Episode 131: Chinese Gameocracy

Kaz and Kyle have to go Williamless this week, but they manage to push through their emotional pain to talk about Stardew Valley, WoW, Smash tournaments, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, and more. We also kick up a little pre-E3 hype by reviewing the conference schedule, talk even more about loot box legislation, get excited for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and are thoroughly whelmed by Medievil. Finally, we talk China’s rising status in the gaming world and the perils of animating Mortal Kombat. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Gaming and China.

Ready set go!

Kotaku had an interesting piece on the mental toll of making Mortal Kombat 11.

Should studios have to provide extra support for devs in situations like that? How do artists handle that sort of thing, anyways?

https://kotaku.com/id-have-these-extremely-graphic-dreams-what-its-like-t-1834611691

Episode 130: Sanic do-over

The crew start by talking about the game’s they’ve been playing. Kaz had a major win in wow by getting over 13 new mounts. Kyle finally beat Spyro reignited and surprisingly enjoyed himself in Sonic Forces. William continues his journey through Fate Grand Order (is anyone surprised?)  on the not-so-hype train we talk about the awful new Sonic movie trailer, and how even the directors vow to change the design won’t happen.  Persona 5 S is for Scramble and not switch, and Rocket league has been bought by Epic.  But we are hyped about Bloodstained, Blizzcon, Planet Zoo and Cuphead on switch. In the discussions we dive deep into Nether Tealm, epic and Riot and the Crunchtime Culture in the video game industry. Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • Sonic happened – correction: something that professed to be Sonic happened.
  • But! There’s hope https://twitter.com/fowltown/status/1124056098925944832
  • Kingdom Hearts 3 now has a Critical mode, which hopefully makes it less pitifully easy than before. Also, they announced it’s getting a DLC called reMIND, which will have a new area and boss.
  • Joker is now in Smash! Also, Smash Ultimate is now the best selling fighting game of all time. https://www.unilad.co.uk/gaming/smash-bros-ultimate-hits-huge-sales-milestone-as-nintendo-reports-best-year-since-2009/
  • Persona 5 Scramble 🙁
  • Cuphead is out on switch along with a neat new patch, allowing you to play as Mugman, some new fully animated sequences, game animations, and other tweaks
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has somewhat updated visuals and a release date! June 25 for Switch and June 18 for everything else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A640g5gDBJA
  • Blizzcon announced, tickets on sale, blizzard not have a booth other than gear at gamescom. New ticket system beware!
  • activision /Blizz announced COD league
  • Rocket league bought by Epic. uh oh, what does this mean for the future of the game?

https://www.polygon.com/2019/5/1/18525843/epic-games-buys-rocket-league-psyonix

  • PLANET ZOO!

Discussion:

There’s been a whole lot more discussion on crunch time and labor practices in the industry, this time brought to you by NetherRealm, Epic, and Riot. I don’t know what to say about it apart from what’s already been said, though.

https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/gy4qv7/league-of-legends-studio-faces-employee-walkout-promises-changes

https://www.pcgamer.com/former-devs-speak-out-about-severe-crunch-at-mortal-kombat-studio/

Everyone got really mad about the time grind in Mortal Kombat 11.

How much of a grind is ‘okay’? How can you make those systems fair while still giving die hards something to do for a long time?

Episode 129: Rise up Sheeple

This week on Pause Screen the crew update us on what they’ve been playing. Kyle complete Sekiro and gives his review of the Fairune Collection, Kaz is creating soap opera levels of mischief in Stardew valley while keeping up on her WoW chores, and William did play some Fate: Grand Order but has internet connection issues all episode long!  On the hype train we talk about Sekiro’s Sales numbers, the Smash Ulitmate stage builder leak, Spyro Reignited patch (Kyle can finally finish!) and Nintendo Direct rumors.  After a tangent on complaining about YouTube and Youtuber Culture, We get into our discussion about Nintendo being Ranked the 9th most reputable company in the US.  What has nintendo done to earn the good will of it’s fans? What are other video game companies missing? and how easy it is for a company to loose the grace of it’s fans.  Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • Sekiro sold 2 million copies in its first 10 days
  • Rumor mill says that Watch Dogs 3 is going to be set in London. Sounds interesting
  • Stage Builder got leaked for Smash Ultimate
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy finally got a patch so I can finish it
  • Rumor said there was going to be a nintendo direct today, everyone was talking about it. And nope, didn’t happen

Discussion:

Nintendo was ranked the 9th most reputable company in the US, the only gaming company to make the top 10.

