Plus Lamplighters League fails to find an audience and PlayStation 5 slim is revealed
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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.
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, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is complete, a study finds indie devs make the most environmentally friendly games, and Sony reveals their new slim PlayStation that’ll come with a sneaky price hike.
Here is the news for Sunday 15th of October. Let’s go!
PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord
FIONA: Well after 21 months Microsoft has completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard King.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced their approval on Friday Australian time, and that was that, the US$68.7 billion deal was done.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will stay on until at least the end of the year, ending 33 years at the helm of one of the biggest gaming companies in the world.
KYLE: Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in a statement that Activision’s lineup of games including Warcraft, Overwatch, Call of Duty and more will soon come to Xbox Games Pass…but this won’t be until 2024 at the earliest.
In order to get this deal across the line, it sold the cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, and signed deals with Nintendo and Playstation to bring Call of Duty to their consoles.
It’s important not to forget that King which makes Candy Crush and a suite of other mobile titles are part of this deal too, while Call of Duty steals the limelight it’s those mobile games which are very valuable to Microsoft.
Which is good news because the tech behemoth owes the US Internal Revenue Service $28.9 billion in back taxes, so time to start saving up the proceeds of those in game transactions Phil.
How this move will shape the future of games is yet to be determined, but as always keep listening to Walkthrough and we’ll keep you up to date.
KYLE: You might remember from last week's show that Dr Ben Abraham published a big report on the climate change impacts of making games.
Around 81 million tonnes of CO2 was emitted by the entire games industry in 2022, and this week we got our first insight into how indie games compare to the big players.
Die Gute Fabrik tracked their game Saltsea Chronicles, which is about the people who live on the ocean above a sunken world, from start to finish.
FIONA: Here is Studio lead Hannah Nicklin talking about why knowing how much C02 was important to her.
HANNAH NICKLIN: "The game is set in this flooded earth, not quite our earth there are some fantasy elements involved, but it is a world that has suffered this sort of climate disaster many generations ago."
"There were lots of sort of myths about the world that came before, what caused the flood but they're very much living on the ruins of this past civilisation"
"Part of reaching Net Zero is holding ourselves to account as a full field, not just like me deciding as one studio to hold myself to account and it's just life or death right?"
"There are no video games on a dead planet"
FIONA: The good news is that Dr Abraham found that the 47 tonnes of C02 emitted in the development of this game amounted to only 0.000058% of the total, which means indie games aren’t too bad for the environment compared to triple A.
You can read the full report linked in the show notes.
KYLE: Developers of the tactical turn-based RPG, The Lamplighters League, have come out saying the release of the game was a big disappointment.
Paradox Interactive revealed that they’ve recorded a US$22 million dollar write-down even though the game only launched on October 3.
Even though the game has had a fairly positive reception and there are a growing number of players through subscription services, the team behind the 1930s styled game said the commercial reception was too weak which was very disappointing.
FIONA: The game had only been out for a week before they released their statement but clearly it was enough time to know that they had lost on this one.
FIONA: Sony has revealed their highly anticipated PlayStation 5 slim models. While they've managed to shave off some weight, the specs have largely remained the same.
But the real surprise comes in the form of a sneaky little price bump, with the all-digital PS5 now setting you back US $450, up from its original US $400 price point.
KYLE: It’s not even the first time this has happened. Even though consoles generally see a price reduction over their lifespan, the pandemic's supply constraints and inflation spikes pushed Sony to up their prices globally in 2022.
And unfortunately, here we are in 2023 seeing it again.
KYLE: Australian developer Digital Lode the creators of VR Special Operations games Espire 1 and 2 has had to downsize its team for the second time this year.
Sadly, this announcement came just two days after the studio won the Excellence in AR/VR award at the Australian Game Developer Awards.
FIONA: In a post to the EspireVR Discord server, Lead Developer Micheal Wentworth Bell stated that the decision had to be made to ensure all employee redundancy entitlements and debtors could be paid.
FIONA: The world’s second best detective is finally coming to console with the Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery.
Developed by Worm Club, the new pack will contain the entire trilogy, Frog Detective 1: The Haunted Island, Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard and Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County.
KYLE: The team here at SIFTER has played all three games and loved every minute of it. You can pick it up on all consoles on October 26.
KYLE: In a fun reveal this week, Nintendo is collaborating with LEGO once again but this time bringing characters from Animal Crossing to life.
The first trailer showed off some fan favourite characters such as Tom Nook, Isabelle, Kapp’n and more, but the second trailer revealed some of the sets.
It looks like we’re going to get the Nook’s Cranny shop, Kapp’n’s speedboat, a few different houses, decorations, trees, as well as a little waterfall and cliff set.
FIONA: We knew something was on the way after several Lego leakers revealed in August that Nintendo would be working with LEGO on five Animal Crossing sets.
Original information leaked back then suggested the sets would range from 170 pieces to 535 but we don’t have any confirmation just yet.
The new LEGO sets are planned for March next year.
KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week.
FIONA: Sonic Superstars is out Monday. Dive back into classic side-scrolling action with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, battle against iconic adversaries like Doctor Eggman, and collect Chaos Emeralds in this modern throwback. That’s coming to all platforms on the 17th.
KYLE: And out on the 20th are two of this year's most anticipated titles. First up we have Spider-Man 2. You’ll play as both Peter Parker and Miles Morales in the third instalment of the series, taking on foes like Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, and the Venom symbiote. There’s new suits, gadgets, and unique abilities, as well as new areas of New York to explore. For now, that’s coming exclusively to the PlayStation 5.
FIONA: And of course, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is coming to the Switch. It’s a brand-new sidescroller for the series, with Mario and friends venturing through the vibrant Flower Kingdom, unlocking new power-ups like the elephant fruit and the unpredictable Wonder Flower. Collect Wonder Seeds, equip unique badges, and team up with friends both locally and online. Pick it up exclusively to Switch this 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: 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 who you think might like our work. 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.
KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and Gianni Di Giovanni is our script editor and executive producer.
FIONA: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune.
Thanks to Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER’s podcasts.
KYLE: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.