Plus nominees announced for the 2022 Game of the Year awards and updates on CD Projekt Red’s biggest RPGs
NEWS THIS WEEK
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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. Thanks to Omny Studio for their support of SIFTER.
FIONA: Hi I’m Fiona Bartholomaeus
GIANNI: and I’m Gianni Di Giovanni
FIONA: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
GIANNI: This week Pokemon Scarlet and Violet launches with a lot of good changes and heaps of bugs, Bethesda responds to Doom Eternal composer Mick Gordon’s allegations, Phil Spencer says the streaming only Xbox device was too expensive and more.
Here is the news for Sunday 20th of November, Let’s Go
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GIANNI: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet released on Friday and the reviews are in, it’s being hailed as one of the biggest improvements to the pokemon game format in years BUT it’s absolutely plagued by bugs.
Massive slowdowns and frame rate drops, glitched 3d models where player character becomes giant when riding their legendary Miraidon and Koraidon, and scenery unloads and then pops in during battles.
It’s a bit worse in fact if you play the game in docked mode, with the 2017 console appearing to struggle maintaining a 1080p image.
There is still a lot of praise for the game saying it’s one of the most ambitious and needed shake ups of the 25 year old franchise, Fiona I know you’ve been playing how have you found it so far.
FIONA: I picked Violet up on Friday and have been enjoying it so far, there is so much to do. Luckily my glitches haven’t been too bad, besides the sky being grey for the first part of the game instead of blue
FIONA: Bethesda Softworks has responded to the allegations of crunch and music theft by Doom Eternal’s composer Mick Gordon.
Gordon published a very lengthy blog post, calling out the studio’s poor management of the soundtrack, using his rejected music and withholding his pay.
Bethesda in the statement says the accounts were one-sided and misrepresented the team at id Software.
The statement continues to say they support the team at iD Software, reject the distortion of the truth and how the posts have incited harassment and threats of violence towards the team which will be dealt with appropriate action.
It’s pretty fair to say that sentiment online is that people aren’t buying it, like at all.
GIANNI: It’s a messy situation, and players have started attacking both sides of this argument. Doom Eternal has one of the coolest soundtracks in recent years, so it’s a shame that we’ll likely never see Mick Gordon on future games.
GIANNI: Bad luck if you were looking forward to Xbox’s streaming cloud device for your second TV, this week Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming said it’s officially dead.
Spencer joined Nilay Patel on the Decoder podcast and said the project called Keystone basically couldn’t be made cheap enough. .
"The console we built and now people have seen Keystone was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we actually built it out with the hardware that we had inside and we decided to focus that team's effort on delivering the Smart TV streaming app."
"I think in order for a streaming only box to make sense, the price delta to S has to be pretty significant. I want to be able to include a controller in it when we go do that. "
"I don't want to announce pricing specifically but I think you've got to be $129, $99 like somewhere in there for that to make sense, in my view, that we just weren't there and I love the effort."
"The reason it's on my shelf is the team rolled up their sleeves and in nine months they built that thing and a bunch of us took it home and it worked. It worked really, really well. "
"Customer proposition Includes the Price and I just I think all of us knew that we were a little out of position on price."
Spencer also talked about how important letting creative teams finish their work, in the context of delaying Bethesda’s StarFIELD and Arkane’s Redfall.
Also surprisingly that the Activision Blizzard King deal was much more about Candy Crush and other mobile games that King makes which far exceed both Activision and Blizzard divisions so it’s not really about Call of Duty or Warcraft in the end.
It’s a really good listen and we’ve linked the episode in the shownotes.
FIONA: Spencer said that Call of Duty will continue to be on Playstation for as long as there is Playstation to ship to, and that’s about keeping players happy wherever they game.
FIONA: A couple of tidbits for CD Project Red’s biggest RPGs The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.
The delayed current gen upgrade for The Witcher 3 will arrive in just a couple of weeks, it’ll be available to play on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 with improved graphics and some new Netflix TV Show inspired content as well on the 14th of December
And Cyberpunk 2077’s final DLC Phantom Liberty will be a paid expansion when it arrives next year, with no price confirmed yet, but PR Director Radek Grabowski said that it’s going to be cheaper than the price of a full game.
