#25: Cuphead Nets a deal with the Devil…

TODAY: Sean Murray on the “disconnect” between developers, press and consumers — Cuphead has made a deal with the devil after all – Looks like Google Stadia won’t be available on “virtually any screen” after all!

Top Story

Hello Games On The “Disconnect” Between Developers, Press And Consumers

Speaking at Develop Brighton today, Hello Games’ Sean Murray commented on the growing reluctance among game developers to talk to the games press about their projects.

Referencing the overwhelming reaction No Man’s Sky provoked from press and audience alike, Murray claims that “there’s a disconnect” between the journalists that developers talk to, and the people who end up actually purchasing the game.

“You don’t realise as a developer that you’re talking to millions of people when you do something like E3,” he said. “And most people who buy your game have only ever seen one video, and they’ve probably only seen 30 seconds of it.”

Murray went on to say:
“There’s a disconnect there… Clearly, to us, it’s obvious that some features are working, and some aren’t, and some things we tend to do work out and some things don’t. We’ve cut out this feature and put this other cool one back in… We’re just going back and forth like that as, again, just a handful of people making our game.”

When No Man’s Sky’s was released in 2016, it faced an angry backlash from players who felt misled by pre-release marketing materials since the game were missing advertised key features. The studio has made a somewhat successful recovery thanks to its focus on post-launch updates. Many players are now eagerly anticipating No Man’s Sky Beyond, a large free update due sometime this summer.
“We went about two years without talking to press at all and we went about three months without saying anything to the community either. That was really hard. I sat down so many times and wrote the perfect blog post that was going to explain everything about the game’s development, and the road map going ahead. But I could see that it didn’t hold credibility with regards to where we were at.”

Murray also mentioned EA, Microsoft and Bethesda in his keynote panel, stating that they “try to placate players by just talking to them, but for right or wrong, it just doesn’t really work.”
It seems like striking the correct balance between hyping upcoming games and tempering players’ expectations is getting more and more difficult: Considering the fury directed at the developers after No Man’s Sky and Anthem failed to live up to expectations, there’s a growing trend where unhappy customers are biting back when games fail to deliver on their promises.

Although it might look risky, it seems like an open dialogue with the community is the best way to avoid riling people up when things go pear-shaped.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these franchises did Warframe creators Digital Extremes NOT develop a game for?

  • Star Trek
  • The Darkness
  • BioShock
  • Dungeons & Dragons/Forgotten Realms

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Forager Set To Release This Month On Consoles, Physical Version Coming In September

Indie hit Forager is finally making its way to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 30th. Released back in April, Forager has become a big success on Steam where it features a rating of ‘Very Positive’ (aggregated from over 5,500 reviews). In Forager, players hunt for animals, tend to their farms, search for artifacts to fill your museum and even delve into the wizarding world of alchemy and rune inscription.

A physical version will also release on both consoles, priced at $30 and arriving on September 10th.

Kingdom Under Fire 2 Due To Release This Year

Originally announced in 2008, we had lost all hope for Kingdom Under Fire 2. The game has only ever been available in Russia and Asia and we’ve heard very little about it in recent years. Yet – seemingly out of nowhere – Gameforge appears to have acquired the publishing rights and has announced plans to release it in the West sometime this year.

Chief Product Officer at Gameforge, Tomislav Perkovic, commented on the news:

“We’re very excited to partner with Blueside to continue this epic saga and finally bring it to Western markets for the very first time. We are determined to help Blueside realize their vision of the ultimate MMO, launching Kingdom Under Fire 2 for Windows PC in North America and Europe later this year.”
If you want to keep up with all the upcoming Kingdom Under Fire 2 announcements, you can follow its new Facebook page.

Daily News

Google Stadia Supports Only Pixel 3 Phones At Launch

Google has announced that Stadia will only support Pixel 3 and 3XL alongside the Pixel 3a and 3a XL phones when it launches this November. The news are a bit surprising since Google never mentioned it before, and emphasized that Stadia was about playing games on any screen. But hey,Google Pixel 4 is coming this year, so that means there’ll probably be all of six supported phones by November.

There hasn’t been much news on Stadia since the big announcement late last month – where price, games and launch date was revealed. Google’s fifteen minute presentation revealed that Larian Studios is developing Baldur’s Gate 3, and that the game will launch on Stadia alongside other major platforms.

As for the pricing, Google announced Stadia Pro will cost $9.99/£8.99 per month for the full 4K HDR streaming experience. There is also Stadia Base which is free to use, although you lose some benefits like exclusive discounts and enhanced streaming resolutions. The subscription does not include games, which will need to be purchased individually.

