Plus half of League of Geeks devs are made redundant and Fortnite gets at LEGO update
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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.
GIANNI: Hi I’m Gianni Di Giovanni
KYLE: and I’m Kyle Pauletto,
GIANNI: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
KYLE: This week the Winners of the Game Awards and the big announcements, League of Geeks stops development on Jumplight Odyssey and makes half the studio redundant, and Fortnite gets 3 new big modes in the new season.
Here is the news for Sunday 10th of December. Let’s go!
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KYLE: It’s that time of the year where the entire games industry gathers to watch a bunch of advertising, which is interrupted briefly to talk about games that have already come out…um I mean here are all the winners of The Game Awards 2023.
Baldur’s Gate 3 took out the top gong on the night for game of the year, along with five other prizes, crowned the best for Community Support, RPG, Multiplayer, Performance for Neil Newbon’s portrayal of Astarion and the fan voted Player’s Voice award.
Alan Wake 2 picked up 3 prizes for Art Direction, Game Direction and Narrative, and the Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom got 2, for Best Action/Adventure and Score and Music.
On the indie side wild puzzler Cocoon picked up best debut indie, New Caledonian platformer Tchia got Games for Impact, and 16 bit inspired RPG Sea of Stars grabbed Best Independent game.
GIANNI: Increasingly it’s clear that The Game Awards are just a vehicle for advertising spending more than a recognition of the hard work and talent of game creators, and I’ll leave you to decide where you land on that, but here are a few new games we got a look at.
Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Jordan Peele are teaming up for a cross media game called OD coming to Xbox, it looks like classic Kojima weirdness but I’m sure a lot of people are excited to see how the Get Out and Nope writer director will influence this game.
Melbourne based indies House House, who made Untitled Goose Game are back with a 3D adventure called The Big Walk, which is a co-op puzzle featuring photorealistic Australian bushland and weird blob like creatures that look like they’ve been pulled out of a toybox. Super excited for this one it’ll be out in 2025.
Dead Cells creators Motion Twin have a 3d coop roguelite called Windblown which looks very cool, it’s got a bit of that Hades or Action RPG look and it goes into early access next year.
Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a new afrofantasy sidescrolling platformer which looks incredible, set in a magical world Zau tries to revive his father who died, fighting monsters and spirits. It’s being led by Abubakar Salim who you know as the voice of Bayek from Assassin’s Creed Origins, who has now moved into game development from acting.
KYLE: Arkane Lyon is working on a licenced Marvel game, they are exploring the world of the day walker, the half vampire Blade.
Light No Fire is the next title from Hello Games the markers of No Man’s Sky and features a single fantasy world that is multiplayer from the jump and procedurally generated. Looks great, and this studio has a track record of making cool stuff now.
Skull and Bones is out on the 14th of February apparently but take that with a grain of salt you sea dog, God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla is a new free post game DLC out this week , Team Ninja have a new samurai well maybe ex-samurai game Rise of The Ronin out next year in March.
Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League hits stores on the 2nd of February, Den of Wolves is a new sci-fi heist coop action game from developers of PayDay 2.
There is plenty here to dig into, we’ll link all the trailers in the shownotes.
GIANNI: Melbourne game studio, League of Geeks, has laid off over half of its staff this week, citing increased costs, investment falling through, and slow early access sales of its latest release Jumplight Odyssey.
League of Geeks was one of the first big wins for Australian game development, their first title Armello went on to be a big success and was part of the new wave of independent development in Melbourne.
The announcement came in the form of a message on Steam from the studio’s co-founders and directors, Trent Kusters, Blake Mizzi and Ty Carey, where they laid out pretty transparently what went wrong.
The studio had a very ambitious plan to create two games at once, but around the globe funding for game development has really dried up, you only need to look at each episode of Walkthrough to see how many other studios are winding down or sacking staff.
KYLE: The announcement also mentions all the roles of the staff affected with a call for companies to hire them if possible.
One great move for this studio is any profits received from the continued sales of Jumplight Odyssey will be divided amongst the original team who worked on the game.
