🎮 Time to Shine

Edition 33: July 19 to July 25

Good morning gamers. Bagel, Coffee and Monday.

Last week was a whirlwind of gaming and esports news. To kick things off, EA hosted their EA Play livestream which revealed new games, updates and remakes. Ubisoft also wowed fans with a new game reveal and Tencent rounded things up with two studio acquisitions. You’re going to have to keep reading to gain XP.

EA Play - The Big News

EA Play 2021 has officially wrapped up and despite not receiving any new information on the Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order sequel or Dragon Age 4, EA still got everyone extremely excited with their reveals. Here’s what you might have missed. 

Dead Space is getting a remake from EA Motive. The sci-fi horror classic is being developed from the ground up, offering a deeper and more immersive gameplay experience while staying true to the original game. There is no current release date scheduled but the game will be available exclusively for next generation consoles and PC. 

Battlefield 2042 is getting a brand-new “Portal” mode which gives players the ability to create custom multiplayer modes on maps that have appeared throughout the Battlefield series. Designed and built by Ripple Effect Studios (formerly DICE LA), the Battlefield Portal platform will launch alongside the full Battlefield 2042 game on October 22. 

Grid Legends will be the next instalment in Codemasters beloved Grid franchise, launching in 2022. It combines thrilling motorsport action, incredible race variety, and an immersive story that puts players in the heart of the action. 

Apex Legends: Emergence is the next major game update, set to release on August 3 for all available consoles and PC. Season 10 will introduce the game's newest hero, Seer, as well as adding a Ranked Arenas mode to the current 3v3 ecosystem. Seer is a sleek and stealthy character primarily filling the role of a tracker who uses his heartbeat sensor and micro-drones to track the enemies and cause havoc. 

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant 

Ubisoft officially revealed Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, a free-to-play, fast-paced arena shooter that combines intense gunplay with personalized loadouts and specialized factions, as teams of gunfighters - called Defiants - battle for domination.

The game is being developed by Ubisoft San Francisco and it will be a 6v6 arena shooter which includes characters from previous Tom Clancy games such as Splinter Cell, The Division and Ghost Recon. There will also be linear game modes such as Domination and Escort, with a large pool of unique maps keeping the game fresh. The different Defiants include: Wolves, Outcasts, Cleaners and Echelon with even more to come post release.

XDefiant will be available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. Beta tests will begin on August 5th for PC players in the US and Canada, who can register here. Players on other consoles can also register, and if selected, you’ll be able to invite up to five friends to join you in the fun. 

It’s still too early to say if the game will rival the Call of Duty franchise but the trailer did have very similar gunfights, on top of several new and exciting features. XDefiant has all the potential to rival CoD with Ubisoft’s resources, already established IP assets and the fact that it’s free-to-play. A lot of people are going to be playing this game. 

Tencent Takeover

Tencent is a Chinese multinational technology conglomerate holding company, which probably owns the company that makes your favourite game. Tencent continued to expand their reach last week by acquiring two studios in massive deals. 

Stunlock Studios reached a new investment agreement with Tencent. Tencent is now the majority shareholder, and Stunlock Studios is set to benefit from deeper ties and strategic support. They are one of the leading independent Swedish game developers and are excited to represent the biggest game company in the world. 

Sumo Digital was acquired by Tencent in a $1.27 billion deal. The UK-based developers have partnerships with Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google and BBC. The studio has worked on games such as: Little Big Planet 3, Crackdown 3, Forza Horizon 4 and Hitman 2. The co-founders of the company Carl Cavers, Paul Porter and Darren Mills will remain onboard.

Nintendo and Tencent are currently teaming up to market the Nintendo Switch to families in mainland China. According to Daniel Ahmad, Tencent’s NeXT Studios has released three exclusive games in China called: Biped, Iris.Fall and Crown Trick.

Esports Corner 

Year 2 of Apex Legends Esports

EA has officially announced the details for year 2 of the Apex legends Global Series (ALGS) featuring a new competitive ecosystem and $5 million in total prizing. The competitive season will host 40 teams (20 through invites, and 20 through preseason qualifiers) across five different regions. The ALGS Challenger Circuit (for amateurs) will run parallel to the Pro League, and players across Xbox, PlayStation and PC will be eligible to compete. The season will host a series of qualifiers leading up to two in-person playoff events, and it will eventually conclude with a second ALGS Championship Event in July 2022. 

Esports on Primetime TV

ESL Gaming has partnered with G4 granting them exclusive media rights to their esport competitions. The gaming TV network is set to return in 2021 under Comcast NBCUniversal where they will create and broadcast exclusive ESL esports content to American and Canadian audiences. The plan is for them to produce highlights and countdowns of select pro events while ESL Gaming coverage is aired in primetime slots. G4’s Chief Content Officer said, “our approach to esports coverage will be focused on entertaining fans, providing in-depth analysis, and most importantly, offering casual gamers a comedic entry point into the world of esports and competitive gaming”. 

The Stage Is Set! 

The competitors list for the 14th edition of the ESL Pro League have been revealed ahead of the leagues August 16 start. 22 invited teams will compete in one of the worlds most stacked premiere CS:GO tournaments with hopes of taking home the $750,000 grand prize and climbing the world rankings. The event was initially scheduled as a LAN hosted in Malta but the ESL turned it into an online event due to concern over the rising COVID Delta Variant cases across Europe. Amongst the 22 teams is ESL Pro league Season 13 winners Heroic who will be trying to defend their title. 

Game Review - Pokémon UNITE

Pokémon UNITE is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game released for the Nintendo Switch on July 21. This is Pokémon’s first entry into the world of MOBA games and it’s pretty solid. The modes include normal team battles and ranked battles, as well as 20 different Pokémon to play as. Since the game is free-to-play, the micro transaction system does have major pay to win elements. In-game currency can be earned through grinding but players have the ability to just buy some of the best Pokémon and items. The game is very enjoyable and new Pokémon will be released soon, alongside new content. We give Pokémon Unite a score of B-.

Gaming Roundup

  • According to Tom Henderson, Grand Theft Auto VI could be the last release in the series. The article states based on the success of GTA Online, Rockstar Games will focus on one game that continues to evolve year after year.

  • PlayStation released an official story trailer for the upcoming Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut - Iki Island. Players will be able to play a new story expansion featuring Jin, with new locations to discover, characters to meet and tales to complete. 

  • The California Department of Fair Employment is going after Activision Blizzard for discrimmination in the workplace. According to Bloomberg, the complaint cites that the company had a “frat boy” culture and employees had brutal working conditions. 

  • Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft 3 Reforged failed release was due to budget cuts and internal arguments over its direction. According to Bloomberg, the company is still uncertain what to do with the current state of the game a year and half after launch. 

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Dual Masters is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android. According to industry insider Nibel, the game will have 4K support, Master Rules and it will allow players to enjoy the full experience. 

  • Industry insider Jeff Grubb has claimed that a Nintendo Switch port of Metroid Prime Trilogy is “done and Nintendo is holding it”. He went on to say that Nintendo’s plan is likely to sit on it until the time is right. 

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