Gaming giant Embracer Group falls and splits into three companies

Plus Escape from Tarkov devs introduce controversial pay to win mode and Fornite allows players to block confrontational emotes



  • SEA OF THIEVES - 30 April 2024 - PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X, PC
  • ENDLESS OCEANS LUMINOUS - 2 May 2024 - Nintendo Switch
  • TOUHOU MYSTIA'S IZAKAYA - 2 May 2024 - Nintendo Switch, PC
  • SURMOUNT - 2 May 2024 - Nintendo Switch, PC

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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.


FIONA: Hi I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus

KYLE: and I’m Kyle Pauletto

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

KYLE: This week Embracer is gone, replaced by three separate companies, hit indie El Paso Elsewhere is being made into a film, and Tarkov players will not tolerate a pricey pay to win bundle.  

Here is the news for Sunday 28th of April. Let’s go!


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FIONA: The hits just keep coming for the Embracer Group; it's now splitting apart into three companies as their grand plan to swallow up a huge chunk of the game development industry continues to implode.

Asmodee will be a tabletop games publisher and distributor, currently it holds titles such as Ticket to Ride, Azul and CATAN.

Coffee Stain & Friends will focus on both indie, free-to-play and mobile gaming, it’ll look after Deep Rock Galactic, Goat Simulator and more

Finally Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will handle AAA publishing for both PC and console as well as continue its work on The Lord of The Rings and Tomb Raider franchise.

I seriously doubt Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors & friends will be that popular after this whole experience. 

KYLE: Embracer Group has been acquiring companies and franchises like crazy but since then they bet it all on a $2 billion partnership they couldn’t pull off and have been ‘restructuring’ like mad. 

“Restructuring” mostly means sacking developers and shutting down or selling off studios including Borderlands developer Gearbox to Take-Two for a fraction of the price they purchased it.

Ultimately what was the point of all this? Some ultra capitalists were looking to bundle up a bunch of studios to make a bunch of bucks but all the human cost of this is pretty immense.


KYLE: Escape from Tarkov players are an intense bunch at the best of times but a new “pay to win” mode has really upset some of the most dedicated fans who feel they’ve been cheated out of DLC.

Here’s how it works, Battlestate Games have launched a new PvE mode which is exclusive to a US$250 “Unheard Edition” of the game. 

The new PvE offers ongoing upgrades that carry over, normally you just lose everything after every multiplayer match so this is a pretty massive shift offering permanent bonuses. 

FIONA: Previously though the company sold a version which promised access to all new DLC maps and modes called “Edge of Darkness” but this package DOESN’T include this new PvE.

Battlestate community manager apple3z0r claimed that this isn’t a DLC, it's a new unique-feature game mode which definitely doesn’t pass the pub test. 

They’ve relented slightly now and are offering this mode for six months for Edge of Darkness owners but players are still chanting in game “this cannot be tolerated”.

Let's see what happens next!


FIONA: The team behind the Max Payne inspired shooter, ‘El Paso, Elsewhere’, has announced they’re taking the game to the big screen.

Created by developers Strange Scaffold, the game sees you fighting supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires in a reality shifting motel, and having to destroy the villain you loved. 

It was reported by Variety that LaKeith Stanfield, known for his roles in Get Out, Sorry to Bother You and Knives Out, is in talks to star in the film with production company Di Bonaventura Pictures, known for the GI Joe and Transformers films set to produce.

KYLE: After the success of The Last of Us and now Fallout, I feel like we’re stepping into an age where video game adaptations are being taken seriously.

Just make a new story in the same world though seriously, no need to adapt it directly as Fallout has proven, the transition to TV and film doesn’t need to be a one to one.

Let us know on Discord what indie game you’d like to see as a movie

KYLE: Fortnite fans are about to get updated player controls which gives them the ability to limit what confrontational emotes they see.

Emotes can lead to some funny moments if you’re playing with friends, but they have also been blamed for promoting aggressive behaviour from those “sweats” online who spam the ruder emotes.

Now you can just turn them off for strangers, by toggling the ‘See Confrontational Emotes’ settings, instead of seeing one of the listed confrontational emotes, you’ll just see the character stand still with no sound. 

All emotes will still work with your friends though.

FIONA: Four months after Fortnite Festival was released, Harmonix and Epic Games have announced that the rhythm game will now support Rock Band 4 physical guitar controllers.

Wild that this wasn’t in there at the start to be honest.

There are some third party controllers like the PDP Riffmaster that are also compatible and it sounds like more are on the way too. 


FIONA: It’s been a big month for Fallout, with the new Amazon TV show being a massive hit, all eyes are on Microsoft wondering what they’ll do with this momentum. 

A clear winner from all this extra attention is the controversial online entry in the series, Fallout 76, which had a shocking launch but has slowly improved over the last six years, clocked up one million players in a single day.

And it’s not just 76 that’s found a whole new fanbase, the series has been given a massive boost with a massive jump in downloads across the board, particularly Fallout 4, which is out now on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.

KYLE: Modders are an important part of longevity of any Bethesda game but for the team behind the highly anticipated Fallout 4 mod titled Fallout London have expressed their disappointment in the current gen update's surprise reveal. 

Project lead Dean Carter says that the update was scheduled just days before their mod's planned release, but now they have to hold until the new patch is out just in case it breaks all their hard work.

Here is Carter speaking to the BBC.


To keep up to date with everything Fallout, stay tuned to Walkthrough.


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

KYLE: Sea of Thieves is coming to PlayStation 5 on the 30th after years of being a Microsoft exclusive. This lighthearted pirate game is so much fun especially co-op with a few friends, jump in on the action this Tuesday.

FIONA: Endless Ocean Luminous is the latest instalment of the Endless Ocean series, and the first in 15 years. Explore a rich underwater world with over 500 species, including mythical and extinct creatures, and discover hidden temples and shipwrecks. That's exclusive to the Switch on the 2nd. 

KYLE: Also on the 2nd, Touhou Mystia's Izakaya makes its way to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a cute pixel art inventory management and restaurant owner sim where you take on the role of Mystia Lorelei and operate your own bar in the whimsical world of Gensokyo. Pick it up this Thursday.

FIONA: Here is a cute indie you might have missed. Surmount is a mountain climbing game that has some funny physics and leans into the wacky rather than realistic. It’s multiplayer too so you can help or hinder your mates up the mountain. Play it on Switch and PC on Thursday. 


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FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus

KYLE: And my name is Kyle Pauletto, thank you so much for listening. 

FIONA: 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.

FIONA: 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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