#106: Ubisoft Delays fiscal 2019-20 Titles

TODAY: MediEvil clambers out of its grave and onto the PlayStation 4 — Counter Strike pros want Valve to re-nerf the Krieg rifle — Has Game Freak finally revealed how Farfetch’d came to evolve into Sirfetch’d?

Top Story

Latest Ubisoft financials reveal ‘more dev time’ for upcoming releases

Ubisoft’s latest financial report reveals that the publishing powerhouse has lowered their revenue targets for fiscal year 2019-20, and that they blame Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

The latest entry in the jollily jingoistic Tom Clancy franchise hasn’t been received particularly well by critics or consumers, while Ubisoft was expecting good numbers following the success of Wildlands. Ubisoft has adjusted their expectations from The Division 2 as well, and pushed several titles into the next fiscal year – presumably to ensure they’re actually worth buying.

”…critical reception and sales during the game’s first weeks were very disappointing.”

Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six: Quarantine and Watch Dogs: Legion are all delayed until sometime after April 1st 2020, and Ubisoft have learned some new lessons: First and foremost, it’s hard to develop a sequel for a live multiplayer game since the first game already features loads of content and a polished experience.

Established brands have strong expectations attached and any changes need to be very carefully measured. Case in point: Breakpoint was “strongly rejected by a significant portion” of its community. Finally, despite being different enough to alienate fans, Breakpoint didn’t have “enough differentiation factors” to stand out in the market. Gamers sure are a fickle bunch!

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What family’s history is chronicled by the Call of Juarez games?

  • Greaves
  • McCall
  • Candle
  • Mendoza

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

News Bits

“Very disappointing” Breakpoint sales

Ubisoft big cheese Yves Guillemot has revealed his deep dissatisfaction with the recent Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which forced his company to downgrade its revenue expectations. He said “quality appeared on track” judging by reception at E3, GamesCom and other trade shows but that both “critical reception and sales” had turned out very disappointing.” Why? Their new ideas were apparently not “perfect enough”. That explains everything!

MediEvil review round-up

Sony and developer Other Ocean Emeryville have brought MediEvil back from the dead with a remake of the 1998 PlayStation original. What do critics have to say about the return of the not-exactly-classic adventures of Sir Daniel Fortesque?

  • Daily Star (Score 5/5) – ”Other Ocean’s reimagining of MediEvil is a respectful recreation of a unique classic. While some might think that the developers have gone down the safe route of a carbon copy recreation, it’s clear that a lot of work that has gone into retaining MediEvil’s original charm. The result? A gorgeous display of creative affection for a series limited by its original console confinement.”
  • PlayStation Universe (Score 9.5/10) – ”MediEvil finally makes the transition from PS1 to PS4 in a spectacular new remake that fans have been clamoring for. The Tim Burton-esque beauty and clever gameplay has held up incredibly well for a twenty-year-old game but some precarious camera angles and clumsy combat keep the game from perfection.”
  • Game Rant (Score 4/5) – ”The MediEvil PS4 remake stays true to the original game while being a more enjoyable experience overall. There were still some ways that the developers could have made the MediEvil PS4 remake even better, but what’s here is still a great game and will leave fans hungry for more.”
  • Twinfinite (Score 4/5) – ”All in all MediEvil PS4 is a solid, well-made remake that is a Halloween treat for longtime fans thanks to its remarkably improved sounds and visuals. Other Ocean Emeryville also does a nice job of ironing out some old kinks for modern audiences while leaving the gameplay mostly intact. Most of the time, this is for the better, but sometimes it’s for the worse.”
  • CGMagazine (Score 7.5/10) – ”For better or worse, MediEvil is a PS4 game that plays like a PSX game.”
  • Destructoid (Score 7.5/10) – ”Given that a physical copy of the original MediEvil goes for roughly $30 these days, shelling out the same price for a PS4 remake is a steal.”
  • TheSixthAxis (Score 7/10) – ”MediEvil resurrects one of our all-time favourite PlayStation mascots for a new generation. This remake does exactly what it promises, revamping dated visuals while staying faithful to the 1998 original, even if that means digging up certain design choices that have remained buried with Sir Dan all these years.”
  • IGN (Score 6.5/10) – ”MediEvil successfully brings Daniel Fortesque’s tale back from the dead yet again, but not nearly enough was done to modernize the mechanics of this remake.”

