2021 is in full swing and we’re already starting to see developers release their content schedules for the year. This week we’ve got a lot of update news to share including the rumblings of brand news games and some major industry acquisitions.
CALL OF DUTY WARZONE- More like DMRzone
Warzone has been interesting halfway through Season 1 of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. The implementation of the Cold War weapons into Warzone has proven to be a complete disaster as the DMR 14, Mac 10 and dual pistols were so overpowered that Raven Software had to push a midweek patch. Even after patching the Cold War weapons, they’re still way too overpowered.
A mid-season update will be coming to Cold War Multiplayer and Zombies on January 14. Treyarch will be launching a new Fireteam map in Sanatorium alongside a new 6v6 mode called Dropkick. Zombies will be receiving a new game mode called Cranked, where every zombie killed resets the countdown to the end of the game. PlayStation players will see the map Raid added to the Onslaught mode.
NINTENDO - Acquisition of Next Level Games
Next Level Games (NLG) has been acquired by Nintendo. NLG is a Canadian Software Developer based out of Vancouver who created Luigi’s Mansion 3 for the Nintendo Switch. NLG has had seven published titles by Nintendo starting with Super Mario Strikers for the GameCube in 2005. The acquisition was made because Nintendo wanted to:
Acquire a talented studio with proven success
Strengthen internal development on the already owned Nintendo IP
Avoid NLG being sold to a different company with other interests
Nintendo Switch Pro details have been leaked by dataminers. Dataminer SciresM, claims the Switch Pro will be a “4K UHD multimedia SOC”. The new console will have an improved: display, cooling and battery life. The launch of the new Switch hardware is expected in early 2021, as Nintendo has asked developers to make their games 4K-ready.
HI-REZ UPDATES - Free-to-play games are still big!
Hi-Rez Studios have announced their 2021 plans for the free-to-play games Rogue Company, Smite and Paladins. In the virtual showcase CEO Stew Chisam said “2020 was a huge year for Hi-Rez Studios and our development teams, with the massively successful launch of Rogue Company, plus record years for both Smite and Paladins [...] With 2021 calendars for each game full of content updates, Hi-Rez Studios will continue to deliver world class gaming experiences for our growing millions of fans''.
One of the biggest reasons these titles have been so successful is that they are completely cross-platform, allowing players to hop on with their friends regardless of their hardware. Here’s what we can expect throughout 2021,
Rogue Company: The next year will include four seasons of cross-play with each season introducing new Rogues, maps and events.
Smite: Season 8: Dawn of Babylon will feature the first new conquest map in the last three years, the evolving Babylonian Pantheon. In addition, the season will include a new battle pass, new Gods (Gilgamesh and Tiamat), more collaborations and more esports action.
Paladins: Season 4: Calamity will feature more champions (the first being Yagorath), new limited time events and more frequent game updates.
GAMES IN DEVELOPMENT
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is reportedly getting a sequel in 2022. A business report published by Korean news company MTN and tweeted by PUBG leaker PlayerIGN confirmed that Krafton’s secret project “ProjectXTRM'' is actually a reference to PUBG 2.0 and PUBG Mobile 2.0.
Arkane Studios is working on a new game with Dishonored and Prey developers. Dishonored creative director Harvey Smith has confirmed that he is working on a new game at Arkane’s Austin studio after leaving the Lyon studio. Arkane Studios is set to release Deathloop on May 21, 2021 exclusively for PC and the PlayStation 5.
Respawn Entertainment, the creators of Apex Legends recently removed a job listing from their website. The listing was for a “generalist software engineer,” to work on a new game that will use new technology and will allow players to “adventure forever”.
Esports had an interesting 2020. Despite the various COVID-19 lockdowns and health restrictions, the esports industry still grew by 15% and is now worth an estimated $1.1 billion. The events of 2020 forced some major tournaments to be postponed, canceled or transitioned to an online format. This resulted in a esports prize pool allocation drop from $240 million in 2019 to $92 million in 2020. A big chunk of the missing prize pool is due to Epic Games’ cancellation of the Fortnite World Cup and Valve’s indefinite postponement of The International 10. The top 10 teams of 2020 by total prize pool are,
Dallas Empire ($1.80M), San Francisco Shock ($1.56M), Team Liquid ($1.46M), Virtus.pro ($1.37M), Spacestation Gaming ($1.36M), G2 Esports ($1.23M), Atlanta FaZe ($1.19M), Team SoloMid ($1.18M), Team Secret ($1.1M) and Fnatic ($995k)
China has reportedly started construction on a major esports hub and arena called The Shanghai International New Cultural and Creative E-sports Center. The $900 million and 500,000 square foot facility is estimated to be ready sometime in 2024 with the hopes of making Shanghai the world's biggest Esports hub, positioning the city as the global capital of professional gaming. The complex will have a hotel to accommodate international teams, a 6,000 seat tournament arena and a gaming museum.
Elliot Page is partnering with BuzzFeed Studios to star in their upcoming esports movie called “1UP”. Directed by Kyle Newman, the film will follow a female gamer on her journey to create an all-girl esports team after quitting her collegial team due to sexism. Newman confirmed on Twitter that they had wrapped up day one of filming on December 1st and described the movie as “Gamings Pitch Perfect”. Page has starred in Inception, Juno and the Netflix Original Umbrella Academy.
THE GAMING ROUNDUP
The top 10 free-to-play games collectively made $18 billion in 2020.
Mediatonic partners with Doom Eternal to bring Doomguy, Cacodemon and Tyrant costumes to Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
Clash Royale, Supercell’s incredibly popular mobile game celebrated their 5-year anniversary this week.
Call of Duty 2021 is allegedly being developed by Sledgehammer Games.
Epic Games announced that they have acquired the technology and business of RAD Game Tools.
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