befuddle players, but at the time of writing we are no closer to understanding – or perhaps even caring – what they mean.

Elsewhere – and just two weeks after its addition – the much-maligned Guided Missile Weapon has been pulled from the game. Better received is the Light Machine Gun, which was added as part of the recent Fortnite V3.5 content update

In an interview on the PlayStation blog, Eric Williamson, design lead on Fortnite, speaks about how quickly the game’s Battle Royale mode was designed and released.

“In July of last year, we started to work on a prototype, and then released our first version of the game in September. So, roughly two months. There was such a good, solid foundation there for us, so that certainly helped us get to a playable version so quickly.”

And if you’re serious about playing Fortnite, Variety reports on Ashland University’s new esports scholarship. Ashland’s head coach, Josh Buchanan, says:

“We’re excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills.”

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

The much requested ability to select between PUBG‘s Erangel and Miramar maps is on the way, according to a new blog post from the PUBG development team. The post details why implementing the feature isn’t as simple as you might think:

“We analyzed tens of millions of matches and sorted the data by server, mode, and time to make sure map selection wouldn’t break the game for anyone. We wanted to make sure that we could create a solution that worked for every region’s players, even the ones with a naturally low server population.”

Brendan Greene also gave a wide-ranging interview to Eurogamer at last week’s EGX Rezzed games expo. Greene speaks about his future ambitions for PUBG, its content roadmap, the controversial Red Zone, and dealing with the Fortnite comparisons.

“It was funny, when we released the Emotes people were saying “oh you’re copying Fortnite” – well, no. We recorded these Emotes in Prague last year, before Fortnite [Battle Royale] was even announced.”

Valve acquires Firewatch studio

Campo Santo – the studio behind of the wonderful Firewatch, and the upcoming In the Valley of the Gods – has been acquired by Valve. All twelve members of Campo Santo will join Valve, and relocate to Bellevue in Washington. However, the team will continue to operate under their own, ahem, steam. In a blog post announcing the news, the studio says:

“In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match.”

Valve ordered to pay $3 million in Steam refund case

Meanwhile, Valve has been ordered to pay a $3 million to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after losing an appeal in a case against Steam’s refund policy.

Call of Duty to lose single-player campaign?

The death of single-player video games continues with the absence of a mode people said they didn’t need, but will miss now it’s gone. Yup, rumours suggest that Activision’s upcoming FPS, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, will not include a traditional single-player campaign. It will, of course, be offering its own spin on the Battle Royale genre.

Read the West of Loathing design document

Asymmetric’s Zack Johnson has shared the design document for the charming, and funny, Wild West adventure game, West of Loathing. It’s a fascinating read for fans of the studio’s work, and anyone interested in game design.

Battlezone rolls onto Xbox One and Switch

Following an update next month, Rebellion’s Battlezone will be playable on PlayStation 4 and PC without a VR headset. The game – in the shape of Battlezone Gold – will also be coming to the Xbox One in May, and the Nintendo Switch later in the summer.

Night Trap comes to Switch

Also coming to the Nintendo Switch is the 25th Anniversary port of the controversial Sega CD game, Night Trap. The game will get a digital release on the Nintendo eShop, and a physical release from the folks at Limited Run games.

Dark Souls Remastered delayed

In other Switch news, Bandai Namco has confirmed that Dark Souls Remastered has been delayed to summer 2018. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC updates of FromSoftware’s influential game are still slated for release on May 25, 2018.

The week in loot boxes

Gamesindustry.biz reports on analysis from Juniper Research that says worldwide consumer spending on loot boxes and skins gambling will reach $50 billion by 2022.

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Eurogamer reports on the news that the Dutch gaming authority found that four of ten games it assessed – apparently, FIFA 18, Dota 2, PUBG, and Rocket League – contravened its Betting and Gaming Act.

And the latest game to receive a backlash from players over the inclusion of loot boxes is Nintendo’s mobile hit, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Is nothing sacred? 🙁

Pro Evolution Soccer loses Champion’s League rights

The Pro Evolution Soccer series will lose the rights to the Champion’s League when Konami’s ten-year deal with UEFA expires at the end of the season. EA’s FIFA 19 looks like being the likely destination for tournament from next season.

Konami reveals a new Castlevania game

Konami has also announced the return of the Castlevania series – in a new multiplayer mobile gameCastlevania: Grimoire of Souls, will be released on iOS later this year, and features the return of fan favourites Simon Belmont, Alucard, Charlotte Aulin, Shanoa and Maria Renard, as well as a crop of new characters. The game will feature real-time cooperative and competitive multiplayer.

God of War

PS4 exclusive God of War isn’t short of surprisingly touching moments, but most touching of all is a video released this week showing its director, Cory Barlog, checking out the game’s review scores.

