Plus Embracer Group loses $2 billion deal and drug testing on the cards for Olympic Esports
NEWS THIS WEEK
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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 PlayStation unveils a heap of new content, a 2 billion dollar deal falls through for Embracer Group, and drug testing is coming to ESports.
Here is the news for Sunday 28th of May. Let’s go!
PROMO: Join the SIFTER community on Discord at sifter.com.au/discord
FIONA: This week PlayStation held the PlayStation Games Showcase and boy it did not disappoint.
One of the biggest highlights was Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. We were treated to over 12 minutes of gameplay showcasing new abilities for both Miles and Peter, and introducing Venom who I cannot wait for. Still no release date yet but it’s rumoured that it’ll be September.
Sony also revealed a new hand-held streaming device codenamed Project Q which will be hitting the shelves in the near future. It will allow you to sit on the bed or couch and stream any game from your PS5 using remote play over Wi-Fi. It looks to be an interesting addition to the PS5 accessories pile.
“Later this year we will launch a dedicated device that enables you to stream any game from your PS5 console using remote play over Wi-Fi. Internally known as Project Q it has an 8-inch HD screen and all of the buttons and features of the Dual Sense wireless controller.”
Metal Gear Solid got big announcements - complete remake of the beloved Metal Gear Solid 3 (now called Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater) as well as a HD remaster collection that will let fans of Solid Snake play the original trilogy on the PS5.
Destiny 2 dropped a trailer for the upcoming expansion The Final Shape. It’ll be the conclusion to Destiny’s current ten-year long story arc and featured the return of fan-favourite character Cayde-6. Destiny fans can stay tuned for more details of the new expansion in a special showcase on August 22nd.
If The Final Shape wasn’t enough for Bungie fans, the studio announced their first new game in over ten years; the long-rumoured Marathon - a multiplayer shooter based on the studio’s 90s PC shooter trilogy. It’ll be multiplayer only and coming to PS5, Xbox Series S & X and PC with cross-play in the future.
KYLE: Grab your cloak and your dagger as Assassin’s Creed: Mirage is on its way. Set in Baghdad, it’ll be a smaller-scale game with a strong focus on stealth gameplay. That one will be available on October 12.
Capcom revealed the first teaser for the long-awaited Dragon’s Dogma 2, sequel to the cult hit RPG from 2012. The original was loved for its massive monster battles, bonkers physics system, sprawling open world, and chaotic spell system. The sequel is being built on Capcom’s RE engine and early footage looks like it’ll finally deliver on the promise from the original.
Sword of the Sea is a new game by Giant Squid, the team behind Abzu and The Pathless. Use a ‘hoversword’ to navigate and skate your way over the terrain that is in constant motion. This one looks stunning and will come to PS5 and PC.
Almost 10 years since the first game, The Talos Principle 2 is happening. This looks to be a mix of puzzles, twists and turns, and will be expanding on the first game’s philosophical themes. It’ll hit the shelves later this year on PS5.
And from the creators of Gris, Neva is a new 2d platformer that’ll be filled with puzzles and combat challenges. Featuring a lush, colourful art style, Neva will tell the tale of a young woman and her mysterious wolf-companion.
There were heaps more games announced during the showcase - too many to cover here, so make sure you check out the link in the show notes for a full list.
KYLE: Embracer Group, the massive gaming conglomerate who have been snapping up studios and buying the rights to IP like mad, just saw a massive deal collapse, a move that sent its stock plunging by 40%.
The mysterious deal with an unknown company would have generated over $2 billion in contracted development revenue over six years, and it's falling through seems to have come as a complete surprise for the team at Embracer.
Here is Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors speaking on the loss.
“Up until late last night we had an amazing cashflow because of that transaction. So if you compare it to that [previous] number…well I think that’s history now so it’s not that relevant.”
FIONA: This setback marks a significant turning point for Embracer, which seemed to be on a pretty hot acquisition spree buying up THQ Nordic, Gearbox, and Crystal Dynamics in recent years.
With this massive loss, who knows what could be next for the Swedish powerhouse.
FIONA: Time to put down that cup of gamer-fuel, because competitive gamers who use stimulants might face stricter rules as esports enters the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is considering esports in future Games, meaning the use of performance-enhancing drugs may become carefully monitored in the community.
For esports to be a part of the Olympics, it must be compliant with the Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA. This includes out-of-competition testing.
WADA and Global Esport Federation said they will work on an education program warning competitive gamers about the dangers of use and its impact on the competition.
KYLE: At the moment, there is no regulatory body in esports, so doping does not really exist in the same context as it does in traditional sport.
Either way, being part of the Olympics is a huge step in esports being taken more seriously, so I welcome any positive steps towards legitimization and can’t wait to watch huge CS:GO matches live on TV.
KYLE: In weirder news, a man was arrested earlier this week in Japan on the suspicion of violating copyright laws after he posted a video to youtube with gameplay from a popular visual novel Steins Gate Hiyoku Renri No Darin.
According to reports, the man had uploaded end of game content without permission from the rights holder and had then monetised the video on youtube to receive advertising revenue.
Owners of the IP, Kadokawa Corporation, took action against the YouTuber because they viewed the videos as a threat to sales, calling the behaviour ‘malicious’ for providing viewers a way to experience the full story of the game in a quick fashion without needing to buy it.
FIONA: This appears to be a world first case for the arrest of someone breaching copyright for uploading game footage online. The man arrested was later quoted saying “I knew it was illegal even as I was doing it”.
How this might impact streamers and content creators is unknown - most games developers generally leave them alone.
What’s most surprising is that it wasn’t Nintendo who was behind the arrest.
FIONA: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out this week.
KYLE: Out May 30th is the remake of the 90's hit, System Shock, nearly three decades since it was first released. Expect upgraded visuals, improved controls, and an overhauled interface in this fully fledged remake. It’s coming to PC this week, with console versions planned for a later date.
FIONA: As a team of broadcasters, we're obviously pretty excited for Killer Frequency. You play as Forrest Nash, a radio host whose callers are being targeted by a mystery killer. It's a first-person horror experience with puzzle-solving and a sweet 80's vibe. It’s out on all platforms on June 1st.
KYLE: Street Fighter 6 has finally arrived. It's got a big new single player campaign mode, a diverse roster of fighters, and a new and improved combat system. That’s out on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on June 2nd.
FIONA: And finally, it's time to rip and tear through some hellspawn because Diablo IV hits consoles and PC on June 2 - for those who pre-ordered - and June 6 for everyone else. It’s a dramatic reboot for the long-running ARPG series - you can catch our early impressions of the campaign on sifter.com.au next week.
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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.
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KYLE: SIFTER is produced by Fiona Bartholomaeus, myself, Daniel Ang & Adam Christou. Mitch Loh is Senior Producer who edited this episode and 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.
KYLE: Thanks again for listening, we’ll be back with more news next Sunday.