Animal Crossing 2021 Events, Earn from Roblox and VR News
Morning, and thank you for reading! Gabe Newell suggests that Steam games could come to consoles, but we all want more Half-life, right? Let’s see what’s in store for this issue of DailyBits.
Today: Roblox is quickly turning into a business opportunity for players too — Paradox apologizes for Europa Universalis IV: Leviathan — We talk to the Streets of Rage 4 developers about what’s next
More Animal Crossing seasonal events
Several popular seasonal events will make an encore in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, such as the May Day Tour that just concluded.
The next big event is Museum Day on May 18th to 31st, which tasks you with collecting a set of stamps from the museum.
Love is in the air: Wedding Season will also return in June, and this year you'll help Reese and Cyrus take some romantic anniversary pictures around the island.
Season's swag: Update 2.0 will include plenty of new seasonal items, so look out for Wedding Season furniture and clothing at Nook Shopping and Able Sisters in June.
What was Santa Monica Studio’s first game called?
c) Calling All Cars
d) Fat Princess
The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.
FACT OF THE DAY
No monster truck for Chuck
Terminal Reality’s Monster Truck Madness 2 was supposed to feature a surprise truck that would be unlocked if you typed CHUCK during a race. Once typed, the game would politely ask you to restart the race.
In a perfect world, you would then get to “drive Chuck’s Car,”, but those pesky lawyers intervened, and the car was removed to avoid provoking Chevrolet. The cheat code still works and the message prompting you to restart still pops up, but Chuck’s car is nowhere to be seen.
Online sandbox phenomenon Roblox has grown into a staggering success, and it's proving lucrative for players too: Roblox Corporation is on track to pay out half a billion dollars to creators this year.
About 800 Roblox creators earn $30,000 annually through their creations, and Roblox is still growing at a brisk rate with a 79% increase in daily active users since 2020.
Spendthrift: Each user spends an average of $15.48 each quarter, and the number of paying customers keeps rising everywhere the game is available.
Share the wealth:“We believe that we are on track to share nearly half a billion dollars with the community this year,” said the company, which earned $1.6 billion in revenue last quarter.
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PARADOX INTERACTIVE Q1 2021 FINANCIALS
Paradox slows down alongside COVID-19
Paradox has released their interim financial report for the first quarter, and it looks like the COVID-19 gravy train is coming to a stop: Revenue is down 9% and profits are down 44% compared to the same period last year.
Most of this quarter's sales came from Cities: Skylines, Crusader Kings 3, Europa Universalis IV, Hearts of Iron IV and Stellaris.
Apology: Studio manager John Andersson also apologized for Europa Universalies IV: Leviathan, calling it “one of the worst releases we have had, and follows a long trail of low quality releases” and that his studio will now shift their focus to long-running problems in the game.
City surprise:Cities: Skylines creator Colossal Order is “currently working on a project”, but it's too early to reveal it. Expect a surprise or two at #PDXCON Remixed later on this month. Who's wishing for Cities Skylines 2?
Streets of Rage 4 Devs Discuss DLC, Would Love to Add 100-Player Mode
It had been over 25 years since the last Streets of Rage hit Sega Megadrive in 1994, but Streets of Rage 4 managed the retro remake tightrope balancing act of feeling both familiar and fresh. No mean feat, considering all of three studios – Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games – collaborated on the game.
"We definitely felt some pressure but we were confident about our decisions as they seemed in line with what fans expected from the beginning," Cyrille Lagarigue, Main Programmer at Guard Crush Games, told DailyBits.
"Even if we knew where we were going, these games mean so much to so many people that I think the expectations were high from the moment we announced the game," added Ben Fiquet, Art Director and CEO at Lizardcube. "Being able to do a proper follow-up to the license in the hearts of the fans is actually what I hold dear."
The developers also learned a lot of lessons during development, lessons that are reflected in the upcoming DLC Mr. X Nightmare.
"I underestimated how important positioning was in a Beat ‘Em Up game," said Jordi Asensio, Lead Game Designer at GCG. "I knew it was important but I didn't know it was the fundamental of almost all gameplay elements."
