#82: Sony is Playing for the Planet

TODAY: Sly Raccoon almost became a thievius cinematicus — Fable is making a comeback helped by Batman writers — Danish janitor gods? Mirror universes? Sounds like a Remedy game!

Top Story

Sony join “Playing for the Planet” alliance by the UN for ‘global sustainability’

Sony Interactive Entertainment is joining the United Nations in their effort to tackle the environmental impact of the games industry. The result is an ambitious initiative named Playing for the Planet.

What does this mean, except that Sony thinks being environmentally conscious is good PR? Sony will be reviewing their business practices to reduce power consumption via more efficient chipsets and improved energy-saving features. Sony claims they have already cut their carbon footprint dramatically.

“For context, we estimate the carbon emissions we have avoided to date already amount to almost 16 million metric tons, increasing to 29 million metric tons over the course of the next 10 years (which equals the CO2 emissions for the nation of Denmark in 2017),” blogged Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Microsoft’s datacenters have been ‘carbon neutral’ since 2012, and Apple ‘went green’ in April 2018

Of course, there’s not that much the games industry can do to reduce its environmental impact without hurting their business – which is, after all, about making and selling energy-slurping entertainment devices and as many good reasons to use them as possible.

Sony seems to think every bit helps: “We could not be more proud to be part of the Playing for the Planet Alliance and the commitments announced. We look forward to seeing what the industry can achieve together.”

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which Batman villain did Arkham Asylum writer Paul Dini co-create?

  • Bane
  • Hush
  • Harley Quinn
  • The Court of Owls

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

News Bits

Resident Evil spin-off Project Resistance has single player campaign

Lonely horror fans, rejoice! Turns out Project Resistance isn’t just a 4v1 online game: Producer Masachika Kawata has revealed that the spin-off features a single-player campaign too. Project Resistance is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a closed beta bethween October 4th and 7th.

Nintendo Switch Lite ‘not technically capable’ of TV video output

Looks like there won’t be any mods enabling Switch Lite to output to TV. YouTube channel Spawn Wave cracked open the new console and rummaged through its innards, and found that it’s missing the hardware necessary for TV output.

Daily Fact

There was a Sly Cooper film in the works, and it even had a trailer

Remember Sucker Punch’s classic 3d platforming series Sly Cooper? Well, the titular thievius raccoonus was meant to become a silver screen star: Rainmaker Entertainment worked with Sucker Punch to develop an animated movie, scheduled for release in 2016.

The adaptation was coming along nicely, but the failure of the Ratchet & Clank movie apparently caused some consternation and the project kept getting delayed – until Rainmaker finally left the project in 2017. All we know is that the movie wouldn’t be an origin story, since the official teaser trailer shows the whole gang together committing their crime capers.

Daily News

New Batman game from WB Games?

Developer WB Games Montréal hasn’t been in the news since they dropped Batman: Arkham Origins in 2013, a prequel to Rocksteady’s Arkham Asylum from 2009.

There’s no definitive proof there’s another Batman title in the works, but rumours are swirling about the ‘Court of Owls’ from the comic books. WB Games Montréal’s official Twitter account teased a clip of the Batman logo projected on to the side of a building, while a static image appears briefly over the top.

An interview from October 2018 revealed two DC Comics projects at WB Games Montréal

We’ve seen that logo before: Back in 2018, a developer from the studio was photographed wearing a T-shirt with a similar design. The game could be about a new Batman dealing with the shadowy Court of Owls, or it could just be about the group and their role in the DC universe.

WB Games Montréal is rumoured to have another ‘open world’ game in development too, and to have had several other projects cancelled since Arkham Origins. In any case, the Dark Knight just celebrated his 80th anniversary, so there’s a strong chance we’ll be donning the cowl again soon.

Arkham writers joins Fable reboot

Worried about the fate of classic RPG series Fable? Well, your fears are about to be allayed: British developer Playground Games is rebooting the classic, with the help of writers formerly of Rocksteady Studios.

Kim MacAskill and Craig Owens were both senior script writers for the Arkham series, while Martin Lancaster was lead scriptwriter for Arkham Knight and is now narrative director at Playground.

Maybe you can plant trees this time?

They’ve also nabbed a lead environment artist from Anthem, a lead character artist from Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, a lead animator from Hellblade, a project manager from Metal Gear Solid V and several others.

The studio remains very secretive about the whole affair, so there are no more details yet. Up until now, the studio has been busy working on the Forza Horizon series for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC and was acquired by Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios last year. Let’s hope they can keep Fable’s cheeky, chicken-chasing spirit alive!

