Pokemon Leaker Exposed

TODAY: Bioware is going back to basics to fix up Anthem — Everything about the next Division 2 expansion has leaked — Tencent keeps snapping up Western game studios

Pokemon Sword & Shield Leaks

Sword & Shield leakers exposed

A number of new and unannounced Pokémon leaked ahead of the Pokémon Sword & Shield launch in November 2019. Nintendo and The Pokemon Company quickly identified the leaker and meted out punishment.

What Nintendo Said: In a joint statement, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company name the Portugese gaming website FNintendo as the leaker. Since FNintendo broke NDA, Nintendo has will no longer be working with the website.

  • FNintendo had an eleven-year relationship to Nintendo Portugal
  • Nintendo will no longer give FNintendo early access to products and have revoked invitations to future events
  • The reviewer who leaked the information about Pokemon has been fired from FNintendo

Defence for the Accused: FNintendo followed up with their own statement (https://fnintendo.net/article/13496-comunicado-do-fnintendo) where they accept responsibility for the leak. The website has cut all ties with the reviewer who leaked the information.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these writers had a part in writing Spec Ops: The Line?

  • Chris Avellone
  • Ron Gilbert
  • Rhianna Pratchett
  • Walt Williams

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.

Daily Fact

What's in a name?

Anthem had a tumultuous development, but one thing that worked out was the code name convention used for the game. Development started immediately after Mass Effect 3 was finished in 2012, and the initial code name was Dylan, in reference to musician Bob Dylan.

The name signified BioWare's hope that the game would be remembered for a long time. In 2017, after BioWare had spent years struggling to get the game working properly in the Frostbite engine, the code name was changed to Beyond.

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Following the dismal launch and a difficult first year, BioWare is reworking Anthem's core gameplay, presumably under a new code name. Something like Redemption would be fitting.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today's fact.

The Division 2 Updates

Ubisoft reveal brand new The Division 2 expansion - Warlords of New York

Looks like a lot of details about Ubisoft’s latest The Division 2 expansion has leaked ahead of its announcement.

The expansion is named Warlords of New York and brings the Division agents back to New York where the virus outbreak first started.

What We Know Right Now: Aaron Keener, the villain from the first game, returns in Warlords of New York and has taken control over Lower Manhattan along with his four highly skilled lieutenants. Keener is a former Division agent gone rogue and the most formidable force the agents have ever faced.

  • Warlords of New York will be officially revealed today at 20:00 CET
  • The expansion could release as soon as March 3rd
  • Level cap will be increased to 40
  • Introduces an extended endgame, including thematic three-month seasons

New York Freeze: There's still a lot we don’t know about the expansion, and one of the community's big questions is whether or not the new version of New York City will be a winter landscape like in the original game.

The leak mentions three-month seasons, so maybe New York City will have a different look for every one of them.

Development Studio Update

2K Silicon Valley renamed 31st Union

2K Silicon Valley, the development team led by Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey has a new name: 31st Union.

Talent Pickup: The studio has dozens of employees, including a fair amount of talent from Sledgehammer Games. 31st Union is also planning to open a European office in Spain, following in the footsteps of Visual Concepts, Hangar 13 and Cloud Chamber.

  • The name 31st Union is meant to represent the spirit of California
  • 31st Union is also the name of a restaurant in San Mateo, but Condrey insists the studio's name is unrelated to it
  • Head of Strategy at 31st Union Tyler Michaud believes diverse perspectives and experiences are crucial to creating a global entertainment experience

2K Happy: 2K President David Ismailer issued a statement saying he is pleased 31st Union is scaling internationally, following up by explaining the benefits of having an international approach which allows the studio to broaden their recruiting efforts and attract the best talent.

What Else Happened Today?

Anthem rebooted, Hokko Life is Animal Crossing on PC...

  • Bioware has announced their decision to scrap Anthem's seasonal event content drops in favour of reinventing the core gameplay loop. This means Anthem will not be receiving any new content for the foreseeable future while the development team takes the time they need to improve the gameplay
  • Indie dev Robert Tatnell (former Sony and Lionhead artist) has revealed his Animal Crossing-alike Hokko Life for PC. Hokko Life focuses on player creativity and gives you the chance to create the town of your dreams from locally sourced materials and will launch on Steam Early Access later this year.
  • Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate that owns Riot Games, has invested in Spec Ops: The Line developers Yager. The investment leaves the studio fully independent and the company structure will not change. Yager is busy with a free-to-play FPS game called The Cycle, available now on the Epic Games Store.
  • A recent SEC filing made by Sony reveals what they paid for Insomniac Games: 24,895 million yen ($229 million), mainly in cash. By comparison, EA paid over $400 million for Respawn Entertainment – though Insomniac Games did not own any IP, which explains the lower price.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these writers had a part in writing Spec Ops: The Line?

Answer: Walt Williams!

Spec Ops: The Line is one of the few games worth playing whether you think it's any good or not.

Famous for its vicious criticism of contemporary military shooters, it has been both praised and denigrated for its exploration of player choice and power fantasies.

The story is written by Richard Pearsey (who worked on Section 8) and Walt Williams (who worked on Mafia 2). Williams went on to write the campaign for Star Wars: Battlefront II, while Pearsey worked on Resident Evil VII.

Walt also wrote about his experience writing Spec Ops: The Line in the book Significant Zero, so if you've ever been interested in the nuances of writing AAA videogames – and especially controversial ones – you should definitely read that.

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