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The Week in Video Games – January 14, 2018

This week in video games: PUBG sells 3 million on Xbox One, Dark Souls Remastered confirmed, and a new Nintendo Direct reveals upcoming Switch games. Here’s our roundup of the week’s most toe-tickling gaming news.

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Chibi-Robo on fire

This week in video games: PUBG sells 3 million on Xbox One, Dark Souls Remastered confirmed, and a new Nintendo Direct reveals upcoming Switch games. Here’s our roundup of the week’s most toe-tickling gaming news.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

It looks like PUBG will be just as much of a phenomenon on console as it is on PC. The Xbox One version of the game has sold over 3 million copies since its release on December 2017. This most likely makes it the most successful game to enter Xbox One Game Preview. The latest update for the Xbox One edition adds a new control configuration, plus various other tweaks and optimisations.

Earlier this week, Bluehole detailed the drop rates for new loot boxes. Ars Technica have crunched the numbers and worked out that on average the rarest items will only appear every 80 years.

Nintendo Direct reveals new games

After much fan trolling, and some excruciating brand banter – or ‘branter’ as editor Tom nicely terms it – Nintendo lifted the lid on some of the games coming to the Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2018.

Dark Souls Remastered is the headline act, but there were also release dates for Kirby Star Allies, and Mario Tennis Aces. Other treats include new DLC for Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. (And yes, despite our weary cynicism, we love flaming Chibi Robo, too.)

PlayStation 4 sales

The Switch may be making all the headlines, but Sony’s PlayStation 4 is still trucking. As of the end of 2017 the PS4 has now sold more than 73.6 million units, with 645 million games sold through retail and digital download. The success of the PS4 and Switch has led to the Japanese console market growing for the first time in 11 years.

Dark Souls Remastered confirmed

In addition to its Switch release, Dark Souls Remastered is also heading to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. On console it will run at 60 fps and 1080p, upscaled to 4K on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. On PC it will run at native 4K with 2K textures.

Other improvements include the implementation Dark Souls III‘s password matchmaking system, plus the addition of dedicated servers, and support for six online players in the same instance.

Steam hits new user record

According to Steam Database, Steam reached a new concurrent user milestone last week, with a record 18.5 million concurrent users logged on, and seven million in-game. This is up by over four million users from January 2017.

FIFA and MLS sign esports deal

EA Sports and Major League Soccer have partnered to launch eMLS, and new FIFA esports league featuring 19 of the 23 MLS teams. Players representing each participating club will compete at the eMLS Cup at PAX in April, before progressing to the FIFA 18 Global Series later this year.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue returns

Assassin’s Creed Rogue – the oft-forgotten last-gen game that launched alongside the troubled Assassin’s Creed Unity – is getting an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 remaster. Developed by Ubisoft Sofia, it will feature enhanced visuals, including improved effects, environment rendering, and textures, plus 4K support for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

Xbox Duke controller gets release date

The reboot of the OG Xbox Duke controller will be released in March. The controller is a near perfect remake of the original with a couple of cool new features such as an embedded OLED screen, and two additional shoulder buttons.

In an interview with CNET, Seamus Blackley says:

“The controller was the size of most kids’ bedrooms in Japan! I saw this petition of Japanese game developers who said we had to make a smaller controller. When ‘Controller S’ got approved, I thought [the S stood for Seamus] — I figured it was to mock me because they thought it would fail,” he says.

GTA sells and sells and sells

Grand Theft Auto V was the third best-selling game in Europe last year, according to data from GfK Chart Track. It was only beaten by FIFA 18 and Call of Duty: WWII. For a four-year old game it’s a remarkable achievement, and means it outsold big hitters like Destiny 2, and Star Wars Battlefront.

Super Meat Joy

Speaking of old games doing well, Super Meat Boy‘s Switch debut has been a surprising success, with first day sales not far off of the game’s Xbox 360 debut. As Team Meat tweeted, that’s nuts.

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CES update

There was a raft of game-related announcements at this year’s CES. Our picks include the beautifully low-tech monitor bezel eliminating kit from Asus, a new range of wireless gaming peripherals from Corsair, and Razer’s wireless charging Hyperflux range.

“Transformers, roll in”

Like Transformers? Want to play Transformers video games? Well, tough luck. Due to the expiration of Activision’s licensing deal with Hasbro, games including Transformers: War for Cybertron, Fall of Cybertron and Devastation have been removed from Steam and console digital stores.

GDC 18 gets two helpings of jam

Organisers of the Game Developers Conference have announced more content for this year’s event. GDC 2018 will once again showcase the games created on the fifth TrainJam, a two-day game jam that takes place on an Amtrak train travelling from Chicago to the conference in San Francisco.

Also confirmed is a postmortem on Midway’s 1993 arcade classic, NBA Jam, plus Narrative Summit talks from veteran game writer Mike Laidlaw, and Naughty Dog’s Josh Scherr. Head over to the GDC website for more information.

This week’s new game releases

Don’t forget you can stay up-to-date with the latest games coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One – plus the little ol’ 3DS – via our New Releases page. Next week’s highlights include Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, InnerSpace, and Full Metal Furies.

Also worth reading…

There are two excellent articles we recommend from Polygon’s ‘2017 in Review’ series. Amy Hennig and Sean Vanaman discuss Firewatch, Uncharted, and the future of video game storytelling. And game design legend Ken Levine examines how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild tore up the rulebook to reinvent the franchise.


Gaming news from Thumbsticks

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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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Most important feature confirmed for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Well, maybe the second most important feature.

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pet the cat assassins creed valhalla
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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