This week in gaming: Telltale Games says goodbye, Sony announces a PlayStation Classic, more loot box investigations abound, 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 light of Marvel’s Spider-Man’s recent release, John stood on top of the soapbox to explore how licensed games have changed in recent years.
Telltale Games is shutting down soon:
Shortly after speculation arose around layoffs at the studio, the experienced adventure game developer’s CEO, Pete Hawley, took to Twitter to confirm this speculation and formally announce the studio’s closure.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there,” he wrote. “We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate into sales.”
Sources close to the situation have told USGamer and Game Informer that the remaining 25 employees are no longer working on The Walking Dead: The Final Season and have instead been tasked with finalising Netflix’s Minecraft: Story Mode adaptation.
Doublejump’s staff laments the loss of another great studio and hopes to see its employees and their families land on their feet following this difficult time.
Sony announces its own PlayStation Classic throwback console:
Senior VP of PlayStation Worldwide Marketing Eric Lempel unveiled the system on the European PlayStation Blog, revealing a mini version of the company’s console that is due for release on December 3.
The system will come with two wired non-DualShock controllers and twenty built-in games including classics like TEKKEN 3, R4 Ridge Racer Type 4, and Final Fantasy VII and will retail for AU$149.99.
France fines Valve and Ubisoft for breaching consumer law:
As reported by NoFrag (via PCGamesN), both Steam and Uplay’s desktop clients display notices to French users about how the two companies have failed to comply with French consumer law. Valve and Ubisoft are required to pay €147,000 and €180,000 in fines respectively. PCGamesN has explained that the violation may largely stem from article L221-18 of the French Consumer Code, which outlines consumers’ right to a 14-day period of withdrawal from sales (i.e. a 14-day refund period) and also to inform consumers when this right is not being honoured (as per article L221-5). Uplay’s no refund policy and Steam’s limitation of only offering refunds within 14 days if games have not been played for more than two-hours appear to have breached both legal articles. Both companies did not issue statements to either NoFrag or PCGamesN as of this writing.
15 European and US gambling regulators weigh in on loot boxes, Australian senate delays its enquiry:
Gambling regulators from Austria, France, Ireland, Spain, the UK, the US (Washington State), and other countries have gathered at the 2018 Gaming Regulators European Forum to investigate “concerns related to the blurring of lines between gambling and gaming”.
According to Eurogamer, the regulatory bodies plan to focus on “ensur[ing] that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws” and ““tackling unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games” (such as those that operated for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins).
In related news, the federal inquiry into loot boxes that was set up by the Australian Senate has delayed the announcement of its findings to October 17 to allow for additional public hearings and formal briefings.
Epic Games offers US$10M prize pool for Fortnite Fall Skirmish:
The six-week-long event is scheduled to begin next weekend and conclude during TwitchCon on October 26-28, with the Fall Skirmish acting as a prototype for planned “large-scale events” next year. The developer will reveal details about each week’s formats and teams from next week and confirm “the finale’s competitive format” closer to TwitchCon.
Capcom closes Dead Rising’s Canadian developer, announces Phoenix Wright re-releases:
A representative for the Japanese publisher confirmed the news to Kotaku early in the week, citing a renewed effort to “concentrate development of major titles in Japan” as the reason for the move. 158 employees will lose their jobs, with a “skeleton crew” staying behind to “finali[s]e closure operations and logistics” until this coming January. Capcom Vancouver is responsible for developing both Dead Rising 3 and Dead Rising 4 as well as the recently-shuttered Puzzle Fighter mobile game.
Once again, everyone here at Doublejump wishes the folks at the studio and their families the best of luck for the times ahead.
In happier news, Capcom has announced that it is bringing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations to PC, PS4, and Xbox One as the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy “early” next year.
Legendary Final Fantasy composer takes indefinite sick leave:
With almost every Final Fantasy title since the series’ debut in 1988 (he skipped XIII and XV), Chrono Trigger and Super Smash Bros. Brawl making up just a small portion of his work since joining Square in 1985, to call Nobuo Uematsu a “workhorse” is an understatement. The legendary composer has also been holding concerts around the world in recent years, but unfortunately “the resulting fatigue…has caught up with [him]”.
In an announcement on his personal blog, the 59-year-old revealed his plan to take at least the rest of 2018 off to rest up, returning to the fold only when he feels ready to do so. He is committed to making a return “once [he’s] made a full recovery” from the apparent burnout.
Notable game releases:
- Undertale (Switch)
Videos and trailer releases:
Devil May Cry 5 – TGS 218 Trailer:
We’ve got another high-octane look at Dante and some of the demon hunters he’ll work with when the game drops on March 8, 2019.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – “Choose Life” Trailer:
A diatribe on life is the soundtrack to this live-action free-running trailer.
SOUL CALIBUR VI – Raphael Announcement Trailer:
A series mainstay, the smart-alec swordsman is back to taunt more opponents on October 19.
Devil May Cry 5 – Mega Buster trailer:
Mega Man’s iconic weapon is available as part of the game’s Deluxe Edition, alongside three other unique Devil Breakers and an upgraded motorcycle weapon for Dante.
My Brother Rabbit is available now:
Artifex Mundi’s beautiful, uplifting adventure game explores “children’s incredible power to cope with gloom through imagination”, as a brother helps his sister deal with sudden illness by whisking her away into a surreal fantasy while their parents seek out real-world treatment. The game is available now on Mac and Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One.
Siegecraft Commander arrives on Switch:
Sydney’s Blowfish Studios released its action-strategy hybrid on Switch earlier this week, with two single-player campaigns and a large multiplayer offering (including cross-platform online play with the PC and Xbox One versions) sure to make it worth the price of admission for fans of Command & Conquer, Age of Empires and their ilk.
N1RV ANN-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action announced:
Sukeban Games and Ysbryd Games have come together to produce this follow-up to the critically acclaimed VA-11 HALL-A, where players control a bartender and learn more about the world of Saint Alicia based on which drinks they mix and for whom. It’s set to be released on Switch, PC and PlayStation 4 at some point in 2020.
- Nine-year-old Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the US’s eight-best-selling game last month: GameSpot
- Niantic may have leaked the existence of a brand new Pokémon: Kotaku
- Eidos Montreal says that Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s recently-discovered alternate ending was not meant to be in the game: Kotaku
- Fallout 76’s map is named Appalachia: Eurogamer
- It looks like Halo Infinite will be a persistent online game with microtransactions: GameSpot
- Assassin’s Creed III’s director says that he’d change the game’s opening act if given another chance: Eurogamer
- PlayStation Now finally supports local downloads for some games: EU PS Blog
- THQ Nordic has acquired the rights to Alone in the Dark and Act of War: Twitter
- Daybreak is rebranded H1Z1’s PC version as Z1 Battle Royale: Eurogamer
- Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition can create their own personalised “dojos” from next week: YouTube
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