The livestreams have finished, for now, and all of the news, for now, is in. While everyone who visited the show floor in California for the first time in three years can try to safely enjoy their travel and rest, those of us around the rest of the world can take a breath and reflect on everything we’ve learned so far. If there’s something you missed in the flurry of announcements over the last week and change, you’ll find it here, or the second article! More on that below.
I’ve resolved to ensure that I don’t repeat my mistake from last year where I missed some of the presentations. I’m committed to covering everything this year, every single indie event. However, with that comes a different concession, which is a new approach to how I typically balance out doing a traditional June roundup with doing the In Review entries annually. Basically, on Monday July 4th, I will cover the rest of June’s news, the second half of the month plus some earlier presentations being shifted over to there to keep the length of this article under control. I’d already been seriously considering a delay of this article for this year just to continue finding a better balance between writing that’s healthy for me and writing that does the best possible job covering all of these events. But then the most reliable word on the forthcoming Nintendo Direct became that it isn’t arriving until the last week of June, so I needed to figure out a new way to divide my labor. Hence, the June Roundup on July 4th. Thanks for your patience and understanding, everyone!
This is an assembly of all major news that’s released across all platforms and publishers, and will provide a space for final discussions among the community here on The Avocado. For completeness and organization, I have divided this into ‘Events’ and ‘Daily news’ and otherwise organized it chronologically as usual.
Note: The IGN Expo, Guerrilla Collective, PC Gaming Show, and Wholesome Direct have been moved to Part 2 to manage this article’s size and production.
As development continues on a secret dedicated gaming hardware project at Apple, some of the rest of its hardware and software line is being pulled into the present along the way in being more gaming-friendly at long last. iOS 16 was revealed alongside a new, specifically more gaming-friendly AMD-developed microchip for the next gen of Mac computers and tablets. Capcom announced that it was partnered with Apple to bring Resident Evil Village to this next gen of Macs to show Apple means business, utilizing MetalFX AI upscaling to boost performance. (No Man’s Sky and Grid Legends also being ported.) iOS 16 will also natively support Joycon and Switch Pro Controller compatibility.
The third annual Limited Run Games Showcase announced the following new physical releases and/or incoming starts of preorders for previously announced physical versions:
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A Boy and his Blob Collection for Switch; American Hero FMV game for PS4/5, PC, and Switch; BATS/Bloodsucking Anti-Terror Squad distributed for PS4/5 and Switch ; Bill and Ted’s Excellent Retro Collection for PS4/5 and Switch; Blade Runner Enhanced Edition for PS4/5 and Switch; Blossom Tales 2 for Switch; Deathwish Enforcers for Switch and PS4/5; DoDonPachi Resurrection for Switch; Doom Eternal Switch port physical version this July; Enclave for Switch and PS4/5; Espgaluda II for Switch; Frogun for Switch and PS4/5; Garden Story for Switch; Glover for N64; Go Go Kokopolo 3D for 3DS; Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection for Switch and PS4; Lunark for Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch; Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties: Definitive Edition for PS4/5, Switch, and Xbox; PowerSlave: Exhumed for Xbox, Switch, and PS4; Rendering Ranger R-2 for SNES, Switch, and PS4/5; River City Girls 2 for Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox; Shadowrun Trilogy for Switch, Xbox, and PS4; Skelattack for PS4 and Switch; Spidersaurs for Switch, Xbox, and PS4/5; KOTOR 2 for Switch and PC; TMNT Shredder’s Revenge for Switch, Xbox, and PS4; Tetris Effect: Connected for Switch, PS4, and Xbox; and Undermine for PS4 and Switch.
A Sonic Central video premiered and was largely one of the most pointless things I’ve ever seen, focusing largely on merch and incredibly brief previews of previously announced/shown major projects, but I owe it to Katie to acknowledge that it did announce the return of the Sonic Symphony this year, now with live touring alongside Crush 40, coming later this year. More significantly, by the middle of June after widespread negative reactions to Sonic Frontiers gameplay footage had set in, Takashi Iizuka publicly asserted in an interview at VGC that the game will not be delayed again from its Holiday 2022 launch, claiming that fans don’t understand the game.
Summer Game Fest
The third annual Keigh-3 started with another appearance by Street Fighter 6 from Capcom, featuring new gameplay footage and revealing another classic hero as the fifth playable character, Guile, now voiced by Ray Chase, AKA Noctis from FF15 and new icon of horror Gabriel. Extensive direct feed preview coverage of SF6 began emerging from Summer Game Fest’s “Play Days” show floor demos, showing off full matches of all four demo characters in 4K 60fps, and at this time full crossplay and rollback netcode support were confirmed. On the 13th in the lead-up to the Capcom Showcase, IGN Japan proceeded to provide additional details on the game. World Tour was confirmed to have additional locations beyond Metro City, and was compared by the game’s director to Shenmue. Director Nakayama also confirmed to IGN that his original 2018 pitch document contained both World Tour and the online Battle Hub, suggesting that the period after Yoshinori Ono was fired and the game was delayed in 2020 was less a reboot as previously reported and more an expansion of the foundation.
And now that Capcom acknowledged and effectively confirmed the previous leaks from the game, I feel comfortable talking about them in my main news coverage. The most significant was artwork of 22 separate fighters, showcasing many newcomers and many redesigned veterans, including the five officially announced. Two of the brand new fighters were teased by the State of Play trailer, both women: (names not final) Kimberly, the series’ first American Black woman, and Marisa, an Italian MMA fighter with a gladiator theme and a statuesque, musclebound physique. I’m pretty sure that’s an actual helmet she has on, not helmet hair. Also, all of the new characters in the artwork were accurately described by some leakers months before the image leaked, with one leaker additionally claiming that M. Bison’s counterpart Rose is one of three remaining fighters out of an alleged launch roster of 25 to match SF4. While there’s no real guarantee that all of these depicted characters are in the launch roster and not planned DLC yet, SF6 is likely to at least surpass the SF5 launch roster of 16 characters given the extra dev time and express intent to improve on 5‘s failures.
Next was a brand new if decidedly retro reveal – Aliens: Dark Descent with a cinematic trailer from Battlefleet Gothic developer Tindalos Interactive. The squad based single player action game is set for a 2023 launch for PS4/5, X1/XSX, and PC. The Callisto Protocol‘s director Glen Schofield then introduced an extended, more gory “Schofield Cut” of the game’s recent State of Play trailer, followed by a straight gameplay demo captured on next-gen hardware for the December 2022 horror game. After the game’s first full trailer on June 8th, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II appeared as promised at SGF with an extended gameplay demo.
Microids announced that their sci fi cinematic platformer Flashback 2, revival of the sister series to Another World/Out of this World, will launch in Winter 2022 for PS4/5, Xbox One/Series, and PC, with a Switch release later in 2023. This trailer also featured the game’s gameplay reveal after it was only announced via press release in 2021. A gameplay trailer for first person action game Witchfire debuted, but fuck that. Witchfire is directed by The Vanishing of Ethan Carter‘s Adrian Chmielarz, a pro-Gamergate, pro-crunch reactionary jackass. Also, that game was announced in 2017 and is only now starting early access five years later.
