The latest episode of my podcast is live, and you can listen to it below!
Wolf's Gaming Podcast ep.19: God of War on PC, And Mercury Steam Kinda Suck – Wolf's Gaming Podcast
And like last time, here’s the script I used for the whole show. Sometimes I follow it closely, sometimes I don’t. It’s been changed around for reading purposes, but is otherwise raw, including any spelling mistakes and stuff like that.
- Lack of motivation for gaming the last few weeks.
- Still heavily into Magic Arena.
- Review code for the new Pathfinder has got me excited though.
- Getting back into wrestling.
- All Out first Pay-per-view I’ve watched in ages.
- CM Punk.
- Bryan, Cole.
- Absurdly fun pay-per-view and the weekly shows have been thoroughly enjoyable.
- Recommend listening to Colin Moriarty interviewing Filip Miucin who was fired from IGN when it came out that a lot of his work had been plagiarised.
- It’s a fascinating interview. Colin does a good job of guiding the interview, asking pointed questions where needed, shutting up when Filip is talking.
- Filip, to his credit, seems willing to talk and lay everything out. Whether he’s being truthful, whether he means any of it, whether he even understands what he did, that’s still all up for debate. Forgive him or not, though, it’s more than worth listening to or watching.
Apple vs Epic
- The long-running legal battle between Apple and Epic has ended, at least for now. The whole escapade began when Epic decided they didn’t like Apple’s 30% cut of everything sold on their store. Epic then launched a long-planned campaign they called Project Liberty where they deliberately broke their contract with Apple in a bid to incite legal action.
- Over the course of the battle many accusations have been slung by both sides. Epic accused Apple of running a monopoly, and indeed attempted to prove it. Apple accused Epic of breaking their contract. Epic didn’t just think the 30% cut was unfair, it believed it should be allowed to sell stuff on the iOS store without any fees, despite its own Epic Store charging 12% fees.
- Now the court has delivered its judgement and there’s a lot of confusion over what it all means, not helped by sites like Kotaku putting up blatantly false headlines such as “Epic Wins Fortnite App Store Lawsuit.” The truth is, Epic lost 9 out of 10 counts.
- The judge delivered a whopping 185 page verdict that, not to sound rude, did waffle on at times. Within those pages, she made it quite clear that she doesn’t like a lot of Apple’s practices on a personal level. She also made it clear she wasn’t happy with Epic deliberately breaching their contract, attempting to leverage an audience of children and planning said breach for months ahead of time. I have to admit, I did find Epic’s handling of all this pretty disgusting.
- Here’s the gist of of the rulings, and for a much more detailed breakdown go listen to the newest episode of Virtual Legality where Richard Hoeg goes over all the legal mumbo-jumbo that I am entirely ignorant of.
- In terms of being a monopoly, Apple claimed that they were part of the broader gaming market whereas Epic argued that were in a monopoly specifically within the iOS sphere. The court deemed Apple does not have a monopoly in its respective market, deciding that Apple’s relevant market is digital mobile gaming transactions. That’s important because if the judge had ruled against Apple here then the “walled garden” of Apple’s App store would crumble, and that would then open up a whole can of worms for companies like Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo who all own and operate walled gardens on their respective consoles. That would be a major ruling with huge ramifications across multiple industries.
- Apple do not have to change their 30% commission fee. Although the judge did comment in that rate being inflated
- The single point in which the judge ruled in favour of Epic was regarding anti-steering. After 90-days Apple will now have to allow developers the direct users toward third-party payment systems rather that requiring them to only use Apple’s own payment processing system.
- However, it should be pointed out that Apple’s terms and conditions mean they would still receive a 30% cut of transactions made using third-party processors. That’s because the game or app was still purchased using Apple’s store. To avoid this, developers would have to find a way to have a customer buy the game or app OUTSIDE of Apple’s store as well.
- Finally, Epic were found to be in breach of contract, and in regards to its months long Project Liberty plan the judge said, “Epic games never adequately explained its rush to the courthouse or the actual need for clandestine tactics.” The judge ruled that Apple is entitled to relief for this breach of contract. That breaks down to 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue that Epic took using its Epic Direct Payment method that it hid within an update to Fortnite between August and October of 2020.