Daily Fact

Burnout was quite a thrilling drive

Criterion Games’ original Burnout from 2001 was heavily influenced by Konami’s 1998 arcade racer Thrill Drive, and early builds made available to the press showed a lot more variety in the traffic than the final version ended up having. Motorbikes, scooters and police vehicles were originally intended to liven up the streets of the American, European and Asian tracks.

The game’s working title was Shiny Red Car, and early footage showed that Criterion was quite graphically ambitious, with more detailed tracks and scenery than what eventually released. A victim of Sony’s PlayStation 2 hype, maybe? While the series didn’t reach its peak until Burnout Paradise in 2008, it certainly made Criterion’s reputation and EA acquired them after they helped save the ailing Need For Speed franchise in 2004.

Esports Roundup

Counter Strike: Global Offensive pros demand Kreig nerfs

When Valve adjusted the prices of the AUG and Krieg weapons in Counter Strike: Global Offensive last year, players welcomed the change since it made more guns viable and increased weapon variety. Over the next half year, pro CS: GO players started migrating from the tried and true AK-47 to the Krieg, which has now become a staple of the metagame.

After the StarSeries group stage, Peter “Dupreeh” Rasmussen and Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz from Astralis complained about the new Krieg-oriented meta. They claimed there is no good counter for it, since it works well at all ranges and competes favourably with the considerably more expensive AWP.

When the pros start complaining about weapon balance in CS: GO, changes tend to follow quickly – and as more and more pros have adapted to the meta, there are more and more complaints. The same thing happened to the AUG after it became the dominant weapon, and Valve responded by nerfing it so badly that no-one uses it anymore. So far, Valve has shown no sign of addressing the complaints about the Krieg.

Shroud follows Ninja to Mixer

Michael “Shroud” Grzsesiek, former CS: GO pro and one of Twitch’s most popular streamers, has moved to Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer. Grzsesiek has yet to comment on the move, which came as quite a shock to his fans, but he has already amassed over 330,000 followers with total views closing in on 2 million.

Mixer are running a limited-time offer allowing users to claim a free subscription to Grzsesiek’s channel, which is probably meant to compensate him for abandoning his popular Twitch profile and to encourage his fans to switch platform alongside him. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced his move to Mixer in August, and more will probably follow.

Become a Pro with Call of Duty Challengers

Activision has announced an official amateur competition for the 2020 season of the Call of Duty League. The Call of Duty Challengers tournament will run throughout the season and include both LAN and online events, with a $1 million prize pool. Participants collect Challenger Points that “determine the seeding of teams during competition” and sponsored “travel and accommodations to certain open bracket events”.

Registration for the online ladder and the first online tournament opens on October 30th.

Daily News

Fortnite revenue hit two-year low before falling into a black hole

While Fortnite’s season X came to a rather spectacular conclusion – with the whole game world literally getting sucked into a black hole – the battle royale goliath was actually in a bit of a slump.

As players get used to update cycles, revenues typically go down before a season wraps up and the next begins, and Fortnite’s revenue was way down in September: “…revenue across all platforms declined 43% month-over-month in September, marking the worst performing month of revenue since November 2017,” according to a Nielsen’s SuperData report.

Pouring money down a black hole

The end of Season X marks the first major overhaul of the game since its launch in 2017, with Fortnite Chapter 2 introducing an all-new map and battle pass. The map features 13 new locations plus new mechanics like swimming, fishing and boating with more to come. There are also haystacks for hiding, environmental hazards, weapon upgrade benches and a new levelling system that promises ‘more fun, less grind’. Something tells us revenue will pick up again soon.

Game Freak has “about a three-year” dev cycle for next-gen Pokémon titles

Pokémon producer Junichi Masuda at Game Freak discusses how the studio approaches future entries in the ever-growing Pokémon franchise, and it’s really all about the timing.

He gives an example of when Pokémon Sun and Moon released for Nintendo 3DS and how it had swapped out Gyms for Trials, and the reasoning behind the decision was because Sun and Moon “was the second generation” for 3DS, and so they “wanted to kind of provide a little bit of a surprise” for fans. The Gyms were never going to go away forever.

Next Pokémon for Switch might be change things up again, but tutorials are staying

Indeed, Gyms are back with Pokémon Sword and Shield for Nintendo Switch as the studio wanted a “traditional take” on the series as it debuts for the console. Game Freak has a three-year development cycle for their Pokémon titles and so they try to think where they’d be after those three years when deciding themes and systems, and that fans will be three years older too.

