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The Week in Video Games – May 6, 2018

This week in video games: Fortnite Season 4 begins, Red Dead Redemption 2 gets a new trailer, and Xbox One sales increase. Here’s our roundup of the week’s top video game news stories.

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Fortnite Season 4

This week in video games: Fortnite Season 4 begins, Red Dead Redemption 2 gets a new trailer, and Xbox One sales increase. Here’s our roundup of the week’s top video game news stories.

Fortnite Battle Royale news

Season 4 of Fornite arrived with a bang last week. Those meteors finally hit, bringing with them a clutch of new features, significant updates to the battle royale map, and a collection of gameplay tweaks and UI improvements. You can view the update’s full patch notes on the Epic Games website.

Over on GamesIndustry.biz, Rob Fahey examines recent press coverage of Fortnite and free-to-play games.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds news

PUBG‘s limited time Desert Knights mode – a 50-player team deathmatch – began on Thursday, only to finish earlier than planned due to server issues.

Over on Xbox One, the test server for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is back in business until Monday May 7, 2018. The test includes access to both the Miramar and Erangel maps on random basis. The test’s patch notes has full details.

And in China, fifteen people have been arrested in connection with hacking PUBG, and have subsequently been fined over $5.1 million.

New Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer and gameplay details

Rockstar Games has released a spectacular third trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2. Meanwhile, IGN’s Alex Simmons reports on a 45 minute gameplay demo:

“If this demo is anything to go by, it’s a story driven by an ambition to create something deeper, more expansive and immersive than ever before.”

Nintendo to focus on mobile

Speaking at Nintendo’s quarterly investor Q&A, incoming president, Shuntaro Furukawa, explained that the company will be managed by a next-generation collective comprised of leaders from the hardware, software, sales, and marketing divisions. And speaking to Nikkei, he says that smartphone games will increasingly be a focus for the company:

“From what I can see, smartphone games are the ones I want to expand the most. The idea that something will emerge that transforms into something big, in the same manner as game consoles, is the defining motive of the Nintendo business.”

Minecraft gets a final update on last-gen consoles

Minecraft‘s upcoming Update Aquatic will be the last released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS Vita and Wii U. According to a post on the game’s official website, last-generation platforms account for fewer than 5% of active Minecraft players.

Charles ‘Mario’ Martinet to star in Runner3

Bit.Trip developer Choice Provisions has announced that the upcoming Runner3 will feature cameos from Shovel Knight, Brutal Legend‘s Eddie Riggs, and none other than the voice of Mario himself, Charles Martinet.

Madden NFL creative director departs

Rex Dickson, creative director of EA’s Madden NFL franchise, has left the company after five years. In a statement published to Twitter, Dickson suggested that the series could be heading in a ‘new direction’.

“We collectively agreed this was the best path forward for everyone involved. This is as much for me and my family as it is about giving the team, the community, and the Madden franchise a chance for a new direction.”

Xbox One sales increase in 2018

There’s good news for the Xbox One, with 2018 sales increasing 15 percent on the same period last year. Exact numbers aren’t forthcoming, however, with Microsoft telling Variety that they use a different measure for success.

“We are continuing to look at engagement as our key metric for success and are no longer reporting on total console sales.”

Microsoft also reported that players have now spent over a billion hours playing backwards compatible games on Xbox One.

New Beyond Good and Evil 2 footage revealed

Developer Michel Ancel has revealed more details about the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2. This week’s Space Monkey Report Twitch stream showed off melee and spaceship combat, and explained how the game will feature a character customisation system.

Utomik officially launches

The Utomik subscription PC gaming service officially launched this week. The service offers access to over 750 games from 100 publishers for a standard monthly subscription fee. Single and family passes are available.

Google launches new game company

Google has soft-launched Arcade, a new social gaming company. Arcade will be run by the 21 year-old Michael Sayman, and is reportedly working on a trivia game for release later this year.

Stardew Valley gets online multiplayer

ConcernedApe has released a new beta for Stardew Valley that adds online multiplayer, plus a host of new single player changes. Up to three friends can join your farm in co-op mode, and you can try it out by opting-in to the beta via Steam.

Video Game Hall of Fame reveals new inductees

The National Museum of Play has announced that Spacewar!, John Madden Football, Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy VII have been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The games were selected because of their impact on the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general. Titles that missed out included MetroidHalf-Life, King’s Quest, and Ms. Pac-Man.