- And a declaration that Apple and Epic’s agreement was lawful and enforceable, and that Apple maintains the right to sever its agreement with Epic or Epic subsidiaries whenever it likes. Or in other words, Apple do not have to allow Fortnite back onto its store or allow Epic or any of its subsidiaries back into the store. This means Apple can also terminate any and all Epic accounts including those related to servicing, which Apple was stopped from doing initially due to a preliminary injunction.
- Throughout this mess Epic has continued to portray itself as a hero fighting for developers everywhere. Make no mistake, they aren’t. They wanted the money, just like Apple. Tim Sweeney tweeted out, “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.” No, you’re fighting to get that $12,167,719 for yourselves without needing to pay fees. Had Epic fought to say the fees were just inflated and if they had taken Apple to court without breaching the contract then their case would have been much more palatable.
- Of course, I’m not siding with Apple, either. They want to make money. They’re good at it. But legally, they were in the clear, which I find fair enough. It’s their phone, their operation system, and thus they can do what they like within it provided it doesn’t breach any laws. To me, it would be like running a store in town and being forced to allow every brand on the shelves. Maybe that’s just me, though.
PS5 Heatsink Controversey
- A big controversey kicked off about the new model of PS5 which is hitting store shelves. This new console has an improved stand, but is also 300g lighter, making people wonder where Sony managed to shave off 300g.
- Austin Evans, a big name in the Youtube tech scene, got his hands on a new PS5 and made a video tearing it down alongside an original PS5. In the video he finds that the saving in weight comes from a redesign of the heatsink, which is what cools the consoles APU. Sony changed the materials from copper to alliminium and reduced the overall size by quite a bit.
- Austin then measures the exhaust heat on both units and notices that the new PS5 is putting 5c more heat than the old.
- This is where the controversey begins. Many people argue that Evan’s testing methodology isn’t right because a higher output heat could also mean the console is better at shifting the heat out of the machine. Personally, I think these commentors are correct: Austins test method is pretty lax, hardly conclusive and not enough to call the new revision worse, as he does.
- Small Youtube channel Hardware Busters made a video comparing the original PS5 to the new version. He makes a couple of important notes: exactly the same model of fan in both units. Original PS5 is his and has thus been used.
- Fan speed on both units nearly identical when idling.
- Fan speed when gaming almost identical.
- New PS5 is 1DB louder. At this point Hardware busters asserts that the reason for this is likely because of the smaller heatsink being less restrictive on airflow. With the airflow being blocked less, the noise is louder.
- Power consumption near identical. Only a few watts of difference. So we need the console isn’t using up more power.
- Hardware Busters then got to the temps, saying they put on DMC5 and left it on a reasonably stressful scene for thirty minutes. That scene was making the console draw around 215w.
– Old PS5 APU temps 51.1c. New PS5 48c.
– Memory old PS5 40.88c. New 48.2c
– Old PS5 exhaust: 39.85c. New: 42.11c.
- Hardware Busters did note something important: they would rather have five old consoles and five new ones to get a proper look at everything. Kudos for bringing this up.
- In summary, a substantial difference in APU heat of 11c. Now, you could perhaps argue the thermal paste might be making a difference, either because it’s different or just because the old PS5’s paste has bedded in and isn’t as effective as it was. However, generally this early into paste’s life it should really be at its most effective.
- Hardware Busters did not the same increase in exhaust temps as Austin Evans did. Austin attributes this to the machine as a whole creating more heat and thus outputting more heat. Hardware Busters asserts its an indication of the machine doing a better job at cooling, shoving all that heat out of the back and thus keeping the internals cooler.
- Hardware Busters made a second video looking to provide even more information. They installed 12 sensors on different areas of the console in order to get a better idea of APU temps, RAM, SSD, input and output.
- Played Devil May Cry 5 for an hour with RT on before noting the temps.
- They used the excellent Gamer Nexus breakdown of the original PS5 as a main point of comparison, including installed all sensors in approximately the same spots.
– Hardware buster: 70.25c APU/CPU. Nexus: 73.5c
– Ambient temp for Hardware Buster was 27.9c. Nexus was 21.9c.
