Episode 27 – Activision/Blizzard lays off Staff, Nintendo Direct news

recorded on 2019-02-15

Activision-Blizzard lays off 8% of total staff resulting in about 800 employees losing their jobs (Kotaku)
The layoffs only affects non game dev departments hitting publishing and esports hardest
The company plans to focus more on existing franchises increasing dev teams by 20%
This is after the new CFO received a $15M signing bonus right out of the gate
This is after an earnings call in which the CEO stated 2018 financial results were best in history
Hiring for “several Diablo projects”

Nintendo Direct took place on Wednesday and some notable things were announced (Nintendo)
Super Mario Maker 2 coming June 2019
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order this Summer
Smash Bros Ultimate version 3.0 coming soon, first DLC character Joker coming by end of April
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night coming this Summer……looks very cool

Fire Emblem: Three Houses -> July 26
Dead by Daylight releases in the Fall

Tetris 99 is available now, play against 98 other players to see who lasts the longest
Deltarune, new game by dev of Undertale, launch chapter 1 on Feb 28 w/ more in development
Grid Autosport available this Summer…..looks like a cool racing game
Helblade: Senua’s Sacrifice makes a very surprising appearance on Switch, coming this Spring
Mortal Kombat 11 releases on Switch April 23
Unravel two is available March 22…..looks like a very cool fun co-op game
Astral Chain, new action hack and slash from Platinum Games, due out October 30…looks cool
Under the supervision of one of the creators of Bayonetta
Directed by one of the producers of Nier: Automata
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening releasing sometime this year…..looks cool
Final Fantasy IX out for Switch & Final Fantasy VII will release on Switch on March 26 (Nintendo)

Little Bits

Dice Awards happened Wednesday night in Vegas and God of War takes home the most awards:
God of War wins 9 of 11 awards it was nominated for including:

Game of the Year
Best in Game Design
Best in Game Direction
Best in Art Direction
Adventure Game of the Year
Best in Original Music Composition
Best in Sound Design
Best in Story
Best Achievement in Character = Kratos

Best in Animation= Spider-Man
Best Technical Achievement= Red Dead Redemption 2
Action Game of the Year= Celeste……wrong! There is no combat in Celeste\
Fighting Game of the Year= Smash Bros Ultimate
RPG of the Year= Monster Hunter: World

Best Indie Game= Celeste
Best Online Game= Fortnite

Crackdown 3’s Wrecking Zone Multiplayer mode not playable with friends at launch (GameSpot)
“No. Wrecking Zone does not support parties and will not at launch.” via MSFT Crackdown

Fortnite Season 8 launches on Feb 28 with upcoming map changes and more (VG24/7)
Dataminers have found files relating to an earthquake so maybe the map with be in pieces

Red Dead 2 online is getting a content anti-griefing and fix update Feb 26 addressing multiple things (GameSpot)

New law and bounty system
Mini-map changes
Weapon changes
Player blips on map

Bethesda’s Rage 2 deluxe edition grants easy access to XP boosters and cheat codes (Laymen Gaming)
The Wasteland Wizard gives player access to the XP boosters and cheat codes in the game
Difference is that deluxe edition gives you required stuff for the Wizard rather than searching
XP booster is basically an easy mode and a way to skip the boring stuff, just don’t have it instead

Obsidian’s new “The Outer Worlds” RPG will not be as long as you may think (IGN)
co-directors Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarksy want to be transparent about the length of the game and how it may not align with some expectations.
They dub it a “reactive RPG” rather than a huge open-world one but they still stand behind it and believe their fans will still love it.
Cain – “People are speculating, like, hundreds of hours of gameplay…and no”
Boyarksy – “…roughly the size of KOTOR 2, maybe a little smaller”
15-40 hours is a reasonable guess but replayability is the focus

Activision comments on the parting with Bungie. (Gamesradar)
Chief Operating Officer Coddy Johnson – “[Destiny 2] was not meeting [Activision’s] financial expectations” the franchise “would not have been a material contributor to operating income to our business”
Continues….”[Activision] had internal resources supplementing Bungie’s work, and that means that [the studio was] tying up one of our scarcest resources, which is development time, which now will be freed up after a short transition period.”
Then says…”[Bungie] gets to focus on the IP that they created, and we get to focus on our biggest opportunities and on our biggest franchises with our best resources.”
Xbox One X next system update will increase 4k rendering and performance across the board

Apex Legends to support single and duo modes in the future; 25 million players in 7 days (PCGamer)

Hollow Knight Silksong revealed yesterday as sequel to Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)…..looks very cool

Rocket League cross-play update goes live Feb 19; cross-plat friends and parties included (Engadget)

The Xbox Adaptive Controller package innovative design will be used by other companies (Forbes)

The Division 2 open beta incoming soon per a dev that let news slip during private beta stream (Variety)

Anthem got a short film helmed by Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9, that aired on Feb 14 (Forbes)

Smite Patch 6.1 brings cross-plat play and progression to Xbox, Switch, and PC not Playstation (VG24/7)

CAPCOM released tons of game soundtracks on Spotify some DMC, Mega Man, and more (DualShockers)

CAPCOM launches online store, since 2008, can buy stuff for games + pre-order future games (CAPCOM)
Buying merch will come later and there will also be a membership to sign up for

Fallout 76 glitch traps players in sealed-off vault FULL of unreleased content (Gamesradar)
Vault 63 (unaccessible vault) – some players got trapped in the vault while doing an event. Found unreleased content inside the vault

Upcoming Releases and Deals

Games that are out today are listed below with scores from MetaCritic:

Crackdown 3 (score=60)
Far Cry: New Dawn (score=73)
Jump Force (score=62)
2k publisher weekend sale on steam
Metro Exodus (score=84)
NBA 2K 19 is free to play until Sunday
Rainbow Six Siege free 2 play til Sunday

Rumor Mill

Ubisoft filed a patent under the Watch Dogs franchise; this has sparked interest in possible next-gen title

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