Another first time studio made of industry vets, Fallen Leaf revealed their game, Fort Solis, a third person sci fi horror game about two men hunting each other on Mars, starring Troy Baker and Roger Clark in his first role since Arthur in Red Dead Redemption 2. Fort Solis is ‘coming soon’ to PC via Steam. And then the fourth space horror game of the show was revealed right after, but it was still quite a surprise: Routine, which was a well anticipated game when it was first announced a whole decade ago, but then became long-missing vaporware before its re-reveal here. The game’s development was completely scrapped and restarted in the mid-2010s. It has no new release window yet, but it is currently set to release for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X as a full stop console exclusive, and it features Mick Gordon as composer. The first expansion for Outriders, Worldslayers, was then shown off with a June 30th launch date.
During the show, Nintendo took multiple non-announcement ad spots just like it has at recent TGAs. Its interest in Keighley at this point is quite limited when it can completely control its own message, and right now still keep its cards very close to its chest ahead of the still incoming June Direct. The new original IP RTS Stormgate, from former Starcraft developers at Blizzard in their new studio Frost Giant, will begin its beta release in 2023. Highwater by developer Demagog was also revealed: a story driven 3D indie game about boating across a flooded world, it will launch in December 2022 on Steam and unannounced platforms. Demagog’s games are in a shared universe between this, debut title Golf Club: Wasteland, and the forthcoming The Cub, featured below from Tribeca. Geoff briefly discussed Russia’s war on Ukraine regarding the game Replaced, which was meant to have a trailer at SGF, but had to delay due to the war’s effects on its Ukrainian devs.
He then awkwardly transitioned to American Arcadia from Spanish indie devs Out of the Blue, creators of Call of the Sea. The game is bifurcated between both Trevor, whose attempted escape from the surveillance state takes the form of side-scrolling platforming and stealth, and Angela, the woman aiding Trevor from afar who is in fully 3D first person puzzle gameplay like Call of the Sea. American Arcadia is “Coming Soon to PC and Consoles” this year, and it’ll be a Day One game for me after how much I loved their first game. In a parody of the vaporware game Dead Island 2‘s trailer, Coffee Stain revealed the first full sequel to its comedy game hit, cheekily titled Goat Simulator 3, which is coming this Fall as a PC release and Epic store timed exclusive. Firaxis finally brought tactical RPG Marvel’s Midnight Suns back to the fore in a cinematic trailer, revealing Spider-Man as a new playable character, corrupted Marvel heroes like the Hulk and Scarlet Witch as major foes, and an October 7th 2022 launch for all platforms except Switch, which will release at a delay. The reported attempts to overhaul presentation in gameplay have yet to be seen.
Cuphead‘s DLC appeared again with extended gameplay footage of a single boss, Mortimer Freeze. It will launch for all platforms on June 30th for 8 bucks, and is warned to be at the higher end of the game’s difficulty curve. In an interview by Chris Carter at Destructoid, the creators confirmed that the physical release of both the game and DLC together is still on the way with an update in two or three months. Ben Esposito’s first person shooter card game Neon White had its launch date announced, June 16th for PC and Switch as a timed console exclusive, which leaked early as part of a bunk ‘shadowdropped at the Direct’ rumor. Jacob Dwzinel announced that his indie action game Midnight Fight Express will release on August 23rd for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One as a Day One Game Pass game.
Warframe‘s next expansion Duviri Paradox was announced; its gameplay reveal will be at a dedicated event on July 16th. Genshin Impact developer Mihoyo showcased two of its other games, Honkai Star Rail, a tactical RPG, and recently announced new IP Zenless Zone Zero, an action RPG. Neither has a release window right now. The hotly anticipated TMNT Shredder’s Revenge was confirmed to launch just a week from then on June 16th for Xbox and Game Pass, Switch, PS4, and PC. Casey Jones as the last new playable character and a 6 player online co op mode (in addition to 4 player local) were both announced as well.
The battle royale shooter Super People will see its final beta start on August 17th, and early access launch will be before the end of 2022. Sega announced several new factions added to its 4x strategy game Humankind via the Cultures of Latin America DLC released that day. The trailer also announced console (and Mac) versions releasing in November 2022, a few months past its one year anniversary. Humankind will release for PS4/5, and X1/XSX in November asa Day One Game Pass title. According to a ratings board listing which leaked the console ports nearly, it might also release for Switch. The RPG One Piece: Odyssey showed many cutscenes and some gameplay in a new trailer, but no new release window, just later in 2022 for PS4/5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC. Atlus had a brief preview for Soul Hackers 2, which is still set for August on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Samsung fully revealed and promoted its major cloud game streaming partnership with the Samsung Gaming Hub, which fully supports most major cloud apps, Xbox, Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce, and Utomik, on all 2022 Samsung TVs and monitors as of the Hub’s June 30th launch. Capcom appeared one last time ahead of its Showcase to reveal the full game roster for its latest classics collection, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium. All games are available to purchase individually on all platforms. Newly next-gen console exclusive rhythm shooter Metal: Hellsinger saw its launch date of September 15th 2022 announced, accompanied by a new demo out now. Supermassive and Take-Two premiered The Quarry‘s launch trailer one day before the game released.
Returning from a TGAs 2021 reveal was the first person action survival game Nightingale, with a gameplay trailer for the debut title from new studio Inflexion and Aaryn Flynn, formerly of Bioware. In an interview with Imran Khan, Flynn discussed the fleshed-out world and story of the game, and explained their efforts to avoid colonialist overtones by focusing on magical resource generation instead of harvesting from the world or other people. Nightingale begins Steam Early Access later this year. Volition and THQ Nordic shadowdrop released the Boss Factory character creator demo for the upcoming Saints Row reboot, in series tradition. The release date trailer for Warhammer 40K: Darktide presented new gameplay footage and announced its September 13th 2022 launch, exclusively for PC and Xbox Series S|X.
Another new trailer premiered for Gotham Knights ahead of its October launch for PC and next-gen consoles, which highlighted Nightwing. Polish developer Bloober Team returned from our previous roundup to announce the first person next gen exclusive horror game Layers of Fears, seemingly a completely rebuilt in Unreal 5 reimagining of their debut series’ previous two games, Layers of Fear 1 and 2, set for an Early 2023 launching on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S|X. This announcement inspired questions with an ultimately simple answer: this game has been in development for multiple years and predates Konami officially announcing a partnership with Bloober Team in mid-2021, so their highly rumored Silent Hill project is most likely simply less far along in development.
For the event’s extended finale, longtime friend of Geoff and Naughty Dog co-president arrived for an overall segment themed around the Last of Us franchise. He briefly discussed both the newly confirmed stand-alone multiplayer series entry and the TV show: the multiplayer game won’t be ready to show until 2023, but it will keep series tradition with a full dramatic story and cast of characters; the HBO series was announced to be wrapping season 1 filming the next day on June 10th, and it will feature Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson in some substantial non Joel/Ellie roles. The most significant feature was the reveal trailer of the long-rumored PS5 exclusive remake of the series’ debut, The Last of Us Part 1.
