Developers at 343 Industries including campaign and narrative teams have been impacted by layoffs
Walkthrough
Episode
48

Microsoft sacks HALO, GEARS OF WAR and Bethesda devs

Plus Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still on the way and Crystal Dynamics announces the end for Marvel’s Avengers content

TRANSCRIPT

KYLE: Hi I'm Kyle Pauletto

FIONA: and I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus

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

FIONA: This week Microsoft sacks a huge amount of staff including halo and gears of war developers, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still on the way despite being announced 15 years ago and Google stops ex-stadia controllers from going into e-waste. 

Here is the news for Sunday 22nd of January. Let’s go!

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PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord

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KYLE: Microsoft is in the news again, this week announcing that the company would be cutting 10,000 jobs over the next two months.

While details are limited in why and which jobs will be cut, a letter to employees said there would be changes to the company’s hardware team.

But it’s not just those working on the hardware that will be under pressure, so will game developers, according to Bloomberg. Multiple sources are reporting that there will be cuts at Starfield developer Bethesda Games Studios, Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries and Gears of War studio The Coalition.

Not a great time for these layoffs with the Xbox Developer Direct livestream planned for next week.

FIONA: It’s sad to hear that so many people and jobs are being cut from the company. I’m very curious to know the reason behind this choice especially because two months isn’t a lot of time.

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FIONA: In news that made me think “oh yeah that was a game”, Ubisoft has announced that Beyond Good and Evil is apparently still in development. 

Given Ubisoft has recently gone on a belt-tightening, game canceling frenzy, and the fact that Beyond Good and Evil 2 was first announced 15 YEARS AGO, I thought it was safe to assume it was never going to happen. 

But apparently not, because in a conversation with Eurogamer, a Ubisoft rep said development is still underway.

If, when and how are still valid questions though. There’s no release date, no new footage, and the games creator Michel Ancel has since left the company following allegations of toxic behavior.

KYLE: I may not be super interested in this game, but I am now intrigued about what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next. 

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KYLE: Google has finally said goodbye to its cloud gaming service Stadia and shut down its servers on Wednesday, after only being active since November 2019.

It was announced last year that the ambitious service didn’t quite hit the mark which led to its unfortunate demise, which means a few of its exclusive games are about to become unplayable.

But of course, developers are smart and they’re finding unique ways around the assumed exclusivity agreement.

Developers Q-Games is sharing concept art of its Stadia game PixelJunk Raiders and pitching to other publishers at the same time, while Necrosoft Games, maker of ‘Gunsport’ has preserved the game in the Steam version of its sequel called Hyper Gunsport.

Google will also release a patch for the stadia controller as well which was about to become a paperweight as it connected directly to Stadia, and it’ll work over standard Bluetooth. 

FIONA: Google gave a full refund to all stadia customers so this patch means you’ll get a free controller to give cloud gaming a go.

FIONA: Development is done on Marvel’s Avengers with no new content to come to the live service game. 

Crystal Dynamics announced that the final update will arrive on the 31st of March and everything in the cosmetics store will become free. 

In September, support will officially stop and after that Crystal Dynamics says you can still play single and multiplayer but they can’t promise it won’t be glitch city. 

KYLE: Marvel’s Avengers was praised for its gameplay at the time of release, in particular the ms marvel Kamala Khan campaign but being a live service rather than a standard single player or multiplayer title meant its days were always numbered but maybe they should just take the lesson of the recent Spider-man games and just make a really good single player game instead.

KYLE: Summerfall the Melbourne based team behind the upcoming mythological musical Stray Gods have just added a few more game developers to their pantheon. 

Alissa Vovers, Chantel Eagle and Karly Taylor are the first three game devs to be selected for the specialist placement from VicScreen which pairs emerging creatives with established creative companies. 

Here is junior programmer Alissa Vovers 

“Through VicScreen and Summerfall we were able to go to GCAP, and the AGDAs, I met so many people in the gamedev community it was just so cool to get to talk to people about the things they were working on that they were so passionate about.”

Stray Gods is being made by an incredible team including Dragon Age writer David Gaider, Composer Austin Wintory, and will feature dynamic songs that change based on your choices.

FIONA: This game sounds so cool, a mythical musical game. I really can’t wait to get my hands on this one and with the amazing team that’s behind it, I’m sure it’ll be great.

PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on sifter.com.au

FIONA: That’s it for news, here are the games releasing this coming week.

KYLE: Out Tuesday is Forspoken, the quippy spellcasting RPG by Japanese developers Luminous Productions. Be sure to clear some space on your PS 5 in advance though, because Forspoken will take up a massive 87 Gigs. Grab in on PlayStation 5 or PC on the 24th.

FIONA: Also out on the 24th is a new update for Hitman three titled Freelancer. It’s a brand new mode that adds a customizable safehouse and rougue-like gameplay. Best part is it’s a free update for anyone who already owns Hitman three. 

KYLE: And coming this Friday is the long-awaited Dead-Space remake. Coming a decade and half after the fan favorite's initial release, this remake looks amazing on current gen tech, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it comes to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S and X on the 27th.

KYLE: This has been Walkthrough by Sifter, my name is Kyle Pauletto 

FIONA: And my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus Thank you so much for listening. 

KYLE: thanks to Rob D who became a monthly backer on Ko-Fi this week. Rob’s support lets us keep making our shows so if you want to be a legend like Rob head to sifter.com.au/support where support starts from just $1 a month that address again is sifter.com.au/support

FIONA: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus , Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer.

KYLE: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune. 

Thanks to both Audio Technica Australia and Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER’s three podcasts.

FIONA: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.

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Halo Infinite

XBOX ONE
XBOX SERIES X|S
PC
Developer:
343 Industries
Publisher:
Xbox Game Studios
Release Date:
November 16, 2021

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

PC
PlayStation 5
XBOX SERIES X|S
SWITCH
Developer:
Summerfall Studios
Publisher:
Humble Games
Release Date:
August 10, 2023
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