GDC Goes Digital & Fortnite 2020 Cup Cancelled

Enthusiasts behind the video game industry were hoping that the 2020 Summer Edition of the Game Developers Conference would support attendees. This follows after the initial venue was terminated in March, protecting civilians and workforces from the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers with the GDC had hoped that pandemic conditions would lighten before their summer venue, with social distancing measures and travel restrictions now looking to extend their enforcement worldwide. This prompted GDC Organizers to implement a Digital-Exclusive Format for the upcoming venues. PR Representatives clarified that organizers are working 24/7 to create a versatile and exciting environment for anybody wanting to participate in their live streams.

It should be mentioned that the Game Developers Conference has never been held during the summer. This marks the 1st time ever after the Mid-March venue was forced to cancel their operations. Multiple other game conferences followed GDC Organizers in America. That includes PAX East in New Jersey and E3 2020 in Los Angeles. PAX East wasn’t able to alternate their schedule or limit revenue losses, with the virus breaking out days before the event was slated to begin.

Fortnite Announces Cancelled Championship

Speaking about cancellations in the video game community, it was recently confirmed that the “Fortnite World Cup” won’t be held this summer. Epic Games announced their social media communities, stressing that cancellations followed after the COVID-19 pandemic remain an ongoing global issue. Fortnite’s World Cup sees millions of gamers from various locations entering a stadium facility to watch the series unfold. It’d prompt an increase in transmission, confirmed infections, and death. PR Representatives noted that the series would return in 2021 with updated enhancements and services to players/attendees.

It was also confirmed that the 2020 Call of Duty League Championships is cancelled. It’s expected that all In-Person Competitions with eSports will be postponed or cancelled until January 2021. We’ll provide our readers with any updates regarding a revised or rescheduled tournament from Epic Games with Fortnite, as loyalists are deserving of their world cup. Those interested in playing this game can install it on mobile handsets and video game consoles today.

 

Nintendo Switch Returns to Costco Briefly

Millions of gamers worldwide have clamoured for their opportunity to obtain a Nintendo Switch. It’s unlike any console available on the market, supporting multiple iterations of usage through hybrid technologies. You can assemble the Nintendo Switch as a handheld console with television support. There’s also a tablet mode featured, where consumers can place the Switch on their tables and play via the controller. The popularity behind this handset has increased recently with the releases of Pokemon Sword and Shield, with this extending towards Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The downfall to wanting a Nintendo Switch is the lack of availability. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic fluctuated daily manufacturing of this console, product availability was limited because of its incredible popularity. Those product inventory limitations have extended tenfold since the epidemic broke out worldwide, with Nintendo cancelling manufacturing of the Switch & Switch Lite across Asia. Manufacturing operations in North and Central America will continue, with shipped consoles dropping by 73% in comparison to reasonable valuations.

The Costco Bundle

Some retail companies are receiving minor influxes of the Nintendo Switch, with the 1st being Costco – America Division. They provided consumers with a specialized bundle for an additional $50.00 on the original $300.00 price tag for the Switch. Those lucky enough to purchase the Switch received a 128gb Micro SD Card, 12 Months of Nintendo Live, a Screen Protector and Carrying Pouch. Obtaining this specialized bundle saved consumed $100.00 in additional funds, with products that are somewhat required when purchasing a Nintendo Switch.

What made this bundle special is the limited availability and access to consumers. Individuals were required to have a Costco Membership, which had to be registered online. Those not already customers with this retail chain would’ve spent an additional $50.00 obtaining a membership. The limited stock sold-out within two hours, marking one of the fastest product sell-offs in Costco history. Those lucky enough to get this bundle won’t receive it until April 24th to 30th. Costco recommended purchasing games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokemon Sword, Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong. It should be noted that new titles with the Nintendo Switch cost $60.00.

