Doublejump Digest: October 4, 2020

by Doublejump

This week in gaming: CD Projekt RED goes into crunch, Minecraft’s coming to Super Smash Bros., we got a bunch of info about upcoming games, 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!


FROM DOUBLEJUMP 


MAJOR NEWS

CD Projekt RED requires staff to crunch for Cyberpunk 2077, despite previous promises:

CD Projekt RED Studio Head Adam Badowski has taken to Twitter to confirm that he has required all development staff to work mandatory six-day weeks until Cyberpunk 2077 ships. 

“The majority of the team understand that push, especially in light of the fact that we’ve just sent the game to cert[ification] and every day brings us visibly closer to shipping a game we want to be proud of,” he wrote. “This is one of the hardest decisions [that] I’ve had to make, but everyone is well compensated for every extra hour [that] they put in.”

Although Joint-CEO Adam Kicinski told investors in January that the company delayed the game from April to September this year for “technical bug-fixing and polishing”, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier — who broke the story —  pointed out that Badowski’s confirmation flies in the face of CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski telling him last year that the studio had “committed” to avoiding crunch entirely.

 

Here’s some more information about two of Sony’s first-party PS5 exclusives: 

Over the last week, Sony’s given details on two first-party PS5 launch titles, namely Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Destruction AllStars.

The juiciest tidbits we got about Sackboy are the fact that the game will feature both local and online co-op multiplayer and that Sackboy has access to more than 60 full costumes to mix and match. In fact, the Digital Deluxe Edition, which has been announced in the same blog, includes 4x Sackboy costumes of “PlayStation icons” including Jin from Ghost of Tsushima, Sam Porter Bridges from Death Stranding, Connor from Detroit Become Human and Deacon St. John from Days Gone. The other nifty bonuses coming with the Digital Deluxe Edition are a digital art book, digital comic, digital soundtrack, 4x Sackboy in-game emotes and 20x Sackboy PSN avatars. Finally, there’s another edition of the game, called the Special Edition, which includes all the perks of the Digital Deluxe Edition, a physical copy of the art book and…the cutest Sackboy plushie we’ve ever seen. The only caveat to this is that the Special Edition will only be available for the PS4 version of Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

As for Destruction AllStars, we finally have more of an idea of how the game actually plays and we have to admit that we are intrigued by this unorthodox mash-up between Twisted Metal and a hero shooter like Overwatch. However, this game might grind some gears since it seems that microtransactions will be a significant part of the experience. This is also made clear by the DIgital Deluxe Edition (yes, AllStars will have one too) which will offer players 1 Legendary Character Skin and Vehicle Skin, 1 Dance Emote for Lupita, 4 Banners and 5 Avatars and 10,000 “AllStar Currency”.  Of course, the jury is out in terms of whether these microtransactions will turn out to be predatory or whether the game itself will be worthwhile or not, but, in the meantime, Sony has promised that more Destruction AllStars coverage is coming our way soon.

 

Here’s our first look at Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode: 

Activision and Treyarch were rather generous with the information they were happy to release about the Zombies experience, which “is starting fresh with a new narrative” and a “shall we say, new?” cast of characters. Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies experience will include “new ways to progress, classic fan-favourite perks and an arsenal of Cold War weaponry that will help survivors dominate the legions of undead.”

The companies shared a short breakdown of the mode’s Cold War-themed story, before revealing that just like its Multiplayer mode, Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode will be compatible with cross-platform and cross-generation play, and its Battle Pass will progress through time played as well. Aside from that, it’s introducing weapon rarity to the mode, as well as Field Upgrades that you can charge up by killing zombies, “lethal, tactical and support equipment” that you can craft throughout the game, the classic Zombies Perks with no limit to the number of Perks you can have active at one time. The final reveal was of “a new option to escape with your life when you’re feeling overrun… if you dare”: squads can choose to “exfiltrate the undead combat zone via helicopter”. It will increase the zombie spawns, but players will earn some rewards if their exfil is successful. 

More information about Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode is available on the official Call of Duty blog, and in the video embedded below. 

 

Sony details Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered, and Peter Parker looks…different: 

In a move that breaks the mould of a traditional remaster, Insomniac Games Community Director James Stevenson revealed that it has recast the motion-capture role of Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered, moving from John Bubniak to Ben Jordan. 

