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Adam Burt
Adam BurtSenior Developer (Games Marketing)

Hey! Thanks for choosing the Etch Play blog today. There's loads going on, so let's just get right into it, shall we?

PS5's Price Hike

Adam Burt

Pretty big week for gaming news, eh? I thought that Gamescom would be the biggest story of the week, but it's Sony who take it, with their news that the PS5 is going up in price. Yeah, up.

The price hike affects many countries, including the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, but isn't currently announced to take effect in the United States. It will see both PS5 models increase in price by £30, with the disc-based model now totalling £479.99.

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has attributed the move to "the global economic environment", including inflation which is increasing production costs. It follows the recent price increase of the Meta Quest 2 VR headset, which was reportedly made for similar reasons, and comes just a week or so after Sony dodged investor questions about whether a price rise was imminent.

One of the most intriguing parts of this announcement is the lack of impact on the US - perhaps a tacit acknowledgement from Sony that Microsoft's Xbox is a closer competitor and more direct threat in the States than it is in other countries across the globe. The US dollar is also particularly "strong" at the moment compared to other currencies.

It remains to be seen what real impact this will have on the company - PlayStation consoles are in such high demand and short supply that that month-to-month sales numbers aren't likely to drop. As of yet, Microsoft is not moving their Xbox pricing, so in the long term this may prove to be a differentiating factor between the two competitors.

As for Gamescom, phew - that was a lot of trailers, right? I'm looking forward to Darktide, and I am fascinated by Embark's reveal of The Finals - a game which they've chosen to make instead of Arc Raiders, which was delayed two weeks ago. I'd probably rather they worked on Arc Raiders to be honest.

The Destiny 2: Lightfall expansion trailer definitely won me over, and I'm going to jump back into that as soon as possible to try and figure out what on earth is going on in Destiny before it lands next February. I've been playing Anthem lately, and that's got to be pretty good practice, right?

 

Dead Island 2 makes a (bloody) splash at Gamescom

Ben Joy

This week has been Gamescom, one of the biggest events in the gaming calendar. It sure has been an fun one, with lots of great updates and announces to really get game fans excited. My favourite announce (or I guess, re-announce) from the show was Dead Island 2, which was the showcase finale of Geoff Keighley's Opening Night Live on Tuesday.

Now, we may be a bit biased as we work closely with the Deep Silver team (and built the DI2 website 😉), but the game looks incredible. We were treated to 2 fantastic trailers, getting not just the new CGI trailer but also gameplay! It is often a criticism that game reveals don't have enough actual gameplay, so being able to show this at announce is a really great move.

Promotional artwork for Dead Island 2

Not only was it great to see the trailer, watching the show live with the whole Play Team and working together to launch the site at just the right time is one of the most fun bits of this job!

DI2 already has a long history. It originally got announced back in 2014, and has since moved through a few dev studios before all went quiet. Well, during the quiet times, Dambuster Studios picked it up and seem to be doing a fantastic job with it. It's great to see life back in this franchise and one I'm certainly looking forwards to playing.

Keeping the client love going, elsewhere at Gamescom our great friends Supermassive Games dropped a new trailer for the next game in the The Dark Pictures Anthology, The Devil In Me, and announced the official release date for the game - 18th November 2022. So not too long to wait now!

It's been a big year for Supermassive Games already, with the acquisition by Nordisk Games, and the release of The Quarry just to name a couple of highlights. Closing off the year with another big release will put the icing on the cake!

Blacktail revealed

Ben Gammon

Whilst watching Gamescom on Tuesday evening, one game stood out to me but not for reasons that you might expect. That game is Blacktail, a first-person shooter that focuses on bow combat in a dark fantasy world, centred around the Slavic folk story of the witch Baba Yaga.

Developed by Polish studio The Parasight, the vibrant fairy tale world is in stark contrast to the branding for the game. I mean, just look at that logo. The chunky text with its Pacman-shaped letter “c” and those pixel art animals give off such retro arcade vibes. It’s such a juxtaposition.