 

Naughty Dog Announces Delay for TLOU2

PlayStation Enthusiasts were shocked and disappointed to learn that “The Last of Us: Part II” is being delayed until further notice. This follows after the initial launch date of February 21st, 2020, was moved back to May 29th, 2020. Developers behind this title had already completed production and were finishing the final touches. It’s prompted numerous fans to claim the unnecessary need of delaying this title. Gaming analysts now speculate that TLOU2 could be delayed by six months. Some are stating that it won’t be released until the PlayStation 5 this holiday season. That’d mean waiting an additional nine months for this title to be released.

Representatives with the Sony Company and Naughty Dog provided insight onto their decision. It was expressed that logistical challenges will prevent a consistent and reliable launch experience. Many gaming companies like Sony are struggling to reach production volumes on Disc & Cartridge Manufacturing. Similar challenging is following onto the Last of Us Part II, which funny enough centres around the United States of America that have been ravaged by a Zombie pandemic.

Financial analysts believe the genuine reason for preventing the release date is their subject matter. Numerous consumers would feel off-put by the concept of experiencing a brutalized America that’s been ravaged by Zombies. Pandemic shelters are set up across the USA in this game, with identical recreations of cities and rural neighbourhoods. The eeriness with exploring the Last of Us Part II is already intense. COVID-19 would make it that much more anxiety-filled. Sony could be concerned about a potential fallout of sales, with new consumers unaware of this franchise possibly being unwilling to purchase the title.

Self-Isolated Employees

Another element that could be forcing the delay of “The Last of Us Part II” is the self-isolation of Naughty Dog developers. Employees were informed to remain home and practice social distancing until the pandemic period is over. Finishing the final touches on this title has become harder, with developers having to communicate through Zoom or Skype. Delayed internet connections have made reaching co-workers a lengthy process. When accounting for the internet connections required from their development program, it’s easy to understand why Naughty Dog wouldn’t have the capabilities to finish the final touches.

 

Star Wars: Project Maverick Unintentionally Revealed

Electronic Arts have publicly expressed their announcement with the PlayStation Company. This follows after a group of hackers datamined the PlayStation Store Listings, which revealed that a Star Wars game is being developers by Electronic Arts. Information regarding this game is limited but was revealed through the PSN Releases Twitter Account. Sony and Electronic Arts both claim that after these hackers datamined this information, they prompted the Bot Twitter Account to release tweets regarding “Star Wars: Project Maverick”.

When looking through the datamined information, it’s noted that this game is listed as Maverick. However, limited details surrounding this title and leaked artwork provide insight onto this new title. It’s centred around a group of starfighters in X-Wings, which are attacking a group of Imperial Star Destroys. This indicates that the game takes place during the original trilogy, with the selected location being taken from the prequel Star Wars trilogy. This location includes Mustafar, which is the volcanic planet that became a sanctuary for Sith Lords and Darth Vader. It was initially seen in Revenge of the Sith, with the location returning multiple times throughout animated series and video game adaptations.

It should be noted that a recent report from Kotaku doubles down on this theory, with Electronic Arts having two Star Wars titles currently in development. It’s known that one of these games is a direct sequel to Respawn Studios Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. The secondary title has limited information surrounding it, with Electronic Arts only confirming that it’s smaller than the standard Star Wars game and is being created by Motive Studios. Considering that Star Wars: Project Maverick has a singular level; it’s expected that this is the secondary title.

Rumoured Virtual Reality

Star Wars: Project Maverick is more than likely a virtual reality game, marking it the second in a series of VR titles from Disney. It’d be the best format for this title and its singular level, with this often being the case with Virtual Reality games. Consumers of this title would have the capability to fly over Mustafar with an X-Wing, destroying the Galactic Senate with their Star Destroyers. Individuals close with EA have stated that the 2020 Star Wars games will be unlike anything anyone has seen before.

 

Call of Duty Zombies Creator Departs from Treyarch

Supporters behind the Call of Duty franchise were shocked to learn that one of the most influential creators of this series is departing from his role. Treyarch Studios announced that Jason Blundell would be leaving his position. This man is the individual who created the infamous Zombies Mode, with Jason noting that the last thirteen years have been action-packed and that his time with Treyarch was a privilege. Blundell is leaving this well-known studio to move onto a variety of other projects. It’s expected that whatever the Zombies creator does next will be horror-related.

