Episode 133: kojima surprise

This week on Pause Screen Kaz did not projectile vomit on her first VR expedience, Kyle is just too good at platforms and gets himself stuck and William didn’t get to play much (except for mobile games, who want’s to hear about that?) On the Hype train we are all surprised with the release date of Death Stranding. We talk about the excrement or derision surrounding the game. Oh and the fetus in the expansion pack.  We all get confused at the new Call of Duty naming scheme and the new Pokemon Sleep game, but can still be excited about them.  In discussions we talk about the nature and future of Esports, are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? Last of all we talk about the direction MIcrosoft is taking, will we see the end of console exclusives soon? Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Blizzard’s Overwatch League commissioner has left for Epic Games.

Do eSports have a real future? Or are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? https://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-league-commissioner-to-leave-blizzard-for-epic-games/

https://kotaku.com/as-esports-grows-experts-fear-its-a-bubble-ready-to-po-1834982843

Microsoft announced that they’re expanding Games Pass to PC, and that they’ll be putting their future releases—including Gears 5!—on Steam.

Interesting play, especially considering they’re set to announce new hardware in a couple of weeks. They’re really pushing having their games everywhere and building an ecosystem, rather than a strict console strategy. https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/05/30/microsoft-approach-to-pc-gaming/?ocid=XGP_soc_omc_xbo_tw_Photo_lrn_5.30.1

Episode 132: Predicting E3

This week on Pause Screen Kyle talks Sonic Forces, Bowser’s Inside Story, Legendary, and Mario Kart Tour, Kaz has finished up with Stardew Valley and ordered a PSVR, and William updates us on Vesperia, Furi, and FGO. In the Hype Train we have the Mario Maker 2 Nintendo Direct, DOTA OVERLORDS, Insomiac hiring sprees, Nioh 2, wacky handhelds, Nintendo pulling mobile games from Belgium, and more! We also discuss Epic’s poorly handled ‘mega sale,’ and Amazon’s attempts to ‘gamify’ the workplace. And to finish up, we talk our E3 predictions for this year! Come pause with us!

Discussion topics

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • The Mario Maker 2 direct happened, and it was fantastic. Ranked online multiplayer! Slopes! Adjustable water and lava levels! On/off switches!
  • Valve registered a trademark for DOTA OVERLORDS. Sounds like a spinoff game potentially, maybe the Auto Chess thing we know is coming?
  • World War Z has quietly sold 2 million copies
  • Sony is ramping up hires at Insomniac, presumably in the wake of Spider-Man’s success
  • Nioh 2 got a closed alpha announcement and a gameplay trailer, and it looks great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmzW0IYhXlk&feature=youtu.be
  • The company that funded Firewatch made a new handheld console. The gimmick is that it has a hand crank. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5wdep/this-new-gaming-handheld-has-a-crank-and-looks-cool-as-hell
  • Nintendo has pulled FEH and Pocket Camp from Belgium as per their anti-loot box law

https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/21/nintendo-pulls-two-mobile-games-in-belgium-due-to-loot-box-laws/

Discussion:

Epic had a big sale, but didn’t tell publishers about it. Several publishers pulled their games in response.

The big deal was $10 off $14.99 and up, which effectively devalued a lot of games before they even came out. The money came from Epic’s pocket, but it really messes with your market strategy when stuff like that happens. Seems Epic still has a lot to learn.

https://kotaku.com/publishers-pull-their-games-from-epics-store-during-its-1834828248

Gamifying the workplace: Amazon makes a game to help productivity in packing wearhouses

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/05/amazon-gamifies-its-warehouse-work-like-tetris-but-with-real-boxes/

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
  • One of the major reasons online slot machines are so popular in any type of casino, including online casinos
  • 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