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The Week in Video Games – 17th September, 2017

This week in video games: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sets another new record, Samus returns on 3DS, and Overwatch players had better start behaving. Here’s our round-up of the week’s most important gaming news.

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Metroid: Samus Returns

This week in video games: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sets another new record, Samus returns on 3DS, and Overwatch players had better start behaving. Here’s our round-up of the week’s most important gaming news.

This week in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

We’ll need to open a dedicated PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news desk soon. One week after shooting past one million concurrent users, PUBG has now set a new Steam record. Yesterday, PUBG reached 1,342,857 concurrent users, taking the crown from Valve’s Dota 2. With ten million copies sold, and an Xbox One release around the corner, the PUBG train doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.

The growing player base is not without it challenges, however. Brendan Greene has revealed that over 150,000 cheating bastards have been banned from the game since launch.

Lots of people are playing Destiny, too

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is not the only game with a big player base. Bungie’s FPS sequel Destiny 2 is also off to a flyer. They game has not sold as well as its predecessor at retail – with players evidently happy to go digital this time around, – but it reached a mighty 1.2 million concurrent players of its own on launch weekend.

In other Destiny 2 news, some players love/hate the sequel’s changes, some players love/hate the micro-transactions, and other players think it’s better/worse than the first Destiny. Eurogamer takes a look at the game’s reception.

Doom and Wolfenstein confirmed for Nintendo Switch

The House of Mario rolled out another jam-packed Nintendo Direct broadcast this week. Release dates were confirmed for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Xenoblade 2, and everyone was surprised by the news that Bethesda’s Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus are also Switch-bound.

Nintendo of America president was also on hand this week to reassure customers that the SNES Classic Edition will be in plentiful supply, and that the NES Classic Edition will be making a return in 2018.

Nintendo also found time to update its much-maligned mobile voice chat app. Version 1.1.0 ticks off a few more things from the blindly obvious list, meaning that the app no longer shuts down in sleep mode or when other apps are opened.

Blizzard reveal plans to clean up Overwatch

It’s easy to scoff at the ridiculous hurdles Nintendo puts up around voice chat, but our man Tom Baines makes a good point in saying that their over-elaborate solution might be a deliberate attempt to avoid the toxic behaviour currently blighting games like Overwatch. Blizzard’s approach to solving the problem will hit players where it hurts, with a lack of new content updates.

Metroid: Samus Returns Review round-up

Everyone’s second favourite bounty hunter – the first is Bossk, naturally – made a comeback this week in Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS. Nintendo’s collaboration with MercurySteam has been greeted with mostly positive reviews.

Andrew Webster, writing at The Verge, says:

Like Metroid: Zero Mission before it, Samus Returns is an ideal reimagining, a game that takes the essence of the series and makes it feel completely at home on modern hardware. There’s no aspect of Samus Returns that feels archaic. It’s a game that belongs in 2017. But more than just being a great remake, it’s also a great reminder of what Metroid is.

Kotaku’s Chris Kohler is equally enthusiastic:

Yes, Samus Returns is legit. Yes, it’s really a Metroid. The controls are precise, the music is lovely, the caverns are dense and full of secrets to discover, and everything gels well together into an experience that is unmistakably Metroid.

And Kat Bailey, writing at USGamer, also agrees:

In almost every respect, Samus Return is a near perfect remake. It grasps much of what worked in the original and dramatically heightens it while minimizing its flaws.

There were a few dissenting voices, however. Eurogamer posted a cooler take, and long-time Metroid fan Jeremy Parish, writing at Retronauts, has mixed feelings about the game’s emphasis on combat.

Thargoids return to Elite

In other ‘aliens ending with ‘oid’ news… The Elite Dangerous: Horizons 2.4 expansion will be released on September 26th, and sees the return of the evil Thargoids to the series. The game’s new trailer sets the scene for the fight to come.

No VR for Star Wars Battlefront II

The Metro’s Gamecentral has published an interview with Criterion’s general manager, Matt Webster, on the studio’s work for the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II. The bad news is that the game will not be receiving a follow-up to the excellent Star Wars Battlefront VR Mission.

In related news, Criterion’s Kieran Crimmins and James Svensson have been confirmed as speakers at this year’s Yorkshire Games Festival. They will be revisiting their fascinating Develop Conference talk on designing iconic Star Wars moments in VR.

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ThatGameCompany return with Sky

ThatGameCompany, developers of the wonderful Journey and Flower, revealed their new game at last week’s Apple press conference. Sky is pitched as a social adventure experience and will debut on iOS devices, including Apple TV. The game’s teaser trailer is as enigmatic as you might expect.

Okami gets a 4K remaster

Capcom have confirmed the rumour that Okami HD is getting another outing, this time with 4K support on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. The game will also make its debut on PC. It’s great news about a truly great game, but where’s the Switch version?

GDC 2018 in final call for submissions

The Game Developers Conference 2018 is fast approaching, and there are only a few weeks left to submit session proposals. If you have a session idea for one of the following summits, don’t delay. The deadline for submissions is September 29th, 2017,

  • AI Summit
  • Community Management Summit
  • Game Narrative Summit
  • Educators Summit
  • GDC Mobile Summit
  • Independent Games Summit
  • UX Summit

Also worth reading

Speaking of game development, two articles caught our eye this week that demonstrate some of the challenges faced by game makers.

Atooi’s Jools Watsham writes at Gamasutra about how his well-reviewed 3DS title Chicken Wiggle is struggling to find an audience. And Cliff Bleszinki is interviewed at Gamespot about the uphill climb faced by Lawbreakers.

And finally, here’s a look at some bizarre special-edition consoles compiled by Kotaku.


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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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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.

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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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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