Given the close relationship between gaming companies and customers, why don’t we see more of that? Related, the Elder Scrolls: Blades beta came out on phones, and people hate the monetization. Between Stadia and F2P stuff, is Nintendo really a weird standout, or will other companies try the more consumer-friendly approach?

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190403005250/en/Netflix-Ranks-1-Reputation-Institute-2019-U.S

https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/06/the-elder-scrolls-blades-hands-on-a-shallow-skinner-box-that-you-can-pay-to-not-play/

Episode 128: Fun Out Of Ten

This week on Pause Screen Kaz updates us on things Warcraft, Kyle talks about Sekiro and the Fairune Collection, and William wallows in Fate/Grand Order. In our Hype Train we talk the Genesis Mini, Bethesda’s future games, Best Buy leaks, and more! We also discuss Bioware’s management issues and Gamestop sinking further into their financial hole. Finishing up we briefly express our feelings about difficult/exclusionary gameplay in games. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Jason Schreier at Kotaku has a really great writeup on why Anthem (and to a lesser extent, Mass Effect Andromeda) ended up the way they did.

TLDR: management is bad. Apparently Bioware’s management has been sending emails about it and plans to address things in an all hands next week. It’s a great read, gives some interesting insight into how a studio is subject to its leadership. https://kotaku.com/how-biowares-anthem-went-wrong-1833731964

Gamestop lost $673 million in the past year. It’s sad to watch them slowly (or more recently, quickly) die.

https://www.destructoid.com/gamestop-is-losing-so-much-money-548758.phtml

Episode 127: Traded William for Kaz

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

EA laid off 350 people and closed down their Russia and Japan divisions.

That’s about 3.5% of the company, but apparently it wasn’t unexpected. The layoffs mostly hit marketing and publishing, which isn’t very surprising—after Battlefield 5 was DOA, it’s pretty clear that they need to change up their strategies. https://kotaku.com/ea-lays-off-350-people-in-marketing-publishing-analyt-1833575289

Sony is no longer selling full game download codes at retail.

Policy goes in effect on April 1st. Gamestop’s shareholders have gotta be sad. https://twitter.com/Wario64/status/1109211277975416832

Episode 126: I Only Play Games From Japan

Pause Screen is here! This time Kyle tells us about Ys VII, Castlevania 4, and his collecting addiction while William talks about Tales of Vesperia, Touhou 6, and Fate/Grand Order. For the Hype Train, we get hype about Sekiro coming out, Cuphead on Switch, and more! For discussion topics, we tackle Microsoft extending Xbox Live to iOS and Android (plus the Switch), Google’s Stadia, and the Badland Games/Publishing mess with Axiom Verge. To finish up, Kyle tells us about one more game he’s played: the weird postmodern Travis Strikes Again. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • SEKIROOOOOO
  • Octopath Traveler mobile prequel (sad train)
  • Cuphead on Switch
  • Cadence of Hyrule
  • Katana Zero looks nice too
  • The Happy Hob just beat all 5 soulsborne games in a row without taking a hit (apart from a required one in Dark Souls 1)

Discussion:

Microsoft just launched an Xbox Live SDK for iOS and Android.

That’s right, achievements, friend lists, and more on mobile. They’re definitely trying to be everywhere. https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/14/18265214/microsoft-xbox-live-ios-android-games-support-features

