Checkpoint #13: A Halo of Disintegration
A Disintegration trailer, Grand Theft Auto 6 omens, World of Warcraft Classic queue problems, an indie Switch title avalanche, and a Pokémon Go multiboxer
Welcome back to Checkpoint!
There’s plenty to cover this week: news has poured out of Gamescom’s opening night, a Nintendo indie games event, a Stadia update, and even a highway-dwelling Pokémon Go addict.
You’re here because you want it straight, so let's get into it.
A Halo of Disintegration
PC gaming and cross-platform titles
Will we hear some Grand Theft Auto 6 news soon? Looks like Rockstar has something to announce: they’ve removed the Read Dead Redemption 2 banner from Rockstar North — traditionally a sign that an announcement is coming.
If you’ve reserved a character on World of Warcraft Classic’s Herod realm, you’re not the only one — and Blizzard is asking you to switch or suffer five-figure login queues.
Nvidia demonstrated ray tracing in a number of major upcoming titles this week, including Modern Warfare, Watch Dogs Legion, and Dying Light 2. And even though Minecraft’s Super Duper Graphics Pack has been canned, the game is getting a visual upgrade in the form of ray tracing support — and it looks surprisingly good.
The Epic Games Store has received some welcome updates. Another batch of games supports cloud saves, but more interestingly, a Humble Bundle integration means you can add games to your library with a single click. No more fluffing about with keys.
An indie open-world role-playing game, The Falconeer, has been announced for PC and it involves dogfighting falcons. Are we in or are we in?
Remember Comanche? It’s getting a reboot in the form of an online multiplayer helicopter shooter. That’s another big yes from me.
Here’s a bit of Burst Fire, which is just my fancy way of saying odds and ends:
Hot as Hell
Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news
Nintendo held a huge Indie World Showcase at Gamescom, announcing a heap of titles coming over to the Switch. A few of the highlights: Ori and the Blind Forest, the Hotline Miami collection, and Superhot. See all 29 releases here.
Microsoft is contradicting last week’s story that more of its first-party titles would become cross-platform. Sony has noticed the opportunity, and is suggesting that some of its own first-party titles may not be PlayStation exclusives in the future. Speaking of: a Death Stranding trailer and new game details were announced at Gamescom.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is getting crossplay between Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and it launches in early October.
Oh, and a bunch of excellent titles are hitting your Xbox Game Pass subscription this month, including Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Devil May Cry 5, Stellaris, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and Blair Witch.
Cloud 9 or 2029?
VR, AR, streaming, and other emerging tech
Xbox chief Phil Spencer says game streaming via the cloud is years and years away from becoming mainstream.
But that’s not stopping Google, who have signed up a Stadia timed exclusive: Orcs Must Die 3 — a game that apparently wouldn’t be getting made were it not for Google, before you get up in exclusivity arms.
Google also announced a raft of not-so-exclusive games coming to Stadia, including Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs Legion, Superhot and the Destroy All Humans remake.
Meanwhile, Crytek have integrated full-body haptics features into CRYENGINE. Given the number of people who own a Teslasuit, this is more theoretically interesting than anything, but it’s exciting to think about what gaming could look like ten years from now.
You Grind My Gears
Mobile gaming news
An update to PUBG Mobilehas added a new Infection Mode, playable zombies, a new character system, and more.
Gaming culture, industry, and miscellanea
After Bohemia Interactive sanitized the presence of marijuana from DayZ’s unused files, the terrible people of the Australian Classifications Board have unbanned the game. But they’ve just refused classification — an effective ban — for a Rockstar Games title called ‘Bonaire’, which seems like it could be Red Dead Online content.
Departures: Halo Infinite creative director Tim Longo has left 343 industries a year ahead of the game’s launch. Anthem lead producer Ben Irving has left BioWare. And over 100 GameStop staff, including half of Game Informer’s staff, have been laid off.
Acquisitions: THQ Nordic has acquired Milestone (SBK, MotoGP, World Rally Championship), Gunfire (Darksiders II and III), and more. Sony has acquired Insomniac Games (Marvel’s Spiderman, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance).
That’s it for this edition.
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