Plus Xbox launches suite of new accessibility features, and the new King Kong game becomes frontrunner for worst of 2023
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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, 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.
KYLE: Hi I’m Kyle Pauletto
GIANNI: and I’m Gianni Di Giovanni in for Fiona Bartholomaeus
KYLE: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
GIANNI: This week Lamplighters League developers Harebrained Schemes and Paradox go their separate ways, Xbox launches new accessibility features, and premium console maker Analogue announces their version of the Nintendo 64.
Here is the news for Sunday 22nd of October. Let’s go!
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KYLE: It’s been a wild few weeks for the tactical RPG The Lamplighters League made by Harebrained Schemes.
The publisher and parent company Paradox Interactive announced that the release was was going to massively miss it’s targets and was set to lose $22million dollars
This week they’re breaking up, it’s not you it’s me.
According to Paradox Interactive the split is a mutual decision between the two studios, mostly due to the differences between each group’s strategic and creative priorities, and it means Harebrained Schemes will be independent once again.
GIANNI: It’ll all be final at the beginning of next year, and it’s reported that Paradox will keep ownership of The Lamplighters League and other unspecified games that it originally acquired in 2018.
The games that Harebrained Schemes are arguably most well known for Shadowrun and Battletech are still owned by Microsoft.
Hey at least this story isn’t us saying “wow another studio has been killed by their parent company” so hopefully this works out better for everyone.
GIANNI: This year Netflix has been rolling out its game streaming beta to Canada and the UK and now it’s about to hit the US.
The streaming giant is planning to branch out from mobile to the big screens it already has a big handle on, TVs.
It’ll be testing out Netflix’s game streaming tech works on different devices such as Amazon Fire, Chromecast, LG and Samsung TVs and there is an app based controller too.
KYLE: So far only two games are available for the beta, Night School Studio’s ‘Oxenfree’ and ‘Molehew’s Mining Adventure’
I feel like we forget that Netflix offers games. I feel like sometimes NETFLIX forgets it offers games.
At the moment the only way you can play games like Into the Breach and Immortality on a mobile device is with a Netflix subscription.
And notable developers are moving over to Netflix, Joe Staten who was a creative lead for Halo Infinite, is now at the company working on a AAA game.
KYLE: Microsoft has rolled out a series of accessibility updates for differently abled gamers this October, with a focus on PC gaming.
Samsung did a study and found 81% of differently abled gamers found difficulty in engaging with their preferred games due to issues like rapid gameplay, non-customisable controls, and problematic text sizes.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller will get enhancements, which was a massive success for accessibility when it first launched, and the Elite Series 2 controller will get button remapping.
GIANNI: And it’s not just hardware. Introduced this week on PC is a Game accessibility settings menu within the Xbox Game Bar on PC, and games like Sea of Thieves, Age of Empires IV, and Forza which will get a range of new accessibility features.
Blind Driving Assist on Forza for example will assist blind or low-vision players using audio cues.
You can find the full list of changes in the show notes.
GIANNI: Ding dong the king is dead.
Skull Island: Rise of Kong launched this week and instead of everyone having a great time going ape, it looks like it’s made a monkey out of the early reviewers and players.
Nearly two decades after the last King Kong game was released, hopes were high for the iconic ape.
Instead, gamers were treated to a jumbled beat-'em-up riddled with dodgy visuals, ill-fitting cutscenes, and repetitive combat and graphics that don’t meet up the screenshots
There must be an interesting story here about how this happened…
KYLE: And the internet has not held back taking this game to town.
The screenshots from this game have been circling on every social media platform out there, and if you’ve somehow missed it, I beg you to go check it out.
In a year of incredible games, every now and then there is a miss.
KYLE: After tackling the handheld consoles, premium console maker Analogue have announced their next project, an updated Nintendo 64.
Called the Analogue 3D the device features a FPGA chip which can accurately recreate the actual hardware of the nineties console up to 4K graphics.
GIANNI: It’s got four original controller ports and supports US, European and Japanese games.
No word on price, but I can tell you it’ll be expensive if any of Analogue’s other projects are to go by when it releases in 2024.
GIANNI: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week.
KYLE: Speak friend and enter, as you head back to the mines in the Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria. Explore procedurally generated mines, battle orc hordes, craft gear, and uncover ancient treasures alone or with up to eight friends online. Out on PC on the 24th.
GIANNI: Also out on the 24th is Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection volume 1 which collects all the early games in the series from Metal Gear to Snake Eater and makes them playable on modern consoles. I’m playing this one already on PS5 so keep an eye on SIFTER.com.au for a review but it’ll be out on everything on Tuesday.
KYLE: City builder sequel Cities Skylines 2 arrives to answer your town planning desires. The follow up to the critically acclaimed game is out on PC this Tuesday promising even better simulation.
GIANNI: Ghostrunner 2 is out this Thursday. Fast paced post-apocalyptic cyberpunk chaos awaits in this highly anticipated sequel. Fans of the first can look forward to revamped katana combat, all new levels, and a brand new synthwave soundtrack. That’s coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox on the 26th.
KYLE: And out on the 27th is Alan Wake II. Novelist Alan Wake returns for another haunting journey in an alternate dimension. You’ll face threats with both Alan and FBI agent Saga Anderson in this long-awaited sequel. Out on Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC on Friday.
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KYLE: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Kyle Pauletto.
GIANNI: And my name is Gianni Di Giovanni. Thank you so much for listening.
KYLE: If you’ve ever enjoyed one of our podcasts, can I stop for just one second and ask you a massive favour? Send one of your mates a link to your favourite episodes. It doesn’t take long and that recommendation is absolute gold. We’re a small indie network and we rely on word of mouth, so if you take the 30 seconds to share the show it’ll be so appreciated.
GIANNI: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and I'm the Walkthrough script editor and SIFTER’s executive producer.
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.
GIANNI: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.