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The Week in Video Games – April 1, 2018

This week in video games: there’s a comet in the Fortnite sky, Switch consoles are getting bricked, and No Man’s Sky is coming to the Xbox. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

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Far Cry 5 - Boomer

This week in video games: there’s a comet in the Fortnite sky, Switch consoles are getting bricked, and No Man’s Sky is coming to the Xbox. Here’s our digest of the week’s top gaming news stories.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ new 4×4 km map will be playable this week, for those lucky enough to get an invite. Keep an eye on PUBG’s social media channels on Monday April 2, 2018 for more details. The initial test of the map – which is still early in development – will run for three days.

And to mark the game’s first anniversary, players can get a free PUBG SCAR-L skin if they log in to the game before May 1, 2018.

Fortnite news

Fortnite Battle Royale now has a premium starter pack to give new players a helping hand. It contains the rogue agent outfit, the catalyst back bling, and costs 600 in-game V-Bucks (£3.99/$4.99).

Fortnite players have also noticed what appears to be a comet in the night sky. The big question is what will happen if and when it hits? One popular theory is that it will strike Titled Towers, levelling the city, and leaving a huge new crater to play in. Keep watching the skies.

Third-party Switch docks are bricking consoles

Nintendo has told Switch owners to not to use third-party docks after reports of bricked consoles. Following the console’s 5.0 Firmware update, users of the Nyko portable docking kit have experienced issues ranging from patchy AV connection to complete console failure. In a statement to Kotaku, Nintendo said:

“Unlicensed products and accessories do not undergo Nintendo’s testing and evaluation process. They might not work at all with our game systems, and they could have compatibility problems with certain games, the Nintendo Switch system itself, and other licensed accessories and peripherals.”

The root of the issue appears to be in how the Switch manages USB-C protocols. Nintendo will repair any consoles still under warranty, and has recently rolled out another small firmware update.

In happier Switch news, the new Super Smash Bros will be playable at E3 2018.

Nintendo announce Princess Peach’s Royale Battle

Nintendo’s new paid online service will launch in September, with Super Smash Brothers expected to be one game available at launch. Another title also confirmed is Nintendo’s first foray into the battle-royale genre, Princess Peach’s Royale Battle. The kid-friendly take on the popular genre sees 100 Toads parachute into the Mushroom Kingdom to engage in a brutal fight to the death – all for the sadistic pleasure of Princess Peach.

Twitch laying off staff

Twitch has laid off around 25 members of staff from its Twitch Studios and marketing teams. In a statement to Gamesbeat, a spokesperson said:

“Coming off the record-setting numbers shared in our 2017 Retrospective, Twitch is continuing to grow and advance with success stories from Overwatch League to Fortnite’s milestone-setting streams. In order to maintain this momentum, we have an aggressive growth strategy for 2018 with plans to increase our headcount by approximately 30 percent. While we’ve conducted team adjustments in some departments, our focus is on prioritizing areas most important for the community.”

God of War will have performance mode on PS4 Pro

Upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, God of War, will feature a performance mode for PlayStation 4 Pro users. The mode will include the option to play at 60fps frame-rate at 1080p, or 30fps at 4K resolution. The game’s director, Cory Barlog, seems pretty excited by it.

GTA V character does not look like Lindsay Lohan

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that the character of Lacey Jonas in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V does not look like actor, Lindsay Lohan. In the court’s opinion:

“the artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman that are not reasonably identifiable as the plaintiff.”

GDC 2018 sets new record

Last month’s Game Developers Conference set a new attendance record with over 28,000 games industry professionals descending on San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The dates for next year’s conference have been confirmed, and the call for speakers submissions will open this summer.

Microsoft to ban users for “offensive activity”

Microsoft has updated its Terms of Service to identify various types of “offensive activity”. The terms apply to a wide range of Microsoft platforms, including Xbox. Violation of the code of conduct may result in:

“suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”

Trouble at sea

Following a furious reaction from players, Rare have rolled back plans to add a ‘Death Cost’ to their ocean-world adventure game, Sea of ThievesTMW also reports on the community backlash against Prod1gyX, a popular Twitch streamer, and the first Sea of Thieves player to reach Pirate Legend status. Players are not impressed with his, erm, pirate-like methods to reach the top.

No Man’s Sky coming to Xbox One

Hello Games have confirmed that everyone’s favourite space exploration game, No Man’s Sky, is getting an Xbox One release this summer. It will coincide with the game’s ‘Next update’, which was teased in a trailer in-which the words No, Mans, Sky, Next, and Update slowly appear on a white background.

Another game receiving a welcome Xbox One release is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It will be released this month, and features a range of Xbox One X optimisations.

PlayStation VR gets a price drop

Sony has reduced the price of PlayStation VR around the world. The standard non-bundle pack is now priced at £259 in the UK, down from £359. In the US there’s a $100 price drop on the starter pack, bringing it down to $299, plus discounts on the Doom and Skyrim bundles.

