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Your Wednesday Roundup
Catching you up on console news
Zombies, climate change, and an update on your favorite console brands.
As I mentioned in Monday’s letter, I’ll be changing a few elements of the AFK Newsletter, starting with today’s edition!
Moving forward, every Wednesday newsletter will be “Your Wednesday Roundup.”
Instead of the traditional format you’ve seen over the last few weeks, I’ll dedicate a little more time to providing you updates on the major console brands and remove the major feature piece.
As always, let me know what you think! I love reader feedback, and you all continue to help shape the look, feel, and identify of this newsletter. Per usual, replying to this email is your best way to provide feedback, as it gets sent directly into my inbox.
Read time: 8 minutes
Here are small and developing stories you should know about.
ZOMBIES: yes, the day is finally here. Today, Treyarch will be premiering the release trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War’s zombie mode. It’s been two long years since we’ve seen zombies from Treyarch, the brilliant mode that was first introduced way back in 2008 with Call of Duty: World at War. It’s no surprise that Treyarch is making this mode one of the last parts of its game reveal, as it has been a driving force for sales. They even created a standalone game based on the zombies mode back in 2009 due to its popularity (but only available on IOS)! Fans are excited, and we won’t have to wait long to see what’s in store. The reveal trailer is slated to show today at 1 pm Eastern and 11 am Pacific on the Call of Duty Youtube channel.
Crunch, crunch, crunch: for those that don’t know, a “crunch” is industry jargon for excessive overtime in game development. It’s a sour topic within the industry, as many developers and publishing companies have placed mandated crunches on their employees. This can lead to fatigue and frustration from employees, and it’s why many brilliant developers choose to leave the industry. But I’m sad to say that even with the increased exposure and condemning of the practice, companies still implement it, and CD Projekt Red is the latest to do so. In the lead-up to the release of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red has established a mandatory six-day crunch for its developers. This is disappointing news, as the developer had committed to avoiding crunches in an interview with Kotaku last year. With that said, employees are getting paid for overtime per Polish labor laws, which is great to hear as other gaming companies don’t always pay their employees for additional time and work. It’s also a bit concerning they are in crunch mode, as Cyberpunk 2077 has already been delayed multiple times. Why would they need to crunch after multiple delays? There have already been concerns about the upcoming title, and this news just adds more concern on what’s supposed to be one of the top titles this holiday season.
Demon Soul’s screenshots: one of the biggest highlights of the PS5 showcase event a few weeks ago was the premiere of the Demon Soul’s remaster. Safe to say, people were extremely impressed, and it had thousands of fans fighting for a PS5 pre-order just to land a copy of the game. Launched back in 2009 with the PS3, the original Demon’s Souls was an absolute hit, and it was the start of the Soul’s style games and gameplay that we see in games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Bluepoint Games has released screenshots of its upcoming remaster and they look stunning. From greater draw distances to better reflections, everything about this title looks polished and refined. Although I’ve never had the chance to enjoy a Souls game, that might have to change with the release of this title.
Credit: Bluepoint Games
The current major console manufacturers are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. This list may change as new competition arises but, for now, these three reign supreme.
It’s been six long years since we’ve seen a Sackboy title grace a PlayStation console (Little Big Planet 3), and even longer since the now-iconic PlayStation character was first introduced back in 2008 with the release of LittleBigPlanet. But after a little time away, Sackboy is finally making his return, and he’s doing so in the newest title — Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
Announced in a blog post by PlayStation, Sackboy: A Big Adventure aims to bring the same game elements you expected from the LittleBigPlanet series but expanded. Players will once again take control of Sackboy, who now has an expanded move set, as he navigates the world of Craftworld. A 3D platformer, gamers can expect Sackboy: A Big Adventure to provide a unique blend of fun and challenge that fans of the series have become accustomed to. The upcoming title also includes a co-op mode, and you’ll be able to play the entire story mode with a friend. There are even some levels specifically designed for co-op if you’re looking to mix it up.
