Hello! Welcome to the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
It’s a quiet news week to be honest, so here’s a shorter roundup than usual.
Following on from last week’s Epic story, a court decision has prevented Apple from removing Epic’s dev tools from iOS, although Fortnite will still be taken down. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that while Epic and Apple are allowed to take actions against each other, it’s wrong for others using those tools to be dragged into the fight. Which is fair.
The new Call of Duty has been officially revealed as Black Ops Cold War and it’s out 13th November.
More importantly, Yakuza: Like a Dragon gets its Western release on the same day as CoD, and is bound to be a more interesting prospect. Can you summon an army of lobsters to do your bidding in the latest CoD? No? Exactly.
Warner Bros used the DC Fandome event to reveal two new games in the DC universe. Both are squad-based co-op games, with Gotham Knights set in an open world Gotham where Batman is (allegedly) dead, and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League being an action game set in the Arkham universe from Rocksteady.
Rocksteady have also been in the news this week as the latest studio facing harassment claims. They date back to a largely ignored letter from November 2018, published recently in the Guardian, and feature claims about various forms of sexual harassment. Rocksteady have issued a statement saying they have brought in a third party to mediate.
Fall Guys is the most downloaded PS Plus game in history, and has sold 7m copies on Steam. This is clearly the big sensation of the summer and nothing will stop it! (Except, perhaps, a big swinging hammer)
Netflix have revealed the first trailer for their Dragon’s Dogma adaptation, releasing 17th September, and revealed first details on their Resident Evil adaptation. It will feature Wesker’s kids as they move to “New Raccoon City” and discover some dark secrets. Sounds awful and more like a weird Stranger Things spin-off than a Resident Evil adaptation, but okay.
September’s free PS Plus games are PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (which I honestly thought was free to play already so that was a surprise to me) and Street Fighter V, which is only a partial game without all the additional DLC. Not a super strong selection to be honest.
And now, here’s Mat Lovell with his usual esports update!
Dota 2’s TI 10 Prize Pool Keeps Climbing
Thanks Leigh, and hello friends! Here’s my top two top stories in esports for the week.
Dota 2’s The International 10 (often abbreviated to TI) has broken all records as the most lucrative esports event in the industry’s history with a prize pool of more than $34,464,000 (approx. £26m) – a figure that is climbing by the minute. This breaks the previous record set by Valve themselves for TI9 in 2019 which was $34m.
The TI prize pool is fronted by Valve combined with 25% of the sales from the seasonal battle pass that accompanies the tournament. It costs $9.99 (£7.57) to start at level 1, $29.35 (£22.24) to start at level 50 and $44.99 (£34.10) to start at level 100 with options to purchase additional levels. The battle pass rewards players with in-game rewards and cosmetics as they progress through the levels. While players continue to buy levels, the pool will continue to grow.
The International is one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world and is the flagship tournament of the Dota 2 esports calendar, organised by the MOBAs developer Valve. In May, Valve was forced to indefinitely delay this year’s tournament. Due to have taken place last week in Stockholm, Sweden, Valve has no set date for when it will take place but has tipped it to probably be in 2021. So, what happens to that money if there’s no tournament? Well, it’s likely that the pool will carry forward to 2021 with a new battle pass to top it up to form a mega prize pool.
I have mixed feelings about the battle pass in recent years (which I’ll probably unpack in a later blog). It’s actually the biggest money spinner for Valve out of everything they do, it’s not hard to see why when some players have spent up to $9,000 on this pass alone. As someone who purchases at least the base level pass annually, TI10’s one does feel harder to grind with fewer rewards spread across more levels, and this isn’t a feeling exclusive to me.
As for the TI10 mega prize pool for 2021, again, I think it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. While it will make heads turn and possibly attract more investment in the industry, I would like to see Valve establish more of league-based system. While they do have minors and majors throughout the year there’s very little cohesion between them all or TI and it makes it harder for fans to follow the success of their favourite teams.
New Platform Fosters Women in Gaming
Esports organisation Dignitas has unveiled a new platform dedicated to championing opportunities and education for women in gaming.
The platform called “_FE” has several initiatives planned over the next three months designed to advance opportunities for women in gaming. The platform is set to include educational, social, and competitive resources made available to beginner, amateur and professional female competitors and content creators. A community website is also queued to launch which features female gaming content, a calendar of female gaming competitions, resources, announcements, and media coverage.
In addition, _FE will host “industry town halls” to discuss matters that affect women in gaming. Dignitas will also host complimentary, virtual education seminars for aspiring professional female gamers and streamers, as well as social media training, brand analysis, and more. TikTok star Herculyse and former World Champion Carolyn “artStar” Noquez will be featured _FE content creators. The first _FE event will be a virtual panel hosted live on 30th September 2020, featuring female executives, athletes and creators from the gaming and entertainment spaces.
This is a positive step forward for inclusivity in esports. As I touched on a while back during the Dota 2 sexual harassment scandal, the industry is expanding rapidly but, like many STEM industries, its gender politics are a decade in the past. The talent pool is being limited due to an overwhelming lack of diversity within the industry, with women particularly, either turning away from it or not even considering it as an option due embedded sexism and inequality.
Again, it’s great to see the industry make proactive steps in changing this bias and I look forward to seeing how this unfolds. For now, head over to the official _FE twitter for more news and updates on the initiative.
In indie releases this week, Bake ‘n’ Switch is a bizarre mix of Overcooked and a party brawler all about sacrificing adorable buns to the culinary gods, for Steam and Switch. The Last Campfire is the latest from No Man’s Sky developers, Hello Games, a cutesy little adventure about a pillow boy setting out on a quest, available for all major systems. And Windbound is a gorgeous looking survival game about getting off a deserted island, also available for all major systems.
Do you like anime? Good news! We have two anime-style games this week, one of which is based on an actual anime! Death End RE;Quest 2, for PC and PS4, is a horror RPG about fighting shadowy creatures in a spooky town. Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is a football game based on an 80s sports anime, and it’s about as over the top as you’d expect from anime football. That’s available for PC, PS4 and Switch.
Tell Me Why, releasing for PC and Xbox, is basically Life is Strange 3 but published by Microsoft this time. It’s about two siblings, one of whom is a trans man, discovering their family’s secrets through memories. Has absolutely nothing to do with the Backstreet Boys although that’s the first thing I think of when I read the title.
Project Cars 3 is another big release this week for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, but it’s a racing game so good luck getting me to find anything to say about it. Do you like cars? Would you like a project on them? For the third time? This game is for you…I guess. (I’m sorry)
Another big release is Wasteland 3, the third game in the post-apocalyptic RPG series, this time set in the frozen wastes of Colorado. The gameplay is built heavily around turn-based combat and tough choices that affect the story and the world.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is No Straight Roads, a game aimed specifically at me. Drawing from influences such as Jet Set Radio, Psychonauts, rhythm games of the early 2000s and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, No Straight Roads is a cheesy as hell concept that I’m 100% on board with.
You play as Mayday and Zuke, an indie rock duo collectively known as Bunk Bed Junction, who set out to take over Vinyl City from the clutches of an empire of EDM. That’s right, you must take back control of the city on behalf of the people using only the POWER OF ROCK!
It’s an action platformer with rhythm elements and a killer soundtrack, and if I didn’t give this Game of the Week then you’d know I’ve been taken and replaced with a clone. I’ve played a little bit of it and destroyed a Hatsune Miku analogue, so it’s off to a strong start.
It’s out now on all major platforms.
And that’s all for this week! See you again soon with more gaming news!