Yesterday, we got a new entry in the beloved RTS series with A Total War Saga: Troy. The game was one of the saga side games from the franchise that sees you playing through the part mystical, part grounded Trojan War. It also came with the unprecedented move of giving the game away free of charge for the first 24 hours after launch. And well, hopefully it was a success for all parties involved, but at the very least a lot of people claimed it.
As reported by Eurogamer, the game was claimed by 7.5 million people during its free period on the Epic Games Store (which the game was released exclusively on). We heard from the developer yesterday that it had been downloaded over 1 million times, which was already impressive, but over 7 times as many people have the game in their account now, which is quite something.
A Total War Saga: Troy is no longer free, so you missed the boat there if you didn't get to it in time, but it is still available on PC via the Epic Games Store. You can check out the requirements through here.
This holiday season, we will once again get to jump into the Assassin's Creed franchise with a new game which, of course, entails a new setting and era of history to explore. This time it's the viking era of Britain, with your choice of a male of female viking named Eivor. But not everyone who set sail with the game will be landing ashore with it, as a major figure in the game's development has been seemingly been removed from the company.
As reported by Bloomberg, the game's Creative Director, Ashraf Ismail, has now been officially fired from Ubisoft. This comes after just over a month ago when Ismail stepped down from his position. This move comes as multiple allegations have been leveled at Ubisoft, which have seen several other higher ups in the company being fired or resigning. Ismail was known for being in directing positions for Origins and Black Flag, and Valhalla was seen as something of a grand return for him to the series. But it seems now we'll no longer be there at the finish line.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla will release November 17th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Stadia, with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions to come at an undetermined date.
Last year, the team at Supermassive Games and publisher Bandai Namco embarked on an ambitious journey. An anthology series, dubbed The Dark Pictures Anthology, of multiple smaller titles with each spanning a different setting and genre of horror. They would follow the same format and gameplay structure of the developer's very successful Until Dawn of a narrative choose your own adventure game. Well, it seems at least the first entry in the series, Man of Medan, managed to make a mark.
As reported by GamesIndustry, Bandai Namco confirmed that Man of Medan managed to sell over 1 million copies. No breakdowns were given for platform or digital vs physical, but it seems a respectable number and a nice startup for the series. Bandai Namco's Hervé Hoerdt spoke well of the game, saying that they think it will become more successful with time as more volumes of anthology come, such as the upcoming Little Hope, the second game in the franchise.
"It's tricky to make people understand it's an anthology when you have only one volume," he said. "This is why we're looking so much forward to the release of the second one and then be able to start discussing potential new volumes, because you need to ground this 'anthology' wording. Anthology doesn't mean anything when you have only one box on your shelf, or one digital game in your library. Each volume will grow the audience.
"There's a lot of ambition for us in this series. There are some regions where we think we can please some more fans, namely in the US and in Asia. I think there's room for growth. The quality of the execution and the experience, [as well as] the genre, make us think that there is more potential."
Man of Medan is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It also became available on Xbox Game Pass for Xbox One this month. The next game, Little Hope, will release on October 30th for all the same platforms.
343 Industries' Halo Infinite has been delayed. Some would say it was inevitable, given the lack of information about the title before the Xbox Games Showcase, not to mention the demo itself which was confirmed to be an older build. It's almost interesting to look back on Phil Spencer's earlier statement about how any potential delay for Halo Infinite wouldn't impact the release of the Xbox Series X. Sure enough, it hasn't and Microsoft is surging ahead.
We know that Spencer and the rest of the leadership at Xbox Game Studios and 343 Industries chose to delay the title rather than release it in parts. We also know that the Xbox Series X is releasing in November (November 6th, if the leaked warranty for controllers is to be believed). What could the impact of Halo Infinite's delay be on the console's success?
Right out of the gate, Microsoft will be struggling. The launch of a new console generation depends on several key factors. Perhaps the least important is price because the most important is brand loyalty. "Brand loyalty" covers quite a bit, especially how likely your audience will choose your brand over another. The higher the brand loyalty, the more likely your customers are to become early adopters of a new piece of hardware. Games are an important factor, but even if the PS5 wasn't packing a ton of different games at launch, you can bet it would still be purchased in overwhelming numbers over the Xbox Series X.
