Skate Development at Full Circle, Xbox’s Successful Launch

Today: Bloober Team’s latest might be their most horrific yet — Vancouver-based developer revives bone-breaking simulator Skate — Will you be able to track down the Monster Hunter Switch bundle?

Xbox Series X/S launch “most successful”

Microsoft might not announce sales figures for their Xbox hardware any more, but they’re still happy to announce that the Xbox Series X/S launch was the “most successful in our history”.

Xbox Series X/S has suffered chronic stock shortages

“We are gaining console share as gamers recognise the value of our broader ecosystem,” declared CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft's game business pulled in over $5 billion in revenue in the last quarter of 2020.

Revenue soars: Game revenue was up 51% year-on-year according to Microsoft's latest financial report. Content and services revenue is up 40% year-on-year thanks to Xbox Game Pass, which has now garnered 18 million subscribers, adding 3 million new ones since September.

Mistakes were made: Microsoft recently announced plans to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold, but quickly changed tack after the Xbox community howled in unison rage. They also announced that Xbox Live Gold will no longer be necessary to play free-to-play games.

Which Monster Hunter guide maker got a shout-out in Monster Hunter: Generations?

a) ProJared 
b) Datto
c) GaijinHunter
d) Arekkz Gaming

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.

A princely cache of earthly delights

Ubisoft Montreal’s 2003 classic Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time had a hidden treat for long-time fans of the series.

A secret recreation of Prince of Persia’s past

If you enter a code at the beginning of the game, you can access a secret level based on the original Prince of Persia.

Complete the level, and you will be treated to a large portrait of the development team, surrounded by gag props like snacks and soda.

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

The Medium review round-up

Bloober Team’s latest game is a Microsoft exclusive, hitting PC and Xbox Series X/S tomorrow. The Polish developer has built its reputation as a boutique horror shop with the Layers of Fear series and Observer, and The Medium is their most ambitious game to date. Fortunately, the critics seem pleasantly discomfited:

The Medium was made using Unreal Engine 4

Critic scores

  • TheGamer (Score 5/5) – ”The Medium never hits a flat note. I beat the game in two long sittings, and there was never a point during either that I felt like the game dragged, or could’ve used a little more polish, or left too many loose ends hanging. It’s a lean, compelling experience that says what it has to say, then leaves you to grapple with the specifics afterwards…”
  • GameSpot (Score 9/10) – ”… The Medium's conclusion sticks with you; it's one last horrifying reminder that trauma may not define a person, but it can have consequences we can't even begin to foresee if it's not adequately dealt with and simply left to fester over time. I can't say I enjoyed the ending to The Medium, but I am deeply satisfied with how it sets up the inescapable nature of its horrifying conclusion.”
  • IGN (Score 8/10) – ”Brilliantly paced and palpably tense, The Medium is a psychological horror adventure that’s all thriller and no filler.”
  • Twinfinite (Score 4/5) – ”The dual-reality mechanic goes just about far enough to keep its slowest gameplay moments interesting, and paired with a fantastic narrative and exceptionally eerie atmosphere, it's an easy recommendation for fans of Bloober Team's work in the past and the horror genre in general.”
  • EGM (Score 4/5) – ”The Medium builds upon a lot of gameplay gimmicks and ideas that aren’t always used to their full potential, but when they do work, they work incredibly well. Controlling main character Marianne as she jumps between worlds is both engrossing and exciting in practice, and the game’s main location serves its job as a setting for horror masterfully most of the time…”
  • The Escapist (Score 7/10) – ”While The Medium’s design stumbles are disappointing, its human characters and gorgeous world are ultimately the things that stuck with me. Once I finally made it to the end of the road, I immediately restarted the campaign to experience all of the narrative breadcrumbs with the newfound clarity of the ending in mind, which is the sign of an effective story…”
  • VG247 (Score 3/5) – ”If you’re after action and full-on horror, The Medium will likely leave you wanting, and considerably so. This is more of a slow burn, the twisted plot unravelling over six to eight hours. I found the pacing to be ideal, with the game throwing just enough moments of high intensity into the mix to keep things interesting…”
  • DualShockers (Score 5.5/10) – ”Despite its technical prowess and stunning visuals, The Medium is a drag. From slow, uninteresting gameplay to a confusing and poorly executed story, Bloober Team's latest makes for a good tech demo, but not much else.”

Skate sequel helmed by EA’s Full Circle

Freshly minted EA studio Full Circle is on kickflip duty for the eagerly anticipated Skate reboot.

Skating games might see a major return

Not much is known about the new Skate, and it's unclear if it's going to continue the original games' free-style gameplay and dual-analog input model, or for that matter keep its bone-crunching injuries and x-ray visualizations.

Wish fulfilled: “The fans wished Skate back into existence and we want them to feel involved in the process from development to game launch and beyond. We want them to feel like they are a part of Full Circle,” said Full Circle's Daniel McCulloch.

10 years later: The new Vancouver-based studio is currently hiring for the project, and is aiming to build a global team with talent spread across the globe. The first Skate was developed by Black Box and launched in 2007, followed by Skate 2 in 2009 and Skate 3 in 2010.

Which Monster Hunter guide maker got a shout-out in Monster Hunter: Generations?

ANSWER: GaijinHunter!

So THAT’s why Palicoes are sometimes named Evanko

If you managed to get through Monster Hunter’s tricky opening, you might have had Adam Evanko to thank for it. Better known as GaijinHunter, Evanko is a videogame translator and producer who started making Monster Hunter guides after overcoming his initial dislike for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and eventually being converted into a die-hard hunter.

He even ended up being referenced by one of the Monster Hunter games. In Monster Hunter: Generations, the Mycandemy Gal refers to GaijinHunter as “some foreign hunter-guy that has all of the info”. Who knows how many fans he has brought into the fold by lowering the barrier to entry and making it fun to learn how to hunt monsters?

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey.