#95: Sony Europe Cuts Staff During PS5 Announcement

TODAY: Bubble Bobble 4 Friends will feature all the Bubble Bobble you can handle — Lots of new, wild and exciting VR developments on PC and console — Want Space Fallout for free? Sign up for Xbox Game Pass!

Top Story

Sony Europe made “dozens” of staff redundant same day it announced PS5

Earlier this week, we brought you the first official details about PlayStation 5 as well as the release date, originally published by US magazine Wired. All very good news, but it appears the announcement overshadowed another significant event: Huge lay-offs at Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe’s London headquarters.

According to Video Games Chronicle, which broke the story, representatives of Sony Interactive Entertainment America visited the European headquarters on Tuesday to begin “restructuring of several divisions,” resulting in a number of employees receiving termination notices.

”I hate that this is going to be drowned by the PS5 announcement.”

While the London office used to be quite autonomous and managed local business strategy directly – for instance, DriveClub was pushed hard in Europe, for example, but not in the US – the American division appears to be taking over and centralizing decision-making.

Many employees in London were apparently unaware of the PlayStation 5 piece in Wired until it went live, several took to Twitter to talk about how they were made redundant. Dozens of staff are apparently affected, and there are possibly more layoffs on the horizon. According to Video Games Chronicle, many employees believe the European arm of Sony Interactive Entertainment will have “significantly reduced influence” in the upcoming generation. We’ll have to wait and see.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What was the only movie tie-in on ill-fated VR experiment Virtual Boy?

  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • GoldenEye
  • Batman Forever
  • Waterworld

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

News Bits

Switch exclusive Bubble Bobble 4 Friends includes full original for free

There’s a new Bubble Bobble game coming out exclusively for Switch on November 19th, and it just turned into a much sweeter deal. The new game and its 4-player co-op mode will be supplemented by an authentic port of the entire original Bubble Bobble – complete with that insane ear-worm of a soundtrack. So alongside Bubble Bubble 4 Friends’ 100 new stages, there will be 100 classic stages to play through as well. Very generous, now let’s hope we can get that song out of our heads

Daily Fact

Bubble Bobble has two official sequels, and a lot of remakes

Arcade classic Bubble Bobble has been re-released and remade more than once – and is about to be re-imagined once again in the Switch-exclusive Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – but none of them are very different from the original, and certainly not as different as the two official sequels.

Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bubble II and Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble 3 continued the story about the eternally-suffering brothers Bub and Bob – who were returned to human form in the good ending of Bubble Bobble. However, both games featured very different gameplay, although Parasol Stars was at least a single-screen game.

Not that the story really matters much – it keeps changing a little every time the series gets revisited, yet all the games are presented as part of the same canon. It’s all rather confusing, and that’s even before we start wondering how Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move fits into the picture!

VR Roundup

Oculus launches Asgard’s Wrath

Asgard’s Wrath is now available for the Oculus Rift and Rift S. Based on Norse mythology, the game sees you parrying, dodging and defeating enemies on your quest to help a group of mortals. While you are playing a Norse god, you’ll also take control of mere mortals to help them excel in combat and achieve their goals – and you’ll be able to hear their thoughts.

Asgard’s Wrath is one of the most anticipated VR titles this year and judging by the reviews trickling in it’s a noteworthy experience. To get a better idea of how this VR RPG plays, check out this gameplay depicting a battle with the Kraken.

Boneworks will be receiving a release date announcement soon

Brandon J Laatsch, one of the developers on Stress Level Zero (the team behind Boneworks), has confirmed on Twitter that a release date will be announced soon. Boneworks has been one of the most anticipated Valve Index titles since it was revealed earlier this year.

Stress Level Zero’s focus on advanced physics and novel utilisation of the Knuckles controllers has VR fans foaming at the mouth for any news about it. Based on what we already know, Boneworks is scheduled for Q4 2019. Many fans are hoping the game is still on track to launch before the end of the year.

Predator VR found on Steam

A listing for Predator VR appeared on Steam this week. Its description suggests players will be dropped “into the explosive action of the 1980’s blockbuster movie in the ultimate VR showdown between an overpowering Alien hunter and an elite soldier”.

It will feature a number of modes, including a single player campaign where you’ll experience moments from the movie, a ‘Rampage Mode’ where you’ll play as the Predator, and a multiplayer mode that sees you step into the muddy boots of a soldier or the Predator. While Predator VR doesn’t have a release date yet, the trailer looks promising and relatively faithful to the source material.

