This week in gaming: Sony shows off new PS5 features, Microsoft talks backwards compatibility, FIFA 21 sets a benchmark, 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!
- Although the game is a bit smaller in scope than he’d hoped it would be, Ty still enjoyed Star Wars: Squadrons for what was there and declared it “well worth the price of admission”.
- Kate King-Smith made her Doublejump Debut, discussing her theory that the haunted house in Kitty Horrorshow’s Anatomy is not actually haunted; it’s a being all of its own, and that makes it even more terrifying.
- Steve played the decidedly unique Death end re;Quest 2, finding the horror-themed JRPG “both brave and surprising“, and ultimately well worth the experience for any JRPG fan.
Sony reveals the PS5’s UI and Voice Chat features, breaks PS4s with latest 8.00 update:
Sony has finally taken the wraps off the PlayStation 5’s user interface in an eleven-minute demonstration video. The new interface looks more visually varied than that of the PS4, with the new features being game hubs, a Control Center for essential controls, and feeds for user activities.
Sony Interactive Entertainment’s VP of Global Consumer Experience, Catherine Jensen, took to the PlayStation Blog to clarify the company’s new voice chat reporting feature on the PS5 that it accidentally revealed as part of the PS4’s 8.00 update.
“Once the PS5 console launches, if a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report — 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection,” she explained. “Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.”
She added that this feature is mandatory, so that “all users…feel safe”, and noted that SIE will not actively listen to players’ conversations at all times; only when a player submits a voice recording for review. As for the 8.00 update itself, players have reported issues with their PS4 systems including friends lists not loading and new error codes appearing on-screen. SIE has not issued a follow-up update as of this writing.
Microsoft issues an update on Xbox Series X|S backwards compatibility, doesn’t rule out The Elder Scrolls VI exclusivity:
Xbox Compatibility Program Lead Peggy Lo gave a deep dive into how four generations of backwards compatible Xbox titles will benefit from automatic enhancements when played on the Series X|S. She noted that both new systems will run these games with “no boost mode, no downclocking”, which came across as her throwing shade at Sony’s caveats for the PS5’s backwards compatibility features.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Lo’s post:
- Backwards compatible games will run natively on the Series X|S and at higherigher, steadier framerates with reduced load times.
- Thousands of games will benefit from Auto HDR (high dynamic range), which should result in more realistic lighting in older titles while providing no performance hit.
- Original Xbox and Xbox 360 games will be rendered at 4K on Series X and at 1440p on Series S and with 16X anisotropic filtering to improve texture quality..
In related news, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo that Microsoft could recoup its US$7.5 billion investment even without The Elder Scrolls VI coming to PlayStation platforms.
“We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.,” Spenser explained. “But I’ll also say [that] in the model – I’m just answering directly the questions that you had – when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have [Project] xCloud and PC and Games Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.”
Neither Microsoft nor publisher Bethesda Softworks have elaborated on Spencer’s comments, but not publishing Skyrim’s successor on a competing platform would give team Xbox a feather in its cap for the upcoming console generation.
FIFA 21‘s digital versions outsell physical copies for first time in franchise history:
GamesIndustry.Biz has reported that FIFA 21 download launch sales spiked 31% over last year and that this almost makes up for a 42% decline in physical sales. This marks the first time in the franchise’s lengthy history that digital copies outsold physical ones at launch. It will be interesting to see how sales fare in November, since some people will have opted to wait for the next-gen consoles to come out before buying the game. Nonetheless, this is yet another indication that digital distribution is the future for games.
Untitled Goose Game composer Dan Golding is up for an ARIA award:
A touch of the Australian video game industry has joined the ranks of ARIA nominees for this year’s award ceremony, as Untitled Goose Game composer Dan Golding is one of five nominees for the Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album category. This nomination is not only an incredible recognition for Untitled Goose Game, but the original works of art produced by the wider Australian and global games industry. It goes to show that even a prestigious award ceremony is not safe from the destructive rampage of the goose!
South Korean ratings board rates Mass Effect Legendary Edition:
The rumour mill burns with more information on the anticipated remaster of the original Mass Effect trilogy as news from South Korea gives hope for release. The Korean Game Rating and Administration Committee released a rating for Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which – based on current speculation – points to next-gen compatibility and a delayed announcement due to COVID-19. We expect BioWare to make an official announcement on N7 Day, which will take place on November 7 in Canada (November 8 our time) and celebrates all things Mass Effect every year.
Firaxis is adding Pirates to Civilization VI next week:
Fans of the Sid Meier’s Pirates and Civilization will be pleased to learn that developer Firaxis has announced plans to tie the two entries together with the addition of a new “Pirate Scenario” in Civilization VI. The scenario will support 1-4 players and will have them choose between four unique factions (Dread Pirate, Privateer, Swashbuckler, and Hoarder) in addition to the familiar naval civilisations of the British, Spanish, French, and Dutch. The “Pirate Scenario” is set to launch on October 22 together with other adjustments and slight changes to the full game.
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
SMITE — TMNT Battle Pass:
Hi-Rez Studios’ action-MOBA usually has gods, warriors and other creatures from various mythologies battling it out for supremacy… Now Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael are joining the fray. Not sure how Splinter could have prepared them to face Zeus, Cthulhu or anyone else, but it’ll be fun to find out!
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — Miles’ New Feline Friend
In the latest clip from Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (thank you, Game Informer) we are introduced to yet another Spider-Man. The twist: it’s a cat that even has a cutesy Spidey mask! Plus, it also hangs out in Miles’ backpack and will help him with his combo finishers!
Cyberpunk 2077 — Night City Wire: Episode 4:
With less than a month to launch, take a look at the vehicles at your disposal in CD Projekt RED’s futuristic RPG.
- Report: Ni no Kuni’s developer has ceased its North American operations: GamesIndustry.biz
- Rockstar has acquired and rebranded Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian Games: Eurogamer
- The Analogue Duo is the company’s revived system for the PC Engine family: Polygon
- Fall Guys now has a Sonic The Hedgehog skin, it’s out now and it’s… creepy: Twitter (@Ruki185)
- Terraria will not be getting any more updates: Eurogamer
- Axiom Verge 2 is now coming in 2021: Official Website
- Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition won’t have a physical version until December 1: Twitter (@DevilMayCry)
- Report: Obsidian is already working on a sequel to The Outer Worlds: Twitter (@ZhugeEX)
- Nintendo is cutting the price of single Joy-Cons in Japan: Video Games Chronicle
Also published on Medium.