STADIA

Badland

Episode 125:My Body Is Reggie

This week on Pause Screen Kyle talks more Smash, Tetris 99, and Fire Emblem Echoes, while William has been too sick to play anything except some Daemon X Machina. For this week’s Hype Train we talk about the EVO lineup, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Detective Pikachu, Anthem, Darksiders 3, some journalism, and an unusual game title. We also discuss Reggie’s upcoming retirement, potential relationships between Microsoft and Nintendo, and GOG’s recent layoffs. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • EVO announced their lineup. No Melee this year on the main stage. https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/av7xzt/evo_2019_main_lineup_revealed/
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield got announced, are still definitely Pokemon
    • Who cares, there was a second trailer for Detective Pikachu!
  • Anthem is kind of out, and people kind of don’t like it.
  • Darksiders 3 made back its budget!
  • Cecilia D’Anastasio from Kotaku won the digital news award at the Writers’ Guild of America for her story on Riot Games’ sexism
  • Square Enix launched a Twitter account for their new IP, “Last Idea”. The jokes write themselves. It’s even a mobile gacha game! https://twitter.com/LASTIDEA_RPG

Discussion:

Goodbye Reggie, hello Bowser.

Reggie is retiring at the ripe old age of 57 and Doug Bowser, the SVP of Sales and Marketing, is taking his place. My body is not ready. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190221005804/en/

Rumors are flying about Microsoft and Nintendo.

Think they’ll actually put Games Pass on the Switch? What about Xbox Live?

GOG laid of 12 people and appears to be struggling a bit.

The PC marketplace is basically the wild west these days, it’s interesting to see it in upheaval after so many years of Steam’s dominance. Who’s gonna win? Can Fortnite keep carrying the Epic Games Store? https://kotaku.com/facing-financial-pressures-gog-quietly-lays-off-at-lea-1832879826  

Episode 124: Press A to Anime

We have returned! Pause Screen is back with some audio only episodes! Kaz is sick for now, but Kyle is here to catch us up with Kingdom Hearts 3, Tetris 99, Smash, and a few other games. Meanwhile William has only been playing Tales of Vesperia and the Bleach gacha game. In the Hype Train we mention Piranha Plant joining Smash Ultimate, Hollow Knight: Silksong, along with a couple other topics, and a bunch of stuff from the Nintendo Direct including Fire Emblem, Bloodstained, Astral Chain, and Link’s Awakening. In our Discussions, we mention Blizzard’s recent firing spree, Apex Legends, and hitting the reset button on Metroid Prime 4.  Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • Piranha Plant dropped on Tuesday with the release of Smash 2.0.0. Plus, they gave us patch notes! Incineroar buffs for days. Also, don’t use PP in All Star or Classic if you like your save data.
  • Hollow Knight: Silksong is going to be a full sequel starring Hornet. Looks good.
  • Wargroove released and is getting good reviews. Check it out if you’re into Advance Wars.
  • Jump Force and Crackdown 3 certainly exist
  • Goodbye, Wii Shop Channel
  • Nintendo Direct
    • Mario Maker 2 (June)
    • Marvel
    • Bloodstained (Summer)
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses (July 26)
    • Hellblade (Spring)
    • Deltarune (Feb 28)
    • Yoshi (March)
    • FF IX (Yesterday) FFVII (March 26)
    • Starlink updates
    • Oninaki (summer)
    • Daemon X Machina (Summer)
    • Astral Chain (August 30)
    • Link’s Awakening (2019)

Discussion:

Blizzard fired some people. Plus, they don’t have any major games planned for 2019.

Apex Legends

Nintendo announced that it’s restarting development on Metroid Prime 4.

They have Retro taking the lead on the project now, so we’ll probably have to wait 3-4 more years. But maybe this means we’ll have a different Retro project on our hands soon? Plus, it’s refreshing to have this kind of honest communication about an anticipated game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLIv_UXI_So

