Xbox leaning into archives, third-party titles for launch

Xbox leaning into archives, third-party titles for launch

Cindy Walker via Video Games Chronicle:

"...we are not reliant on massive exclusive titles to drive console adoption. Our players will have thousands of games from four generations of Xbox available to play on launch day.”

With Halo delayed, it doesn't seem like they have much of a choice. We've heard all about the power of the Series X, this next-gen experience they're trying to deliver, etc and now they're having to push a launch that'll be made up of older games and ones that'll also be available on PS5 and PC. Not a great position to be in.

EA moving away from Origin, rebranding apps

Andy Chalk for PC Gamer:

“And what signals it is this inflection about how EA stands for bringing your players together around the games they want to play on the platforms they want to play on,” he said. “So yeah, it’s not just a name change. It really signals an ethos that is critically important to us and that we know that’s important to our players.”

It’s easy to have seen this coming, what with EA pushing most of their catalogue to Steam, but it’s still surprising to see them moving away from the Origin name. It’s rarely been people’s first choice when purchasing PC games digitally and it’s good to finally see EA coming to the same conclusion.

The Best Video Game Remakes

The Best Video Game Remakes →

This is a solid list with a little bit of everything on it. I love seeing Resident Evil 2 at the top and Final Fantasy 7 Remake up there too. I'm a little disappointed that RE3 didn't make the cut but I undertstand not featuring multiple games from the same series.

Looking back at the launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Steven Messner for PC Gamer:

But as the servers stabilized and more people got into the resurrected world of Eorzea for the first time, an eerie silence settled over Square Enix's social media channels. "It became very quiet," Yoshida says. "It made me wonder if the servers went down because I wasn't hearing anything—no one was contacting me, so we were like, 'what's going on?'"

Nothing was going on—the community was just fully absorbed in A Realm Reborn.

This is a great read if you're a fan of game development or want to know more about Final Fantasy XIV's relaunch. It's still hard to believe that, seven years later, they were able to salvage not only the game but the reputation of both Square Enix and Final Fantasy. And in only 2.5 years? Madness.

Manitoba government shows little interest in COVID Alert app

Gary Ng for iPhone in Canada:

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen cast doubt on COVID Alert, saying how he has heard up to 60% of the Canadian population would need to download the app for it to be useful, noting it would be “challenging” to achieve that goal.

So we just won't bother? If even a handful of lives are saved, isn't that useful? It's challenging so just won't do it? What an absurd reason not to do something. I'd wager people would be pretty willing to use the app if they knew about it, and if Manitoba even supported it to begin with, especially with the recent uptick in cases.

To that point, from the same article Friesen likely heard about the 60%:

A national poll commissioned by myself and senators Rosemary Moodie and Colin Deacon this spring found considerable support among the public for using such an app. Of the respondents, 82 per cent said they wanted to be anonymously notified via a smartphone if they were exposed to the virus, and 92 per cent said they were willing to share the results of a positive test so others could be notified.

The province has obviously spent a bunch of money putting together a marketing plan to reopen Manitoba. Meanwhile, after a disastrous third and fourth phase of reopening, cases are on the rise. Instead, why not put together a campaign encouraging adoption of the app? Based on the data, I think it's safe to assume that people would use the app if it were even functional here. Don't worry though, they're looking into it. Whatever that means.

“Certainly, there’s privacy discussions. From my opinion of it, I don’t think it should be a big issue but certainly it’s an issue to some to look at it,” said [Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent] Roussin.

The app is open source and has been dug into by privacy commissioners at both the provincial and federal level. That work has been done already.

We're in the middle of a global pandemic. Why in the world would you not use any and every available tool to reduce the spread of COVID? Searching for some magic "big answer" will only leave more people sick or worse.

Alan Wake replay

I started a replay of Alan Wake last night to refresh myself before playing Control's AWE content. After all these years, it's still such a beautiful game. I love the twisted, mind-bending story, and the Twin Peaks vibe through the whole thing.

Gotham Knights not connected to Rocksteady's Arkham series

Gotham Knights not connected to Rocksteady's Arkham series

Fraser Brown for PC Gamer:

We got our first look at Gotham Knights on the weekend, following a year of teasing. It's set after the apparent demise of the Caped Crusader and features Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin and Red Hood trying to save the city from the Court of Owls. It is not, however, a continuation of the Arkham series.

