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The Week in Video Games – January 21, 2018

This week in gaming: Nintendo Labo revealed, PUBG’s blue zone is changing, Fable returns, and Overwatch pulls in the viewers. Here’s our essential digest of the week’s video games news.

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Nintendo Labo

This week in gaming: Nintendo Labo revealed, PUBG’s blue zone is changing, Fable returns, and Overwatch pulls in the viewers. Here’s our essential digest of the week’s video games news.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

Tencent, the publisher of PUBG in China, is working with Chinese police to crackdown on the makers of cheat software affecting the game. According to the Bloomberg report, police have made over 100 arrests, and opened at least 30 cases.

PUBG Corp’s Lee Do-hyung said to Bloomberg:

“Fostering a game environment that’s fair to all players is crucial to us. We’re committed to working to address this both now and in the future.”

Meanwhile, on the battlegrounds, changes are afoot. In an effort to improve the late phase of a PUBG, blue zone balance changes are currently being tested. In a Steam post the PUBG team detail the changes:

PUBG Blue zone balance adjustment

  • Slightly decreased the waiting time of the blue zones in mid-to-late phase of a match
  • Slightly decreased the shrinking speed of the blue zones in mid-to-late phase
  • Slightly increased the damage per second of the last blue zone

Nintendo reveals new cardware

In an attempt to set expectations, Nintendo Labo was billed as an experience “specially crafted for kids, or those who are kids at heart.” This didn’t stop a vocal minority of online commenters whinge about Nintendo’s new Switch accessory, distraught at the thought of resources potentially being diverted away from something like a Kid Icarus RPG. Sigh.

As for us. We think it’s a marvellous, creative, and commercially canny addition to Nintendo product range. Initially available in two Toy-con sets, Nintendo Labo is a charming mash-up of digital entertainment, and home crafting.

Assassin’s Creed Origins update and DLC

Assassin’s Creed Origins received a few updates this week, only one of which was planned. The 1.20. update was released on Monday, laying the groundwork for upcoming story DLC, The Hidden Ones. However, there were red faces all round after it was revealed that the DLC was mistakenly patched into an Xbox One software update.

In a statement to Kotaku, Ubisoft said, rather charmingly:

“Earlier today, The Hidden Ones DLC was unintentionally made available early for some Xbox One players. We have removed the DLC from the game store, however players who already downloaded the DLC are still able to play it. These players will now be known as “The Lucky Ones.”

Awesome Games Done Quick breaks record

Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 has broken its previous donation record by raising a mighty $2,295,942. The final amount, along with changes to commenting system, meant that this year’s fundraiser was also a case of quick games done awesomely. Well done to all involved.

Metal Gear Survive impressions

Boo. Hiss. And yet, just maybe, Metal Gear Survive isn’t going to be a complete disaster. Konami recently held a preview event for the game’s story mode, and the response was warmer than many expected.

USGamer‘s Matt Kim said:

“Throughout my demo I found myself coming back to just how good the core survival system is. Even after I got poisoned for drinking dirty water and started throwing up at regular intervals, it felt tonally in sync with previous Metal Gear games.”

GameSpot‘s Miguel Concepcion has doubts, but also enjoyed the survival mechanics:

“For as much as we’re not yet convinced of the long-term appeal of Metal Gear Survive, we have to give what we’ve seen so far credit for going all in on its demanding survival-centric gameplay.”

The game’s open beta concludes today.

Alien re-resurrection

FoxNext Games – the video game publishing arm of 21st Century Fox – has confirmed that a new shooter set in the Alien universe is now in the works at Cold Iron Studios. The studio includes devs with experience on games such as Metroid Prime 3, City of Heroes, and BioShock Infinite.

Xbox Fitbit

The Kinect may be history, but the Xbox’s continues to keep gamers healthy with the new Fitbit Coach Xbox app. Users can create a personalised program of audio and video workouts, and if you use a FitBit device, you’ll be able to see your heart rate in real-time on your television screen.

