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Ep. 16 Of the Podcast Is Live – Come Read It!

After a month-long hiatus the 16th episode of my solo podcast is live, and if you hit the play button you can listen to my rasping, harsh vocals for a whopping 45-minutes or so! What a glorious way to waste a chunk of your day!

On this episode I gush about The Suicide Squad (2021) movie, complain about chest infections, talk about Outriders not breaking even yet, RiMS racing, and the entire Blue Box saga getting stranger and stranger.

Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.19: God of War on PC, And Mercury Steam Kinda Suck Wolf's Gaming Podcast

  1. Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.19: God of War on PC, And Mercury Steam Kinda Suck
  2. Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.18: UnMetal, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous & Hot Wheels
  3. Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.17: Playstation Showcase & Epic Loses In Apple Legal Battle
  4. Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.16: How to respond to Activision-Blizzard, and what the Hell is up with Blue Box?
  5. Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.15: Rambling About The Steam Deck

I’m also trying something new here. Below you’ll find the script I used for the podcast. This is what I type up through the week to use as a template for when I do the podcast. Sometimes I quote it nearly word for word, and sometimes I just use it for quick reference. Because I knew I was going to put it up, I also wrote it to be a bit more readable, versus my normal shorthand gibberish. But I didn’t go and double-check spelling and punctuation, so have fun with that. Mwhaha.

The Suicide Squad

  • I thought this was a big improvement over the first movie, and that James Gunn’s humour works brilliantly with the idea of the Suicide Squad.
  • Loved the much gorier, gruesome style because it once again suits the Suicide Squad
  • Could have done without the world-level threat, though. I think the Suicide Squad is the perfect choice for smaller budget movies and don’t need huge threats, because then you get into situations where it makes sense for Superman and the Justice League to turn up. Overthrowing a government and doing dirty work would have been enough.
  • Really liked the murky, realistic view on governments, too.
  • Thought John Cena killed it.
  • King Shark was awesome.
  • Idris Alba was great, albeit a bit close to Deadshot’s character.
  • Harley Quinn was fun, but she really isn’t needed in these films, I think. I understand they want her there to bring more appeal, but she doesn’t fit, for me. And her role in this film was tacked on.

RiMS

  • Still not sure if realistic bike games really work.
  • Kind of want one of those arcade bike machines to play it.
  • No VR, man.
  • Kind of similiar handling to the TT game. Like the physics.
  • very small roster of bikes but that’s for the detail.
  • Love the idea of every part on the bike being modeled and replaceable with new stuff. But it makes for a crappy, awkward UI and the mini-game to mount and unmount parts is bloody stupid.

Battlesector Getting Awesome Updates

  • When I review Warhammer: 40K Battlesector I found a really fun turn-based tactics game that made good use of the license. In that review, I mentioned that the skirmish mode has loads of potential, but that that with just two factions it was quite barebones. Well, problem solved. The developers have announced new factions are coming. No release date, but they will be showing off some new units soon.
  • On top of that, a Veterency system will be added so that squads can become better.
  • That feeds into another new system named Requisition Actions. In the game right now, it doesn’t cost anything to replace dead units between missions. That means you can play aggressively, but this new system, if you choose to enable it, will mean you have to spent Requisition Actions to replace what you lose, making the campaign much harder.
  • There’s also going to be limits on how many of each unit can be requested, so they gave the example of only being able to get a new librarian every few turns.
  • These updates all sound great, and if the developers nail them it should turn a good game into a great game.

GTA 3, Vice City And San Andreas Being Remastered?

  • Kotaku are claiming that sources within Rockstar are telling them that remasters of GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas will be getting released this fall on Playstation, Xbox and Switch. Said sources are apparently reliable and have alerted Kotaku to things coming to GTA Online and Red Dead Online weeks, if not months in advance.
  • Rockstar Dundee are allegedly the team in charge of the project. All three games will be getting remastered on Unreal Engine with a mix of new and old graphics. Although, if the games are being shifted to Unreal, that would be more of a remake.
  • Backing up these claims are a few tidbits of information: first, Take-Two have become very aggressive about classic Grand Theft Auto mods, hinting that they don’t want competition for the true remasters. Second, Take-Two themselves have previously confirmed that they have three remasters in the works.
  • All three of these games helped define my teenage years, but San Andreas is my favourite of the three. Me and my older brother would mess about seeing who could do the daftest stuff.
  • Remasters of these three games would seem like an obvious money spinner for Rockstar. However, if these are basically just going to be up-rezzed versions of the mobile ports, then my interest will die out quicker than the Dodos after they watched a depressing black and white french movie. These games deserve a really solid remake/remaster.

Outriders Doesn’t Break Even?