- It’s worth considering that the Game Nexus video was done using a PS5 that hadn’t received much in the way of updates which may or may not have tinkered with fan settings, clock speeds and so on. Sony have mentioned they would adjust these things as time goes on.
- In my opinion, the testing methodology used by Hardware Busters is much more robust than Austin Evan’s and provides vastly more information to go on. Factually, therefore, I have to conclude Hardware Busters to offering more accurate data, and therefore currently believe them to be correct in their assertion that the new PS5 version is actually better than the previous model.
- Ultimately, the changes probably make the PS5 cheaper to produce and thus better for Sony as a company. Not long ago Sony confirmed they are finally making money on sales of the PS5, so this reduction in costs could be one of the reasons why.
Sony Welcomes Another Studio To The Family
- Just a day before their Playstation Showcase Sony announced another new studio acquisition in the form of Firesprite, bringing them up to 14 studios. Founded in 2012, Firesprite have worked with Sony several times now on projects like The PLayroom, the PLayroom VR and The Persistence.
- Compared to some of Sony’s prior gets Firesprite don’t quite the same level of pizzazz, but with 250-employees they’re bigger than both of Sony’s other two UK based developers combined. I’m actually quite curious about how Firesprite is so big despite not being well known or having any huge hits.
- Firesprite is also notable for being formed by people from Sony’s well respected Liverpool studio that was sadly shut down in 2012. Liverpool studio created Wipeout. It’s a little odd to think that those same people were shut down by Sony, and now 9-years later the studio that was born from the destruction of Liverpool has been bought by Sony.
- Firesprite don’t have a particularly impressive resume, in my opinion, but now with the resources of Sony behind them who knows what they could be capable of doing? According to Firesprite, they’re going to be working on genres outside what the rest of the Sony’s studios are currently doing. And in an interview on Game Industry Biz it was revealed that Firesprite are creating a new big multiplayer shooter as well as a singleplayer game. This ties in with the fact they are currently advertising for a senior designer for their multiplayer shooter, claiming the game is in the later stages of production.
- This is great, because I think Sony have a huge gap in their first-party lineup. They’ve got heaps of third-person action games, but really no shooters and no multiplayer shooters especially.
- Doubtless, Firesprite will also work on some VR titles.
- Of course, earlier this year Sony announced they had bought Housemarque as well as Nixxes. At the same time, the Japanese Sony Twitter account accidently Tweeted out an image welcoming Blue Point to the Sony family. The image was quickly deleted and no mention has ever been made of it. However, it was a bespoke image and thus very unlikely to have somehow been made by accident. Perhaps Bluepoint’s purchase will be announced at the showcase.
Free Upgrade Path For Horizon: Forbidden West
- Sony caught themselves some bad PR this week by revealing no less than 6 different versions of Horizon: Forbidden West that you can pre-order. That’s already a bit absurd, but the bit that pissed people off is that only the two most expensive versions will include both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game. Sony are referring to this as “Dual entitlement.”
- In other words, if you bought the PS4 version, perhaps because you can’t find a PS5 yet, and later want to upgrade then you couldn’t. You’d have to go buy the game again.
- People were understandably upset, especially because Sony have previously said several times that they’d be offering free upgrades for their games
- In September of 2020, Jum Ryan said when speaking about Miles Morales and Horizon, “The PS5 versions of those games are built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set, and we have an upgrade path for PS4 users to get the PS5 version for free. It’s about people having choice. I’m really pleased about the situation.”
- This was a boneheaded move from Sony that seemed to have been made purely to bank a bit of extra cash at the expense of their reputation. It seems they’ve realised this, too, because they’ve now down an impressive twisting 180-degree backflip and gone back the other way. In a post Sony said, “It’s abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark” and then said that PS4 players will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version of Forbidden West.
- Hilariously, based on their pre-order pricing the PS4 version of the game is currently $10 less than the PS5 version, so if you have a PS5 just get the PS4 edition and save yourself the cash. Talk about a clusterfuck, eh?