Some Sunday reading…

In this week’s Cut Scenes – our ongoing series that explores the intersection of film and video games – Josh Wise examines two classics of both mediums: Resident Evil 4 and Assault on Precinct 13. Earlier this week, he also posted his impressions of Capybara’s Xbox One exclusive, Below.

A note from the Thumbsticks editorial team

Global ad revenues are dropping and Thumbsticks is no exception. With the prevalence of ad-blocking technology – particularly in a tech-savvy market segment like video games – and the overall downward trend in online advertising, it’s really starting to bite. Ad revenue just about covers hosting the site and other ancillary costs, but we no longer earn enough to operate a proper freelance budget.

But with new challenges come new opportunities, and with that in mind (and because all the cool kids are doing it) we’ve set up a Patreon. If you like what we do, then please consider supporting us. Every penny we earn is poured back into the site, into giving new and aspiring writers an opportunity, and bringing you more quality content to enjoy.

Don’t want to commit to long term support with Patreon, but still want to say thanks? You can always buy the team a coffee or two.


Video games news from Thumbsticks

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

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State of Play announced for this Thursday

State of Play returns this week, but be warned: It will contain no new PS5 announcements.

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playstation state of play august 2020

State of Play returns this week, but be warned: It will contain no new PS5 announcements.

Eager to set expectations early, Sony’s announcement that a State of Play is coming this week also included the warning that it will contain no next-gen news.

“Just to be super clear – there will be no PlayStation Studios updates in Thursday’s episode. There won’t be any updates around hardware, business, preorders, or dates either,” Sid Shuman, Senior Director of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Content Strategies, wrote today on the PlayStation Blog.

“On Thursday, our focus is squarely on showcasing some cool upcoming games coming to the broader PlayStation ecosystem. Should be fun!”

“The broader PlayStation ecosystem,” specifically, means PS4 and PSVR. Don’t expect any news about what Sony’s first-party studios are working on. But, this could, potentially, be a great time to find out what’s coming from third-party studios this fall. Given that we got release dates for a bunch of Ubisoft’s upcoming games – Watch Dogs: LegionAssassin’s Creed ValhallaFar Cry 6 –  at last month’s Forward event, the next Call of Duty game is one of this fall’s few remaining AAA question marks.

Will we find out, as Doritos foretold, that it is in fact called Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War? Is that one too many colons? Why has it taken so long to find out anything about this year’s Call of Duty? We don’t know, and we may not find out anything new this Thursday.

But, Shuman stated that the show is 40+ minutes long, so we will learn something.

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DualShock 4 will work with the PS5 (but not with PS5 games)

Hoping to keep using your DualShock 4 on the PS5? Well, we’ve got good news and bad news.

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PlayStation 5 - DualShock 4 and DualSense
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Hoping to keep using your DualShock 4 on the PS5? Well, we’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is, you can! If you want to use the PlayStation 4 controller to play the PlayStation 5 versions of Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man or God of War, you’re in luck.

But, if you want to use the DualShock 4 to play Horizon Forbidden West, Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Godfall, you’re out of luck. The PS4 stalwart won’t be compatible with PS5 games, Sony announced today.

DualShock 4 on PS5?

Isabelle Tomatis, who oversees marketing for peripherals and PSVR at Sony Interactive Entertainment, made the announcement in a short Q+A on the PlayStation Blog.

“We believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller,” Tomatis wrote.

Those features include the ability to blow on the built-in microphone like it’s 2005 again and you’re playing WarioWare Touched! It also swaps out the Share button for a Create button and ups the haptic feedback you can feel from pressing or holding the triggers.

While saying goodbye to the DualShock 4 is a little bit of a let down, many PS4 peripherals will carry over to the PS5. Namely (again, according to the PlayStation Blog):

  • Specialty peripherals, such as officially licensed racing wheels, arcade sticks, and flight sticks, will work with PS5 games and supported PS4 games.
  • The Platinum and Gold Wireless Headsets, as well as third-party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack, will work on PS5 (the headset companion app is not compatible with PS5).
  • Both the PS Move Motion Controllers and the PlayStation VR Aim Controller will work with supported PS VR games on PS5.

Additionally, the PlayStation Camera will work with compatible PS5 games, but will require an adaptor. Per Sony, this will be provided at no extra cost.

Given how expensive a DualShock 4 is — typically $60 a pop — it’s disappointing that the investment won’t carry over, especially given the extent to which competitor Microsoft is blurring generational lines. But, not altogether surprising given Sony’s insistence that they “believe in generations.”


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Transformers roll out to World of Warships in upcoming event

Wargaming and Hasbro are bringing the Transformers to popular naval combat game World of Warships in a new crossover event.

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Transformers and World of Warships

Wargaming and Hasbro are bringing the Transformers to the popular naval combat game World of Warships in a new crossover event.