Sony has been making some pretty big moves in terms of marketing deals but they're not just meant to sell the hardware. As we've established, the hardware will sell itself regardless. Having titles like Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro's Playroom, Deathloop and Kena: Bridge of Spirits is for the sake of selling software. No single game is looking to be a system-seller but the popularity of the system will turn these games into major successes. This is one reason that companies like Bethesda have signed timed-exclusive deals with Sony – it knows that the initial rush of next-gen console sales at launch will feed into software sales for its games.
What about deals like Spider-Man in Marvel's Avengers or GhostWire: Tokyo which will be available after launch? Marketing agency Experience 12 surveyed 3000 individuals in the UK and found that 37 percent planned to buy a next-gen console at launch. However, 9 percent are expected to buy one within the first month while 12 percent will pick one up within three months. A hefty 26 percent will purchase one within six months of launch. The console of choice among 84 percent of individuals? The PlayStation 5, compared to 15 percent for the Xbox Series X. It also doesn't help that 59 percent prefer the PS5 over the Xbox One, which garnered 16 percent of the votes.
That brand loyalty for Sony also extends to third party releases that have deals with Microsoft and Xbox Series X. The most anticipated release as per the survey is Cyberpunk 2077. This means that a good chunk of players will pick up Cyberpunk 2077 for PS5, despite a lot of the marketing tying into Xbox.
Halo Infinite, by comparison, is in fifth place behind titles like Marvel's Avengers, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 and Dying Light 2. So while Microsoft did have a fairly big horse in the next-gen console launch race, that's now gone with the delay. More worrying is the possibility that it could release outside of the six month window when next-gen console sales will arguably be the highest.
This isn't to say that it won't sell well when it eventually releases but the numbers likely won't be anywhere near what could have been possible at the console's launch. One also has to factor in the free to play element. Multiplayer has also been delayed so any potential revenue that could come from this is also out the window for the time being.
One could argue that the brand loyalty for Halo is strong, if not stronger than that for Xbox and fans will happily wait to play the game, whether it's on Xbox One or Xbox Series X. That's all well and good in the long run. In the short term however, the Xbox Series X will face some struggles – after all, it's already at a disadvantage when it comes to brand loyalty versus Sony.
Xbox Game Pass is a major part of Microsoft's next-gen strategy and it's indicated plans to lean into it further. Spencer promised that there would be "really great" announcements coming to the service in the coming weeks. The plan has always been for the long-term and to be fair, in Microsoft's fiscal year 2020 report for the fourth quarter, the revenue of Microsoft's gaming segment grew by 64 percent to an impressive $1.3 billion. In the quarter before that, it was confirmed to have 10 million subscribers on Game Pass.
However, the company also admitted that Game Pass isn't raking in the most cash for it. Given interest in the Xbox Series X and current trends, it may see itself getting another five million subscribers at best. Contextualizing this in terms of potential Xbox Series X sales is difficult. That's because outside of, say, The Medium, pretty much every game that Microsoft has hyped up for launch is also coming to Xbox One.
Sony's focus with the PS5 has been the hardware and how it's the place to be for high-profile exclusives. The messaging is incredibly clear: If you enjoyed exclusives on the PS4, then you're going to enjoy even more on the PS5.
On the other hand, Microsoft has been somewhat floundering in its messaging. It's hyped up its cross-gen approach and promised that all major exclusives will be coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It then did a 180 of sorts at the Xbox Games Showcase and featured a bunch of exclusives which are most definitely not coming to Xbox One, even if they are coming to Xbox Game Pass. The messaging, in that case, is that you can wait a few years to pick up an Xbox Series X and not worry about launch.
Now that Halo Infinite has been delayed, Microsoft is right back to promoting the value that Game Pass has to offer. At this point, Game Pass isn't a new Netflix that's blazing a trail through the market and quickly garnering popularity. It's more like DC Universe, carving a market share for itself amidst the bigger players (though it probably has around the same subscriber numbers as DC's offering). Yes, there's the promise of lots of high-profile exclusives but you know, down the line. Not right now or even in the next six months.
Another argument that could be made is that Microsoft isn't trying to compete with Sony. It's instead focusing more on services. This, I feel, is a cop-out. Whenever a company is investing this much into a next-generation console and exclusives, acquiring numerous high-profile studios and signing deals to publish third party titles, it's not doing so to simply carve its own niche.
