Japanese technology giant Sony has today confirmed it has purchased a $252 million stake in Epic Games. This decision was made so that it could work closer with Epic Games on the development of its upcoming game engine, Unreal Engine 5.
$252 million dollars might sound like a lot of money, because it is, but Epic is a huge company. That large sum of money is only enough for a mere 1.4% stake. Current estimations place Epic Games’ valuation at a staggering $18 billion. The North Carolina based studio has come a very long way since the days of developing Gears of War for Microsoft.
What this means for Sony
Truth be told, not all that much. Owning such a small percentage of Epic Games doesn’t give Sony much power. It’s unlikely it will be able to impact any major decisions made in-house. However, it could make collaborations between the two companies a little easier since they’re working towards the same goal.
We do know that the Unreal Engine 5 was rewritten to function on the PlayStation 5. Supposedly, the PS5’s SSD is so fast that the first instance of Epic’s new game engine wasn’t optimised to support it. Since then reworks have taken place to make the most out of next-gen technology.
From a financial point of view, it’s hard to find a fault in Sony’s logic. When it comes to game studio’s worth investing in, Epic Games is probably top of that list. Fortnite alone has become a global success on a level that I doubt anyone could have foresaw.
A report from last month showed that the popular battle royale was making Epic over $300 million every month. At the rate of growth Epic has seen as of late, even if this deal doesn’t work out Sony could easily flip its shares for a nice profit. This is a win-win for everyone involved.
Nacon has confirmed plans to bring back possibly the most iconic open world racing game of all time. As verified on the official Test Drive Twitter account, a new Test Drive game will be announced July 7. Specifically, the announcement is expected to take place during Nacon connect, the French publisher’s new annual conference.
This will be the arcade racer’s first release since 2011, when Test Drive Unlimited 2 came out. Since then Atari went bust, sold the rights to Big Ben Interactive who later rebranded as Nacon. Plans to release a new one were hinted at years ago but this is the first official announcement.
Test Drive Unlimited 3?
As for what game fans should expect, Test Drive Unlimited 3 looks to be the most likely. A non-Unlimited title hasn’t been released since way back in 2004. Pushing a risky rebrand and return to the original formula seems unlikely all things considered.
Despite this, it is worth knowing that the racing franchise dates back far before the first Unlimited game. In fact, it was one of the first ever racing games released with the original Test Drive coming out in 1987 on MS-DOS. It’s great to see such an iconic franchise still going strong in the hands of a new publisher.
Even if this game isn’t your kind of thing, Nacon Connect might have something else for you. The French publisher has confirmed Rogue Lords, Werewolf The Apocalypse, and Vampire: The Masquerade will all feature. There are also three other unannounced games that will be revealed.
If you don’t want to miss out on the live announcement be sure to check out Nacon Connect. It’ll air at 7 PM CEST, July 7 on Nacon’s official Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. So, feel free to pick and choose whatever platform you prefer.
Yesterday popular World of Warcraft player Byron “Reckful” Bernstein passed away. The former WoW pro was confirmed to have taken his own life after a series of tragic events. His legacy in the WoW community is legendary and another popular Warcraft player, Asmongold, is set to pay his tributes.
The Twitch streamer has confirmed he plans to donate $20,000 to a suicide prevention charity of the chat’s choice. His community will pick which charity to support in tomorrow’s stream. Although Asmongold originally intended to donate $15,000, he decided to go the extra mile because of how many donations he received.
The legacy of Reckful
Bryon Bernstein was a 31 year old American best known for his incredible contributions to the Warcraft community. In 2010 he was crowned runner-up at MLG Columbus before later winning the MLG Washington event the same year.
It isn’t just Asmongold paying tribute to Reckful. Everyone is in their own way. Literal thousands of Warcraft players came together in Stormwind City’s cathedral to pay their respects. It was a touching moment in the games community in a time where so much negativity seems to surround it. You can see his reaction and the gathering on his official channel.
His vast contributions aren’t just limited to video games either. He is widely accredited to be the first streamer who stopped running adverts altogether. Instead, Reckful saw the potential for solely relying on fan donations instead. A model that is now almost universally followed amongst the most successful streamers.
Reckful also came up with the idea of having a top donator on his stream. This is a system now used by many other streamers to offer a unique appreciation for their most loyal followers. It is no exaggeration to say that the success of modern-day Twitch is at least partially down to his ideas and legacy.
Right now, the games industry is going through a difficult phase. After the outing of popular content creator Tom ‘Syndicate’ Cassell being a potential abuser of multiple past partners, other women have spoken up. Amongst these are several past employees of French games publisher Ubisoft.
The most accused candidate is game designer and writer Chris Avellone. According to several first-hand accounts, Avellone has gotten women “blackout drunk,” in order to make his non-consensual advances easier. Also, Avellone allegedly went on to do much worse at other game conventions.
Ubisoft’s official response
Although it took them a little while, Ubisoft has now published a formal response to these allegations. The notice reads: “we want to start by apologizing to everyone affected by this.” The publisher goes on to ensure fans it is “dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment,” for its employees and players. If this is just typical PR talk or meaningful words is to be seen.
