Welcome back to your monthly report of game news, where I do my best to compile everything into one convenient ad-free place, so you don’t have to worry about the pesky cracks that info can fall through at other publications!
Thanks and credit for the banner image as always goes to the Avocado’s one and only Space Robot!
October 4th: The UK’s CMA regulations board officially set a March 1st 2023 deadline for publishing the findings of its second phase investigation into the Activision Blizzard King buyout. Meanwhile, the European Commission began the process of entering its own more in depth second phase of review with a March 2023 deadline, after Microsoft voluntarily failed to meet a previous October 31st deadline.
Overwatch 2 finally ‘launched’, facing both myriad difficulties and what is for now an even larger playerbase than the original’s thanks to the game being free to play. There were the multiple DDOS attacks overloading the game’s servers and preventing nearly anyone from playing in the first few days. There was the phone number requirement anticheat feature, which became a poverty tax by excluding all prepaid phone plans. Even the attempt to address the issue still requires a Battle.net account instead, and the newest players are still required to give their phone numbers. There was Bastion and Torbjorn being so glitchy that they had to be completely locked out from play for weeks, and that update accidentally locking 12 other characters. That’s all in the first month and before getting to actual criticisms of the game design itself, or the microtransactions, and so on.
October 5th: Joining Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition, Brazil’s CADE regulatory body became the second to officially approve the Microsoft-ABK deal, with no restrictions. As the regulator in this process which has brought by far the most games industry dirty laundry out into the open, Microsoft successfully clearing their bar is perhaps an especially notable development.
It was reported that the US’ Federal Trade Commission allegedly could deliver its ruling on the ABK acquisition as soon as before the end of November, per internal sources on the current pace of the process.
October 12th: Further details were reported for the COD 2023 plans put into place after the next premium game release was delayed to 2024, with a campaign expansion and ‘greatest hits’ map pack from previous MW games for Modern Warfare II rumored by an anonymous alleged insider and gently concurred by Jason Schreier.
October 13th: A new, latest lawsuit was filed against ABK by a current employee, charging the company and her former manager Miguel Vega, for its abusive work culture and his actions towards her, subjecting her to persistent sexual harassment, threat of revenge porn, and threat of firing her for not having sex with him.
October 18th: The National Labor Relations Board officially gave the union vote greenlight to Game Workers Alliance – Albany, the prospective union for Vicarious Visions/Blizzard Albany QA, with the vote count scheduled for November 18th after ballots were distributed on October 27th. All 21 QA employees, and only them, will be voting. On November 1st, ABK filed to appeal the decision, to impound the ballots and postpone the vote count in the meantime. It has no new argument, no substance for this action, just insisting the NLRB should reconsider the proposal to expand the voting body because ABK doesn’t like the result. It claims the situation is unprecedented because the games industry is unlike other industries, despite all obvious, recent, plentiful evidence to the contrary. ABK is flailingly desperate to regain control.
October 19th: Microsoft continues to fight hard to secure the ABK buyout deal, with its latest filing to the UK review board the CMA formally disclosing that the Call of Duty series will not be added to Game Pass “for a number of years” even after a completed buyout, due to the terms of the existing PlayStation marketing and PS Plus partnership for the series. It’s been standard practice for the terms of each respective subscription service to preclude a game from being added to the competing service while it’s featured on the other, though some notable exceptions have been carved out of late, like the Like a Dragon series right now.
October 25th: The Second District Court of Appeals officially denied ABK’s petition to dismiss the gender discrimination lawsuit filed against by the California Civil Rights Department, formerly known as the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as previously covered here at the roundup. The trial for this lawsuit is currently scheduled for February 2023.
October 26th: During two different interviews at the Wall Street Journal and Same Brain podcast respectively, Phil Spencer waded back into the public debate on the future of Call of Duty. He repeatedly insisted that beyond all current and future deals, Call of Duty will keep releasing on PlayStation, and he’d even want it on Nintendo hardware in the future when possible. Spencer compared the situation to Minecraft, arguing that Microsoft has not only sustained support for the game on its existing platforms for nearly a decade, but expanded Minecraft’s reach after that acquisition to three different Nintendo platforms, and that Call of Duty’s place as both a live service and established industry tentpole put it in the same strategic boat. The question as always is how trustworthy the word of one businessman can ever truly be. Even if Spencer is utterly sincere or at least sincerely willing to compromise to secure the deal as with the labor neutrality contract, he has no control over the directions Xbox will take when he’s gone someday.
October 28th: After lots of recent turnover, Blizzard hired a new senior producer for Overwatch 2, Jared Neuss, who’s quite experienced in live services from Destiny 2 to League of Legends.