It's trying to be competitive – in its own way, sure, but achieving wide-spread success is indeed the goal. The current generation is already a wash to the point that the impact of Game Pass didn't feel all that noticeable. However, a new generation is upon us and it's time to observe just how much Game Pass is worth to Microsoft, both in the short and long term.
I could see the company finding a decent foothold if the Xbox Series X is a lot cheaper than the PS5, thus appealing to those who want to experience 4K gaming without needing a super-expensive PC. Or even if the Xbox Series S provides a reasonable solution for those looking to upgrade from their current Xbox console while still having the promise of next-gen games. I just don't think that success is going to warrant the massive amount of resources invested. As it stands, the delay of Halo Infinite is only one shaky piece in the massive Jenga tower that is Microsoft's next-gen ambitions.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
WB Games Montreal – the developers of Batman: Arkham Origins – may reportedly have been working on a Suicide Squad game for a while, but after that project fell by the wayside, it didn't take long for it to become clear to the industry at large that they had moved on to developing the next Batman game, based on the Court of Owls. That was thanks not only to relentless leaks, but also to relentless teases by the developers themselves.
Now, we know for a fact that it will finally, at long last, be officially announced very soon- later this month, on August 22, at the DC FanDome event. The full schedule for the event was recently published, confirming that WB Games Montreal's game will be announced during a 20 minute-long panel at 10:30 AM Pacific Time. In addition to the first look at the game, the panel will also include a Q&A with the developers.
Of course, leaks less than two months ago had spilled the beans on this already. Those leaks also stated that the game is called Batman: Gotham Knights. That part remains to be officially confirmed, but that may very well turn out to be the game's final name.
Meanwhile, we also know for a fact that Rocksteady's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will also be receiving its long, long-awaited announcement later that same day. Stay tuned to GamingBolt for all of those announcements, details, and more.
After years of leaks and impatient anticipation, Rocksteady finally officially confirmed last week that their next game is indeed a Suicide Squad title, and that it will be revealed at the DC FanDome event on August 22. These were, of course, details that had been previously leaked. Something else that had been leaked alongside them was the game's name– which, too, has now been officially confirmed.
The full schedule for the DC FanDome event was recently uploaded online, and it confirms that Rocksteady's Suicide Squad is game is called Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice league, as the leaks had said. The name does a pretty good job of explaining the game's central premise, I'd say.
The aforementioned schedule confirms that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be revealed in full during a 20 minute-long panel hosted by actor Will Arnett. There's no telling how much will be shown or revealed, but with a 20 minute runtime, Rocksteady will probably (hopefully) have more to share than just a tease.
We'll be covering it as it happens, so stay tuned for all the details. In the meantime, you can read this report about the game's development, which allegedly started in late 2016/early 2017.
It has also been confirmed that WB Montreal's Batman game – allegedly called Batman: Gotham Knights – will also be unveiled on that same day.
The data for video game software and hardware sales in the United States across all of July 2020 is in, courtesy of The NPD Group (via GamesBeat), and was the case last month – and has been for a number of months running, in fact – the Nintendo Switch was once again the highest selling console in the region for the month, in both unit and dollar sales. It is also the highest selling platform of the year so far.
The PS4 and Xbox One had both been enjoying resurgences of sorts in recent months, with sales being driven up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems that boost is now fading away, with sales for both consoles now dropping. Given how close we are to the successors for both machines coming out, that's not a surprise. It's a surprise, in fact, that the two had been selling as well over the last few months as they had been.
The Switch, on the other hand, is moving from strength to strength in terms of sales, in spite of what has arguably been a weak year for the console as far as major new releases are concerned. A lot of that is probably down to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Just recently, in fact, Nintendo announced that the Switch's lifetime worldwide sales had hit 61.44 million as of June 30 of this year.
All in all, hardware spending in the US across July stood at $166 million, down 2% from July 2019. Meanwhile, year-to-date hardware spending stands at $1.8 billion, which is up 22% year-on-year.
