Some additional information in one line
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.

As always, it's been a busy old month in the world of videogames. Far too much to cram into one roundup post of course, but we've done our best to pick out a few of the big stories for you and let you know what we've been playing!  

Remake Culture

Adam Burt

If this quarter of gaming in 2023 is remembered for anything, it will surely be known as "the months with all the nostalgia". In the space of just a few months, we've seen remasters and remakes of Metroid Prime, Dead Space, and now Resident Evil 4. And all of them have been received incredibly well, and loved by both critics and audiences alike.

In fact, according to Metacritic, these re-runs are the absolute best things that the gaming industry has to offer right now - across all versions, these titles take up 5 of the top 10 highest rated games of the year, and 4 more are 'enhanced' re-releases of older titles like The Witcher, Tetris Effect: Connected, and Persona 4.

What's going on here? Have we run out of original ideas? Well, not exactly. There are more games made now, in more genres and with more variety, than we've ever known. But it is fair to say that the big companies that dominate gaming are often risk-averse, and revisiting an old favourite makes a lot of business sense.

Good game design, particularly original game design, is hard. Marketing games, particularly original ones, is hard. And now perhaps more than ever, audiences of gradually aging gamers are clamouring for the titles of yesteryear - albeit preferably with a shiny new coat of paint.

This trend is set to continue too - Silent Hill 2, Splinter Cell, Max Payne, and many more are all set to receive remakes in the years ahead.

Project Zomboid

Ben Gammon

Recently, I’ve been playing Project Zomboid, a zombie survival RPG from developer The Indie Stone.

Project Zomboid is a hardcore zombie survival game with a focus on realistic survival. It is set in the post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested exclusion zone of the fictional Knox County, Kentucky, where the player is challenged to survive for as long as possible before inevitably dying.

The game is praised for its realistic and challenging gameplay, as well as its deep and customizable sandbox mode. Players can choose to play as a variety of characters with different skills and abilities, and they can customize their experience by adjusting the game’s settings to their liking.

The game includes a tutorial mode that covers the basics but the learning curve is steep. I’ve always thought that I would do ok in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but Project Zomboid has made me have serious doubts about that.

If you’re a fan of zombies and survival games, you should definitely give it a go. Just don’t expect it to be easy…


Diablo 4 

Taya B

As a fan of the Diablo franchise since Diablo 2 days, I was super excited to play the Diablo 4 open beta last weekend!

If you're not familiar with the games, suffice it to say that there's ongoing wars between heaven and hell, which mortals are caught up in and it's all very epic and dark and poignant. But really, what I love about the games (apart from the super cool outfits) is taking on waves and waves of demons and monsters and reducing them to giblets with awesome, powerful spells, attacks and weapons. The satisfaction of levelling up your character and getting better gear to then take on bigger and badder groups of enemies is second-to-none.

In the demo I played as the sorcerer class (and a tiny bit of the necromancer) who mostly used lightning abilities - zapping monsters near and far with chain lightning while safe behind an ice shield - it was a LOT of fun. The core mechanics of the game are still there as you expect and they're just as satisfying - and the addition of the character creator and multiplayer world give it a different flavour which is fun to try out.

Along with the gameplay - the music and cinematics need to be called out. Everything in 4 feels darker, more macabre, than before and going down into grisly dungeons accompanied by gothic music really makes you feel like you're stepping down into hell itself.

The Diablo Twitter account shared some cool stats from the beta - 26 BILLION monsters slayed?! I'm looking forward to diving back in June when the full game releases 😈

E3 Cancelled

Pete Keating

Yesterday it was announced that sadly this year's E3 expo has been cancelled. The 4 day event was due to be held in Los Angeles between June 13th to the 16th.

This cancellation has not come as a surprise to fans after most of the major publishers like Sony, Microsoft & Nintendo decided they would not be showcasing at the event. This week, Ubisoft followed suit announcing they also wouldn't be attending the event in favour of holding their own event named Ubisoft Forward Live, controversially also in Los Angeles the day before E3 was due to start. Like Ubisoft, Microsoft are also hosting their own Xbox Games Showcase on June 11th.

