This week in gaming: PUBG hits 4 million players on Xbox One, Miitomo and Paragon are closing, and BioWare’s Anthem slips to 2019. Here’s our digest of the week’s video games news.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news
Despite being a little rough round the edges PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is proving to be a huge success on Xbox One. The game has now passed 4 million copies sold, and to mark the occasion Microsoft is giving 30,000 battle points to each player. The in-game loose change will appear in accounts from February 1st.
The console edition of PUBG has also received a new patch which adds auto-run, and various other control and gameplay improvements. Meanwhile, over on PC it appears that lobby weapons are on the way out.
Away from the game, PUBG Corp has announced that by the end of year it will have donated $2 million to a range of charities. And, in a wide-ranging interview with GamesIndustry.biz, PUBG Corp CEO Chang Han Kim speaks about the long-term plans to grow and improve the game:
“We see PUBG as an endlessly evolving online product. It’s not like we have a clear roadmap with 2.0 and 3.0. The current version, I want to say it’s flawless, but it still needs to be polished and enhanced. That will be our primary goal: polishing the current experience to provide the best game.
Bioware’s Anthem slips to 2019
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier filed a in-depth article detailing BioWare’s efforts to complete Anthem, the online action RPG revealed at last’s year’s E3. Making games is as hard as ever, it seems, and it’s now looking like Anthem will receive a 2019 release.
Miitomo, Nintendo’s first mobile app, will close down in May. Although an initial success, the app’s unorthodox parch to social networking put paid to its long-term prospects.
Dragon Ball FighterZ review round-up
Dragon Ball FighterZ was released this week, and despite our own failed attempt to win a fight, its accessibility is being lauded:
Jeff Ramo, writing at Polygon, says:
“Dragon Ball FighterZ made me feel as powerful and unstoppable as one of the series’ lauded heroes. Within minutes of playing the game, I was pulling off combos that I felt were worthy of a highlight reel.”
In his impressions piece, Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole agrees:
“Sure, it’s a fast-paced game, and with three versus three action the screen can get pretty busy at times, but Arc System Works’ effort to make the combat accessible means pretty much anyone can pick up their favourite few characters from Dragon Ball and get them to do cool and exciting stuff straight away.”
Peter Brown at GameSpot says that the game is superbly balanced for both newcomers and long time fans:
“FighterZ is complex and distinct enough to be enjoyed by fighting game competitors, but there’s no question that it’s been designed to tap into the hearts of Dragon Ball’s most dedicated fans, and no doubt those same qualities will win people over who’ve never given the series a chance.”
Minecraft remains reasonably popular
In an interview with PopSugar, Microsoft’s Helen Chiang reveals that Minecraft had a record 74 million active users in December 2017. The interview also covers cross-platform play, changes to the Switch edition, and the upcoming Aquatic update.
Xbox Game Pass to get Microsoft games on day one
Microsoft has confirmed that all Microsoft Studios games are now going to launch day-and-date on Xbox Games Pass. The first game to be included is Rare’s Sea of Thieves, which is due for release on March 20, 2018.
Movers, shakers, and Downwell creators
It’s been a busy week for industry moves. Phil Harrison – formerly of Xbox, Atari, and most notably, PlayStation – has joined Google as Vice President and GM. The role sees Harrison move back to California. Sega legend Yuji Naka – whose work includes Sonic the Hedgehog and Phantasy Star – has announced that he’s joining Square Enix. And the creator of Downwell, Ojiro Fumoto, is giving up the indie dream to work for Nintendo.
Monster Hunter World review round-up
Dragon Ball FighterZ is not the only game released last week that aims to attract new players to a long-running franchise. Capcom’s Monster Hunter World is also courting a wider audience, and successfully so, it appears.
Martin Robinson rates the game as Essential in his Eurogamer review, saying:
“Monster Hunter World sees 13 years of evolution come crashing together with some new influences to create a very exciting breed of beast.”
Sam Byford, writing for The Verge, is just as enthusiastic:
“It’s an incredible game that is just about everything I could have hoped for from a return to home consoles”
And Joe Skrebals at IGN says:
“World takes a dramatic leap into a look, feel, and size that feels truly new, simultaneously staying true to the series’ ideals by maintaining the addictive loop of combat, intimidating monsters and meaningful upgrades that fans love.”
God of War and Nintendo Labo release date clash panic!
Sony’s new God of War and Nintendo Labo will both be released on April 20, 2018. You’d think that the target demographics of these two products are far enough apart for this to pass without comment, but no, according to some internet commentators the world might just stop turning. In the spirit of the day, we hope people chill out a little.
Paragon too soon
Paragon is shutting down on April 26, 2018. In a statement, the development team says:
“After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable. We didn’t execute well enough to deliver on the promise of Paragon. We have failed you — despite the team’s incredibly hard work — and we’re sorry.”
All players of Epic’s MOBA can claim a refund for any purchases made in the game.
GDC State of the Industry report
The latest GDC State of the Industry Survey shows that developer interest in the Nintendo Switch has risen considerably in the past 12 months. And if you thought that the public backlash to loot crates and micro-transactions might result in a reduction of their use, think again. One in 10 developers show support for using them in upcoming games.
Latest video game releases
Don’t forget to check out this week’s lineup of new game releases for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This week’s picks include Wulverblade, and Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. And check back tomorrow for our weekly Nintendo eShop update.
If you want to experience the bracing chill of winter from the cosy comfort of your own home, we’ve pulled together a cool countdown of the 11 Best Winter Video Games. If you’d rather a little sunshine, check out Kat Bailey’s Burnout Paradise retrospective, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Criterion’s marvellous racing game.