Game Releases

Notable game releases this week include:

27th March

  • Far Cry 5 (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
  • MLB The Show 18 (PS4)

Sea of Thieves gained over a million players when it launched seeing 3-4 times more concurrent players than any of the scale tests that were run in advance of launch. This led to a lot of server issues which are still being fixed although I ran into no problems playing it last night. [link]

Release Date Announcements

May

  • Budget Cuts (May 16th: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift) [link]

Nindies Showcase Spring 2018

Nintendo held a special 10 minute broadcast (and a press-announcement afterwards) to show off some of the upcoming indie titles on Switch including:

Spring

  • Banner Saga 1 and 2
  • Garage (coming to Switch first)
  • Lightfall (coming to Switch first)
  • Lumines Remastered
  • Pode
  • Reigns: Kings and Queens
  • West of Loathing (exclusive to Switch on consoles)

Summer

  • Bad North (coming to Switch first)
  • Banner Saga 3
  • Bomb Chicken (coming to Switch first)
  • Fantasy Strike
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Just Shapes and Beats (coming to Switch first)
  • The Messenger

Autumn

  • Mark of the Ninja Remastered

Some point in 2018

  • Crashlands
  • Pool Panic (exclusive to Switch)
  • Nidhogg 2

Upcoming Games

Legendary game designer Will Wright has revealed he is working on his first new game in nearly 10 years. Sticking with his simulation genre, Proxi is a game of “self discovery” where you create 3D worlds from memories. No release date yet but an art contest is running until 14th May in order to find a 3D artist for the game. [link]

Night School Studio, the developers behind Oxenfree, have announced the next title they are working on: Afterparty, a game about out-drinking Satan in order to escape hell. Coming in 2019, this is definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on! [link]

It looks like pirates are back in fashion as “fantasy naval combat” game Maelstrom looks to enter Early Access on 11th April following a successful Kickstarter that finishes tomorrow. Apparently it is a little like Sea of Thieves but faster paced due to the lack of crews. [link]

Nintendo are hosting an exhibition tournament at E3 featuring both Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros for Switch. It’ll likely be the first time we get to see the new Super Smash Bros in action. [link]

Bad news if you were excited by the Tomb Raider remasters I mentioned a few weeks back; they were’t approved by Square Enix and have been pulled. “While we always welcome passion and excitement for the Tomb Raider franchise, the remasters in question were initiated and advertised without seeking approval. As such, they were never officially sanctioned” said a spokesperson. Whoops. [link]

The Mobile “Battle Royale” Battle (PUBG vs Fortnite)

New data from Sensor Tower indicates that Fortnite gamers spent over $1.5 million in the 72 hours after it launched. It has been trending at the top of the App Store ever since. [link]

Meanwhile, one of the two PUBG titles that was released in China (the Lightspeed developed one) is starting to roll out worldwide. Has the rollout been accelerated by the success of Fortnite? Probably. [link]

Re-Releases

The Curse Of Monkey Island, the third in the series of Monkey Island games, is out now on Steam and GOG after years of being unavailable. Maniac Mansion is also now available on GOG although it has been on Steam for some time. [link]

Ninja Theory’s critically acclaimed game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is heading to Xbox after a period of being exclusive to PC and PS4. It will launch on 11th April replete with HDR and Xbox One X support in the form of three varying performance modes. [link]

DLC and Updates

GTA Online has gained 12 new vehicles and some racing modes as part of The San Andreas Super Sports Series update. [link]

Whilst the tutorial and first mission of HITMAN have been free for a little while, the second mission and widely believed to be the best in the game – Sapienza – is also now free if you download it before 3rd April. On a personal note, this is well worth picking up if you haven’t played HITMAN yet especially as you get to keep it beyond the 3rd April cut-off. [link]

World of Tanks, the free-to-play armored combat game that launched in 2010, released “Update 1.0” last week which is the biggest refresh in its history. It includes all new graphics as well as remastered maps and vehicles. [link]

Frontier have obviously been to Hollywood Studios recently as the latest DLC pack for Planet Coaster is a “Studios Pack” featuring props, stunts, animatronics and special effects as well as three new rides: the Big Screen Tour (similar to the now gone “The Great Movie Ride_ at Hollywood Studios), Re-Motion (based on “Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey” at Universal Studios), and Horror Heights (which is “The Tower of Terror” from Hollywood Studios). As well as the paid DLC content, there is also a free update for all players that adds hotels to the game allowing you to keep guests in the parks for even longer. Both the DLC and update launch tomorrow, 27th March. [link]

The Elder Scrolls Online’s next big expansion takes place in the Summerset Isle and launches on 5th June. The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset includes a new zone, a new story, a new skill line based on the Psijiic Order and the introduction of jewellery crafting. [link]

An “Event Mode” has been added to PUBG where the developers will be trying new things and experimenting with different game parameters. It’s designed to be much more than just a preset Custom Game as Event Mode will feature new content, much of it available in the game only for a limited time. [link]

PUBG has celebrated its first birthday with a video showcasing some of their new 4x4km map which is due to release to test servers next month. [link]

Game Developers Choice Awards

The Game Developers Choice Awards were similar to the DICE Awards with Breath of the Wild and Cuphead being deserved winners but Gorogoa also getting recognition for its innovative puzzles. The full list of awards received were:

  • Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Audio: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Debut: Studio MDHR (for Cuphead)
  • Best Design: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Best Mobile Game: Gorogoa
  • Innovation Award: Gorogoa
  • Best Narrative: What Remains of Edith Finch
  • Best Technology: Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Best Visual Art: Cuphead
  • Best VR/AR Game: SUPERHOT VR
  • Audience Award: Nier: Automata
  • Ambassador Award: Rami Ismail
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Tim Schafer