Mega Man games get a new cartridge release

To mark the 30th anniversary of Capcom’s Mega Man series, iam8bit are publishing a limited edition run of reproduction Mega Man 2 and Mega Man X cartridges. They feature foil and gloss embossed packaging, plus a premium instruction booklet with a foreword by Salvatore Pane. They’re not cheap but they are lovely.

Nintendo to launch new Mii making tool

With Miitomo about to bite the dust, Nintendo has announced that those still interested in creating and editing Mii characters will soon be able to use a new web-based Mii-making tool. It’s 2018, how does this not exist already?

Some Sunday reading…

In this week’s Cut Scenes – our ongoing series that explores the fuzzy space between film and video games – Josh Wise dives into The Truman Show and Prey.

Elsewhere on Thumbsticks we also have reviews of The Swords of Ditto and Minit, plus our Physical Foundry takes in-depth look at the differences between the Nintendo Switch and Wii U versions of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Also worth reading are two articles marking the 20th anniversary of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Polygon has pulled together a fascinating oral history, and The Ringer looks at the creation and impact of the game.

A note from the Thumbsticks editorial team

If you like what we do, then please consider supporting us via Patreon. Every penny we earn is poured back into the site, into giving new and aspiring writers an opportunity, and into bringing you more quality content to enjoy. And if you are an aspiring new writer, read this.


More video games 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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Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky Origins update

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

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No Mans Sky book covers
Hello Games / Thumbsticks

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

Did you know that the procedurally-generated aesthetic for No Man’s Sky was based on pulpy, 70s science fiction novel covers?

(We did know, but it’s still fun to watch the video in the post linked above. For all of its “bazillion of procedurally generated planets” pitch, the aesthetic and the atmosphere of No Man’s Sky are still some of its biggest selling points, especially with the very scary Desolation update from a couple of months ago.)

As the free content updates kept coming for No Man’s Sky, each with its own science fiction cover, it built up a bigger picture: a “shelf” of those pulpy sci-fi book covers.

But when Sean Murray, of Hello Games, tweeted a picture of all the covers together following the Desolation update, it did not escape people’s notice that there was only “room” for one more cover left on that artificial bookshelf of pulpy book covers:

And with the No Man’s Sky Origins update set to be revealed next week, people have been worried that might be the last update we see for the game. The final space on the bookshelf will be filled, as it were.

But according to the blog post announcing Origins, “This update will be another small step in a longer journey.”

Perhaps Hello Games isn’t quite done with No Man’s Sky just yet.


Follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily video game news updates.

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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Play three cool games for free on Xbox One this weekend

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and a creature-infested Louisiana.

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Sea of Thieves - Xbox One

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and, erm, Louisiana.

Shiver me timbers, Sea of Thieves is free to play on Xbox One this weekend. Rare’s online pirate adventure was somewhat cooly received on release, but who’s cool now? A treasure chest of content and gameplay updates has helped build a thriving community of shipmates, most of whom are welcoming to new deckhands. Nonetheless, take care, there’s always someone waiting to steal a Bilge Rat Doubloon or two when your back is turned.

Players should also keep their wits about them in Hunt: Showdown, the popular PvP first-person hunting game from Crytek. Up to 12 players must venture into the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Your task is to retrieve a bounty from a vicious creature, but once you have that bounty, friends become foes, and you become the target. Hi-jinks ensue.

Finally, Warhammer: Chaosbane is moderately fun hack-and-slash action RPG from EKO Software. If the phrase “fighting battles in the sewers of Nuln” gets your blood pumping, this game is probably for you.

All three games are playable for free until midnight on Sunday for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. As always, any earned achievements and save states carry over into purchased copies of each game. Here’s the lowdown on this week’s related digital discounts.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Hunt: Showdown

  • Standard Edition – 60% off
  • Master Hunter Edition – 50% off

Warhammer: Chaosbane

  • Standard Edition – 65% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 65% off
  • Magnus Edition – 70% off

Sea of Thieves

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

Bookmark our sales and freebies pages for the latest video game promotions. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates

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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Surprise! The Long Dark is out now on Nintendo Switch

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

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The Long Dark Nintendo Switch
Hinterland / Thumbsticks

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

Nintendo has developed a habit of doing the old “and it’s available on the eShop right now” trick during its Direct presentations. In a summer of interminable video press conferences and wall-to-wall Geoff Keighley and 15-minute trailers for games we won’t see again for a couple of years, it’s a lovely little trait, an instant dopamine hit.