- So why did this all occur? Well, according to the same Sony post, their talk about games getting free upgrades was referring specifically to “launch” games, and the pandemic pushed Forbidden West out of that arbitrary launch window. How long exactly was this magical launch window? No bloody clue, but it hasn’t exactly contained many games.
- Sony then went on to say that future games, like the next God of War, will have a $10 upgrade option.
- Keep in mind, Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system means when you buy one of their games you simply get whatever version of the game you need for the console you’re own. Have an Xbox Series X? That’s the version you get.
- Okay, first, I have to hand MrMattyPlays on Youtube all the credit in the world for this. Seven months ago this absolute legend of a dude put out a video saying that Aspyr would be doing a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He piece together the evidence, and over the intervening time has remained firm in his assertion. The fucker was right: Aspyr are officially making a Knights of the Old Republic Remake for Playstation 5.
- We didn’t get to see gameplay or anything else, but I am tingling. These games are nothing short of fantastic, telling engaging, awesome Star Wars stories. I’ve maintained hope we’d see them get remade or remastered, and its finally happening.
- It’s going to be a timed PS5 exclusive before coming to PC. That’s surprising because the series began life on Xbox and then moved onto PC as well. Now its gone the opposite way and jumped over to Playstation.
- Insomniac used the even to remind everyone that they are the MVPs in Sony’s arsenal right now, showing off not one but two new games. The first one? Well, it’s a little old thing called Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 coming in 2023. We didn’t get to see any real gameplay footage, but we did get OG Spidey and noob Spidey teaming up, indicating that we’ll probably be swapping between the two. More exciting, though, is that it could be hinting at some co-op action, which I’m uber-stoked for.
– Peter is rocking an Iron Spider style suit now, probably because Miles just has extra awesome powers and Pete needs to keep up.
- The big news is that everybody’s favourite mass-murdering symbiote Venom was shown at the end. The voice-over in the trailer speaks about looking for an equal, someone that could surprise me. The voice also sounds Russian. The accent and the dialogue make me think this could be Kraven the Hunter. For non-fans, Kraven is usually portrayed as a big-game hunter who wants to kill Spider-Man to prove he’s the ultimate hunter. He could prove to be a pretty cool villain if handled right, or could even be an anti-hero of sorts if pitted against Venom.
- Insomniac also showed off a very, very quick look at another game. The CG trailer showed a man in a chequered shirt and hat sitting at a bar, sipping a drink. Behind him are bodies, the aftermath of a fight. A lone attacker draws a knife and walk towards the man. And out from the mystery man’s knuckles pop three adamantium claws.
- Yes, it’s freaking Wolverine. Insomniac are making a Wolverine game and I am fucking excited, people. No release date was even hinted at, but Insomniac are on fire right now and if Wolverine is even half as good as their Spider-Man games then we’re in for a good time.
- Here’s a bit of an idea, though: do you guys think Naughty Dog might have been a good choice for a gritty, 18+ rated Wolverine game that takes inspiration from Logan?
- How freaking big are Insomniac at this point? We’ve already had two titles from them since the PS5 launched, plus these two being worked on, and it wouldn’t surprised me if they have a VR title in the works, too. They must be huge.
God of War: Ragnarock
- The world’s grumpiest dad is back and ready to kickass yet again. We got a pretty solid three minutes of God of War: Ragnarock footage, showing off a mixture of cutscenes and actual gameplay. The main thing to know is Kratos still looks like someone pooped in his breakfast cereal. One day that man will smile, and the world will just split in half.
- Unsurprisingly, this looks awesome. And Thor is in it, asking if Kratos is a “calm and reasonable person.” which is like asking Hitler if he’s a rational and easy-going sort of chap.
- At now point does Kratos yell “BOY!” in his awesome deep voice. 0/10 Will not buy.
Uncharted 4 & The Lost Legacy Remasters
- Naughty Dog got a moment to shine with the reveal of the Uncharted: Thieves Legacy collection which brings together remastered versions of Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy. That will be coming to Playstation 5 in early 2022 with a PS4 version to follow. But the big news is it’ll be coming to PC as well.
- This will be the first time Uncharted has been on PC. Of course, it will be a bit weird to have the fourth game of a franchise and a spin-off game be the first experience of PC gamers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the 2015 remaster of the original three games get ported over to PC as well. That’s just speculation, though.
