Union performers are voting to approve strike action as part of upcoming contract negotiations with game companies
News
Episode
81

Why video game actors might be next to join SAG-AFTRA strike

Plus Starfield beats Baldur’s Gate with 1 million concurrent players and new information on the Switch 2

NEWS THIS WEEK

RELEASE RADAR

  • MYTHFORCE - 12 September 2023 - PC, Switch, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5
  • GUNBRELLA - 13 September 2023 - PC, Switch
  • SUPER BOMBERMAN R 2 - 13 September 2023 - PC, Switch, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5
  • AK-XOLOTL - 14 September 2023 - PC, Switch, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5
  • THE CREW MOTORFEST - PC, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5

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SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, Fiona Bartholomaeus, 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 Starfield cracks 1 million concurrent players, some of the games press have seen the Switch 2 and video game voice actors put a strike on the table as part of their contract negotiations. 

Here is the news for Sunday 10th of September. Let’s go!

— 

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

KYLE: The U.S. video game industry is on the cusp of a potential strike, with voice and performance capture artists in talks to walk off the job.

Union SAG-AFTRA, also active in the ongoing Hollywood disputes, is currently deliberating a strike against 10 major gaming firms, including big dogs like Activision, Disney, EA, Epic, Take 2, and Warner Brothers.

FIONA: Central to their demands is an 11% retroactive wage increase and protections against rapidly advancing AI technologies, with SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland emphasising the imminent threat of AI eroding performers’ roles. 

While they aren’t on strike yet, it’s on the table when negotiations resume on September 26.

— 

FIONA: The troubled blood-sucking RPG adventure game Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is back in production after a change in developer.

Originally announced in 2019 by Hardsuit Labs, the game has been plagued with development issues with several delays, the firing of the creative leads in 2020, and then the publisher, Paradox Interactive, moved development to another studio in 2021.

The sequel has now been revealed to be in development by The Chinese Room, the team behind first-person game ‘Dear Esther’ and ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’, and the team has big plans for the game.

KYLE: It’s now aiming for a release in autumn 2024 and while some aspects of the new trailer are similar to the original 2019 Gamescom demo, we won’t know more about how the gameplay has changed until closer to the release.

KYLE: Starfield launched this past week and it looks to have been a smash hit. 

Across PC and Xbox the game saw 1 million concurrent players hitting that record just after launch. 

The game is included in Games Pass which probably made a big difference as the cost of entry was low but it's still a big milestone.

To put that in perspective Baldur’s Gate 3 notched up only 875,000 concurrent players at its peak. 

 FIONA: It’s been a surprising critical response to the game, with some reviewers falling in love with the ship building and combat, and others a bit disappointed with the large number of loading screens and kinda so-so writing. 

Gianni has been raving about the next Gen doors though, and says they are the coolest in game yet. Find out what else made an impact this week on our review podcast Droprate and over at sifter.com.au.

FIONA: The adorable cat adventure game Stray will be hitting the big screen in the near future in the form of an animated movie.

Announced exclusively by Entertainment Weekly, the animation will be one of the many upcoming films developed by Annapurna Animation, following the success of its first Netflix feature Nimona.

Andrew Millstein, one of the heads of Annapurna Animation, said that Stray was chosen first because of how popular it was and how people enjoyed a story about what makes us human despite seeing the world through the view of a cat.

KYLE: The studio plans to adapt some of the other popular Annapurna games into movies but are keeping quiet on which ones.

Stray won Best Independent Game at the 2022 Game Awards and was incredibly popular due to its storytelling and of course playing as a cat. 

The game has a pretty incredible world and premise, so it’ll be interesting to see how it’s adapted to the big screen. 

KYLE: Final Fantasy fans get ready as new DLC content is on the way.

Square Enix announced this week that Final Fantasy XVI will be getting two paid DLCs, something producer Naoki Yoshida said originally wasn’t on the cards.

After feedback from the community expressing how they wanted to explore more of Valisthea’s story and spend more time in that world, the development team reconsidered the possibility.

In addition to the DLCs the team also confirmed that the PC port is officially in development. Originally released as a PlayStation 5 exclusive, there have been a lot of requests to bring the game onto PC and finally those requests have been answered. 

FIONA: Square Enix will share more details on both the DLCs and the PC port before the end of the year, but in the meantime there is now a free update for the game which includes new outfits, a new Onion Sword weapon, plus the ability to change the appearance of Clive’s weapons all while keeping the stats of the equipped one. 

— 

FIONA: Finally on the tasty rumour plate for your enjoyment this week, some of the games press have seen the “Switch 2”.

Reported by Eurogamer and confirmed independently by Video Game Chronicle a select group of press were shown the next Gen console at Gamescom.  

KYLE: It’s rumoured the device will use some of Nvidia’s fancy new deep learning supersampling tech to upscale and smooth out the graphics and gameplay.

It’s also being reported that an upscaled version of Breath of the Wild was shown. 

I’m sure we will find out more in the coming months so stay tuned to Walkthrough for all of the latest.

— 

KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out over the next week

FIONA: MythForce is a Saturday morning cartoon like game from developers Beamdog. It’s a melee rogue like with up to four players, coming out on all platforms on the 12th.

KYLE: Gunbrella is a super stylish platformer where you have a gun, can you guess where I’m going with this, that is also an umbrella. It’s got some cool movement abilities and looks very stylish. That’s out on the 13th for Switch and PC.

FIONA: Bomberman is back next week with Super Bomberman R 2. With an added stage editor, you can craft your own challenges online or with local multiplayer when Super Bomberman R 2 lands on all platforms September 13th.

KYLE: On the 14th you’ll be able to dive into the quirky world of AK-xolotl. This top-down roguelite shooter stars an axolotl with an AK-47, taking on wild bosses like knife-wielding crabs. AK-xolotl comes to all platforms this Thursday.

FIONA: Also out Thursday is the third instalment in The Crew racing series, The Crew Motorfest. Take on campaign playlists, varied races, and a heap of collectable iconic vehicles for you to explore Hawaii with. That’s coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on the 14th.

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 address again is sifter.com.au/support.

FIONA: SIFTER is produced by Kyle Pauletto, myself, Adam Christou, Daniel Ang and Chris Button. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer, and Gianni Di Giovanni, who edited this episode, is our executive producer. 

KYLE: 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.

FIONA: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.

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Starfield

XBOX SERIES X|S
PC
Developer:
Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher:
Bethesda Softworks
Release Date:
September 6, 2023
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