Hilariously, Sony accidentally listed the game to its store early right before the show, fully leaking its existence, the trailer, and the release date and undermining their undeniably generous gift of a first party PlayStation reveal to Keighley in his triumph over the ESA. After the game had already been substantially leaked by a 2021 Jason Schreier report. The remake launches September 2nd 2022 for PS5 with a PC port coming soon after, thus finally beginning the process of Sony officially filling in the rest of its 2022 calendar. The trailer was focused on cutscenes and graphics, but the remake’s gameplay is confirmed to largely pivot to Part 2’s additions.
SGF Day of the Devs
Time Flies was revealed, an open-world game about being a housefly, and will release on PC, Switch, and PlayStation in 2023. Abstract 2D puzzle game Animal Well for PC and PS5 was revealed. An adventure game in a unique artstyle about accepting death was revealed, How to Say Goodbye. A 2D platformer based on the classic comic, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was revealed with gameplay footage and a Kickstarter campaign on June 16th. Schim was revealed as a 3D puzzle platformer about traveling between shadows, but it has no current release wivdow. Console versions were confirmed in the new gameplay trailer for the open-world horror game Choo-Choo Charles, coming this year. Bear and Breakfast returned with its launch date announced: July 28th for Switch and PC. An escape room game, Escape Academy, will launch on July 14th for PC, PS4/5, and Xbox One/S|X.
A gameplay trailer premiered for A Little to the Left, a house organizing puzzle game coming to Switch and PC this year. Naiad showed off its strong art style and swimming focused puzzle gameplay; it’s coming to PC and PlayStation. Goodbye World is coming this year and explores the lives of indie game developers. Madison Karth had the gameplay trailer for the adventure game Birth, coming this August. Fox and Frog Travelers: The Demon of Adashino Island is a 3D action-adventure game set in Japan, it’s coming to PC, Switch, and more platforms to be confirmed, but it won’t release for “years” still. Roots of Pacha is a farm game set in early prehistoric civilization, with a demo out now Steam. Planet of Lana showed off a new biome in a new trailer. Monument Valley and Alba developers Ustwo gave an early look at their new game for Netflix, Desta: The Memories Between. Ustwo fired an employee for union organizing in 2019.
The presentation was hosted by Suda 51 and themed around countdowns this time, but was mercifully shorter and faster paced than last year’s. With another new animated trailer, developer Massive Monster finally announced that the hotly anticipated Cult of the Lamb will launch on all platforms August 11th. Nerial had a quick reminder that their latest game, Card Shark, is out now. Free Lives, developers of Broforce and Genital Jousting, revealed their other new game, Anger Foot, a first person shooter where all actions are enacted by the player character’s foot. After just announcing days earlier that he had left Game Freak for cofounding his own new studio, James Turner and All Possible Futures revealed The Plucky Squire, a 2D and 3D platformer about a storybook adventurer in the normal world, launching in 2023 for PC, Switch, Xbox S|X, and PS5. At Game Freak, Turner designed Pokémon from generations 5 through 8, most notably as art director for Sword and Shield. Lastly, a surreal skateboarding game from Sam Eng was revealed, Skate Story coming in 2023.
Netflix Geeked Week
Netflix announced several new games and game tie-in projects for their service: Poinpy, the creator of Downwell‘s new game which is available now; Castlevania: Nocturne, the second generation animated series about Richter Belmont, which is currently in production and showed off its first official art; an animated Dragon Age miniseries coming in December with ties to the next game and its Tevinter setting; they announced a Queen’s Gambit game with online multiplayer and the series’ cast to play against; Big the Cat and Froggy were confirmed for Sonic Prime; and the next installments of Dota: Dragon’s Blood and The Cuphead Show were both announced to premiere in August.
Tribeca Games Spotlight
The second annual Tribeca Games Spotlight, hosted by Janina Gavankar, Rahul Kohli, and Abubakar Salim , started with another look at gameplay from Thirsty Suitors, which premiered at the Game Awards 2021. Developer Outerloop also provided various hands-on previews this week ahead of a launch which is Coming Soon TM. The Cub is a side-scrolling platformer about a climate crisis survivor evading and striking back against hunter scouts from the spacefaring elite that abandoned Earth to its fate. It’s inspired by many things, including two very different kinds of 90s 2D platformer: the Disney platformers by Capcom, and the more experimental games like Heart of Darkness and Another World. Multigenerational interactive drama As Dusk Falls returns from the July 2020 Xbox event ahead of its launch for Windows and Xbox platforms later this year. The game is by independent ex Quantic Dream developers INTERIOR/NIGHT. Venba is a hand-drawn puzzle cooking game about restoring lost family recipes and exploring the story of the South Asian family behind the recipe book.
As they also continue with Microsoft Flight Sim updates, Asobo Studio, not to be confused with Japanese game companies like Astro Bot‘s Asobi or the publisher Asobu, is preparing next-gen exclusive A Plague Tale: Requiem for launch this year. Tribeca showed new gameplay, but was primarily focused on the developers being able to discuss the game themselves. Cuphead: Delicious Last Course returned again so Maja Moldenhauer could discuss the game, particularly the new Miss Chalice player character, and emphasized that this is the end of the Cuphead game series, for now. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals presented new gameplay footage, new characters, and a more expansive scale; it’s coming soon on all announced platforms (Switch, PS4/5, PC) later in 2022. Sam Barlow’s most ambitious FMV adventure yet, Immortality, presented new footage and gameplay; it’s coming to PC and Xbox Series S|X this year. Lastly, American Arcadia by Out of the Blue reappeared to show more of both sides of its gameplay.
Freedom Games Showcase
Indie publisher Freedom Games presented its latest slate of games for the next year. Good Heavens! is a multiplayer survival RPG coming to PC with a procedurally generated sandbox world and a lot of gameplay variety, as players divide up tasks like farming, base building, cooking, fighting, and trading amongst themselves. Strategy RPG Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga was shown next and launched for PC on June 10th right after the showcase. It’s the first entry in a series that the developer has been working on for six years. Retreat to Enen is a first person survival game by Head West, launching August 5th for PC and coming to PS5 and Xbox Series S|X in 2023. Gameplay was shown from timeloop first person adventure horror game Broken Pieces, coming to X1/XS, PS4/5, and PC later in 2022. Monorail Stories is also coming in Q3 2022 to PC and Switch, a story and choice focused adventure game by Stelex, a husband and wife development studio. Top d own RPG Monster Tribe will launch for PC on August 15th, while Neon Blight will launch even sooner on July 11th, where you…run a gun store.
