Plus Australian and Indonesian devs have their games ripped off, intense scifi shooter ATOMIC HEART gets a release date
NEWS THIS WEEK
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SIFTER is produced by Nicholas Kennedy, Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer. Thanks to Omny Studio 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 Playstation VR2 gets a price and release date, Indie game Coral Island gets ripped off by Crypto scammers, Embracer renames then shuts down Square Enix Montreal and more Here is the news for Sunday 6th of November, Let’s Go
PROMO: Articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to on sifter.com.au
KYLE: If you’ve been excited to pick up the PlayStation VR2 this week Sony revealed it’s hefty price and early 2023 release date.
You’ll be forking out $880 Australian dollars for the headset, controllers and headphones, or $960 for the Horizon call of the mountain bundle which includes that game.
The specs are pretty good, it’s got a 4K OLED display (split in half across each eye) with a 90 or 120 hz refresh rate, which is pretty impressive.
The PlayStation 5 is $800 on it’s own, so you’re looking at sixteen hundred dollars plus to get in on the next generation of VR, it’s still way cheaper than a PC VR setup but I can’t see it not being niche any time soon.
In addition, 11 VR titles were announced to be released next year with a release date of February 22 with pre-orders beginning next week on November 15.
What do you think Fiona, will you be going in on this one?
FIONA: I’ve never been hugely into VR, mostly because I’ve never had one, but for that price, I think I’d rather buy another PS5 or an upgraded nintendo switch
FIONA: Sticking with Sony, the new PlayStation Plus subscriptions launched in June to mixed reviews and the results are in… it looks like 2 million subscribers have decided to drop the service.
There is a cost of living crisis around the world at the moment, but Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki blamed the drop in subscribers on declining third party games, a general decline in user engagement, and get this Kyle, that more people were going outside, Seriously.
Video Game Chronicle reports that while the numbers are down, the company’s services revenue actually increased, meaning a fair few subscribers made the move to one of the higher tiered subscriptions.
KYLE: Well lucky for Sony they’re still getting my monthly fee, but that’s only because I forgot to cancel my membership after playing Stray the only new game that’s ever been added on release.
KYLE: Hey Fiona did you see that viral superman tech demo in unreal engine 5 from earlyear?
It was huge on reddit and twitter and used the Matrix Awakens demo city to showcase some pretty impressive basic Superman gameplay.
Well it was made by an Aussie developer Tyson Butler Boschma who put the demo up for free on Itch… saying it’s not like he could sell a super man game without the approval of DC and Warner brothers anyway.
Well this week someone decided they were going to sell a superman game on Steam, and it was Tyson’s game.
"I woke up and I had more notifications than I'm used to seeing on my humble little Twitter page and I'm like 'oh that's kind of interesting' maybe someone retweeted it and I'm just going to get like 100 likes or something."
"People were like this game is being sold up on Steam, I realised that someone had taken my build and had put it up on Steam and was selling it for like $40 Australian dollars."
"Now I didn't want to make any assumptions about it at first I was like 'Ok like you know I mean at the end of the day I put this thing together in a weekend' it's totally plausible that someone could have made a similar style demo, like that's fine."
"But I was also getting some pretty abusive messages because people were claiming that I was a scammer, and that I was trying to steal money from people and stuff and I was like I don't understand you know."
"Why would I put it up for free, and then keep it up for free if I was trying to scam people?"
"As I started to delve deep and investigate I realised that it was literally a one for one copy of the things that I'd developed."
It’s pretty crazy that these scammers tried to pretend that Tyson was just a tilted ex-developer when they were called out.
In our reporting using Steam statistics tool SteamDB it looks like less than 20 people purchased this $40 ripoff, but at the time of recording it’s still available.
FIONA: It’s always sad to hear when content is stolen and ripped off. Hopefully everything is resolved soon so that Tyson gets the recognition he deserves.
FIONA: Scammers have been out in force this week as Indonesian studio Stairway Games, developers of the island farming sim Coral Island, discovered.
A fake account which ripped off the name, key art and basically everything they could, appeared on Twitter claiming the game was a NFT title on the GameFi blockchain platform.
Stairway Games said that in no way was their title, which just celebrated it’s full release was an NFT game and the account has no affiliation with Coral Island.
The weird thing is that while the scam account only has several posts which started on October 31, it was strangely created back in 2020, so it seems like they’ve been sitting on it for a while.
You can jump back into the Lightmap archives and find an interview with Stairway Games co-founder and producer Soma Putera on Episode 166 about Coral Island.
KYLE: This just sucks. As if smaller developers dont have a hard enough job as it is, they now have to deal with scammers. So rough.
KYLE: The Embracer Group bought a stack of ex-Square Enix studios in May this year, but it looks like one of them is already shutting up shop.
Square Enix Montreal was completely rebranded to Onoma just last month, but Embracer announced this week that they are no more.
Reportedly the studio’s closure is part of a cost-cutting initiative, but if you’re going to shut down a studio less than 6 months after buying, why bother rebranding it at all?
Some of the staff will be transferred to Eidos Montreal but that studio will also be affected by the cost cutting, with a Stranger Things-inspired game being canceled and the scope of other games being reduced.
Head to the linked Bloomberg article in our shownotes for the full rundown
FIONA: Sad to see a company shut down so quickly especially after they just purchased it, hopefully the rest of the staff will still be able to work on games in the future.
FIONA: Atomic Heart the first person shooter set in an alternative 1955 by Moscow based developers Mundfish has finally got a release date after debuting years ago.
This game looks like a mix between the gunplay historical fiction of Wolfenstein with some Bioshock looking super powers thrown into the mix.
It’ll be out on Xbox, Playstation, and PC on the 21st of February next year.
KYLE: There’s a new trailer out this week and it looks insane. Like bioshock with the intensity cranked up. I’m very keen to get my hand on this one.
KYLE: That’s it for news, here are the games releasing this week.
FIONA: Out on the eighth is Sonic Frontiers, the latest attempt at a 3D Sonic game by developers Sonic Team. Gianni has been playing this game and says it’s big change to the format we’re used to with plenty of throwback gameplay as well.. keep an eye out for our review tomorrow and the game will come to all consoles this Tuesday.
KYLE: Also releasing Tuesday is Football Manager 2023. This series has a solid fanbase of sports nerds who would rather play around with spreadsheets than actually play football, lucky for them this years version is more accessible than ever, with touch versions coming to Ios Android and the Switch, and full version coming to consoles on the eighth.
FIONA: A fan favourite title will be making a debut on new consoles this week, point and click adventure Return To Monkey Island arrives on Playstation and Xbox on the 8th of November.
KYLE: And one of the most highly anticipated games of the year is out on Wednesday. God of War Ragnarok. More than seven years since the first entry in this rebooted series, and fans, myself included, have been desperate to get our hands on the sequel. Pick it up on PlayStation four and five on the 9th.
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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: We know you love listening to SIFTER so if you’d like to support our work, we’ve got a Ko-Fi where you can contribute whatever our work is worth to you. Even a small amount makes a big difference to us. Head to sifter.com.au/support where even a couple of dollars helps us keep making our shows
KYLE: SIFTER is produced by Nicholas Kennedy, myself Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus (Bar-tholo-may-US), Daniel Ang, Daniel Hyndes & Adam Christou (CHRIS-TOO). Mitch Loh is Senior Producer 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 both Audio Technica Australia and Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER’s three podcasts.
KYLE: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.