#74: EA hopeful of always online Next-gen

TODAY: Go on a finger lickin’ hot date with Colonel Sanders — Apple launching subscription service with exclusive premium games — Not a lot of best-sellers on Steam according to No More Robots director

Top Story

EA Canada hopes next Xbox and PlayStation will be ‘always online’

There have been a fair bit of rumours about the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles being ‘always online’, requiring an active internet connection to operate. Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen.

Why bring it up, then? Well, Creative director William Ho from EA Canada, developer of NHL 20, was having a nice chat with Electric Playground Network about PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett. He mentions shorter loading times and improved graphics as obvious improvements – but also mentioned ‘always online’. Could that imply support for ‘always online’ games?

“…I think something I alluded to earlier is how can we let people have their personal experience whenever they want it? That’s something I think next-gen is probably going to facilitate: greater power, more storage, always connected online, insanely short load times, so we’ll see about that,” William Ho said.

You could probably argue that both PlayStation 5 and Xbox One are pretty close to being ‘always online’ already, since they require continuous operating system and many games depend on patches, updates and downloadable content.

On the other hand, making consoles completely dependent on internet connections seems risky, since not everyone has consistently available broadband. Neither Microsoft nor Sony have revealed anything about their next-gen online services.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these fast-food chains have NOT made an advertising videogame?

  • McDonalds
  • Burger King
  • Pizza Hut
  • KFC

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

News Bits

KFC dating simulator coming soon

Finally, videogames are art, on par with the Mona Lisa, The Birth of Venus and The Starry Night. How did the medium suddenly reach these lofty heights? Well, you are soon going to be able to win the heart of KFC mascot Colonel Sanders in a brand new dating simulator. That’s right, you can finally make romantic advances at the dude on the chicken bucket.

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator is set in a culinary school where your innermost desires can come true, and launches on September 24th.

A Knight’s Quest on Switch this Fall

Remember A Knight’s Quest, the Zelda-inspired adventure featuring the daft, clumsy and cowardly Rusty? Well, it’s almost here in any case! Rusty accidentally sets in motion events that will end everything, and now you’ve got to help him explore an open world full of enemies, bosses and puzzles to find a way to stop them.

Daily Fact

Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody almost worked at Sarif Industries

Actor Elias Toufexis who played Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, was supposed to star in Far Cry 3 as player character Jason Brody. However, Ubisoft eventually got nervous about his involvement during development.

He had been involved with Far Cry 3 for two years when he was replaced by actor Gianpaolo Venuta. The Far Cry team didn’t want people thinking about Square Enix’s Deus Ex revival when they were supposed to concentrate on bringing their tattooed frat boy home safe from an island holiday gone bad. While Elias Toufexis understood their dilemma and took his dismissal from the project in stride, it is safe so say he ‘Never asked for this.’

First Look Hands-on Preview

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

(Frozenbyte – PC)

Release Date: October 8th 2019

Trine and its three heroes are returning this October in Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince, a 2.5D adventure in a world full of danger and magic, riddled with puzzles that you can work out with the help of up to three friends. That’s right, 4 players and 3 characters! Like the previous Trine games, the fourth chapter follows Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight and Zoya the Thief.

Three is a company

Amadeus can create and move a large cube that allows the adventurers to reach high places, prop open doors and activate pressure plates. His power also allows him to move other objects as well. Pontius is a heavily armored melee character, featuring a shield that can reflect light, a ground-pound that can propel himself or others into the air – and of course a sword. Last but not least, Zoya can fire arrows, climb certain structures and tie ropes to objects.

There are two ways to play through the game: Classic mode means each player picks a character and sticks with that one, while Unlimited mode allows players to change characters on the fly, even if that means a party full of wizards or thieves. Many puzzles require multiple characters’ abilities to solve, and while it’s most fun to figure them out with friends, solo play is perfectly enjoyable.

Versatile puzzle solving

The Trine series has always been designed with cooperative play in mind, and we played most of the game in Unlimited mode so everyone could switch between characters on a whim. By comparison solo play was considerably more difficult, since you might need to switch between several characters and abilities in a very short time.

The story follows the three main characters as they search for Prince Selius, who has managed to bring monsters from his terrible nightmares into the real world – which means you have to defeat them. The combat and boss fights provide a bit of excitement and variation in between the puzzles.