Jason Blundell first began his career with Treyarch Studios under Call of Duty Three. He’d eventually become associated with the zombie’s mode after assisting with the creation of four maps for “World at War”. His influence on this special mode extended to the last four iterations of Zombies under the Black Ops series. Jason would even aid with developing this mode with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and World War Two. These accomplishments allowed for Jason Blundell to become the Co-Head of Treyarch by 2016. It’s anticipated that Jason leads the production behind Black Ops Fives – Zombie Mode.

Black Ops 5 Details

After Activision confirmed that Call of Duty would return throughout the 2020 fiscal year, it was immediately rumoured that the next game is being developed by Treyarch and will stand at the 5th entry into the Black Ops franchise. This wouldn’t be surprising considering Treyarch has posted multiple development roles over the last twelve months. Details regarding the new title have been minimal, with rumours from notable sources providing some insight into the storyline and setting.

Rumours indicate that the latest Black Ops title will be set between the Vietnam, Korea and Cold Wars. It’d mark three new locations for the Call of Duty franchise, which hasn’t found itself in new historical settings for a prolonged period. This means fans of the Black Ops franchise would travel throughs periods again, ranging from the 1950s to 70s. It’s rumoured that the most prominent aspect of the storyline will centre around the Korean War, which saw the North invade into the South. Eventually, international aid was provided, which is where the Black Ops Units will come into effect. These rumours also indicate that this will be the most gritty and gruesome Call of Duty to date.

 

Saber Interactive Purchased by THQ Nordic

It was an incredible run for Saber Interactive as an independent video game studio. After nineteen years of being independently owned, this studio has been purchased by the Embracer Group. This large-scale corporation is the parent company behind THQ Nordic, meaning that Saber Interactive is being absolved into one of the best-known publishers in gaming. As a studio, they’ve developed three notable times. Those include Mud Runner, Snow Runner and World War Z. The later is their most popular, with thousands of copied sold worldwide. It’s expected that the WWZ Game will become a full-fledged series that sees multiple sequels.

The World War Z game received average reviews, with the game providing sub-standard graphics and gameplay that required multiple updates. After more than a year of being available to consumers, it’s become a cult classic game that’s substantially improved upon itself from the initial release. Subsequently, there’s been more than three million units sold, with a large percentage coming from the PC and PlayStation 4. Sales throughout the Xbox One were minimal, were exclusive zombie titles from Microsoft superseding World War Z for potential customer acquisition.

The Embracer Group and THD Nordic confirmed that Saber Interactive would continue to developer titles as a standalone company. This means their respective games will be determined in-house, which almost guarantees a sequel for World War Z. This acquisition allows for the Embracer Group to earn an unidentified percentage of profits from all future games and paid content.

Details regarding the associated cost with this acquisition were provided, with the initial payment listed at $150 million for the various property and gaming assets owned by Saber Interactive. This includes development studios located in Portugal, Spain, Russia, Sweden and Belarus. These details also noted that if Saber Interactive performs to 2020 expectations, the associated cost will increase to $375 million for the Embracer Group. This marks one of the most significant acquisitions for a video game studio in the last ten years.

World War Z Sequel Hinted

The potential sequel for World War Z has been publicly hinted by Mathew Karch, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Saber Interactive. When speaking with investors are the Embracer Group, the CEO mentioned that three of their six development studios are creating plans for a sequel. He expressed to these investors the potential of growth for this brand, with the film’s sequel slated for 2023. It’d be the perfect time for Saber Interactive to release World War Z: The Game – Two. During this earnings meeting, Mathew was provided clearance to begin developing the sequel. This gives Saber Interactive roughly three years to create the second title for this franchise.

 

Tom Holland on Uncharted Movie

Video game enthusiasts have desired new details regarding the Uncharted film for a prolonged period. After much waiting, Tom Holland has provided insight into his thoughts with the upcoming role. The Spider-Man actor has read through the updated script from Sony Pictures, expressing that it’s one of the best scenarios he’s ever witnessed and that it’ll provide an origin story for Nathan Drake.

