Gamer’s “News of the Week” (March 16th – March 23rd)
New games, AAA IPs, more Cloud Gaming, and controversy (EAGates), as always. The 3rd week of March did not stay behind.
Let’s see exactly what happened between the 16th and 23rd of the month.
1) Xbox Game Pass: +80 New Games from Bethesda IPs and EA Play
The short-term/long-term implications of the ZeniMax Media acquisition from Microsoft start to show its shape. As it was once rumored, Bethesda titles will merge into the Xbox Game Pass.
Here’s the 20 that got recently added, playable on both Xbox and PC:
- Dishonored Definitive Edition (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Dishonored 2 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- DOOM (1993) (Console, PC, Cloud)
- DOOM II (Console, PC, Cloud)
- DOOM 3 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- DOOM 64 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- DOOM Eternal (Console, PC, Cloud)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Console, PC)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Console, PC)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (Console, PC, Cloud)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (Cloud, Console)
- The Evil Within (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Fallout 4 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Fallout 76 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Fallout: New Vegas (Console)
- Prey (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Rage 2 (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Wolfenstein: The New Order (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Console, PC, Cloud)
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Console, PC, Cloud)
And even better, five of them will get an FPS boost as well: Dishonored Definitive Edition (1080p), Prey (1440p), Fallout 4 (dynamic 4K), Fallout 76 (dynamic 4K), and TES V: Skyrim Special Edition (native 4K)) on Xbox Series X/S.
As if this were not enough, EA Play is also launching its catalog (in this case, +60 game titles, mostly acclaimed sports, racers, and shooters)) to the Xbox Game Pass. Subscribers will also get monthly in-game rewards for select titles.
Here’s how you get started:
2) Undertale and Outriders Come Into Xbox Game Pass As Well
More from Xbox? It looks like it!
Undertale’s Toby Fox made it officiThe indie RPG (with all of its memorable characters) is available to every Xbox One Series X/S, and Game Pass users since March 16th. And it seems like Fangamer will announce a physical edition soon.
Another acclaimed but much recent title, Outriders, is announced to release on the Xbox Game Pass on April 1st. You can also play it on the xCloud, Google Stadia, PC (Steam), and both PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles.
Being entirely cross-play, you can play with your friends that get in from different devices.
If this doesn’t get you excited enough, then this animated short from the game’s story released by its studio, People Can Fly, can make the job.
3) Confessions: Todd Howard on Fallout 76 and Cory Barglo About God of War 2
Xbox definitely had a big week and Todd Howard made his way into here. As he’s used to appearing in headlines, this time it was to admit how “unsuccessful” was the launch of Fallout 76, letting a lot of people down with “very few things at launch that they didn’t screw up.”
He said this during Microsoft’s x ZeniMax Media live broadcast, where he now seems more optimistic about the game’s future (supposedly, now among the most popular titles from the studio’s list) under the wings of Microsoft.
On the other side of the river… On Playstation’s field: there’s God of War 2 director Cory Barlog confessing his thoughts on the game’s 14th anniversary.
I had absolutely NO IDEA what the hell I was doing pretty much the ENTIRE time. Every day felt like I was thrown on stage opening night to perform a musical that I had never even heard of, much less rehearsed.
Fortunately, I was inspired at every turn by a brilliant team.❤️ https://t.co/kR50HNFOfE
— Cory Balrog 🖖 (@corybarlog) March 14, 2021
In short terms, he admits he had “absolutely no idea” what he was doing during the development of 2007s God of War II. This was his first time as a game director, but somehow they made it work, also admitting it was due to “the experienced crew members.”
4) Playstation 4 Community Features Discontinued & Anti-Cheat “Denuvo” is Added
Do you use the PlayStation’s 4 Community Features? Thankfully, you don’t. Because as of April 2021, no-one will be longer able to access its social features (group creation around games & topics).
“Thank you for using the PS Communities feature on your PS4 console. Beginning in April 2021, this feature will no longer be supported or available on your PS4 console.
However, you’ll still be able to stay connected and enjoy messaging features and more on your PS4 and the PlayStation App.”
Of course, as usual at Sony’s, if they take something out it’s because they’ll add something better to replace it. This team, it’s for cheaters.
The Denuvo’s Anti-Cheat system will be integrated with PS5 consoles to combat fun-ruiners once and for all.
For example, this technology is capable of detecting aimbotting and wallhacks from shady players. This is good news especially for game developers and publishers, who know in fact how annoying cheaters are in multiplayer games (especially in the first weeks of launch).
5) “EA Gate”: Employee Sold Ultimate Team Cards. All Content Is Suspended Indefinitely
WhatsApp messages from a mysterious FIFA Ultimate Team “Icon cards” reseller have been flowing across the internet. Packages seemed to be sold at 750-1000€ and Prime Icon Moment’s cards for 1,700€.