- Anyway, this new remaster is exactly what you’d expect: sharper visuals and a better framerate. It’s hard to tell in a heavily compressed Youtube video, but I can’t say the remaster looks heaps better than the originals.
- Hopefully this won’t be a full £70 release. I personally reckon £30-40 would be the right pricepoint.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
- Okay, I am pretty hyped for this one. I’m a sucker for Borderlands and I love me some fantasy so….yeah.
- This game features the mentally unstable child from the main Borderlands games hosting a crazy D&D session, letting Gearbox mix fantasy with guns. And land sharks.
- The gameplay wasn’t anything new: it’s Borderlands but with wizards ands stuff thrown in. And I’m okay with all of that.
- This’ll land on March 25, 2022 for curent and last gen Xboxes and Playstations, and on the Epic store for PC.
- I do wonder if Tiny Tina will get annoying fast, though. She’s fun in small doses in the main games, but I don’t know if I want more of her. She could scrape my nerves.
- Also, special mention to the use of Babymetal’s Gimme Chocolate for the music. Epic stuff, man.
Alan Wake Remastered
- We got a brief look at Alan Wake Remastered which was announced just the other day following a leak. The remaster looks visually…fine. Nothing spectacular. Just solid.
- Anyway, Alan Wake is coming back in remastered form this Autumn on PC via the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X. The package will include all the DLC.
- This will mark the first time Alan Wake has appeared on Playstation. Previously the Alan Wake IP was held by Microsoft and thus the game was exclusive to their platforms, but a few years back Remedy got the rights back and can now publish it where they please.
- Speaking of which, Alan Wake was previously on Game Pass and I had planned on featuring it on a Best of Xbox Game Pass, but it was taken off the service. Perhaps the deal simply ran out, or perhaps Remedy didn’t bother renewing it since they were planning a remaster anyway.
- Naturally, this sparks hopes for a sequel. Rumours of an Alan Wake 2 have existed for a while. Back in 2020 Remedy announced they had make a deal with Epic to fund two big projects, one triple-A big game already in pre-production and another smaller game in the same universe. A remaster and a sequel would certainly fit the bill. Indeed, at the time industry insider Jeff Grubb, who tends to be quite reliable, said that he had heard one of the projects was Alan Wake 2.
- And of course Remedy also reintroduced the character of Alan Wake in DLC for Control, linking both of those games together canonically.
- This is super exciting stuff. Alan Wake was never a huge franchise but it did earn itself a solid fanbase, and Remedy’s star is on the rise, so it could be a great time to bring Alan Wake back.
Guardians of the Galaxy
- This 2-and-a-half-minute trailer was a lot better than we got previously. It hasn’t erased all my doubts but I’m now actually just the teeniest bit interested in Guardians of the Galaxy which is due out in October.
- They really seem to be leaning into the wackiness, featuring psycho space cults, Cosmo the Spacedog, World Mind and giant space beasties.
- The voice acting actually impressed me, too.
- Still not sold on the humour yet, though.
- And still not sure about only playing as Starlord and dishing out orders to everyone else. This is one I really need to actually play to form any opinions about.
- It’s sitting in that awkward place of looking inspired by the movies but not actually able to be based on the movies.
- Coming out in March of 2022 it’s Gran Turismo 7 from the boffins at Polyphony Digital. We haven’t seen anything from these guys since 2017 and by the time GT7 comes out it’ll five years since Polyphony have graced our consoles. And it’ll be three Forza games. Ouch.
- Not much to say here. The game looks beautiful and we did get glimpses of car customisation, an extensive photo mode and a heap of cars. But with sim games it’s all about the handling and feel and that can’t be conveyed through a trailer.
- Really hoping we might get some VR support at some point, too.
- Looking forward to this.
- This one’s a Korean action game set in a post-apocalyptic world. It looks like a mix of Bayonetta, Nier and Devil May Cry. The combat looks pretty solid, but what really caught my eye was the art-style, especially a HUGE alien/thing gripping a massive space station.
- The story was…er, very Korean? Kinda barmy, lots of weird words and I’m not entirely sure what the hell was going on. Looks fun, though.
