Plus E3 cancelled after major companies pull out and God of War Ragnarök wins big at the 2023 BAFTA Games Awards
NEWS THIS WEEK
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SIFTER is produced by FIONA 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 we’ve got a big Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom update, E3 is officially cancelled after everyone pulled out and a very rough launch for The Last of Us on PC
Here is the news for Sunday 2nd of April. Let’s go!
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FIONA: Hold on to your Sheikah Slates, folks! The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is now 100% complete, and we've got some juicy new details to share with you courtesy of a 10 minute long gameplay direct released earlier this week.
Producer Eiji Aonuma shared four new powers available in the Breath of the Wild sequel.
"Recall," lets you rewind an object's movement. In the demo, we saw this power used to recall a fallen rock, enabling Link to reach a sky island, one of the new zones high above Hyrule.
Weapon degradation is back, which I know will upset some of you, but there’s a new power called “Fuse” which lets you link two objects together. Want to make a mega rake? You got it. A spicy heat seeking arrow with an eyeball? Get gluing Link.
There’s also the "Ascend" power, which allows you to pass through anything with a ceiling and land on the floor above.
But perhaps most exciting of all is the new "Ultrahand" power, which allows you to attach items in the world to each other, letting you craft boats and other machines .
Nintendo has also revealed a Tears of the Kingdom OLED Switch which looks absolutely beautiful with a golden white and green design that I'm not ashamed to admit I’ve already pre-ordered.
There’s also a Tears of the Kingdom Pro Controller and Carrying Case set to release along with the new OLED.
KYLE: It’s really not that far away now, with just a few months until the May 12th release date. It feels like they took the most interesting and creative parts of Breath of the Wild, and really focused on expanding them to their full potential. I just can't wait to get my hands on this game Fi. And I know you feel the same right?
FIONA: I am absolutely so excited for this game, I have a counter in my brain ready to pick up that game.
KYLE: The Last of Us: Part 1's highly anticipated PC port has finally arrived on Steam, but it seems players aren't exactly celebrating, because unless you’ve got an absolute beast machine, the experience isn’t great.
Many folks are pointing fingers at shader issues, with the game taking ages to build them at launch and constant crashes during gameplay.
At the time of recording there was only 38% of the more than 10,800 reviews giving it a positive review, and while it’s clawed its way back from “mostly negative” it’s now sitting at “Mixed”
It's enough to make you wonder what happened during those extra weeks back in February when Naughty Dog delayed the release, promising a "PC debut" that would live up to everyone's standards.
Maybe they couldn’t wait any longer with the completion of the HBO tv series that they’d likely wanted to tie it in with.
It's a shame, really, considering Sony's recent streak of successful PC ports like Days Gone, God of War, and Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered and Miles Morales.
FIONA: The game has already been updated twice since launch and SIFTER EP Gianni has been playing and has noticed some big improvements already especially on the Steam Deck.
FIONA: Australia’s notorious classification system will get a bit of a shakeup if proposed legislation makes its way through parliament, but NO it won’t ease up some of those very harsh rules around the appearance of drugs, they are going after Loot Boxes.
The Aussie government says that research shows a link between loot boxes, simulated gambling, and gambling problems, so they want to change the ratings to make sure kids can’t buy them.
Here is Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland explaining why she believes this is such an important proposal.
“A parent for example would expect that if their children had purchased and was playing a game and that game contained some simulated gambling, that they had a right to know about that.”
This means that games like FIFA, which has been under fire for its random player card packs in FIFA Ultimate Team mode, would be bumped up to an M rating. Currently, FIFA 23 has a G rating in Australia, so this could really shake things up for sport sim sales down under.
KYLE: But here's where it gets really interesting. The new scheme also wants to give a mandatory R18+ rating to games that have "simulated gambling." We're talking about those virtual gambling games and apps, some of which even use real cash. This makes sense, but it could get confusing for regular video games that feature in-game card games like Gwent in the Witcher 3.
It's still yet to go to a vote, but we'll keep you updated as the story unfolds.
KYLE: Some sad news for gamers this week. E3 2023 has officially been cancelled.
Big names like Ubisoft, Sega, and Tencent pulled out, joining Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony who had already bailed on this year's event.
