Multiplayer Games Front and Center

Edition 20 - April 19th to April 25th

Good Morning. The pandemic has had a negative impact on a lot of us, but the gaming world continues to show its resilience by producing awesome content. Last week Warzone, one of the best Battle Royale games underwent a massive change. PlayStation and Xbox received two big thumbs up by their respective communities and Esports continues to grow through some exciting new partnerships.


CALL OF DUTY - Season 3 Update

Verdansk 2021 is gone and it’s never coming back. A wild week in the battle royale game saw the beloved Verdansk map get blown to eternity by a nuclear blast. Players have now been taken back to 1984 Verdansk, where they can explore the island in a Cold War setting.

Verdansk ‘84 is not all new since seven existing locations have returned from the original map, but the colours are now more vibrant than its 2021 counterpart. Verdansk ‘84 really allows players to see what the island was like before the damage and the fighting as several of the destroyed structures were rebuilt. The “new” setting features the return of a fan favourite Call of Duty map Summit as it is now a location that players can visit to reminisce about the old days. The most exciting part of the new map is that there is less open field to get caught in the crossfire.

New Weapons and Balance Changes were also implemented in Warzone this week. The PPSh-41 (SMG) and Swiss K31 (Sniper Rifle) were both added to the game and are unlockable via Tier 15 and Tier 31 of the Battle Pass. According to the patch notes, the M16, Mac-10, FFAR 1 and the Charlie Tactical rifle were all nerfed. The weapons that were buffed include the AK-47 (Cold War), FARA 83, Groza, Krig 6, QBZ-83 and LC10.


PLAYSTATION - A New IP is Coming

On Thursday, PlayStation and Firewalk Studios announced a publishing partnership for a new and original multiplayer IP. In recent weeks, the PlayStation community vocalized some serious displeasure with the company’s lack of new IPs in the pipeline. This announcement, alongside Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan confirming the company has invested in exclusive games, has PlayStation fans excited again.

Firewalk Studios is a next generation AAA studio from the ProbablyMonsters family. The leadership team includes the likes of Ryan Ellis, the Game Director who previously worked on Destiny and Elena Siegma, the Executive Producer who worked on Guitar Hero II, Bioshock Infinite and the Destiny franchise. The team also includes other members who worked on Mass Effect, Apex Legends, Call of Duty and Destiny.

The new multiplayer IP will focus on creating new worlds and moments for players through ambitious and inspiring work. Unfortunately, the blogpost did not share more on the type of game being developed. That said, the studio did mention the challenges of working from home during the pandemic, so don’t expect the game to be released in the near future. 


XBOX - There’s Always Something Happening 

Whether it’s a new studio acquisition rumour, digital event or game release, Microsoft and Xbox seem to be in the news week after week. So… what’s happening now?

Xbox and Nintendo working together? Microsoft has made it a habit to feature seemingly random, yet foreshadowing objects on the background shelf of their digital events. For the second time now, a Nintendo Switch console made its way into a digital event. The first time this happened was during a Phill Spencer office broadcast earlier this year (the same broadcast that started the Hideo Kojima rumours), and now it's happened again during Microsoft's Game Stack event. 

Online multiplayer games are FREE! Xbox has now officially made online multiplayer games playable without the need of an active Xbox Live Gold membership. Xbox players have access to a library of more than 50 free-to-play games that support multiplayer including Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, Rocket League, Fortnite and more. 

xCloud for iOS and Web is here! Last week Microsoft started inviting Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to test their cloud gaming service on iOS devices and select web browsers. The service allows players to play games while away from their consoles natively through web browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Edge. xCloud is still in beta but early reports suggest many connectivity and server load issues. 


The Next Generation Battlefield - PC, Console AND Mobile

A few months ago in a previous Weekly Recon edition we got to share some early Battlefield 2021 information with you all. We learned that the game is scheduled to release during the 2021 holiday season, that the multiplayer will feature never before seen map and lobby sizes and that EA was heavily focusing on environmental destruction. The details are still few and far between but we’ve got some more news to share leading into the spring reveal. 

Last week the DICE General Manager (development studio and subsidiary of EA) Oskar Gabrielson spoke to the Battlefield community through an EA blogspot. The upcoming Battlefield game employs the biggest development team they’ve ever had. The DICE and Criterion LA studios are working on the shared vision of the game while the team in Gothenburg are focused on taking the technology to the next level. The game is currently in playtesting mode: polishing, balancing and making the best Battlefield game they can. The next generation of Battlefield is all-out military warfare, packed with massive battles and more players and mayhem than ever before. 

EA is also developing a brand new Battlefield Mobile Game coming in 2022. This new experience will be a standalone game, completely different from the games on console or PC, designed specifically for the mobile platform. It is being built from the ground up by iToys, and the game is now entering a testing period. The entire project is being done in close collaboration with DICE.


ESPORTS CORNER

NRG Esports, the Los Angeles based gaming organization has made Rocket League Esports history by being the first professional team to surpass $1 million in prize pool winnings. The record was broken last week when NRG placed top-4 in the RCLS X Grid tournament. The season 8 RCLS World Champions entered the Rocket League professional scene back in 2016 with the Kings of Urban team acquisition. NRG has constantly been one of the most dominant teams in the game due to the ceaseless leadership and talent of longtime player Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon.

The Premier League, in collaboration with EA SPORTS has partnered with Tencent Sports and Tencent Games to bring ePremier League soccer competitions to mainland China. This will be the first ePremier League competition held outside of the UK, and will see some of the best Chinese gamers, as well as hand-picked influencers and content creators compete on the EA Sports FIFA Online 4 video game. All 20 Premier League clubs will be represented by a different competing player, and teams will be divided into four groups of five teams before heading to an in-person LAN event for the knockout stages scheduled on May 14th. The event will be live streamed across China by various Tencent owned media platforms.

The International Olympic Committee has partnered with DreamHack Sports Games and various other International Sports Federations and game publishers to launch the Olympic Virtual Series. This new digital experience will officially take place ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics and is described as a “new Olympic virtual experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports”. The Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) will feature competitions in racing (playing Gran Turismo), baseball (playing eBaseball Powerful Pro 2020), cycling (using Zwift), sailing (using the Virtual Regatta simulator) and rowing (Open format). 


GAMING ROUNDUP  

  • The Call of Duty franchise surpassed 400 million premium game sales last week and Warzone has reached 100 million players globally. 

  • Multiverse raised $17 million in series A funding to help further develop their “One More Multiverse” platform that combines tabletop RPGs with video games. 

  • Mario Kart Tour reached 200 million downloads and $200 million in lifetime revenue. This makes it Nintendo’s second best revenue generating game over the last year. 

  • Apex Legends announced the next season of their battle royale called “Legacy,” which will introduce the new legend Valkyrie

  • Mortal Kombat was released on HBO Max this weekend and IMDb rated it 6.7/10. The series is being rebooted after the original movie was released in 1995.


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