Welcome back to Pause Screen! This week Kaz has finished up Shadow of War and picked Animal Crossing up again, Kyle’s had the full Mario experience in Super Mario 64, Super Mario Bros 35, and Paper Mario: The Origami King, and William has finished farming season in FGO to begin the endgame in Xenoblade Chronicles. For news on the Hype Train, we talk a lot about Microsoft’s purchase of Zenimax, but we also discuss Steve in Smash, Spider-Man Remastered, the new studio Dreamhaven, CD Projekt Red’s rededication to crunch, and more! Come pause with us!
Microsoft bought Zenimax for $7.5 freakin’ billion dollars
Digital Foundry got their hands on the Series X’s backwards compatibility, and it looks freakin’ rad. For example, Monster Hunter World runs at 30-35 fps on the Xbox One X, while it’s at 60 fps and looks even nicer on the SX. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oe1LUJyCCs
After seeking out reporters about a year ago and committing to never doing crunch again, CD Projekt Red sent out an email to their staff this week announcing mandatory crunch for the next 6 weeks until Cyberpunk comes out. Turns out business is still gonna business. https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1311059656090038272?s=20
Welcome back to Pause Screen! This week Kaz has been playing Hollow Knight, Shadow of War, and has finished Death Stranding. William has finished up with Mark of the Ninja Remastered, finally returned to Xenoblade Chronicles, and is mired in a farming event in Fate/Grand Order. As for Kyle, he’s played through Touhou Luna Nights, Maneater, Fall Guys, and some more… questionable titles. On the Hype Train there’s a lot to talk about: the long awaited prices and release dates for the new consoles, the announcement of Final Fantasy XVI and Hogwarts Legacy, new trailers, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and more! Come pause with us!
HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*
Microsoft unveiled the Series S and pricing/release info
It’s time for another episode of Pause Screen! This time, Kyle’s finally finished the futuristically fatalistic Final Fantasy VII, fully fallen into Fall Guys, and endured the fallen flat Double Kick Heroes. William has reconnected with his lost love: the Wii U Pro Controller, with which he’s played Touhou Luna Nights, Mark of the Ninja Remastered, and Hyrule Warriors. And to wrap us up, Kaz has been playing Luigi’s Mansion 3, and has returned to the handheld modding scene. On the Hype Train, we talk the Mario 35th anniversary Direct, new DC game announcements, poorly titled hashtags, the Lab Zero dissolution, being out of touch, and more! Come pause with us!
As did Gotham Knights, from WB Montreal. You get to play all of the not-Batman characters (he’s apparently dead) and do the whole Batman video game thing. But with 4 players! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhVf_3TeTQE
Crusader Kings 3 came out and is apparently very good
Game Freak put no thought whatsoever into the name of Pokemon Masters EX, a title and content update to their mobile game. The hashtag was trending this week and made me giggle; they even registered it and did the thing where the hashtag has a little icon next to it.
SAD TRAIN *womp womp*
Lab Zero completely fell apart in the past 2 weeks. It went from a bunch of people quitting to Mike Z supposedly parting ways with the company to him firing everyone but himself from the company as of yesterday. Wild story, RIP Skullgirls and Indivisible. https://twitter.com/personasama/status/1301237982532231168
Ubisoft’s mobile game Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad launched last week. The story is about Umbra, a group of renegade protestors causing riots in the streets, committing terrorist acts, and rising up against the government to seize control. The opening cinematic literally uses the Black Lives Matter fist as this group’s insignia. It was impressively stupid of them, and they removed it as of Tuesday, but geez. https://twitter.com/Ubisoft/status/1299778491811069954https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9_CLKOOp8I
Welcome back to Pause Screen! This week, Kyle’s been playing The Touryst, Xeno Crisis, Battletoads, and the original Final Fantasy VII, William’s finished his genocide run of Undertale and is moving through Fate/Extra, and Kaz has been playing Carrion, Ring Fit Adventure, and has finished The Last of Us 2. In news on the Hype Train, we talk Epic’s new legal battle, the Switch releasing in Brazil, new multiplayer modes, Oculus requiring Facebook logins, Control: Ultimate Edition and more! Come pause with us!