PlayStation gets amiibo-style figurines

PlayStation fans can now pick up ThinkGeek’s new line of figurines based on popular PlayStation characters. The initial batch of ‘Totaku Collection’ releases includes, Kratos, Crash Bandicoot, Parappa the Rapper, Sackboy, and Bloodborne’s hunter. Unlike Nintendo’s amiibo, the figures don’t contain an NFC chip, but they do look just as lovely. They are available at $9.99 each from GameStop for a limited time.

Update from the Console War

The NPD Group has released industry sales figures for December, and 2017 as a whole. The year saw an 11% growth in sales, with Call of Duty: WWII the best-selling game. Hardware sales were also up by 28% , with the PlayStation 4 remaining the best-selling console.

NPD gaming analyst, Mat Piscatella, said:

“Over the first 50 months in market for each console, the combined hardware installed base of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now exceeds that of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 by 18 percent, and that of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox by 4 percent.”

Nintendo also performed well, with the Switch and 3DS accounting for over half of all gaming hardware sold during December. That includes over 1.5 million Switch consoles, but more surprisingly, 750,000 Nintendo 3DS consoles – a 27% increase over the same period in 2016.

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Fable returns?

A new Fable game is reportedly in development by Playground Games, makers of the Forza Horizon series. A new team of 200 will be based in Leamington Spa, and tasked with bringing the much-loved RPG franchise back to Xbox consoles. Expect more at E3 2018.

Quantic nightmare

Reports in the French media – from Le Monde, Mediapart, and Canard PC –  have levelled allegations of an unhealthy studio culture at Quantic Dream, and accused the studio’s David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière of inappropriate behaviour. The accusations are a grubby mix of workplace toxicity, juvenile behaviour, misogyny, racist and homophobic jokes, and overworked staff. Follow Eurogamer’s original english-language report for the latest updates.

Overwatch League starts strong

Blizzard have announced that over 10 million viewers watched the opening matches of the Overwatch League. The opening day drew an average audience per minute of 408,000, and an average of 280,000 per minute for the week. The peak concurrent online audience hit 437,000 hit during the day-one matchup between Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty. Popular, then.

Latest gaming releases

Don’t forget to check out this week’s lineup of new game releases for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And pop back tomorrow for our weekly Nintendo eShop update.

Sunday reading

Let us leave you with Matt Paprocki’s excellent article for Polygon that looks back at the trials and tribulations of Factor 5’s PlayStation 3 showpiece, Lair.


More 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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Xbox Series X confirmed to launch this November

Xbox Series X will launch in November, Microsoft says, despite Halo Infinite delay.

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Xbox Series X release date November 2020
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Xbox Series X will launch in November, Microsoft says, despite Halo Infinite delay.

Halo Infinite is no longer coming this holiday season. But, Microsoft insists, the Xbox Series X still is.

In a post on Xbox Wire, editor-in-chief Will Tuttle announced that the console will arrive this November. That’s as specific as Microsoft has been willing to get so far (while still being pretty vague).

“We have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives: There will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year,” writes Tuttle.

“And with brand new console features like hardware-accelerated Direct X raytracing, framerates up to 120 frames per second, faster loading times, and Quick Resume for multiple games, playing will look and feel better, no matter which games you choose to play on day one.”

During last month’s Xbox Games Showcase, each trailer ended with the promise that the game would be available on Xbox Game Pass. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that Xbox is invested in selling subscriptions to the streaming service, at least as much as the company is invested in continuing to sell consoles and its flagship games.

Now, with its biggest launch game delayed, Microsoft is relying even more on Game Pass’ impressive catalog. The Xbox Wire post emphasizes Xbox’s massive library, citing Game Pass and the wealth of Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games available through backwards compatibility.

Microsoft no longer has a system seller for this fall. We’ll see if that even matters anymore.

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Halo Infinite delayed into 2021

Halo Infinite, Microsoft’s flagship title for the launch of the Xbox Series X, has been delayed into next year.

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Halo Infinite Delayed
343 Industries

Halo Infinite, Microsoft’s flagship title for the launch of the Xbox Series X, has been delayed into next year.

Look, after the Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 delay, nothing can hurt me. But, that doesn’t mean Halo fans the world over aren’t bummed that they won’t have a new crop of Covenant to shoot their way through this holiday season.

