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This week in gaming: PUBG gets new crates, Burnout Paradise returns, and Sonic heads to big screen. Here’s our digest of the week’s top news stories from the world of video games.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

PUBG continues to be updated, refined, and optimised. The most recent update adds new crates and performance improvements. A new matchmaking system was also deployed that prioritises players with lower ping-rates. PUBG Corp say the aim is to improve the play experience by splitting the matching pool, instead of restricting connection depending on ping.

In terms of new content, a third map is now scheduled for release by the end of June. It’s about time for a snow or lava level, don’t you think?

The week in PUBG copycats

Two new battle-royale shooters were teased this week. Mavericks: Proving Grounds, from UK studio Automaton Games, will feature matches with up to 400 players. Good luck with that.

Vulkan Society’s upcoming game is Proxima Royale, a sci-fi take on the battle-royale genre that is now taking sign-ups for next month’s closed alpha.

Fortnite Battle Royale’s Season 3 also began this week with an update that adds a wealth of new in-game rewards, 60 FPS for all consoles, a new orchestral score, and a hoverboard.

Destiny 2 features delayed

Bungie has delayed some features originally planned for Destiny 2‘s most recent update. In a post on the Bungie website, game director Christopher Barrett said:

“With today’s update we’ve moved a few items out to later releases – this is because we are trying to ensure each feature we add hits a sufficiently high quality bar. So while we really wanted to get Nightfall Strike Unique Weapons into your hands next week to coincide with Nightfall Scoring, it’s more important that each of those rewards live up to the difficulty it will take to earn them. They have to be super cool, so we’re giving the artists extra time to make sure they are… super cool.”

Metal Gear micro-transactions

Metal Gear Survive has a hard enough task to win over fans without this sort of funny business. As reported by Polygon, the game has made the creation of extra character save slots a micro-transaction. Each slot costs 1,000 of the game’s SV Coin currency, which equates to approximately $10 in real-world cash. Naughty Konami.

Phil Spencer reveals Xbox challenge

Xbox boss Phil Spencer spoke candidly at the gaming industry’s DICE Summit this week. His wide-ranging speech covered the challenge of rebuilding trust in the Xbox brand, and the culture at Microsoft’s gaming division:

“The team was in a world of pain, we hadn’t done our best work with the announce of Xbox One, the product we’d built wasn’t meeting the expectations of our customers, market share was taking a nosedive and it was painful to read all the headlines.”

The full and frank talk is available on YouTube, and well worth a watch.

DICE Awards for Zelda, Cuphead and Horizon Zero Dawn

The 2018 DICE Awards were held this week, and recognised the achievements of the best video games from the last year. Winners included, yup, you’ve guessed it, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, along with Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead, and Snipperclips. Here’s the full list of winners.

Meanwhile, Double Fine founder, Tim Schafer, will be the highly deserving recipient of this year’s BAFTA fellowship award.

Call of Duty studio founders move on

Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield, co-founders of Sledgehammer Games, have left the Call of Duty studio to work on new ‘executive duties’ within Activision.

Burnout Paradise returns

Electronic Arts have confirmed that Burnout Paradise Remastered will come to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 16, 2018. The reissue features the full base game, plus all content DLC, plus a range of performance and graphics improvements. Unfortunately, there’s no word on a version for the Nintendo Switch. Sob.

Super Mario Odyssey gets a free update

A free content update for Super Mario Odyssey has added the new Balloon World online mode. Balloon World let players hide and hunt balloons to compete in online leaderboards, with a sartorially critical Luigi as your guide. Also included in the update are two new snapshot camera filters, and three new costumes for Mario to wear.

Sonic the Hedgehog movie on the way

The big gaming rivalry of the early 90s returns, but this time on the big screen. Following the news that a Mario movie is in production at Illumination Entertainment, Sega has announced that the long-mooted Sonic the Hedgehog film will finally come to cinemas in November, 2019. The film will be a live-action CG affair, made in partnership with Paramount Pictures. Deadpool director Tim Miller has signed on as Executive Director.

Papers, Please film released

Maybe Mario and Sonic should give up now, because here’s a video game movie actually worth watching. Papers, Please – the short film is a Russian-language film based on Lucas Pope’s influential 2013 game. The thought-provoking short is directed by Ordynskiy, and written by Nikita Ordynskiy, Liliya Tkach, and Pope. It’s free to watch right now on YouTube.

Detective Pikachu gets new trailer, beautiful amiibo

Nintendo has released a new trailer showing new gameplay for the upcoming Nintendo 3DS game, Detective Pikachu. More importantly, here’s a closer look at the game’s lovely, over-sized amiibo. Both are released on March 23, 2018.

Detective Pikachu amiibo

Harvest Moon creator’s next game is a cafe sim, with dragons

Harvest Moon creator, Yasuhiro Wada, has announced Little Dragons Cafe, a new simulation game heading to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game has been in development for two years features a mix of cafe management, cooking, fishing, and dragon nurturing. Sounds blissful. Little Dragons Cafe will be published by Aksys this summer.

Troy Baker and Emily O’Brien join Death Stranding

Troy Baker and Emily O’Brien, have joined the cast of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. Baker is known for his work on The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, and various Batman titles. O’Brien is soon to star in Days Gone, having previously starred in Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within.

And finally…

This week we published the first in a new series of features on Thumbsticks. ‘Cut scenes’ examines intersection between films and video games, beginning with Metal Gear Solid 2 vs. The Terminator.

Slightly more trivial pursuits can be found in our JRPG cover art quiz. Grab a coffee, put your feet up, and see if you can name all 14 games.

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