Plus SKULLGIRLS gets reviewed bombed a decade after release and AMONG US developers announces a TV show
NEWS THIS WEEK
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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang, Adam Christou and Omi Koulas. 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
OMI: and I’m Omi Koulas
FIONA: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
OMI: This week the battle for exclusives continues as Microsoft’s FTC trial plays out in court, Among Us gets a TV spin-off and Skullgirls developer cops backlash for updating some sketchy older assets.
Here is the news for Sunday 2nd of July. Let’s go!
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FIONA: As the trial between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission continues, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has taken the stand and provided testimony.
During the third day of the trial Ryan was asked if anything was wrong with Arkane Studios’ Redfall and Bethesda Game Studios’ Starfield being Xbox exclusives, to which he responded that he doesn’t like it but fundamentally has no quarrel with it, and he doesn't view it as anti-competitive.
The topic of console exclusivity has been a particular sticking point for this deal, especially for Call of Duty, but the way it’s been handled has been confusing at best.
OMI: Speaking of Bethesda games, The Verge’s Tom Warren is reporting that a big motivator for the purchase of that publisher slash developer was hearing that the upcoming scifi game Starfield would be exclusive to PlayStation.
It’s been flipped now and won’t be arriving on Sony’s consoles but internally leaked emails from Bethesda’s Pete Hines shows that the all in on Xbox strategy for their games and Multiplatform everything for Activision has left a few people scratching their heads.
OMI: Another unfortunate exit in the games industry with Daedalic Entertainment announcing its departure from development after the failed release of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.
The Hamburg-based company acknowledged Gollum, “did not live up to the expectations” they had upon release, and the tragic state it launched in has led to the business laying off employees and closing its studio.
Despite it being dead on arrival, Daedalic commits to supporting the game for the foreseeable future, as well as continuing the publishing, sales and marketing arm of the business.
FIONA: Their in-development Lord of the Rings title has been shelved and luckily the new game in the Deponia series, Surviving Deponia, will continue to be worked on by studio Atomic Torch.
Daedalic aims to support former employees in finding new opportunities within the games industry and we wish them the very best in their search.
FIONA: The fighting game Skullgirls has been hit by review bombers after a patch update changes some artwork, scenes and dialogue in the game.
In a new patch called ‘Content Updates and Revisions’ the developers have targeted three aspects, ‘allusions to real-world hate groups’ such as armbands that are a bit too similar to Nazi-like red armbands, edited instances where characters are fetishized particularly focussing on younger characters, and some content that is in poor taste in regards to race.
The developers say the changes come as they don’t reflect their current values and vision for the future of the game, but it hasn’t stopped fans review bombing the game a decade after its release.
OMI: In just 24 hours the game has been hit with more than 600 negative reviews bringing the recent review average down to ‘mostly negative’.
In most cases the changes are so minor that it’s hard to notice them but it hasn’t stopped fans complaining that the changes are a form of censorship and because the game was crowdfunded, it’s argued that it shouldn’t be changed as it’s not the same product they paid for a decade ago.
Skullgirls was originally developed by Lab Zero Games which was lead by Mike Zaimont but after allegations came out against the designer and programmer they severed ties in 2020.
OMI: The hit teamwork and betrayal game Among Us is coming to a bigger screen with the announcement of an animated TV show.
Innersloth has announced it will be working with CBS Eye Animation to make it happen, with Owen Dennis, the creator of the show Infinity Train, serving as executive producer, and the studio Titmouse will be doing the animation for the series.
FIONA: There isn’t much in terms of what the storyline will be, the release date or a confirmed network or streaming platform but I’m super keen to see how it will all play out and totally ready to get sus on everyone.
FIONA: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out this week.
OMI: Scarf is a 3D platformer where you complete puzzles in an ethereal world with the help of a dragon-shaped scarf, coming to consoles for the first time since its PC launch in 2021 on the 6th of July.
FIONA: Step into the shoes of Sally on the search for her missing cousin in the survival horror Gylt, coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox on the 6th of July after releasing on Stadia in 2019.
OMI: On the same day you can join the star-shooting, platform-bouncing cutie pie in Gimmick! Special Edition, a rerelease of SUNSOFT’s classic physics-based 2D platformer, coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
FIONA: Last but not least, The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie introduces three new destinies to save in another adventure, in the long-running anime series, coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch on the 8th of July.
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FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by SIFTER, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus.
OMI: And my name is Omi Koulas. Thank you so much for listening.
FIONA: If you’re looking for something to listen to now you’ve reached the end of Walkthrough, why not check out our relaunched reviews show Drop Rate! Hosted by Chris Button and featuring great games journalists sharing their thoughts and feelings on the newest games. Search for SIFTER Drop Rate in your podcast player now, look for the green icon.
OMI: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, myself, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Fiona Bartholomaeus. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and Gianni Di Giovanni is our 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.
OMI: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.