November 1st: After the strategy-shifting underperformance of Call of Duty: Vanguard, Activision reported at the end of Modern Warfare II‘s launch weekend that the series’ fortunes had turned around, setting records as the fastest selling COD and most lucrative COD launch in franchise history, with $800 million dollars in sales. Astonishing what wonders can be accomplished by a subtitle with which people have positive past associations.
October 3rd: For the second time in only two years, several subsidiaries from CNET Media Group, which includes Giant Bomb, have been sold off again. Red Ventures bought CNET from ViacomCBS in 2020, and now Red Ventures has sold off Giant Bomb, GameSpot, GameFAQS, and Metacritic among others to Fandom Inc., AKA Wikia.
October 4th: Following from the Cyberpunk DLC trailer, CD Projekt Red made several further major announcements to lay out its plans for the foreseeable future. Cofounder and co-CEO Marcin Iwinski stepped down from those positions into focusing on the corporation’s board. The publisher committed to to focusing on three IPs henceforth, The Witcher, Cyberpunk, and a new original game. As part of that, a direct mainline Cyberpunk sequel was announced to build on the franchise’s potential after its rocky but nonetheless profitable start, while five total upcoming The Witcher games were announced or reconfirmed. The previously announced next mainline The Witcher game will now be the first in a new trilogy meant to see complete release within six years after the first’s launch.
All mainline games will developed primarily within CDPR, while there will now also be two new external side projects. Project Sirius, by The Molasses Flood of The Flame and the Flood, and Project Canis Majoris by AAA support studio Fool’s Theory, which was later detailed further on October 26th: it is a The Witcher Remake built in Unreal Engine 5, a full open world remake of the original 2007 PC-exclusive Eurojank game which kicked off CDPR’s gradual industry rise.
All of these projects are officially confirmed to be extremely early in development, either in pre-production or concepting. Lastly: the remaining team leads from Cyberpunk 2077’s development were revealed to be transferring overseas to open a new CDPR office in Boston as the main studio for the sequel’s development, multiplayer elements were revealed to be planned for ‘most’ of these upcoming games, and the successful animated series Cyberpunk Edgerunners was confirmed to be a limited series with no future seasons.
Elsewhere on October 4th, the gameplay reveal trailer for Dead Space Remake was released at last.
PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst formally clarified the publisher’s policy for its first party PC releases: outside of some live service titles, first party games will continue to never be day and date releases on console and PC, they are timed exclusives to PS4 and PS5 consoles with their PC ports coming up to a year afterward.
Taiwan’s ratings board revealed that Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds will see a new retail release as the Spacer’s Choice Edition, exclusively for Xbox Series S|X, PS5, and PC. I can confirm that this will package the RPG’s two paid expansions into the base game, and will debut its native next-gen console ports.
Developer Liquid Bit sadly announced that their multiplayer game Killer Queen Black is unable to avoid shutting down its online servers after just three years, due to Amazon’s decision to shutter the service platform they’re built on, Gamesparks. Sales of the game on all digital storefronts closed on October 6th ahead of the server shutdown on November 30th, leaving the game only playable via local multiplayer with already purchased copies and arcade cabinets. Liquid Bit will be revealing their next game soon.
Hitman 3‘s upcoming free roguelike Freelancer mode was delayed again from H2 2022 to January 2023.
October 6th: A standalone Direct aired featuring the teaser trailer premiere for what’s now officially titled The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
EA announced on Tuesday the 4th that the reveal trailer for the next entry in the Need for Speed racing series, Need for Speed Unbound by Criterion Games, would premiere on Thursday the 6th with a 2022 launch date. On October 5th, Japanese retailer NeoWing leaked information and screenshots from the game ahead of the trailer’s premiere, showing the series’ bold shift into a cel shaded anime visual style and revealing that it will launch on December 2nd 2022 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S|X. The trailer confirmed all of this the next day.
As the lead-up to the launch of Pokémon Gen 9 approached closer and closer, new trailers for the games began releasing weekly to further build hype, but none more significant than the 14 minute overview trailer which premiered on October 6th. It’s a comprehensive, clear recap of major information shared up to that point while still revealing new things, like how the picnic and curry system of Gen 8 has been built on with sandwich making in Gen 9, and further details on things like gym puzzles and co op battles. At publication, the most recent bit of marketing was for the games’ Pokémon Go connectivity.
After roughly eight months on the market, Valve officially lifted the Steam Deck reservation system and began allowing direct purchases, finding its supply sufficient to sustain against current demand. Valve explicitly noted the possibility of reinstating reservations in the future.
