After multiple reconnaissance missions, back-alley bribes, and a string of other unmentionable activities, we’ve managed to acquire all gaming intelligence that took place within the month of March 2018.
The list that follows contains all information our Lord Editor has deemed fit for public consumption.
If you feel there is something that needs to be addressed or lacking from this list, please let us know in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to deal with you… I mean, your issue.
Itch.io celebrates its fifth birthday
Itch.io, one of the world largest depositories for indie and experimental video games, turned five this month and I couldn’t be happier. Since I discovered it about three years ago, it has provided me with some of the most bizarre, intriguing, and unique digital experiences I’ve ever had.
The game hosting website was started back in 2013 by hobbyist indie game developer and programmer Leaf Corcoran as a “super low friction” indie game marketplace where both budding and experienced developers can publish their games for no charge and with a few simple clicks of a button.
Since February 2018, its colossal library boasts nearly 100 000 games and is still growing at a staggering rate.
Happy birthday Itch.io, here’s to another five years of indie game mayhem!
‘Rainbox Six Siege’ finally breaks its player record
According to Steam Charts, earlier this month Ubisoft’s strategic first person shooter Rainbox Six Siege broke its player count record yet again with 176 208 concurrent players following the release of its Operation Chimera expansion.
This comes after it broke that same record in February with 125 133 players, an unprecedented jump of over 50 000 players. That’s astonishing considering that in February 2017 the game boasted a meagre 65 189 players.
At the time of writing, it’s the fourth most played game on Steam, only trailing behind the likes of juggernauts PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Dota 2, and CS:GO.
Valve is totally making games again
According to Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve Corporation, the company will soon be “making and shipping games” again.
Valve already announced their latest upcoming trading card game, Artifact, at last year’s The International Dota 2 tournament, but to a somewhat mixed response.
Artifact is currently being developed with Magic the Gathering creator Richard Garfield at the helm, and according to a report by PC Gamer, will be “the first of several games that are going to be coming from us”.
One of these games, as Newell mentioned in a 2017 Reddit post, includes a “fully-fledged single-player game”. This comes as surprising news considering that Valve hasn’t released a new IP in years, the last being Left for Dead in 2008.
In the meantime, Valve is fortunately still giving loads of attention to its already existing games (CS:GO, Dota 2, Team Fortress 2) and focusing on the development of its foray into the world of VR.
With that being said, it’s about time Lord Newell provides us with another life-changing gaming experience.
Trump slams video game violence, meets with devs
Following the Florida school shooting earlier this year, Trump was quick to blame violent films and video games as one of the causes of the recent rise in school shootings.
“I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” Trump said.
This led to a meeting, which was closed to the press, between Trump and various members of the video game industry. Some of the individuals in attendance were the head of the ESA, the head of the ESRB ratings board, and the chief executive of Bethesda and Take Two.
Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2012
The opposition boasted anti-gaming advocates such as an author of various books that claim violent video games creates killers, and members of the Parents Television Council, the latter which supported the California law to criminalize the sale of violent video games to children that was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2011.
“The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence,” the White House said in a statement.
Despite this, there have been no studies indicating a connection between video game violence and real violence.
The meeting failed to reach any real conclusion and it seems, for now, no steps are being taken other than the possibility of arranging another meeting.
‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ leaks
Earlier this month, Square Enix accidentally leaked a considerable amount of information regarding their new upcoming Lara Croft title, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
The supposedly secret information was hidden within the official Tomb Raider website’s source code, which can be easily viewed through most web browsers, and contained relatively sensitive info such as the title and exact release date and also included info detailing that this will be the last title of the Lara Croft origin story trilogy (preceded by Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider).
Fortunately, the discovery was made just a day before Square Enix planned to reveal the information so not much harm was done. One interesting to note is that this title isn’t being develop by Crystal Dynamics, the developers of the previous two titles, but by Eidos Montreal who headed the development of the new Deus Ex games.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on September 14th.
Half Life-inspired ‘Hunt Down The Freeman’ receives harsh criticism
At the end of February, underdog indie game studio Royal Rudius Entertainment released their debut title, a Half Life-inspired game called Hunt Down The Freeman.
Since then, the game has become the target of much harsh criticism including troubling claims of stolen assets, unprofessional leadership, and shady developer practices… and this is all beyond the fact that the game was released as an utterly broken mess.
The history prior to its release isn’t exactly roses and sunshine either. From a complete failure of an Indiegogo campaign to a string of release delays, almost every aspect of this story is infused with a healthy dose of “what the fuck”.
To read about the controversial story behind Hunt Down The Freeman, check out this in-depth piece I did earlier this month.
All images: supplied, Valve/Square Enix/Ubisoft