Episode 123: Judgmental Grandpa

With sickness spreading through the Pausescreen crew, William unfortunately couldn’t join us this week.  Kaz spent a bunch of time playing Stardew Valley, and Kyle stayed up way too late playing KH3. He also played and brought up the charming Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, an interesting VR game.  On the Hype Train we talk about the Wii Shop channel closing forever, RE2 remake, Erik Wolpaw’s return to Valve, Farming simulator’s new esport and more.  In the news we try to figure out what is going on at Gearbox as lawsuits and serious criminal accusations fly back and forth, We celebrate with Bungie on their split with Activision and speculate what the future will hold. We discuss the loss of some gaming history with Machinima’s dirty move on their Youtube channel, And we talk about how much american’s spent on Video games in 2018. Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • The Wii Shop channel closes forever next week, so make sure to download your stuff/use your leftover points.
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake is out tomorrow, and got great reviews.
  • KINGDOM HEARTS 3. It’s real! And getting good reviews!
  • Erik Wolpaw is working at Valve again. He wrote Portal 1 / 2 and co-wrote Half Life 2 eps. 1 and 2, so that potentially means good things
  • Farming Simulator is getting an esports league with $280,000 in prizes. https://twitter.com/verge/status/1088087297810202624
  • Smash set a new record for most money made in the first month by a console exclusive game. Crazy. It unseated Halo Reach, which has held the title since 2010.
  • Steamworld Quest got announced, which is a card based RPG. This series continues to bewilder and delight me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDA5FuOnsfA
  • Mortal Kombat 11 had its reveal! It’s still Mortal Kombat. The fatalities are rad, from what we’ve seen so far.
  • ESO: Elsweyr (home of the Khajit) got announced. There’s a neat cinematic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcDY-5GjGaE
  • AGDQ raised $2.4 million and was neat. The Mega Man X relay race was excellent. Urban Yeti and the DK Tropical Freeze races were also pretty memorable.
  • HBomberguy did a 100% run of Donkey Kong 64 to raise money for a UK charity supporting trans youth (Mermaids UK). Grant Kirkhope, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and tons of other celebs showed up on stream, and he raised $340k over the course of a grueling 57 hour run. https://techraptor.net/content/streamer-hbomberguy-raises-230000-trans-charity
  • Nintendo is suing Soulja Boy. Surprise! And so is Epic and everyone else as he keeps announcing new consoles “with Fortnite.”

Discussion:

So, Gearbox.

Its former general counsel (Wade Callendar) is suing them for Randy Pitchford supposedly having child porn. The company explained it away as being ‘barely legal’ porn, and that it was discovered (along with secret company docs) when he left a USB drive with it at a Medieval Times. He had the videos on there because he was impressed by the ‘magic’ of it, and he’s an amateur magician. Also, Gearbox is suing Callendar for improper use of funds and failing to reimburse, on things such as tuition, parties, and ‘getting six pack abs’. Yep.

https://kotaku.com/former-gearbox-lawyer-accuses-ceo-randy-pitchford-of-ta-1831679539

Bungie split with Activision.

They now own the Destiny IP and are independent once again. It’ll be interesting to see if they can save it, and it’s real interesting that Activision let it go after their 10 year contract and all the marketing money they dumped into that thing. Hopefully they can Make Destiny Great Again.

Machinima’s Youtube channel was wiped this past week.

It’s a big milestone, since they were key in bringing the streamer/videos of video games culture of today to fruition. Apparently the new owner is pulling things down to put on a streaming service somewhere. Any fond memories?

Americans spent $43b on video games this past year – a new high by a long shot.

We keep saying gaming is only getting bigger, but it’s crazy how bit it’s actually getting. Where do we go from here? How will new consoles make the transition? Will VR catch on, or will it take 20 more years like normal games did? Side note: Fortnite was $2.4 billion of that. That’s $6.6 million per day. Geez.

http://fortune.com/2019/01/23/2018-video-game-sales-totals/

Episode 122: The Joy Artifact Has Brought Us

Welcome to a new year with Pause Screen! This week, Kaz talks Yoku’s Island Express, finally saving Jaina in WoW, and playing some Smash Ultimate. Kyle’s also been Smashing, as well as playing some PSVR, Salt and Sanctuary, and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. William has done a quick playthrough of Undertale, and bought himself the old Xenosaga trilogy. For the Hype Train, we discuss the multitude of potential (but unannounced) games from From Software, the Megaman 11 team, Square’s Business Division 11, and whatever Persona 5 R is. We also touch on the sudden firing of Blizzard’s CFO, and start discussions about Artifacts poor performance and licencing issues surrounding tattoos in games. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Artifact ended 2018 outside of Steam’s top 100 played games.

Can you really design esports? Are card games dead?

https://www.githyp.com/valves-artifact-ended-2018-outside-steams-top-100-most-played-games/

Tattoos in video games

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/27/style/tattoos-video-games.html