Gaming Headlines, April 10th – 17th

Another week has cruised past and with it comes a dribble of news to talk about. Before we jump into all that, though, let’s have a quick chat, shall we?

For those of you who like learning about the nitty-gritty details of the industry, Game Industry Biz posted up a fantastic article in which writer Brendan Sinclair reports on attending a Game Developers Conference presentation by Zynga vice president Gemma Doyle. The talk is titled “Learn How VIP Management Can Change Your Company’s Revenue Footprint” which is a very nice way of discussing how important “whales” are to keeping free-to-play games afloat. For those that don’t know, whales are people who spend large amounts of money compared to the average player. It’s a fascinating, albeit creepy, topic.

And if you fancy reading something of mine, here’s a full ranking of the Tony Hawk games that took a lot of time but has been largely ignored.

  1. Destroy All Humans 2!: Reprobed is Getting a PS4 & Xbox One Port, Without Multiplayer
  2. Microsoft Enter Into a 10-year Cloud Streaming Commitment With….EE?
  3. Redfall Won’t Have a 60FPS Mode on Xbox at Launch
  4. Ubisoft+ is Available on Xbox
  5. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has Been Delayed Until 2024
  6. Sega Buys Rovio, the Makers of Angry Birds
  7. UK Boxed Charts

Destroy All Humans 2!: Reprobed is Getting a PS4 & Xbox One Port, Without Multiplayer

Destroy All Humans 2!: Reprobed is an awesome remake of the cult classic which launched last year. Not only did I review it really well, it even made it onto my list of the best games of 2022. It was launched in August of last year on PS5, PC and Xbox Series S/X but there was no mention of a last-gen version. Until now.

 Publisher THQ Nordic and developer Black Forest Games have announced that a PS4 and Xbox One version of Reprobed will be available on June 27th.

There is, however, a slightly weird caveat: no multiplayer. The new Edition is subtitled as Destroy All Humans 2 Reprobed: Singleplayer and even strips out the fun co-op mode. Because a chunk of the game is missing, the last-gen edition will retail for just $30.

So far, no reason has been given for the lack of multiplayer modes. It’s a confusing decision considering the original PS2 and Xbox versions had co-op. The only thing I can think of is that the team couldn’t get the multiplayer to perform well enough on last-gen hardware and decided to strip it out completely.

It’s that, or they intend on selling it as a standalone piece of content. They did something similar when they followed up the 2020 remake of Destroy All Humans with Destroy All Humans!: Clone Carnage in 2022, a multiplayer spin-off that quickly became free-to-play and still has a Mostly Negative rating on Steam.

Regardless, if you haven’t had the chance to play it yet, Destroy All Humans 2! Reprobed is a terrific remake of a hugely entertaining game and this last-gen launch will allow even more people a chance to experience it.


Microsoft Enter Into a 10-year Cloud Streaming Commitment With….EE?

Microsoft is keen to throw out 10-year commitments to just about everybody and everything ahead of the still-pending deal to acquire Activision-Blizzard. They’ve made a deal with Nintendo, for example, to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles for the next ten years, assuming they do manage to acquire Activision-Blizzard.

Now, Microsoft has made a new deal that is somewhat related to the acquisition. The head of Xbox Phil Spencer Tweeted out the following:

EE are a UK-based mobile phone service provider. Currently, you can get a Game Pass subscription included as part of some EE mobile plans. Exactly what this new partnership entails has been left deliberately vague, but since cloud gaming is mentioned perhaps it refers to something like streamed games not counting toward data usage or something like that.

Sony themselves previously refused a 10-year deal with Microsoft where they were allegedly promised access to Call of Duty for that period, but they declined, likely due to other details in the offer.

Like the previous offers, this partnership with EE is likely Microsoft attempting to demonstrate goodwill and show that they won’t immediately limit access to Activision-Blizzard games in a bid to help the deal go through.

Any chance I could get a 10-year deal, Phil?

Redfall Won’t Have a 60FPS Mode on Xbox at Launch

Redfall really isn’t having a good time. Its gameplay videos are getting a lot of dislikes, and early previews have been very mixed. The game could really do with a win, but alas, the winds of fate are never so kind.

Redfall’s developer, Arkane Austin, revealed via Twitter that the game will not have a 60FPS performance mode on Xbox at launch. It will, however, be added at a later date via an update.

In this generation of consoles, we’ve already come to expect either 60fps or at least some sort of performance mode. To see a heavily advertised first-party Microsoft title launch at just 30fps is a hefty punch to the gut.

The obvious answer would be to delay the game so that it can launch with a proper performance mode, but since Redfall has already been delayed before it seems like Bethesda and Arkane don’t want to push the launch back yet again.

Ubisoft+ is Available on Xbox

Following various hints and rumours, Ubisoft+ is now available on Xbox. The subscription service gives you access to a selection of 66 games for $17.99 / £14.99 per month which doesn’t hold up very well against the lowest cost of Game Pass and its much broader library You don’t get the full 100+ games via Xbox (full list below) but the subscription can also be used on PC and Amazon Luna.

“Partnering with Xbox to launch Ubisoft+ Multi Access on Xbox consoles enhances our subscription offering to provide more value and choice to our players,” said Ubisoft senior VP of strategic partnerships and business development, Chris Early. “Xbox console players now have access to our worlds through Ubisoft’s extensive game library.”