With that said, players will have to wait and see if the “create and share” feature will be available in Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Design director, Ned Waterhouse, stated in the introduction trailer that the upcoming title focuses “solely on play,” and made no mention of the popular feature that made LittleBigPlanet such a hit. Based on this trailer alone, the answer is currently no, but that might change in the coming months. You can view the full announcement here.
Quick thoughts: super happy to see this game back. I’ve always viewed Sackboy games as a “palate cleanser” to the more intense, in-your-face games that I play. LittleBigPlanet games were titles that I could sit back and relax, knowing full well that I don’t need to focus as intensely while playing (for the most part). It is a bit disappointing to hear that the “create and share” feature might be gone, as I spent a huge chunk of time on that, but I’m holding out hope.
Welcome back, Sackboy. Happy to see ya.
Microsoft and the Xbox have heard over and over how they lack the quality titles and exclusives to match the PS5’s offerings. In fact, they heard it so much that they’ve decided to act on it, aggressively.
After gaining rights to Bethesda Studios in its acquisition of ZeniMax Studios, Microsoft has added another element to its highly hyped, strongly invested Xbox Game Pass — EA Play.
Starting November 10, Ultimate Game Pass subscribers will be able to access EA Play and all of the titles available. This means come that time, Ultimate Game Pass subscribers will have access to titles such as Madden, FIFA, Anthem, and the Mass Effect series.
Oh, and if you already have an EA Play subscription, Microsoft has you covered. The Xbox manufacturer will be canceling any EA Play subscriptions and any time that’s over 50 days will be “rounded up and converted to the nearest month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a ratio of three to one.”
Quick thoughts: wow. wow. wow. Microsoft is racking them up. For 75% of 2020, Microsoft has received critcism for its lackluster launch titles and exclusives selection. This has only amplified after Halo Infinite was delayed and pushed into 2021. With this latest move, I don’t want to hear any more slander on Xbox titles and, I myself, completely admit I was wrong. The selection of games available for players right at launch is incredible and what they lack in current exclusives is made up by the ability to play and download almost any third-party title and Xbox exclusive within the last five years. Granted, they’ll need to expand on their exclusives list, but I don’t think that’s a problem they’ll have for long.
Although many people are hoping to get news and info on Breath of The Wild 2, the wait will be a lot easier knowing that Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity will be available before then.
The upcoming prequel to Zelda: Breath of The Wild premiered a new trailer this past weekend, and it provides viewers with not only more story clues but a look into the cast that will surround Link and his, ultimately futile, fight against Ganon. Set 100 years before the events of BoTW, Age of Calamity will give players a look into what the world was pre-Ganon and what led to the current circumstances. Currently, the only knowledge players know of is what’s mentioned in the main game, so it’ll be neat to see how everything comes about (and if there are any nods to the BoTW).
Oh, and if you preorder the game, you’ll get access to the “Lucky Ladle.”
Quick thoughts: I think Nintendo is doing a great job managing the hype around Breath of The Wild 2. Whenever a game like Zelda: Breath of The Wild is released, the anticipation around its sequel (if one is confirmed) can be a drag. But releasing Age of Calamity, it not only gives players an opportunity to satiate their thirst for another Zelda game, it also provides them with much needed story context. And as long as the upcoming game is good, that’ll only heighten the excitement around BoTW2 even more.
Despite not having any major console launches this holiday season, Nintendo is doing a great job setting themselves up for a strong 2021.
Gaming versus climate change
Despite what 45 might have to say on the subject, climate change is very real, and the world’s biggest gaming companies are working hard to fight it.
Formed in 2019, the Playing For The Planet Alliance has been working hard to address climate change and save the environment, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sony is one of the companies that’s part of this alliance, and they’ve done a wonderful job in upholding its mission, as they’ve avoided an estimated 17.5 million tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions for the PS4. The best part? They’re doing their best to ensure they achieve the same result with the upcoming PS5.
The Hill does a great job reporting the story and shows the expansive efforts gaming companies like Sony are doing to help save our environment and planet. If you have time, check it out.