Google Stadia will launch exclusively on Pixel 3 phones

We have yet to experience Google Stadia for ourselves to confirm Google’s claims that 4K HDR streaming can be accomplished on even modest internet connections. The idea behind Stadia is that you can tap the power of a high-spec gaming computer on any device via Chrome – and while that sounds great, we still don’t know how feasible it is considering bandwidth constraints.

Some ISPs cap the amount of data that can be transferred every month, forcing users to pay more if they go over their data allowance – and they most certainly will when streaming 4k HDR 60FPS content with low compression.

Right now you can pre-order the Stadia Founder’s Edition, which includes an exclusive Night Blue Stadia Controller, as well as a Google Chromecast Ultra that allows 4K HDR content to be played on compatible TVs. Priced at £120, it includes 3 months of Stadia Pro, which gives you access to discounts, free games and the ability to stream at 4K/60FPS with 5.1 surround sound. By comparison, Stadia Base only features 1080p/60FPS with stereo sound only.

Turok: Escape From Lost Valley Will Release This Month

You have probably heard of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, a classic late-90s first-person shooter for the Nintendo 64. Well, looks like Turok will be back hunting dinosaurs this month with Turok: Escape From Lost Valley by Pillow Pig Games hitting Steam on July 25th.

Turok: Escape From Lost Valley has not yet been formally announced, but leaked when its Steam page accidentally went live. Unlike its predecessor, this game is a third-person action/adventure game where you help Turok find his way home.

Turok is back as you’ve never seen it before!

The Steam store page does not show a price yet, and the developer is yet to confirm whether it will be released on consoles as well. Considering the cute and fairly simple visuals revealed by the trailer, it’s probably not going to be priced like a AAA.

Fan reactions are quite mixed so far, with comments on the trailer ranging from excitement to confusion as to why a third-person action/adventure game has the Turok brand slapped on it. It’ll be interesting whether fans warm to the game it is officially announced and more details are revealed. So far, we really like the look of it and if you like cute little dinosaurs and boss battles this is definitely one to watch.

News Bits

‘The Cuphead Show!’ Is Cupheading Straight For Netflix

Studio MDHR, Netflix and King Features have just announced a Cuphead animated series for Netflix. Like the game, ‘The Cuphead Show!’ will feature 1930s-style animation hand-drawn by Netflix’s in-house animation studio.

Cuphead co-creator Chad Moldenhauer spoke to IGN, who revealed the news of the upcoming show:

“The current goal is to stay as far away from [computer-assisted] puppeteer animation as possible…The idea will still be that every frame is hand-drawn… It’s going to be hand-drawn but digitally…‘Tradigital’.”

Moldenhauer has confirmed that the show will not simply be a retelling of the game and will explore a different story. That said, it appears that a plot has not yet been settled on and that the entire project is still very early in its development.

Having sold over four million copies since its 2017 release, Cuphead is a bullet-hell boss-rush title that is certainly worth your time.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Operation Apocalypse Z Launches Today on PS4

If you haven’t played Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for a while, the Operation Apocalypse Z update releasing today might lure you back. You’ll have the chance to play as Reaper in multiplayer mode, wielding his Scythe heavy machine gun, and Black Ops Pass owners will also receive three new multiplayer maps, including the classic Havana environment, as well as two brand new zombie backgrounds. The Black Ops Pass will also unlock the new zombie experience, ‘Alpha Omega’.

Operation Apocalypse Z is only available on PlayStation 4 for now, and other platforms will follow. Treyarch has published a blog post with a full overview of the update, so if you’re undecided on whether to purchase the Black Ops Pass, you may want to check it out or watch this YouTube video showing off the update.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these franchises did NOT have a game developed by Warframe creators Digital Extremes?

Answer: BioShock!

Digital Extremes, the studio behind the hot game of the moment (not Fortnite, and no – not Auto Chess either) Warframe, have had a long and checkered history. Apart from their own titles, the studio has also worked on a number of franchises over the years. The Darkness 2 is considered a fun, worthy sequel to Starbreeze’s first game, while Star Trek: The Game (based on the recent movies) and Dungeons & Dragons title Sword Coast Legends (made in collaboration with n-Space) were not quite as well received.

The answer’s BioShock! While Digital Extremes helped out with both BioShock 1 and 2, it didn’t really have a major hand in either. The studio ported BioShock to PlayStation 3 (released a year after the PC and Xbox 360 versions, remember that?) and created the multiplayer for BioShock 2 (remember THAT?). The most important thing is – Digital Extremes had nothing to do with BioShock Infinite. Good on them.

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