This week in gaming: Lucasfilm Games returns, CD Projekt apologises, Aussie telcos want a hand, and more!
In the spirit of keeping our readers up to date with what’s happening in the video game industry, the Doublejump Digest is a brief collection of the major news stories from the past week. Keep an eye out for the Digest every Sunday night, and head on into the archive for news from weeks gone by!
- Among Us took the gaming community by storm during the COVID-enforced lockdowns, and it’s taken Luke’s Game of the Year vote as well!
Lucasfilm revives Lucasfilm Games imprint; announces projects with Bethesda and Ubisoft
Lucasfilm kicked off the week by announcing that it has brought back its Lucasfilm Games imprint to license a slew of new titles from long-time Star Wars license holder EA as well as Ubisoft and Bethesda Softworks.
Bethesda Softworks announced that MachineGames (Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus) is working on a new Indiana Jones game with Fallout Director Todd Howard executive producing the project.
Ubisoft followed Bethesda not long after by announcing that Massive Entertainment (The Division series) is developing “a story-driven, open-world experience within the Star Wars galaxy”, with Yves Guillemot noting that this untitled project “is the beginning of a long-term collaboration” between the French publisher and Disney/Lucasfilm Games.
Current exclusive Star Wars licence holder EA added the cherry on top by updating Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s PS4 and Xbox One versions to run at higher resolutions and 60 frames-per-second on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S respectively.
CD Projekt co-founder apologises for Cyberpunk 2077’s technical issues, lays out update roadmap
Marcin Iwiński, the co-founder of CD Projekt RED parent company CD Projekt, issued an apology for Cyberpunk 2077’s multitude of bugs and poor performance on PS4 and Xbox One. He began by asking players not to blame the development team for the game’s issues before explaining how its complex systems and dense city environment made it challenging to implement improvements on the ageing consoles.
He also added that the developer has pushed back the game’s long-awaited PS5 and Xbox Series X|S “upgrades” until the second half of this year, with CDPR planning to release two major patches and “free DLCs” beforehand.
Aussie telcos want companies to pay for consumers’ data usage
After a year spent in isolation resulted in rising consumer interest and consumption of streaming services and gaming, two of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, Optus and Telstra, have come together to call for major companies to be more accountable for their data-heavy products.
Optus’ head of regulatory and public affairs, Andrew Sheridan, told the Australian Financial Review that the heavy use of data-heavy entertainment options like game patches and binge streaming, especially during peak times, results in a worse experience for everyone — and makes it more difficult for the telcos themselves to solve those issues. Sheridan’s contemporary, Telstra head of networks Nikos Katinakis, suggested that “over-the-top” providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and video game publishers “could do and should do a lot more in participating in the value creation and sharing the wealth that gets created” by contributing to the improvement of Australia’s internet infrastructure.
Neither Sheridan nor Kalinikos proposed any firm policies, or even made suggestions as to how these over-the-top providers could get involved and help to improve the experience for everyone, but the suggestion is there — and it almost feels like a warning that, if these issues persist, we could see price hikes on our existing internet connections and plans.
Twitch rotates PogChamp emote daily following US insurrection; TheGrefg breaks Twitch viewership record
Omega “Critical Bard” Jones, one of the new faces of Twitch’s PogChamp emote following the original’s retirement, faced online harassment, DDoS attack attempts, and death threats during his day as one of the streaming service’s most beloved emotes.
Speaking with PC Gamer, Jones criticised Twitch’s lack of “safety measures” to protect creators from the wrath of its users.
“The fact that folks who don’t even interact with me could go to my channel, clip a small part of a broader conversation, and turn that clip into fuel to attack me is a huge issue,” he explained. “The fact that folk can make account after account with ease so [that] they can hide their racist antics behind the disposable troll account is a problem. The fact that these attacks didn’t just come from viewers… but from Twitch Affiliates AND fellow Twitch Partners is a problem.”
When asked for a response to the harassment that Jones and other PogChamp faces have faced, a Twitch representative told Polygon that the company is working with these creators to “offer support”.
“While we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from both the community and those highlighted, we are also in close contact with the new faces of PogChamp to offer support as needed,” the Twitch representative said. “We do not tolerate harassment on Twitch, and will take action on any behaviors on our service that violate our rules.”
Nintendo announces Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury and adorable new Switch colourway
Nintendo has been celebrating Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary since September last year, and has put any thoughts that that celebration might end now that it’s 2021 to bed by announcing that it’s bringing Super Mario 3D World to the Nintendo Switch along with a new adventure called Bowser’s Fury.
The Switch port of Super Mario 3D World will include faster character movement, online multiplayer, a Snapshot photo mode and Amiibo functionality, though it won’t be a remaster in any major way. Bowser’s Fury will feature all of 3D World’s fun mechanics while also marking the series’ return to the open-world adventure formula we saw in Super Mario 64 and, more recently, Super Mario Odyssey. Players will explore Lake Lapcat and team up with Bowser Jr. to take down a gigantic Fury Bowser… by turning into a giant cat. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is slated for February 2, alongside a Cat Mario and Cat Peach Amiibo set that’ll bring some fun additions to both adventures.
Nintendo also took the opportunity to announce a Mario-themed red and blue Nintendo Switch console that’s set to be released on February 12 — just another way to celebrate the company’s veritable stalwart of the last 35 years.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition (PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch, and Xbox One)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition — Launch Trailer
The ten-year wait is over.
MONSTER HUNTER RISE — Wyvern Riding Trailer
Those poor Wyverns.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 — Skif Trailer
Monstrum 2 comes to Early Access later this month:
Dundee, Scotland-based developer Junkfish has announced that it’s planning to bring the sequel to its 2015 roguelike survival-horror experience to Steam’s Early Access program on Thursday, January 28. Where Monstrum had players isolated and battling their way off its derelict cargo ships against AI-driven monsters, Monstrum 2 has taken the Evolve and Friday the 13th route into asymmetrical, 4v1 action where one player controls one of three nightmare-inducing monsters hunting down the other four as they try to find their way out.
The announcement came alongside a trailer that detailed the game’s newest monster, the “molluscan, Lovecraftian nightmare” known as the Malacosm, as well as the announcement of an Open Beta weekend to be held next weekend, January 23-24.
…And 30XX is set to follow:
Batterystaple Games is set to follow on from 2016’s best-selling “Megaroguelike” action platformer, 20XX, by releasing 30XX onto Steam Early Access on Wednesday, February 17. At launch, 30XX will also feature a “permadeath-free classic campaign experience”, a co-operative mode and a level creator through which players can share their creations with the rest of the community.
At this stage, the developer has yet to share any kind of roadmap to the game’s full release, but given the success it found releasing 20XX into Early Access, we’re sure it’ll be well worth the wait.
- Sony has since pulled the release dates from its recent CES PS5 trailer: Eurogamer
- HBO has signed Kantemir Balagox to direct The Last of Us TV show: THR
- Josef Fares talked about EA’s doubts about A Way Out’s success: IGN
- BestCrosses is planning an NBA Jam documentary: Variety
- Blizzard has redesigned the BattleNet client: PC Gamer
- You can now play Peach’s Castle as a GoldenEye 007 map: Eurogamer
- The fighting game community has banded together to promote positive behaviour: Kotaku
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