Game Spotlight

Remedy’s latest is surreal, uneven fun

(Remedy/505 Games – PC/PS4/Xbox One)

I’ve been a massive fan of Remedy Entertainment’s games ever since Max Payne, and their later games have done nothing to diminish my love. Max Payne 2, Alan Wake and Quantum Break are all excellent third-person shooters, brimming with imagination and personality. No-one else makes games quite like Remedy.

Control is their latest effort, and has quite a legacy to live up to – and we can start right away by revealing that it’s not exactly perfect. In fact, I had a bit of a love/hate relationship nearly all the way through. Fortunately, it’s packed full of wonder, clever ideas and the addictive gameplay hooks that characterize all of Remedy’s games.

The flesh of fallen angels

Control puts you in charge of Jesse Faden, who is looking for her brother Dylan in a mysterious building housing the equally mysterious Federal Bureau of Control. The story spares no time getting its weird on: The bureau’s staff are all floating around in the air, Jesse is talking to some invisible entity, and she’s made director of the whole mess after finding the old one dead in his office.

The opening is weird, and doesn’t get any less weird. Turns out the bureau’s staff are infected with something called the Hiss, and you need to help any survivors, rid the building of the Hiss and its source and – phew – find your brother.

On the way, you’ll explore mirror universes where you talk backwards, encounter man-eating refrigerators and deal with God-like Danish janitors. In short, the Bureau of Control is a fascinating place, and a joy to explore – but that’s not all there is to Control. There are also super-powers.

Maiden of Might

Jesse’s Jedi-like super-powers makes the action stand out. The gunplay is pretty satisfying too, focused on a single weapon with recharging ammo that can be put in different configurations like pistol, shotgun and rocket launcher – but once you get your telekinesis and levitation on, you’ll spend most of your time merrily floating around toppling scenery all over your enemies. Let us pray Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order does Force powers even half as well as Control does.

Unfortunately, the combat can be frustrating too: There are some serious difficulty spikes, with almost Dark Souls-grade moments where swarms of enemies overwhelm you. Some of these encounters may seem impossible, but I eventually got through despite sucking badly, so you can do it too! But that’s not all – the biggest frustration are the checkpoints.

There are manual save points, so if you die in battle, you won’t just go back to the start of the encounter, but all the way back to the last save point, wherever that was. It’s pretty annoying.

In any case, Control is so weird and fascinating and unique and above all eminently playable that minor niggles like these couldn’t stop me enjoying myself. Sure, there were moments when I had to fight the urge to quit and uninstall the whole damned thing, but most of the time I just wanted more. Fortunately, there’s DLC on the way!

News Bits

Borderlands 3 hits “multiple record-setting milestones” for 2K Games

How happy are 2K Games with Borderlands 3’s opening week? Very happy, going on super-happy. According to a report they published, Borderlands 3 has achieved “multiple record-setting milestones”, including 50% higher sales than Borderlands 2 had enjoyed at a similar stage, and turning the series into a billion-dollar franchise.

Over 70% of the sales in the 5 first days were digital and it enjoyed the highest pre-orders for a 2K title to date. Anyone wanna guess whether Epic is happy too?

Megaquarium makes its debut splash on PlayStation 4 October 18

Aquatic theme park tycoon game Megaquarium is setting up shop on PlayStation 4 on October 18th. You must design exhibits, manage the staff, keep the aquarium clean and well-maintained and – of course – take care of all your marine animals. On the plus side, you don’t need to worry about them escaping and eating any guests.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which Batman villain did Arkham Asylum writer Paul Dini co-create?

Answer: Harley Quinn!

There seems to be a new Batman game in the works, and Arkham Origins developer WB Montreal isn’t being particularly subtle about it. It’s all rather exciting, and we especially hope they can bring back veteran Batman writer Paul Dini. He helped write Asylum and City, and is most famous for his work on Batman: The Animated Series and – of course – co-creating Harley Quinn.

The rest of the listed villains are a bit more recent, and it’s worth keeping an eye on The Court of Owls, a sinister organization with deep roots in Gotham City. They appear to be the subject of the next Batman game, and are the creation of Scott Snyder – Paul Dini didn’t have anything to do with them. Still, we can’t wait to hear more!

Weekly Giveaway

Cat Quest II on PC

This week’s DailyBits giveaway features a purrfect combination: Cats and RPGs! We are giving away 5 Steam keys for Cat Quest 2, the sequel to the acclaimed epic fantasy RPG by PQubeGames and @TheGentlebros, where you defend the cat kingdom against the dog hordes. We’re sold!

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to be a Dailybits subscriber. We will choose five random subscribers over the course of the week, and each will receive a Steam code for Cat Quest II on PC! It couldn’t be any easier.

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