So we grind/trade/open packs and can’t touch these PIM players but EA employees sell them to people secretly for $1,700?!?! LOL I respect the grind but my god… pic.twitter.com/CCnhjZbcgH
— Nick 🇨🇦 (@Nick28T) March 10, 2021
It’s rumored that it was an EA’s employee. Here’s why:
Icon cards include players considered the “All-time” bests (as Ronaldo, Pele, Ronaldinho, and Zinedine Zidane). These are very rare (the chances of getting them with the loot-box system are almost zero) and “Prime Icon Moments” is even harder to get.
Only a small percent of celebrities, game testers, and employees have access to collections like this. And many clues point out to “EA’s employee.”
That being said, EA has acknowledged the situation and says “it’s vowed to take actions against who sold them, as well as anyone who bought these before.”
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) March 10, 2021
The EA’s investigation is ongoing and for that reason, it has decided to suspend all discretionary content while another conclusion comes up.
6) Rockstar: Gordon Hall Dies Aged 51 & Player is Awarded for Fixing Poor Load Time
If you have played “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars,” then you know what Gordon Hall, Rockstar Leeds founder, was capable of doing.
A Rockstar spokesperson has announced his death (aged 51) in a statement to the BBC:
“We were very saddened to hear of the recent passing of Gordon Hall. During his time with us, Gordon helped create some truly amazing games and was instrumental in the creation of the classic, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. May he rest in peace. Our condolences go out to his family and friends for their loss.”
At the same time, something good happened to the GTA Online community.
“Tostercx” or “t0st” is a Github user who discovered how to reduce the game’s loading times by up to 70 percent. It seems the cause of its infamous slowdown was due to a single-thread CPU bottleneck.
Shortly after, Tostercx confirmed Rockstar paid him $10,000 through its Bug Bounty program. This fan-made solution was recently added to an official update.
7) Blizzard Open Job Listing for New Triple-A IP/Project
Dan Cox (Blizzard’s senior 3D artist) has just revealed a job listing for a new triple-A game which he describes as “the best project and team I’ve ever worked with in my career.”
The company looks for artists, programmers, and producers to shape its innovative art style and next-gen graphics. To make this happen, they ask for “designers with experience working on multiplayer and single-player shooters and action games.”
They’re also looking for someone who can create “epic and memorable worlds.”
This may be related to the second edition of Overwatch or maybe it isn’t. All we know so far is that this new game will be released on PC and consoles, but that’s all the details known so far, unfortunately.
My team is looking to hire a LOT of people on an REALLY REALLY cool unannounced project. We’ve even got some awesome Associate level design jobs!!
This is hands down the best project and team I’ve ever worked with in my career.
Message me or DM me and I’ll toss you job links! pic.twitter.com/Maf3MnQL4R
— Dan John Cox (@danjohncox) March 11, 2021
8) Price Goes Up GeForce Now & Down for Stadia Premiere Edition
If you have been thinking about acquiring one of Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud streaming subscriptions, then think it twice… Because its price has just doubled from $4.99/month to $9.99/month.
This premium tier was called “Founders” at $24.99 for six months but it has now changed to “Priority” at $99.99 a year.
They include the same benefits: priority access (no waiting lists), extended hours (removes “1-hour session” barrier) and turns on RTX (ray-traced graphics).
Now, on the other hand, it seems like Google Stadia is doing the opposite by packaging a no-brainer deal price in multiple retailers, including its own. For $59, you’ll get the Premiere Edition, which includes the controller ($69 on its own), the Chromecast Ultra ($69 itself)…
And adds three months of YouTube Premium, if you get it from Best Buy.
9) UK’s Gardening Site is Looking for Minecraft’s Landscape Pros
WhatShed seems to be looking for a “collective of virtual landscape gardeners” who can advise their clients on how to “spruce up their Minecraft seeds.”
The job ad mentions they expect “creative solutions” for client support and feedback, as well as a “reasonable price” within their budget.
Do you consider yourself a Minecraft landscaper? Do you spend a lot of time on Creative Mode?
If so and you also know about landscaping in the real world too, then you can qualify for this remote role at £50 an hour. Anyone interested can apply through the company’s website.
WhatShed considers itself as the “Britain’s leading review site for all garden sheds for sale.”
10) Apex Legends: Unexpected Smoke Nerf & Season 9 Legend Teased
Apex Legend’s “Chaos Theory” event has brought chaos to the Respawn Entertainment patch notes. Adjustments (nerfs) to Bangalore’s smoke nor Caustic’s gas were included on the publicly listed list of updates but still made into the game.
It seems like both had their particle effects reduced, making it easier for opponents to see through it. Respawn have acknowledged the problem after fans complained about the issue.
Now, not problem-related, but more like good news: Chad Grenier mentioned in an interview with Famitsu that Japanese Switch players were thrilled by the console port release.
He also said, “to hope that Season’s 9 Legend will be liked in Japan.”
Considering all of his characters have a very distinct ethnicity (France, Brazil, Jamaica, Korea), a Japan-based Legend wouldn’t be out of place.