Plus the Steam Deck faces new competition from Asus and highlights from the ID@Xbox showcase #gamingnews
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.
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 Asus announces their own Steam Deck competitor, Ark 2 is delayed, Sega murders Sonic in one of the best April Fool’s jokes this year, and Niantic’s changes to Pokémon Go raids have angered players.
Here is the news for Sunday 9th of April. Let’s go!
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KYLE: Watch out Steam Deck, there’s a new handheld on its way and despite being announced on April 1st, it’s not a joke.
ASUS has confirmed that the recently announced ROG Ally is in production and from the limited information out there, it seems like a powerful competitor.
Youtuber Dave2D has been provided with an early engineering unit from Asus and it boasts some pretty good specs. An AMD Zen 4/RDNA 3 chip allowing for higher frame rates than the Steam Deck, a 120Hz 1920x1080 screen and it will also run Windows 11 which is an immediate plus for some people.
It’s an interesting announcement from a PC hardware company but with Valve breaking into the handheld market, it only makes sense that others would follow.
There isn’t a price or release date information just yet but we’ll keep you updated as we start to hear more.
FIONA: If ASUS can get their new handheld out before SteamDeck officially launches in Australia, we might see a lot of people going for this platform instead.
FIONA: ARK 2, the dinosaur survival sequel, has been delayed until the end of 2024 after developers Studio Wildcard reveal they need more time.
In the meantime, the developers are releasing an Unreal Engine 5 remaster of the original Ark: Survival Evolved called Ark: Survival Ascended and it will land in August. The remaster will contain the original game’s main island, battle royale mode, and support for cross-platform multiplayer and modding.
But, you can only buy it in a $50 bundle with the sequel, which doesn’t seem close to being finished, and once Ascended launches the original Survival Evolved services will be switched off - forcing those who want to play multiplayer with friends to pick up the remaster.
KYLE: Now I tried ARK once in the early days, and it was an absolute nightmare. I would drop, I couldn’t figure out where I was on the map, I couldn’t figure out where my friends were on the map, and I would either get speared or I would drown or eaten by a dinosaur. What was your experience like Fi?
FIONA: I must admit it’s been a while since I did play the game but it felt like I skipped a bit of tutorial but I was honestly just happy just running into dinosaurs and seeing what happened.
KYLE: Pokémon Go fans are losing it this week after changes were announced to their beloved Remote Raids and Remote Raid Passes.
Remote Raid passes allow players to enjoy battles from anywhere instead of standing right next to a raid and Niantic says they are tweaking the system to encourage more in-person gameplay.
How are they going to accomplish that you ask? By jacking up the price of course.
You are limited to 50 coins earned in game per day, and a pack of three passes now takes 11 in game days to earn, up from 6 during the COVID lockdowns.
Plus players will only be allowed to play five Remote Raids per day.
Speaking to Polygon, Pokémon Go VP Ed Wu said that the existing Remote Raid system is throwing the game's economy off balance and making it unsustainable in the long run.
But fans argue that these changes could disadvantage disabled and rural players, who have relied on Remote Raids to participate in battles they can't physically access, and the decision to make the game more challenging for these players is a step back in terms of accessibility.
FIONA: Some fans have even begun boycotting Raids, with a Raid Strike proposed on the r/pokemongo subreddit in hopes of getting Niantic to roll back these changes. To those boycotting I say, goodluck!
FIONA: The ID@ Xbox Showcase was held this week, showing off a bunch of new titles and updates.
First, we have the Tides of Foscari expansion for Vampire Survivors. The expansion features eight new characters, 13 new weapons, a new stage, seven music tracks, and 20 new achievements – all for just $1.99. It’s scheduled to release on April 13th.
Next, we have The Last Case of Benedict Fox, a metroidvania set in 1920s Boston, where players explore a terrifying mansion filled with monsters.
Cassette Beasts is a unique turn-based RPG with an 80's vibe that takes inspiration from Pokemon. Instead of using Poke Balls, you capture monsters with a cassette player!
Omega Strikers is a free-to-play online multiplayer game that combines soccer and air hockey.
The Karters 2: Turbocharged, inspired by games like Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart, showcased its chaotic races in a new gameplay trailer. The game will be released on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One with online cross-play, ranked matchmaking, over 12 game modes, custom tracks, and up to 6-player split screen.
KYLE: Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly lets players step into the shoes of a barista, serving fantasy-based customers and helping them with their problems. That’s coming on April 20th and will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
Homestead Arcana, a farming witch simulator from Skybound Games, tasks players with healing the world and pushing back an evil force known as the Miasma.
Closer the Distance explores themes of grief, death and loss. The game follows the story of Angela, a young girl from a town called Yesterby who died in a car accident and delves into the impact of her death on loved ones and community members.
The Explorator, a "semi-open fantasy FPS" with a striking art style ripped straight from the pages of a highly detailed storybook, takes players on a quest to find Atlantis.
Lil Guardsman puts players in control of a 12-year-old tasked with deciding the fate of over 100 characters trying to enter a kingdom.
And Kabaret, a dark fantasy visual novel, is available right now on Xbox, featuring a rich artstyle that draws on Southeast Asian myths and folklore
KYLE: Some very exciting speculative news out of the world of Fallout this week, after data miners discovered a recent SteamDB update to Fallout 4 had pointed to a series of files referring to a ‘newvegas2.’
As a bit of history, Bethesda is known for teasing new games and content with hidden clues and Easter eggs in their existing titles. Like the hidden message in Fallout 4 that hinted at the release of Fallout 76.
Fallout: New Vegas was a critically acclaimed spin-off with outstanding storytelling and role-playing mechanics, so it's no wonder fans are eager for a sequel or remake. However, the "newvegas2" depot could simply be a placeholder name for something else.
FIONA: In the same update, a "beta2" repository was found, likely related to Fallout 4's upcoming next-gen update for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, bringing significant visual improvements to the game.
The depots have since been removed, approximately 24 hours later, but whether "newvegas2" is a placeholder or something more, the discovery has ignited some serious excitement and discussions about the Fallout franchise's future. Bethesda is known for surprising announcements, so anything is possible.
FIONA: While most gaming April Fools jokes are worth forgetting, SEGA's entry into the jokeathon has subverted all expectations by actually being really good.
How did they do it? Well they killed Sonic.
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a visual novel that starts with the untimely end of the blue blur and you’ll need to track down the killer with some cool retro character outfits for all your faves.
The game is free and has been downloaded more than a million times and is actually one of the best reviewed Sonic games, sitting in the top 5 on metacritic with overwhelming positive reviews on Steam.
KYLE: Maybe setting expectations pretty low and making it free helped but if there is anything SEGA understands it’s the memes.
KYLE: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out this week
FIONA: Rogue-lite action platformer Trinity Fusion is out on Thursday. Players control parallel selves to save a doomed multiverse in a side scroller with big Metroid Dread vibes. Experience intense combat, unlock upgrades, and explore ever-changing sci-fi worlds on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox on the 13th.
KYLE: AFL23, the first footy game by developers Big Ant hits the field this week. Experience realistic gameplay developed in collaboration with AFL coaches where you can play with over 1200 AFL and AFLW players. Grab it on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox this Thursday.
FIONA: And retro gamers will be able to revisit the world of Mega Man with the release of Battle Network Legacy Collection Volume 1. This nostalgic compilation features four classic games, including Mega Man Battle Network, Battle Network 2, and both versions of Battle Network 3. That’s coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on the 14th.
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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.
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FIONA: SIFTER is produced by myself, Kyle Pauletto, Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and Gianni Di Giovanni is our Executive Producer.
KYLE: 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.
FIONA: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.