Video game sales and promotions

It’s a busy week for sales, promotion, and free games. First up, there are Easter sales on Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. And this week, the latest Xbox Games with Gold, and PlayStation Plus titles will become available to subscribers.

Weekend reading…

In the latest edition of Cut Scenes, Josh Wise explores the intersection between films and video games with Bioshock vs. Tim Burton’s Batman.

And finally, if Fortnite has been the breakout game of 2018, the breakout video game character has to be Boomer, the Far Cry 5 dog. Cameron Kunzelman, writing at Kotaku, talks about his love for his canine companion.

Happy April 1st, see you next week!


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Save up to 70% in the PlayStation Big in Japan Sale

More than 500 PlayStation 4 games get discounts in the new PS Store Big in Japan sale.

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PlayStation Big in Japan Sale
Square Enix / Sony / Thumbsticks

More than 500 PlayStation games get discounts in the new PS Store Big in Japan sale.

Following hot on the heels of the PlayStation Essentials sale comes yet another PS Store promotion. The Big in Japan sale begins today and focusses on PS4, PS3, and PS Vita games from Japanese publishers and studios.

Highlights include some of Square Enix’s biggest titles, headlined by Kingdom Hearts III and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts All-In-One package. Other games to catch the eye are Final Fantasy XV – in both full-fat and Pocket Editions – and Platinum’s NieR: Automata.

Other recommendations include Sega’s tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles 4, the long-awaited Shenmue III, and the acclaimed Dark Souls III. Capcom is also bringing the goods with Okami HD, Street Fighter V, and Resident Evil 7 all getting tempting price cuts.

The PlayStation Big in Japan sale ends on March 3 in Europe and March 3 in North America. Head over to the PS Store before then to see the full list of discounted games in your region. Here are some more highlights.

PlayStation Big in Japan Sale Highights

  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • AI: The Somnium Files
  • Dark Souls III
  • Dmc Devil May Cry
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2
  • Dragon Quest XI – Digital Edition of Light
  • Dynasty Warriors 9 Complete Edition
  • Earth Defense Force 5 Deluxe Edition
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • I Am Setsuna
  • Kingdom Hearts All-In-One Package
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • Little Nightmares Complete Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience
  • Nioh – The Complete Edition
  • Okami HD
  • Oninaki
  • Pixeljunk Monsters 2
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
  • Resident Evil Revelations
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2
  • Secret of Mana
  • Shenmue III
  • Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition
  • SNK Heroines
  • Star Ocean First Departure R
  • Steins;Gate Elite
  • Street Fighter V
  • Tekken 7
  • The Silver Case
  • The Ultimate Sonic Bundle
  • Thief
  • Trails Of Cold Steel III Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 Complete Edition
  • Windjammers
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
  • World of Final Fantasy
  • Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

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The brilliant SteamWorld series is coming to Google Stadia

A quartet of SteamWorld games head to Google’s game streaming platform, with the best two titles free with Stadia Pro at launch.

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Image & Form

A quartet of SteamWorld games head to Google’s game streaming platform, with the best two titles free with Stadia Pro at launch.

Thunderful Publishing is bringing the most recent four games in the popular SteamWorld series to Google Stadia. All four will be available to purchase soon, with SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech free for Stadia Pro members. The first SteamWorld Dig and turn-based strategy shooter SteamWorld Heist round out the lineup.

The only game in the series not included is the oft-forgotten 2010 Nintendo DSi release, SteamWorld Tower Defense.

Developed by Image & Form, the series has become one of the most enduring and popular indie franchises, with its distinct blend of steampunk and wild west aesthetics providing a canvas for the studio to experiment with a range of game genres.

At the time of writing, we don’t have an exact release date for the four games. Like most Google Stadia news, it’s all a little vague. That said, each game is excellent and well worth playing. SteamWorld Dig 2, in particular, is a big favourite at the Thumbsticks office and narrowly missed out on top ten placing in our best games of 2017.


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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is free on the Epic Games Store

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and card-based strategy game, Faeria, are free through next Thursday.

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Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and card-based strategy game, Faeria, are free through next Thursday.

For more than half a decade, new Assassin’s Creed games have been released on an annual basis. Beginning with Assassin’s Creed 2 in 2009, each year brought new violently edutaining historical adventures. However, that all came to an end with the release of the Industrial Revolution-set Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015.

Though it scored well with most critics, Syndicate had the unenviable task of following up 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity – which released as a buggy mess. As a result, Syndicate debuted as the second worst-selling game in the franchise’s history. After eight years of honing in on an open-world collectathon formula, Ubisoft reevaluated and took the series in a new direction. The results were Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017) and Odyssey (2018). These new entries took Assassin’s Creed in an RPG-influenced direction and reinvigorated interest in the series.

