Plus speedrunning dog raises money for charity and Dave the Diver dev announces a new MOBA game
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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 back to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
KYLE: This week we get a glimpse at some of the big Xbox exclusives on the way, classic Plants Vs Zombies is back, and cute pooches are speedrunners now too.
Here is the news for Sunday 21st of January. Let’s go!
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KYLE: It’s only a few weeks into 2024 and the showcases have already begun, with the Xbox Developer Direct, showing off some of their games coming out on Xbox and PC this year.
The highlight of the Direct has to be Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, and it looks like so much fun.
Taking place between the first and third movies, it’s got all the Indiana Jones action, puzzles, temples, jumping from planes and punching, whipping and shooting Nazis.
It’s a first person game and features the one and only Troy Baker as Indy, and I have to say he does a great impression of Harrison Ford.
FIONA: Taking place in the same universe as the Pillars of Eternity franchise is ‘Avowed’. Adam is very excited for this one.
Explore a mysterious island called the Living Lands as you investigate rumours of a spreading plague that threatens to destroy everything.
The Xbox Direct gave us a new look into the combat system, weapons such as dual-wield pistols, swords and magic, and the gameplay will feature dialogue trees with many difficult choices for players to make.
KYLE: Finally after four years since it was first announced we have a release date for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.
This sequel continues the story of Senua, following her as she journeys through Viking Iceland, saving those who have fallen victim to the horrors of tyranny.
Ninja Theory’s action-adventure game looks to be just as stunning as the first and you can jump into it pretty soon, on May 21.
FIONA: Notable non-Microsoft owned Square Enix made a surprise appearance at the Direct to give an update on Visions of Mana, the first mainline title in the Mana series in 15 years.
We got to see more of the beautiful semi-open world of this adventure game as well as its real-time action combat, monster design, score and rideable mounts.
It’s out later this year, so keep an eye out for the release date.
KYLE: And finally Ara: History Untold is also out this year, from Oxide Games who have worked on Civilization and Command and Conquer games in the past.
It’s a 4X game, where you build up a nation and lead your people through history, exploring new lands and developing arts, culture, diplomacy as well as the craft of war.
It's a procedurally generated world that changes based on players’ choices and looks very Civ-like so if you’re a fan of that series this might be one for you.
Some great games are coming out this year, so make sure you keep an eye out for their release dates.
FIONA: In big business nonsense news, Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive has hurled a legal challenge at Remedy Entertainment over a trademark tussle. All because of Remedy's new logo, which Take-Two claims is too close to Rockstars.
The issue of course being that both companies want to use a simple uppercase R.
The legal drama unfolded with Take-Two filing trademark disputes in the UK and EU, fearing public confusion between the two logos. And unless one of the companies decides to settle, this story is going to drag on until at least September next year.
KYLE: Thankfully that’s likely, given the two companies are currently working together on Max Payne remakes together.
I for one am just glad we live in a world where mega corporations can fight each other over uninspired graphic design choices. What a time to be alive!
KYLE: In a blast from the early 2000s past, Plants vs. Zombies return with a new mobile game Plants vs Zombies 3: Welcome to Zomburbia.
Announced by EA almost five years ago, it'll continue the tradition of the previous tower defence-like games, using plants to fend off a horde of zombies.
This new instalment will feature new and returning characters as well as gameplay that reflects the classic combat of the og game.
FIONA: And the new game is completely free. Well, sort of. While the base game is free to play, unfortunately it still has microtransactions spread throughout.
If you’re an avid fan of Plants v Zombies it’s already available to play in a few countries including Australia, with more countries expected to get their hands on the title once EA has collected feedback during the soft launch period.
FIONA: Developers of the retro themed Dave the Diver have announced their latest game and it is very different from their previous deep-sea exploration.
Wakerunners is the next title from Mintrocket and it’s going to be a MOBA, shifting pace completely as it’s a 4v4 and 5v5 top-down team battler set in a dystopian sci-fi future.
Similar to other team battlers, there will be a variety of characters each with their own unique ability, persona and battle style, BUT unlike most other games in the genre you can swap characters mid-battle.
KYLE: That promises to make for some pretty interesting battles, team composition is pretty key in MOBAs so if you can hot swap them like Overwatch it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
You don’t have to wait very long for more info on their new game, with a Wakerunners Steam Next Fest demo happening on February 5, featuring five game modes and seven playable characters.
KYLE: And in some good news to round off this week's news, a dog named Peanut Butter has set a new record at this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick.
Peanut Butter and his owner JSR used a custom dog-friendly controller designed with big, colourful buttons to take on the NES classic Gyromite and absolutely crushed it, clocking in at 26 minutes and 24 seconds.
FIONA: It took a year of training every day, with JSR directing Peanut Butter on which buttons to press and when.
Peanut Butter's AGDQ debut was a huge hit, and most importantly it brought in a flood of donations.
As of recording AGDQ 24 had already raised more than $1.2million US dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here are the games coming out this week
FIONA: Ichiban and Kazuma are back in the newest entry to the Like a Dragon franchise, Infinite Wealth. Expect turn-based battle and weird mini games while uncovering family secrets across Japan and Hawaii. Infinite Wealth is out on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on the 24th.
KYLE: Bonkers courtroom drama Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy makes its way to current gen consoles and PC after originally launching on the 3DS. If you’ve never played these games you investigate then present evidence in a court based mini games with some wild characters. Get your Objections!!! Ready for the 25th on PC, Switch Xbox and PlayStation.
FIONA: Australian made temple running roguelike Phantom Abyss leaps over bottomless pits and dives past spike traps collecting gameplay changing relics on Xbox Game Pass and PC on Thursday 25th. This game has been in early access for a fair while, but hitting the big 1.0 with a stack of new changes to this Indiana Jones like multiplayer game.
KYLE: Practise your combos as Tekken 8 takes you to the arena with another bout of tournament action. It’s got a new Heat Gauge mechanic which encourages frenetic fighting, looking gorgeous in Unreal Engine 5. Coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S and X, and PC on the 26th.
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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: Walkthrough is our recap of the news but if you want to catch up on all of SIFTER’s stories we’ve got a fancy newsletter. It’s an easy way to make sure you don’t miss any of our interviews or reviews and it’s out every fortnight. Head to sifter.com.au/newsletter to subscribe, that’s sifter.com.au/newsletter
KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Courtney Borrett, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and Gianni Di Giovanni is the Walkthrough script editor, and SIFTER’s executive producer.
FIONA: 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.
KYLE: We’ll be back with more news next Sunday. See you then.