Microsoft made the announcement on Twitter, via the official Halo account.

Halo Infinite Delayed to 2021

“We have made the difficult decision to shift our release to 2021 to ensure that the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo experience that meets our vision,” wrote 343 Industries studio head, Chris Lee.

“The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year. I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday… The extra time will let us finish the critical work necessary to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever at the quality we know our fans expect.”

343’s Halo History

Halo Infinite is the third original Halo game from 343. Halo 4 and Halo 5 disappointed many longtime series fans. As a result, there’s a lot riding on the success of Halo Infinite.

But, when Microsoft showed off extensive gameplay for the first time last month, the game’s graphics were mocked and memed on the Internet. Halo Infinite just didn’t look like what fans expected from a next-generation Halo game.

In part, that’s because Halo Infinite isn’t a next-generation Halo game. Microsoft has committed to launching first-party titles on the upcoming Series X and the aging Xbox One. Halo Infinite has the unenviable task of running on this-gen hardware while looking like a next-gen game.

Hopefully, with the extra time, 343 can deliver a game that feels like an evolutionary leap. And hopefully they can also maintain their mental and physical health in the process.

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Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 has been delayed

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, the long-awaited sequel to the cult RPG, has been pushed back to 2021.

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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
Hardsuit Labs

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, the long-awaited sequel to the cult RPG, has been pushed back to 2021.

There’s nothing like the original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, even 16 years after its release. As a younger Millennial who grew up in the early ‘00s, the game hits an extremely specific nostalgia pressure point. The industrial metal. The moody Los Angeles setting. The ill-advised fashion. The game is so of its time – problematic depictions of women, people of color and mentally ill folks, unfortunately, included – that there really has never been another game with the same vibe.

So, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 has been one of my most anticipated games since it was unveiled in 2019. Unfortunately, developer Hardsuit Labs announced today that the decade-plus wait will last a little longer.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines Delayed

“We are moving the launch of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 to 2021,” reads a statement on the game’s Twitter profile. “Our goal has always been to deliver the best game possible, to immerse you into a Seattle re-imagined in the World of Darkness, and deliver a worthy successor to the original Bloodlines game. Due to the quality bar and ambitions we have set for ourselves, we have made the difficult decision that we need more time. This means that our goal to release in 2020 is no longer possible. Moving launch is one of the changes we are making to ensure the best player experience possible.”

The statement is attributed to Andy Kipling, of Hardsuit Labs, and Jakob Munthe, of publisher Paradox Interactive.

If the game arrived in 2020, it would have been competing with this fall’s behemoth RPG Cyberpunk 2077. Both are the kinds of choice-based games that RPG fans will want to sink dozens of hours into, across multiple playthroughs. And, that’s not even mentioning the other massive games hitting this fall. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Halo Infinite and a new Call of Duty to name a few. So, the delay is probably a good move.

Hopefully, the game arrives early in 2021, though. I remain eager for another adventure in that iconic world. Once bitten, right?


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This week’s PlayStation 4 releases (August 10-14, 2020)

Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape headlines this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape headlines this week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Hyper Scape is this week’s big new PS4 release. Ubisoft’s free-to-play FPS battle royale is certainly ambitious, and you can expect it to be well supported by Ubisoft. Nonetheless, it has a ways to go to convince us that it will be as successful as other F2P shooters like Apex Legends or Valorant. Lovely art direction, though.

Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey made their names on mobile, but we can’t wait to play Team Alto’s dreamy snowboarding games on the big screen. Both titles come to PS4 – as well as Xbox One and Switch – in The Alto Collection on Thursday.

Other new PS4 releases that catch the eye include Zero Strain, which is a vibrant top-down shoot ’em up with MOBA elements, and Dying Light: Hellraid, a new, hellish, expansion for Techland’s Dying Light. EA Sports UFC 4 also makes an entrance on Friday.

We’ll update this page throughout the week as we get more PS4 release dates confirmed.