"Level design for a Beat 'Em Up is hard; it has to be properly paced and always bring something new and interesting," added Lagarigue. "I would prioritize that sooner in production."
Streets of Rage 4 earned critical acclaim, and sports a Metacritic score around 85% on all platforms. The developers hope that the DLC can help push that score even higher, since it both improves the game and shows that they are more inspired than ever.
"We noticed that the depth of the gameplay was not obvious for a lot of players, so we added a training mode to make that more accessible," said Lagarigue, who admits they also shelved original plans to include Survival Mode from launch, instead integrating it into the DLC.
"It had so much potential that we thought it was a shame to not have the time to work on it more, and it was better to polish the game's campaign as much as possible, so it was decided to offer it as a DLC, so we could put almost a year of development on it!"
The DLC comes in two flavours: A free update for all customers, and a premium offering for players who just want more. Why give away the goods? The developers wanted to reward early adopters for helping make Streets of Rage 4 a success.
"It made sense to add as a free update all the content that a first time player should have access to, including the training mode and color customisation," added Lagarigue. "What is included in the paid DLC is only the new content, for those that like the game and want more content."
Streets of Rage 4 has excellent character design, and one of the most memorable characters is the boss Estel Aguirre, who hunts the players throughout the story. The DLC makes her playable, and she brings a new and very different fighting style to the eclectic mix already on offer.
"We tried something different with a grab stance," said Asensio. "Every character can vault over a grabbed enemy. Estel is more of an in-your-face character, so she doesn't vault over enemies but drags them to the other side with a firm clinch grab."
"She can also throw grenades and use knives better. She even spawns a combat knife with one of her star moves. So the character has a quite unique feeling."
Fighting game series are notorious for guest characters, with Mortal Kombat featuring a rogues' gallery of horror movie heroes and villains, while Soul Calibur has featured Star Wars crossovers. Could Streets of Rage do something similar?
"[…] My favorite would be Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury. I want to Power Geyser punks in the street," said Asensio.
"I think Ichiban Kasuga, the protagonist of Sega's latest Yakuza entry," added Fiquet. "He would definitely fit perfectly."
"Son Goku from Dragon Ball, because it would not make any sense, but probably be fun," said Lagarigue.
Streets of Rage has now been revived for a new generation of players. How will the developers carry on the torch from here? Imbert says there are no plans for a sequel or further DLC at the moment, the teams still have lots of ideas for features they know would make the game even better.
"A battlefield mode where you can play with 100 players at the same time," revealed Lagarigue. "It would require more than two years of development for a full team!"
"We cannot wait to see how people react to the DLC, maybe it will give us some ideas, who knows.”
Next-gen PSVR specification rumours
Rumours are swirling about Sony's next-generation PlayStation VR headset, and reports claim it will feature 4000×2040 resolution, meaning 2000×2040 per eye. It will also apparently feature a dial for adjusting lens separation and gaze tracking with foveated rendering. The headset will also feature some kind of haptic feedback.
HTC unveils two new VR headsets
HTC has announced two new Vive headsets at VIVECON 2021: The consumer-focused Vive Pro 2, and the enterprise-oriented Vive Focus 3, the first product in the Vive Business line. You can pre-order Vive Pro 2 now, and it will launch on June 4th. Vive Focus 3 is out on June 24th.
Sony expects shortages of next-gen PSVR
PlayStation 5 has suffered from well-documented stock shortages, and it looks like the next-generation PlayStation VR headset will suffer from similar problems. Supply will not be meeting demand throughout 2022 according to Sony's chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki, as demand is still growing faster than Sony can produce hardware.
Gears 5 developer The Coalition is moving to Unreal Engine 5 for their next-gen project but it won't be ready for a good while
Before God of War, what was Santa Monica Studio’s first game?
Before Santa Monica Studio wowed the world with the gore and grandeur of God of War, they developed the slightly less overwhelming sci-fi racer Kinetica. The game featured people wearing, uh, racing suits with wheels on their hands and feet, allowing them to drive on walls and ceilings at high speed.
You probably never heard of it, but even if it wasn't very successful it was still an important project for Santa Monica Studio: The Kinetica engine was used in the two first God of War games as well as SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALS.
Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Nick Akerman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!