This week in video games: Destiny 2’s seasons detailed, an important new update for PUBG, and Nintendo sells a lot of hardware. Here’s your weekly round-up of the most important news from the world of video games.
Halo: The Master Chief gets Xbox One X polish
343 Industries continue to toil away on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with the game due to receive some “Xbox One X enhancements” in 2018. The power of X will also give the studio an opportunity to squash those last remaining bugs that have plagued the game since its launch, erm, three years ago.
Activision patent manipulative match-making system
Glixel report on a new patent granted to Activision for a match-making system that deliberately pairs a player with another who owns a premium in-game item. The hope being that item envy will set in, and the first player will then spend money on the same item. An Activision spokesperson told Glixel:
“This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studio. It has not been implemented in-game.”
It sounds horrible, of course, but it’s likely that loot crates and micro-transactions are here to stay. James Batchelor at Games Industry details why in this excellent explainer.
EA shuts down Visceral Games
EA have announced the closure of Visceral Games, best known for developing Battlefield Hardline and the Dead Space series. The studio was most recently at work on a single-player Star Wars game written by industry legend, Amy Hennig. This project is now undergoing what Patrick Söderlund terms “a pivot”. We have a bad feeling about this.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – Week 31 Patch Notes
Patch notes for the next update to Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds have been published. Among the changes is a significant update to blue zone damage:
“We have decided to adjust the blue zone damage to encourage engagement inside of the play zone. From this new update, you will be able to focus more on the immediate, close-ranged skirmishes inside the play zone, instead of dealing with enemies outside of the play zone during the mid to late phases of the game.”
Nintendo dominates US hardware sales
It was another good week for the House of Mario, with the news that two-thirds of all hardware sold in September were Nintendo systems. The figures from NPD Group include the Switch, 3DS, and the Super Nintendo Entertainment Classic Edition. The Nintendo Switch was listed as the top-selling current-gen console for the month.
The Switch also received a welcome new firmware update that adds video sharing, pre-order pre-loading, and some Super Mario Odyssey-themed user icons.
Bungie reveal Destiny 2’s seasonal changes
At this weekend’s TwitchCon, Bungie detailed how Destiny 2‘s seasons will give the game a regular refresh. To be honest, I can’t make head nor tail of it, but fortunately Michael McWhertor at Polygon has deciphered the news. Be warned, the article contains the following terms: Rituals, Iron Banner, Faction Rally, The Dawning, Bright Engrams, Clan rank, Clan Banner Perks, Clarion Call, Cabal, and snowball fights. That last one, I understand.
Bungie cancels Destiny trials for two weeks
In other Destiny 2 news, the competitive Trials of the Nine multiplayer mode has been delayed for two weeks after a bug involving the game’s ‘bureaucratic walk’ emote allowed players to hide out-of-bounds.
Xbox One Fall update rolls out
Microsoft continue to fiddle with the Xbox One dashboard, with its latest update now live. New features include Home screen customisation, dark, light, or high-contrast themes, a speedier guide, plus the new Tournaments section. It’s definitely faster, but still a bit of a mess. Head over the the Xbox website for the full list of changes and updates.
Jessica Curry’s Classic FM music show returns
Great news for fans of video game music. Classic FM’s High Score – which is hosted by Jessica Curry, co-founder of The Chinese Room – is returning for a second series, starting at 9pm on November 4, 2017. There will be six hour-long episodes, with two episodes featuring listener requests. Head over to the Classic FM website to make your suggestion.
GT Sport Review round-up
GT Sport is the release from this year’s bumper crop of serious racers. The game breaks with series tradition by featuring a slimmed down selection of rides and tracks, and an emphasis on online racing and sportsmanship.
Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson is a fan of the new direction, saying:
“This is possibly the most focussed, directly enjoyable game Polyphony Digital has put out since the heady days of Gran Turismo 3.”
Jonathan M. Gitlin, writing at Art Technica, also finds much to like, despite the lack of launch content.
“Polyphony delivers an online racing game with engaging gameplay and a relatively limited selection of cars and tracks. Think of GTS as a more accessible, cheaper-to-own take on iRacing, and you’ll come away happy.”
To address the fact that GT Sport is in some ways incomplete – not least because its Test Seasons don’t start until November 3, 2017 – Gamespot are holding back their full review. In his interim preview, Peter Brown says:
“Polyphony Digital has created something quite ambitious and risky. If it can pull off its attempt to create a professional online racing league governed by a leading, real-world racing organization, that’s cause for celebration. It’s simply too early to say one way or the other.”
Why does the Famicom Cartridge have holes?
Ever wondered what those two little holes on the top of a Famicom cartridge were all about? Japanese website Afternoon News posed the question to Nintendo, and now the truth, via Kotaku, can be revealed.
Horizon Zero Dawn DLC runs into trademark issues
The upcoming Horizon: Zero Dawn The Frozen Wilds DLC has become embroiled in a trademark dispute. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has suspended Sony’s trademark application due to a conflict with a slot machine named Frozen Wild from studio Huuuge.
Sony to release a game on the Switch?
Unties is a new indie label from Sony Music Entertainment that will publish games for PlayStation 4, PSVR, PC and the Nintendo Switch. Who’d have thunk? One of the publisher’s first releases will be Tiny Metal, a tactical battle game that evokes Advance Wars, and really looks rather nice.
We have a couple of excellent longer reads for you this week. James Temperton at Wired takes a detailed look at the creation Microsoft’s powerful new console in The Inside Story of the Xbox One X.
At the other end of the spectrum, do check out Tom Phillips’ detailed account of The Sad Death of Lego Dimensions.
Be seeing you!
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