Revenge of the Gamers

Edition 17 - March 29th to April 4th

This week we’re covering a wide variety of events in the gaming world. Cheating services got shut down, CD Projekt Red continues to try and salvage their reputation and several different gaming movies and TV shows have been delayed. Outriders also launched this week and we’re going to take a deep dive into what it's all about.


Going Against The Terms of Service

The use of unapproved software, whether it’s cheat files or advanced information services, has been heavily prevalent in the video game industry over the last decade. Last week we saw two organizations get taken down; one by the police for blatantly selling cheats and hacks for a variety of popular games and the other by Activision for providing players with access to private game and player data. 

The Chinese police (known as Kunshan police) have shut down the world’s “biggest” video game cheat provider. The organization has reportedly earned more than $750 million providing temporary cheat services to users playing mobile games, as well as Overwatch, Valorant and other popular shooter titles. The cheating ring made more than $10,000 every day by offering wall-hacks, aimbots, boosts and other cheats that gave players an unfair advantage. This conclusion was the result of a year-long operation. The police raided several locations, arrested 10 people and closed down 17 related websites. The owners had $46 million worth of luxury cars, property and virtual currency seized.

On the other end of the spectrum, Activision has forced SBMMWarzone, a popular website that allowed players to track their Call of Duty Warzone games and stats, to shut down. Despite their countless efforts to strike a partnership with the game publisher, SBMM were hit with a cease and desist letter stating that using the API was against the Activision Terms of Service and directly affected the ability to guarantee their players’ privacy. The makers of SBMMWarzone have since shut down the website and started a #BringBackSBMMWarzone social media campaign. 


RED 2.0 - CD PROJEKT RED Is Looking to Improve 

CD Projekt Red has had a ton of media exposure over the last 4 months and not much of it has been positive. It started with the colossal launch failure of Cyberpunk 2077 and then they were hit with a massive cyberattack. Brushing all that aside, and acknowledging that their team has been hard at work regaining the trust of their beloved fans and investors, we’ve finally got some good news to report. Last week CDPR shared a major Group Strategy Update leading into 2022 and beyond. Here’s a breakdown of everything we know so far.

To kick things off, CDPR acquired Vancouver-based game developer, and long time partner, Digital Scapes. Specializing in multiplayer games, Digital Scapes was founded in 2012 by veteran BioWare and Radical Entertainment developers. They were previously helping develop the multiplayer component for Cyberpunk 2077 but that has reportedly been “reconsidered” due to core game prioritization. 

The most exciting news came from their core strategy update. The foundation of the strategy is to shift and adapt their focus on the parallel development of multiple AAA games and expansions. According to CD Projekt Red’s CEO Adam Kincinski, they want to “change the way they make video games”. This change to their core operations include three strategic directions of development; 

  1. The Studio’s REDengine technology will be improved and centralized, while reorganizing the Studio as a set of interdisciplinary agile teams will transform the way games are developed, making its approach more proactive.

  2. The growth and expansion of their existing franchises, Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher, to new areas, media and content types. 

  3. Expanding their ability to enrich the studio’s products with online features and develop online technologies which can be embedded in future development processes. 

They ended the presentation by acknowledging that their team is their greatest asset and pledged to double efforts in securing a sustainable and caring work environment for all employees. They said, “CD PROJEKT will remain an inclusive and diverse workplace; however, we also want to emphasize the well-being of our employees and provide them with professional and personal development opportunities”.


MOVIES AND TV SHOWS

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City has been delayed after last week’s September 3rd, 2021 release announcement. According to Variety, the film is now set to be released on November 24, 2021. The delay is due to Disney’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which are also set to release on September 3, 2021. 

Mortal Kombat the series reboot has been delayed and it will now release on April 23rd, 2021. According to IGN, there is no clear reason for the film being delayed for the additional week. However, the internet is speculating that HBO Max wants to capitalize on subscriber renewals a month after the initial release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Uncharted, the movie starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg has been delayed one week. According to GameSpot, the movie will now be released on February 18, 2022. The movie is based on the game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and it was initially supposed to be released on July 16, 2021.