After starting development in mid-2012, being crowdfunded in 2013 and entering early access in 2016, Wube Software's Factorio has finally hit its 1.0 release. The factory builder/OCD automation title has exited early access for PC and is now available in completed form. To celebrate, the developer released a launch trailer showcasing the game's development progress through the years.
With the 1.0 launch, Factorio receives a very cool new feature – the Spidertron. It can be remote controller or driven, crosses small bodies of water with ease, places blueprints and even has an equipment grid. There are also four rocket launchers attached. Long story short, the Spidertron is awesome, though it must be researched very late into the game.
Despite finally exiting early access, Wube Software isn't done. It's currently planning for update 1.1 with 150 bugs and roughly 80 "internal tasks" to solve. It won't add any major new content but will serve to further polish the game. Stay tuned for more details on Factorio in the meantime.
The NPD Group has published its report for video game spending in the United States for July 2020. To no one's surprise, Ghost of Tsushima has topped the charts, becoming Sucker Punch's fastest-selling game in history and the fifth best-selling title year-to-date. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella also noted on Twitter that in terms of dollar sales, it had achieved the fourth highest launch month sales for a Sony-published title in US history.
Paper Mario: The Origami King didn't slouch in its debut either. Along with setting a new record launch month sales in the franchise, its physical dollar sales doubled were double that Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door's launch month. The Last of Us Part 2 also continues to perform well with its life-to-date dollar sales being the third highest for a Sony-published game in history.
According to the report, consumer spending for video game hardware, content and accessories totaled $3.6 billion in July 2020 – a 32 percent increase year-on year. Piscatella stated that, "Double-digit percentage spending gains in accessories, subscription, mobile, and both digital full game as well as post launch spending on console and PC offset a slight decline in hardware." Year-to-date spending is in good shape, hitting $26 billion which is 21 percent higher than the same period last year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating being indoors, digital sales have also shot up. "Digital content spending — which includes full game downloads, post launch content, mobile and subscription spending — increased 41 percent. Year-to-date 2020 content spending reached $23 billion, a 21 percent increase when compared to the same period a year ago. While spending has increased across all digital content segments, the strongest gains have been achieved in digital content spending on console platforms."
For the top 10 best-selling games in terms of dollars, see below. Stay tuned for more details on Ghost of Tsushima in the meantime, especially as it continues to dominate UK sales charts as well.
- Ghost of Tsushima
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Paper Mario: The Origami King*
- The Last of Us: Part II
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
- Ring Fit Adventure
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
- Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris
*Does not include Nintendo eShop digital sales
US NPD SW – Ghost of Tsushima was July's best-selling title. Ghost of Tsushima is developer Sucker Punch Productions' fastest selling release in history. Ghost of Tsushima also debuts as 2020's 5th best-selling game year-to-date. pic.twitter.com/WUCF3QXDr6
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) August 14, 2020
Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima has been an incredible success, both for the developer and publisher Sony. It sold over 2.4 million copies in the first three days of launch and still reigns supreme in UK sales charts. A sequel seems a given at this point but is there the possibility of multiplayer?
GamesBeat spoke to game director Nate Fox in a recent interview and asked if multiplayer was considered at any point. Fox says, "We were always very focused on telling this one story of Jin's transformation. It's inherently a single-player experience." However, he then followed up with, "But who knows what the future holds?"
It's an interesting proposition though how it would work while retaining the game's stellar single-player focus is a different matter entirely. Perhaps a separate co-op mode where players create their own samurai and battle against enemy forces? We'd first need to see what the sequel's setting would be (though the second invasion of Tsushima might work).
Fox also talked about the game's accessibility, especially considering how it's inherently "easier" than, say, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. "The game is aimed at a very wide audience. We didn't want to have the challenge be something that could keep people out of the narrative experience, or the experience of just exploring Tsushima. We did want players to get a good challenge if that's where they were at.
"We spent a lot of time building a sword-fighting system that was hard, but fair. If you make it fair, you can dial up the difficulty — the speed of attacks, the parry windows, the rate at which people come at you — and it still holds together." Though Hard Mode was available at launch for those seeking a challenge, a recent update added Lethal difficulty for even more brutal fights. Of course, those who want a more story-focused affair can enable Low Intensity Combat.
Ghost of Tsushima is currently available for PS4. Check out our review for it here and stay tuned for more details in the meantime.