News
Episode
118

ARMELLO, SOLIUM INFERNUM studio League of Geeks shuts down after 13 years

Plus all the stand-out announcements from the Devolver, Ubisoft, PC Gaming and Xbox showcases

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • VAMPIRE THERAPIST - 17 June 2024 - PC
  • #BLUD - 18 June 2024 - PC
  • THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: GOLD ROAD EXPANSION - 18 June 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • TAVERN TALK - 21 June 2024 - PC
  • ELDEN RING: SHADOW OF THE ERDTREE EXPANSION - 21 June 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4,

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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Courtney Borrett, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER.

TRANSCRIPT

FIONA: Hi I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus

GIANNI: and I’m Gianni Di Giovanni

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

GIANNI: Take me down to showcase city where the games are green and the games are pretty…Devolver Direct, Ubisoft Forward, Xbox Showcase and PC Gaming Show plus a beloved Australian studio has shut its doors.

Here is the news for Sunday 16th of June. Let’s go!

— 

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

FIONA: There were heaps of gaming showcases this week, with Devolver Digital, PC Gaming, Ubisoft Forward and Xbox Games Showcase all giving us a sneak peek to upcoming games. So we’re going to recap some of the standouts.

GIANNI: During Devolver Digital’s indie showcase we got to see some great previews, one that jumped out was Possessor(s) from Heart Machine, the team behind Hyper Light. It’s a gorgeous side-scroller where you explore a quarantined city, ripped apart by an interdimensional calamity. That’s out in 2025.

We also got some local news with upcoming DLCs, with fan-favourite Cult of the Lamb getting new quests, items and a local co-op mode with the Unholy Alliance expansion, and puzzle game The Talos Principle 2 getting three new chapters and heaps of new challenges with Road to Elysium.

FIONA: Ubisoft Forward gave some more gameplay for Star Wars Outlaws and some extended trailers but the biggest announcement was a remake of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting news of a remake of this PS2 classic. We didn’t get much in terms of gameplay but it’s planned to be released in 2026. There has apparently been quite a lot of drama in the background, with sources saying the game has had its development completely overhauled since moving to teams from Ubisoft Montreal to Ubisoft Toronto, with completely new visuals, animations, mechanics for combat and so much more. Either way, we’re glad we’ve finally been given some new info on the game.

GIANNI: The PC Gaming show also dropped an incredible line up of up and comers - here’s some of the standouts from that.

One that doesn’t have a release date just yet is Screenbound, we got to see more gameplay for it this week. It’s a super cool first person puzzle game that has you navigating platforms and puzzles through a handheld game-boy like device that interacts with the environments. We’re really keen to see how it’ll play out.

The RPG Citizen Sleeper is getting a sequel with Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector. You play as an escaped android, you jump on a ship, find a crew and navigate across the Starward Belt. That’s out in 2025. If you’re a fan of Citizen Sleeper, you can listen back to our interview with creator Gareth Damian Martin at sifter.com.au or in your podcast feed.

FIONA: Xbox’s showcase was heaving with announcements - and quite a lot of first party games as well. A big one that stood out to me was Life Is Strange: Double Exposure which brings back protagonist Max Caulfield from the original game. This one is set a number of years later and instead of her rewind powers, she can now jump between realities, using the power to save her friend. 

We love the Life is Strange series and streamed a fair bit of it too, so I can’t wait to jump into this on PC and Xbox Series X\S on October 29.

GIANNI: XBOX also revealed a whole heap of first party releases; long-running sci-fi shooter Gears of War will be back with ‘E-Day’, a new edition to the franchise.

DOOM will return with a mediaeval spin off in ‘Doom: The Dark Ages’, the zombie-survival series State of Decay announced its third outing, there’ll be a brand new Perfect Dark release and we got to see more of Obsidian's first person fantasy game ‘Avowed’.

That’s not including new announcements from Activision-Blizzard including more info on Call of Duty Black Ops 6 & a brand new Diablo IV expansion - Vessel of Hatred.

Finally I can’t not mention Mixtape by Melbourne based developers Beethoven & Dinosaur who you’d know from The Artful Escape. It’s a nostalgic skating game featuring real music about hanging out with your mates. Looks great we’ll definitely bring you more on that. 

As always, stacks of other games were announced at all these showcases, so we’ll put the links in our shownotes.

GIANNI: Speaking of Xbox, the ideas and rumours of a handheld device might be getting more serious after CEO Phil Spencer drops some more hints.

It’s no secret that Spencer has been vying to throw his hat into the handheld ring, with him making comments of being ‘a big fan of handhelds’ and liking posts on X that mention an Xbox handheld console. Now in a recent interview with IGN he said ‘I think we should have a handheld too’. 

FIONA: This is the biggest hint we’ve received yet and sounds a bit like a confirmation that Microsoft has been working on the long-rumoured handheld. 

He also mentioned that Microsoft is looking at a true handheld device rather than something like PlayStation portal. 

