News
Episode
104

Deckbuilding BALATRO pulled after being mistaken for gambling

Plus Switch emulator Yuzu pays Nintendo a $2.4 million settlement and highlights from the Xbox Partner Preview

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • HIGHWATER - 14 March 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch
  • STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT CLASSIC COLLECTION - 14 March 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch
  • OUTCAST: A NEW BEGINNING - 15 March 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5

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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

KYLE: Hi I’m Kyle Pauletto

FIONA: and I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus

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

FIONA: This week Xbox shows off it’s next batch of games, deckbuilding poker-like Balatro is pushed out of stores after being mistaken for gambling and the BAFTA award nominations are here.

Here is the news for Sunday 10th of March. Let’s go!

— 

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

KYLE: This week it was Xbox’s turn for a gaming showcase and there was a lot revealed in the 2024 Xbox Partner Preview.

We were given a first look at The Sinking City 2 and boy does it look spooky. It’s going to be a bit different than the first game, this time leaning more into the survival horror theme and moving away from investigation and detective work. Set in the town of Arkham, you’ll have to explore, fight and most importantly survive. Keep an eye out for  more information before its release sometime next year.

Unknown 9: Awakening is a third-person stealth action game where you play as Haroona who’s on a journey to right the wrongs of her past. Using her really cool energy-like powers, you can ambush people from the shadows or step into your enemy to control them and their weapons. I can’t wait to see how else we can use the abilities when it comes out later this year.

We got new gameplay of the metroidvania-styled Tales of Kenzera: Zau. You play as a   young shaman with cosmic powers who ventures into unknown mythical lands to attempt to revive his late father. In the trailer we got to see more of the Sun and Moon masks and how they will help you in your quest and battles. Keep an eye out as it hits consoles on April 23rd.

FIONA: Creatures of Ava is an adorable brightly coloured world full of cute and not so cute creatures. It’s described as a ‘creature saver’ game where you aim to conserve the wildlife of an alien planet in hopes to save the world from a life-consuming infection. This wholesome looking game doesn’t have an official release date just yet but it’s coming out sometime this year.

The Alters is a new sci-fi game that’s a mixture of adventure, survival and base-building. Play as Jan Dolski who’s on a distant planet but he’s not quite alone. You can create new versions of Jan to help with the tasks around the base and you can build relationships with them to influence their decisions. It looks like it’s going to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster when it’s released in late 2024.

We also got a look at the noir-styled Sleight of Hand and I’m pretty keen on this one. It’s a stealth action deckbuilder where you play as a witch trying to infiltrate your old coven using a cursed deck of cards. There isn’t a release date besides ‘coming soon’ so hopefully we see some more gameplay footage in the near future.

As always there were a stack of other games and expansions announced, you can check them all out in our show notes.

— 

FIONA: Speaking of deckbuilders, despite the fact that Balatro is rocketing up the charts, that attention has caused a bit of a problem with its poker-inspired gameplay.

Without notice the game, which hasn’t even been out for a month, had its rating changed from 3+ to 18+ by rating boards due to gambling imagery, and because of this the console version has been removed from some online stores including Nintendo Switch in various countries.

KYLE: Both the developer LocalThunk and publisher Playstack have spoken out about the situation with LocalThunk saying they don’t play poker, don’t like poker and don’t condone gambling. 

They mentioned there are some elements of risk/reward but those are core mechanics to the genre as a whole.

Luckily those who have already bought it won’t be affected and the publisher is confident the game will remain on PC stores, but there’s no telling when it will be back on the Switch.

— 

KYLE: We all know Nintendo loves to shut down emulators, and a couple of weeks ago they filed a lawsuit against the emulator Yuzu.

Now, the developer of Yuzu will have to pay a $2.4 million settlement.

The company argued that the pre-release leak of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was partially Yuzu’s fault and that the emulator exists to ‘unlawfully pirate’ Nintendo Switch games.

Part of the settlement includes Nintendo now owning Yuzu’s domain name.

FIONA: 3DS emulator Citra which was also being developed by the Yuzu team is gone too, and it’s had a real chilling effect on many other emulation projects completely unconnected to this settlement.

In a statement the Yuzu developers said they didn’t mean to cause harm but the software had led to extensive piracy.

Nintendo is notorious for cracking down on emulators, last year we saw someone involved in a Nintendo Switch hack-selling scheme having to pay $10 million to settle a civil lawsuit.

— 

FIONA: And finally, the nominations for the 2024 BAFTA Game Awards have been revealed, with some clear favourites across the field.

Baldur's Gate 3 leads the nominations with 10 nods, including Best Game, artistic achievement, and music. 

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 followed with nine nominations, and Alan Wake 2 came in third with eight. 

KYLE: Of course, the other hits of the year like Tears of the Kingdom, Jedi Survivor, and Super Mario Bros Wonder have also received a bunch of nominations as well. 

And a handful of indie games also got recognised, with titles like Goodbye Volcano High and Venba being nominated in the Game Beyond Entertainment category. 

All in all, these nominations are just a great reminder of what an absolute ripper of a year in gaming 2023 was.

For the full list of nominations head to the link in our show notes. 

— 

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

FIONA: After spending a year on various mobile platforms and Netflix of all places, Highwater is coming to consoles. This stunning-looking indie RPG set in a flooded post-apocalyptic world will be available on all platforms from the 14th.

KYLE: Star Wars nerds can jump back into what is widely considered to be two of the best games in the franchise this coming week, with the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection hitting shelves. Don’t expect too much in terms of major changes, but really these titles didn’t need much sprucing up. Pick it up on all platforms this thursday. 

FIONA: Outcast: A New Beginning, the sequel to a cult classic 25 years in the making is finally here. It’s a direct follow up to 1999’s Outcast, and features a massive open world for protagonist Cutter Slade to explore. That’s out on the 15th.

— 

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: Now you’ve reached the end of Walkthrough, why not check out our games review show Drop Rate! Hosted by Chris Button and Courtney Borrett it features great games journalists sharing their thoughts on the newest games. Search for SIFTER Drop Rate in your podcast player now, look for the green icon. That’s SIFTER and Drop Rate.

FIONA: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, myself, Courtney Borrett, Adam Christou, 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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Alan Wake 2

XBOX SERIES X|S
PlayStation 5
PC
Developer:
Remedy Entertainment
Publisher:
Epic Games Publishing
Release Date:
October 27, 2023

Baldur's Gate 3

PC
PlayStation 5
Developer:
Larian Studios
Publisher:
Larian Studios
Release Date:

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

PlayStation 5
Developer:
Insomniac
Publisher:
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date:
October 20, 2023

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

SWITCH
Developer:
Nintendo
Publisher:
Nintendo
Release Date:
May 12, 2023
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