Beat Saber developers say 360 levels are coming soon

Beat Games, the developers behind hit VR game Beat Saber, announced that 360 new levels will be coming out in a music pack scheduled for launch this December. While the new levels were announced at E3 this year, the release date was just revealed at Oculus Connect.

There are still some unknowns, such as whether or not the new levels will make their way to VR headsets other than the Oculus Quest, but we should get answers before the music pack comes out. As announced on Twitter, the Panic! At The Disco Music Pack is available now, including tracks like The Greatest Show, Victorious, Emperor’s New Clothes and High Hopes.

Daily News

The next-gen version of PlayStation VR is in the works

While PlayStation VR is certainly less powerful and capable than the more-expensive PC VR platforms like Vive and Oculus, it remains pretty popular – possibly because it’s the best entry-level VR set available. Nevertheless, the aging hardware – the PlayStation Camera came out in 2014 – leaves the VR experience somewhat limited, and a little confined.

Fortunately, a patent filing discovered by LetsGoDigital suggests that Sony is considering a next-gen, version of its PlayStation VR headset – to be released alongside PS5. The new VR headset will have two front cameras and one on the rear, with another camera located in the controller – which still looks a bit like a PlayStation Move. There’s also LEDs, a microphone, and possibly another camera to track movements.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe

There’s one even more exciting detail: the patent suggests that the new VR headset could have Bluetooth support, and could be wireless. The PSVR is a real mess of wires at the moment, so any improvements in that department will be a godsend. Maybe it’ll even have its own power supply?

Sony has said that all current PSVR setups will be compatible with the PlayStation 5 when it comes out, so this new patent presumably shows an upgrade rather than a full replacement.

The Outer Worlds is coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC this month

Are you excited for The Outer Worlds? If not, what’s wrong with you? Obsidian, the developer behind Fallout: New Vegas, went ahead and made its own first-person RPG in the same style after Bethesda decided to carry on developing Fallout in-house – and it looks like a lot of fun. The game’s essentially Fallout in space, and it’s out on October 25th.

Even better, Microsoft has announced the latest games coming to its Xbox Game Pass for PC service this month – and The Outer Worlds is on it. So, if you have signed up for the PC version of Game Pass, you can get Space Fallout for free – along with several other major titles in October.

Space… space never changes

The full list of games coming to Xbox Game Pass in October includes:

  • The Outer Worlds
  • Stellaris
  • Minit
  • F1 2018
  • Lonely Mountains Downhill
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • State of Mind

Some pretty excellent games – and if you’re signed up for Game Pass, you’ll get them all for free, alongside all the other games currently on the service. There is one game leaving the service, however – Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, a boss-battling action-RPG. If you really want to check that one out, you’ll need to sign up before it goes.

News Bits

BBC Radio 3 launching a new Sound of Gaming show

The BBC will host a four-part radio series on October 26th called Sound of Gaming, which will dive into the world of videogame music. Host Jessica Curry will interview several videogame composers, including fan-favourite Grant Kirkhope – and will also cover gaming events, such as next week’s EGX. There’ll be plenty of music to listen to, as well. Sounds fun!

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What was the only movie game on Nintendo’s ill-fated VR experiment, the Virtual Boy?

Answer: Waterworld!

We’ve been talking about Sony’s PlayStation VR and how the platform holder is continuing to go all-in on VR, but nearly 25 years ago Nintendo tried to create an exclusively VR console – and failed miserably! The Virtual Boy was a bold experiment, but it was unwieldy, painful to look at, expensive, and only 22 games were released for the platform.

One of these games was a tie-in to the disastrous 1995 Kevin Costner movie Waterworld – and rather impressively (we think) it’s generally thought of as the worst Virtual Boy game, which is quite a feat since there’s fierce competition. It’s certainly not worth tracking down and playing, anyway.

Weekly Giveaway

Surviving Mars on Steam

For this week’s DailyBits giveaway we’re all heading to the red planet! We are giving away 5 Steam keys for Surviving Mars, the strategy-management game from the developer of Tropico – where you have to help the first Mars colonists survive everything their new home can throw at them.

We’ll include the Season Pass too, because we’re good like that.

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to email us (Once this week!) at team@dailybits.news with the subject line ‘Surviving Mars giveaway’. We will choose five random entries over the course of the week, and each will receive a Steam code for Surviving Mars on PC! It couldn’t be any easier.

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