ESCAPE FROM TARKOV developer relents on PvE mode but not before making it worse

Plus MANOR LORDS is a strategy breakout hit and the studio behind KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM is shut down



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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 Tarkov developer apologises by saying “oh sorry you’re upset” to expensive changes, Manor Lords the city builder made by one person is a smash hit, and some highlights from the ID @ Xbox event.  

Here is the news for Sunday 5th of May. Let’s go!

PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at

GIANNI: Last week Battlestate, the Escape From Tarkov developer, angered a lot of their fans with a new DLC feature but this week they kinda made it worse this week.

Quick recap. There was once a version of the game that promised all future DLC, Battlestate decided that a new PvE mode didn’t count, but hey buy this US$250 version instead and people who do will get permanent persistent upgrades which feels like pay to win.

It went badly.

KYLE: COO Nikita Buyanov responded in a statement essentially saying ‘sorry that you feel that way’ which obviously did not go well with the fans.

They did also say that people with the Edge of Darkness version would receive the PvE mode for free, for six months only, and will be allowed access in waves due to server capacity concerns, but they will still continue to sell the $250 Unheard edition.

In completely predictable news the early access Gray Zone Warfare, a Tarkov-like which released on the 30th of April is rocketing up the charts, it’s still a little rough in comparison, but heaps more players are giving it a go because of the Tarkov own goals.


KYLE: Speaking of things rocketing up the charts the new city builder Manor Lords has already broken a record.

Developed by Slavic Magic which is basically just one person, the mediaeval strategy game launched into early access on April 26 and a day later it had already sold over 1 million copies and hit a concurrent player count of 170,000 which is the highest for a strategy game.

To put that into a bit of context, the game tops Sid Meier’s Civilisation 6 with its 162,657 concurrent player peak and Cities: Skylines 2 with its 104,697 player count.

GIANNI: One of the funniest things is the historically accurate name is the name Cuntz. Which when written down looks like a swear word but is short for Konrad. 

If you never read our transcripts this is one to check out to see what I mean.

According to solo developer Greg Styczeń names were taken from a fourteenth century holy roman empire census so it’s appropriate for the era and still a popular German name today.

Teehee naughty words.


GIANNI: Another week, another showcase and this time it’s Xbox revealing upcoming games at the ID@Xbox Digital Showcase.

Plenty of games are coming to Game Pass including the co-op action roguelite ‘33 Immortals’, the multiplayer puzzle game called ‘All You Need Is Help’ where you play as cute cube-shaped objects, and ‘Dungeons of Hinterberg’ the magic puzzle-solving game.

KYLE: Also announced was the cool 2D game Keplerth which is a sandbox RPG. It’s an open world with near-infinite variation on every run where you fight your way through threats on a dangerous alien planet alone or with friends.

And the Life is Strange developers are back with a new lo-fi-inspired trailer for their upcoming game Lost Records Bloom & Rage. Following four high school friends meeting again after 27 years, together they have to confront secrets that they promised to never speak again.

GIANNI: We also saw some games get DLC or update announcements. 

Vampire Survivors’ Laborratory update is out now and it gets you new characters, stages, weapons and more, and the gun-toting Palworld is getting some new Pals in June in the game’s first major update.

KYLE: As always there were heaps of other great games announced and you can check them all out in our shownotes.

KYLE: One of these weeks we’ll bring you an episode of Walkthrough that doesn’t include a story about mass layoffs, but sadly this is not that week.

Take-Two Interactive, the publisher behind Grand Theft Auto, has announced the closure of two of their development studios, Intercept Games in Seattle and Roll7 in London. 

It’s part of the drastic strategy we spoke on last week that includes laying off 5% of its workforce, impacting roughly 580 employees, and cancelling $140 million worth of projects currently in development.

GIANNI: Intercept Games, known for their work on the Kerbal Space Program series, and Roll7, the creators of OlliOlli world and the BAFTA award winning Rollerdrome, have both been integral parts of Take-Two’s boutique label, Private Division. 

Despite their successes, 70 staff members in Seattle and an undisclosed number in London will be out of work once this goes through. 


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

KYLE: Out Tuesday is Heading Out, a super stylized indie driving sim inspired by 70’s road movies. Navigate races, chases, and unexpected encounters, all influenced by your choices. It’s out on all platforms on the 7th.

GIANNI: Avoid drowning on a rapidly sinking ship in the indie puzzler Gift. If you’re a fan of puzzle solving under pressure be sure to check this one out when it comes to PC on the 8th, and Switch and Xbox on the 9th. 

KYLE: Animal Well, the debut title from indie publisher Bigmode is out on the 9th. Dive into the densely-packed labyrinth of this Metroidvania as a simple blob character, navigating through puzzles and platforming challenges. Pick it up on PC, Switch, and PlayStation 5 this Thursday.

GIANNI: Also out Thursday is Crow Country, a super creepy looking survival horror throwback that looks like something straight out of the 90’s. That’s out on PC, PlayStation, Xbox on the 9th.

KYLE: And the last release for the 9th is the highly anticipated Little Kitty Big City. Cat lovers have been patiently waiting for this little action adventure game where you play as a black cat lost in a Japanese city. Grab it on PC, Switch, Xbox this Thursday. 


PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on


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: Have you checked out SIFTER on TikTok? We’re posting some of our favourite stories over there and we’d love to have you on board. Search for sifterHQ if you like your videos short and your orientation vertical, that’s sifterHQ on TikTok. 

KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Fiona Bartholomaeus, 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 is also Walkthrough’s script editor.

GIANNI: 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.

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

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Manor Lords

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Slavic Magic
Hooded Horse
Release Date:
April 26, 2024

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