Roundup time! This week we're looking at Square Enix's potential next major franchise, there was an exciting announcement if you're a TimeSplitters fan and a number of gaming events are just round the corner. Enjoy...
In an age where AAA games and the studios behind them can throw mega money at marketing and development, it's great to see an indie game punching well above its weight. Valheim, the hit Viking survival game made by five people, is doing just that.
Embracer Group, the Swedish video game holding company formerly known as THQ Nordic, released a financial report this week showing that early access game Valheim has sold 6.8 million copies so far, with that number projected to reach 8 million by the summer.
That's a staggering return from a team so small, but it's easy to see why the game has done so well. As survival games go, it's pretty accessible and there's something for everyone: This giant Viking luge and life size Millenium Falcon show the crafting lengths that some Valheim players are willing to go to.
As we discussed on this live week's show, the games internet was abuzz with excitement this week as our friends over at Deep Silver announced the reforming of game studio Free Radical Design to work on a new TimeSplitters game.
A new Deep Silver Studio is coming - Free Radical Design pic.twitter.com/N5qTTcZfsW— Deep Silver (@deepsilver) May 20, 2021
It's exciting to see a cult studio "getting the band back together" with figureheads Steve Ellis and David Doak, both key members of the original studio. Supported by being a part of the Koch Media group it will be interesting to see the title unfold and how such a revered IP will fare in the modern games landscape. TimeSplitters was originally released in 2000, with the latest release in the franchise being TimeSplitters: Future Perfect released in 2005.
I'm always keen to see how 20+ year old franchises fare with a whole new generation of players and technologies but it looks as if TimeSplitters is in good hands.
This year's Summer Game Fest officially kicks off on June 10th, which is only in like, three weeks! To refresh your memory, this is a digital event that sprung up last year during the pandemic, and lasts for several months of the summer, with lots of livestreams from various publishers vying to show off their new games.
Host, Geoff Keighley, is promising world premiere reveals from a number of big publishers, and a more condensed schedule this time around, to really invoke that classic feeling of getting press conferences back to back.
E3, gaming's biggest trade show, is back this year in digital form too - starting just two days later on June 12th. We can expect big announcements at both, but fans should be mindful that this year we'll really start to see the impact that COVID-19 has had on the longer release schedules. It was one thing trying to finish a game during a pandemic, and it's another thing entirely to have that impacting the beginning or middle of your development cycle.
Square Enix have announced that they believe that Outriders is on track to become their next major franchise. The title reached 3.5 million unique players in it's first month of release (April 2021), of which I was one of them! Players' average play time is apparently over 30 hours and has extremely high engagement for cooperative play.
Outriders was on Xbox Game Pass on release day, which no doubt helped the mass adoption of the game out of the gate. However, it also debuted at number 6 in the weekly physical charts in the UK, mainly through PlayStation sales, as you might expect
It's going to be interesting to see how Square Enix and People Can Fly develop this into a major franchise. In the meantime, check out Adam and me taking a look at the game below.
Accessibility in games has been coming leaps and bounds in the past few years, and this week Double Fine released a 30 minute long Q&A about what steps they're taking in Psychonauts 2 to make it more accessible for everybody. While they have the standard options like colour blind modes, they've also added options for changing fonts, and even gameplay and combat options. I don't want to list all the options and the reasoning behind them, because the guys at Double Fine do it better than I ever could! Check it out here below!
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Check out yesterdays episode as a taster 👇