News
Episode
102

Tarnished rejoice as ELDEN RING SHADOW OF THE ERDTREE gets a release date

Plus Larian Studios calls out stakeholder pressure at the DICE awards and all the highlights from Nintendo’s Direct Partner Showcase

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS REMAKE - 28 February 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5
  • STAR WARS: DARK FORCES REMASTER - 28 February 2024 - PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch
  • FINAL FANTASY XII REBIRTH - 29 February 2024 - PlayStation 5    

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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, Courtney Borrett, 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.

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 Elden Ring Shadow of the Erd Tree gets a release date, the big announcements from this week’s Nintendo Direct, and Larian wins big at the Dice Awards

Here is the news for Sunday 25th of February. Let’s go!

— 

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

KYLE: Big news for all us tarnished, Elden Ring’s big expansion DLC Shadow of the Erdtree has a release date. 

You’ll be able to slosh through the poisonous swamps of the Land of Shadow, a new area accessible after defeating Mohg, Lord of Blood on PC, Xbox and PS5 on Friday 21st of June.

FIONA: The area is said to be larger than Limgrave in the base game with new bosses weapons and a Sekiro like “Attack Power” system. 

The big tree shown in the new trailer is the Haligtree and between its spooky branches we’ll learn more about Miquella, Messmer and Queen Marika who are all tied to the Land of Shadow.

There will be plenty of secrets to discover no doubt and Elden Ring players will be sure to bloody bang on about it constantly so get ready for a few more months of them being insufferable from June. 

FIONA: Nintendo is back with another Direct Partner Showcase and boy was it a big one.

A blast from the past and one that I never thought would get a remaster, is Epic Mickey: Rebrushed. It’s an enhanced version of the 2010 platformer where the disney mascot uses a magic paintbrush to draw or erase objects during his quest. It’s getting better visuals, quality-of-life improvements and new skills and abilities. No release date yet but it’s coming to Switch later this year.

We’re getting a gorgeous new addition to the beloved Wii series Endless Ocean with Endless Ocean Luminous. Dive into the game either solo or up to 30 players online, and discover over 500 different species of marine life including long-extinct and slightly mythical creatures. It will be out on April 25th.

Rareware is making a comeback on the Switch with five classic games now available on Nintendo Switch Online. Dive back into the NES and SNES era of games with RC Pro-AM, Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, and Killer Instinct. For those with the Switch Online Expansion Pack, you can also pick up N64’s Blast Corps. 

KYLE: Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefront II are receiving the remaster treatment with Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection. The early 2000s games will include their solo campaigns, local multiplayer matches and 64-player online battles which sounds like so much fun. That will be out on Switch as well as PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on March 14th.

We also got a first hand look at a couple of Xbox exclusives that are coming to other platforms

Pentiment is a historical narrative-driven adventure with beautifully illustrated art inspired by medieval tapestries and books. Play as a master artist who gets caught up in a decades spanning murder mystery plot where your actions have consequences. This one is out now.

And finally, Grounded, the Obsidian Xbox co-op survival game with a ‘honey I shrunk the kids vibe’ is also heading to the Switch. Grab your friends and try to survive in a world that is much much bigger than you. Seriously -you’ll have to fight off giant ants. This one also features cross-platform multiplayer, so good news if you’ve got friends playing on Xbox or PC. Grab it when it launches on April 16th.

As always there were a stack of other games that were announced. You can check out the list in our show notes.

KYLE: Speaking of Nintendo, It’s been an impatient couple of weeks for anyone waiting for news about the Switch 2. Sadly, there are already reports that it’ll be delayed. 

Brazilian journalist Pedro Henrique Lutti Lippe, Video Games Chronicle and Eurogamer have all reported that sources are now pointing to an early 2025 release date.

FIONA: Lutti Lippe, who has successfully reported on Nintendo leaks in the past, says we can expect an official reveal in June. 

I am excited to see what Nintendo does next, while the Switch was groundbreaking, handheld competition is definitely more fierce now.

FIONA: After a hotfix to Baldur’s Gate 3 last week broke everyone’s mods, Larian’s director of publishing Michael Douse posted that the studio was working on official cross platform modding support later this year. 

