Plus Chinese WORLD OF WARCRAFT servers close and new games are announced at the Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct
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
KYLE: and I’m Kyle Pauletto
FIONA: Welcome to Walkthrough, SIFTER’s weekly recap on the biggest news in video games.
KYLE: This week Xbox & Bethesda drop a stack of release dates and a new game, HBO’s the Last of Us is unsurprisingly selling a lot of games and a massive game is shutting down in China.
Here is the news for Sunday 29th of January. Let’s go!
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FIONA: HBO’s The Last of Us series is a couple episodes in and fans are absolutely loving it so far, with widespread positive reviews coming from critics, gamers and casual viewers.
Sales of The Last of Us games have skyrocketed since the premiere and Gamesindustry.biz has reported that in the UK alone, sales of The Last of Us on PS4 have increased 238%, and sales of the remaster have jumped a massive 322%.
And both versions have begun popping up on top sales charts again, reaching number six on Amazons top PS5 sales in the US, and Part two is currently the best selling game of the week for PS4.
KYLE: I have to admit Fiona, I’m one of those people. I never got around to finishing part one and since watching the show I am dying to get stuck into the remaster.
FIONA: Speaking of Last of Us, creator and co-president of Naughty Dog Neil Druckmann recently opened up about the future ofLast of Us and Uncharted games in an interview with Buzzfeed.
Druckmann said Sony wasn’t putting the pressure on them for Last of Us part 3 or Uncharted 5 but it was up to that team to decide
He revealed that Naughty Dog is likely moving on from Uncharted but there is a multiplayer game set in the world of Last of Us in the works which will be story-driven, it could even be coop.
KYLE: Naughty Dog is a bit of a kingmaker when it comes to games so If I was Sony i’d step back too “take your time Neil, you’re good”
And if you’re excited for more episodes of the HBO series, the good news is it’s already been renewed for a second season.
KYLE: Microsoft hosted the Xbox Bethesda Developer Direct this week, a shorter online presentation filled with updated release dates.
Hi-Fi Rush the musical rhythm game stole the show, it’s a saturday morning cartoon styled game where you’ve got to use the power of music to defeat the big bosses.
It’s developed by Tango Gameworks who you’d know from spooky games Evil Within 1 and 2 and Ghostwire Tokyo, so to say this is a departure is an understatement..
It’s available right now, included as part of Xbox Game Pass and standalone on Xbox and PC.
Interestingly it’s the first exclusive Bethesda game since Microsoft bought the publisher, sorry PlayStation and Switch players.
They also finally announced that Goldeneye would be available on Gamepass on the 27th, so Xbox users can jump into the classic shooter right now!
FIONA: Strategy Minecraft spinoff Minecraft Legends will build it’s way across consoles and PC on the 18th of April.
Redfall, the cooperative shooter from Dishonoured developer Arkane, will clean up the vampiric streets on the 2nd of May.
The Elder Scrolls Online gets a new expansion Necrom in June expanding the roster of playable classes with the new Arcanist.
And Forza Motorsport, the more technical racer of the Forza series will get a new entry this year too but we don’t know when yet.
KYLE: Boston developers Proletariat have decided to stop their unionization process following alleged pressure from its CEO and parent company Activision Blizzard.
Workers allege that CEO Seth Sivak and leadership employed some pretty confrontational tactics which has left workers demoralized and disempowered.
Check the show notes for a link to a breakdown of the situation by Games Industry editor Brendan Sinclair.
FIONA: If any studio should be unionised it should be one called Pro-la-tare-ee-at…despite only a month of organised union action it looks like the trend is heading in that direction so this seems like a minor stumbling block.
FIONA: Sad news for Chinese fans of World of Warcraft and Overwatch, as millions of players this week lost access to their favourite games.
Activision Blizzard announced last year that it would not be renewing its contract with China’s NetEase Games, which allowed the games to run in China.
WoW players had the option to download nearly two decades of character data,which some people are calling a digital cremation, in the hopes of one day being able to reunite with them on a server.
But the catch of doing that was if you downloaded your character data you’re then locked out of playing the game and participating in the final online moments.
KYLE: This just seems like a terrible situation for everyone involved, and one that could have been avoided. I hope Chinese gamers are able to get back online in the not too distant future.
KYLE: That’s it for news, here are the games releasing this week.
FIONA: Season, a Letter to the Future is out on the 31st. It’s a gorgeous looking third-person atmospheric road trip game by indie devs Scavengers Studio. It looks great, and is coming to PC and PlayStation
KYLE: Also out this week is SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. It’s a 3D platformer set in the world of Spongebob, and although I’ve never really been a fan of the show, this looks like it could be a lot of fun. Grab it on Switch, PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox one this Tuesday.
FIONA: And later in the week we get the release of Deliver us Mars, an atmospheric sci-fi adventure story. This looks tense and a little spooky and I’m keen to check it out when it releases on PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox series X and S, and Xbox one on the 2nd.
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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: thanks to Rob D who became a monthly backer on Ko-Fi. 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
KYLE: 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 who also edits each episode.
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.