Seeing as they’ve just revealed more about the upgraded Xbox consoles, it may be a while before we see a handheld but it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the ROG Ally and Steam Deck.

FIONA: EA and Bioware have finally shown off gameplay and details for the long-awaited sequel to Dragon Age: Inquisition. Now titled ‘Dragon Age: The Veilguard’, the game takes its name after the crew of heroes that will join you on your quest to stop renegade mage, and maybe ancient elven god Solas.

Details were revealed with a cinematic trailer at the Xbox Showcase which left a few people scratching their head over the odd tone and stylistic departure from previous games. As some people stated - it appears that beloved character Varric has lost his chest hair… and now has a beard - sacre bleu! 

But there was some further gameplay that was revealed later in the week that showed off some pretty tight and fluid action-rpg combat centred around teaming up with NPC party members to deliver powerful combos.

GIANNI: The Veilguard looks like it’ll be taking inspiration from Mass Effect 2; using a mission-based structure for its narrative with lots of branching options and choices.  There’ll also be a home-base to hang out and romance your companions.

It’s hard to say how this one will shape up though, it’s been in development for nearly nine years and all will hinge on whether the story pays off.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard will come out toward the end of 2024.

— 

GIANNI: Beloved Australian game development company League of Geeks has announced they are shutting down.

The company shared a blog post on June 12 titled ‘Gone Fishin’, where League of Geeks co-founders Trent, Blake and Ty announced that the company will go into hibernation.

“Makin’ videogames is hard, excruciatingly hard these past few years, but the smart, lovely people we got to do it with, both inside League of Geeks and out, made this crazy business worth it every single day”.

FIONA: League of Geek’s hellish strategy game Solium Infernum will cease development - never leaving its early access period - and will receive some minor bug fixes before being shuttered later this year.

Jumplight Odyssey’s development will also remain in hiatus and board-game inspired strategy game ‘Armello’ will remain on life-support with repeating seasonal content for those still playing.

GIANNI: It follows on from over half the staff at League of Geeks being made redundant, including the entire Jumplight Odyssey dev team, in December last year - just before Christmas.

My recommendation for you is to go back in Lightmap and have a listen to my interview with Trent Kusters from earlier this year, the game had just come out. You can hear the stakes with which they were playing for and Trent was incredibly, incredibly honest about the situation they were in.

It's worth a listen.

 

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

GIANNI: It’s a good week for cosy-gaming, with Vampire Therapist, a narrative adventure game by Little Bat Games releasing on June 17. Take on the role of well... A vampire therapist inspired by comedies like What We Do In The Shadows and the work of Mel Brooks.

FIONA: If you don’t want to help vampires with their emotional baggage have you thought about slaying them instead? #BLUD is a 90s cartoon inspired dungeon crawler that looks like the wackiest cartoon network could churn out. Kyle has been playing this one so look forward to a review on sifter.com.au this week!

GIANNI: The Elder Scrolls Online gets a brand new expansion ‘Gold Road’ out on June 18. Players can head to new region ‘The West Weald’, uncover the story of a brand new daedric prince - Ithelia, and interact with a brand new game mechanic ‘scribing’ that will allow players to customise their skills and create new ways to play.

FIONA: Speaking of fantasy worlds, how about Tavern Talk, a brand new D&D inspired visual novel that puts you in the shoes of an innkeeper in a fantasy town. Think Coffee Talk, but you’ll be making potions and cocktails for the local rogue and paladin stopping by for a drink. That’s out by Gentle Troll Entertainment on Steam on June 21.

GIANNI: Tarnished ones! Those who are maidenless - rejoice! Shadow of the Erdtree, the massive and long-awaited expansion to the greatest game of all time, my personal favourite, Elden Ring - releases on June 21st. You’ll need to have killed the lord of blood himself, Mogh and touch the sweet dead hand of Miquella to transport your character into the new 40+ hours of DLC content. Hop to it!

— 

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

— 

FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus. 

GIANNI: And my name is Gianni Di Giovanni, thank you so much for listening. 

FIONA: Gianni you got a sneak peek at Star Wars Outlaws this week didn’t you? (YES) It was really cool to see how this Han Solo but Not Han Solo game is shaping up and you can check out a cool short preview up on sifter.com.au or visit us on TikTok.com/sifterHQ or YouTube. 

GIANNI: SIFTER is produced by Fiona Bartholomaeus, Kyle Pauletto, Adam Christou, Courtney Borrett, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. The episode is edited by both Senior Producer Mitch Loh and I’m Gianni Di Giovanni, SIFTER's Executive Producer and also Walkthrough’s script editor.

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

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

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Armello

PC
PS4
XBOX ONE
SWITCH
IOS
Developer:
League of Geeks
Publisher:
League of Geeks
Release Date:
September 1, 2015

Solium Infernum

PC
Developer:
League of Geeks
Publisher:
League of Geeks
Release Date:

#BLUD

XBOX ONE
PS4
SWITCH
PC
Developer:
Exit 73 Studios
Publisher:
Humble Games
Release Date:
June 18, 2024
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