“We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game,” Stevenson wrote on the PlayStation Blog. “However, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console”.

The change in actors has resulted in confusion and speculation from fans and gaming communities. Despite Insomniac’s claim that it cast Jordan over Bubniak because the former was a better match for Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, it is undeniable that the younger model shares similar features with Marvel Cinematic Universe actor Tom Holland. This choice to recast will create a unique narrative divide between the PS4 and PS5 experiences, but that could be an attempt to connect with Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered is the PS5-exclusive upgrade to the 2018 PS4 blockbuster. The upgrade will be available along with the Ultimate Edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which is set to be released on November 12 alongside the console itself. 

 

We got some updates on the Pokémon Sword and Shield expansion passes: 

In a Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass Update video released earlier this week, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company announced that the games’ second expansion, The Crown Tundra, is set to be released on October 22. As we’ve already seen, this expansion will bring an icy arena for players to explore, with a range of old Pokémon, a number of new entries — as part of this, we got our first look at the Galarian variants of Slowking and Melmetal — and numerous Legendary Pokémon from older generations. In addition to the new biome and Pokémon, The Crown Tundra will include a new three-player game mode called Dynamax Adventures, which will include a rental system that will allow players to swap out Dynamax Pokémon that they encounter in the mode’s endless dens. 

As a special in-game event to celebrate The Crown Tundra’s release, players will be able to redeem a series of codes released throughout Pokémon’s various media portals and capture eight unique Pikachus wearing the hats that Pokémon the Series protagonist Ash Ketchum has worn throughout his adventures. That event is set to run until October 30 — more information is available on the series’ official website

As part of this update, the Pokémon Company also announced that Pokémon GO players will be able to connect their game to Pokémon HOME by the end of the year, allowing them to transfer their mobile collections to Pokémon Sword and Shield

 

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is coming to PS5… next March: 

Yakuza: Like a Dragon developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has announced that it will not release the game’s PlayStation 5 version until March 2 next year, with the game’s Xbox Series S|X versions launching alongside their current-gen counterparts on November 10.

The developer has previously revealed that it negotiated a timed exclusivity deal with Microsoft, hence the four-month lag, but has now confirmed that PS4 players who purchase the game through the PlayStation Network Store can upgrade to the PS5’s digital version for free when that version launches. RGGS also showed new video footage from Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s PS5 version as part of its release announcement.

 

Minecraft’s Steve and Alex are coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

In a live-streamed presentation earlier this week, Nintendo announced that Minecraft’s lead characters are on their way to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with Enderman and the Zombie revealed as alternate skins for the pair. Their expansion, which received so much community feedback that it caused Twitter’s servers to crash, is the second in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Fighters Pass Volume 2 (after ARMS’ Min-Min), and will also include a Minecraft-themed stage and soundtrack to add to the already monstrous selection of arenas available in the game.

Nintendo followed that announcement up with an in-depth analysis of the two characters and their play styles hosted by director Masahiro Sakurai himself. That analysis is embedded below, and it’s well worth a watch if you’re planning to play as — or against — one of the pair as they do bring quite a few new mechanics to the game. 

Despite Codemasters offering a free upgrade, DIRT 5 saves won’t transfer between PS4 and PS5: 

Codemasters has revealed that save files from the PlayStation 4 version of DIRT 5 will not be compatible with the PlayStation 5 version, despite the fact that the company is offering PS4 owners a free upgrade to the new version when it’s out. This is yet another disappointing piece of news in regards to how Sony is handling the transition between generations, especially given that Microsoft seems to have it all figured out. What makes this situation all the more confusing is the fact that some other games will allow for save files to move over. For example, Spider-Man: Miles Morales save files from PS4 will work on PS5, but it remains to be seen if recent PS4 games such as Marvel’s Avengers or even Watch Dogs: Legion will enable this functionality. 

Unfortunately, we also don’t know exactly why certain save files won’t be able to make the move to PS5; Sony has been disappointingly quiet in regards to its plans for backwards compatibility and its services as a whole. 

 

Minecraft’s next big update is set for mid-2021:

In announcing it during Minecraft Live 2020, Mojang explained that it would be foregoing its traditional holiday update because the Caves and Cliffs update is a “massive update with a large variety of features to truly have something for all players.”