Tom Holland spoke with reporters at International Gaming News, where he expressed that this film provides an opportunity that moves video game films don’t offer, with that being an origin story outside the PlayStation franchise. He noted that individuals that have played the Uncharted franchise won’t know anything entering the film and that the information acquired will all be new. There are some concerned with his statements though, with some Uncharted supporters wondering if the storyline will become disrupted. Tom Holland also stated: “I read the newest draft of the script on the way over here and it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It jumps off the page.”

The Avengers castmate mentioned that Mark Wahlberg will play an incredible version of Sully and that filming this origin story will be enjoyable. Those following the numerous updates with the Uncharted film know that Mark Wahlberg was initially slated to play Nathan Drake, which was when the storyline centred around an adult version of the main character.

Uncharted History

The Uncharted film has been in development since 2008, losing multiple directors over the last twelve years. Travis Knight was one of the most notable directors attached to this title, with him having to leave after scheduling issues with Tom Holland. It was Ruben Fleischer, the director of Zombieland and Venom that was taken over development responsibilities. He also left the project following creative disputes with Sony, with rumours indicating that Ruben wanted to alter significant aspects of the Uncharted storyline.

Additional directors that were connected to this film include Shawn Levy from the Stanger Things and Dan Trachtenberg from 10 Cloverfield Lane. Both left after experiencing confliction with the executives at Sony. It appears that directors not willing to follow the guidelines implemented by Sony are terminated. Release dates for this upcoming film include March 5th, 2021 for North America and March 7th for an international audience. We will keep our audience updated on when the first trailer is released and when tickets are available for purchase.

 

Electronic Arts Microtransactions Profit

Microtransactions have become one of the most beneficial aspects of gaming in the modern era. Even with the considerable backlash towards Microtransaction purchases, billions are still earned by numerous corporations. This was proven again with the yearly reports released by Electronic Arts this week. During an investment meeting, it was confirmed that billions had been earned via microtransaction services. EA Investors were also surprised to learn that Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order had performed better than anticipated. Throughout the holiday period of December 2019, this company earned $993 million worldwide from their microtransaction offerings. When it applies to yearly earnings, they exceeded $2.835 billion.

This substantial amount isn’t the profits earned by Electronic Arts; it’s merely the yearly revenue and earnings from various products. When it applies to direct benefits, Electronic Arts made $361 million. Microtransactions are confirmed to be one of the most significant aspects of their yearly profits. Most services or products purchased via Microtransactions applied to NHL 2020, FIFA 2020, and Madden 2020. Considering that Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order has limited Microtransaction offerings, most of those sales came from direct copies sold. Electronic Arts anticipated several million copies to be sold worldwide, which exceed expectations by an additional three million. That number could increase by another 1.5 million before the 2019-20 Fiscal Years end.

Unexpected Performers

Electronic Arts confirmed during their investment meeting that Star Wars: Battlefront II had performed significantly better than anticipated. This follows after BF2 has been available since 2017, with most of the renewed interest surrounding “The Rise of Skywalker”. Another unexpected performer for Electronic Arts was Apex Legends, which saw its highest level of player engagement to date. Apex Legends exceeded the popularity of Fortnite, with Electronic Arts earning 5% of all microtransaction sales. Those profits could increase drastically with Apex Legends slated to launch on Mobile Phones and the Nintendo Switch.

This investor meeting also provided some insight into upcoming products from Electronic Arts. It was confirmed during this meeting that another entry in the Battlefield franchise would be released for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation Five. Rumours indicate that this entry could return to the Vietnam and Cold War settings, similar to the Black Ops franchise. Map sizes are anticipated to be 3x the size of current Battlefield 5 multiplayer maps. This would provide an immersive environment similar to the size of Grand Theft Auto 5 or Cyberpunk 2227.