  • In a financial statement developer People Can Fly has revealed that as of August 16th they have not received any royalties for Outriders from Square Enix.
  • The deal in place allegedly says that People Can Fly would receive royalties if Outriders sold enough to cover Square Enix’s costs, which include quality insurance, marketing and distribution. According to People Can Fly there was a 45-day deadline on this payment, ending on August 14th.
  • People Can Fly have yet to receive any payment, and thus conclude that the game hasn’t done well enough, saying,”there are no grounds for the publisher to pay royalties to the company for the period from 1st April 2021 through 30th June 2021″
  • It seems People Can Fly aren’t entirely happy with Square Enix, saying that,  “We don’t have any sales figures for Outriders – we estimate it at between two and three million units and assumed that this was a result that would ensure profitability for this project in the first quarter of sales. The lack of payment by the publisher probably means that, according to Square Enix, this is not the case.”
  • Of course, Outriders story is complicated by the fact that it was available on day one via Game Pass. It seems People Can Fly didn’t have much to do with this decision, saying “Perhaps it was caused by some elements of Square Enix’s sales policy, the details of which we do not know, such as partnerships concluded by the publisher with distribution platforms or entities offering Outriders as an addition to their products,”
  • That raises a lot of questions about how contracts are working in the modern industry. Presumably Microsoft paid a fairly generous fee to get Outriders onto their service, but if People Can Fly’s contract with Square Enix only covers profits generated from sales then it means Square Enix may have pocketed a good chunk of money that doesn’t count toward the royalty deadline.
  • Square Enix themselves praised Outriders when it initially launched, saying that it had gotten off to a good start and that they were “pleasantly surprised as the digital sales ratio for the title have been very high.” They would later go on to state that in its launch month Outriders clocked 3.5-million unique players. They then said that they thought Outriders was shaping up to be a key new franchise for them.
  • Square Enix have not publicly commented on People Can Fly’s claims, and I doubt they are too happy with People Can Fly for airing their dirty laundry, regardless of whether you or I think it was right to do so.
  • Personally, I enjoyed the game and would love to see a sequel or even some chunky expansions.

BioMutant Doing Well

  • On a more upbeat note, while Outriders may not have made any money it seems Biomutant has.
  • The Embracer Group, who now has 69 studios under its command, put out a financial report in which it was revealed that Biomutant, developed by Experiment 101, has sold over 1-million copies.
  • Even more impressively, Biomutant apparently broke even in just the first week. “The full investment into development and marketing as well as the acquisition cost for Experiment 101 and the IP, was recouped within a week after launch,”
  • Experiment 101 and the Biomutant IP was bought by THQ Nordic, who are owned by Embracer, back in 2017 for an impressive £6.2-million, meaning the game must have generated that much money in just a week on sale. Not bad.
  • Personally, I had a lot of issues with Biomutant but I did like it and thought it had some cool ideas. Above all else, I thought it had a lot of potential and deserved a sequel to realise that potential. With these numbers, a sequel seems quite likely.

Halo Infinite Won’t have a co-op campaign or Forge at launch

  • Halo: Infinite’s development hasn’t been the smoothest so far. It’s initial showing was quite rocky, enough to delay the game from last year’s intended launch. But the recent beta helped alleviate some concerns with the majority of people seeming to have a good time.
  • Now, though, it looks like Infinite is having more problems because 343 have announced that Infinite’s co-op campaign and Forge modes will not be ready in time for the planned Holiday 2021 release.
  • According to 343, co-op campaign play won’t launch until until at least season 2 of the multiplayer, which is roughly 3 months after launch. As for Forge, it won’t be coming until season 3, which is around 6 months after launch. Of course, these dates could be brought forward or pushed back.
  • creative lead, Joseph Staten, opened up about the conversations that have been had in recent months. “Yeah, I mean we talked about doing [delaying the game]. But where we landed is that Halo Infinite is a live game, so it isn’t ever really “done.” It’s going to progress and evolve from season to season. We talk about launch being the beginning of that journey, but to have a beginning, you need to pick a moment and actually begin,” 
  • Honestly, and I might take some flack for this, all I got from this was, “the game isn’t actually finished or ready, but we’re going to launch it anyway.”
  • How this game was ever intended to launch last year is beyond me. Since 343 got the Halo license they seem to have struggled under the weight of the Halo name and the pressure that comes with it. Hopefully they can turn this around, though, and use this time to deliver an excellent campaign and free-to-play multiplayer before delivering equally good co-op and Forge experiences.