Although exact details weren’t provided, Ubisoft has confirmed that it is now formally investigating the allegations. No names were provided but the publisher is supposedly using “specialized external consultants,” to avoid potential bias. The response is rounded off by confirming that “additional measures,” will be put in place shortly to avoid this happening again.
This controversy couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ubisoft. On July 12, the French studio will be hosting its own COVID-19 secure digital conference, Forward. It was set to be a grand event where gamers would get to see all the exciting upcoming titles.
However, it now looks as though the new Assassin’s Creed or For Honor are the least of players’ concerns. Unless the company’s higher ups can address these issues and call out those responsible, Ubisoft’s reputation may never truly recover.
So, what is your opinion about this news? You can leave your comment in the box below.
It’s not everyday that a small nation’s rating committee reveals the release of an upcoming major AAA title. However, with today’s leak of a new Crash Bandicoot game, that’s exactly what happened. The Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee listed Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time on its ratings page along with its box art.
The description provided suggest Crash 4 will have players use the power of Lani-Loli, a new Quantum Mask, to travel through time and stop an unknown evil. It’s About Time will be set in 1998 and will feature both Crash himself and his sister, Coco. It is currently unknown if other franchise favorites like Crunch, Aku-Aku, and Neo Cortex will also return.
We’ve waited a long time for Crash Bandicoot 4
The first three Crash games were released in 1996, 1997, and 1998, respectively. After that Sony sold the rights to Crash and all future titles became multi-platform. Regarding the main series, that’s The Wrath of Cortex, Twinsanity, Crash of the Titans, and Mind over Mutant.
The last of those, Mind Over Mutant, released in October of 2008. It’s hard to believe that a franchise once iconic enough to be considered Sony’s signature series has since gone twelve years without a major release. Thankfully, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time looks to break that streak and bring the mutated bandicoot back to our screens.
The ratings leak confirms that both a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release are in the works. Equally, an Xbox Series X enhanced version is referenced on the Xbox One cover art. We don’t know for sure if a PS5 version is planned too but all things considered it seems very likely.
As for PC players, they may have to wait a little longer. There was no reference to a PC release of Crash Bandicoot 4 anywhere in the leak. Although it worth noting Activision often waits for its remastered versions before porting its games across. In other words, a PC version may follow once the PS5 and Xbox Series X release.
Blizzard’s declining MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, hasn’t had a new character for seven months. Well it seems the prayers of fans has finally been answered but not everyone is overly pleased. As revealed in this tweet posted yesterday on the official HOTS page, a certain Overwatch DPS character is on her way.
The tweet shows off a blizzardy background with two glowing eyes taking center stage. For any none Overwatch players these eyes belong to Snowball, Mei’s little personal robot assistant. Some fans were thrilled to hear this news as Mei, for all her flaws, does have a dedicated fanbase. However, many active HOTS players were less than impressed.
Why Mei isn’t what some Heroes of the Storm players wanted
It has to be said that Overwatch characters haven’t had a great time when it comes to being added into HOTS. This is primarily because HOTS has a serious mobility power creep issue with mobile heroes often reigning king. A lot of existing Overwatch heroes that made their way to HOTS, like Genji and Tracer, exemplify this problem.
As a result of this, Overwatch characters have a bad rap amongst many Heroes of the Storm players. Still, Mei shouldn’t be too troublesome in regard to her mobility. In Overwatch Mei is a slow, brawly character who relies on her crowd control to takedown enemies.
If other Overwatch heroes are anything to go by, we can probably guess a large majority of what Mei’s kit will look like. Her having a primary freeze that slows people down with a secondary long-range projectile seems likely. No doubt her iconic Ice Wall ability will make an appearance too, allowing you to cut off the escape of any troublesome opponents.
Finally, one of her ultimates will probably be her Blizzard, an area of effect slowdown that freezes any enemies who don’t move out of its way in time. As for Mei’s secondary ultimate, that’s difficult to figure out. She doesn’t have a second ultimate in Overwatch, but it could be something that makes her more tank-like. After all, Heroes of the Storm is in desperate need of a new tank.
Amazon’s first real attempt at entering the games industry has not gone well. Its recently released third-person shooter, Crucible, has been criticized by many for its countless flaws. Despite this, critics and fans alike have recognized its potential if developer Relentless Studios handles it correctly.
Looking to live up to these expectations, Relentless has announced it will be cutting two of Crucible’s three core game modes. This remaining game mode, Heart of the Hives, will become the single focus of all development going forward.
Crucible isn’t the first game to do this
To both Amazon and Relentless Games’ credit, Crucible is by no means the first game to take this approach. In fact, many very popular eSports focused titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive both do much the same. By concentrating on one mode it makes the developer’s job of streamlining the gameplay experience far easier.
Also, there are clear benefits from a gameplay balance point of view. Tweaking the so-called hunters to be balanced across multiple game modes is very difficult. Each mode favors different play styles and cooldowns so some hunters would naturally be left behind in some modes. Having just one playable mode should help Crucible’s current balance issues going forward.
