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Ben Joy
Ben Joy

It's been another busy week in the world of video games. In this edition of the Play Team Roundup we are looking at some news from Sony's State of Play event, discussing virtual events, playing newly released games and getting excited for upcoming releases. So, let's get on with it shall we? 

Adam

This week Microsoft confirmed that Game Pass Ultimate members will be able to stream certain games to their phone this September, powered by Microsoft xCloud. It's a move that puts them in direct competition with Google Stadia for the lucrative and futuristic game streaming market. But the announcement has shocked some because it only works on Android devices.

Stadia users will already know that Apple are not keen to let these services run on iOS, and they've now confirmed that their terms expressly forbid apps of this nature. Game Pass streaming is the latest, but arguably highest profile, casualty of the policy. Will Apple make an exception if Game Pass gets big enough? Maybe. Big names like Netflix and Spotify have been allowed to exist and thrive on the App Store so there could be some wiggle room. It remains to be seen whether Game Pass can put enough pressure on Apple to earn a spot in their ecosystem.

 

Dan

This week the UK games industry was disappointed to hear the news that the annual pilgrimage to Brighton for the Develop conference will not be happening, as it is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event had already been postponed from July to November but it has just been announced that the 2020 edition of the event will now be a fully online affair.

Throughout this unusual year, I've attended numerous online events and whilst some have been useful, I couldn't help but feel disappointed to learn the news about Develop going purely digital. So I have been questioning why. An unscientific Twitter poll suggests others are feeling the same and the consensus seems to be that people miss people.

Digital events have done a great job of transposing event content into a digestible online format, but I believe there is still plenty of opportunity to explore recreating the "corridor moments" in a digital space. Games would seem like a good starting point with a well established precedent already set for multi-user experiences, elaborate 3D environments and well-established communication protocols such as emotes and proximity chat. Maybe we'll see a future conference set in the Fortnite metaverse or on Minecraft servers...

Mobin

FIFA 21 is coming out on 9th of October 2020 (or the 6th if you pre-order) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

If you are planing to play it on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X you will need to wait until later in the year to find out more about it. However, “Dual Entitlement” enables you to upgrade your copy of FIFA 21 on PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or from Xbox One to Xbox Series X, at no extra cost. You can read more details about dual entitlement here.

Some of the updates coming in FIFA 21 are:

  • Smooth and agile dribbling
  • Better AI positional awareness and creative runs 
  • A better blocking system for defending
  • New pitches for the Volta Football mode

 

Ben G

Big news from Sony's State of Play event yesterday – Hitman 3 will launch with PlayStation VR support! Not only that, but you'll be able to enjoy every location from the entire trilogy also in VR.

Blend-in to busy crowds, stand face-to-face with targets and interact with the game world using your hands. It'll be fascinating to see how VR adds to the immersion and suspense of playing as an assassin.

This quote in particular, from IO Interactive's announcement post, has me excited for the prospect: "Imagine that you’ve picked up a frying pan and you sneak up on a guard. You can swing the frying pan in whatever angle you want to knock them out – and then use it to deflect bullets that are fired as you make your escape."

I'm already looking forward to the creative kill compilations on YouTube!

 

Pete

When I was younger I lost many many hours playing Crash Bandicoot. So seeing the new trailer for "Crash Bandicoot 4: It's about time" filled me with happy memories and excitement. This is the first new game in the series for a decade and does a great job of incorporating the original gameplay with cleaner graphics and lots of creative new features and mechanics. Awesome work by the peeps over at Toys for Bob.

 

Ben J

It's been a while since I played a brand new game, but as I have been excited for the release of Fall Guys for so long, I had to get it as soon as it came out. The game is really fun, but also incredibly frustrating - well, it is when you're not very good at it 🙈 There are 5 knockout rounds comprised of various obstacle courses and team events to get through. So far I have managed to get pretty good at making the fourth round, but getting into the final and winning the illustrious crown has so far eluded me. Maybe tonight. I do keep finding myself in the situation of "just one more game". It's very addictive. 

Whilst typically very well received, there have been a few launch teething problems. An overwhelming number of players the servers have struggled, which has resulted in players getting disconnected quite regularly and other matchmaking issue. The team at Mediatonic have been working tirelessly to keep the game running for everyone, so hat's off to their monumental efforts. 

Launching an online multiplayer game is difficult at the best of times, but when as an indie studio you surpass 1.5 million players within the first 24 hours, whilst that is obviously incredibly good news, it does add these extra challenges. The twitch takeover that we saw the other weekend definitely will have helped to push the launch day numbers up, and was a great example of utilising the platform to drive game awareness.

fall guys running

Joe

Spelunky is one of the biggest indie games of the past 15 years, and has had a sequel on the horizon for a while now. It was tentatively scheduled for earlier this year before... You know... Everything happened. But now, it's back! Yesterday during Sony's State of Play a release date was finally unveiled, September 15th. The PC version is following "shortly after" due to them wanting to put a little more care into ironing out any issues with online multiplayer. I'm also excited to see how that mode pans out. September is shaping up to be a heck of a month in the weird PC niche landscape that I live in!

 

That's all for another edition of the Play Team Roundup, we hope you enjoyed it, and do let us know what you've been up to this week! It's set to be a hot one this weekend, so make sure you've got plenty of sun cream at the ready.

If you are looking for more content from us, this week we have released a few videos you can watch over on on our YouTube channel, where we've been playing Halo, checking out Devolverland, and talking about the extended experience. And as always, you can also hit us up on Twitter or see what we're up to over on Twitch.

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/the-extended-experience.

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