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The Week in Video Games – February 4, 2018

This week in gaming: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Mario Kart goes mobile, plus new updates for Destiny 2 and PUBG. Here’s our digest of the week’s top video games news.

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Red Dead Redemption 2

This week in gaming: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Mario Kart goes mobile, plus new updates for Destiny 2 and PUBG. Here’s our digest of the week’s top video games news.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

It’s been a typically busy week in the word of PUBG, both in the game and behind the scenes. The game’s latest patch addresses some Miramar-related issues by adding more cover, additional buildings, and new off-road routes, among plenty of other changes. The Xbox One edition of PUBG has also received updates to vehicle damage from grenades, and slight adjustments to player damage in certain scenarios.

As work on improving the game continues, the money keeps rolling in. According to a survey by SuperData, the game earned $712 million between its March 2017 launch and the end of the year.

And finally, a range of new anti-cheat measures have been announced and will roll out this week. Find out more at the PUBG Steam Community Blog.

Red Dead Redemption 2 release date confirmed

I suppose we should insert that famous Miyamoto quote about making video games here, right? The confirmation that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been pushed back to October is a little disappointing, but not surprising. Take as much time as you need, RockStar. Idiots on the internet who have assumed the game is in some kind of “development hell”, remain idiots.

Nintendo making money

There was a Nintendo Direct’s worth of information released this week as part of the company’s latest earnings call.

In summary, the Switch has sold almost 15 million units and passed lifetime sales of the Wii U, Mario Kart Tour is coming to mobile, the SNES Classic Mini has sold 4 million units, and the 3DS is still trucking, with an impressive 5.86 million units sold. All of this means that Nintendo is firmly back in the business of making big money, with $7.9b revenue earned in the last fiscal year.

Elsewhere, it was revealed that Nintendo Labo will include a Toy-Con Garage feature that supports home-brew creations. And details of the Nintendo Switch online service have also been confirmed. Its September launch surely points to the release of a new Super Smash Bros.

Oh, and Imagination – the studio behind The Lorax and Minions – are making an animated Mario movie. Joy.

Bungie detail new Destiny 2 updates

Bungie continue to nip, tuck, tweak, and fix Destiny 2. The game’s latest patch adds an increase in player speed and mobility, plus a lengthy list of other changes that covers Armor Masterworks, reward balancing, and UI.

Shadow of the Colossus review round-up

Bluepoint’s sumptuous remake of Fumito Ueda’s PS2 classic comes to PlayStation 4 this week. Critics have been impressed by its graphical makeover, and gameplay that stands the test of time.

Oli Welsh, writing in Eurogamer, says:

“Shadow of the Colossus is such a sad, beautiful, thrilling game. It’s so bold in its austerity; compared to the frantic busywork of today’s games, its sheer emptiness comes as a relief.”

The Telegraph‘s John Robertson says:

“In 2005 Shadow of the Colossus was a masterpiece and that remains so in 2018. This is one of the greatest games ever made and is an accolade that shows no sign of being detached from its monumental presence.”

And GameSpot‘s Edmon Tran says:

“Shadow of the Colossus is a tremendous journey, and one well worth taking and retaking. The visual overhaul is stunning, thoroughly enhancing every facet of Wander and Agro’s excellent adventure.”

No Nolan

GDC organisers have confirmed the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement, Ambassador, and Pioneer awards. Industry stalwarts Tim Schafer and Rami Ismail will be honoured with the first two, but the Pioneer choice of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell caused a swift backlash due to well documented examples of inappropriate behaviour. The award will now be dedicated to “the pioneering and unheard voices of the past.”

Sega partner with Interior Night

Sega and Interior Night have announced a publishing partnership that will see both companies collaborate on the creation of brand-new, narrative driven IP.

Billy Mitchell in hot water

Noted Donkey Kong player – and hot sauce magnate – Billy Mitchell has been accused of recording high scores using MAME, rather than an original Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. The initial analysis – carried out by Donkey Kong Forum – indicates that frames from Mitchell’s official score submissions may have been spliced together. The evidence is now under review by Twin Galaxies, the US-based organisation that tracks video game world records.