Ubisoft chief creative officer Igor Manceau left the publisher after only one year.
Upon encountering difficulties publishing on the Switch, developer Gamuzumi had alleged as of September 30th that Nintendo is enforcing newer, stricter policies about sexual content in games. However, further investigation suggests that the actual issue was Gamuzumi being evasive, not transparent, and uncooperative towards both Nintendo and the ESRB/PEGI content ratings boards. I’m covering this specifically to combat misinformation as a journalist.
October 8th: Kojima Productions formally detailed its next project through an ARG event, revealing that the game will star actresses Elle Fanning of The Great and Shioli Kutsuna of Deadpool, ahead of the unexpected leak of a full gameplay trailer for the game in early November, showcasing the survival horror title and actress Margaret Qualley. Kojima Productions is working on projects for both PlayStation and Xbox at the same time, and the game as titled in the leak, Overdose, was previously rumored to be the cloud streaming based Xbox exclusive that was announced this summer, which is backed up by the game being visibly played on a mobile device in the multi-layer screen recorded footage. One of the individuals involved in the leak can be seen via reflection in the footage with part of his face and tattoos on his shirtless chest visible as identifying features.
Atlus announced the digital multiplatform release date for Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden: January 19th 2023. This was then confirmed to be official final announcement for 25th anniversary season, with the transparency that some news was delayed out of the season by the ongoing impact of COVID.
A unique indie open world horror game about halting the momentum of a monster train that previously went viral, Choo Choo Charles saw the premiere of its official launch date trailer – December 9th 2022 for PC, with console versions in 2023.
October 10th: As we head into a pivotal third holiday season for the new console generation, hard data finally arrived on supply chain and stock improvements. For the US, September 2022 had four times as many PS5 shipments as September 2021, and were a more than 50% improvement in quantity from August 2022.
October 11th: EA released the first teaser trailer for EA Sports PGA Tour, which is set to launch in Spring 2023 for PS5, Xbox Series S|X, and PC, ending a 12 year hiatus from the publisher in supporting the series on PC.
Meta/Facebook VR department Oculus Studios announced three new developer acquisitions, Armature of ReCore, Twisted Pixel of Splosion Man, and Camouflaj of Iron Man VR. As such, Iron Man VR is no longer a PSVR exclusive, it will release for the Meta Quest 2 in November.
October 12th: Square announced that its mobile FF7 battle royale The First Soldier will join Babylon’s Fall in the publisher’s failed live service pile, shutting down in January 2023 after launching in November 2021.
Pilotwings 64 released for Nintendo Switch Online, with 60fps support, and then on November 1st, both Mario Party and Mario Party 2 were added to the service at the same time, making up for September only having Genesis additions.
October 13th: Former Nintendo of America employee Mackenzie Clifton has now formally reached a settlement with the corporation and its contracting partner Aston Carter, after Clifton’s NLRB complaints against the companies galvanized awareness of unhealthy working conditions in NOA. Clifton will be compensated with $25,910 USD from Aston Carter for damages and owed back pay, and Nintendo is required to notify its QA workers of their rights, including right to unionize, under the National Labor Relations Act for 60 consecutive days by both email and on-site at the Redmond office. The newly filed settlement document in full is available to read at the linked articles under the Freedom of Information Act.
The launch date for the PC port of Spider-Man: Miles Morales finally confirmed to be November 18th 2022.
Previously scheduled for this November, publisher Sega and developers Amplitude and Aspyr announced an indefinite delay for all console ports of the RTS Humankind.
October 14th: Along with majorly patching the game’s overall balance and design, chiefly through completely separating single player and PVP weapon balancing, the latest update for Elden Ring was also found through datamining to be prepping the game for future story content, most likely in the form of a paid expansion as From has traditionally released for their titles. This includes various subtle updates to the world map itself, as well as new data for the currently inaccessible colosseums, data for a new legacy dungeon, and new character customization options.
Nvidia unexpectedly canceled the original plan for the $900 USD 12GB 4080, the cheapest entry in its latest graphics card line, the RTX 40 series, ahead of a November launch. Due to criticisms of calling two different cards 4080, the product has been pulled and will potentially be rebranded and relaunched at a later date under a new name, but not before potentially forcing launch customers into the $1200 16GB 4080, now the only new hardware they have left for this calendar year. This has only exacerbated the pricing controversy and criticisms around the upcoming product line, by removing the available relative low-budget option. And then things got worse! The RTX 4090, following its October 12th launch, began seeing reports of its power demand being so extreme that it was severely damaging its power cords from overheat. Nvidia has opened an investigation into the issue, as much a design flaw as a safety risk.