Against All Odds is about traversing lethal obstacle courses in competitive multiplayer as well as a course creation mode, and releases for PC in Q4 2022. One Lonely Outpost is a sci fi farm game coming Q3 2022, with an adventure combat side as well just like Stardew. Nine Years of Shadows is a side-scrolling action game hitting in late 2022. HumanitZ is an open world zombie survival game with a multiplayer option, it’s about two years into development and only ‘coming soon’ release-wise. Open world action RPG Sands of Aura received its new Twin Thorns update as it continues its early access period on Steam. Strategy RPG Tyrant’s Blessing is coming to Switch and PC later this summer. Quirky farm game Voltaire the Vegan Vampire was newly picked up by Freedom as publisher and will enter Early Access in 2023. An action game based on Chinese history, TERRACOTTA will release later in 2022. Gothic deckbuilder Death Drive is ‘coming soon’, another survival game, Mars Base, arrives in Q3 2022, and FPS Blood and Zombies newly entered Early Access. Finally, Adopt a Monster, Airborne Kingdom, Anuchard, Cat Cafe Manager, One More Island, and Coromon were all announced as Available Now on the Freedom website.
Future Games Show
With a nice faster pace than ever, Future Games 2022 started with sci fi FPS Outpost (working title) revealed first, it has basebuilding and it’s Coming Soon to PC. Luto is Broken Bird Games’ ghostly first person survival horror coming to PS and PC in 2022. Nightingale reappeared as Aaryn Flynn discussed its Realm Cards system and reaffirmed that it will begin PC Early Access in Late 2022. In what I’m certain began as someone making a pun about ray tracing, Tray Racers was revealed, a 16-player fully 3D free to play game about riding through sand dunes, coming to PC and Switch in 2023, from the creators of Phogs. The small time publisher Kwalee showcased a slate of games: a melee weapon based fighter Die by the Blade coming this year, the Doom style FPS Scathe launching for PC on August 31st 2022 with console versions later, plus 3D multiplayer survival game Wildmender and FPS Robobeat, both set for 2023. One person project Morbid Metal saw a gameplay trailer for its 3D mecha melee action with four different characters to choose from. It’s ‘coming soon’ to PC. Rocket League esque golf game Turbo Golf Racing was announced for an Early Access launch on August 4th for PC via Steam and Xbox Series S|X via Game Pass Preview. A Beta is running from June 11th-June 20th.
American Arcadia reappeared with more developer interviews, while Alaskan Truck Simulator was officially set for a Late 2022 PC and Consoles launch. The Entropy Centre will launch for PC, PS4/5, and Xbox One/Series later in 2022, it’s clearly heavily inspired by Portal between its first person physics puzzles and humorous robot companion. A preview of a full presentation focused on Ukrainian game devs featured: Puzzles for Clef – exploratory puzzle platformer, Zero Losses by Marevo Collective, This Rain Will Never End, a point and click adventure by Marginal Act, Farlanders, a turn based city builder, and Through the Nightmares, a sidescrolling action platformer about dreams. Happy Juice Games showed they know how to get my attention, by name-dropping Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall for its strongly stylized adventure platformer Lost in Play, releasing for Switch and PC on August 10th 2022. Brewmaster is a craft brewing sim set to be on PC and consoles this year, and the 3D platformer Bramble: The Mountain King is ‘coming soon’ to PC and consoles too. A mobster tactics game like the Romeros’ Empire of Sin, Enemy of the State was revealed in a cinematic trailer. It’s not scheduled to launch until Mid 2024, for PS5, Series S|X and PC.
GamesRadar confirmed there’s a dedicated ‘digital show floor’ page for every demo available from a game in this show, featuring The Tarnishing of Juxtia, Orx, a roguelike deckbuilder in a tabletop format, adventure game A Twisted Tale, Battle of the Bands deckbuilder Power Chord, Reptilian Rising, Potion Permit, Melatonin, Once Upon a Jester, and Bail o Jail from Konami?! Next was the first appearance in a large presence by publisher Team17 with the reveal of Sunday Gold, a dark, stylish adventure game coming, with turn based combat, coming to PC this year. VR horror game Do Not Open is set for a Fall 2022 release for PSVR1 on PS4 and PS5. The shooter Bright Memory Infinite (once seen at a 2020 Xbox event) officially hit 1.0 launch now on PC, with a future launch for PS5, Xbox Series S|X, and a carefully optimized Switch port. Gothic horror metroidvania The Last Faith presented its gorgeous gameplay and announced a 2022 release on PS4/5, X1/XS, Switch, and PC.
A Team17 Montage featured: Thymesia, releasing August 9th PS5 Xbox Series PC; Autopsy Simulator November 2022 on Steam; The Unliving Steam Early Access October 31st; seafaring co op roguelike Ship of Fools for Switch, PS5, Xbox in 2022; Sunday Gold again; Sweet Transit July 28th Early Access, Batora: Lost Haven Fall 2022 PS4/5 X1/SX Switch Steam, The Knight Witch Fall 2022 Switch PS4/5 X1/SX Steam; and Killer Frequency for Meta Quest 2. Tinykin, the Pikmin alike with 3D and 2D platforming segments will officially now launch August 30th 2022 for Steam, Xbox, PS, and Switch. At its fourth consecutive year of Future Games Show appearances, Serial Cleaners was finally announced for a September 22 2022 launch on PS4/5, Xbox One/S|X, PC, and Switch. To complement Microsoft Flight Sim, here’s Airport Sim, set for 2023 on Windows and Xbox Series S|X. The Ones to Watch montage featured: Fueled Up PC 2022, Dinkum July 14th PC, WB’s MultiVersus releasing July 2022 for PC X1 XSeries PS4/PS5, Mythbusters the game coming soon on PC, Shadows of Doubt 2023 PC, Last Time I Saw You coming soon PC, Instinction with no release window for PC PS Xbox, and Beyond Sunset for Summer 2023 on PC.
Amanita Design showed Phonopolis, which I covered last month, and is now confirmed for multiplatform development. The roguelike Being and Becoming, by Ichthys, had a new gameplay trailer. The story trailer of the previously covered Arctic Awakening premiered, introducing a surprise future setting and therapy bot companion. It’s scheduled to launch in 2023 for PC, Mac, and consoles. F1 Manager 2022 was announced to launch on August 25th for PC, PS, and Xbox. A rare fully 3D platform fighter, Divine Knockout is set for all consoles and coming soon. Another repeat Roundup game is the visually striking sci fi platformer Planet of Lana, still set for a 2022 launch for PC and as a timed console exclusive on Xbox One/S|X. The latest in a select set of third party Switch exclusives approved for PC release by notoriously strict Nintendo, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise was announced to be shadowdropping on Steam that day after leaking earlier this month. The game, and creator Swery more generally, have a very questionable at best recent track record on treatment of trans characters and themes
From the classic comic series comes Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley, a musical adventure game featuring Sigur Ros, set for PC and consoles in 2023. Following it was the decidedly distasteful penultimate trailer of the presentation, a new gameplay trailer for parody shooter Palworld, coming to PC this year. And now, One more thing: Ill (ILL), a first person sci fi body horror shooter built in Unreal 5, was fully revealed, with no current release window or platforms.
Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase
This presentation was entirely focused on games launching the next 12 months, AKA Xbox’s next fiscal year of July 2022 to June 2023, in terms of current official scheduling. Microsoft didn’t introduce this caveat until the start of the event, and while they probably should’ve led with it sooner, it’s clear why they did this narrower focus. Previous Xbox presentations and announcements were often criticized online for having more cinematic trailers than gameplay footage, and to a lesser extent, for focusing on games that were many years away. Some of those games, like Perfect Dark and Everwild, may very well still be no closer to release two whole years later. There’s a very straightforward single answer to both of those problems in one: real, good gameplay footage is only going to come out of a game relatively close to release anyway. So this next year theme was chosen, and a mandate from Phil Spencer was instituted for first party studios: if you were appearing in this show, you had to provide gameplay footage. Third parties were also more generally encouraged to ship gameplay footage ready to show.
The show opened with the extended gameplay reveal trailer for Arkane Austin’s Redfall, which will release in H1 2023 for Xbox Series S|X and Windows. The open world immersive sim FPS features four playable characters of different playstyles, dividing up different parts of the Arkane mechanical playbook and a large variety of unique weapons across an engineer, a sniper, a researcher, and a telekinetic, who’s Layla, somewhat positioned as the main protagonist. I’ve read about two other potential character classes, but neither trailer has given the impression of expanding beyond the main four, at least. There is also, to be clear, no AI controlled versions of the characters if you are playing by yourself, you only have more than one in active co-op, facing off against not just vampires but a cult which worships the vampires as well.
Redfall‘s release window was still solely given as 2023, just like Starfield at the other end of the presentation, leaving us with still few launch specifics on this in the next year first party software slate. And then…that’s right. Three long pandemic riddled years after its last appearance back in E3 2019, a new trailer premiered for Hollow Knight: Silksong as the second game of this show and before the first host segment. Exclusively showcasing fast-paced and fast-cut combat gameplay, Silksong was announced as a Day One Game Pass title coming soon. It is notably one of the only games featured in this presentation that doesn’t appear at all in the subsequently released official “Year in Xbox” graphic, in neither of the 2022 or 2023 columns, but still officially within this next 12 months window. After the delays of the two Zenimax games were announced, it became a meme that Spencer was going to have to pay out hard for third parties on Game Pass to compensate, and making Silksong one of your event’s openers is certainly an aggressive way to start sending that very message, though far from the end of it. The reveal of High On Life from Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games, a first person shooter in the same edgy sci fi comedy bent as Roiland’s animated series and previous game, was announced for an October 2022 launch as a timed console exclusive on Game Pass.
A complete slate of League of Legends franchise games coming from Riot to Xbox consoles and Game Pass were showcased next, consisting of the original MOBA League of Legends for PC Game Pass, the updated and mobile/console optimized League of Legends: Wild Rift, the digital card game Legends of Runeterra, the auto battler Teamfight Tactics, the FPS Valorant, and as of Tuesday during the extended rebroadcast of the Xbox event, the hit survival game Valheim as well. Full completely free rosters of playable characters will be available via Game Pass for some of these games: for reference, currently there are 159 champions in League of Legends. All of this will arrive at once in ‘Winter 2022’ or early calendar 2023 as per the official event graphic. After announcing it last year, Xbox presented A Plague Tale: Requiem again, now with full gameplay footage. Focus Entertainment’s ‘Focus Showcase’ event on June 23rd will reveal the game’s launch date and show further gameplay footage.
Forza Motorsport, the latest entry by developer Turn 10 in the more precise simulator focused side of the signature first party Xbox racing series, returned two years after reveal and five years after the previous subseries entry, with its extended gameplay reveal and a Spring 2023 release window for PC and next-gen Xboxes. Man…not even the car game could make 2022? At the end of the day, games should take all the time they, and especially their developers at healthy work schedules, need. Microsoft Flight Sim saw the reveal of the 40th anniversary Edition update, set to arrive in November 2022 for PC and Xbox S|X. This is a free update with new forms of aircraft and other content, revamping the game to the 40th Anniversary Edition after the previous GOTY editions. There was also a Halo-themed free update available right after the presentation, with the Pelican dropship.
And then Microsoft went ahead with leveraging Blizzard games well before the buyout is close to finalized by featuring Overwatch 2, announcing that its PVP competitive multiplayer modes will launch as free to play on October 4th 2022 in Early Access ahead of the co op PVE story mode’s scheduled release in 2023. They really are fully borrowing the Halo Infinite playbook here, except it’ll be many months in between the game’s halves, instead of weeks. The game’s second beta was also announced, starting on June 28th, now open to consoles. The second new playable character after a two year hiatus was also briefly revealed, the Junker Queen, a Wastelander like .Junkrat and Roadhog. Junker Queen’s first gameplay footage was revealed at a June 16th livestream, which also confirmed that the first three new characters, Sojourn, Junker Queen, and a presently undetailed support character, will all launch on October 4th, while a fourth will launch on December 6th. Characters are meant to release every 18 weeks after that, as part of the series adopting its new FTP season passes. Even without that upfront cost, this game still seems completely pointless, even actively worse in some ways.
A brand new historical turn-based strategy game was revealed: Ara: History Untold by Oxide Games, coming to PC and PC Game Pass sometime in the next year, published by Xbox Game Studios. The gameplay reveal for Ara was featured at the Extended Showcase. Bethesda’s live service B-teams were on the scene next, revealing the launch date of the High Isle expansion for Elder Scrolls Online as June 21st, and providing both gameplay footage and a September 2022 release window for the Pitt expansion of Fallout 76. Meanwhile, Forza Horizon 5 saw the triumphant return of Hot Wheels DLC, releasing on July 19th. Ark 2 returned from the Game Awards, still starring Vin Diesel and still entirely with cinematic and no gameplay, but now revealed as a timed console exclusive for Xbox S|X and Game Pass when it releases next year. The timed exclusive, next-gen exclusive, first person sci fi horror game Scorn had its launch date announced after a very long wait and a new gameplay trailer: October 21st 2022. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is an open world action RPG from the developers of Ashen: its new gameplay reveal trailer announced an Early 2023 launch window on Xbox One, S|X, Game Pass, PS4/PS5, and PC.
Leaked abruptly by Jeffs Gerstmann and Grubb in the lead up to the Sunday Xbox show, Mojang (and collaborator Blackbird, developer of Homeworld) announced the next spinoff entry in its blockbuster Minecraft franchise, an action RTS entitled Minecraft Legends launching in H1 2023 for Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Game Pass, PC, PS4, PS5, and Switch, continuing the policy of keeping the series completely multiplatform. The Unreal 5 sci fi open world farm game Lightyear Frontier was announced as a timed exclusive releasing in Spring 2023 for PC, Xbox Series, and Game Pass. Last year’s mobile co op roguelike hit FPS Gunfire Reborn was announced to be coming to Xbox and Game Pass in October 2022 as a timed exclusive, ahead of PS4/5 and Switch.
