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 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 Thieves. TMW 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.
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!
More gaming news from Thumbsticks
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- Save up to 70% in the Humble Store Rockstar sale