October 15th: Oh boy. So, more than a year after the September 2021 Bayonetta 3 re-reveal trailer which first showed that the titular witch had a new voice actress, original Bayonetta voice Hellena Taylor took to social media to speak out against Platinum Games and her replacement, Jennifer “FemShep” Hale, and rally series fans behind her and her proposed boycott. Taylor claimed that she had only been offered $4000 total to reprise her iconic role for a full game’s worth of recording sessions. That was a lie. Taylor herself eventually admitted that she omitted the full truth of the matter after both Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier and VGC’s Andy Robinson reported on the subject three days later and revealed as such. The $4000 was an olive branch for a cameo appearance long after she had already departed the role because she rejected the initial offer of $3K-4K per session for a total of at least $15,000.
There are distinct but intersecting important issues in this whole matter. Voice actors are systemically underpaid and exploited and that is a very vital cause made all the more apparent by how 15K is both not remotely a living wage and also very much on the medium to high end of the pay spectrum for the average voice actor, not the same thing as only 4K at all. And Hellena Taylor undermined the public legitimacy of this cause through deception, manipulation, mudslinging, and inciting harassment. She targeted Jennifer Hale, a colleague who has actually contributed to the voice acting labor movement rather than take advantage of it like Taylor did. Both Taylor and Hale’s other personal beliefs are ultimately irrelevant to the big picture here, but Hellena Taylor did actively make matters even worse by using the situation to promote her reactionary conservative values, encouraging those boycotting the game to support anti-abortion and anti trans rights groups instead.
Also during that weekend, former Rooster Teeth employees opened up about their abusive experiences at the studio over the near two decades since its initial success with the Halo fan series Red vs Blue.
A new Minecraft Live event also premiered, detailing the upcoming 1.20 update to the original game, announcing new DLC for Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons, and debuting an extended gameplay showcase of the upcoming Minecraft Legends, coming in Spring 2023.
October 16th: David Grivel, director of the very early in development Splinter Cell Remake, revealed via LinkedIn that he has already left the project and left Ubisoft as a whole after 11 years.
Just a month after the numerous terminations and departures at the company, just a year after launching, the G4TV network was officially and completely shut down by parent company Comcast. The internal memo announcing the closure reached the public via a Deadline report before it reached any of the affected employees, as was plainly visible from their reactions on social media. Nathan Grayson at WaPo further divulged from multiple sources that these employees were locked out from office Slack and Google Drive pages without explanation before the news reached them.
October 18th: The biggest news out of the Sims Summit was, unsurprisingly, Project Rene AKA The Sims 5, which is in very early development, will support crossplay at launch, and will feature a significantly expanded build mode which was previewed at the event. During the several years ahead before Sims 5‘s launch, Sims 4 will receive continued support, starting with two more expansions in 2023, as well as a major update to baby Sims coming in early 2023.
2010’s Red Dead Redemption was abruptly delisted from the PlayStation Plus subscription service after six years, currently removing the only way whatsoever to play the major title on PS4 or PS5.
A heavily reworked Switch port of the VR game Jurassic World Aftermath Collection was unexpectedly announced with a November 10th release, while the original version will also come to PSVR2 in 2023.
October 19th: Silent Hill Transmission
After years of leaks and anticipation, Konami still managed to undermine this moment one more time by accidentally leaking much of its contents again and uploading the entire VOD of the presentation early, which made my job a whole lot easier, obviously. The video opened with the full reveal trailer for the especially heavily leaked Silent Hill 2 Remake by Polish developer Bloober Team, which will release in 2023 for PC and PS5 as a one year timed console exclusive, and thus will release for Xbox Series S|X in 2024. After “almost three years” since Masahiro Ito was first approached by Konami for the project, he and Akira Yamaoka of the original Team Silent are now confirmed to have worked on the game’s art design and music respectively. The remake will have an RE2make style fluid over the shoulder third person camera instead of the expertly crafted fixed camera angles of the original game.
The next main trailer was an announcement teaser for Silent Hill: Townfall from publisher Annapurna Interactive and developer No Code of Stories Untold and Observation. Since Observation‘s launch in 2019, No Code has been developing this episodic anthology-structured adventure game spinoff. It’s the new series entry I’m most optimistic about right now because of the respect I’ve seen for these devs, and the benefits of a spinoff in a different but fitting genre facing much less harsh expectations to meet. Then there was the announcement of Silent Hill: Ascension, a real time interactive narrative series coming in 2023 from several studios including JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Games. This mostly just made me think of friend and colleague Wolfman Jew’s joke about the Walking Dead take on this same concept some months ago. Ascension was part of a multimedia and merchandise segment in the middle, which also featured statues and skateboards for people with way too much money to burn, and the next movie based on the series, currently in pre-production from Christophe Gans, who directed the original with the infamous belief that Harry’s character should be changed to a woman because he was too emotional and too parentally caring for a man.