That’s why it caught my eye during Gamescom and why I wanted to do a little more digging. It turns out that the game does actually contain 2D elements. According to the Blacktail website, “every memory is an artfully crafted 2.5D narrative episode – each a mind-bending vision shedding light on Yaga’s heart and soul as well as her mysterious origins”.

I applaud The Parasight for trying something different with branding for this game, but without any 2D visions being included in the Gamescom trailer it made the title reveal at the end that much weirder.

That said, by being different the logo made the game stand out from other games in the genre. It piqued my interest and made me go looking for more information. If that ends up leading to more game sales, then fair play.

Blacktail is coming to PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S as is currently 20% off as a pre-purchase promotion on Steam until December.

Final Fantasy launches Animal-Crossing-esque update

Taya B

This week has been chock-full of announcements, releases and news thanks to Gamescom (which was so much fun to watch!) but the releases I've been looking forward to most actually came from a best-selling MMORPG and an indie gem.

Firstly, patch 6.2 for Final Fantasy XIV has gone live, introducing the next beat of the main story and MOST IMPORTANTLY: FFXIV New Horizons- I mean Island Sanctuary. This update lets players discover their very own island which they can develop with a shelter, crops, animals, minions and lush tropical vibes and I CANNOT WAIT to jump in and enjoy this cozy addition to my favourite game.

Secondly, a wonderful indie game I've been looking forward to for a while came out yesterday - "I was a Teenage Exocolonist", developed by Northway Games and published by Finji. This really feels like the perfect Taya game - a narrative RPG with card-based battles which lets players grow up with their character, make choices with consequence, and meet a diverse cast of characters to befriend and fall in love with. The wonderful watercolour aesthetic of this game first drew my eye, but it's really the narrative promise that cinched it for me.

With so many choices, skills and endings, the end of one life is just the beginning of the next - with multiple playthroughs built into the game design to allow you to bring all your experiences with you, on a journey to save the colony and the planet.

I know what I'll be doing this bank holiday weekend!

Amazon Prime's free games for September

Mehdi Miah

Hey, guys and gals!

I've got an interesting one this week, seeing as we all seem to love e-commerce, and the majority of people have Amazon Prime. If you're a subscriber, this one relates to you!

Did you know they don't just have films and TV, they also offer free games? And the games aren't just old or boring - I'm talking triple A games!

I'm talking about Assassins Creed: Origins, the one game in the franchise that really switched up the approach to Assassins Creed, and really brought it back to life. But that's not all - you can also get an unreal game, Middle Earth: Shadow of War! Something I've been dying to get around to playing and never have!

Shadow of War being free is perfectly timed, as Amazon's The Rings Of Power TV series is releasing next month (which I personally cant wait for!).

This latest selection of games will be available in September before being replaced by something else next month, so if you want to claim them, better get to it, or mark it down!

And while you're at it, it's also worth checking what other gaming benefits your Prime account offers you every month - there's free loot and content on a variety of games. Defo worth a check out!

New Hogwarts Legacy trailer arrives

Pete Keating

It was nice that they put Gamescom on for my birthday on Tuesday [Editor's note: Happy birthday Pete! 🎈] and even better that it featured a gameplay trailer of Hogwarts Legacy. This trailer has a focus on the dark arts, showing that players have a choice between performing dark magic or having it being cast against them.

The clip shows players investigating the roots of Salazar Slytherin, during which they end up learning dark magic and engaging in combat with trolls and lots of zombies. I was very fortunate to receive a pre-order of the game for my birthday, so I will definitely be a fully fledged Wizard on 10th February next year.

Other Stuff

Troubled Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Remake moves to new studio.

Sony reveals new customisable PS5 controller.

Remedy announces they are making Alan Wake 2. (Wait. Didn't they already do that? 🤔) 

More Etch Play

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