The Galar region in Sword and Shield is also inspired by the United Kingdom which could also explain how Farfetch’d evolved for the first time into Sirfetch’d, Masuda mused. “…you’ll see that leeks are much bigger there than in Japan. So maybe that’s kind of a hint that the Farfetch’d that grew up in Galar…” A true mystery and perhaps you’ll solve it when Pokémon Sword and Shield releases on Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.

News Bits

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger to sling guns December 10 on Nintendo Switch

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger will start an all-out saloon brawl on the Nintendo eShop as Techland and Square Enix draws and shoots onto the Switch on December 10th. The trigger-happy cowboy game originally brought frontier justice to PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013, and will now appear in digital as well as retail versions for Switch.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) review round-up

This tiny studio called Infinity Ward has made something called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which is apparently a remake of some obscure old game. Here’s what a bunch of weird internet people said about it:

  • Attack of the Fanboy (Score 4.5/5) – ”Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboots the franchise with solid success throughout.”
  • PlayStation Lifestyle (Score 9/10) – ”Call of Duty: Modern Warfare sets a benchmark for the future of games. The amazing new technology it utilizes gives it a level of quality and polish that’s rarely seen outside of first-party studios. A bold approach on a no-frills campaign mode helps it stick the landing, while going back to the drawing board with multiplayer rekindles a classic Call of Duty feel long lost.”
  • Game Informer (Score 8.75/10) – ”Modern Warfare should have received a new Call of Duty subhead given just how different its avenues of play are. Not every one of Infinity Ward’s ideas works, but a few are successful enough that I could see them as series staples. Modern Warfare’s accomplishments may not be as pronounced as Black Ops 4’s (Blackout being one of them), but it still delivers a hell of a multiplayer experience. Gunfight alone is worth the price of admission.”
  • AusGamers (Score 8.5/10) – ”Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was excellent, and although Call of Duty: Modern Warfare doesn’t quite reach those same heights, it’s still a very enjoyable game. Its biggest downfall is the broken state of Special Ops in its current iteration, and the move back to kill streaks in multiplayer is a strange change of direction. The return of a campaign is welcomed for players like me who look forward to playing them every year. It’s brilliantly executed and is by far the one of the best in a very long time. Overall Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is another terrific multiplayer experience with a fresh take on the campaign that is greatly satisfying.”
  • PC Gamer (Score 80/100) – ”Modern Warfare evolves the series for the better, but it could be so much more.”
  • PCGamesN (Score 8/10) – ”While not every multiplayer addition is as good as it could be, Modern Warfare’s campaign sets a new gold standard for the series that will be hard for sequels to match.”
  • The Daily Dot (Score 4/5) – ”Though the campaign doesn’t perfectly stick the landing, it finds strength in a multitude of moments that keep things intimate yet thrilling, making it almost certainly one of the series’ strongest entries.”
  • GamesRadar+ (Score 4/5) – ”Modern Warfare is fast and frenetic, setting a new benchmark for fidelity and high-pressure FPS action.”
  • Daily Star (Score 4/5) – ”In general, Call of Duty Modern Warfare is a tight shooter that hits most of the parts you expect from a AAA shooter, while throwing heaps of new ideas into the mix. However, the few areas that I’m cold on: Ground War, Spec Ops and the few moments of the campaign when common sense gave way to a desire to shock needlessly… they’re a bitter aftertaste to one of the best shooters I’ve played all year.”
  • Gamespot (Score 7/10) – ”2019’s Modern Warfare both draws from the original and lays a good foundation for the rest of the series, despite some thematic issues and co-op pitfalls.“

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What family’s history is chronicled by the Call of Juarez games?

Answer: McCall!

Following the excellent news that the most recent (and best) Call of Juarez game Gunslinger is coming to Switch, we’re crossing fingers and toes for a new life for the series – and the McCall family. While the main character and narrator of Gunslinger is Silas Greaves, the three earlier games were all starred by McCalls: Ray, Thomas and Ben.

Ray McCall was the Bible-reading avenger of the first game, while a younger Ray and his brother Thomas starred in Bound in Blood. Ben McCall stars as an LAPD cop in the misguided modern-day sequel The Cartel, but ignore that – it’s awful. Let’s hope we can look forward to more horsing around in the wild west now that the Red Dead series has made revolvers and sheriff stars cool again.

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