Normally, I would share with you something interesting, or strange, or funny that I’ve encountered over the course of the past few days. This week, I cannot do that. This week has been illuminating and horrifying. Protests have occurred around the world, condemning the tragic death of George Floyd and the subjugation of black people within racist institutions. Every day, photos, videos, and stories of injustice come to the fore, and with this momentum, we will be able to change the system and create a brighter future.
Donations to causes that are actively resisting police brutality and racial injustice will give them the means to secure resources and continue the fight. In the U.S., there are a collection of national organisations to which you can donate to:
Additionally, there are GoFundMes for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubrey’s families, to support them in their grief. Darnella Frazier filmed the death of George Floyd, and there is also a GoFundMe to enable her to get counselling for what she witnessed. Act Blue has an initiative that will split your donation between more than 70 community bail funds to help protestors who may not have the funds to bail themselves out. Alternatively, The Bail Project is a nonprofit organisation with the aim to decrease incarceration rates through bail reform. The Mutual Aid Document has collected a lot of fundraisers from around the U.S., and supply links to fundraisers that will directly help protestors buy protective gear like face masks and medical kits.
If a monetary donation is not an option, play the above video on YouTube without skipping the ads, and click repeat when it’s over. This video features music, poetry, and art from black artists, and the generated ad revenue will go directly to charities aiding those affected by recent events.
Here’s what happened in the video game industry this week:
With regards to the price of the next-generation product, Sony hasn’t been especially forthcoming. Rumours claim that the costly components of the console will ramp up the price of the PlayStation 5, and production will be pared down as a result. In a recent interview, CEO and president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan explained that the price will be determined by “best possible value proposition.” He continued to state that this proposal doesn’t mean the lowest price possible. “Value is a combination of many things. In our area it means games, it means number of games, depth of games, breadth of games, quality of games, price of games… all of these things and how they avail themselves of the feature set of the platform,” he concluded.
“We’ve already crossed the line where we’re not losing any money and, including the return of development costs, it’s a figure that I can say is a “success,” said Hideo Kojima in an interview with Livedoor News. “We’ll be releasing the PC version of Death Stranding going forward, and we’ve secured as much profit as possible in preparation for what’s next, so don’t worry.” Well, what is next? The auteur spoke of experimenting with anime and movies, and smaller episodic games, but it turns out that his most recent pitch was turned down. It’s “something that happens often in this industry,” even to those who wrote Metal Gear Solid.
This makes this fiscal year the second most lucrative year in the company’s history. It’s evident that Pokémon Sword & Shield contributed significantly to the astronomical profit, and it is clear that Pokémon Go continues to churn out coins with its strong player base. Even with lockdowns in place all over the world, the game earned $23 million in player spending in March. Pokémon Sword & Shield will also get its The Isle of Armor expansion on June 17, which will add around 100 new Pokémon to the game.
“As a smaller indie studio, it had been challenging for us to carry the project on our own. We believe Tencent’s deep capabilities and expertise as a leading game company will bring the franchise to new heights,” explained OtherSide Entertainment vice president of marketing and business development Walter Somol. Though this was good news for the future of System Shock 3, it wasn’t clear whether the development would be led solely by Tencent Holdings. “We are still involved, but we can’t speak on it much further than that at this point in time,” clarified OtherSide Entertainment community manager Alyssa Marshall. “As we are allowed to make more information public, we will do so.” Furthermore, Tencent Holdings does not have the rights to System Shock, as they still belong to Nightdive Studios, and it is only taking over the license from OtherSide Entertainment.
Sega celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and its ingenious new cloud gaming service is set to change how classic arcades operate in Japan. Arcade machines will be outfitted with next-generation system boards, which will bring the “cloud” closer to the arcade machines, like a “fog.” As a result, the machines will become cloud computers, and latency issues will become non-existent. That’s the pitch, at least. These next-generation system boards will be developed and finalised in the next year, so watch this space.
It’s 2020, and two new items of Epic Mickey merchandise have been spotted online. The first game released in 2010 for the Nintendo Wii, and though it built a promising foundation, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two was a commercial failure. So, why have we found an Epic Mickey hoodie sporting what looks like a new render of the character? There are rumours that developer PlayMagic—the studio behind the XIII remake—is working on a "unannounced remaster" of a Disney IP. Though the second game left a sour taste in players’ mouths, the first game has a dedicated fanbase who would love to see the game revived.
“Obviously everyone knows Konami, we have studios and teams in Japan, we have many well-known, well-loved IPs,” said senior European brand and business development manager Richard Jones to GamesIndustry. biz. “They’re all being managed and looked after by our studios in Japan, and what we’re looking for is complementary titles, to build the portfolio with things that perhaps [are] new to Konami—Western titles for Western audiences.” The first of these ventures is Skelattack, which is a toony dungeon-defender in which the invading humans seek to steal the power source of the spooky town, Aftervale.
Buckle in, because this story goes at breakneck speed. In December 2019, Star Theory Games was working on Kerbal Space Program 2, when its employees received a message from Michael Cook (executive producer for Private Division) through LinkedIn. The message announced that Star Theory Games was no longer in charge of the game, and it had been taken over by Take-Two Interactive. “This was an incredibly difficult decision for us to make, but it became necessary when we felt business circumstances might compromise the development, execution and integrity of the game,” read the message from Cook. “To that end, we encourage you to apply for a position with us.” A handful of employees did take the company up on its offer, and the remainder began to brainstorm new game pitches to present at GDC 2020 in March. Unfortunately, GDC 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, and Star Theory Games has shut down because no other opportunities arose.
When contacted, Take-Two Interactive supplied this statement to GamesIndustry.biz: “Private Division opened our own studio, Intercept Games, to bring the development of Kerbal Space Program 2 for our beloved and owned KSP franchise in-house. In doing so, we are empowering our deeply passionate and talented team to focus on quality, and we are thrilled with the progress that they are making on the game.”