After the multimedia segment, the presentation closed out with One More Thing: a cinematic announcement teaser for the first brand new mainline entry in the Silent Hill survival horror game series in a decade, Silent Hill f, “a second attempt at Silent Hill 5” which returns the series to Asia and Japan with a Japanese writer, pan-Asian development studio, and the game’s story itself being set in 1960s Japan rather than America, a series first. Silent Hill f will be written by Ryukishi07, the pseudonymous writer of the Higurashi When They Cry visual novel series, with art design by “kera”, and developed by NeoBards Entertainment. Details of 2 Remake, Townfall, and f were all accurately leaked earlier this year. Konami’s plans for franchise revivals of Silent Hill, Castlevania, and Metal Gear, had been accurately and inaccurately rumored about for several years alongside the first leaks of them contacting Bloober Team for Silent Hill.
Now that we finally have gotten a real, firm glimpse at said franchise revival…yeah, I’m sorry to say I’m unimpressed so far. There’s an undeniable ambition in just how expansive these plans are after such a long absence for Konami’s classic series, there’ not too much info to go off yet overall, granted, and there’s certainly a lot that’s potentially intriguing about f from what we know so far. But the track records of NeoBards and Bloober don’t inspire much confidence: the former is vastly inexperienced and most well known for the two most recent shitty multiplayer Resident Evil modes Resistance and Re:Verse, while Bloober is an industry vet at this point, but has faced widespread criticism for their handling of the exact sensitive subjects most essential to Silent Hill 2’s narrative. At the end of the day I just want good horror being made. I’m not rooting for these to fail at all. I’m just remaining skeptical because Konami has gotten all our hopes up so many times before, and it’s hard not to see these new developers as potential extensions of the same old patterns of Konami recruiting small devs unprepared for the challenges of what they’re facing, chewing them up, and spitting them back out bankrupt.
Elsewhere that day, Microsoft quietly made a pretty major, shocking revelation in its ongoing filings for the regulatory investigations of its proposed Activision Blizzard King buyout: it’s planning for a mobile Xbox platform and accompanying app store to compete directly with Google and Apple, with ABK’s biggest mobile games Candy Crush and COD Mobile as its potential blockbuster centerpieces.
Netflix announced another new game studio, this time led by Chacko Sonny, formerly of Blizzard, and spearheading plans for a cloud gaming initiative mere weeks after the closure of Google Stadia was confirmed.
The release date of Oddworld Soulstorm: Odd-timized Edition for Switch was announced as October 27th in the EU, November 8th in North America, alongside extended gameplay footage from the specialized port.
October 20th: Capcom’s latest Resident Evil Showcase focused on the Resident Evil 4 Remake, the Winters Expansion DLC and Re:Verse multiplayer mode for RE Village which have since launched, and the series’ upcoming Cloud Version releases for base Switch. RE2make Cloud will release on November 11th, RE3make Cloud on November 18th, and RE7 Cloud on December 16th, following from RE Village Cloud on October 28th. As previously announced and featured here, the Winters Expansion launches on October 28th and features three main additions alongside the free release of Re:Verse to all base game owners, the Shadows of Rose narrative epilogue, additions to the Mercenaries mode, and a third person mode for the base game. Re:Verse was announced to have several free live service updates planned over the next year.
But the main news of course was the updates on RE4make, with an extended gameplay demo and a new story trailer both debuting alongside preorders opening. This showcase sought to communicate the vision of the developers, the RE2make team, of striking a balance between faithfulness and expansiveness in approaching the original game, in tone and gameplay alike. The demo focused on the iconic opening village sequence to convey this idea, with new ideas and charming classic elements both brought into play where appropriate, from a new parry mechanic to Leon’s long-beloved roundhouse kick, and many additional classic elements newly confirmed to return.
Square Enix released the latest trailer for Final Fantasy 16 ahead of its Summer 2023 launch, this time focusing further on the RPG’s story and setting.
Remedy shadowdrop released the Switch port of Alan Wake: Remastered in time for Halloween, but the port is currently quite technically troubled.
A November 3rd 2022 release date was announced for the Switch port of TABS – Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, after its May Indie World announcement.
