Microsoft is Pulling Ahead of Sony

Edition 18 - April 5th to April 11th

Good morning. We hope that you had a wonderful weekend. This past week was dominated by Microsoft as they are in talks with Hideo Kojima over the publication of his next game and they’ll be participating in the E3 live event. Sony continues to ride their popular “The Last of Us” franchise, and IO Interactive shares some exciting news on their games. 


Xbox and Hideo Kojima Working Together? 

Hideo Kojima, developer behind Death Stranding and the Metal Gear Solid franchise is reportedly in talks with Xbox over the publication of his next game (currently unannounced). According to a source close to the matter by VentureBeat, the two parties have been discussing for several weeks, and Xbox head Phil Spencer deliberately featured a statue of the Kojima Productions mascot in the background of one of his recent streams. Nothing has been confirmed just yet but the source did clarify that, to his understanding, “Kojima is the focus of a Microsoft plan to leverage Japanese talent”.

Kojima Productions will likely announce their next game soon, says art director Yoji Shinkawa. Many fans thought that they were somehow associated with the mysterious Blue Box Game Studios who recently announced the PlayStation exclusive game called Abandoned, a first-person survival horror shooter. The rumors were of course debunked by both studios but over the last few years, Kojima has notoriously teased his new horror obsession saying that he’d like to make a revolutionary horror game one day and that he was watching horror movies in preparation for a future project. 


E3 IS BACK - It’s Game On! But.. Digitally

E3 is the world's biggest video game industry showcase. Last year's event was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic but now it’s BACK! The 2021 edition is scheduled to take place between June 12 and June 15, and is backed by major publishers such as Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Koch Media and Warner Bros. Games. Some notable absentees (so far) include Sony, EA, Activision Blizzard, Sega, Bandai Namco and Square Enix. 

ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said, “we are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.”

Gamers might be wondering: why are some of the industries’ largest video game publishers choosing to skip out on E3 this year? With digital showcases becoming more prevalent these days some of them have already showcased their upcoming lineup at their own events. Sony had their State of Play and Activision Blizzard had BlizzConline in February, and then Square Enix just hosted their Square Enix Presents showcase last month. It’s very probable that some of these publishers just don’t have enough new info to justify a dedicated segment at E3. That said, it is still early and we’ll have to wait and see which publishers actually end up making an appearance at the virtual expo.


THE LAST OF US REMAKE FOR PS5

The Last of Us was originally released in June 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and later remastered for the PlayStation 4 in July 2014. The Last of Us Part II was released in June 2020 for the PlayStation 4. Sony has been under scrutiny by their community this past week as they continue to focus on remaking already popular titles for the PlayStation 5 instead of creating new ones.

According to Bloomberg, Sony Visual Arts Service Group, a team of 30 developers were planning to remake the 2013 The Last of Us game for the PS5 but Sony never gave them the funding or support to do so. The studio never received a name and the project was moved to the original creator of the game, Naughty Dog. Sony assigning Naughty Dog on the remake project is part of their strategy to help stay a leg up on Microsoft with regards to their exclusive games and to keep demand high for the PS5.

HBO is currently developing a TV-series adaptation of the game written by Naughty Dog co-founder Neil Druckmann and screenwriter Craig Mazin (Chernobyl). The show will star Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie. According to GamesRadar, the show will start filming in July and it will feature events from the original game.


IOI Interactive - Project 007 and Hitman Update

IO Interactive is a Danish video game developer based in Copenhagen and is known for creating the Hitman franchise. The developer is currently working on Project 007, a new James Bond video game. 

The Hitman Series is taking a break according to IOI CEO Hakan Abrak. Hitman 3 was released in January 2021 and Abrak says they’re going to continue to release content and support the game in the future. Abrak wants fans to know that this is not the end of Agent 47 but it is time for him to rest. Abrak added that the company is currently working on cool stuff in the Assassination World but he will only be able to elaborate in the future. 

Project 007 is the working title for the new James Bond game that IOI is developing. The game will feature an entirely new Bond story, which allows players to learn and experience the origin story of agent Bond. According to IGN, the game will draw inspiration from the entire movie franchise, the previous James Bond games and books. In January 2021, IOI announced that they were hiring over 200 more employees for their Sweden studio working on the Bond game.


ESPORTS CORNER

100 Thieves CEO Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag announced last week that current members Jack “CouRage” Dunlop and Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter have been given co-ownership of the organization. Both CouRage and Valkyrae are extremely popular content creators who stream to their YouTube fan bases of more than 3 million subscribers. The organization released a 25-minute video where Nadeshot and both his new co-owners had a roundtable style discussion talking about their new co-ownership roles, as well as the future plans to onboard more content creators. Nadeshot said, “As a streamer and former pro-player myself, I always wanted 100 Thieves to be an organization guided by and built to be a platform for content creators”. CouRage and Valkyrae join Nadeshot, Drake, Dan Gilbert and Scooter Braun in the 100 Thieves ownership group. 

Danish esports organization Astralis Group has announced their intention to be publicly traded in the United States due to “growing investor interest”. They’ve applied to be traded through OTC Markets Group’s Best market exchange which should take about four weeks to be reviewed. This is familiar territory for Astralis because back in 2019, they became the first esports organization to be publicly listed, entering the Danish Nasdaq exchange with the symbol ASTGRP. As one of Europe's most popular and successful esport organizations, Astralis Group operates a championship CS:GO team, an LEC (League of Legends) franchise and a FIFA roster.  

The Halo franchise has had a long standing relationship with competitive gaming. With the help of MLG competitions 15 years ago, Halo became a pillar in the Esports scene. Fast forward to today and the franchise’s next iteration, Halo Infinite, is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Earlier this week Halo’s competitive gaming lead Tashi teased that Microsoft finalized the date and venue for the games first esports event part of the Halo Championship Series. More details will be unveiled this summer but the event will happen in 2021 and it is being operated by esports event company Esports Engine. They will work in collaboration with Microsoft and 343 Industries on an ecosystem design, format and league operations, broadcasts and more.


GAMING ROUNDUP

  • CharlieINTEL is reporting a rumor that Battlefield 6 could be launching on Xbox Game Pass this fall. 

  • Tencent’s TiMi Studios has reportedly earned more than $10 billion in revenue throughout 2020.

  • Ubisoft has acquired middleware developer GameBlocks to help improve their server side anti-cheat efforts.  

  • Electronic Arts (EA) has published an Adaptive Dynamic Difficulty patent that would allow them to adjust the difficulty of games so people play longer.

  • According to Techland’s Senior Technology Programmer Łukasz Burdka, Dying Light 2’s map will be four times the size of the map in the original game (2015).


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