News
Episode
107

BORDERLANDS team moves to Take Two as Embracer Groups sells Gearbox

Dragon Age creator's hot take on the gaming industry's future and new leaked images of a white and discless Xbox

TRANSCRIPT

KYLE: The Super Mario Maker community set itself a pretty massive challenge, when a team of gamers called Team 0% set themselves the task of clearing every single player made level.

Servers for the Wii U game are set to shutdown in about a week on April 8, but the team have been toiling away for nearly six years stuck at a final seemingly impossible level called Trimming the Herbs.

With the clock ticking down to the end that achievement came to a bittersweet end, Trimming the Herbs turned out to be not just seemingly impossible but ACTUALLY impossible without the use of automated tool-assisted speedrun methods and other tools.

The creator Ahoyo came clean saying he used slow-motion, rewinding and frame advance tools to produce the ‘creator clear’ that was necessary to even upload the level in the first place.

FIONA: Team 0% held mixed feelings on the revelation, some feeling relief at finally clearing all the possible user levels, while some weren’t excited by the six-year long quest because of Ahoyo’s announcement and the drama surrounding the level.

Why this is surprising is that until Ahoyo came clean, no one thought it was possible to create tool-assisted speedruns on the Wii U system.

You can read more about tool-assisted speedruns in Mario in our shownotes, but either way it’s sad for the team ready to face one final boss to find out the princess wasn’t in another castle, but rather already at home, having been rescued already.

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FIONA: This week it was announced that Embracer Group is planning to sell Gearbox Entertainment, the team behind Borderlands and Duke Nukem Forever.

The studio will be moving over to Take-Two Interactive in a USD $460 million deal, only three years after Embracer bought the company for roughly $1.3 billion.

Hard to say that was a good investment, but we know by now that Embracer was trying to package itself up to snag its own massive investment.

What we do know as part of this is that Borderlands 4 is in active development, which isn’t a massive surprise but this is the first confirmation of that.

KYLE: Embracer will still retain Gearbox Publishing San Francisco, which will be renamed, and they’ll also be holding onto the publishing rights to the Remnant franchise, the upcoming Hyper Light Breaker, as well as a few other unannounced game releases.

Plus they’ll be keeping Neverwinter Online, Star Trek Online and a few other small studios.

We hope Gearbox finds a good home with Take-Two and can’t wait to see how the games progress.

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KYLE: Helldivers 2 seems to have a never ending supply of viral clips, but a recent one featuring Arrowhead’s mysterious Game Master Joel has been debunked.

A random gameplay clip shows Joel dropping into a group’s game, spawning with at the time an unreleased armoured personnel carrier before disappearing out of the game.

Joel has taken on the role of legendary mysterious character as the developer in charge of influencing and observing in-game events, but alas this non-democratic imposter made for a good viral moment if nothing else.

FIONA: IGN recently reported a bunch of gameplay leaks showing unavailable vehicles, weapons and more, but it turns out some of these vehicles are already in the game but not officially enabled.

While Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead has been playing a bit of a cat and mouse game with players, teasing these hidden weapons and mechanics, a source close to Joel has said he’s glad the impersonator wanted other people to have fun and it’s a goal they both share.

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FIONA: Fire up the rumour mills we’ve got some gaming bread to bake with some new leaked screenshots of the Xbox Series X. 

The white console allegedly revealed in pictures by user Exputer looks exactly the same as the current premium xbox but it has no disc drive. 

What do you reckon about this Kyle?

KYLE: It looks like a fridge or a breadmaker, that’s all I can see and does it really need to be that big if there isn’t a disc drive? 

While the idea of having no second hand games or shopping around to get bargains from different stores might give you a bit of pause, Phil Spencer recently in an interview with The Verge said that he’d be opening up the xbox to new ways to get games

Spencer said that he likes the idea of alternative app stores like Epic Games and Itch.io on the Xbox, saying the process could be more like how we buy games on PC, with plenty of stores to choose from.

So fingers crossed that happens before we lose the discs entirely.

— 

KYLE: And finally, we got a pretty hot take from one of the industry’s heavy hitters.

Speaking to PC Gamer late last week, Dragon Age creator and co-founder of Summerfall Studios David Gaider didn’t hold back when speaking about the unsustainable crunch culture in game development.

He even went as far as to suggest that if overworking underappreciated teams is the only way to make games, then perhaps the industry deserves to die. 

FIONA: He then went on to call for a healthier work-life balance within the industry, advocating for unionisation and a four-day work week, which the team at Summerfall Studios already has in place. 

I’m sure I speak for everyone here at SIFTER when I say, yes, of course that’s a good idea. 

It’s a great rant, and worth a read, so head to the link in our show notes for the full interview, go off king.

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

FIONA: Out on the third is the roguelike city builder Planetiles, by indie developers Mythic Owl. Build a functioning ecosystem on a baron planet while completing challenges to survive natural disasters. It's available on PC this Wednesday.

KYLE: After nearly two years, Turbo Golf Racing it’s officially coming out of early access. This golf themed racer is essentially Rocket League but you need to get a ball down a track to a finish line, and is a whole heap of fun. Grab it on PC, Xbox one, Xbox Series S and X, and PlayStation 5 on the 4th.

FIONA: And also coming to consoles on the 4th is indie platformer Freedom Planet 2. It’s a fast paced, beautifully stylized throwback to the Sega Genesis era that was received really well when it launched on PC in 2022. Pick it up on Xbox, PlayStation and the Switch this Thursday. 

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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

FIONA: And my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus, thank you so much for listening. 

KYLE: 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.

FIONA: SIFTER is produced by myself, Kyle Pauletto, 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.

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.

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

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Helldivers 2

PlayStation 5
PC
Developer:
Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher:
PlayStation Studios
Release Date:
February 8, 2024

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

PC
PlayStation 5
XBOX SERIES X|S
SWITCH
Developer:
Summerfall Studios
Publisher:
Humble Games
Release Date:
August 10, 2023
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