The Drop: New PS4 releases for August 10-14, 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

  • No releases.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

  • Brunch Club
  • Hyper Scape
  • Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Infinite Combate
  • Prehistoric Dude
  • Tyd wag vir Niemand

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • Banner of the Maid
  • Escape From Tethys – TBC
  • Metamorphosis
  • Zero Strain

Thursday, August 13, 2020

  • The Alto Collection
  • Bite the Bullet
  • Boomerang Fu
  • Darkestville Castle

Friday, August 14, 2020

  • Dying Light: Hellraid
  • EA Sports UFC 4

Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest video games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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Save up to 90% with the latest Xbox Deals with Gold

This week’s crop of Xbox One video game discounts includes Metro Exodus, Doom Eternal, and Forza Horizon 3.

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Xbox One sale - Metro Exodus
Microsoft / 4A Games / Thumbsticks

This week’s crop of Xbox One video game discounts includes Metro Exodus, Doom Eternal, and Forza Horizon 3.

There’s a modest lineup of new savings on Xbox One this week. Our Deals with Gold highlights include Radiation Blue’s roguelike FPS Genesis Alpha One, and Greedfall, the impressive action RPG from Spiders.

This week’s Spotlight Sale is more impressive and has a distinct Bethesda vibe with many of the publisher’s biggest games on offer. There are 70% discounts across the Dishonoured series and a 50% price cut for The Elder Scrolls Online.

Doom Eternal – a game we called “technically solid, blistering in parts, but lacking in soul” – is reduced by 40%. Skyrim, Prey, and various packs of Wolfensteins are also available.

We were more impressed by Metro Exodus – “courageous” said our review – which is reduced by 67%. Other Spotlight Sale highlights include Forza Horizon 3, Kamiko, and Overwatch.

This week’s Deals with Gold and Spotlight savings run through to August 17 on the Xbox digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the full sale lineup.

Deals with Gold

  • 7 Days to Die – 50% off
  • 8-Bit Armies – 90% off
  • Beholder Complete Edition – 80% off
  • Blacksad: Under the Skin – 60% off
  • Bombfest – 85% off
  • Carnival Games – 75% off
  • Genesis Alpha One – 75% off
  • GreedFall – 75% off
  • Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest Edition – 67% off
  • Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle – 60% off
  • Monochrome Order – 40% off
  • n Verlore Verstand – 70% off
  • Outbreak: The Nightmare Collection – 50% off
  • The Station – 70% off
  • The Walking Dead: Michonne – The Complete Season – 75% off
  • Valfaris & Slain Double Pack – 50% off

Spotlight Sale

  • Animus – Stand Alone – 50% off
  • Arkane Anniversary Collection – 70% off
  • Best of 2019 (Sparklite/Stranded Sails) – 15% off
  • Brunch Club – 10% off
  • Cyber Complex – 50% off
  • Dishonored 2 – 70% off
  • Dishonored The Complete Collection – 70% off
  • Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider – 70% off
  • Doom – 50% off
  • Doom + Wolfenstein II Bundle – 50% off
  • Doom Eternal Deluxe Edition – 40% off
  • Doom Slayers Collection – 55% off
  • Fallout 4 – 70% off
  • Fallout 76: Wastelanders Deluxe Edition – 40% off
  • Forza Horizon 3 Standard Edition – 67% off
  • Forza Horizon 3 Ultimate Edition – 70% off
  • HoPiKo – 80% off
  • Kamiko – 30% off
  • Metro Exodus – 67% off
  • Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles – 50% off
  • Overwatch Legendary Edition – 67% off
  • Prey – 70% off
  • Prey + Dishonored 2 Bundle – 70% off
  • Revenant Dogma – 40% off
  • Riddled Corpses EX – 80% off
  • Skyrim Special Edition + Fallout 4 G.O.T.Y. Bundle – 60% off
  • Super Night Riders – 75% off
  • Tanky Tanks – 35% off
  • The Elder Scrolls Online – 50% off
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – 67% off
  • Whispering Willows – 70% off
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – 70% off
  • Wolfenstein: Alt History Collection – 60% off
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order – 70% off
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – 70% off
  • Wolfenstein: The Two-Pack – 70% off
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood Deluxe Edition – 35% off
  • Xenon Valkyrie+ – 80% off

For even more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

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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