E3 was all set to make a grand return to Los Angeles for the first time in four years, but it seems it just wasn't meant to be. Kyle Marsden-Kish, the global VP of gaming at ReedPop, said they had to do what's right for the industry and E3, even though it was a tough call.
But don't lose hope! ReedPop and the ESA are still planning to work together on future E3 events. And the good news is that we've still got plenty of alternatives. The Summer Game Fest will be taking place in June, and Microsoft and Ubisoft will be hosting their own digital events during that time.
FIONA: We knew that this was coming but it’s still to see a staple event closing its door. I can’t wait to see what ReedPop does with future gaming events and what alternative E3 we might see in the future.
FIONA: Dark and Darker, a first person dungeon-crawler game developed by Ironmace, has now been removed from Steam weeks after the team behind it received a cease and desist from publisher Nexon.
South Korean police have raided the Seongnam based Iron Mace as Nexon alleges that some of the game’s development code originates from a game built at that studio called P3, and the code was created while some of Ironmace’s team members were working at Nexon.
A few weeks back Ironmace released a statement on Discord saying they were working with their legal team to resolve the situation but now, weeks later, there aren’t any traces of the game left on Steam.
According to people on Reddit, it started with movies and trailers disappearing, then screenshots, online PvP, online co-op, before finally the store description and store page disappeared entirely from Steam.
It’s an interesting situation and one we will keep you updated on.
KYLE: Dark and Darker was one of the biggest games of the last Steam preview event topping out the charts with their playable demo, so this is definitely not great timing for Iron Mace.
KYLE: The 2023 BAFTA Games Awards were held this week, here are all the notable winners from the big night.
God of War Ragnarök seemed like the unstoppable winner, taking home awards for both acting categories, Animation, Audio Achievement, and Music, and even snagging the public's EE Game of the Year vote.
But. Despite all that, the Best Game award ended up going to the indie darling, Vampire Survivors. Even the devs were shocked when they went up to accept the night's biggest prize, here is Technical Director Sam McGarry
“We did not expect this. So you’ll see we’re not Luca, but we are the entire development team of Vampire Survivors. So firstly, we’d like to thank the rest of the team, everyone here, for their hard work on the game. So QA, engineers, marketing, programmers, everyone, and also people that couldn’t make it, so people that wrote our soundtrack, like Daniele. Everyone’s had a huge impact on Vampire Survivors and the team works so hard on the game that clearly everyone loves to play, even Phil Spencer. One extra thing, I’d like to give a massive thank you, and the rest of the team would as well, to Luca for bringing us on this wild ride with him. It’s insane.”
Vampire Survivors also just announced a big DLC Tides of the Foscari set in a magical school which will be out on April 13, so there’s plenty more to enjoy soon.
FIONA: Another indie hit that we at SIFTER absolutely loved is Tunic, which scored both the Debut Game and Artistic Achievement awards.
Fan favourite Elden Ring took home the best Original Property and Multiplayer categories, and the indie gem Endling–Extinction is Forever won the Game Beyond Entertainment award.
It was a night full of surprises and recognition for both big names and indie titles, so from everyone here at SIFTER I’d like to say congratulations to all the winners and keep up the good work.
FIONA: That’s it for the big headlines, here’s what’s coming out this week
KYLE: Filthy Animals: Heist Simulator is out this week, the chaotic 1 - 4 player heist game by Animal House Studios. Join other mutant animals under crime lord Tony's command, stealing, brawling and looting for your life. That drops on PC on the 4th.
FIONA: Dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Meet Your Maker, a first-person shooter by Behaviour Interactive. Construct and raid player-built outposts teeming with traps and guards. Team up or go solo, armed with firearms, grenades, and a grappling hook. That’s coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox this Tuesday.
KYLE: And Ravenswatch, the roguelike action game from Passtech, is dropping on the 6th. It’s a top-down action game that combines intense real-time combat with deep solo or co-op gameplay. You can pick up Ravenswatch on all platforms this Thursday.
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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: Walkthrough is our recap of the news but if you want to catch up on all of SIFTER’s stories we’ve got a fancy newsletter. It’s an easy way to make sure you don’t miss any of our interviews or reviews and it’s out every fortnight. Head to sifter.com.au/newsletter to subscribe, that’s sifter.com.au/newsletter
KYLE: SIFTER is produced by myself, Fiona Bartholomaeus, 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.