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.
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 game. Castlevania: 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.
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Video games news from Thumbsticks
- PlayStation Store releases for April 24, 2018
- Xbox One digital game releases for 23–27 April, 2018
- Avermedia announces two new gaming headsets
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