Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Written By: Max Mitchelson
Welcome to the Weekly Gaming Round-Up!
Gaming news slowed down since last week, as Gamestop stocks have left the headlines, but along with a slew of earnings reports came some big news. Google has closed its internal game studios for Stadia after not producing a single game; new details on the Mass Effect remastered trilogy emerge, and Activision is cracking down on Call of Duty: Warzone cheaters.
Square Enix touts good sales figures despite the huge flop Marvel's Avengers, and we might maybe possibly see a new Silent Hill game announced this summer.
Monday, Feb. 1
It’s been a little over a year since Google Stadia launched, and on Monday, Google announced in a statement that it is closing its two internal game studios for the platform.
Both studios had yet to release a game, adding too many users discontent with the platform. While many see this as the beginning of the end for the platform, some fans argue otherwise.
Twitter user Darth Stadia said, “While this is a loss, Stadia has had more traction with 3rd party games, so by investing more time into getting great ports, they will most likely increase their sales and user base [edited for clarity]."
As for the future of the platform, Google stated, “In 2021, we’re expanding our efforts to help game developers and publishers take advantage of our platform technology.”
Tuesday, Feb. 2
New details on the Mass Effect remastered trilogy were released by press outlets, including the trilogy’s new 4K and HDR support, upgraded textures and assets, and much more.
The remastered games were shown off in hands-off remote presentation to the press in January, according to Polygon. While the new remastered games do not offer any previously cut content or changed storylines, they all offer significant visual upgrades, partially through AI resolution upscaling.
“We really stayed true to everything that you would remember in your mind’s eye like your nostalgia of the game had to be consistent,” said project director Marc Walters, according to Polygon.
Load times are much faster across all games, and significant gameplay changes have been made to the first game to bring it in line with the rest of the series. Changes include controller support, weapon rebalancing, boss encounters, and the removal of class restrictions on weapons.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Tuesday night, Activision announced in a blog post that it had banned 60,000 Call of Duty Warzone accounts for using cheating software that day.
This effort comes shortly after two popular streamers, Vikkstar and Nickmercs, decided to stop playing the game due to frequent encounters with hackers and cheaters. The issue has long plagued the game, and many players on non-pc platforms have taken disabling crossplay.
In the statement, Activision said, “We are committed to delivering a fair and fun experience for all players. This is a dedicated focus for our security, enforcement, and technology teams.”
Since its launch, Activision has issued 300,000 permabans for cheating worldwide. The team has taken actions to reduce cheating through two-factor authentication, in-game reporting mechanisms, enhancements to existing anti-cheat software, and more.
Thursday, Feb. 4
Despite operating at a loss for the past two quarters, Square Enix has seen its operating income rise by 47 percent, according to the latest earnings report.
Due to the poor launch of Marvel’s Avengers in the third quarter, sales at the publisher and developer slumped at the end of 2020. But strong releases like the Final Fantasy VII Remake performed very well in the first quarter, and Square Enix saw net sales that were double even its best quarter in 2019.
COVID-19 devastated Square Enix’s amusement and arcade business in the first quarter of 2020, but by the third quarter, the division started to rebound despite closures. Sales from Mobile and browser games like Dragon Quest Walk, Final Fantasy Brave Exvisus, and Dragon Quest Tact saw a steady rise with a spike in the third quarter.
Overall, despite the huge loss over Marvel’s Avengers, Square Enix appears to be doing well.
Friday, Feb. 5th
Last night in a video interview with Alhub, Akira Yamaoka, acclaimed Silent Hill Composer, appears to have teased a new Silent Hill game. Shortly after, Alhub was asked to remove the clip in question.
It’s been almost nine years since the last mainline Silent Hill game, not including the canceled Silent Hills reboot, and interest has been reaching a boiling point from new and old fans. Konami has consistently denied rumors of a new entry in the series, despite sources leaking otherwise.
In the interview, Yamaoka mentioned he was working on a new project and said, “I think it's the one you're hoping to hear about."
With the recent re-release of Silent Hill 4: The Room on GOG and numerous cross-over events, a new game or possibly just a series of re-releases to make the older games available on current platforms does not seem out of the question.
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