With the publishers now hosting their own events could this be the end for the prestigious E3 event? ReedPop, the company producing E3 said in a statement that they would continue to work with the ESA on future events, however with the major publishers going their own direction it may be that E3 needs to also pivot.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Mehdi Miah

Team Ninja are back with another banger. It's safe to say they know how to make a souls like game. A good one at that. But boy did they deliver with Nioh 2 back in 2020 and the recent remaster.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is an action roleplaying game (RPG) from Team Ninja that takes place during China's Three Kingdoms period of history. The game is built upon well-established Soulslike mechanics, linear mission-based progression, and a focus on hoarding loot. Players who are familiar with the developer's previous RPG franchise, Nioh, will find that Wo Long bears a striking resemblance to it.

One of the game's strongest aspects is its combat system, which is heavily inspired by FromSoftware's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The game's Spirit Gauge system is particularly noteworthy, as it rewards players for precise deflections while punishing them for overusing blocks, dodges, and attacks. The martial arts abilities, which are tied to the equipped weapon, and spells complement the hacking and slashing. However, using them lowers a substantial amount of the Spirit Gauge at the cost of performing a more powerful ability. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game's already complex combat system.

The game's boss battles are also impressive, providing players with extensive and exhilarating showdowns, each with their own distinct tricks. This offsets potential battle repetition that would otherwise set in from the game's frequent recycling of other enemy types.

This is definitely a game to look out for, and if you're a souls type of gamer, this is a new challenge for you.


Microsoft and Activision Blizzard

Ben Joy

Perhaps the biggest "will they, won't they" of our generation continues to be a major talking point in the world of videogames. It feels like we've been talking about this forever, but perhaps we are nearing the deal finally being officially done.

This month the CMA have now stated that Microsoft's proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard "will not result in a substantial lessening of competition". However, it should be noted that these are provisional findings, so the finish line has not yet been crossed. 

There has been months upon months of back and forth on whether this deal would be a nett negative for the world of videogames, with Microsoft holding too much ownership. With naturally one of the largest dissenting voices coming from Sony. It did previously look like it was swinging that way as the final decision, but these updated provisional findings will certainly buoy the feelings over at the two companies hoping to get this deal through. 

When we first spoke about this on the Etch Play live show, I believe we were mostly of the opinion that we thought this deal would eventually go through. I think it likely still will. However, with what we've seen in this saga so far, I don't think anyone will be counting their chickens just yet!

In other news, in March, I attended this year's WASD event and had a great time checking out a bunch of cool games, catching up with old friends, and making a few new ones. I especially enjoyed getting a close up look at people enjoying the soon to be released Dead Island 2, having been working with the Deep Silver team on it for a long time now. And of course I had to get a cheesy photo with the massive key art banner!

FsiYmXVXgAAK1Y_ (1)

More Etch Play

If you enjoyed this roundup, why not check out the rest of our blog for previous editions and plenty of articles full of game marketing tips. If video is more your style then head over to the Etch Play YouTube channel where you'll find industry interviews, marketing discussions and gameplay. 

Popular Views

Competitive tagging: How to actually use the best Twitter hashtags
Marketing a videogame? Looking for help with hashtags? You've come to the right place. Tagging can be a powerful tool for discovery, reach, and..
Read More
Why a creative mindset is important for business success
Creativity (the intangible kind) can be a potent and powerful force for your business – but only when wielded correctly.
Read More
The State of Games: Spending, the post-pandemic era, and what to do now
In March 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns came into effect in the UK. It was the start of a very long story, which in many ways is still being written, and..
Read More

Recent News

Roundup: Xbox Leaks, Magic Farms
Oh, hi! As you might expect, we're all playing some of the massive games that have come out over the last month or two, but that doesn't mean there..
Read More