The Witcher starring Henry Cavill has completed filming for Season 2. The Netflix original series faced multiple interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic since beginning its filming in February of 2020. An announcement on the renewal of the series for a third season is expected sometime in 2021. Netflix is also working on a six-part series called The Witcher: Blood Origin, which will serve as a prequel to The Witcher.


OUTRIDERS - A New Adventure

Square Enix’s cooperative third person shooter game Outriders was released this week for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Stadia. In the 15th Edition of our newsletter we covered the Square Enix Presents event in which the company previewed the game.

According to gaming industry analyst Benji-Sales, this is Square Enix’s most successful paid game launch on Steam in their history, reaching over 100,000 concurrent players. Xbox Game Pass users are able to play Outriders through their Game Pass subscription. 

What is Outriders? Outriders is a third person RPG-shooter, playable in both singleplayer or co-op (up to 2). Gamers play as an “Outrider” whose goal is to use their skills and abilities to combat ferocious monsters in an attempt to colonize a new planet. The game offers players an array of customization features through different classes and abilities. Outriders also has cross-play available so that users can play with people on multiple platforms. 

The demo was released on February 25th, 2021 for PlayStation, Steam and Xbox. It allowed players to experience up to 3 hours of combat, play co-op with different 4 player classes, progress to level 7, and the ability to transfer your progression to the full game. The demo is still available and it gives users a trial run they may want prior to purchasing the full game.


ESPORTS CORNER 

The Esports Awards is a yearly event that is dedicated to showcasing top class innovation and performance from players, teams, games, events, media, hardware providers and personalities within the esports scene. With nominations now open, The Esports Awards have rebranded featuring a new and sleek logo, and they’ve announced Secretlab (a premium gaming chair maker) as their newest sponsor for the 2021 awards season. It's also important to note that some new award categories are being onboarded this year. The 2021 award ceremony will include categories for Broadcast/Production Team of the Year, Esports Creative of the Year, Esports Video Production of the Year and Esports Apparel of the Year. 

Electronic Arts has finally revealed the details for the 2021 Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) Championships. The competition will begin on June 1st, where players that qualified during the Winter Circuit Playoffs will automatically qualify for the ALGS. Players who achieve rank Gold IV in the season 8 split 2 by April 21st will have the opportunity to participate in the Last Chance Qualifiers. The North American and EMEA Championships will include 40 competing teams while the APAC North, APAC South and South American regions will have 30 competing teams. The championships will consist of a group stage and round robin before the top placing teams compete for their portion of the $1 million total grand prize. All regional tournaments will be played online due to the current state of the global pandemic. 

Dignitas, the North American based esports organization has officially parted ways with their male Valorant roster which included the players Psalm, Dephh, Rara, Ryann and Makka. The team was recognized as one of the only professional organizations to fully support two professional teams in a single game, but ultimately decided to allocate their support exclusively to the female team due to the male rosters overall lackluster performance. Dignitas took to twitter to break the news and stated that “we remain an avid supporter of Valorant [...] we look forward to supporting new Valorant initiatives in the future”. Dignitas is currently trying to help those players find a new team.


THE GAMING ROUNDUP 

  • Twitch streamer Ludwig went live for more than 2 weeks, adding 20 seconds for each new subscriber. 

  • Rocket League Season 3 will feature new cars in collaboration with Nascar and Formula 1.

  • Rust, the multiplayer survival game will be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on May 21, 2021 from game developer Double Eleven.

  • Among Us released a fourth map called: “The Airship,” which allows players to explore new areas in the biggest map yet, complete new tasks, new hats and the ability to report players through the new account system.

  • E3, the yearly video game industry trade show will be going fully digital in 2021 with their free event.


If you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Weekly Recon, please send it to some friends and share it on social media. With your help we can become your emails best source of gaming news.

Follow Skyline Network on Instagram and Twitter for daily gaming news.