And Nintendo used it again, a few times, during its September 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. There were games we knew were coming at some point, like Hades, and games we didn’t, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But they were still a nice surprise.

Then there was The Long Dark, the brilliant, wintry survival epic from Hinterland Games. That, too, got a surprise launch on the Nintendo Switch today. This is a lovely turn of events for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Long Dark is really rather good.
  2. The last we heard, the game’s performance on Switch was quite poor, so it’s excellent that it’s now in a state good enough to release.

There’s also an excellent launch trailer to mark the occasion:

Meanwhile, Hinterland head honcho and The Long Dark director Raph van Lierop took to Twitter to address some players’ confusion that, uncharacteristically, the trailer wasn’t particularly bleak.

We’re looking to heading out into the wilderness and playing The Long Dark later this year. You know, when it gets really cold.


Check out everything else announced in this month’s Nintendo Direct, or follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

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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Prepare for Watch Dogs: Legion with this Epic freebie

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

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Watch Dogs 2 - Marcus Holloway
Ubisoft

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

In Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world game Watch Dogs: Legion, you can play as anyone. In this week’s Epic Games Store freebie, Watch Dogs 2, you play as a very specific person who I like an awful lot. Marcus Holloway, the game’s protagonist, is a genuinely likable, cool, chill dude. He’s also one of the few Black leads in video games.

The game around Marcus is also very cool. Set in modern day San Francisco, Watch Dogs 2 is a slice of sunshine-y fun that hands you a tonne of cool hacker superpowers. If you want to know more, I wrote about it as one of the best (and least realistic) hacking video games on the market here.

The Other Freebies

Also free: Football Manager 2020. This one ain’t for Yanks, like me; it’s about the other kind of football. From my experience playing the sport as a 10-year-old, managing a football team mostly involves keeping the team stocked with Capri Suns and helping them choose a cool name. Our uniforms were blue and white and we called ourselves the Blizzards. Very cool stuff. The beautiful game, indeed.

And, the final freebie is an indie platformer called Stick It to the Man, which has a cool pop-up book aesthetic. Worth a look for the low, low price of free.

And, here’s your friendly reminder that all five episodes of 3 Out of 10 are still free. I’ve played the first two episodes of the “interactive sitcom” about life at the world’s worst game developer and I’m becoming increasingly invested in the story. The minigames have a surprisingly good hit-to-miss ratio, as well.

All of this is free until next Thursday when Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition will be up for grabs.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

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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The future of VR is wireless as Facebook goes all in on the Oculus Quest 2

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021.

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Oculus Quest 2
Facebook / Oculus

RIP Oculus Rift.

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021. Sales of the original Quest will also cease. It’s another clarifying move in Facebook’s vision for the future of VR. It comes alongside the recent announcement that a Facebook account will be required to use any Oculus headset by 2023. Indeed, a Facebook account is required to use the Quest 2.

Facebook has reassured users that they will continue to support PC VR via Quest and Oculus Link. The Rift platform of PC software certainly isn’t facing a shut down any time soon.

That said, Facebook seems to be betting big on wireless, mobile experiences being the key to VR reaching mass audience appeal. Whilst the Quest 2 does fold both the wireless and PC-fidelity VR worlds into one headset with a fibre-optic Oculus Link cable – available to preorder separately – it’s telling that this cable isn’t included with the headset itself.

Other USB-C cables should be capable of the PC tethering too via Oculus Link but might provide an inferior performance. Either way, Quest 2 users will be able to access games on the Rift platform that haven’t been adapted especially for its wireless capabilities. These include highly-acclaimed releases like Asgard’s Wrath, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, and Lone Echo. It seems a shame this is slightly deemphasised.

The Quest 2 is launching on October 10 and undercuts the original Quest significantly with a price tag of £299. Despite this, it boasts better specs all-round: a higher resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, higher refresh rate support of  72 Hz (and 90 Hz promised via software update), a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, and 6 GB RAM. Other features like controller-less navigation bring back Kinect memories.

It’s a major shift towards affordable VR and many early reviews signal very positive impressions. Equally, not everyone is sold on the new VR system.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

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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