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The C64 Mini

The NES and SNES Classic Minis – but not the Sega Genesis Flashback – are a great way for ageing gamers to relive their youth, but what about those us who played games on home computers? Enter TheC64 Mini, a fully functional miniature version of the Commodore 64 that comes bundled with a joystick, and 64 pre-installed games. We assume (hope) the loading times have been shortened.

Sony profits

Sony’s PlayStation 4 continues to dominate, with worldwide console shipments reaching 76.5 million. Sony forecasts a further 19 million PlayStation 4s will hit stores during the remainder of this financial year, which ends on March 31, 2018.

Sony’s Kaz Hirai to step down

Despite the ongoing success of the PS4, Sony’s Kaz Hirai has announced that he will step down from the role of CEO in April. He will stay on as company chairman, and will be replaced by current CFO, Kenichiro Yoshida. In a statement, Hirai-san said:

“As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life.”

Demon Souls to lose online play

FromSoftware have announced that Demon’s Souls’ online servers are shutting down at the end of the month, nine years after the game’s release.

The next Gran Turismo is in production

Never mind that GT Sport still feels like a half-finished game, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi says he’s already hard at work on the next entry in the Gran Turismo franchise.

Latest video game releases

There are plenty of new games coming to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this week. Follow our new releases page for regular updates, and check back on Monday for this week’s Nintendo eShop lineup.

Sunday reading

Our own Josh Wise explores how video games like Oxenfree, Firewatch, and Alan Wake tune into the wonder and fear of radio.


More gaming goodness 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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Littlewood is a cosy RPG set after the battle is over

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue.

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SmashGames

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue. (No, not yours, The Last of Us Part II.)

But those games that let you go back to the world after the battle is over, to visit with the townsfolk, and just generally chill out are something special. The first game I really remember it from is Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap where, once restored to human form, you get to wander the village, chatting with the locals, before going to bed. That’s literally how the epilogue ends; you go back home for a well-earned rest.

It’s just so wholesome. Which is why Littlewood, a new RPG from Sean Wood and SmashGames, is so appealing.

“The world has already been saved. Now it’s time to rebuild your town, learn new hobbies, and forge lifelong friendships in this peaceful and relaxing RPG.”

It’s like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, then, but set in a world that was in peril – until the player character saved it. But the trick is, you can’t remember anything about your life before or what happened in the great battle to save the world. In order to restore your memories, you need to build up a welcoming town, encourage people to live there, and hope that spurs your recall.

But a game like Littlewood isn’t about the destination. There is an overall plot, of course, but cosy management RPGs are all about the micro-activities. And in Littlewood, you’ll be gathering, crafting, building, fishing, farming, bug catching, cooking, trading, and more – everything that people love about the genre.

Littlewood is out now on Steam.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe is coming to Nintendo Switch this fall

Pikmin 3, one of the last remaining Wii U exclusives, is coming to Switch in October.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch
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Pikmin 3, one of the last remaining Wii U exclusives, is coming to Switch in October.

The Nintendo Wii U was a meh system with some fantastic exclusives. The console itself was a bit of a half-step. It was still tied, by name and nunchuck compatibility to the Wii. But, it experimented with the handheld hybridisation that later defined the Switch. Growing pains aside, iit had a great roster of Nintendo-developed games.

But, the Wii U died so that the Switch might live. And Nintendo, more aware than anyone that few people bought its last console, has thankfully brought most of the Wii U’s library to Switch. This article, outlining the dearth of Wii U games remaining without a Switch port was published less than a year ago. In the time since, half of the games have either received a Switch version or will receive a Switch version in the near future.

Pikmin 3 is the latest Wii U classic to get the Switch update, Nintendo announced today. The Deluxe version will include all of the original game’s DLC. Plus it will add new missions and the option to play the entire Story mode in co-op. Head-to-head multiplayer mode, Bingo Battle, will also return.

The RTS hybrid arrives on Switch on October 30. Notably, it is the only announced Nintendo game with a 2020 release date following the release of Paper Mario: The Origami King. Fingers crossed we hear more about those rumoured Mario remasters soon.