Will Wright, creator of the Sims/SimCity franchises and Spore, regrettably revealed his new project as a blockchain and NFT driven metaverse game involving licensed characters from such major studios as Dreamworks and AMC.
October 21st: More than two years after the first developer of Kerbal Space Program 2 was unexpectedly pulled off the game, new developer Intercept Games and publisher Private Division announced that the long anticipated game will launch in Early Access on February 24th 2023.
NIS announced that the Western release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie will be in Summer 2023 on PS4, PS5, Switch, and PC, in the series’ first ever simultaneous multiplatform release, and the newly announced native PS5 version will be the series’ first simultaneous worldwide release.
October 23rd: The circumstances surrounding the game development branch of the larger ZA/UM organization (which are now summarized better here than anywhere where the framing is exclusively about ZA/UM producing only the game itself, including my past reporting) escalated significantly as Robert Kurvitz, one of the three abruptly expelled last year, and his company Telomer OU, filed to sue the remaining ZAUM organization with a court date set for November 28th. Kurvitz, as an ongoing shareholder of ZA/UM, is speculated to be seeking to claim ownership of Disco Elysium back from the investors that fired him and are derailing the artistic goals of the series. Martin Luiga, who first broke the new of the DE team firings, soon confirmed that the lawsuit is real and expressed his aforementioned belief that the lawsuit is over ownership of DE. Among other creative output at ZA/UM, Kurvitz wrote the novel that the game is based on, Sacred and Terrible Air, wrote roughly half of the in-game text, and was the game’s lead designer.
October 24th: As part of a franchise 25th anniversary cycle, Bethesda announced a final major free (yes, confirmed free unlike Skyrim: Anniversary Edition) update to all versions of Fallout 4 in development for a 2023 release, confirmed to be providing additional Creation Club content and bug fixes, and providing a native next gen hardware upgrade with high framerate and 4K resolution support for all current owners with a PS5, Xbox S|X, or a more advanced PC, which is a bit confusing considering what the PC version already supports, but oh well.
October 25th: Leaking very shortly ahead of reveal thanks to an updated ratings board listing, Microsoft officially announced that another major formerly PC-exclusive first party series is coming to Xbox consoles: Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 4 will both be released for Xbox One and Series S|X, plus xCloud and Xbox Game Pass, in 2023, while a new franchise remaster, Age of Mythology Retold, was revealed, all as part of the series’ 25th anniversary event livestream. AoEII:DE for Xbox will release on January 31st 2023, while IV and Retold have no specific date yet.
Apple’s latest guidelines update for the App Store now officially supports the sale of NFTs, as long as they are compatible with Apple’s longstanding 30% cut of sales policy for the majority of transactions.
Crop Circle Games was announced, a new game studio owned by Arenanet‘s Jeff Strain, and led by Jessica Brunelle, who’s worked at Sony, WB, and Undead Labs. This is the secovd developer under Strain’s new publisher Prytania.
A new acquisition in the mobile gaming space, between Wildlife Studios and Stellar Core Games, was announced.
4J Studios, the British game developer best known for building and supporting all of the console ports of Minecraft, has joined many other small studios in expanding into publishing other smaller developers’ games as well, starting with Skye Tales.
FromSoft provided another update on the online multiplayer servers for the PC versions of their various titles, nine months after they were first taken down to address severe security vulnerabilities. Joining Dark Souls 3, which was already restored in August, is Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin Edition, which was officially announced to be reactivating on this date. Original Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls Remastered will both still be restored as well at a later date, but From have elected to permanently shut down the servers for the first PC version of the original game, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, rather than continue attempting a fix for the oldest system. Prepare to Die Edition is still playable offline.
October 26th: A memorial tribute in the credits of the Sega Genesis Mini 2 upon its launch unexpectedly revealed to the public that legendary veteran Sega developer Rieko Kodama or Phoenix Rie, one of the first women in game development, had died back in May 2022 at the age of 58. This knowledge was kept private out of respect to her family. Kodama started in games as an artist in 1984 and rose through the ranks to leading development in the Phantasy Star series. In tribute to Miss Kodama, here is one obituary and two interviews from the last years of her life.
Total War developer Creative Assembly publicly announced their investigation into recently publicized workplace abuse charges against a now former employee.
Warner Bros announced that the cofounders of Rocksteady, a developer as acclaimed for its Batman Arkham series as it is notorious for workplace sexism and misconduct, are departing the studio at the end of 2022 ahead of the 2023 launch for the “nearly finished” Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the studio’s first game in eight years. Cofounders Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker will pursue a new games industry opportunity together and are being replaced with another longtime studio member, Nathan Burlow.
