This week in gaming: EA addresses tragedy, Microsoft makes gaming more affordable, an Aussie wins at The International, 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!
In his solo Doublejump debut, Ty explored Fate/Grand Order’s incredible success and what it means for the games industry overall.
We debuted our News Card content on Facebook and Twitter, with Instagram to follow this week. Head over and check it out!
Two dead following Madden tournament shooting, EA donates US$1M to the victims’ families:
According to local news outlet WJXT, 24-year-old David Katz opened fire at Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida killing two people and injuring several others early on Monday morning our time. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams confirmed the news at a press briefing later that day and also confirmed that Katz used a semiautomatic handgun in the shooting before taking his own life at the scene.
Madden publisher EA condemned the attack in a brief statement shortly afterwards and has organised the Jacksonville Tribute fund and charity livestream to raise money for the families of Taylor Robertson and Eli Clayton who were gunned down by Katz. The company has already donated US$1 million to the fund as of this writing.
In related news, shooting survivor Jacob Mitich has filed a lawsuit against EA (via Kotaku), tournament venue Chicago Pizza, the Jacksonville Landing shopping mall, and five other defendants for “[failing] to provide a safe and secure environment” for event participants.
“[Mitich] trusted the event host and organisers, and believed that he was walking into a safe space,” attorney James Young told the press in a statement. “That trust was shattered when shots rang out in an over-crowded, since-shut-down, non-permitted space. Combined with an alleged abject failure to provide adequate security, the result was tragic.”
“We are bringing this lawsuit to hold those responsible accountable, and to ensure that gamers like Jake are able to get together to pursue their passion without having to fear for their lives.”
When contacted for a statement, an EA representative told Kotaku that it was “fully focused on supporting the victims and all those affected by this tragic event.”
Microsoft announces Xbox All Access console subscription plan:
Global Product Marketing Manager Bogdan Bilan took to the Xbox Wire blog to announce that the company is relaunching its console subscription initiative as Xbox All Access in the US. Prospective owners can go on a 24-month interest free payment plan for either an Xbox One S 1TB or Xbox One X console with two-years of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold for US$21.99 or US$34.99 per month. Microsoft has yet to announce a similar offering for Australian Xbox fans.
EA delays Battlefield V out of the Black Ops 4/Red Dead Redemption 2 launch period:
DICE general manager Oskar Gabrielson announced the delay – from October 19 to November 20 – in a post on the series’ official website, revealing the developer’s plans to “take the time to continue to make some final adjustments to core gameplay, and to ensure [that it] really [delivers] on the potential of Tides of War.”
Of course, the delay also comes with the speculation that DICE and publisher EA opted to move the release date out of the competitive October release window, where it would have contended predominantly with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2; both are set to release within a week of Battlefield V’s original release date. The new release date places Battlefield V a week after Hitman 2 and Fallout 76 – still stiff competition, but not as “direct.”
An Aussie was on the winning team at this year’s Dota 2 International:
Melburnian Anathan “ana” Pham and his multinational OG teammates took down Chinese frontrunner team PSG.LGD to take out the grand US$11 million grand prize at The International in Vancouver last weekend. OG came back from a 2-1 deficit to secure a 2-3 win; marking only the second time that an International grand final has reached the fifth game. Pham is the second Australian to have reached a grand final and the first to be part of a winning team.
Sony continues to defend lack of Fortnite Battle Royale cross-play Epic is adding a competitive mode:
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has told The Independent at IFA Berlin that the company will stand firm in its stance against allowing cross-play for Fortnite Battle Royale on PlayStation 4 due to the system offering “the best experience”.
“On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite [publisher Epic Games], I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 [as it] is the best experience for users, that’s our belief,” he said. “But actually, we already opened some games as cross-platform with PC and some others, so we decide based on what is the best user experience. That is our way of thinking for cross-platform.”
As for the game in general, Epic has confirmed that it will be adding a competitive mode to its hugely popular multiplayer shooter before the end of November in a lengthy development update. The company also revealed that it has found a way to improve graphical performance on Nintendo Switch that should improve the game’s frame rate during “heavy” moments in addition to confirming plans to add a “greater than 1080p” resolution option for PS4 Pro owners with 4K televisions.
Square Enix and Tencent join forces to “create a strategic alliance”:
In an announcement on its corporate portal earlier this week, the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts developer explained that this alliance will allow it to “enhance its content services worldwide,” and that the companies plan to use their relationship to establish a joint-venture company, co-develop AAA titles based on new intellectual properties and license existing properties, among other things.
Tencent senior vice-president Steven Ma noted that the new relationship will allow Tencent “to couple [its] broad range of internet service capabilities [with] Square Enix Group’s superb creativity, and provide [its] customers with unprecedented content experiences on a global basis.”
Square Enix has promised to release more information about the alliance “as progress is made”; the partnership is still in its infancy as the companies have merely “signed a letter of intent” to create it. Given Tencent’s status as an absolute juggernaut in the games industry, though, it’s going to be interesting to see where this arrangement will take both companies!
Arkane: Dishonored is “resting for now”:
After bringing the series’ narrative to a close in Death of the Outsider and seeing solid success with Prey, lead designed Ricardo Bare the immersive sim genre that it has become so well known for, revealing that the studio places great importance on its ability to “craft spaces that you feel like you’re visiting, whether it’s Dunwall or Talos 1,” and to “[give] players a bunch of cool abilities and tools, then [say] ‘you figure it out, you be creative, you own the experience’.”
Bare did not announce what Arkane’s next project might be, but a series of job listings has us convinced that it’s going to be something big; we will be sure to keep you updated if and when more information comes to light!
Notable game releases:
Divinity: Original Sin II – Definitive Edition (PS4 and Xbox One)
Fire Pro Wrestling World (PS4)
The Talos Principle (Xbox One)
Videos and trailer releases:
Cyberpunk 2077 – Gameplay reveal:
Here are 48 minutes of crisp, cyberpunk goodness!
HITMAN 2: World of Assassination – Welcome to the Jungle:
The studio discusses what players can expect to experience during Destiny 2’s second year of content.
Battlefield V – Rotterdam gameplay on NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti :
NVIDIA shows off what DICE’s latest shooter will look like with RTX enabled.
Bastion and Transistor are heading to Switch:
In a short and sweet announcement on its official website, Supergiant Games revealed that “each title has been faithfully adapted for Nintendo’s latest game console.” Bastion will debut on the Nintendo eShop on September 13 and Transistor on November 1; the company has no plans to bring its third game, Pyre, to any other platforms at this time, but “[hasn’t] ruled anything out for the future.”
SCUM represents Devlover’s best ever launch day:
The renowned indie publisher shared the achievement quite casually on its Twitter feed, with developer Gamepires sharing some numbers in its own celebratory tweet: the “supermax survival game” reached 50,000 concurrent players in its first launch day. It has gone on to reach the top ten in peak concurrent player count every day since its release, beating out popular titles such as Football Manager 2018 and Rocket League for the position. Given that SCUM is an Early Access title, Gamepires assured fans that there are still “improvements to be made” despite this achievement.
Sony has shut down MotorStorm Apocalypse’s servers: Eurogamer