 

New Horror Game Teased by Ninja Theory

Supporters of the video game industry have thoroughly adopted the horror genre. Unfortunately, it’s been rare for developers to design games surrounding the unexpected scares of haunted environments. Fans that love exploring these demonic locations will be happy to hear that Ninja Theory has announced a new title. Named Project: Mara, it’ll be an experimental horror game that pushes the boundaries of what’s mentally capable. Ninja Theory Studios, in their announcement, expressed that this title would have a real-life account of terrifying mentally-disturbing experiences.

Those that have wondered what it’d be like to experience a haunting won’t have to wait much longer. Ninja Theories developmental purpose is to create a grounded, realistic experience that has been taken from the minds of investigated individuals. Confirmations regarding Project: Mar includes the use of one character in a single location. Unexpected individuals in-game will maintain immersive storytelling from other realms. It should be noted that Ninja Theory partnered with Neuroscientists to create the most horrifying game in existence. Multiple medical warnings will be associated with this product.

The Experimental Goals

Video games have never been used for scientific experiments. However, as technology has continuously grown, it’s provided Neuroscientists the tools required to increase their understanding of our brains. Most people associate suffering and pain to physical trauma or diseases. There can also be severe trauma and pain from mental illness, with most individuals suffering from these cases unable to provide sufficient data. Subsequently, Project: Mara will locate gamers willing to be tested against the roughest conditions of fear. This is because fear resembles the same neuro patterns that numerous mental diseases display. By engaging with a world that maintains different rules, the brain immediately goes into a fluctuated state. The readings provided from collected data will inform Mental Health Specialists, Neuroscientists and Video Game Developers, learning the effects of psychosis-assisted environments.

Between the collection of associates working on Project: Mara, this is being called the Insight Initiative. Their ultimate goal is to increase the awareness of mental illness to thousands of individuals worldwide. Project: Mara is being created in the virtual reality element and isn’t recommended for individuals suffering from heart conditions or epilepsy. Anybody interested in learning more about this product is advised to subscribe with the Ninja Theory Studios social media accounts. New updates are provided through the Dreadnought Diaries.

 

ESO Announces Greymoor DLC

The Game Awards Show in December 2019 saw a significant number of announcements for enthusiasts. However, there were also secretive announcements made to a select number of fans. These RPG enthusiasts were instructed not to provide any information regarding that announcement until January 15th. Now that information has been submitted, it was revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online debuted a trailer for their upcoming DLC. Named Greymoor, it’ll put five million players into the Western Skyrim region. This area is plagued by a vampire collective, which has ruled over the territory with a demonic presence. Subsequently, when this downloadable content is released, it’ll end all updates for the Elsweyr DLC.

Zenimax Studios have provided little information regarding the Greymoor DLC. It was confirmed that the storyline would be more gothic than previous downloadable content. However, the confirmation that dragons would return from Elsweyr wasn’t provided. The ending to the Elsweyr DLC aforementioned that players would compete against the dragons again, with the final leader not having being defeated. It’s not known how the Witches, Vampires and Werewolves of Western Skyrim could engage with the dragons. Since Skyrim is the homeland for this formidable beasts, somehow the storyline will explain how the Vampires and Dragons partnered up together.

The Available Dungeons

Elder Scrolls Online has named 2020s next year of instalments, The Dark Heart of Skyrim. It’ll be provided to consumers with four major updates in each quarter, with the first coming in February. Players will be introduced to the Harrowstorm Dungeon DLC, which will be available to individuals that pay for the subscription model with ESO. It’ll also be available to consumers that purchase the expansion directly. The second update will come on May 18th, which is will the Greymoor Storyline will be released. Zenimax Studios confirmed that the prequel storyline for Greymoor would be initiated in the Harrowstorm Dungeon.

Included with the second update will be an additional dungeon, with a newly formatted story zone in ESO. Unfortunately, neither of those upcoming add-ons have been publicly announced by Zenimax. Public cells are also slated to return with the Greymoor DLC. The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor will become the definitive version of ESO, costing consumers upwards of $120.00 for the full package. It’s recommended that when individuals have completed the first chapter, they purchase the subscription package. The association subscript cost is anywhere from $20.00 to $80.00. Experience the full Greymoor Storyline on May 18th, 2020.