Despite the redundancies, League of Geeks’ newest game, Solium Infernum, is still on track to be released on February 14, 2024, it was much further along than Jumplight.
Check out the really comprehensive break down of this story that we’ve linked in the show notes from the ABC’s Jackson Ryan.
GIANNI: It’s been a big week for Rockstar Games as the Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer was leaked, causing the publisher to officially release the trailer earlier than intended.
The trailer announced that the game will be releasing in 2025, but it will only be available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S at launch.
Though we can’t be certain it will stay this way.
Previous GTA games have been console-exclusive on launch, but then released on PC around a year later, so we’ll be keeping a close eye out to see if a PC release is announced.
KYLE: The next title for the most popular video game franchises is set in the state of Leonida, which is seemingly inspired by the US state, Florida.
The game returns to Vice City and the trailer features many real life Florida inspired memes, including a woman twerking on the roof of a car, a man running naked down the street, an alligator walking into a convenience store and a woman wearing a nightgown wielding two hammers.
GIANNI: And that’s only a few examples.
KYLE: To those of us who don’t live in the US, I sure as hell don’t want to live in Florida full time but the absurdity of these scenes from the trailer seems like a fun place to visit.
KYLE: Fortnite’s new season launched this week and brings with it some brand new modes that have already overshadowed the battle royale staple.
The new season called ‘Underground’ was announced, with the trailer showing off a new island, gameplay features, and boss battles for the Battle Royale mode.
But the big news is Lego Fortnite a minecraft like survival game, Rocket Racing which combines rocket league gameplay with you guessed it racing, and the Harmonix designed Fornite Festival which is a guitar hero like mode.
GIANNI: Lego Fortnite which takes the classic skins from the main game and gives them a minifigure twist has already dwarfed the player counts of both main battle royale modes, and honestly plays so much like Minecraft you can tell they were going for the king.
I’m a huge Fortnite and Lego fan so I’ve definitely spent hours playing this mode already building a base and collecting resources.
By the time you listen to this Rocket Racing from Epic owned makers of Rocket League Psyonix takes those speedy acrobatic cars to the tracks.
Fortnite Festival is musical themed and is basically rockband made by Harmonix the studio who developed those games.
Rocket Racing and Festival both seem to have their own battle passes, which seems a bit rough seeing as they’ve massively turned down the XP this season…
KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week
GIANNI: Stargate Timekeepers is a real time tactics game set in the SG-1 universe from strategy veterans Slitherine with a bit of timeloopyness. I loved this series as a kid, and while it was pretty shlocky I’d be keen to see how the publisher of BattleStar Galatica and Warhammer games fares. Pick that up on PC on the 12th.
KYLE: Pioneers of Pagonia is a fantasy city builder where you explore the islands and biomes of this world as your cute villagers mine and trade and fight off fantasy enemies. Find that on PC when it leaves early access on the 13th.
GIANNI: Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is a neat looking anime fighting game, if you’re looking to challenge the fam during the holidays this might be a good one to load up, that’s available on PlayStation and Windows on the 14th plenty of time to get good so you can absolutely school your siblings come boxing day.
KYLE: Grab your VR headsets and get ready to play as the space mercenary Grayson Hunt in Bulletstorm VR. Using a variety of weapons including energy blades, and guns, fight your way off the planet you’re trapped on in this narrative first-person shooter. That’s coming to PlayStation 5 and PC on December 14.
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GIANNI: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Gianni Di Giovanni
KYLE: And my name is Kyle Pauletto, thank you so much for listening.
GIANNI: We know you love our podcasts, so why not become a monthly backer on Ko-Fi? Your support lets us keep making our shows and It’s easy to do, head to sifter.com.au/support where support starts from just $1 a month that link again is sifter.com.au/support or check the shownotes
KYLE: SIFTER is produced by Fiona Bartholomaeus, Courtney Borrett, myself, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and my cohost this week Gianni Di Giovanni is the Walkthrough script editor, and SIFTER’s executive producer.
GIANNI: 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.
KYLE: We’ll be back with more news next Sunday, see you then.