The update will feature new resources including copper ore and the “near-mystical” crystal geode, stalactites and stalagmites that will damage you when you touch them, and more varied caves with several new monsters — both friendly and unfriendly. There will also be a new archaeology system, and the cliff faces are getting a bit of a facelift to look more like mountains, complete with mountain goats. 

Mojang also announced another free update for Minecraft Dungeons during the show, as well as a third paid expansion called Howling Peaks, a new biome that will include new missions, items and enemies and a new boss to challenge. The free update, on the other hand, will add an “Apocalypse Plus” mode that adds 20 new difficulty levels after Apocalypse VII and an increase to your “power ceiling” to suit. The company also showed off the game’s cross-platform capabilities, which it plans to launch by the end of this year.  


NOTABLE GAME RELEASES

  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Star Wars: Squadrons (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • Super Mario Bros. 35 (Switch)
  • The Walking Dead Onslaught (PC, PS4)
  • Ys Origin (Switch)

VIDEOS AND TRAILERS

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity — Champions Unite!:

The latest cinematic trailer for Age of Calamity shows Hyrule’s champions in their prime. Of course, as this is a prequel to Breath of the Wild, we know that most of our heroes won’t survive the struggle, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting!

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness — Teaser trailer:

Following Castlevania, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is the newest video game adaptation coming from and to Netflix. This being said, we don’t know much more about this project other than it will bring Leon and Claire together again and that it will be a “horror series with a sci-fi twist.” Barring any delays, look out for this one in 2021.

Amnesia: Rebirth — Official Gameplay Trailer:

Frictional Games came together with IGN to show off five minutes of Amnesia: Rebirth’s puzzle-solving gameplay. 

Observer: System Redux — New Quest Gameplay:

Bloober Team’s next-generation remake of its 2017 psychological thriller is set to be a launch title for both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and our latest look at it shows off five minutes of gameplay from the “Errant Signal” and “Her Fearful Symmetry” quests. 


INDIE SPOTLIGHT

Torchlight III slated for October 13: 

In a post on the game’s official website, Echtra Games and Perfect World Entertainment announced that they plan to release the third instalment into their dungeon crawler series on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on next Tuesday, with a Nintendo Switch version to come “later this year”. Players who have been playing the Steam Early Access version of the game will receive a free upgrade, and all versions will include a platform-exclusive Fairy pet. 

 

Orangeblood is on Switch now:

Grayfax Software and publisher PLAYISM have released their intriguing role-playing adventure, Orangeblood, complete with its original hip-hop inspired soundtrack and all-female cast, onto PS4, Switch and Xbox One. It’ll set you back US$19.99/AU$25.95 on each storefront. 


INTERESTING READS FROM OTHER OUTLETS

  • Internal survey finds that one in four Ubisoft employees either witnessed or experienced misconduct: Kotaku
  • Xbox Series X backwards compatibility tests reveal “extreme” performance improvements: Digital Foundry (YouTube)
  • Production rebates are an important step to creating a sustainable Australian video games industry: The Conversation
  • Among Us has caused a major spike in Discord app downloads: The Verge

OTHER NEWS

  • Dynasty Warrior 9: Empires is slated for release early next year: Kotaku
  • Tekken 7 has sold more than 6 million copies, the series has broken 50 million: Katsuhiro Harada (Twitter)
  • Apex Legends is getting cross-play this week: EA
  • A number of Sea of Thieves streamers have quit the game in protest against Rare’s failure to deal with toxicity: Kotaku
  • World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands expansion delayed until later this year: Official Website
  • The original FarmVille is shutting down on December 31: Zynga
  • Genshin Impact has had the “biggest global launch of a Chinese game ever”: South China Morning Post
  • Xbox Game Pass now includes two months of Funimation Premium Plus: Twitter (Xbox Game Pass)
  • Warner Bros. president defends transphobe J.K. Rowling: Jason Schreier (Twitter)
  • WWE star Randy Orton’s tattoo artist is suing 2K and WWE for recreating his tattoos in WWE 2K: The Hollywood Reporter
  • Overwatch League Commissions and Activision Blizzard Esports CEO Pete Vlastelica steps down: GI.Biz
  • The new Chromecast won’t support Google Stadia at launch: The Verge
  • Japanese chain Mos Burger is collaborating with Nintendo on Kirby-themed packaging: Kotaku
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room is back on PC: Kotaku
  • Konami has actually got an esports school…: Kotaku

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