This week in gaming: South Australia prepares for Mortal Kombat, Sony and Microsoft partner up, Minecraft turns ten, 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!
The SA government approves funding for a Mortal Kombat movie:
Early this week, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced that his government has signed a deal with Warner Bros. to film part of the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot film in the state. The state government expects the film to bring $70 million into South Australia’s economy, create 580 jobs, and cast 1500 locals as extras. Furthermore, Marshall noted how this film could prove crucial in bringing more Hollywood business in the future.
“Mortal Kombat is going to be absolutely crucial. Bringing a blockbuster here, I think, will demonstrate the great capability that we have in South Australia,” Marshall said. “We’re going to be going for more and more screen work for our state.”
Filming in South Australia is set to take place between this September and December.
Sony and Microsoft join forces for new cloud-based services:
The two companies announced that they “will partner on new innovations” related to media streaming and artificial intelligence. While the press release did not mention Xbox or PlayStation by name, it did heavily imply that the latter brand could benefit from updated Microsoft Azure cloud technology.
“Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties, the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services,” Microsoft wrote. “In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.”
Minecraft’s lifetime sales pass the 176M mark, Minecraft Earth is an augmented-reality adventure:
Microsoft dedicated part of this week to Minecraft’s tenth anniversary and revealed that the multiplayer block-building game has now sold more 176 million copies worldwide. In addition to this, the company also unveiled a new mobile game titled Minecraft Earth that uses augmented reality to make the series’s blocky world come alive against a real-life backdrop.
CD Projekt RED promises to improve working conditions during Cyberpunk 2077’s development:
In an age where the games industry and its culture of overworking and intense “crunch” have come under the spotlight – Kotaku’s spotlight in particular (1, 2, 3, 4) – co-founder and CEO Marcin Iwiński assured Kotaku that the studio was planning to push its “non-obligatory crunch policy” much harder this time around. Essentially, Iwiński explained that the policy means that even if the higher-ups ask developers to work nights and weekends, it’s not mandatory.
“We’ve been communicating clearly to people that of course there are certain moments where we need to work harder – like I think the E3 demo is a pretty good example – but we want to be more humane and treat people with respect,” Iwiński explained. “If they need to take time off, they can take time off. Nobody will be frowned upon [if they do].”
Iwiński stopped short of promising to limit crunch periods, but he hopes that his statement will help employees feel a little more comfortable – and a lot less pressured – when informing the company that they can’t, or don’t want to, work extra hours. It’s a good start, but of course, there’s a lot more to be done before the industry can eliminate the stigma it’s built for itself.
Report: Treyarch has taken over as Call of Duty 2020’s lead studio:
According to a Kotaku report, Activision Publishing has told its developers that Treyarch has taken over development duties for next year’s unnamed Call of Duty from Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software. Furthermore, Kotaku’s sources claim that the game is now Black Ops 5 instead of the unrelated Cold War-era campaign that Raven and Sledgehammer were creating and that the existing work is being converted into Black Ops 5’s story mode.
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES:
The Gardens Between (iOS – iPhone and iPad)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS:
Ghost Recon Breakpoint – Global Threat trailer:
Ubisoft gives us yet another confronting look at what might happen if artificial intelligence goes bad.
Fortnite X John Wick – Wick’s Bounty Trailer:
Fortnite’s latest LTM looks like a lot of fun, and it’s live now!
Team Sonic Racing – Speed Up Trailer:
The latest entry into the kart-racing crossover arena is coming this week, and it’s bringing some serious speed along with it.
KONAMI’s Castlevania anthology is out now, and Jake can’t be the only one who wants that artbook!
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered – Launch Trailer:
Out earlier this week, this remaster is looking good!
Melbourne-made Necrobarista has its initial release date:
Having taken its time to concoct the perfect brew, Route 59 Games plans to serve up its “cinematic visual novel”, Necrobarista, to Windows PC owners on August 8 ahead of a Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 release “next year”. It’ll set you back $14.99 on PC, and you can add it to your Steam wishlist right now.
Steep is now free for everyone to download on Uplay: YouTube
Check out the first details about Call of Duty Mobile: DualShockers
Ubisoft reveals Rainbow Six Siege’s next two Operators: Official (1, 2)