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The Week in Video Games – February 11, 2018

This week in gaming: One million PUBG cheaters are banned, and Nintendo wants everyone on earth to own a Switch. Here’s our digest of the week’s top video games news.

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PUBG - Xbox One

This week in gaming: One million PUBG cheaters are banned, and Nintendo wants everyone on earth to own a Switch. Here’s our digest of the week’s top video games news.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

PUBG‘s war against cheaters continues, with BattlEye estimating that over one million players were banned from the game in January. This brings the total number banned accounts to over 2.5 million. Developer Bluehole has now deployed a PC update to the game’s test servers that adds the new anti-cheat measures detailed earlier this month.

Last week’s Xbox One patch – which reduced the damage a player takes when hit by a vehicle – has been reversed due to player feedback.

Meanwhile, PUBG‘s Miramar map continues to furrow brows. A lukewarm response from players has resulted in a number of changes and updates. Speaking to USGamerPUBG producer Jang Tae-sok says it was the release plan, rather than the map itself, at fault:

“I wouldn’t change anything in the map, but if I had the chance to turn back time, I’d release Miramar earlier when it’s less finished so we can get our players’ feedback much earlier and build the map with our players, just like we did with Erangel for over a year since our first closed alpha test in July 2016.”

And if you spend your moments AFK wishing you could play PUBG on the go, we have good news. The Chinese mobile game PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield looks rather, well, exhilarating.

Battle Royale is here to stay

The popularity of the Battle Royale genre looks to continue throughout 2018. This week, Vostock Games announced Fear the Wolves, a cheery 1v100 shooter set in the remnants of Chernobyl. And a clutch of rumours circulated by Trusted Reviews suggests that Red Dead Redemption 2 will also offer up its own spin on the genre, despite comments this week from Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick.

Grand Theft Auto V sells and sells

During that Take-Two earnings call, it was also confirmed that Grand Theft Auto V has now sold 90 million copies worldwide to retailers and via digital platforms. The publisher also estimates that Red Dead Redemption 2 will help generate $2.5 billion in revenue during in the next financial year.

Nintendo aims high with the Switch

It’s also been another busy business week for Nintendo. During a recent earnings call Shigeru Miyamoto stated the company’s desire to further increase sales of the Nintendo Switch, saying:

“Our ultimate ambition is for a Nintendo Switch to be owned not just by every family, but by every single person.”

Miyamoto is also keen for the Switch to have a longer lifespan than is usual for a Nintendo system:

“Nintendo also has a system in place whereby the software developers focus on these hardware features in their development efforts for the continuation of the Nintendo Switch business. Up until now, the hardware lifecycle has trended at around five or six years, but it would be very interesting if we could prolong that life cycle, and I think you should be looking forward to that.”

In other news, the My Nintendo loyalty programme will get a welcome update in March. Gold Points will become eligible to redeem against the purchase of Switch games on the Nintendo eShop.

E3 opens its doors to the public again

The Entertainment Software Association has confirmed that public tickets for E3 2018 will go on sale this Monday. This year’s event will feature extending opening hours to help distribute the increased attendance. Geoff Keighley’s E3 Coliseum will also return for three days of talks and panels.

Last chance to vote in the GDC and IGF audience awards

Public voting has opened for the 2018 Game Developers Choice, and Independent Games Festival audience awards. You have until February 12th to vote.

New Crash Bandicoot game in the works?

Eagle-eyed Resetera users have found evidence that Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy is heading to PC and Switch later this year, and that a new Crash game is in the works fora 2019 release. The news is culled from the most recent edition of that fabled tome of secrets, the Licensing Source Book Europe. All references to the game have since been removed, effectively confirming the rumour.

PSA: Toad’s head is a head

Toad’s head is not a hat, it’s a head. It’s Official. It’s a head, not a hat.

Quantic Dream take legal action

Quantic Dream has released a new statement in response to recent claims of toxic working conditions at the Paris-based studio. The statement – translated by Eurogamer – says that Quantic Dream has been “the subject of a veritable smear campaign” and that legal action is being taken to protect the studio.

Bandai Namco developing Metroid Prime 4?

Eurogamer has followed up on recent rumours surrounding Metroid Prime 4, saying that development of the Nintendo Switch game is being led by Bandai Namco Studios Singapore, in collaboration with Nintendo. The three previous games in the series were all produced by Austin Texas developer, Retro Studios.

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Billy Mitchell vows to clear his name

Gamespot’s Kevin Wong digs deep on Billy Mitchell’s attempts to clear his name from accusations that he used MAME to achieve high-scores on Donkey Kong. Mitchell maintains that no foul play has taken place, saying:

“In some ways, it’s a bummer. There’s a lot of other fun stuff I would rather be doing [than clearing my name]. But if it’s a cross I have to bear for a little while, that’s okay.”

Next PlayStation 4 software update detailed

Sony has confirmed the new features arriving with the next PlayStation 4 system update. Update 5.50 adds a Playtime Management option to help parents – or control freaks – limit console use. Other new enhancements include various menu and UI tweaks, the ability to add custom wallpapers via USB, and, finally, the option to hide purchased games and demos in the Library. Bye-bye FIFA 14 demo, FIFA 14FIFA 15 demo, FIFA 15FIFA 16 demo…

PS4 Pro users will also get a new ‘supersampling mode’ which gives compatible games an ‘enhanced visual experience’ when played on a standard 1080p HDTV. The update is currently in beta.

Microsoft release new Xbox One PUBG bundle

You can now buy a brand new Xbox One console, bundled with an unfinished game! What times we live in. The new PUBG bundle includes a white Xbox One S with a 1TB hard drive, plus a download copy of the work-in-progress game.

And also…

Other news we’ve covered this week includes Final Fantasy XV coming to mobile, new Kingdom Hearts III content, and the perfect deconstruction of Tetris from game designer Martin Hollis.

And finally…

If you’ve been enjoying the recent remake of Shadow of the Colossus, read Miguel Penabella’s piece on how the game underscores the quietude of solitary travel and hardship. USGamer’s Caty McCarthy also hopes that we won’t forget The Last Guardian.

Polygon have published a fascinating look at how Analogue remade the Super Nintendo for the HD age with the new Super NT console.

And finally, a mention for Thumbsticks editor Tom Baines, who has been moonlighting at Eurogamer with a look at the strange appeal of non-sports sports games.


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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, 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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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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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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Most important feature confirmed for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

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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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