Next was another timed exclusive indie, The Last Case of Benedict Fox, a spooky sidescrolling metroidvania set to launch in Spring 2023 for Xbox, PC, and Game Pass. China’s second biggest games publisher NetEase announced that its battle royale hit Naraka: Bladepoint will make its console debut as a timed Xbox One/Series and Game Pass exclusive on June 23rd 2022. Another returning game was stylized narrative adventure As Dusk Falls, now launching July 19th 2022 for Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC, and Game Pass, published by Xbox Game Studios. The developer also revealed support for up to eight player co op control over the story and characters, much like Supermassive’s games.
Obsidian’s dedicated segment featured two long rumored announcements while missing another. Originally pitched all the way back in 1992, Pentiment is first and foremost the creation of director Josh Sawyer and art director Hannah Kennedy, who were the only people working on the game when it started development in 2018. It’s remained a small-scale, if quite ambitious project while a majority of Obsidian’s resources and personnel have gone to the developer’s AAA RPGs like Avowed. A narrative adventure RPG about a murder mystery in 1500s Bavaria, captured in a gorgeous medieval literary artstyle, Pentiment will launch in November 2022 for PC, Game Pass, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X as a brand new and full first party exclusive, the only one of the calendar year. In January for my first Patreon-exclusive rumor focused article, I reported on Pentiment and its 2022 launch with Jeff Grubb as a key source, and now both are confirmed.1 For more info on Pentiment, I highly recommend IGN’s coverage, particularly this Rebekah Valentine piece.
Speaking of which: Avowed had long been projected for a launch in early 2023, and it was only days before the latest Xbox event the game ultimately missed that Jason Schreier offered a new, concrete update. The game went through some developmental difficulties, has been at least pushed back to later in 2023, and it took a while for awareness of this to catch on because it seemed at first that the only source was the spiteful sex predator Chris Avellone who alleged the developmental difficulties first.
Obsidian closed out their dedicated segment by officially announcing that after more than two years in early access, the small kids in a big backyard survival game Grounded will launch at 1.0 in September 2022, featuring plenty of new content, including the full central story of the mystery behind the kids being shrunk.
Developer Baby Robot Games announced their debut title, the stylized 3D stealth action game Ereban: Shadow Legacy, scheduled to launch in 2023 for PC, Xbox One/Series, and Game Pass. Oscar Isaac voice: Somehow, Blizzard returned, with both a cinematic and extended gameplay footage from Diablo 4. The Necromancer was revealed to return as the fifth and final class for the open world game set to launch in 2023. A traditional musical ditty from Rare detailed season seven for Sea of Thieves, which launches on July 21st and features deeper ship customization: save ship loadouts, name your ship, and customize your ship room, among other things.
Developer Cococumber revealed their timed exclusive fairy tale action RPG Ravenlok for a 2023 launch on Game Pass, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series. Former Playdead developer Jeppe Carlsen, Geometric Interactive, and publisher Annapurna, newly announced and presented gameplay from Cocoon, a 3D sci fi puzzle adventure game scheduled for release in 2023 for Game Pass, Xbox, PC, and Switch. After Team Ninja in October 2021 informally announced a Romance of the Three Kingdoms action game taking cues from their Nioh series, it was officially unveiled here as Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, published by Koei Tecmo for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC, and Game Pass in Early 2023.
And lastly, right before the big Starfield finale…You’ll never see it coming. That’s right. PERSONA, BABY! The cult classic RPG series, editions of all three of its most acclaimed and recent mainline entries specifically, were announced to finally be arriving on Xbox after many years of near-complete PlayStation exclusivity, and two years after Persona 4 Golden was the series’ first ever official PC release via Steam. Officially at this time, Persona 3 Portable* and Persona 4 Golden will both release for PC, Xbox, PS4, and Game Pass in the first half of 2023 after Persona 5 Royal is released on October 21st 2022 for Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox S|X, and PS5, and Game Pass. P5R is confirmed to be getting a physical release on Xbox and PS5 while the other games are digital-only for now. Currently P5R is the only one fully confirmed to be receiving native next-gen versions, the other two seem to be supported via backwards compatibility.
*Portable was chosen in part because it’s the only edition of 3 that features the rather popular woman player character. It has less fully 3D gameplay than the original or FES due to the PSP’s limitations.
In the first days after the event, Atlus confirmed the PS4/PS5 news, and that 3 and 5 will be newly added to Steam in addition to Windows. In January for my first Patreon-exclusive rumor focused article, I reported that as part of the Persona 25th anniversary season, Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 would be newly ported to modern hardware and new consoles, including Nintendo Switch. Now that the core part of that report has been officially confirmed, I remain confident that Switch ports for at least 3 and 4 will be announced sometime in the near-future, multiple sources have backed that. It would not be the first time that Nintendo withheld confirmation of Switch versions for their own terms and presentations. I’m relatively sure that 5 will also come, it’s just the most likely of the three projects to miss that initial window. I can also confirm after longstanding public speculation that there is an extensive timed exclusivity deal in place for this series at Sony which even precluded PC ports for many years, and that it’s most likely still in place for the forthcoming Persona 6. I do not take sole credit for any of this info, all credit goes my personal sources for this information while I also still respect their privacy.
Sega’s Katrina Leonoudakis is coordinating localization for the rereleases of Persona 3 and Persona 4; as she has already explained, this primarily means just ensuring smooth technical transitions, including button prompt adjustments. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about potential active content changes to both positive and negative response, as many have, but there’s nothing currently indicating that. I did, briefly, accidentally spread misinformation about this earlier this month and I dearly, deeply apologize for that. Even as I personally would prefer that they do make more changes, that was only ever speculation to say it could and should happen, not that it will.
The penultimate announcement of the main event was Hideo Kojima appearing to officially confirm and briefly discuss his Xbox exclusive project more than a year after its existence first leaked from Jeff Grubb. The game is very early in development, but it is designed exclusively around the use of cloud streaming technology. By all accounts, this game is what has previously seen minor leaks as “Project Overdose,” a horror game featuring actress Margaret Qualley as the player character, which was previously pitched to Google Stadia. Meanwhile, the Extended Showcase featured some additional announcements for me to fit in before the finale: asymmetric multiplayer horror game The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be a Day One Game Pass title when it launches next year for Xbox One, S|X, PS4, PS5, and PC; new gameplay footage is available from Slime Rancher 2, which is now set for a Fall 2022 launch, still as a timed exclusive for PC, Xbox, and Game Pass; a Master Chief skin and a limited time Halo themed event will arrive in Fall Guys for June 30th and July 1st, after the game releases for Xbox on the 21st; and the opening cinematic for S.T.AL.K.E.R. 2 was revealed alongside an updated 2023 release window while the studio remains affected by the war in Ukraine.
Finally, the event closed out with the reveal of 15 straight minutes of gameplay from Bethesda’s next RPG Starfield, which still only has a general H12023 release window for PC and Xbox Series S|X. Character interaction, combat, and the game’s signature first person space travel and flight combat, which Bethesda has spent a lot of time trying to get right as they see it as the next great mechanical innovation for their games. The game returns to a silent protagonist and first person dialogue scenes after criticism of Fallout 4‘s clumsily implemented, fully voiced cinematic dialogue wheel, and Howard has promised an insane game scale of numerous systems and 1000 planets to fully explore despite the problems of polish and consistently satisfying design that inevitably brings.
