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The Week in Video Games – 10th September, 2017

This week in video games: Player Unknown’s reaches 10 million copies sold and 1 million concurrent players, LA Noire returns, and Destiny 2 tickles critics.

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Destiny 2 Cayde 6

This week in video games: Player Unknown’s reaches 10 million copies sold and 1 million concurrent players, LA Noire returns, and Destiny 2 tickles critics. Here’s our round-up of the week’s most important gaming news.

This week in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

It’s the game that never sleeps. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – AKA The Little Shooter That Could – has now reached 10 million copies sold. Not bad for a game that isn’t officially released, and has yet to come to console. This means PUBG has already made it into the top ten best-selling PC games of all time. In what position, you ask? Well, that would be telling.

PUBG’s other milestone this week was reaching 1 million concurrent players on Steam.

Destiny 2 review round-up

Destiny is back, and although the game may not live up to it’s wild commercials, Destiny 2 has received a broadly positive response from critics. Much of its success will depend on how its playing community coalesces, but at first blush – and a few shader controversies aside – things are looking good. Many outlets are holding back a final review, but here’s a sample of the general consensus.

Mike Williams, writing at USgamer, appreciates the game’s new visuals:

“Leaving behind the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this time around has paid off handsomely. The new worlds and maps that Bungie has crafted here are big and beautiful. The use of color and attention to detail is top-notch, making you feel like you’re wandering through the ruined remnants of Earth or exotic alien worlds.”

Samit Sarkar, writing at Polygon, speaks for many in calling Destiny 2 an evolution rather than a completely fresh start:

“It seems like the sequel Bungie needed to make — not a fundamentally different experience, but improved enough over its predecessor to reel veterans back in and attract people who skipped the original Destiny.”

Eurogamer is holding back on a final review, but in an impressions piece, Martin Robinson was more cautious about the game’s iterative approach.

“It’s more of the same – a lot more of the same – which is absolutely fine when that formula proved so popular with so many the first time around, but after three years I was expecting something beyond a handful of quality of life improvements.”

Destiny 2 DLC outed

“Curse of Osiris is not a leak. It’s real! :)” said Bungie marketing director Eric Osborne on Twitter, after news of Destiny 2’s upcoming DLC was, erm, leaked in error on the Xbox Store.

Star Fox 2 manual

Nintendo’s Star Fox 2 online manual makes us pine of the real thing. It’s a small things: the lovely artwork, charming descriptions, and the game’s early design concepts. If you feel as nostalgic as we do, you might want to pick up the recent Switch release of The Binding of Issac Afterbirth+, which includes its own wonderful homage to the game manuals of yesteryear.

Rockstar to reissue LA Noire

Rockstar Games have announced that their 2011 crime story, LA Noire, will be reissued on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and HTC Vive on November 14th, 2017. The game will have improved textures and 4K support on Xbox and PlayStation 4, with the Switch edition getting motion and touch screen controls. The HTC Vive version will be released under the name LA Noire: The VR Case Files, and features seven selected missions from the game recreated in full VR.

Take Forza Motorsport 7 for a spin

There’s a lot riding on Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 7. It’s one the Xbox One’s exclusive highlights – we’ll ignore the fact it’s a Play Anywhere title for a moment – and also one of the graphical trailblazers for the Xbox One X. You’ll be able to get a taste of what the game has to offer in a free demo released on September 19th. (And if you do want to play on PC, here are the specs you need.)

Forza Motorsport 7

NBA 2K18 demo

Speaking of demos, here’s a quick reminder that NBA 2K18’s The Prelude, is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4. And if NBA Live is more your jam, you can play it early on Xbox One via EA Access

Blizzard opens its own esports arena in Los Angeles

Blizzard have announced the opening of a dedicated esports arena in Burbank, Los Angeles. The Blizzard Arena will open its doors for the first time on the weekend of October 7-8, 2017, when it plays host to the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs.

Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, said:

“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment.

Nintendo Switch supplies

Despite ramping up production from 8 million to 16 million Nintendo Switch consoles in this financial year, it appears there could still be supply constraints this holiday. In an interview with Variety, Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Amie, says the company hopes to sell 10 million consoles this year.

“Certainly the demand is there, and our supply chain is there. Are we going to have enough for the holiday? That’s what we are focused on.”

Our advice? If you want one, and see one, get one.

Pokemon CEO had Switch doubts

It’s easy to criticise Nintendo for a lack of Switch consoles in stores, but we shouldn’t forget that the console’s success was by no means assured. Pokemon Company CEO, Tsunekazu Ishihara, revealed to Bloomberg this week that he was extremely doubtful about its prospects.

“I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn’t be a success before it went on sale because I thought that, in the age of the smartphone, no one would carry around a game console. It’s obvious I was wrong.”

Games done quick done good

The past few weeks have reminded us of the devastating impact that Mother Nature can have. As ever, the gaming community has pulled together to make a significant contribution, with Harvey Relief Done Quick raising over $220,000 dollars in aid of disaster relief.

Also worth reading

Legendary game designer Yu Suzuki reveals his approach to bringing back Shenmue to Eurogamer.

