THE FIVE HEADLINES
#1: Apex Legends storms the industry
Respawn Entertainment, the makers of Titanfall, announced and released Apex Legends, a new battle royale game that dominated the game industry’s attention. The action is often compared to a mix of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout, combined with hero roles from games like Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege. Players responded very enthusiastically to the free-to-play game, as 10 million players were registered within 72 hours. On the financial front, EA’s stock jumped up 13%, which made up the recent tumble from the publisher’s earnings call. As far as Titanfall goes, while Apex shelved a reported Titanfall 3, EA claims that some kind of Titanfall project is still in the works from Respawn for this year. It seems unfathomable for a game to top Fortnite’s global attention, but we certainly got a taste of that this week with Apex Legends.
#2: Microsoft wants Xbox Live on Switch and more
According to reports in advance of a supposed GDC announcement, Microsoft is set to launch a software development kit that will allow developers to integrate Xbox Live functionality into games on Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. This can only help the future acceptance and growth of cross-platform gaming, but industry enthusiasts are looking beyond that. It’s important to stress that this does not mean that Xbox games are coming to Switch directly, but if the partnership between Microsoft and Nintendo continues to grow, those games could come to Switch indirectly. The way in would be Project xCloud, Microsoft’s eventual game streaming platform. If Xbox Live comes to Switch, so too could an xCloud app to stream games onto that supported screen. Keep an eye on this one.
#3: Microsoft Studios gets a name facelift
What used to be known as Microsoft Studios has been rebranded as Xbox Game Studios, to better identify the Xbox brand’s first-party portfolio of game development teams. It’s a fix that helps Xbox further define the software they can offer, as the next generation quickly approaches, all while Xbox Live grows its services. In their news report, Microsoft identified 13 teams that currently comprise Xbox Game Studios – 343 Industries, The Coalition, Compulsion Games, The Initiative, inXile Entertainment, Minecraft, Ninja Theory, Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, Undead Labs, and their Global Publishing group.
#4: Axiom Verge highlights the PC store port challenge
Axiom Verge, the 2015 Metroidvania from Tom Happ, launched on the Epic Games Store as a limited-time free release, after the game was ported from Valve’s Steam. In just another sign of the growing battle between the two digital PC storefronts, a valuable lesson was learned when players discovered an unavoidable crash in the game’s third area, which happened to contain steam pipes. During the porting effort, Happ tried to remove all presence of the word “Steam,” to sanitize it for Epic, but that meant accidentally removing the sound effect for the game’s steam pipes. The error has since been fixed, but this is just another discovered difficulty in the Epic and Steam clash.
#5: RIP ScrewAttack
ScrewAttack, one of the pioneers in video content about games, has officially been closed, as the YouTube channel name has been changed to Death Battle. This took place 12 days before the website’s 13-year anniversary. Death Battle has certainly been a popular show in the last few years, but the true g1s out there will remember Top 10s, Hard News, SGC, Video Game Vault, Sidescrollers, and more. From Stuttering Craig and Handsome Tom back in 2006, to everyone that worked for the brand in the years since, thank you for ScrewAttack.
GAME AND RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Assassin’s Creed III Remastered (March 29 – PS4, Xbox One)
- Bubsy: Paws on Fire (April 2019 – PS4, PC, Switch)
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (June 4 – 3DS)
- Dr. Mario World (Early Summer 2019 – Mobile)
- Mario Kart Tour (DELAY – Summer 2019 – Mobile)
OUT THIS WEEK
- Metro Exodus (Friday, February 15 – PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Crackdown 3 (Friday, February 15 – Xbox One, PC)
- Far Cry New Dawn (Friday, February 15 – PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Jump Force (Friday, February 15 – PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Until next time, I’m at @petespeakeasy
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