• Limited edition Redfall controllers on Xbox Design Lab

    Yes, yes. Ok. get your ‘xbox has more controllers than games’ joke out of the way now.

    Today Xbox announced a new suite of limited edition Design Lab controllers, made especially for Redfall.

    Each controller comes with a custom design top plate, a fixed palette of colours to customise with, and four engraving options for the battery cover. They’re nice!

    At the start of April a purported Starfield controller leaked on a resale app in China. After a day or so, someone figured out that the person who listed the controller was also a modding enthusiast, which caused most people to pass this off as a custom job.

    I’m not so sure.

    Keep reading


  • Sony’s bumbling cloud gaming strategy

    Apropos of nothing in particular today…

    Sean Hollister writing for The Verge in 2019:

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a video game platform that lets you play games with the press of a button, no need for discs or downloads… Experience the latest and greatest games on your ancient laptop, phone, or tablet, thanks to remote servers instead of having to buy a console or build a powerful gaming PC. Fire up a game on the TV, then seamlessly pick it up on your mobile device…

    If that sounds like the lofty pitch for Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service, you’ve been paying attention. But every single one of those things was promised years ago by a startup named Gaikai — a startup that Sony bought in 2012 for $380 million. At the time, Sony gave every indication that it would harness the full potential of a PlayStation cloud. It even bought Gaikai’s closest competitor, OnLive, in 2015 and launched a service called PlayStation Now that finally hit 1 million subscribers this October. But half a decade later, the company has barely tapped into cloud gaming’s promise, and competitors like Google seem poised to attract the gamers that Sony failed to convert.

    Sean Hollister

    How Sony bought, and squandered, the future of gaming [theverge.com]


  • Sorry everyone… People are not going to stop talking about Microsoft’s ABK acquisition once it’s done

    The New York Post is reporting that Microsoft intends to close it’s ABK acquisition, despite any ongoing roadblocks from the FTC in the United States. This report includes a spicy quote via a source that “they are going to cram this down the FTC’s throats”. 😳

    It’s been widely reported that the CMA (UK) will approve the deal this week (Update: in a huge move this did not happen, the CMA blocked the deal!), and most observers anticipate the EU will follow in May.

    Today’s reporting has been met with some optimism on Twitter that once that deal is “done” everyone will move on…

    Whatever it takes so we can stop talking about it!!!

    @NeoGameSpark

    Ain’t no way.

    Even if the close the deal in May/June, all of these topics will continue to play out loudly in social media spaces:

    • FTC machinations are ongoing. Microsoft might close he deal in spite of the FTC dragging its heels, but that means the FTC may sue for an injunction. Microsoft are obviously confident in their position since the FTC will, globally speaking, be out on a limb all on their lonesome.
    • We have no idea what the acquisition means for Game Pass. FTC activity might hamper any meaningful business integration in the immediate term – so when will the games come?
    • Any and all ABK game news/announcements will be the subject of intense console war noise well into 2024 and beyond.

    If you’re into the banter, you’re going to keep having a good time.

    If you think it sucks, keep that block button ready.


  • Sea of Thieves: Season 9

    Season 9 of Sea of Thieves introduced a big refresh for world events – both the frequency and tuning (nerfs, mostly).

    While some die-hard players have responded negatively to some of the challenge being removed, I think the upside has been worth it. Events popping more frequently and finishing more quickly means more activity on the seas, which means more player encounters and more loot in play.

    The player-base has responded strongly too. The last 30 days has the highest concurrent peak on Steam since July 2021, and highest average concurrency since July 2022, according to Steam Charts.

    I’m a big fan of the lvl 100 legendary reward, the Legendary Bone Hunter Jacket (above), but I do think the last 20 levels of the seasonal progression were a little light on cosmetics to drive you through to the end.

    🏴‍☠️


  • Now playing: Minecraft Legends

    I’m not sure about this one… Yet!

    I’m a few hours in, and I still feel like I need a few more to really settle into the gameplay loop.

    Great:

    • Somehow the Renderdragon engine looks… great!?
    • Great environments
    • Plenty of charm
    • Systems feel robust

    But:

    • The loop could be explained better
    • The 1080p cutscenes feel jarring
    • This is too complicated for my kids, so who is this for?

    All that said, it’s giving me enough to want to finish the campaign. Maybe I’ll check back in here after beating the first boss.


  • Cult of the Lamb update: Relics of the Old Faith

    Massive Monster dropped the trailer for their new Cult of the Lamb update on today’s Nintendo Indie World Direct.

    The trailer showcases a few new buildings etc, but what really stands out is the amount of combat improvements and additions.

    I’d kind of forgotten how much the visual style of this game absolutely sings. And now a photo-mode too!

    The studio reckons this update will “double” their gameplay. Might be time for a new playtrhough!