William Turton at The Outline looks at the bizarre fallout from Dean Takahashi’s Cuphead video

Also on 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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Among Us 2 cancelled as devs prioritise original game

Among Us 2 is dead, long live Among Us!

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Among Us 2 cancelled
Innersloth / Thumbsticks

Among Us 2 is dead, long live Among Us!

It’s been an odd year. It wasn’t enough for 2020 to have one indie mega-hit in Fall Guys, which recently joined Overwatch as the highest-earning digital launch of a PC title since 2016. Within three months, Twitch propelled the successful 2018 game Among Us from 10 million downloads on Android’s Google Play store to 100 million, and it now has somewhere between 4 million or 10 million owners on Steam depending on your estimate.

As of the time of writing, the 24-hour peak of 357,074 more or less reaches the all-time concurrent player peak of 388,385. It shows no signs of slowing down.

Whatever the true numbers, they’re big. It’s understandable, then, that Innersloth has decided to throw caution to the wind and not disrupt this momentum with a community split. Among Us 2, announced just a month ago, is cancelled. Don’t fret, though: all the intended Among Us 2 content is coming to the existing game. 

It seems like a great pro-consumer move, but Innersloth’s intentions with the sequel were positive, too. In the Steam announcement, Innersloth clarified, “The main reason we were shooting for a sequel is because the codebase of Among Us 1 is so outdated and not built to support adding so much new content.”

In a former post they stated, “frankly, it’s terrifying to add in more things because the game is so fragile. Fixing this would require recreating core sections of Among Us, then making sure everything else still works on top. It’s actually even harder than just making a new game.”

Despite this, Innersloth is going for it. “All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1. This is probably the more difficult choice because it means going deep into the core code of the game and reworking several parts of it.”

Shed a tear for and offer a hearty pat on the back to Innersloth who now face the more difficult job of developing their unexpected success into a workable long-term platform. It feels more than reminiscent of Bungie’s decision to focus on Destiny 2 as a platform over developing Destiny 3.

Among the promised new content are an end to server issues, colourblind support, a  friends/account system, and a new stage.

Does 2020 have room for one more runaway indie success, I wonder?


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Large PS5 game install sizes revealed, but will it matter?

PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

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PlayStation 5 consoles
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PS5 game installs are getting big, just like the console itself, but at least there’s that fast SSD to rely on.

Some PlayStation 5 launch game install sizes have been revealed. Among them we see that Bluepoint’s remaster of Demons Souls will consume 66 GB, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales alone will eat up 50 GB, and with an additional remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man in the game’s Ultimate Edition you will reach an ungodly 105 GB. That’s more or less spot-on the install size of Red Dead Redemption 2 last gen. Just about as large as it ever got.

So does it matter? I’m an infamous install juggler myself. Whilst the logical thing as a PC player has always been to have a large HDD for storage and an SSD for performance, I’ve always opted for a lone SSD of only 500 GB or even as low as 250 GB!

The PS5 will have a peculiarly specific 825 GB of SSD storage space. That’s lower than some might be used to from the previous generation, but those 1 TB consoles were all mechanical drives. The PlayStation 5’s custom solid-state storage will be capable of reading up to 5.5 GB a second of raw data. That puts my 530 MB/s or 0.52 GB/s SSD to shame. Even the very top-end PC SSDs only reach a raw bandwidth of around 5 GB/s, with faster speeds reserved for enterprise drives used in data centre applications. As far as console players are concerned, it’s 100x faster than the PS4’s current mechanical hard drives.

Part of the promise of Sony’s next-gen console, then, is an elimination of “long patch installs” and, presumably, long game installs with it. A fast write-speed is all well and good, but fast downloads and installs of a game juggler like myself will need a fast internet speed to take advantage.

We’ll have to see just how these speeds affect the install process when the console arrives on November 19. (In the UK. We’re not still sore about that. Honest.)


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Three pretty good games are free on Xbox One this weekend

Round up some friends for this week’s crop of Xbox One Free Play Days games. 

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The Division 2 - Xbox One
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Round up some friends for this week’s crop of Xbox One Free Play Days games.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a tricky game to love. It’ a reliably solid online action RPG of the type Ubisoft can knockout on a reliably regular basis. However, it doesn’t meaningfully expand on the original, and the game’s overall tone and fence-sitting political stance is a touch wearisome. Nonetheless, it’s a fundamentally well-constructed experience, and free is free.

Meanwhile in Reikland, the forces of Chaos and Skaven need defeating. Buddy up with four players to deliciously dismember hordes of enemies in Warhammer: Vermintide 2. Fatshark’s online co-op extravaganza is an action-packed treat that is helped along by a stirring score from composer Jesper Kyd.

This weekend’s final free game is Bomber Crew from Runner Duck. Don’t let first impressions fool you. This cute looking plane game is a plate-spinning masterclass of real-time strategy.

All three games are free to download and play for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members until midnight on Sunday. Any earned achievements and save states will carry over into purchased copies of each game, two of which are also on sale.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

  • Standard Edition – 67% off

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Ultimate Edition – 75% off

Bookmark our sales and free games pages for the latest video game promotions. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates

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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Rocket League is now free to play (and comes with a $10 coupon)

Rocket League, the game about cars playing soccer, is now free-to-play. Grabbing the game on the Epic Games Store will net you a $10 coupon.