GIANNI: There are sequels fo both these games in the works too, as well as a remake for the Witcher one on the way as well so a lot to look forward, but I wonder if this next gen upgrade will be enough for me to finally finish Witcher 3.
GIANNI: Australian studio League of Geeks have announced a new game this week at the PC Gaming Showcase, inspired by 1970s scifi anime and base builders and it’s called Jumplight Odyssey.
It's a Roguelite colony sim where you manage daily life for the crew as they head towards the Forever Star, with a bit of social drama thrown into the mix as well.
It’s the second game announced by League of Geeks this year, they’ve got the hell based political strategy game Solium Infernum on the way too.
FIONA: This sounds like so much fun I”m always down for a good sci-fi game, and the trailer looks amazing too. Highly recommend you check it out.
FIONA: Overwatch 2 Executive Producer Jared Neuss in an update said this week that the team at Blizzard were reworking the rewards in the free to play game.
One of the biggest complaints about seasonal events and the battle pass was that it felt really unrewarding to take part, in previous years you could get a steady stream of lootboxes for playing but that was dropped in favour of this new model.
In season 2 which arrives on the 6th of december Neuss promises that there will be a skin that is earnable just by playing, and that more rewards are on the way for future seasons next year
They’re also looking to improve rewards for players who queue as support or for any class, which lets be honest is just queuing as support 9/10 times, suggesting they could reward them with increased battle pass xp
GIANNI: Overwatch 2 is a fun game to play, unless you’re support which it’s a path to becoming the next canonised saint, but as a big free to play fan i found the battle pass next to pointless. Take my advice and just be happy with default skins and get a bunch of mates on board and you’ll have a good time.
GIANNI: It’s almost that time of the year again where our favourite games go head to head and find out who will be titled Game of the Year at the 2022 Game of the Year Awards.
Unsurprisingly Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok nominated for quite a few categories including for Game of the Year, joined by A Plague Tale: Requiem, Horizon Forbidden West, Stray and Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
The cute animal games Stray and Tunic are also nominated for a few other categories and Australian made Cult of the Lamb made the list, joining Sifu and Neon White nominated for Best Indie.
The Grammys also announced their inaugural video game soundtrack nominations which included Austin Wintory for Aliens Fireteam Elite, Stephanie Economou for Assassin Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarok, Bear McCreary for Call of Duty Vanguard, Richard Jacque for Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy and Christopher Tin for Old World.
Friend of SIFTER composer Meena Shamaly contributed instrumentation on Oud and vocals on Old World so we’ll claim that as an aussie nomination too.
FIONA: We’ve spoken to the teams behind Tunic, Cult of the Lamb, Neon White and Citizen Sleeper for our podcast Lightmap so find those episodes in your podcast player to hear those excellent interviews.
GIANNI: That’s it for news, here are the games releasing this week.
GIANNI: Gungrave Gore the third person action shooter and sequel to the Playstation 2 titles is out on the 22nd of november. Big and over the top anime action it might be a good one for fans of devil may cry or Bayonetta, it’s out on Xbox Playstation and PC
FIONA: Sticking with third person action shooters, Evil West is also out on the 22nd, this wild weird west game embraces the spooky vibes as you blast vampires and monsters in single player and online co-op. You’ll find it on XBox Playstation and PC
GIANNI: Ship of Fools is a nautical rougelite from Fika Productions and Team17. It’s got a cool cartoony style that’s designed for co-op play. Plot your course with your mates and try to brave the endless seas. That’s out on Playstation, Xbox, Switch and PC on the 22nd as well.
FIONA: This has been Walkthrough by Sifter, my name is Fiona Bartholomaeus
GIANNI: And my name is Gianni Di Giovanni.
FIONA: We know you love listening to SIFTER so if you’d like to support our work, we’ve got a Ko-Fii 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
GIANNI: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Daniel Ang, Daniel Hyndes & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer and my name is 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.
GIANNI: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.