That's not particularly clear from the trailer or gameplay slice. Arkham Knight ends by setting this exact scenario up, where the Bat Family has to step in and protect Gotham in Batman's absence. WB Games confirmed that Gotham Knights is set in a different continuity, however, despite the connection.

I don't want to get too picky since the game was just announced but you have to wonder, since the game is set in an entirely different continuity, why they didn't just have Batman displaced in another dimension, be brainwashed by the Black Glove, get "killed" by Darkseid, or put in literally any situation other than the exact one he's in at the end of Arkham Knight.

That aside, what we've seen of Gotham Knights looks fun. I'm excited to play as Batgirl again as I enjoyed her DLC in the last Batman game and it looks like they've given her a couple new moves. Her updated suit looks wicked too, clearly based on the one she wore in the comics a few years ago.

Lastly, it's great to see the Court of Owls get their time in the spotlight, having been one of the high points during Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman run back at the beginning of the New 52.

Ben Affleck returning as Batman in the Flash movie

Ben Affleck as Batman

Matt Patches for Polygon:

Early talk suggested Michael Keaton could potentially suit up as an older version of Batman, after starring in the original film version from 1989. And now it seems there are even more Batmen in the mix, with Affleck joining the cast. After appearing in HBO Max’s “Snyder Cut” of Justice League next year, the actor will appear alongside Miller in The Flash, set for the summer of 2022.

The comic book version of Flashpoint was a crazy, mulitverse-spanning event that ended up bringing about the New 52. It completely changed the landscape of DC's comic books for years. If the intention is to do something similar and correct the course of DC's movies, the Flashpoint story should do the trick.

Before Affleck's return was announced, I think many were assuming the Flash movie would have to take a different direction, given the reception of Justice League, Affleck leaving, Cavill's future as Superman in question, etc. Now, it's looking like this will be how DC consolidates their confusing movie continuity and fully embraces the mulitverse, something they've built comic book stories around for decades.

I actually really enjoyed Affleck's performance in Batman v Superman, despite having a terrible script to work with. His Bruce Wayne was laughably oblivious to the plot he was involved in and driven entirely by rage, something completely uncharacteristic of the world's greatest detective, but he looked and moved exactly like Batman should and I thought he had good chemistry with Cavill's Superman.

Hitman 3 will be an Epic Games Store exclusive

Christine Fisher for Engadget:

If you plan on playing Hitman 3 on PC when it arrives in January, you’ll have to purchase it through the Epic Games Store. The PC version of the game will be an Epic Games Store exclusive for one year.

I look forward to playing Hitman 3 on Steam in 2022.

Post backlog and photos page

I took the time last week to import and comb through hundreds of posts from the last six years, cleaning up tags, broken links, etc, and added a page exclusively for photos to ultimately replace Instagram. Overall, I'm really happy with the results.

The bed Epic has made

Epic Games' Fortnite
Epic Games' Fortnite

Apple via The Verge:

The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers.

Epic knew the rules when they submitted Fortnite and other apps to the App Store, and have practically admitted to taking full advantage of the tools Apple makes available via the App Store. If they're not happy with the terms, they shouldn't have put their apps there in the first place. Ultimately, much like their exclusivity deals on the EGS, this battle with Apple just hurts Epic's customers.

DC Comics loses a third of editorial staff during major layoffs at Warner

Heidi MacDonald for The Beat:

The comics industry woke up with an overwhelming collective sense of sorrow this morning, as news of as much as one third of DC Comics’ editorial staff was laid off yesterday amid huge cuts at WarnerMedia in general. DC was hit hard losing almost an entire level of editorial executives – but many familiar industry figures were also let go. As scattered as people are due to COVID, the comics community felt yesterday intensely and came together to urge support for most who lost their jobs.

Sad stuff coming out of DC Comics this week. Crazy to think this all happens right before DC's big Fandome event, which will undoubtedly have a shadow cast over it now because of this unfortunate news.

One of the more frustrating parts of this announcement, aside from the fact that a ton of good people lost their jobs in the middle of a pandemic, is the stubbornness of DC to abandon the Black Label imprint. I've long thought it was criminally under-utilized but every couple months the company would announce a new book and I'd assume they had finally figured it out, which apparently is not the case.

More importantly, I'm hopeful those effected by the layouts find new work quickly. Between the established companies like IDW, Dark Horse, and Image, or newcomers like TKO, and AWA, you have to hope that there are enough places in comics for people to land.