Gaming Headlines

The Gaming Headlines, March 6th -13th

A discarded newspaper sitting on the floor of a shop that sells videogames.

Welcome back to another week of gaming news and headlines!

It has been another busy week here. Last time I let you know my dog was suffering from an infection following a minor operation. I’m glad to be able to report that things are going smoothly for him: the vets are happy with the way the wound is healing up. He has to wear a massive pad over it at the moment which is tied on via loops that have been sewn into his skin, and on top of that he has a pressure suit and a cone to stop him from getting to it.

Needless to say, he’s going a little stir-crazy. He’s on a strict no-exercise regime right now because the wound has a large surface area and we need to let the skin grow back over it. Trying to keep him occupied is a full-time job right now, whether it’s special treat balls or a gentle tug of war, or maybe a bit of hide and seek with treats. I’m running out of ideas to keep him amused, though, so I’d appreciate any advice.

Without further ado, let’s delve into a few of the headlines from this week that grabbed my attention.

Gears of War Almost Switched to First Person

Let’s kick off with something fun, shall we? Gears of War almost shifted from a third-person shooter to a first-person shooter, according to a certain Cliff Bleszinski, and he should certainly know. Bleszinki was at Epic Games for 20 years before leaving the company in 2012, a year after Gears of War 3 wrapped up the original trilogy, and during that time he become one of the most well-known faces in gaming.

On the XboxEra podcast the crew asked Bleszinksi if there were any details he could share on how Epic was thinking about moving forward with Gears of War before they sold the rights to Microsoft, and Cliff was quick to reply, saying, “Yeah, I can tell you I wanted to actually consider going to first-person with it. Can you imagine chainsawing a Locust in first-person?”

Speaking to IGN last year, Bleszinski also admitted that he doesn’t think Epic really knew what to do with Gears of War after the third game.

“I honestly think once Lee Perry [Gameplay Designer for Gears of War 2], myself, and Rod Ferguson [Producer for Gears of War] left, I believe that Epic didn’t really know what to do with the franchise,” he said.

“They hadn’t shipped a game in a while. The [Unreal] engine was doing rather well, but they were growing and they probably needed the income even though they really didn’t know what to do with the future of the franchise.”

Their answer, of course, was to sell the rights to Microsoft who immediately handed the series over to Black Tusk, who was quickly renamed The Coalition. According to Bleszinski, Microsoft’s aim was to take the series back to its gothic horror roots, something which I’ve been hoping for. In the original game, the Locust were treated more like horror monsters, and sections like evading a Berserker or dashing from light source to light source to avoid Krill were treated as terrifying scenarios rather than bombastic set pieces.

“That was Phil Spencer‘s main note when Microsoft acquired the IP. When talking to Rod Ferguson he said ‘let’s get back to the horror stuff.’”

Sadly, that hasn’t really happened. Since taking over the series Microsoft has published four games, starting off with a solid remaster of the original game titled Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and then leading into the first sequel, Gears of War 4. But it wasn’t until Gears 5 that The Coalition felt like it was finding its groove, including a creepy section that harkened back to the days of dingy basements, terrifying Krill and monsters lurking in the shadows.

Suicide Squad Delay

The recent gameplay reveal for Rocksteady’s upcoming Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League was not received very positively. Leading up the release of the video, people were excited to see what Rocksteady had been working on since their seminal Batman: Arkham games. And the story videos they had put out seemed to show Rocksteady’s writing skills were on point, painting the Suicide Squad as a fun bunch of lunatics. Topping it all off is the premise: fighting the Justice League? Going toe-to-toe with Superman, Flash and Batman? Awesome.

The gameplay video didn’t meet the high expectations, though, and was buried under a barrage of thumbs down. It was a pretty clear message: people weren’t vibing with the looter-shooter style or the various hints toward a potential live-service game. New characters and missions, a battlepass containing cosmetic items and an online requirement even for singleplayer led to a lot of people worrying that this is going to be another Avengers disaster, or something akin to the bland Gotham Knights.

I mention all of this because Suicide Squad has reportedly been delayed from its May 26th release date, and there’s uncertainty about whether it’s even going to come out this year at all. According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schrier, the game has been pushed back to the second half of 2023.

However, Jeff Grubb followed up on this report during an episode of Jeff Grubb’s Game Mess stating that “I’m hearing 2024.” Grubb has been long established as a source for insider news and is typically very reliable. He goes on to say that, “this source has always been a very good one” but does also confirm that “that stuff is always hard to nail down.”

