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
“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 Metroid, Half-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.
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