- Alright, this looks cool. You play as a teenage girl who gets transported to a fantasy style realm where the discovers she has a host of magic powers, including trapping enemies in balls of water, dashing through the air and so much more.
- The open-world looks like its going to be pretty big, and I feel like the traversal style and the combat could make this one of those games where it’s fun to just mess around.
- The trailer had this fun, lighthearted fantasy vibe that I really loved with some solid humour and terrific voice acting. Yeah, the dialogue is kind of the typical, modern, snappy, corny style but that could juxtipose nicely with the fantasy world.
- I really loved that it ended with the alleged big-bad of the game wrecking our leading character in a fight. That was a cool choice.
- Forsaken is due out in Spring 2022 and I’ll be keeping my eye on it.
Rainbow Six Extraction
- Hey look, it’s Rainbow Six Siege with aliens.
- Could not care less about this.
- The trailer was incredibly dull.
- Tom Clancy is revolving in his grave so fast right now they could hook him up to some batteries and power a city.
- We got a look at the next-gen upgrade for GTA V and it’s..well, it’s GTA V but with slightly better graphics. It doesn’t look like a huge visual overhaul.
- Trailer promised some vague gameplay enhancements, but outside of fast character swapping it didn’t provide any idea what to expect.
- Huge delay from November this year to March 2022.
- At the time of writing the trailer has 20k likes and 57k dislikes.
- The main complaints seem to be that it doesn’t look like much of an improvement, and that people would rather they worked on a new GTA instead.
- It’s hard to believe GTA V was launched back in 2013 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It has survived through three console generations. And yet it continues to sell insane amounts and GTA Online makes a fortune. So really, Rockstar aren’t in a rush to make a new GTA. Why would they be?
- Many commenters got it right: if we want a new GTA, we have to stop playing and buying GTA V.
- It feels absolutely weird to say this, but Microsoft-owned Bethesda studios showed off two games at the Playstation showcase, both of which are console timed exclusives.
- The first was Ghostwire Tokyo, a game that’s difficult to explain. It’s a first-person action/horror game set in a modern city besieged by all manner of creepy creatures. It’s bloody bonkers, basically.
- Also, the lead character wears a fanny pack across his chest. Not sure how I feel about that.
- This doesn’t hit until Spring 2022, but it looks wicked.
- The other Bethesda game that was shown was Deathloop, which is due out in…September 14th!? Jesus Christ.
- Right, I’m not talking about this then. But I am in the middle of ordering it because I completely lost track of what month this is.
- Inspired by New Caledonia, this game has a ludicrously charming graphical style and trailer. It’s bright, bold, colourful and cute.
- The main gameplay idea here is that you can inhabit the body of any animal you find, a bit like Mario could do with his magical hat in Super Mario Odyssey. God, videogames are weird.
- The trail showed off possessing a dogs, crabs, birds, turtles and so on. And the description mentions being able to take control of items as well.
- This honestly might be the hidden gem of the shop. A big open world, a fascinating set of gameplay mechanics, goregeous visuals and
- Also, the use of Kanak choirs and musicians for the soundtrack is awesome.
- Really can’t wait for this one. It’ll be arriving sometime in 2022 for PC, PS4 and PS5.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt is already in Early Access on PC and will hit consoles later this year. This is a free-to-play battle royale game set in the Vampire: The Masquarade universe and shouldn’t be confused with Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 which has been having a rather troubled development.
- Normally I wouldn’t look twice at a Battle Royale game, but the dark, gruesome setting and the Vampire: The Masquerade license have got me intrigued. In a world of brightly coloured battle royals, this looks a little different.
- Plus, it’s free-to-play, so there’s nothing to lose by checking this one out.
- This was a solid showing from Sony. A couple of big-hitters, some nice smaller games and a few hidden gems.
- A lot of what shown, though, won’t be arriving until next year, leaving this year a little dry. That’s not exactly Sony’s fault though; we already knew the Pandemic had hit game development hard, pushing a lot of games out of their planned release windows.
- It does mean 2022 should be a stacked year, but for now PS5 users might not have heaps to get excited about. Ah well, it’s a good excuse to work through that back-log, am I right?