At the moment a number of scripts need to be constantly updated and adjusted as patches are released, so it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game to keep those mods running.

KYLE: Larian Studios' production head, David Walgrave got up on stage to accept the Game of the Year award at the 27th annual DICE awards last week, calling out the pressure from shareholders responsible for thousands of game developers at other studios losing their jobs. 

[AUDIO GRAB] “Last year I started thinking the secret to our success is the decisions that we make come from ‘what does the player want’, ‘what do I think is best for the game’, ‘what is the most fun, ‘what is the most crazy’. People telling us we shouldn't do this, or we can't do it, or this is too challenging or too hard. That usually just gives us a kick up the ass to actually make it happen. We ask you to pay one price only for the game and that's it, you can own it for the rest of your life. We don't have shareholders, but we also don't think about them. But what we have tried in the last 20 years is to treat people like we would like to be treated ourselves, as players, as gamers. So we don't make decisions where we think this could make us the most money. On the long run, building a community, building a player base, building games that are actually fun is going to make you the most money. That's it.”

A unique studio in a unique position, but I'm sure most of us hope that the rest of the industry can move in Larian’s direction for the sake of all developers.

KYLE: Microsoft have confirmed that SOME of the games you’ve purchased will be playable in the cloud for top tier subscribers of Game Pass this year.

Xbox Cloud Gaming does allow for a few non-gamepass free to play games like Fortnite, but in most cases only titles included in the subscription could be played from the cloud.

FIONA: It was originally announced as arriving in 2022, but a random Xbox player messaged Phil Spencer through Xbox’s chat feature who said  ‘should be this year’ so there you go

Expect a legitimate announcement soon I’d say. 

— 

FIONA: Helldivers 2 has broken even more player records this week 

Last weekend over 333,000 concurrent PC players logged in to shoot bugs, fight socialist robots and blow themselves up for liberty surpassing the player count of all other PlayStation PC ports.

Whether its because it launched on PC and PlayStation 5 at the same time or just because it’s a super fun game is hard to tell

KYLE: There are still some pretty big server issues and bugs going on though, some of which have occurred because of the massive number of people trying to play the game.

The team have been busily working to increase server capacity and have released several patches in the last few days to help quash crashes, fix matchmaking, and one to kick players idling in the server - so lets hope the server queues will finally settle down.

KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here are the games coming out this week

FIONA: It’s a big week for remakes and remasters, and up first is the cult classic Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which has been remade from the ground up for current gen consoles. Grab that on PC, Xbox Series S and X, and PlayStation 5 on the 28th. 

KYLE: Also out on the 28th is another fan favourite, Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster. Jump back into the shoes of Kyle Katan and revisit this 1995 classic in 4K resolution at 120FPS. That’s coming to all platforms this Wednesday.

FIONA: And rounding up the remakes for the week we have the highly anticipated second entry to the Final Fantasy VII Remakes, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Fans of the series loved the first entry in this planned trilogy, and Rebirth is looking fantastic from what we have seen so far. That’s out on the 29th, currently exclusive to PlayStation 5. 

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

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: We know you love our podcasts, so why not become a monthly backer on Ko-Fi? Your support lets us keep making our shows  and It’s easy to do, head to sifter.com.au/support where support starts from just $1 a month that link again is sifter.com.au/support or check the shownotes.

FIONA: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, myself, Courtney Borrett, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode, and Gianni Di Giovanni is the Walkthrough script editor, and SIFTER’s executive producer.

KYLE: Thanks to Brian Fairbanks from Salty Dog Sounds for composing the Walkthrough theme tune, and Audio Technica Australia for their support of SIFTER’s podcasts.

FIONA: We’ll be back with more news next Sunday. See you then.

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Elden Ring

PC
PlayStation 5
XBOX SERIES X|S
Developer:
From Software
Publisher:
Bandai Namco
Release Date:
February 25, 2022

Helldivers 2

PlayStation 5
PC
Developer:
Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher:
PlayStation Studios
Release Date:
February 8, 2024

Baldur's Gate 3

PC
PlayStation 5
Developer:
Larian Studios
Publisher:
Larian Studios
Release Date:

Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth

PlayStation 5
Developer:
Square Enix
Publisher:
Square Enix
Release Date:
February 29, 2024
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