IGF Awards

The indie-based Independent Games Festival Awards were also held at GDC and featured the following awards:

  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize: Night in the Woods
  • Excellence in Visual Art: Chuchel
  • Excellence in Audio: Uurnog Uurnlimited
  • Excellence in Design: Baba Is You
  • Excellence in Narrative: Night in the Woods
  • Nuovo Award: Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
  • Best Student Game: Baba Is You
  • Audience Award: Celeste
  • ID@Xbox Gaming for Everyone Award: SpecialEffect
  • alt.ctrl.GDC Award: Puppet Pandemonium

Rumours

Assassin’s Creed may be heading to Greece in the next installment. [link]

There are some files within the Switch 5.0 firmware that refer to a piece of hardware codenamed “Mariko”. It is expected that this is a dev kit as the only change is increased RAM and a very minor security patch bump in the Tegra SoC. [link]

A listing on Amazon Italy has been spotted for a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remaster suggesting Activision may be announcing a remaster of the title some time soon. [link]

Leaks

EA is working on an open-world Star Wars game with online elements according to one of the company’s job listings. [link]

Hardware

More details about the Vive Pro were announced at GDC including the price and release date. It will be £800 for the headset alone so you’ll either need to be upgrading from the existing Vive (now reduced to £500 for everything you need) or you’ll need to pay several hundred pounds to buy the controllers and lighthouses. Pre-orders are available now with shipping set for 5th April. [link]

HTC is now selling updated Vive Trackers that work with Steam VR Tracking 2.0. [link]

Atari has renamed its upcoming retro mini-console from the Ataribox to the Atari VCS. The device will not only play classic Atari titles but will also play some PC games thanks to the device’s custom AMD processor with Radeon graphics and a Linux-based OS. There is still no release date but it is expected to cost between $250 and $300. [link]

Noitom today announced that the Hi5 VR Gloves Business Edition is now available to order. It is marketing the Business Edition of its VR gloves to companies and entrepreneurs that wish to build VR entertainment experiences and educational products that can benefit from fully tracked fingers. They cost $999 for a pair of the gloves and a wireless dongle but you’ll need to provide your own set of Vive Trackers. [link]

The 4K monitors with 144Hz refresh rate, HDR, and G-Sync that were showcased at CES last year may finally be about to hit the shelves. NVIDIA have said they are confident they’ll arrive in April from both Acer and ASUS. If true, I think I’ll be picking one of them up. [link]

Software

Nvidia has new drivers available (391.24) which optimise for Sea of Thieves as well as fixing some VR and G-Sync bugs. [link]

AMD also has new drivers (18.3.3) that bring support for Sea of Thieves and A Way Out. They also add support for Vulkan 1.1 (which we reported on a couple of weeks ago) and fixed some issues in Final Fantasy XV and Forza Motorsport 7. [link]

Developers

Nvidia showed off a new ray-tracing technology that runs on Microsoft’s new DirectX Raytracing API. Long considered the holy grail of graphics processing, Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing technology is a combination of software and hardware that allows applications to have real-time ray tracing effects. It only runs on Volta for the time being suggesting it is making use of the Tensor cores. [link]

Unreal Engine 4 developers can now create for Magic Leap’s Magic Leap One mixed reality headset thanks to the recent addition of Lumin SDK support. The move is part of an ongoing partnership between Unreal Engine owner Epic Games and Magic Leap and aims to warm developers up to the upcoming MR headset ahead of its release later this year. [link]

Epic has said $12m worth of Paragon assets will be free to all developers to use with the Unreal game engine allowing character models, animations, environments, VFX, and dialogue related to all of the game’s 20 heroes to appear in other titles. [link]

Registered Viveport developers can now order Vive Focus dev kits. Originally it wasn’t supposed to be available outside of China although it will now be launching in North America although without support for Google’s Daydream. HTC didn’t say when the Vive Focus would be available to consumers. [link]

Business

TechCrunch ran a piece last week titled “Mobile gaming is having a moment, and Apple has the reins”. The crux of it is based on games such as Fortnite and ARK: Survival Evolved making their way to mobile. I’ll believe Apple is serious about gaming when they sell their own controllers rather than just providing a reference design. [link]

Ubisoft is adding two new studios to its roster of development teams with offices in Mumbai and Odesa being established. [link]

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has generated more revenue in the two weeks since it released than the original Vermintide made in its lifetime. [link]

Cool Shit

“A message in a bottle from Jolly Jefabell washed ashore. Eye patch makers read it and said ‘aye’”. This is how you do a Day One patch… [link]

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said he would be happy to let Banjo and Kazooie appear in Super Smash Bros. If Sonic and Solid Snake can get in, these two have to! [link]

Sonic the Hedgehog almost ended up looking like Dr Robotnik (no, Eurogamer, I won’t call him Eggman). [link]

Unreal got Andy Serkis to do a short Macbeth performance to showcase their facial recognition mapping technology. [link]

And Finally…

Over 400 schools in the UK were sent bomb threats causing many to be evacuated. The reason? To try and bring down some Minecraft servers. [link]

Search results for Fortnite on PornHub are up 824% since Ninja and Drake played the game live on Twitch. [link]

“If you did get a win in PUBG mobile in your first couple of games, we are really sorry to piss in your cornflakes, but we felt like it needed to be said before you remortgage your house for a pair of brown trousers”. [link]


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