As for the MOBA inspired third-person shooter’s missing features, Relentless Studios are working on it. At the top of its list is the implementation of an enhanced social system and full support for custom games. Furthermore, it plans to rework the creatures used to farm XP to enhance Crucible’s PvE experience.
If these changes are enough is to be seen but it seems as though Relentless has good intentions. It’ll require a lot of work and passion for Crucible to get back on track but it’s not out of the question. Come a years’ time we might see Amazon’s latest adventure as one of the great hero shooters.
Yesterday Jagex Studios launched its latest expansion to Old School RuneScape. The long-awaited addition of Canifis’ capital city, Darkmeyer, went live after first being teased over two years ago. Despite fans being happy on the whole, it’s fair to say it caused a world of problems
After the update dropped Jagex had to make ten separate smaller game updates to amend various issues. These started as early as 10:30 in the morning and continued until 5 o’clock in the evening. Thankfully, after seven hours of hard work, Jagex finally cleaned everything up and left players to enjoy the expansion.
What went wrong with Darkmeyer?
In Jagex’s defence, Darkmeyer is a huge update and some hiccups should be expected on the way. However, I doubt anyone could have foreseen how many problems would arise. Most notably, the developer had to rollback Old School RuneScape’s servers three hours due to an issue with players’ saved games. As of writing this, Jagex hasn’t specified exactly what went so wrong initially.
Despite its best effort to reopen the servers around 2 o’clock, most players still couldn’t access the game. Three hours later Jagex finally managed to amend the core issues and send players on their way. Still, the constant delays preventing players from checking out Darkmeyer were frustrating.
Unsurprisingly, Old School RuneScape’s rendition of Darkmeyer is heavily inspired by the existing RuneScape 3 equivalent. It even goes so far as to introduce the Blood Shard, an existing item in RuneScape 3 used to change the effects of various amulets.
Despite being officially teased in 2018, the first reference to Darkmeyer in RuneScape lore dates way back to 2006. Was it worth the fourteen-year wait? That’s debatable but for most players, they’ll just be happy to get stuck into some new content.
Are you a Darkmeyer fan? Leave you opinion in the comments box below.
Released just last week, Minecraft Dungeons has gone down as a critical success amongst critics and fans alike. However, some gamers have been frustrated at their inability to play with their friends on other platforms. Given Dungeon’s co-op focused design, many felt this was a fatal oversight. There’s no need to worry though as developer Mojang has confirmed it’s in the works.
In a post published on the official Minecraft website, Mojang detailed its future plans for Dungeons. Amongst the various announcements, the final paragraph gives the official thumbs up for cross-platform play functionality. An exact release date wasn’t detailed, but more information can be expected in the “coming weeks.”
What’s in store for Minecraft Dungeons?
Otherwise, the post also confirmed two separate planned DLCs are on the way. The first of which is Jungle Awakens. A jungle inspired expansion that will feature new missions, weapons, armor, and artifacts for players to enjoy. As for when it’s coming, you’ll have to wait a little longer as Jungle Awakens is set for a July release.
Following at some point in the future is the second DLC, Creeping Winter. Details of this DLC are currently sparse but we do at least know that Mojang expects it to launch in 2020.
Microsoft should be very pleased with how Minecraft Dungeons has turned out. It’s the American publisher’s second attempt to create a Minecraft spin-off with its first being Earth.
Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality sandbox game currently in early access. The idea is that, once finished, players will be able to build structures in real life through the power of AR. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see how that turns out. If you are looking to kill some time, Minecraft Dungeons is by no means a bad option to do so.
That’s right, the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is getting a sequel. According to Variety, Paramount Pictures have given the greenlight for a second film. This follows the movies surprising success in cinemas last February. It’s all-time Box Office figures currently sit at over $300 million.
That’s by no means anything to scoff by in the film industry. For comparison, the only other film to make more money in 2020 is Sony’s Bad Boys for Life. Every other popular film including Dolittle, Birds of Prey, and The Invisible Man fell short of the blue hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Variety expects that the core team behind the first film will be making a return. This includes Jeff Fowler, Pat Casey, and Josh Miller. As for the cast, we have no details on what to expect. However, we can take a guess at what the plotline will be thanks to the first movie’s ending scene.
The first Sonic movie gave a cameo to Miles ‘Tails’ Prowler as he entered the human world in pursuit of Sonic. Fans were pleased to see that the flying fox both looked good and seems to have kept his original voice actor, Lainie Frasier.
You have to give Paramount credit for turning things around. When it was first announced in 2019, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was slammed by fans and critics alike. Instead of looking like his usual self, Sonic had mutated into a freakish humanoid form. An insulting sight to fans of the retro games.
To turn things around Paramount decided to go back to the drawing board and start again. The downside is this caused the Sonic movie to be delayed several months, a risky business decision all things considered. That’s several months more that you have to pay staff and rent. Regardless, few will disagree now that it was the right choice.