We’ve only played through the early parts of Trine 4, but we’re already excited to see what the rest of the game has to offer – the upgrade system is particularly interesting. Collect vials in each level to eventually unlock new skills you can use to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince launches for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch on October 8th. You can buy the game by itself, or as part of the Ultimate Collection Bundle which includes the first three games as well.

Daily News

$5 Apple Arcade subscription service available from September 19th

Apple is keen on those recurring monthly payments, and are launching the Apple Arcade subscription service later this month. For $4.99 per month, subscribers get access to over 100 games – with no ads or microtransactions.

The games will support every modern iOS device: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac – and they won’t be appearing on any other mobile platform or service. Apple has posted a trailer showing a glimpse of three games: Frogger in Toy Town from Konami, the musical Sayonara Wild Hearts from Simogo, and 2.5D adventure Shinsekai: Into the Depths from Capcom.

Apple Arcade arrives almost two months ahead of rival Google Stadia

Other notable Apple Arcade games include Beyond a Steel Sky, Little Orpheus, Hot Lava, Spidersaurs, Overland, The Pathless, and Sonic Racing. The App Store will feature a new tab once the service launches, where you can find curated and personalised recommendations, trailers and … uh, “expert editorial content”, whatever that might be.

New games will be added each month, a single subscription can be used by up to six family members, and there will be a month-long free trial available in case you need convincing before signing up.

No More Robots claims 80% of Steam titles “barely making any money at all”

Director Mike Rose of indie publisher No More Robots is taking aim at Steam, boldly claiming that the top 20% of games launched on the platform in the past month make, on average, $16,000 in their first year.

He excluded the bottom 80% since they “are barely making any money at all,” adding that “if I had included all games released on Steam, these numbers would have been waaay more terrifying”.

No More Robots in based in Manchester, UK and is a “video game label run by real people” according to its website. Sounds like a nice change from all the publishers run by rock lobsters and grizzly bears.

Games rarely launch exclusive to one digital platform for PC, unless exclusivity is agreed

He thinks “developers are still pricing their games waaaay too low”, supporting this by claiming that an average $15 title makes $35,000 year one, while the average $25 title makes $200,000. He also defends any indie studio taking an Epic exclusivity deal: “Taking an Epic deal secures your future, so get off your high horses!”

Without direct access to the data or his methods, it’s hard to decide whether Rose’s claims have any substance. Steam doesn’t make game sale figures public, and estimates from services like SteamSpy relies on public user profiles with exposed game libraries.

News Bits

Surprise FIFA 20 demo kicks off now

Start collecting those red cards with EA Sports’ FIFA 20 demo, available for PC via Origin, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One through their respective stores. The demo weighs in at 6.47GB and lets you try the new street-based VOLTA mode. The whistle blows for the full game on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch on September 27th.

GameStop to close 180 to 200 “underperforming stores”

GameStop’s Q2 earnings call revealed a “de-densifying” strategy for the games retail chain, which translated from finance-speak means they’ll be closing stores but retain key locations. The company operates over 5,700 stores and about 95% of them are profitable. Still, there will be a wave of “closures over the coming 12 to 24 months,” according to CFO James Bell.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these fast-food chains have NOT made an advertising videogame?

Answer: Pizza Hut!

Today’s hottest and spiciest news is undoubtedly that KFC, home of the crunchiest fried chicken known to man, will launch their own dating sim featuring Colonel Sanders reimagined as a hot anime boy. This basically proves there is still hope for a better world, but KFC is not the first fast-food chain to get it on with a game.

Back in 2006, Burger King released three games: PocketBike Racer, Big Bumpin’, and – the best of them all – Sneak King. They were little more than advertisements disguised as games, but were strangely compelling – and ran on both Xbox and Xbox 360, unlike most games at the time.

McDonalds released several platform games during the ’90s, including M.C. Kids and McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure. That leaves only Pizza Hut without a promotional game to call their own – although they did offer a PlayStation demo discs in its restaurants once, which included demos for Ape Escape, Crash Team Racing and Final Fantasy VIII.

Weekly Giveaway

Iconoclasts on PS4

It’s time to save the world in another DailyBits giveaway! We have 5 PS4 keys to give away for amazing platformer-adventure Iconoclasts. All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to follow us on Twitter and on our Facebook page, and we will choose five random followers who will each receive an Iconoclasts PSN code to play on PS4! It couldn’t be any easier.

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