In a June 14th interview, Todd Howard informally announced that Fallout 5 will be Bethesda Game Studios’ next game after Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6. I will remind y’all that production demands are at such point for Bethesda that only one game can be in active development (Starfield was in pre-production during Falllout 4’s DLC cycle, TES6 has solely been in pre-production during Starfield’s development) at a time, and that Starfield will have taken 5 years of active development, from 2018 to 2023, to release. At this rate, even if things go perfectly, TES6 will not release until the late 2020s and Fallout 5 will not release until well into the 2030s, more than 15 years after Fallout 4.
So yeah, first party Xbox continues to have a very light calendar year ahead of it, and I sympathize with the frustrations there are with that, but it’s also going to continue to not matter particularly much, between the variety and totality of Game Pass offerings and a lot of games close to ready to release finally starting to pile up. I suspect Hellblade 2 will be joining that list soon enough.
Another new trailer for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak released, featuring multiple returning signature environments and monsters from past series generations. The expansion’s demo, featuring a jungle setting, released on June 14th for Switch and PC, as announced here. Further free major title updates for MHR: S will arrive in August, Fall, Winter, and go into 2023 as continued support for the massively successful series ahead of an anticipated new entry, the leaked World 2. Capcom Fighting Collection, launching June 24th, and Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, launching July 22nd, were both briefly promoted. Street Fighter 6‘s next new announcement was confirmed to be later this year. The first gameplay footage was revealed of Exoprimal, Capcom’s brand new class based multiplayer shooter with dinosaurs that definitely isn’t Dino Crisis, and a closed network test was announced for later this year ahead of a 2023 launch. A 10th anniversary event for the cult classic RPG Dragon’s Dogma was announced to premiere on June 16th, at which Dragon’s Dogma II was officially announced to be in development in RE Engine, with no further information.
For the climactic Resident Evil segment, Resident Evil 4 Remake was discussed with little new info, just further story details, and some gameplay footage confirming that Leon can move and shoot at the same time, like the other remakes and unlike the original RE4. The native next-gen versions and free upgrades for Resident Evil 7, RE2make, and RE3make on PC, Xbox Series, and PS5 were released right after the presentation. The major announcements were on RE: Village‘s new DLC. On October 28th 2022, the Resident Evil: Village – Gold Edition bundle and Winters’ Expansion DLC will launch together alongside the relaunched free multiplayer game ReVerse. Gold Edition bundles the main game and the DLC. Winters’ Expansion is the standalone DLC expansion for existing base game owners, featuring the now detailed Shadows of Rose story DLC, the more traditional and arcade-y Additional Orders mode for Mercenaries which features Chris Redfield, Lady Dimitrescu, and Heisenberg as new playable characters, and full support for a third person option for the main game of Village. Shadows of Rose is fully in third person, features a new Evil Within 2 esque mindscape world, and
June 16th: At the Final Fantasy 7 25th Anniversary Event, what has until now been colloquially called FF7 Remake Part 2 was officially revealed, announced as Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth with game footage and a Winter 2023 launch window for PS5. Furthermore, The FF7R series was officially announced as ultimately a trilogy, with a forthcoming third and final part. Other news from the presentation: FF7R Intergrade will release for Steam on June 17th with full Steam Deck compatibility, Crisis Core: Reunion is a stand-alone remaster, significantly enhanced with new assets, of the 2007 PSP prequel starring Zack, in its first direct rerelease ever, and it’s coming Winter 2022 for Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series, and Steam. The comprehensive FF7 macro franchise remake for mobile, Ever Crisis, will receive a pre-launch closed beta test this year, while the mobile battle royale The First Soldier received a new update.
June 6th: Keywords Edmonton won its union vote unanimously, successfully unionizing a team of QA contractors for Bioware’s premiere RPGs, starting collective bargaining immediately, and becoming the third games industry union in North America only months after the previous two formed.
Cofounder of the landmark games site Giant Bomb Jeff Gerstmann left his website nearly 15 years after it was first established, returning to an independent, primarily one-man operation in The Jeff Gerstmann Show. Shortly after the departure, Giant Bomb announced its first major staff expansion in several years, appointing a returning Dan Ryckert as Creative Director, and promoting collaborators Jeff Grubb, Tamoor Hussain, and Lucy James to full time staff. Ryckert and Grubb have fully departed their previous positions at WWE and VentureBeat respectively, while Hussain and James remain also employed as editors for GameSpot.
June 7th: For Fanbyte, Imran Khan wrote an extensive exposé on one of the strangest industry stories this year: the presently unreleased, unannounced sequel to Switch launch title and pale facsimile of the previous better tech demos 1-2-Switch. The story goes like this, per a variety of sources and reporters including Khan. That 2017 game sold almost 4 million copies to every family for whom Breath of the Wild wasn’t a great fit and had no other real option at launch. Due to this success, Nintendo greenlit a sequel, which they proceeded to try to make distinct and complementary to its predecessor instead of an outright superior replacement in typical Nintendo fashion, even though the game has already long been replaced by superior and equally, or more, successful casual games. Nintendo’s EPD4 development team took very direct inspiration from Jackbox Games and its own wild success by pitching smartphones integrated as controllers alongside joy-cons, in large remote online multiplayer lobbies, in a game show format. Which is to say, a Jackbox Party Pack with motion control minigames added. When I first learned of Nintendo trying to do a Jackbox style party game, I saw great, exciting potential there. Emphasis on potential.
The game, Everybody’s 1-2-Switch!, received an utterly abysmal reception within Nintendo from developers, localizers, and especially playtesters, alike. All of its predecessor’s problems were only magnified further: it was very shallow, overly drawn out, but worst of all, utterly tedious and boring to its target audience of families and children represented in playtesting. In games like Bingo, Musical Chairs, and platonic Spin the Bottle, players didn’t want to even finish a round. Its reputation was so bad that employees were arguing that releasing it in its current form at full $60 price as planned would, and I quote, “damage the company’s reputation” , ultimately leading to its previously scheduled May 2022 launch being pulled after physical production had already started. If a final decision on the game has already been made, it’s not publicly known by any reporters yet. The likelihood of outright canceling the game, or enough extra development to fully rework it, is fairly low considering the five years’ worth of time and resources already spent. Some way to write it off as more than a total loss is needed, but consensus between executives and developers seems difficult to reach.
Thanks to the more private hard work of fellow reporters, I’ve known about this game since Fall 2021, and I’ve discussed it both privately and publicly in that time, first as Untitled Casual Game and then by my own catchier colloquialism for its title, Everybody, Switch! I reported on the game with the second edition of my Patreon-exclusive rumors series in April, missing some of the details Imran had here.
Evil West‘s scheduled launch date was announced: September 20th 2022 for Xbox One/S|X, PS4/5, and PC.
June 8th: Sisi Jiang at Kotaku released an extensive, exclusive report on working conditions during initial development of Fallout 76 and during post-launch support. This article published mere days before Starfield’s gameplay reveal and provided exactly the counter-narrative necessary in this exploitative industry. I can’t cover absolutely everything important in this massive article, you should definitely read it yourselves.
