This week in video games: PUBG becomes its own company, the Super NES Classic is released, Red Dead Redemption 2 gets a new trailer, and Valve tackles Steam shovelware.
Here’s our round-up of the week’s most important gaming news.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds spun off into own company
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole has announced the formation of PUBG Corp, a new company dedicated to the ongoing development the game, and its global business opportunities.
Chang Han Kim, CEO of the new subsidiary, said:
“Given PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ global success, we want to ensure that we have the operational efficiency that is required to support the game globally. This new structure allows us to be nimble as we look towards the expansion of strategic business opportunities that include the game’s potential in the esports sector and the growth of PUBG as a true global IP franchise.”
In other PUBG news, Bloomberg speaks to Brendan Greene about the game’s rapid rise, and his early struggles as a developer.
Sony won’t compete with the Nintendo Switch
In a brief interview with Bloomberg, Sony’s Andrew House says that despite the success of the Nintendo Switch, there’s a limited market for handheld gaming.
Cuphead review round-up
It’s been a long time coming, but Cuphead exists, and is out now on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Anticipation for the game was high, but so were fears around its difficulty.
Chris Plante, writing at Polygon, says the game’s challenge is something to embrace :
“The lion’s share of Cuphead is a special formula that takes a notoriously challenging genre of the past and carefully and lovingly introduces it to the wider audience it deserves.”
Kyle Orland at Ars Technica wasn’t quite as forgiving:
“Even a slight mistake in positioning or an overly twitchy push of the jump button will cost you one of only three pieces of health you’re given. There’s no limit on lives, but there are also no checkpoints, meaning one false move in the last phase of a fight can erase the last two or three minutes of hard-fought damage.”
And Gamespot‘s Peter Brown speaks for everyone on plant Earth in praising the game’s visuals:
“The sheer variety of characters and settings yields consistent delight as you go from one stage to the next, with everything bearing the telltale signs of grainy ’30s film and rudimentary production techniques. Cel-shading means something to a lot of people, but Cuphead truly re-creates the look of hand-drawn cel animation.”
Red Dead Redemption 2’s new trailer
Rockstar continue to whet our appetites for Red Dead Redemption 2 with a new trailer that introduces the game’s protagonist, the outlaw Arthur Morgan.
The doors close on The Chinese Room
The Chinese Room – creators of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and Dear Esther – have scaled back operations, resulting in staff layoffs and the closure of their Brighton-based studio. Dan Pinchbeck speaks about the decision to ‘go dark’ in an interview with Eurogamer, and on the Chinese Room blog.
The SNES Classic Mini arrives
The tiny Super NES Classic is now on sale. Finding units online continues to be tricky, but anecdotally we’ve heard of a much improved supply of units at retail. A few irritations aside, most reviews have been positive on Nintendo’s latest collectible:
Jason Schreier at Kotaku appreciates some of the console’s modern additions:
“The SNES Classic does everything it promises to do. It runs some great games and helpfully makes them a little easier to play with those save states and rewind function.”
The Super NES Classic’s game selection has also received praise, with particular attention paid to the previously unreleased Star Fox 2.
Devin Coldewey at Tech Crunch found the game to be an ambitious, if flawed, gem.
“Star Fox 2 is a very interesting game, albeit one that runs smack up against the limitations of the console from the get-go. Don’t expect Star Citizen — but be ready to be pleasantly surprised at a game that was clearly ahead of its time”
Meet the Atari Box
Atari have confirmed more details about the forthcoming Ataribox console. The device runs on Linux and is powered by an AMD processor with Radeon Graphics technology. The console – which will be pre-loaded with a bunch of classic Atari titles – is due to launch in late Spring 2018 priced somewhere between $249-$299.
Value pulls games from Steam
Valve has pulled over 170 games – all made by Silent Echo Studios – from Steam. The removal is the latest in Valve’s attempts to keep its marketplace free of shovelware.
Star Wars Battlefront II trailer
I suppose if you are going to get John Boyega to narrate the new trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II, you may as well get your money’s worth. The new trailer runs for almost 5 minutes, and details all of the game’s main single and multiplayer modes. It even includes a few infographics to show just how much more content Battlefront II has in comparison to its predecessor. Cheers for highlighting the paucity of content in the first game, EA.
Assassin’s Creed Origins educational mode
Ubisoft have announced a new, combat-free educational mode for Assassin’s Creed: Origins. The ‘living museum’ will be released as free DLC in early 2018.
Unlucky for some
Palmer Luckey has revealed he is still working in the VR industry, on a new, unannounced project. Lucky made the announcement during his recent appearance at the Tokyo Game Show.
“Don’t think of me as an Oculus person, just think of me as a VR person” says Luckey.
Thanks for the clarification, Palmer, but that’s not how we think of you at all.
Resident Evil 2: The Board Game
With 22 days still to go, the Kickstarter for Steamforged’s Resident Evil 2 board game stands at £449,583, having cruised past its £150,000 goal in a heartbeat. We’re usually hesitant to cover crowd-sourcing campaigns here at Thumbsticks, but this four-player co-op version of Capcom’s classic looks like the real deal.
Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus games for October
Gamers love free games, and October’s Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus lineups have plenty of treats on offer. Our picks include The Turing Test on Xbox One, and Amnesia: Collection on PlayStation 4.
Designing for the Super Nintendo
To accompany the release of the Super NES Classic, Nintendo have published a new range of interviews with the developers of some of the included games. Head over to the Nintendo website to read about the developement of classic video games including Star Fox, Super Metroid, F-Zero, Super Mario Kart, and Yoshi’s Island.
The harmonious and loving relationship between developers and streamers has been the focus of much attention recently. Carolyn Pepper of legal firm Reed Smith tackles the question of whether developers can ever control how their games are streamed at Games Industry.
And do you remember the boot video for original Xbox console? Matt Kim at US Gamer reports on Seamus Blackley’s explanation of why it’s not a video at all.
Nintendo has announced that the original Wii Shop Channel will close in January 2019. Although it’s unlikely that anyone uses the store anymore, it’s sobering to think that its closure will take over 200 Virtual console games with it.
See you next week, and to take us out…