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Gaming Roundup – Refunds and Rights

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie gaming roundup!

This week, Epic refunds, Remedy rights, Witcher pictures, and the latest releases!

EPIC OFFER REFUNDS FOR SHENMUE 3

In the ongoing saga of Epic strong-arming their way into the PC market, they’ve now said they’ll be offering refunds to anybody who backed Shenmue 3 and expected a Steam key in return. This will also apply to any future crowdfunded titles they buy exclusivity for in future.

This bothers me because it implies an increase in their efforts to snap up crowdfunded games that have already promised releases on other PC stores. It’s a move that continues to paint Epic in a bad light while also eroding trust in crowdfunding, as now it’s not clear if a game will come out on a promised platform. It also raises questions on how Epic will be able to afford both the exclusivity deals and the inevitable refunds they’ll be forking out for.

That’s not all from Epic though. The Walking Dead collection will be an exclusive to their store, as will the Ghostbusters: The Video Game remaster. With this, there will be no discounted or free upgrades through Steam to those who bought the original games, which has been possible through Steam in the past. Which raises further concerns that Epic is determined to force every game out of the hands of its competitors at any cost. It’s a concerning situation for PC gamers, and I hope this can be addressed soon.

REMEDY RECOVER PUBLISHING RIGHTS TO ALAN WAKE

Remedy Entertainment have a history making games for Microsoft, with Alan Wake and Quantum Break being major exclusives for Xbox in previous years. Now Remedy are determined to expand their horizons. Aside from the upcoming Control releasing next month for PC and consoles, Remedy have also announced that they’ve bought the publishing rights to Alan Wake from Microsoft.

This is exciting news, as it allows the possibility of Alan Wake coming to other platforms in future. The team have hinted at this, saying that they’ll now be able to do so, but also admitted they have no announced plans to do so yet. Here’s hoping for a PS4 remaster someday!

WITCHER SERIES DETAILS

New screenshots have been released of the new Witcher TV series on Netflix. This includes a new shot of Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, plus the reveals of Freya Allan and Anya Cholatra as Ciri and Yennefer respectively.

The shots have had some mixed reactions from Witcher fans, ranging from excitement to concern that it’s deviating too much from the source material. Some of these include the casting of an Indian actress as Yennefer, and Ciri looking a little too waifish for a character trained to fight from a young age. Not to mention Cavill’s odd Legolas cosplay for Geralt. Of course, there are some who think the video games are the source material, not the books, so maybe their opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

It’ll be interesting to see how the final series turns out, and how successful it will be. After Castlevania was such a success, it’d be good to see another video game adjacent show do well.

TWITCH OPENS UP SUBSCRIBER-ONLY STREAMS

Twitch has announced the option to host subscriber-only streams. This means broadcasts that are only viewable by those who’ve paid a subscription to the streamer in question. While there are many benefits to subscriptions, the idea of locking shows behind a paywall doesn’t sit well with a lot of content creators.

However, some streamers dug deeper and found that subscription streams may violate many if not all games’ Terms of Service guidelines. Valve, Riot, Blizzard and CD Projekt all have clauses stating that their content can’t be sold by a third party without authorisation, with a mandatory paywall for videos counting as a sale. They often have clauses that allow monetisation through adverts and optional services like Patreon or the current Twitch subscription model, but that’s where the line is drawn.

It’s unlikely that Twitch subscription exclusives will go anywhere. Too many creators are against it, and those who would implement it would just lose viewers to those who wouldn’t. It’s the same thing that can be seen in news media, where free sites often thrive where paywall sites struggle to retain an audience. But the fact they may violate ToS for many games may end the service even faster.

FREE STUFF

In this month’s edition of Free Stuff! (That You Get By Paying a Subscription), both PlayStation and Xbox have a mixed bag.

If you’re a PS Plus subscriber, then this week you’ll be able to download indie racer Horizon Chase Turbo, which is not a Horizon Zero Dawn kart racer to my great disappointment. You’ll also be able to get David Cage’s android-based interactive movie Detroit: Become Human. It was going to be a Pro Evolution Soccer game, but this was pulled at the eleventh hour for reasons unknown. Sudden licensing issues, perhaps?

On Xbox Games with Gold, meanwhile, there’s Playdead’s spooky platformer Inside and the always-welcome Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. But on the flipside there’s also generic multiplayer game Big Crown Showdown and a game based on Disney’s widely-forgotten movie Meet the Robinsons. Castlevania is doing a lot of the work here, it seems.

There’s no Nintendo announcement though, so it’s possible they’ve run out of classic NES games to hand out. Perhaps time to introduce some SNES and N64 titles now? Maybe even a Gamecube selection? Come on, Nintendo, you know we want this.

GAME OF THE WEEK

This week’s Game of the Week is Sea of Solitude, a new game from the EA Originals line. It’s another small game, centred on a girl named Kay in a flooded city. Kay’s mental state affects the world around her, and she will also take on a more monstrous form. The game is a metaphorical examination of mental health and loneliness, and it looks set to be an emotional rollercoaster. It’s available now on PC (via Origin), PS4 and Xbox One.

And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you next week with more news and releases!