Plus DEAD STATIC DRIVE gets a release window and HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST DLC is only coming to PS5
NEWS THIS WEEK
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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang& Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER.
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 Epic Games cops a massive fine, Fromsoft’s animations get pinched and Horizon Forbidden West’s new DLC will be exclusive to the PS5.
Here is the news for Sunday 19th of March. Let’s go!
PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord
KYLE: Epic Games is being hit with a whopping fine in the hundreds of millions of dollars by the United States Federal Trade Commission.
The Commission has ordered Epic to pay $245 million as a settlement for allegations that they engaged in UI design techniques known as ‘dark patterns’ to deceive players into making unwanted purchases in Fortnite.
SIFTER Executive Producer Gianni was one of the Fortnite players who accidentally got caught by this, how did it work Gianni?
GIANNI: “Well Kyle, when you load up the in-game store back in that earlier version of Fortnite you’d press A or X to view a skin, and then the same button again to immediately buy it, there wasn’t any confirmation at all. The problem was that sometimes the UI would lag or seem like you hadn’t actually hit the button so you’d press it again, and then it’d load half a second before you do and bam you’ve bought something you didn’t intend to. While you could get a refund, there were only three lifetime refunds offered per account, it was an extra step to get your vBucks back. Over time they changed it so if you stayed on the store page you could immediately refund, and eventually it was changed to “hold the button” to purchase, but yeah very easy mistake to make and one I definitely made myself.”
While $245 million is an eye watering sum for just about everyone, we do know that back in 2020 it was revealed in the Apple vs Epic case that Fortnite made US$5.1billion that year so really this amounts to a slap on the wrist.
FIONA: Fortnite is the leader when it comes to free to play, so here’s hoping some of the smaller developers are…let’s just say “encouraged”... to do the right thing as well.
FIONA: Indie game studio Archangel has recently come under fire because of animations in their game looking a little too similar to ones from games developed by Japanese developer FromSoftware.
According to a Twitter user and Dark Souls modder Meowmaritus, Archangel’s game, Bleak Faith: Forsaken, had animations used within it taken from the Dark Souls and Elden Ring series. Responding to video footage comparing the animations, Meowmaritus stated that ‘[they] did not condone people using [their modding tools] to aid in exporting animations to include in commercial products or sell them on the epic games store’
Archangel Studios addressed these accusations on both Discord and their Steam forum explaining that some of the animations were assets that they purchased from the Epic Marketplace and had been available for several years.
As of March 15, the animations that were purchased by Archangel studios have been removed from the Epic marketplace and can no longer be purchased.
KYLE: That’s not the only hot water the studio has found themselves in, with another issue raised about the use of AI-generated art in Bleak Faith.
On Twitter it was pointed out that the artwork used in Bleak Faith’s user-interface appeared to match the hallmarks of easily available AI-generated art tools.
Archangel studios replied that they heard the concern and would replace the art. They said that they’re currently working on new icons and the use of AI-generated art was ‘somewhat of an oversight but also a decision that came from an honest place’.
KYLE: The legal drama over at Disco Elysium studio ZA/UM seems to be coming to an end, with the announcement that several lawsuits filed by former employees have been dropped.
After their involuntary departure in 2021, a handful of former employees claimed they had been fired after the company's takeover by Estonian businessmen Ilmar Kompus and Tõnis Haavel.
In October last year, those former employees filed unfair dismissal cases, and threw some pretty nasty financial fraud allegations against Kompus and Haavel.
But this week ZA/UM issued a press release stating that all three cases were resolved, after being dropped due to a lack of evidence.
FIONA: A lot of information is still under wraps, so we may never know the full story of what went down, and only time can tell how this will impact any potential Disco Elysium sequels.
FIONA: The highly anticipated Australian-made Xbox exclusive Dead Static Drive finally has a release window.
Developers Reuben Games have revealed that the nightmarish road-trip game will be hitting Xbox, Game Pass and PC in late 2024.
Dead Static Drive is an isometric survival-horror game that draws inspiration from cosmic horror, the cinematic works of David Lynch and weird fiction luminaries including Gene Wolfe and Ramsey Campbell.
Definitely one for fans of the older GTA games and things like Project Zomboid to keep an eye out on.
KYLE: The team at Reuben Games have been working hard on this for quite some time, and I know most of us here at Sifter are super keen to finally get our hands on it.
KYLE: Horizon Forbidden West’s new DLC is coming out soon, but only to PS5.
Despite the base game being available on both last and current-gen consoles, Guerilla Games announced the ‘Burning Shores’ expansion would only be on PS5 so they could charge forward with production.
Speaking to the PlayStation blog, Horizon Forbidden West director Mathijs de Jonge revealed that they had made the ‘difficult decision’ to cut the DLC from coming to the PS4 in order to focus all their efforts and resources on the current console generation.
Horizon: Forbidden West is one of the most ambitious cross-generation titles out right now, but this announcement is perhaps a bit of insight into the amount of resources required to downscale games to work across multiple console generations.
The expansion, which will see players exploring the cityscape ruins of LA comes out on April 19, 2023.
FIONA: We knew at some point the PS4 would stop getting DLC and it’s probably a good move. It’s time to leave the previous generation behind, and focus on what’s next.
FIONA: Time is running out to buy digital Wii U and 3DS games. Nintendo has put their digital store fronts for the consoles on death row and will be shutting them down on March 27. That means there is just over a week to pick up those titles you never got around to.
If you’re not sure what to pick up, there’s a whole host of digital only games and DLC content that will become impossible to legally acquire after the 3DS stores close.
Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, the final DLC story campaign for the beloved strategy RPG franchise
HarmoKnight - a cult rhythm game by pokemon developers Game Freak
And the ‘Pushmo’ puzzle game series by Intelligent Systems.
KYLE: Sadly, Nintendo aren’t making it easy to purchase games on the 3DS store in 2023. You’ll need to use one of two special workarounds to add funds to your 3DS account.
One is through the Nintendo website where you can redeem an eShop gift card to put funds on your account.
Alternatively, you can digitally add funds through your Nintendo Switch via its eShop.
This all assumes that your old Nintendo Network ID and your current Nintendo Account have been merged - a process that took sifter producer Adam Christou googling through multiple youtube tutorials to figure out.
Good luck out there gamers.
KYLE: That’s it for news, here are the games releasing this week
FIONA: Out on the 21st is TChia, the latest title by New Caladonian indie devs Awaceb. It’s a super cute action adventure game that has similar exploration mechanics to Breath of the Wild, with the ability to possess animals and objects that fans of Super Mario Odyssey may find familiar. Grab it on PC and PlayStation this Tuesday.
KYLE: Have a nice death is coming to the Nintendo Switch this week, a year after the indie hit released to widespread critical acclaim. It’s a 2D action roguelike where you play as an overworked grim reaper. It’s got a beautiful art style and a really fun, addictive, gameplay loop. Pick it up on the Switch on the 22nd.
FIONA: And this Friday, survival horror fans are getting treated to another classic remake when Resident Evil 4: Remake comes to PC and current gen consoles on the 24th. Get Ready to run away from chainsaw wielding villagers in this revamped take on the original.
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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 so why not show the love and sign up to be a monthly backer. It’s easy, head to sifter.com.au/support where support starts from just $1 a month that address again is sifter.com.au/support
FIONA: SIFTER is produced by myself, Kyle Pauletto, Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer.
KYLE: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune.
Thanks to both Audio Technica Australia and Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER’s three podcasts.
FIONA: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.