This week in the roundup we're talking about the new Sledgehammer Games UK studio, Metroid Dread, and cheating speedrunners.
Speedrunning is one of the most fascinating subcultures within gaming, and every now and then it produces stories about the lengths some people will go to in order to achieve speedrun glory.
Cheating isn't super common among these elite players, but that makes it all the more newsworthy when someone is cheating and gets caught - usually by someone who has an even more impressive knowledge of the game than them, and can spot minuscule inconsistencies in world record runs.
This week Waypoint pulled back the curtain on such a story: An 8-year Spelunky record holder who has been caught faking his runs.
Elsewhere, Halo 3 fans rejoice: The Custom Game Browser is now available in the Master Chief Collection for the fabled third game in the series, having previously only been available for Halo Reach. Halo 3 was the first Halo title to use Forge mode to allow players to create their own intricate levels, and I'm looking forward to revisiting some of my old favourites.
Nintendo are mostly known for their more family friendly and wholesome titles, so a series like Metroid really stands out when compared to the likes of Mario and Zelda. The series follows bounty hunter (and all round badass), Samus Aran, as she travels from planet to planet erasing potential threats to the galaxy.
Each game is a 2D action-platformer (with the exception of some of the spin-offs) with a focus on exploration. The latest entry, Metroid Dread, came out on Nintendo Switch last week. I got round to finishing it last night and I’m in awe of how amazing it is! Metroid games are known for having challenging boss fights and tricky puzzles but the satisfaction you get when you get past something you’ve been stuck on for hours is unmatched – this is no different in Dread. It really pushes you to your limits but it never feels unfair or frustrating – there was never a point when I felt like I was in an impossible situation, if I was stuck it was always because I suck at the game.
Dread is easily my favourite game on the Switch and I highly recommend this game to any Switch owners!
After a bit of a hiatus, I have jumped back into a new AAA, open world adventure. Sucked in by the hype, good reviews and dramatic key art, I decided to take the plunge and dive into Far Cry 6, my first Far Cry adventure.
At it's simplest, Far Cry 6 is a classic Ubisoft open world game. An expansive map which opens up as you play, a sliding scale of challenge which ramps up as your character develops, a somewhat stretched out but cinematic main storyline and a lifetime of side-missions and collectibles to find. It's nothing dramatically new mechanics or narrative-wise but what I love about this sort of game is the no-expense-spared approach to completeness and fidelity.
The game is beautiful, the characters are well-realised and well-acted, the world is rich and alive, and the overall implementation is top notch with no bugs or glitches of note, after a good few hours of gameplay. I'm really enjoying my time in Yara (the fictional Caribbean island setting of the game) and am comforted to now know there's an entire back-catalogue of Far Cry games I can lean on for any future open world adventure cravings I may get.
Nintendo’s Switch OLED is proving to be a big hit in Japan, having sold over 130,000 units in three days.
For comparison, during those same three days there were 32,000 Switch units sold and 8,500 Switch Lite units, taking the total Switch sales for the week starting October 4th to just shy of 180,000 units.
The Switch has been a hugely successful console for Nintendo. In June, total unit sales were at 89.04 million, surpassing the NES (61.91 million), the 3DS (75.94 million) and the Game Boy Advance (81.51 million).
Sledgehammer Games have just opened a new office in Guildford, focusing on live content for the upcoming Call of Duty: Vanguard. Guildford is a games industry hotbed in the UK with some of the world's best studios. It's a testament to what has been built in Guildford that Sledgehammer Games would choose it as a new place to call home, and allows them to tap into the wealth of top talent in the area..
It's exciting to have such a big title being worked on so close by, and continue to grow the UK Games Industry. The job market in games is incredibly competitive right now, and while this new studio will create many new roles, that competition is only going to get more difficult. Every studio in the UK needs to be thinking about how to attract and retain the most talented staff.
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