Untitled Goose Game and Ghost of Tsushima are getting free multiplayer updates, but sadly no crossover play between the two games
Microsoft Flight Simulator came out and is apparently neat
Spiritfarer launched out of nowhere and is also apparently neat
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War: The Movie: The Game got announced
SAD TRAIN *womp womp*
505 Games announced Control: Ultimate Edition alongside the new trailer for the AWE expansion (the Alan Wake one). People don’t like it because to get the PS5/Series X version of the game with ray tracing and better performance, you have to buy said ultimate edition at full $60 price. So if you bought the game/season pass on sale this past week for $40, you don’t get to have those sweet upgrades when AWE comes out. It’s kinda sleazy, but 505 says their hands are tied on it. It’s an interesting aftereffect of the split between Microsoft and Sony this gen, I think. https://controlgame.com/ultimateeditioncommunityblog/
Time for another episode of Pause Screen! In this episode Kyle talks about Forager, Transistor, Spongebob: BfBBR, and Smash; William covers his Undertale genocide run, Fate/Extra, and what happened to his Switch; and Kaz relates her adventures with Animal Crossing, FE: Three Houses, Carrion, WoW, and the Lastu of Us 2. On the Hype Train, we talk Sony’s State of Play, xCloud, the Nintendo gigaleak, Halo Infinite’s multiplayer, recent announcements, and more! Come pause with us!
HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*
Sony had a State of Play today
Crash 4 looks great. No microtransactions (supposedly), lots of callbacks to the original trilogy. Footage was 60 FPS, hopefully that’s in the final game. And you get to play as Dingodile! Hopefully that means good things for Tiny Tiger?
Hitman 3 has a VR mode
Braid Anniversary Edition is a thing. It’s prettier, has all of the commentary
The Pathless exists. Also, the line “you won’t be able to take on the cursed spirits until you return light to the obelisks” is the most generic video game phrase I’ve heard in a looooong time
Spelunky 2 takes place on the moon, has online multiplayer
You can historical anime your way through Genshin Impact if you really want to
Aeon Must Die is a decent looking, stylish indie beat em up
Apparently all the devs working on Aeon Must Die quit the studio this week after missed paychecks and poor crunch conditions. This trailer was put together by contract developers from the company who still owns the IP. Seems weird on Sony’s part to still show the trailer under those conditions. https://twitter.com/calibrono/status/1291474562752950273
They showed some Bugsnax gameplay, it looks like Viva Pinata had a baby with Pokemon Snap and Skyrim elements. Love the sense of humor
Vader Immortal is a VR game where you get to murder people as Darth Vader and are presumably immortal
Control’s second expansion certainly looks like more Control
Auto Chess coming to PS4. It’s only like 2 years too late to the party
The Pedestrian is a videogame that you could play. You’re the person from the walking sign platforming your way through environments. Looks like Lost in Shadow.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends is a 4 player 3rd person action RPG thing that looks super generic
Temtem (that Pokemon knockoff that everyone forgot about) is coming to PS4
Godfall continues to look weirdly fun to me despite being almost guaranteed to be a kinda boring launch title. They showed a bunch of gameplay and it looks comfortably generic/mediocre, and is just Destiny, but Devil May Cry with a dose of Dark Souls. You even get to adventure through the lands of earth, air, fire, and water.
xCloud is launching as part of Game Pass on September 15th. It’ll allow you to play Game Pass games on Android devices, like tablets and phones. iOS is blocking it because Apple requires games to have individual listings on the App Store—they don’t allow for any kind of other storefront, even for a streaming service like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KCtXJUekyo
EA launched Rocket Arena a few weeks ago, which was their attempt at a hero shooter. It launched for $40. It’s already on clearance in most stores for $10 or less. Two weeks after its 7/14 release, it had 142 concurrent players at its peak. It’s a pretty spectacular failure, and really speaks to the realities of making a multiplayer-focused game in the modern era. https://www.ccn.com/ea-new-multiplayer-game-rocket-arena-total-failure/
Here is another episode of Pause Screen! This episode Kyle and William are Kaz-less, and have no one to stop them from complaining about games they don’t like. Luckily, they’ve been playing games that they like well enough, with Carrion, Neon Abyss, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, and Smash on Kyle’s side, and Undertale, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Xenoblade on William’s side. After an impromptu discussion about the nature of violence and narratives in video games, we jump onto the Hype Train to cover the Xbox Games Showcase, UbiForward, the Nintendo Direct Mini, some recent releases, and more! Come pause with us!
HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*
Microsoft had their big Xbox Games Showcase today, which was similar to Sony’s event last month in a whole lot of ways. Few AAA releases, no details on release date or price, and lots and lots of cinematics. However, we did get a meaty Halo Infinite demo to open the show.
New Genesis Phantasy Star Online 2
Crossfire X campaign (developed by Remedy)
Tetris Effect Connected
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Dragon Quest 11SWAEFOUWEOEFUODSIGOFDGA is coming to Xbone in December, will be on Games Pass
In this episode of Pause Screen we have a hard talk about terrible things that have been going on in several gaming communities. We need to talk about things more to help stop things like this from happening in the future. In the news we talk about upcoming Limited Run Games, including some Game Boy Color games, Deadly Premoniton 2, NBA 2K21 use of Kobe Bryany and standard edition price, the next gen of games look and prices and the future of physical media and more. Come pause with us! But in all seriousness, we can make our communities better, be kind, keep an eye out for red flags and keep each other safe.
HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*
Limited Run games had their “LRG3” showcase, where they announced a bunch of games they’re releasing physically. They have a lot of nice stuff coming, with Castlevania
Turns out the entire competitive Smash Ultimate scene was made up of sexual predators and pedophiles. And sleazebags making false allegations against M2K. And even the Reddit megathread tracking everything got taken down thanks to mass reporting, so there isn’t a central source for all of this anymore. It’s a complete and utter disaster that will take years to rebuild from. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53308579
On that note, EVO Online has been cancelled after all their announcers/games left when people came forward with accusations against Joey Cuellar, aka Mr. Wizard. He’s since been ousted, with Tony Cannon taking control, but it’ll be interesting to see how it impacts the event going forward.
Reckful, a popular Twitch streamer and WoW player, took his own life earlier this week. It’s a sad reminder to take care of yourself as the world falls apart.
It’s time for another episode of Pause Screen! This week, Kaz has picked 3 Houses back up and watched some video game movies, William is stalled in Xenoblade and admiring the FGO engine update, and Kyle is playing Timespinner, Death’s Gambit, and all sorts of garbage on the Xbox 360. As for news, we talk about the Mixer’s sudden shutdown, a new wave of allegations, Cyberpunk delays and anime, Pokemon announcements, Crash 4 and more! Then to finish, we have an impromptu discussion about video game media and touch on how much we value gameplay and story integration. Come pause with us!
The Last of Us 2 came out to critical acclaim and internet bickering
There was a lot of drama about whether or not Spider-Man Miles Morales was a full game or an expansion. Insomniac settled it by citing Uncharted: Lost Legacy, just like we did two weeks ago. We’re so good.
Microsoft unexpectedly shut down Mixer on 6/22. Big bummer for that community, but it’s not surprising given that they had .2% growth year over year compared to everyone else’s 60-100%, and that’s after paying folks like Shroud and Ninja 8 digits to come over to the platform. MS worked things out to hand off to Facebook Gaming, which apparently is a streaming platform. They’ve since confirmed that there won’t be FBG integration into the Series X, though; I assume they’ll work something out with Twitch.
Cyberpunk got delayed again to 2077 November 19. Seems like a good window for a console launch, doesn’t it?
Things might be crazy, but Pause Screen is still here! Kaz is still working on the WoW gold grind, Kyle’s been playing Minecraft Dungeons,Yooka-Laylee, Kororinpa: Marble Mania, and Shovel Knight, and William begins to tell the tale of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. In the hype train, we talk Sony’s ‘Future of Gaming’ PS5 event, and a ton of the games that were shown. We also talk about EA on steam, Microsoft and mods, the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, and the sorrow of E3 being dead. Come pause with us!
HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*
Sony’s big PS5 event was today!
Opened with GTA5, which might be the worst choice I could’ve conceived of
The console looks like a fake one designed for a TV show, but it’s real. Comes in digital and physical versions, physical has this tumor of a disc drive on the side. Unclear if you can put it on its side, but I’m betting you can.
Demon’s Souls (sixth archstone?) fractured mode?
Horizon 2: Forbidden West
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (now with OCs)
Resident Evil: Vil.l.age
Dramatic high school dinosaur people with hair
Sony doubled down on their “we believe in generations” statement in the event. Thoughts? It has big repercussions on digital libraries, and I think it represents a big gulf in their thinking vs. Microsoft’s
This week we’re Williamless, but Kaz and Kyle make up for it by playing World of Warcraft, Animal Crossing, Indivisible, Minecraft Dungeons, and more. On the Hype Train, we round up all the latest next gen rumors and news—from Xbox backwards compatability and HDR reconstruction to Sony’s rumored PS5 reveal next week. We close out by talking about Valve’s excursion to China, free Raymonds for the people, the possible return of a long-lost classic and more! Come pause with us!
Remember that story about G2A offering to reimburse devs who could prove they sold illegally obtained keys and Wube Software (the Factorio people) took them up on it? Well, turns out they were right and G2A is paying them $40K, 10x the full value of the 200 keys their own internal audit found were illegally obtained/sold. Sounds like they’re trying to clean up their act, though. https://www.polygon.com/2020/5/20/21265275/g2a-confirms-it-sold-stolen-game-keys
2K’s marketing spend is slated to be double its usual in 2024. People thought it was for GTA6, but they clarified that Rockstar would be handling those expenses and that these are for ‘commitments to third parties’. Any guesses on what would be this big for them? My money’s on a big Bioshock release or something to do with sports. https://www.ign.com/articles/gta-6-release-date-2023-2024