Blue Box & Abandoned Gets Weirder

  • The baffling tale of Blue Box and their mysterious game Abandoned continues to get stranger.
  • On XXX there was an update to the trailer app that was supposed to give the world a first look at Abandoned, but that didn’t happen because of some technical issues. Instead, we all got to see a very brief teaser of someone walking across a wooden floor, and that was it. Blue Box were quick to apologise for the issue, and have confirmed we won’t be seeing the trailer for another couple of months.
  • Head of Blue Hasan Kahraman then did an interview with IGN that, to my mind, raised even more questions about the company, an interview in which IGN failed to ask any pertinent questions, seek secondary sources or attempt to follow up on anything.
  • The interview did tackle the subject of Blue Box’s many announced but then cancelled games, including some of the prior private funding which Blue Box claims they paid back. However, the interview doesn’t tackle the subject of how Blue Box are operating an alleged 10-man development team despite having seemingly no sources of income, except for mysterious investors. Kahraman claims there’s actually a total of 50 people working on Abandoned in the form of contracters and outsourced companies, which again raises the question of funding. Where is this money coming from? Even a 10-person team isn’t cheap to run.
  • Apparently they are even using full motion capture, which is an expensive process. So much so, many big company’s are building their own in-house motion capture so they don’t have to keep paying out.
  • The interview covered The Haunting, Blue Box’s last project. It was launched onto Early Access last year and didn’t do well, which Kahraman says was because, “It had a lot of placeholders and involved animations and character models,” Kahraman explains. “We’ve learned that if you are making a story game, a single-player game, you shouldn’t do an Early Access because people didn’t get that. People assume that, ‘Hey, there’s this game out there, let’s buy it and play it and we’ll see some production quality stuff right there’, but the truth is that it’s actually an Early Access game. And that is the reason why it didn’t go well because it wasn’t received well because people saw that it was broken, that it wasn’t finished.” They removed the game from Steam before putting it back up, having handed development over to CreateQ, which Kahraman says are friends of theirs who are full-time developers working on The Haunting on the side.
  • Kahraman claims The Haunting will be released for free with Blue Box taking the financial hit. Again, where is the money coming from? Oh, and apparently if you’re one of the very few people who bought The Haunting, you’ll get Abandoned for free as well.
  • The interviewer lets all of this slide, and seems content to take Kahraman at his word. Now, obviously he shouldn’t be treated as a liar, either, but surely IGN should be looking to find other sources to corroborate what is being told to them. But they don’t make any effort to confirm that Blue Box has 9 other employees or who the investors could be or how Blue Box seems to keep funding everything or how involved Sony are or anything else.
  • I don’t think this has anything to do with Kojima anymore, mostly because it’s a complete mess, but I do think there’s something utterly strange about Blue Box and I find the whole thing fascinating.

Numerous Outlets Refuse To Cover Activision

  • The Activision Blizzard debacle has brought about an interesting scenario. Multiple outlets have announced they will not be covering any Activision Blizzard games or news outside of the current lawsuit. These outlets include GamexPlain, Prima and The Gamer. None of the big sites such as IGN, Gamespot etc. seem to be following suit.
  • This raises some interesting questions about whether that’s a good thing or not? Do you think outlets refusing to cover a company sends a strong message or is it pointless and is meant to make the outlet look good? Would it be better to continue covering the company but remind people in those articles about the issues until said issues are fixed?

So what can us gamers do?

  • This led me to pondering what us, the consumers and players, can actually do when companies displease us.
  • Alanah Pearce, current writer at Sony Santa Monic, host of the awesome Play, Talk, Listen podcast and general fun person, put out a video talking about how developers don’t want you to boycott other developers. She raises the point that when you boycott a company, that also means hurting the innocent developers who did nothing wrong.
  • That’s certain a fair point to raise, especially when it comes to a company that employs over 10,000 people, the vast majority of which haven’t done anything wrong and probably didn’t even know about most of this until it came to light.
  • She brings up the idea of buying stock in a company instead, and selling if the company does something you don’t like.
  • That, to me, doesn’t make sense, though. Surely selling stock in protests winds up hurting the innocent developers, too?
  • And where does that leave us as consumers? We can complain and make videos and write articles and Tweet, but past experience has shown big companies don’t care about that, viewing all publicity as good publicity. They only care when the numbers start going down and that means not buying their products, and that means potentially harming developers.
  • But I also think boycotts are mostly ineffectual because getting anything near a significant amount of people together is damn near impossible. In the cast of Activision, the vast majority of people who go out to buy the new Call of Duty won’t even know about the lawsuit, and those that do might not really care – they just want to go home and play their game.
  • Honestly, I don’t have an answer. I really don’t know what we can do, except remain vocal and don’t just let important topics die out within days because the next big story or trend has hit the news.

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