Welcome to this week's edition of the Etch Play Roundup. We've got Super Bowl fever, have been attending virtual roundtables, and are excited for the new Garry's Mod in the works.
It's the Super Bowl this Sunday, one of my favourite sporting events of the year, and it's great to see one of my favourite games getting in the spirit. Rocket League have released Gridiron, a new limited game mode that mimics American football within the Rocket League arena. This game mode is 4v4 where the ball has changed to an American football that players can carry or throw by flicking it. The aim is to get it in the opponents net to score a touchdown.
Psyonix do a great job with updates for this game, constantly creating seasonal & event based content that keeps players engaged. This update is well complimented with a paid DLC, the NFL Fan Pack, that contains decals & wheels for all the NFL teams - giving players the ability to predict who they think will win this Sunday.
This week, Stadia announced that they were shutting down their internal development studios. Despite being an impressive technical feat, Stadia has struggled thus far to find a place in the market, and this will be seen by many as a harbinger of eventual death for the new platform. For now though, the service will continue to operate and will focus on delivering third party titles.
The news comes at a relatively surprising time, as it was recently announced that Stadia was to be built into future LG televisions, a sign that the tide may have been turning in their favour and that their future was looking secure. In the cloud gaming market, all eyes will now be on Game Pass's iOS/web beta, which is expected to launch in the Spring.
In response to the news, The Guardian ran an article this week about how some of the world's richest companies, including Google, have struggled to turn their hand to creating AAA games.
I have fond memories of playing Garry's Mod whilst chatting to my friends of XFire back in the distant year of 2006, before it was even its own product and just a mod for Half Life 2. Since then I've put in hundreds of hours across so many different game modes, but my enjoyment in recent years has diminished as the game has started to feel a bit stagnant. Until now! A while back now Garry announced GMod 2, with no other news or details, just that. But in the past few months we've been getting more information about the game, and last Friday (after our blog went out, I'm not cheating!) Garry posted an update detailing what the team has accomplished in January, on what they've now dubbed S&box.
For somebody who loved the original, its great to see the team (I say team, this month it was just Garry) at Facepunch making progress. Modability of the platform seems to be their central focus, as it really was the community that made Gmod what it was. Whilst there's no news on a release date, and I'm not expecting it this year, I'll be checking back in monthly with the blog to see the progress.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Limit Break mentoring program has been hosting a series of round table discussions on various topics. I have attended a couple of these on the subject of leadership and games marketing, with another on business development next week. These digital events have been fantastic to be a part of and a real refreshing change of digital scene in my somewhat repetitive lockdown life. Each group is limited to 10-20 people which keeps discussion manageable and they have been expertly facilitated to give everyone a chance to have their say. As a serial industry event attendee/organiser, there haven't been many opportunities to meet new like-minded folks lately, so I've really relished these valuable chats.
Limit Break is an amazing scheme which aims to help under-represented genders into the UK games industry. The next round of mentoring opportunities will be announced in the coming months so give @LBMentorship a follow on twitter and keep an eye out.
As it's Super Bowl week, and like Pete I am very excited for this Sunday, I thought I'd keep with the American Football theme. EA have announced they are back in the business of making College Football games, having signed a partnership with collegiate trademark licensing firm CLC. There isn't word on a release date for any games yet, but EA have promised more details "in the years ahead", so it might not be any time soon.
EA previously published College Football games as they had a partnership with the NCAA. This however ended after a class action lawsuit ruled their exclusivity was an illegal monopoly. After initially being given a 5 year ban on signing a new deal, the contract then lapsed in 2014.
If you're a fan of American Football, keep your eyes peeled for more details on the upcoming games.
I'm a big fan of the Total War series and their large-scale strategic battles, and despite not having played any of their Warhammer editions, I think it's well worth giving a shout-out to the Warhammer 3 announcement trailer. It's like a mini film, and the production quality is incredible. If you want to get your fanbase excited then an announcement video of this quality is definitely going to achieve that.
So, here's a shout-out to the artists, animators, musicians and directors who do amazing work alongside the development of games. Keep doing epic things!
That's all for this week. Let us know what caught your attention this week by sending us a message over on Twitter. We also cover a lot more news (as well as playing games and chatting videogame marketing), on our weekly Twitch Live Show every Thursday at 4pm. If you can't make it live, we always upload the episodes to our YouTube channel where you'll also find a lot more discussions, interviews and gameplay.
(Check out yesterdays live show before you go anywhere 👇)