As promised, Bioware officially posted another new development update on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf before the end of the year, saying that there is now a content complete, playable start to finish, alpha build of the game, with the game now transitioning into an extended polishing phase which will include further tweaks to the narrative in pacing, cohesion, and character relationships.
The release date of Team Ninja’s Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty was officially updated to March 3rd 2023.
LinkedIn detectivework has uncovered a new internal development team currently under assembly within PlayStation Studios, which will support naughty Dog and PSS Visual Arts in collaboration on an upcoming unannounced project, one of the developer’s next fully new single player projects and an entry in an established first party IP, after the upcoming Last of Us multiplayer-focused game.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the stage for various comments during Microsoft’s appearance at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference. He addressed the public reports on Project Keystone, a dedicated cloud game streaming device whose prototype was visible on his shelf in a recent public appearance by Spencer, explaining that the original plan for Keystone as internally engineered hardware was scrapped in late Spring 2022, so the product is starting from scratch at Samsung and the old model will never release. The device is now still years away instead of launching imminently as it seemed from those reports.
Reuters via Josh Ye exclusively reported on Microsoft’s further expansion of investments into Chinese game development as stirred by the massive success of mihoyo following Xbox’s failed deal to acquire the developer during Genshin Impact‘s pre-launch development cycle.
October 27th: Rebekah Valentine at IGN wrote and published an extensive exposé on the contentious background behind the game Spintires, exploring a fascinating battle between the companies Oovee and Saber.
First party developer PlayStation London Studios’ Stuart Whyte revealed in an interview that after years developing for peripherals from the EyeToy to PSVR1, the studio will do its first peripheral-less project in over a decade, which will be a PS5-exclusive co op live service set in fantasy London.
Publisher Piko Interactive announced that its recent remaster of early 3D platformer Glover will be ported to Xbox One/Series, PS4/5, and Switch by developer QUByte in the near future.
The Japanese release of The Callisto Protocol was cancelled after negotiations collapsed between the country’s ratings body CERO and the survival horror’s publisher.
As the permanent end to new digital purchases on Wii U and 3DS draw closer, major private fan servers have begun cropping up to keep services going, most notably resurrecting the infamous Miiverse five years after its closure.
October 28th: One of multiple new trailers for the Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life remake was the multiplatform announcement trailer, confirming that the game is coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S|X in addition to Switch at launch next summer.
The now independent games press veteran Jeff Gerstmann finally publicly confirmed previously unknown but suspected details about his exit from Giant Bomb, the site created and shepherded for nearly 15 years. On his podcast, he admitted that he tried to make it work with the then-current, now former owners Red Ventures, but the chafing between them left him preparing to quit once Summer Game Fest 2022 wrapped up, when he was unexpectedly “fired three weeks before I was going to quit,” by executives over their disagreements.
October 29th: Briana Lei surprise launched Butterfly Soup 2 on Windows and Mac, the sequel to her acclaimed queer coming of age visual novel.
October 31st: After already confirming EA Motive’s Iron Man game, Electronic Arts and Marvel built on the momentum it generated by officially announcing the full-fledged multi-game contract between the two massive companies, a deal for “at least” three brand new single player licensed action games for consoles and PC, starting with Iron Man and continuing with the previously leaked solo Black Panther game.
Developer Cyan Worlds announced Riven Remake, a now fully 3D remake of the acclaimed first sequel to Myst, following the success of their recent Myst rereleases.
Koei Tecmo confirmed the launch date for Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse as March 9th 2023.
Netflix announced another indie game developer acquisition, Spry Fox of Road not Taken and Cozy Grove among others.
Edmund McMillen’s next major game, the resurrected Mewgenics, saw preview coverage and new info debut.
November 1st: Embracer Group abruptly closed both its ‘publishing QA’ team and one of its development studios, just months after buying that developer from Square Enix and rebranding it from SE Montréal to Onoma upon completing the sale. Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal got all the attention when the sale was announced back in May, because of the numerous famous IPs they own from before Square ever bought them to begin with.
But Onoma worked hard on mobile games and the famous Go series of turn-based spinoffs for Square, and roughly 200 employees are affected by this shuttering. Some employees are being offered to move over to Eidos Montréal rather than being fired outright, where several separate projects are current in the works, per Jason Schreier. As he and Jeff Grubb previously discussed back in August, Eidos has a new IP that is the lead project after the completion of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s the furthest along in development, but the next Deus Ex game is also in very early development. Schreier newly revealed that Eidos has also now joined Crystal Dynamics in supporting Xbox by co-developing first party games including Playground’s upcoming Fable reboot.