10 former employees anonymously discussed experiencing 10 hours a day and six days a week of crunch overwork for months straight, specifically in the QA testing department, which Bethesda and Zenimax habitually abused and neglected. Overworked, underpaid, experienced constant intrusive surveillance, willfully wasting their time and disregarding their overhard work by failing to implement fixes already designed and deliberately ignoring the testers’ bug detection and bug fixes, this describes contractors and full time employees alike. It should be no surprise for years by now, but if you needed more confirmation, these workers testify that it is official Bethesda policy to abuse the concept of ‘shippable bugs’ to the greatest possible extent. Bethesda management relished the opportunity to get away with this for years and see QA workers take the brunt of the blame once the dam fully broke with Fallout 76. At which point they continued to overwork and abuse QA workers to fix the problems for which management was entirely responsible. Zenimax takes active advantage of how few opportunities there are as a game developer living in Rockville, Maryland.
There was also problems at the design level, unsurprisingly: morale was low over doing a live-service, Todd Howard was was supposed to be directly in charge but he neglected it in favor of Starfield’s pre-production, and Todd Howard personally refused devs fighting to include NPCs in the game with the laughable excuse that it eased the development his leadership was mismanaging. The conditions of 76‘s development were directly responsible for high turnover at Bethesda even for senior devs who went through the same kind of mistreatment going back at least to Skyrim. It was the worst manifestation yet of a problem that’d always been there. On Twitter, a former employee publicly clarified on one detail from the article further exemplifying Bethesda’s abuse. The article identifies workers who surveyed and timed colleagues as ‘coordinators’: coordinators were employees involuntarily forced into extensive management work without any extra pay, while those ‘chronic snitches’ were volunteers, only some of whom happened to be coordinators. Lastly: Microsoft’s increasingly infamous hands-off approach to first party developers has allowed Zenimax to get away with continuing to deliberately withhold basic benefits from employees after being bought, benefits that other Microsoft employees already enjoy.
June 9th: Video game and anime voice actor Billy Kametz tragically passed away from colon cancer at the age of 35, less than two months after announcing his diagnosis. For games, Kametz had appeared in Persona 5 Royal, Triangle Strategy, and 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, but was perhaps best known for his several appearances in the Fire Emblem series as iconic Three Houses student Ferdinand von Aegir. His family has asked for any intended financial contributions to be donated to the Colon Cancer Coalition in Billy’s honor.
Another major game publisher was selected for a stakeholding injection (1 billion dollars or 8%) from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund: Embracer Group, who are currently pending completion in the purchase of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos, and their accumulated game properties, on top of Embracer’s already hefty IP farm trough.
June 10th: After the Spanish language games press site Gamereactor alleged that God of War: Ragnarok had been delayed to 2023, and people kept incessantly asking him about it, Jason Schreier went ahead and actually put out a formal Bloomberg report with up to date info from three separate sources of his at Sony Santa Monica, saying that the game is currently scheduled for a November 2022 launch, and that this will be announced before the end of June. The game was previously scheduled for September and then pushed deeper into the fall season for further polish, at which point presumably The Last of Us Part 1 was put into September to take its approximate place.
June 11th: The Vox Media Union, which represents Polygon and The Verge’s staff among many websites, successfully secured a tentative deal in their contract negotiations on the afternoon of June 11th, less than 48 hours before their previous contract expired. This earned a straight salary raise for every single staffer in the union, the first in years, among other benefits.
June 13th: That Monday morning, the Communication Workers of America macro union and Microsoft corporate made a landmark announcement for the US’ games industry and tech industry: they have entered a legally binding labor neutrality contract, formally committing Microsoft to not interfering in union activity within the company under any circumstances, explicitly including the vast majority of Activision Blizzard King employees if the acquisition deal is approved, at 60 days after the purchase finalizes. ABK leadership, including Bobby Kotick, were not consulted or involved in the negotiations. Microsoft can now be said to be pretty definitively backing its past words with actions, to a still uncertain but prospectively positive direction.
The contract’s terms include: ensuring freedoms of both employee communication and confidentiality in organizing, streamlining the organizing process, maintenance of cooperative and carefully arbitrated proceedings between Microsoft and the CWA in any disagreement over the contract and related actions; and most prominently: Any studio that begins circulating union check cards only needs to reach a simple 50+% majority of employees signed on in order to receive automatic voluntary union recognition with no additional protracted review and election like Raven QA just went through.
As always, let’s not mince words here: this is because Microsoft and Xbox are desperate to secure the ABK buyout, which is one of the most the most legally scrutinized deals video games have ever seen, under an administration which is more serious on antitrust review, in a time of strong momentum for the labor rights movement, involving a company which can just as easily poison Microsoft’s value and image as benefit it. But if this was done correctly, it’s more actively, materially difficult for Microsoft to backpedal post buyout than it was before, and it’s all the sweeter that it’s so wide-encompassing as well. The CWA and their hard work is all we should be thanking if this contract proves fruitful for labor rights, not Microsoft, and if the contract fails those it’s meant to help like the most recent IATSE contract in Hollywood, both Microsoft and the CWA must be held accountable. That being said, this is a huge deal with very strong potential behind it, potential to be the games industry’s biggest labor rights victory ever. And that potential is why we all have to keep fighting in our own ways, fighting for even better.
June 14th: Besides the previously detailed Xbox Extended Showcase, an Assassins’ Creed 15th anniversary show premiered, mostly detailing continued post-launch support for Valhalla.
June 15th: After leaving Kadokawa Games last month for the new separate studio of Dragami Games, Yoshimi Yasuda announced that Dragami will be reviving Lollipop Chainsaw, likely via a remastered port in time for the game’s 10th anniversary this year. The game’s scriptwriter James Gunn publicly celebrated the news the same day. He has previously cited their work on the game as an influence on a standout sequence in his fantastic 2021 film The Suicide Squad.
The release window for the Restored Content update for KOTOR 2 on Switch was updated to Q3 (July-Sep) 2022, and Aspyr clarified that a new save file will have to be created to explore the Restored Content, no pre-existing save files will be compatible.
June 16th: On the same day as a big distracting new Overwatch event. In an all time classic ABK move. The kind of thing my dedicated ABK sections were literally made for. The Activision Board of Directors’ official investigation of its workplace was concluded and filed with the Securities Exchange Commission, declaring a bold fat lie in the face of the glaring and all-encompassing evidence to the contrary that I’ve been compiling for almost a year straight, falsely claiming that there is no systemic culture of abuse at ABK, and that ABK is a victim of the media.
Pokémon Snap for N64 was announced to be releasing for NSO EP on June 24th, thus making it so there’s currently no more previously announced games for the premium service left to release at this time. Just before a Direct, how convenient…
Binding of Isaac spinoff The Legend of Bum-bo will release for PS5, Xbox Series, and Switch on June 29th.
I look forward to seeing y’all again in two weeks!
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