We cannot say with absolute certainty that these rumours of a delay have anything to do with the way the gameplay reveal crashed and burned, but the timing is certainly suspicious. A delay until the latter half of this year wouldn’t give Rocksteady anywhere near enough time to change anything substantial about Suicide Squad, rather it would be more about polishing what’s already there. A delay until 2024, though, could be reflective of a much deeper rethink of design

Square Enix says Forspoken reception was ‘challenging’, sales ‘lacklustre’

Forspoken 2 probably isn’t happening. Shocking, I know.

Speaking during a financial call on February 3rd, for which the English transcript has just been published, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda addressed the recent launch of Forspoken. He described the sales as “lacklustre” and the reviews for the game as “challenging.” Over on Opencritic, Forspoken holds a rating of Fair and a pretty low critic recommendation of just 29%. Player reception does not seem to have been much better.

But Matsuda did try to find a silver lining, telling investors “However, the game has also received positive feedback on its action features, including its parkour and combat capabilities, so it has yielded results that will lead to improvement of our development capabilities of other games in the future,” 


It’s not enough to save the game’s developers, though. A month after the launch of Forspoken, Square Enix announced that Luminous Productions Co will be getting merged with its subsidiary Square Enix Co, Ltd, effective on May 1st. Sadly, most mergers tend to result in people losing their jobs, and it doesn’t seem like a Forspoken 2 will be coming any time soon. With that said, Luminous did say they are working on DLC for Forspoken which will release later this year.

Arguably, there is still some hope that a sequel could happen, but it seems unlikely Square Enix will greenlight a follow-up unless they can come up with something extra special

Epic Store to Allow Self-Publishing

The Epic Games store is about to get a lot more crowded. Earlier this week Epic announced new plans to allow people to self-publish their games using brand-new tools, provided they pay a $100 fee.

According to the post, all publishers will have to do is sign into their Epic Developer portal and off they go. There are, of course, some requirements to consider, which we’ll get to in a sec, but for the most part, Epic will be taking a more hands-off approach to what gets put on to their store. Valve has been doing the same thing for years now and it’s been…er, messy.

On the one hand, it’s great for smaller companies and solo developers to get their games on multiple platforms with minimal fuss. But on the other hand, it can lead to a deluge of stuff hitting storefronts and Steam has been struggling with that issue for a long time now. Because Steam no longer checks every game being uploaded, there can be hundreds of games per week appearing on the storefront. The result is a messy system where it’s very hard to discover cool news games under a mountain of cheap garbage, asset flips and other assorted chaff. Its become a real issue for small publishers and developers because their games are almost immediately swallowed up and it takes a miracle for people to discover or for Steam’s own algorithms to recommend them.

It’s very much a quantity-over-quality approach and now Epic is heading the same way. I have no doubt it will mean a lot of new games arriving on the storefront but is that really a good thing?


As for the requirements for publication, there are a few. One of the most interesting is that multiplayer games will have to support cross-platform play which can be achieved through various means, including Epic’s own Epic Online Services. Various other platforms don’t have this as a requirement, which has caused a lot of problems for players who have purchased a game only to find out they can’t play with their mates on Steam or Xbox PC Game Pass.

Unlike Steam, Epic isn’t going to be allowing pornographic games on its platform. This could prove challenging because defining exactly what constitutes porn can be tricky, especially when something like Cyberpunk 2077 contains full nudity and sex scenes, even if you don’t see everything.

Personally, I don’t have any issue with porn games, and I also don’t have an issue with a platform wanting to steer clear of them.

Streets of Rage 4 Update

Streets of Rage 4 was one of the best games of 2020, bringing some old-school, side-scrollin’ brawlin’ to the modern consoles while reviving a long-dormant franchise in the process. 3 years later you’d expect everything to be quiet on the Streets of Rage front outside of the fifth game being announced, so it was surprising to see developer Dotemu put out a massive new update that adds some cool new stuff.

First, there’s a brand new survival mode where players can put themselves into a never-ending fight. There’s a load of customisation options, including whether bosses are included, whether players can heal, weapons, enemy scaling, starting location and much, much more. This should give the hardcore fans still playing the game an extra boost.

On top of that, co-op moves are now a thing, something which the game was sorely lacking when it launched. These mostly revolve around throwing your partners around the screen so they can unleash fancy new attacks.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are 300+ changes to things like character balancing, combos and more.

It’s awesome to see Dotemu continue to support the game so far after launch, especially since this update is entirely free. They’ve previously put out paid DLC but there hasn’t been any mention of anything else coming to the game, but I can’t help think this level of work means they aren’t finished with Streets of Rage 4 just yet.

Leave a Reply! Seriously, I'm lonely. Talk to me. Hello? Anyone?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.