In the words of Smash Mouth, the busy weeks in videogames news start coming and they don't stop coming... Well, they said something along those lines. Another jam-packed edition of the Etch Play Roundup awaits you just below this, so I'll just let you get on with reading it, shall I?
This week, I paid actual money for an album. Yeah, like we did in the 90s! The artist was Linkin Park, who I'm not an especially big fan of. I have never previously purchased any of their music. But in this instance, the format was a bit different and the appeal was in the medium. This was a "Music Pack" for VR rhythm-light-saber-em-up, Beat Saber.
As a result, I'm now a much bigger fan of (some of) their music, and I have a completely new way in which to experience it. As well as the music itself, I really enjoyed the new visual effects and environment this added to the game. The impact of streaming services on the music industry are well documented so this poses an interesting alternative means for both artists and games creators to obtain some added value.
Also, Star Wars: Squadrons is released today and looking at the weather, that's my weekend plans sorted!
In a move borrowed straight from the movies, this week Sony and Insomniac revealed that Peter Parker has a new face in the PS5 version of the beloved PS4 game, Spider-Man.
It's an unusual choice, and one which has triggered a strong response from some fans of the game. While this seems like an overreaction, what's interesting to me on a broader level is that this feels like a symptom of a growing trend in games: As motion capture in games improves, fans are becoming attached to actors in games, the same way they might feel about an actor in films. This kind of strong opinion about how a character specifically looks was less common when the technology wasn't available to make human characters as distinct and recognisable as they are today.
Still, the PS5 version of the game promises to be a success, and despite the vocal protests it seems the new, younger-looking Peter is here to stay.
Old Pete vs new Pete pic.twitter.com/9yicgqZU0S— Nibel (@Nibellion) September 30, 2020
Star Wars: Squadrons is out today!
Watching some gameplay footage that shows off the first part of the single-player campaign, it shows a seamless experience of getting the player into the game while giving a tutorial on how to fly. Reading around the reviews for the game, the single-player campaign has a clever storyline that enables you to fly for both the Empire and the Republic. This game makes me think back to the hours I used to spend flying jet fighters in Ace Combat, which was so much fun. The PVP and VR aspects of this game are going to make it a lot of fun to play.
A few weeks ago, Blizzard unveiled the release date for the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands. I was incredibly excited; as a former raid leader and arena player, a new expansion always means a new abundance of content. Then this week, the worst thing happened, Old School Runescape also unveiled the release date for their latest league, the day after Shadowlands. I was really debating which to play, because early expansions are vital in WoW if you want to get ahead, but this would be the first OSRS league I've had a chance to play.
Then it seemed like divine intervention, Blizzard have delayed Shadowlands 3 weeks before release. While the Old School community is joking that Blizzard was scared of the competition, I think a lot of players are relieved that they'll be able to play both, as it was a common question for Jagex, "Why release the same day!?"
This week, Twitch announced a new streamer tool they've been developing: Soundtrack (beta).
Soundtrack provides streamers with a curated collection of rights-cleared music and integrates with your streaming software. Currently, support extends to OBS, Streamlabs OBS and Twitch Studio. The key benefit of using Soundtrack is that the music is separated into its own audio channel, so you can play music on stream without worrying about your archives being muted or receiving strikes against your Twitch channel.
This week saw the eagerly anticipated Animal Crossing: New Horizons seasonal update go live; with pumpkins, candy and the ability to make yourself look spooky, using body paint and eye colour changes. I have already been making space on my island for a more autumnal aesthetic, and I will be going all out with the Halloween decor.
[Announcement]— Isabelle (@animalcrossing) September 30, 2020
The Fall update for #AnimalCrossing New Horizons is now available. Update your game and prepare for a month of spooky goodness leading to Halloween on 10/31! 🕸️🎃🍬 pic.twitter.com/gUKpDTYSYy
I’m still in the early days of playing the game when it comes to island ratings and anything worthy of a YouTube island tour, but I’m still addicted, and appreciative of the little pockets of joy the game brings, especially when the real world is a bit of a mess.
The Pirate Academy is a set of online lessons designed to help new players to find their sea legs, and give them the confidence to dive into the game. It can be quite daunting for new players to dive into a game, especially one that has already been out for two years and has had numerous updates released. It's on Game Pass, and I've been eager to give it a go, so once I get my PC up and running I'll definitely be checking out the lessons.
As we have talked about before, long-life games are becoming much more the norm, which not only means keeping existing players in the game for longer, it also means continuing to acquire new players long after the game has launched. Content like this is great to ease new players in, and also give existing, and lapsed players a nice refresh to keep them engaged.
A really nice piece of content to extend the playing experience.
Once again, we are out for another week. This was another bumper week for news, so there are a few things that didn't make it to this week's edition... However fear not, we have a weekly live Twitch show on Thursdays at 4pm where we cover news, play games and discuss videogame marketing - go catch up on it right now! We also have YouTube channel, filled with videos and we're always up for a chat over on Twitter.
Have a great weekend 👋
At Etch Play, we help games businesses think about, plan and execute on their extended experience. That means delivering value to players beyond the traditional boundaries of a game. You can find out more about our offering at etchuk.com/play/the-extended-experience.