“Like us, Ubisoft strives to bring more games to more people, and today we’re accelerating that effort together”, said Sarah Bond, corporate VP of creator experience and ecosystem at Microsoft. “By launching Ubisoft+ on Xbox, we’re presenting Xbox console players another vibrant catalogue to explore by subscription.”

Here’s the full list of what you’ll be able to play:

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has Been Delayed Until 2024

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was the victim of heavy backlash after showing off its gameplay in a trailer a little while back. People were quick to rip the mechanics to shreds, pointing out that all the Suicide Squad seemed to play the same and the live service vibes were being given off.

As a reaction, Rocksteady announced they were going to delay the game by a few months so they could polish it up.

Now, though, it seems like they might want to do more than polishing. The official Twitter account revealed that the game has been delayed until May 2024.

“We have made the tough but necessary decision to take the time needed to work on getting the game to be the best quality experiences for players,”

“Thank you to our amazing community for the continued support, patience and understanding. There is much more to share in the months ahead and we look forward to seeing you in Metropolis next year.”

By the time the game launches, it will have been delayed two years past its initial launch date. When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first announced, it was due to come out in 2022 before being pushed back until 2023.

This substantial delay indicates to me that Rocksteady intends to make some fairly big changes to the core gameplay in a bid to appease fans. To announce the delay so close to the planned launch could mean the team has been really shaken by the less than stellar reception and that they are no longer confident in their initial vision for what Kill the Justice League is.

Still, a year is not long enough to redesign the entire game or throw it in the bin and start again. Rocksteady hasn’t released a game since 2016’s Batman: Arkham VR, meaning by the time Suicide Squad comes out they won’t have published a single project in roughly 8 years. That’s a long time for any studio to have gone without putting out something. So now the team has to cobble something together from what they already have and hope that it works.

No matter what happens, though, I think Suicide Squad will still be a big hit. Hell, if Gotham Knights can shift over 3 million copies then Kill the Justice League should be able to do the same or better given it has the recent movies providing extra star power.


Sega Buys Rovio, the Makers of Angry Birds

Following a report from the Wall Street Journal, Sega Sammy Holdings has officially begun proceedings to purchase Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, for around $776 million. The initial reports cited the deal to be around $1 billion, so it looks like Sega Sammy Holdings did some firm negotiating.

Rovio has been considering a sale for a while now. Back in January of this year, Playtika, who deal in hidden-object games and slot machines, put in an offer of $810-million but talks broke down just last month. A few weeks after Playtika put in its offer, Rovio revealed it was entering into preliminary talks with various companies.

As for Rovio, they claim to be victims of their own success. They removed the Android version of the famous bird-slinging game, while the iOS version has been renamed Red’s First Flight in a bid to make it less successful.

If that sounds insane, here’s the logic behind their decision: Rovio has found that too many people are just buying classic Angry Birds which retails at $0.99 and has no microtransactions instead of buying the free-to-play Angry Bird spinoffs which are packed full of ways for people to spend money.

In other words, Rovio would like if people stopped buying a fun, complete game for a dollar and bought the microtransaction-ridden ones instead. Thanks.

As for Sega Sammy Holdings, they deal in a lot more than just games, but the planned acquisition of Rovio, which they believe will go through toward the end of 2024, is presumably to help them expand further into the mobile market. According to Sega Sammy Holdings, the mobile market will account for 54% of the market by 2024. Rovio will presumably be used to help translate some of Sega’s IP like Sonic into the mobile market, and I have no doubt the Angry Birds money will be a nice bonus.

UK Boxed Charts

A fresh, steaming hot batch of chart data has been released, this time showing us boxed game sales for the UK. The chart is for the last week of sales, and the reason I wanted to include it this week is to demonstrate the power of cross-media.

With the rather good Super Marios Bros. Movie storming the box office and already laying claim to the title of highest-grossing videogame-based movie ever, we can see a bunch of Mario-related games getting a boost.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has jumped up two spots and has been seeing increased sales numbers for the past 3 weeks. Meanwhile, Super Mario Odyssey has gotten extra boost from it getting bundled with the Nintendo Switch, seeing an increase of 15% in its sales, taking it from 10th to 5th. Then there’s New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe, busting into the top 10 after seeing a 23% rise in sales, presumably because its name is so close to the movie.

Extra reading: Check out the best games you can play on your Switch right now!

Looking outside of the top 10,  Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is at 13 after getting a solid 21% rise in its sales, while Mario Strikers: Battle League Football something managed to jump 111% which put it into 30th. Even the awesome Luigi’s Mansion 3 managed to get a little 7% sales bump. Not bad, Luigi.

The point is, Nintendo has seen a very nice jump in videogame sales thanks to the launch of movie, so it really has been a win-win for the company. I can only imagine what might have been had Nintendo also had a new Super Mario Bros. game ready to release alongside the movie.

It paints a very clear picture, though: transmedia strategies can and do work. The Last of Us has been another recent example with the show doing so well that it boosted the game sales massively. For good or bad, the future may include a lot of movie/game/tv show crossover, and Nintendo will be eager to be in the fight.

Last WeekThis WeekTitle
11FIFA 23
42Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
23Resident Evil 4 Remake
34Hogwarts Legacy
105Super Mario Odyssey
96God of War Ragnarok
77Gran Turismo 7
68Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
119Minecraft (Switch)
1710New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe

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