It's Friday, which means it's roundup time. This week's edition is looking at the latest news for The Division fans, a retro classic making a return, tax breaks for Australian games studios and more. Enjoy...
Ubisoft have given an update on Tom Clancy's The Division, where they've announced various new games set in The Division universe. First is The Division Heartland, a free to play game being developed by Red Storm that will be available to PC, consoles and cloud in 2021-22. While they didn't give much away, The Division is coming to mobile with the aim to target an even wider audience.
The Division 2 will also be getting a hefty update later in the year which will include an entirely new game mode and new ways to level up your character. The original game, which I was a huge fan of and sunk many hours into, is being used as the inspiration for a film being developed by Netflix as part of the broader plan to expand their media offerings. The film had already been announced a while back, however this update from Ubisoft announces an original novel based after events in the Division 2. Safe to say there is a lot going on in the Division universe with loads of content for fans to get their hands on as they are leaning heavily into the extended experience.
I've been off this week, celebrating my 40th birthday with a trip to Wales in the campervan. I've ridden mountain bikes, walked the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline and visited an island populated by puffins. Despite all the adventure, I've still managed to fit some games in. My wife and I have spent several evenings revisiting the modern co-op classic, Overcooked on the Switch. A perfect portable challenge that's great to replay after a couple of years.
This week, three veterans of the gaming site Giant Bomb are saying goodbye.
Vinny Caravella, Brad Shoemaker and Alex Navarro have been with Giant Bomb for over ten years, producing podcasts and videos that feature lengthy clips of gameplay and a lot of their own personalities. Focusing on this kind of content, which seems obvious and commonplace to us now, was revolutionary and pioneering when the site first launched in 2008.
In recent years, the rise of streaming and YouTube personalities have changed what audiences expect to consume online, and many will see this as a culmination of those shifting attitudes towards video content on the web as creators go it solo and coalesce around platforms like Twitch. Giant Bomb's remaining editor Jeff Gerstmann is staying with the company, and is expected to lead a revamp which will see the site change direction significantly.
On a personal level, I've always enjoyed and been enamoured by what the team at Giant Bomb were able to pull off, and all that they've inspired. I don't even know if we'd have a live show if it wasn't for them. For fans of games journalism, live video, podcasts and more, this is truly the end of an era. Farewell, duders.
Fans of 1992's Flashback received exciting news this week, as it was announced that original game designer Paul Cuisset is back, supervising a team of developers creating Flashback 2.
Now nearing its 30th (yikes) Birthday, Flashback was a great game, with gorgeous hand-drawn backgrounds and stunning rotoscoped animations that felt way ahead of their time. There's not a lot of info on the newly announced sequel in the official announcement from publisher Microids, but we do know that Flashback 2 is an action platformer that will continue the adventures of Conrad B. Hart, the intelligence agent who thwarted an alien invasion of Earth in the first game.
Flashback 2 will be coming to consoles and PC in 2022.
Good news if you're a games studio in Australia... The Australian government have just announced the Digital Games Tax Offset, which "is a 30% tax relief to support Australia taking a greater share of the AU$250 billion global game development market".
This is the first ever federal tax incentive for game developers in Australia and signals just how important the gaming industry is to the country. A quote from IGEA CEO Ron Curry has stated that "The Government's new investment commitment today will do many things. It will spur the creation of brand new Australian game development studios, give existing Australian studios the support they need to take on ambitious new projects and accelerate their growth, plus attract further blockbuster AAA studios to Australia, all of which will create game development jobs in every state."
This week Nintendo announced a new title for the switch - Game Builder Garage! It seems like Nintendo are trying to get more youngsters interested in building their own video games, and are giving them the tools to do it, all packed up in an easy to use flow based editor, similar to Unreal's Blueprints or Unity's Visual Scripting. Hopefully this helps get more people take the first step on the path to making their own games. I'm excited to see what people make on June 11th!
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