    RELICS OF THE OLD FAITH – APRIL 24
    A huge FREE major content update to Cult of the Lamb is almost here!
    📖 New post-game story
    🔪 Deeper combat
    🐛 Revamped bosses & enemies
    💀 More replayability
    📸 Photo mode
    💓 Many requested features

    See how much we’ve added – @cultofthelamb


  • Oxenfree II was announced for Netflix Games today and Xbox fans lost their minds… for the wrong reason

    Earlier today Night School Studio announced that Oxenfree II would also be coming to Netflix (mobile) when it launches on July 12th this year.

    And for some reason a bunch of Xbox fans went crazy on Twitter.

    “Am I tripping or does this say Netflix but not Xbox???” “No joke, we need answer why this keeps happening…” “wtf is going on 💀” “Ok this is starting to become a serious problem for Xbox”

    Pals… Calm. down.

    Here’s the situation with Oxenfree II:

    • Game announced April 19th 2021, Switch and Steam
    • Netflix acquires Night School Studio September 29th 2021
    • Oxenfree II appears in the PlayStation Indies Spotlight August 6th 2022
    • Oxenfree II announced for Netflix mobile today

    Not only is this game not coming to Xbox, we’ve know it for months, if not years. Why is it a huge deal now, all of a sudden?

    Gaming narratives are a funny old thing fucking stupid.

    Would this be as big a deal if the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster wasn’t skipping Xbox (for some apparently unknowable reason) and getting banger scores?

    Minecraft Legends dropped yesterday and people are freaking about Oxenfree II? Xbox secured multiple Game-of-the-Year nominated indie games in 2021 and 2022 and people are freaking about Oxenfree II? Really?

    A much bigger story here is that Netflix is the publisher. What will that mean in the competitive space moving forward? Will Netflix pal up with PlayStation on console to hedge against Microsoft’s buying power and Cloud position?

    MS (Game Pass) and Netflix both see themselves as competitors. Don’t be surprised when the more tech-facing companies choose to isolate Microsoft.

    HoegLaw

  • Joe Staten joins Netflix

    I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined @Netflix Games as Creative Director for a brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP. Let’s go!

    @joestaten

    Staten is a games veteran, working on the first three Halo games at Bungie before moving to Microsoft Publishing as Senior Creative Director. He was most recently moved over to 343i as Campaign Project Lead prior to the launch of Halo Infinite.

    Netflix have over 50 games on their slate right now. A push into AAA territory is not unexpected, but plenty of companies have taken the plunge only to lack the fortitude of what it takes to really make an impact in gaming. (Hi, Google).

    As I said in January:


  • The Minecraft Legends reviews are in

    The Legends reviews are in, and they’re… fine? Quite good? OK? Mixed? Decent actually?

    Open Critic currently has Legends at 73 + 50% of critics “recommend” – which is, coincidentally, almost the exact score that Dungeons got – a game that I feel is still under-appreciated despite it having well over 15M players at this point.

    I have two primary goals in this review:

    Number one – to properly explain what Minecraft Legends is, and number two – to convince you to play it, because this is a really fantastic game that took some time to get into, but after it clicked I was like ‘Holy shit, where did this come from?’

    Skillup

    I don’t always agree with Skillup’s opinions for every game, but you can not deny that he shows his work. Legends seems interesting and fun, and despite the mid 70s score, I’ll be hitting it up on launch day.

    Dungeons was a 74, and I played the hell out of that game. Legends might have the same appeal.


  • On Xbox and disappointment

    Windows Central’s Jez Corden hits the nail on the head here with an excellent opinion piece, following Arcane’s recent announcement that Redfall will launch missing a 60fps mode.

    At the end of the day, Xbox fans just want to see the platform they’ve invested in succeeding on the same level the competition seems to succeed, with expectations set by Microsoft itself being met. There are too many caveats, too many broken promises, and too much misalignment between marketing beats and product realities. As a fan, it just becomes a little tiring. 

    Jez Corden

    On Xbox, caveats, and mismanaged expectations [windowscentral.com]

    #Redfall Clusterfk


  • Redfall is launching with 30fps modes only

    Redfall is launching on Xbox consoles with Quality mode only:
    Xbox Series X: 4K 30 FPS
    Xbox Series S: 1440p 30 FPS
    60 FPS Performance mode will be added via game update at a later date.

    @playRedfall

    Shambles.

    At this point I think if Xbox can’t meet baseline expectations here or there, they at least just need to be entirely transparent about it. If you’re dropping the ball, tell us the exact reason you can’t hit launch but *can* patch it in. Without that the narratives take off.

    They’ve done a very poor job of controlling the communication on this one because it’s not just the game, it’s the perception of your entire platform.

    #Redfall Clusterfk


  • Rolled credits: Dredge

    I’ve caught a lot of fish, but I haven’t caught them all yet. I’ve solved some puzzles and mysteries, but not all of them yet. And although I’ve rolled credits on the main story, I haven’t finished playing yet.

    Keep reading