But, that doesn’t mean that Syndicate isn’t worth playing. In fact, it may be more interesting as a result; the evolutionary end-point for one version of the series. Anyway, it’s free. Go see for yourself.

Additionally, you can grab Faeria while you’re at it. The card-based strategy game introduces an interesting twist to the CCG formula. Players alter the map as they play. Per the game’s Epic description:

“Raise mountains, build forests, fill lakes, or harness the sands of the deserts. You choose your own path to victory.”

Now that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Faeria are available, Epic has unveiled next week’s pick. On Thursday, you’ll be able to pick up 2018’s InnerSpace.


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Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay details revealed

The latest Nintendo Direct reveals a torrent of new information for upcoming Switch exclusive, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Nintendo

The latest Nintendo Direct reveals a torrent of new information for upcoming Switch exclusive, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Today’s Nintendo Direct featured more information about Animal Crossing: New Horizons than you can shake a shovel at. The video takes a closer look at island life, showing off the game’s seasonal and day/night cycles, comprehensive crafting mechanics, and the new in-game aid to desert island survival, the NookPhone.

The game’s customisation options certainly look to be the most full-featured in the series yet, with new interior design options, item crafting, and the ability to redevelop parts of the island itself. The game will also link to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer on Nintendo 3DS to allow for the transfer of existing custom designs.

Other features include an in-game goals and rewards system called Nook Miles, and he ability to choose whether you want to live on an island in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. The game also supports online play, with up to eight players able to visits an island at once.

The 25-minute long video features much more information and is well worth watching if you’re interested in the game.

Nintendo promises a series of free updates for the game, starting on release day with the Bunny Day special event. The game supports the existing range of Animal Crossing amiibo figures and cards and will connect to mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp later this year.

The most worrying news from today Nintendo Direct is that Tom Nook has ousted Isabelle to take over the game’s official Twitter account. Ouch!

All in all, it’s more Animal Crossing, and aside from the slightly irritating decision to restrict the number of islands on each Switch console, the game is shaping up nicely.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is released worldwide on March 20, 2020 and available now to pre-order from retailers including GameStop, Amazon, Best Buy and Game. A limited edition Nintendo Switch console bundle is also available.


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Nintendo Switch releases: February 17-21, 2020

This week’s lineup of new eShop games for the Nintendo Switch includes an impressive collection of retro classics.

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New Nintendo Switch eShop releases
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

This week’s lineup of new eShop games for the Nintendo Switch includes an impressive collection of retro classics.

Not a week goes by without the Nintendo Switch eshop getting at least one retro game or remake. This week we have 27. Gulp!

Four new games have already been added to the catalogue of NES and SNES classics available through Nintendo Switch Online. Smash Tennis and Pop ‘n TwinBee are our picks.

Even more impressive is the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle from Arc System Works. The collection features no fewer than 18 titles, including arcade classics Double Dragon and Renegade, plus 11 NES games never before released in the West.

We also have nothing but good things to say about Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Puyo Puyo 2. Both games come to the Sega Ages range with some cool new features and game modes. Hamster Corporation also continues its good work with Arcade Archives VS. Mahjong.

Finally, Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is the latest entry in Capcom’s popular action series to get a Switch outing.

Brand new releases include Blood Will Be Spilled, Last Encounter, and the curiously titled sci-fi adventure, Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator. Gulp, again!

Here’s the current roster of new Nintendo Switch releases. We’ll keep the list updated throughout the week.

Nintendo Switch releases – February 17-21, 2020

Monday, February 17, 2020

  • Escape First
  • Warface

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

  • Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo – US

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

  • 3000th Duel
  • Eliminator Boat Duel – NES
  • Pop ‘n TwinBee – SNES
  • Shadow of the Ninja – NES
  • Smash Tennis – SNES

Thursday, February 20, 2020

  • Blood Will Be Spilled
  • Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition
  • Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
  • Corridor Z
  • Fred3ric
  • Georifters
  • Katana Kami: A Way of the Samurai Story
  • Lines XL
  • Oddmar
  • A Sound Plan
  • Sudoku Relax 4 Winter Snow
  • Sega Ages Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sega Ages Puyo Puyo 2
  • Sudoku Relax 4 Winter Snow
  • Tank Onslaught
  • Tower of Babel – no mercy
  • Uncharted Tides: Port Royal
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] – EU
  • Vitamin Connection

Friday, February 21, 2020

  • Arcade Archives VS. Mahjong
  • Blood Breed
  • Brief Battles
  • Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator
  • Dark Tower
  • Ego Protocol: Remastered
  • Fishing Adventure
  • King Lucas
  • Knightin’+
  • Last Encounter
  • Otherworldly
  • Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo – EU
  • Ubermosh:Omega
  • Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] – US

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Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest Switch, Xbox and PlayStation games. You can also follow us on FacebookGoogle News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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