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Ben Joy
Ben JoyBen keeps the Play Team ticking, helps clients define their digital offering and manages the unruly team. You’ll often find him hitting the golf course too.

In this week's roundup we're talking FIFA, cancelled games, streaming setups and more! 

Women's teams included in FIFA 2023

EA has announced that FIFA 2023 will be released on September 30th. This iteration of FIFA will be the first that includes women's clubs and the women's FIFA World Cup 2023 as a DLC. Same generation cross-play will be available from launch, so players on PS4 can play against Xbox One players and then PC, PS5 and Xbox Series players can play against each other. The FIFA website contains a calendar showing when more reveals like new gameplay features, career mode, ultimate team, etc... will be announced leading up to the launch.

The reveal trailer showcases the new HyperMotion 2 technology to bring more realism to player movement than ever before, with 6,000 animations. I'm looking forward to hearing more about all the new features coming to this iteration over the next month.



Outer Wilds - Sparking Curiosity 

Outer Wilds is a masterpiece - a stunning achievement in game design that rewards exploration, and gradually reveals secrets that have been hidden in plain sight throughout.

Kelsey Beachum, narrative designer and writer on the game, gave a talk at GDC last year about how it was put together. And this week, the talk was uploaded to YouTube for all to enjoy. It's a deep dive into a truly incredible game that rewards one thing and one thing only: The pursuit of knowledge.



Streaming setups

This week, I've been reviewing the setup for our weekly live stream (every Thursday @ 4pm over on Twitch). Several of the team take turns planning, hosting and guesting on the show. Currently this means we have multiple different hardware and software setups which can make things challenging when things need to change, someone gets a new machine, or someone new joins the fold.

The solution we're exploring is running a virtual machine on Azure to host the stream, that everyone can access via remote desktop (or Parsec), combined with a Zoom call for video cameras and a shared network drive (for images, gameplay footage and b-roll etc). One single, cloud-based machine that can be kept up to date that has a bomb-proof internet connection which can also be left unattended. What makes this more viable now is that cloud services like Azure are offering GPU-based machines which make graphically intensive operations like streaming (or gaming) possible. Previously these kinds of setups were mainly aimed at server-side admin or office-like functions.

This is an early exploration in the world of remote, cloud-based workstations which I believe have a significant role to play in the future of games and digital production. Plus as a massive nerd, it's pretty fun to tinker around with new technology and ideas!



Ubisoft cancels 4 games

In a recent financial call, Ubisoft have confirmed that they have cancelled 4 upcoming games. Frederick Duguet, the CFO of Ubisoft, has described the reasoning as a cost-cutting measure to emphasize “even more focus on our biggest development opportunities." 

Two of the games in question, we have previously had some details about. Ghost Recon Frontline and Splinter Cell VR have both been canned. Frontline was due to be a battle royale style game, with teams of 4 taking on 100 or so other players. Back in October 2021 a trailer did drop showing off some gameplay. However, this was perhaps inevitable with reaction to the announce and trailers skewing much more to negative than positive, with fans criticising the direction this would take the Ghost Recon series. We didn't know too much about Splinter Cell VR, although it was planned to be in collaboration with Meta (FKA Facebook), and be exclusive to Meta headsets. The other two titles that have been cancelled were unannounced, so it's doubtful we'll ever really find out what they were intended to be. 

Despite this, Ubisoft is still in for a big year, with a number of projects on the go including Skull and Bones, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, and supposedly more news on Assassins Creed. 

Ben J


Discord and Xbox

Discord voice chat is rolling out to Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles in a few weeks’ time.

According to an official Xbox blog post, the integration will allow players to “chat with anyone on Discord via voice channels or group calls directly from your console, making it easy to connect with friends across mobile, Xbox and PC.

“While you are playing on your console, you will be able to see who is in the call and speaking. You’ll also be able to adjust the sound, and switch between Discord Voice and Xbox game chat."

This will be a welcome update to those who spend a lot of time gaming on their Xbox, whilst needing a laptop nearby to speak with their friends on Discord.

Ben G

discord and xbox logos

More Etch Play

You can find Etch Play on all the usual social networks you might imagine. In particular, we hang out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube

We also have a live show every Thursday, where we recap the latest games industry news in video podcast form. It's a lot of fun. If you'd like to check it out, why not follow us on Twitch? Check out yesterday's show right here 👇


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