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New games added to the big PlayStation Store Summer Sale

New PS4 games join the PlayStation Store Summer Sale, including some of the year’s biggest releases.

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PlayStation Store Summer Sal
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New PS4 games join the PlayStation Store Summer Sale, including some of the year’s biggest releases.

Sony has added a new batch of PS4 games to this year’s PlayStation Store summer sale. The headline additions are the acclaimed Final Fantasy VII Remake, the reimagined Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the fun enough World War Z, and the not as fun as it wants to be Doom Eternal.

The EA-published 3v3 shooter Rocket Arena is slashed in price by a massive 83%, just three weeks after release. And if you’ve been following the moderate buzz around sci-fi FPS Disintegration, it’s now reduced by a tempting 40%.

Other AAA games still on offer include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age, and Red Dead Redemption 2.

The PSN Summer Sale now runs through to August 19, 2020, which should give you enough time to pick through the mountain of titles on offer. Head over to the PlayStation Store in your region to see the full lineup. Here are some more recommendations from your friends at Thumbsticks.

PlayStation Store Summer Sale Highlights

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Abzû
  • Alien: Isolation
  • Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
  • Anthem
  • Bad North
  • Bayonetta
  • Borderlands 3
  • Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
  • Dark Souls III
  • Days Gone
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition
  • Death Stranding
  • Doom Eternal
  • Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age
  • Dreams
  • FIFA 20
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
  • For Honor Standard Edition
  • Grid
  • Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition
  • Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition
  • Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
  • Maneater
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Need For Speed Heat
  • Ni No Kuni Ii: Revenant Kingdom
  • Nioh 2
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Saints Row: The Third Remastered
  • Secret Of Mana
  • Shenmue III
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Superhot
  • Tetris Effect
  • The Last Of Us Remastered
  • The Legend Of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel III
  • The Outer Worlds
  • The Sims 4
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete Edition
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Digital Edition
  • World War Z
  • Yakuza 5 Remastered
  • Yakuza Kiwami

For more video game deals – including news of this week’s Xbox One bargains – visit our dedicated sales page. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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Release date revealed for Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service

xCloud will come to Android on September 15, 2020. There’s no news on a release date for an iOS version of Xbox’s game streaming service, however.

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xCloud will come to Android on September 15, 2020. There’s no news on a release date for an iOS version of Xbox’s game streaming service, however.

We’ve been hearing about the “Netflix of video games” for years now. But for all the promise, we’re yet to see anyone actually nail that value proposition.

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service – that allows you to play hundreds of PC and Xbox One games for a low monthly subscription fee – is the closest we’ve come thus far. But that still requires on you having some associated hardware to play the games, either an Xbox One console or a Windows PC.

Well, it did require you to have some associated hardware. As of September 15, 2020, all you’ll need is an Android phone.

That’s because Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service, which has been going through testing in the last year, is getting a full release on Android phones. Even better, xCloud access will be bundled in with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription level, meaning you’ll get “more than 100 games” available to play on your phone or tablet with no console or PC hardware. (There’s no sign of an iOS release date for xCloud yet, but that’s not unusual. It took Steam a very long time to get its in-home streaming app certified on the App Store, for instance.)

xCloud will launch in 22 countries on September 15, 2020. Those countries, at the time of writing, are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

As usual, it’s primarily Europe and North America that’s catered for, with South Korea and its incredible internet infrastructure in there, too. More countries (and, presumably, that elusive iOS version) will follow in due course.

You’ll need a compatible controller to use xCloud, but the good news is any Xbox One controller – which can connect to Android via Bluetooth – will do the trick. The likes of Razer, PowerA and 8Bitdo will be producing accessories, like the Android-specialist Razer Kishi controller, but you might prefer to get a cheap controller clip. It might be worth buying one quick before they stick “xCloud” in the listing title and jack up the price.


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Most important feature confirmed for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

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pet the cat assassins creed valhalla
Ubisoft / Thumbsticks

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

Yes, you can pet the cat in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

That’s it. That’s the news.

Also, have you seen how big that cat is? That is clearly an ancient ancestor of the Norwegian Forest Cat, a very large, hairy Scandinavian breed. (Like cat Vikings, really.)

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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