After 20 years of ongoing support, Dwarf Fortress was announced by publisher KitFox Games to be seeing its first ever premium retail release and first ever Steam and itch.io release, at $20USD, alongside its latest update, which adds a visual overhaul and a full tutorial intro.
Just two months after its initial launch which made it the series’ fastest selling entry, Return to Monkey Island was announced to be releasing for Game Pass, Xbox Series S|X, and PlayStation 5 on November 8th. This was revealed alongside other Game Pass additions, which include the first console release of recent indie hit Vampire Survivors for Xbox One and Series on November 10th, and the timed console exclusive launch of Jumpship’s anticipated Somerville on November 15th.
Sega’s lost, canceled erotic FMV game The Sacred Pools was restored on game preservation site Gaming Alexandria from a functional prototype and is now publicly available.
PlayStation’s latest fiscal report revealed that in the first full quarter following the revamp adding PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium, the service lost roughly 2 million subscribers while gaining in revenue due to the higher prices of the new tier. Similarly, the PS5 console hit a new milestone of 25 million units sold worldwide, but quarterly profit fell by 49% due to increased development and acquisition expenses and the worsening value of yen. Nintendo’s new fiscal report will release shortly after this article has already gone line.
November 2nd: With rather arbitrary timing relative to the opportunities PlayStation marketing had earlier this fall, the PSVR2 launch date and pricepoint were finally announced, alongside a suite of new software news. The PlayStation VR2 will launch on February 22nd 2023, with headset and controllers packaged together unlike the original headset-only PSVR launch, for $550 USD (600 euros, 530 pounds), costing even more than the PS5 console’s price in many places.
The bundle with a digital code of first party launch title Horizon: Call of the Mountain costs an extra 50 bucks or euros more. 11 games were newly confirmed to be releasing for PSVR2, not all at launch, nine of which are also already available for or will release for other VR platforms like Meta Quest, SteamVR, and even PSVR1. Crossfire: Sierra Squad by Smilegate and The Dark Pictures: Switchback from Supermassive are the two headlining brand new third party exclusives. Preorders will begin on November 15th. Bloomberg previously reported that 2 million PSVR2 units will be ready by March 2023 after mass production started in October.
Mundfish released a new trailer for its highly anticipated surrealist USSR-set RPG-shooter Atomic Heart, showing off a flurry of gameplay footage and announcing a new currently scheduled launch date of February 21st 2023 for all platforms, PC, Xbox One/Series, PS4/5, and Game Pass.
Square Enix and Forever Entertainment confirmed Front Mission 1st: Remake‘s launch date as November 30th.
Off the strength of successes like Elite Dangerous, Frontier Developments announced that it has moved up further from publishing and going public to buying another developer for the first time. Frontier purchased Complex Games, developer of Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate – Dameonhunters which Frontier published, for 8.3 million pounds.
Apple’s investments in game development continued apace by hiring two out of the three developers at VR and metaverse company Playdeo, quietly closing the studio.
November 3rd: Square Enix revealed its first full original blockchain and NFT game Symbiogenesis at a crypto conference in India, disappointing many who hoped the game was literally anything else, but especially those who saw the title leak early and thought it was Parasite Eve related.
November 4th: FF14 and FF16‘s Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida really stepped in it during a new interview at IGN when asked about nonwhite characters in the upcoming latter RPG, falling back on the same old excuses of limited, inaccurate notions about historical realism in fantasy fiction, a genre only limited by creators’ own imaginations.
In observance of the series’ 20th anniversary, Insomniac offered by far the best addition yet to the retro offerings on PS Plus, adding the first five mainline Ratchet and Clank games (R&C, R&C: Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, Deadlocked, Tools of Destruction) across PS2 and PS3, with all PS2 games in their native original PS2 versions, after previously only offering the cloud streamed PS3 remastered versions of the first three games.
A whole lot of time and effort goes into making my work here possible. Please show your support however you can to help keep this going, whether that means sharing these articles wherever and to whomever there might be interest, or for those able to, donating to my Patreon dedicated specifically to these writings, which is linked here: https://www.patreon.com/lilytina
Thank you to Marcus TAC, Katie, Brakeman, Jarathen, Sloot, Ninjaneer, Prestidigitis, Frosst, AJ, Nemrex, Stasia, Belladonna, Suoly, Professor, Alanna, Dashboard, Monsoon, and everyone else among them for your personal and financial support of this project. Thank you everyone for your reading!