News
Episode
106

APEX LEGENDS hackers managed to sneak cheats on competitors computers

Plus massive changes coming Overwatch 2 and Sony is swimming in PSVR2 stock after declining sales

TRANSCRIPT

KYLE: Hi I’m Kyle Pauletto

ADAM: and I’m Adam Christou

KYLE: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games. 

ADAM: This week an Apex Legends tournament gets hacked mid-game, Overwatch 2 is removing hero unlocking from their battle pass system and Balatro hits one million sales 

Here is the news for Sunday 24th of March. Let’s go!

PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord

KYLE: Some wild scenes from the world of competitive gaming this past week, with some hacking drama like we’ve never seen before. 

During the Apex Legends Global Series North American finals, hackers targeted players and enabled cheats mid-game.

The first player, Genburten was given a wallhack and quickly left the game, and the match was counted as legitimate regardless.

But after it happened a second time, when player ImperialHal was given an aimbot in the following match, Apex publishers EA had to step up and admit that something fishy was going on, and the finals were put on pause. 

Here is the moment it all went down. 

[AUDIO]

ADAM: The breach is thought to have been pulled off through a remote code execution bug and has sparked concerns over competition security.

Developers Respawn have issued a statement saying they are working on a series of security updates to protect players moving forward. 

— 

ADAM:  Blizzard is hoping for a redemption arc this year for what was once one of the most popular multiplayer franchises in the industry, Overwatch. 

Overwatch 2 was released to a pretty rough reception from fans, with one of the biggest criticisms being that heroes were locked behind battle pass progression. 

Developers Blizzard hope to turn that negativity around though, announcing a bunch of changes for the upcoming season 10. 

Here is Overwatch 2 Director Aaron Keller describing what fans can expect moving forward.

[AUDIO]

KYLE: It’s a pretty major course correction for Blizzard, and one that will no doubt be welcomed by players who lost faith in the franchise when the sequel was released.

Is it because they are now owned by Microsoft?

For a full breakdown of all the changes coming to Overwatch 2 check out the link in our shownotes. 

— 

KYLE: Speaking of Blizzard, the team announced that World of Warcraft’s latest patch event, which launched this week, included a battle royale mode.

The pirate-themed Plunderstorm is the first time the MMORPG has introduced a separate battle royale mode and this one can have up to 60 players battling it out, and they are treating this like a live test on players

The developers themselves held in-house trials with staff participating in play tests and giving feedback but now it’s over to you scurvy dogs.

ADAM: The event itself isn’t even held on standard servers. Instead, when you log onto WoW you get to choose from the normal MMO or the server that holds the Plunderstorm event.

Interestingly, fans noticed that some of the spell-pickup mechanics look very similar to a now-dead battle royale Spellbreak developed by Proletariat, which Blizzard acquired in 2022 and saw a lot of the developers being absorbed into the Warcraft team.

The team have said they were really focused on trying to break the rules and wanted to give their fans something experimental and exciting, and it definitely looks like it paid off.

— 

ADAM: If you thought about getting a PS VR2 at some point but haven’t got around to it, well you definitely won’t have to worry about stock running out anytime soon.

According to reports from Bloomberg, Sony has temporarily halted production of the headset to stop its warehouses filling up with unsold stock.

It’s unsurprising that the sales have been declining. With the small catalogue of games and compatibility with only the PS5, and of course the hefty price people have been a bit hesitant on grabbing the accessory.

KYLE: Bloomberg also reported that apparently Sony has started looking at getting PC support for the PSVR2, which does make sense given recent talks of the company wanting to work more proactively on PC releases.

Honestly the PSVR2 is so expensive, once you couple it with the cost of buying a PS5 you’re looking at least a grand and a half, that’s still cheaper than the equivalent on PC but if you’re a player who was sceptical on VR is much easier to say nah then yeah

— 

KYLE: Ubisoft revealed this week that they’ve been working with Nvidia’s Audio2Face application and Inworld’s Large Language Model to create an AI prototype called NEO NPC, which uses generative AI to allow players to have more real conversations with NPCs.

So say goodbye to dialogue trees of predetermined answers.

The way it works is a developer or writer creates a character, their backstory, personality, hopes and dreams, conversation style etc and then the learning language model improvises dialogue based on what has been written.

ADAM: It’s a lot of tweaking and learning to get it right but the team have created several characters for the project and have made some progress.

They’ve also worked on creating guardrails to limit disruptions to the progression of a scenario in a game, and also to filter out toxicity and inappropriate inputs from players.

\it’ll take players five minutes to get one of these bots to do something awful, and you know what? You don’t have that problem hiring writers and actors so good luck to them. 

— 

ADAM:  The deck-builder game Balatro, which has taken the world by storm, has now hit 1 million sales in less than a month.

Announced via the game’s X account, the team revealed the exciting milestone and hinted at some more content on the way in the future. 

KYLE:  Last week we reported that the game had been removed from some online stores due to a sudden change in its game rating because of its ‘gambling appearance and aesthetics’, but it’s great to see that even with that hurdle, the indie game has hit a massive milestone

— 

KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here are the games coming out this week

ADAM: South Park: Snow Day is out this week. This entry is a departure from the franchises turn-based RPGs of the past few years, being more akin to a roguelike and features a brand new 3D art style. Grab it on PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and the Switch on the 26th.

KYLE: Out on the 28th is the highly anticipated Indie puzzler Pepper Grinder. Join Pepper and her drilling device, Grinder, in a quest to reclaim her stolen treasure. Navigate intricate puzzles and battle foes when Pepper Grinder comes to Switch and PC this Thursday.

— 

PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on sifter.com.au

— 

KYLE: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Kyle Pauletto

ADAM: And my name is Adam Christou, thank you so much for listening. 

KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Adam Christou, Courtney Borrett, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. The episode is edited by both Senior Producer Mitch Loh and Executive Producer Gianni Di Giovanni, who also is Walkthrough’s script editor.

ADAM: Speaking of Gianni, he picked up a couple gongs at the Australian It Journalism awards  for his day job on Friday night. Congratulations Gianni on the big win. You can check out the Lizzies full stream on YouTube and a hearty congratulations to Checkpoint Gaming who picked up best independent media.

KYLE: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune, and Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER’s podcasts.

ADAM: We’ll be back with more news next Sunday. See you then.

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Overwatch 2

SWITCH
XBOX SERIES X|S
PlayStation 5
PC
Developer:
Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher:
Activision Blizzard
Release Date:
October 5, 2022
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