The Autobots and Deceptions will engage in a new theatre of war later this year as part of a Transformers crossover event with World of Warships on PC and World of Warships: Legends on mobile.

Both Transformers factions will be added the hit naval combat games as themed ship skins and commanders this September. At launch, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will represent the Autobots, and Megatron and Rumble will fly the flag for the evil Decepticons.

Optimus Prime - World of Warships

Speaking about the crossover, World of Warships producer Philip Molodkovets says:

“Generations were raised with the Transformers franchise. Starting from the 1980’s animated series all the way to the latest movies, we instantly fell in love with the robot characters that captivated our imagination. Having the chance to feature them in World of Warships is a dream come true for many of us. Our love for big, epic metal warriors is mutual! Therefore we paid special attention to bring Transformers characters to life in details and true scale, side by side with legendary warships.”

The event will feature additional Transformers content, including themed containers, dedicated game tasks and combat missions, expendable camouflages, and commemorative flags and patches.

Watch the warships in disguise in the new event trailer.

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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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Ghost of Tsushima holds No.1 in the UK video game chart

Destroy All Humans! and Skater XL debut in the top ten of the UK video game chart, but this week’s No.1 is a familiar sight.

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Ghost of Tsushima PS4 release date
Sucker Punch Productions

Destroy All Humans! and Skater XL debut in the top ten of the UK video game chart, but this week’s No.1 is a familiar sight.

Ghost of Tsushima holds No.1 in the latest chart of boxed software sales in the UK. The game’s three-week residence at the top is an impressive run for Sucker Punch’s open-world samurai game, but in truth, it hasn’t had much competition.

Last week’s big new release was THQ Nordic’s remaster of the 2005 cult favourite, Destroy All Humans!, which entered the chart at No.3. The humans may have been obliterated, but the animals remained steadfast at No.2 with Animal Crossing: New Horizons continuing to do the business for Nintendo. Paper Mario: The Origami King and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe complete this week’s Switch top ten presence.

Easy Day Studios’ Skater XL has also done well, landing at No.7. Its popularity bodes well for the upcoming onslaught of skateboarding games.

Further down the chart, anime RPG Fairy Tail debuts at No.15, and there are re-entires for EA’s Rocket Arena and Anthem at No.39 and No.40 respectively.

GfK All formats Software Chart – WE: August 1, 2020

  1. Ghost of Tsushima
  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  3. Destroy All Humans! (NE)
  4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  5. F1 2020
  6. Paper Mario: The Origami King
  7. Skater XL (NE)
  8. The Last of Us Part II
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. Minecraft

To find out which games might appear on next week’s chart, visit our new releases page. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for daily gaming updates.

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Microsoft confirms Halo Infinite multiplayer will be free-to-play

With Halo Infinite multiplayer going free-to-play, will Halo once again be a console shifter, two decades on?

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With Halo Infinite multiplayer going free-to-play, will Halo once again be a console shifter, two decades on?

Earlier this week, rumours were swirling that Halo Infinite would be free-to-play. Or that it’s multiplayer would be, at least. We don’t tend to report on unsubstantiated leaks at Thumbsticks, but as soon as they’ve got some substance to them? We’ll let you know.

And now we’ve had confirmation – via the official Xbox Twitter account –  that the free-to-play rumours about Halo Infinite multiplayer are in fact true.

The tweet also confirms another detail that was floating about, that Halo Infinite will support 120 frames per second on the Xbox Series X.

Ordinarily, we wouldn’t trouble ourselves too much with frame rates, but it’s interesting to note that it specifies “on Xbox Series X” – presumably, that means frame rates will be lower on other platforms, like the Xbox One, Xbox One X, and the rumoured, lower-powered “Xbox Series S” console? That could potentially lead to an unfair advantage for players on Xbox Series X because, as Nvidia’s marketing puts it, “frames win games“.

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer being free-to-play also raises questions about Xbox Live Gold. It’s obvious that games can make good money while being free-to-play – hello, Fortnite Battle Royale – but you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to play an Xbox game online without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

In recent years, Microsoft has bundled Xbox Live Gold in with its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. That means you get all the benefits of Gold with a massive library of games included for only a few quid more. It makes sense that Xbox Game Pass might replace Xbox Live Gold entirely in the future.

And we know that Microsoft has also been including its titles in Xbox Game Pass at launch. So if Halo Infinite is included in Xbox Game Pass, and you need Game Pass (rather than Xbox Live Gold) to play online, will that truly be free-to-play if you’re getting the entitlement as part of another package? Or will Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer be exempt from online subscription costs, like Fortnite, or even a separate package like Call of Duty’s battle royale mode?

There’s still clarification needed from Microsoft on this one, but to make Halo Infinite’s multiplayer free-to-play – even if that does come with some small print – is still a bold move. It’s been a long time since Halo was the main selling point for Xbox, but those days could be back.


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