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Epic Games

Rocket League, the game about cars playing soccer, is now free-to-play. Grabbing the game on the Epic Games Store will net you a $10 coupon.

Back in May 2019, Epic Games purchased Rocket League’s successful indie developer, Psyonix. As a result, yesterday, the game left Steam. And, today, the popular competitive multiplayer game has gone free-to-play. Players who pick the game up in the first 30 days, will also get a $10 coupon for use on the Epic Games Store

The coupon is only available for use on games priced at $14.99 or higher, and is only valid through November 1, 2020. I tried to use the coupon on Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age and Star Wars: Squadrons, and it didn’t work for either. Then, I tried applying it to Red Dead Redemption 2 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. It worked both times. So it appears the coupon is ineligible for use with pre-orders, but should work with anything else in the proper price range.

Regular weekly Epic Games Store freebies

In addition to Rocket League, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition is also free on Epic Games Store. The new, enhanced version of the 2004 park sim comes with all the DLC and has been optimized to run on modern hardware. 

If that isn’t enough free stuff, all five episodes of 3 Out of 10, Terrible Posture Games’ interactive sitcom, are still free. I’ve played the first two episodes, and have mostly enjoyed it so far. Each episode is only 30 minutes to an hour in length, so it’s worth checking it out to see if you’re into it.

Now that Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition is free, Epic has unveiled next week’s get. Pikuniku, the delightful Devolver Digital-published puzzle adventure, will go spare starting next Thursday.


Bookmark our free games page. We know you love free stuff. (And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular free stuff updates.)

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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Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5 won’t be a free upgrade

The upgrade path for the Marvel’s Spider-Man remaster on PlayStation 5 is nearly as messy as Control’s.

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Marvels Spider-Man
Sony

Update: 24 September 2020, 4.20 pm BST

Sony has confirmed, via a statement to Kotaku, that PS4 owners of Marvel’s Spider-Man will not receive a free upgrade to Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered is an enhanced version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, and is included as part of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for the PlayStation 5. In addition, players who purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 can upgrade at no additional cost to the PS5 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and can take advantage of a paid-upgrade to download Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered.

There are no plans currently to offer Marvel’s-Spider-Man: Remastered as a standalone. Players with a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 can purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition to experience Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on PS5. Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 also will be backwards compatible on PS5.”

How may times can you say Marvel’s Spider-Man when talking about Marvel’s Spider-Man before Marvel’s Spider-Man stops looking like Marvel’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man?

Is that all perfectly Marvel’s Spider-Man?

Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Original story: 22 September 2020, 8 pm BST

The upgrade path for the Marvel’s Spider-Man remaster on PlayStation 5 is nearly as messy as Control’s.

Next-gen remasters like the PS5 Remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man are becoming a complicated business. We’ve already seen controversy spring up over limited eligibility in accessing the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 “free upgrade” of Remedy’s Control.

After a session responding to queries on Twitter, Insomniac has confirmed some of the limitations of the PS5 version of their acclaimed game.

On free upgrades to the original for PS4 players…

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered likely has no free upgrade for PS4 owners, since physical media for the former version will play the original via backwards compatibility and it has its own trophy list.

On cross-generational saves…

Insomniac confirmed that there will be no cross-gen saves for the remaster.

On a physical release for the Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition…

The remaster will be digital-only and currently the only way to get your hands on it will be to get the pricier PS5-only Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition for £70. No other route or upgrade for now.

Where you will get a free upgrade…

The yet to be released Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales will allow for a free upgrade to a PS5 version. However, since the Ultimate Edition isn’t available for PS4, there’s currently no way to access Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered without (re)purchasing Spider-Man Miles Morales on PS5.

It’s a fair number of caveats, then, but unlike the Control next-gen version – which will be replicating the existing PC version – the Spider-Man remaster is a more significant endeavour.

“The remaster for the PS5 is no simple up-res,” details the Playstation Blog. “Many of the game’s art assets have been completely updated to take advantage of the PS5 console’s horsepower. You’ll see better-looking characters with improved skin, eyes, hair, and facial animation (including our new, next-generation Peter Parker).”

“You’ll also see ray-traced reflections and ambient shadows, improved lighting, more pedestrians and vehicles stretching further into the distance, and the same optional performance mode offered on Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, allowing you to finally play the game at a targeted 60FPS frame rate. We’ll be supporting near-instant loading, 3D audio, and the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback. Lastly, we’re adding three amazing new Spider-Man suits, new photo mode features, and even new trophies for those of you looking to Platinum the game all over again.”

That kind of overhaul does help to justify the lack of a free upgrade. Still, it’s hard to see how Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered isn’t going to spark something similar to Control’s controversy with limited access and the above limitations. It’s just another chapter in the increasingly confusing saga of next-gen upgrade announcements.

Ray-traced reflections, though? That should make for some pretty puddles.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for further demystification of the next-gen upgrades.

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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