The Outer Worlds comes out this week. For many fans, this is the true follow-up to Fallout New Vegas they’ve been waiting for. But it isn’t the only big and exciting game coming out this week. Get ready folks, it’s a busy week!
I have constantly mixed up The Outer Worlds and Outer Wilds when talking about these games with other writers at Kotaku. It doesn’t help that they are both games set in space and both are part of Xbox Game Pass. One day my brain will get this figured out, but for now, I have to double-check if I’m referencing the right game every time I write about it.
As mentioned earlier, this is a busy week with games for everyone across all platforms. The Outer Worlds comes out this week, of course, but we also get some other big games. For wrestling fans, WWE 2K20 comes out this week. (Though that game sounds like a mess this year.) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare comes out this week too, with PS4 and Xbox One cross-play available right at launch. Wild! And for fans of remakes of old games, MediEvil comes out this week too for PS4.
And still, other stuff is coming out this week! Check out the list below:
Monday, October 21
Eastshade | PS4, Xbox One
Monaco: Complete Edition | Switch
The Forgettable Dungeon | PC
Mystery At Stonyford Bridge | PC
Mahjong Royal Towers | PC
ED-IT | PC
Return Of The Zombie King | PC
Zyxia: Neon Termination | PC
Tuesday, October 22
Street Outlaws: The List | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Beholder 2 | PS4
Mary Skelter 2 | Switch
The Legend of Heroes: Trails Of Cold Steel III | PS4
Volition’s classic Saints Row 2has been almost unplayable on PC for years after the game’s source code went missing and it turned into a bug-riddled mess. Good news today for anyone who still wants to play it, though: The code has been found, and Volition is working on getting a Steam version released.
The company announced the discovery in a livestream earlier today, saying that a two-person team is getting put to work rebuilding Saints Row 2 from scratch so that it’ll run on more modern systems/hardware configurations. This new version will run on Steam, not Gamespy (if you’d forgotten about Gamespy, it’s OK; this is a 2008 game ported to PC in 2009). It will also bring with it the game’s formerly console-exclusive DLC.
Ever since the game’s lack of updates basically killed it off, the only way to play Saints Row 2 (and its online modes) has been through the hard work of modders, who managed to get around Volition’s absence to varying degrees of success.
No word on a release date yet.
What happened to the source code?
Volition didn’t handle Saints Row 2’s PC port directly, instead that job was done by a team from CD Projekt Red. When THQ went bust in 2012, Volition thought “the source code was lost in the bankruptcy auction”. Seven years later, though, it’s back.
SteamedSteamedSteamed is dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s PC gaming service.
Sometimes, you’d rather stretch out on the living room couch in your underwear than be the deli meat in a couch co-op sandwich. Valve today shared its plans to make Steam’s local multiplayer games playable online, so from now on, you won’t have to elbow your way into some personal space when you’re already screaming at your teammates for dropping the pasta in Overcooked 2.
Valve announced the feature, called Remote Play Together, to developers who then shared the news with the public. Its beta is launching around October 21. Any game that offers local multiplayer (including split-screen and local-co-op play) will be able to plug in an online player 2 using a Steam Overlay. “When the Friend accepts an invitation to play, it’s as though they’re playing side by side at the same machine,” Valve’s message reads. It continues:
“Much like a traditional split-screen experience, the host’s computer is running the game, but with Remote Play Together friends can join using their own controllers, voice, audio, and display — regardless of whether they also own the game on Steam.
Any controllers connected to the second player’s computer will act as if they’re plugged directly into the first computer. The player hosting the game can also choose to allow or block inputs to their shared keyboard and mouse.”
Up to four players will be able to game with each other with Remote Play Together. Valve says it “renders 60 frames per second at a resolution of 1080p,” too, if your internet is good enough.
It’s not every day that a series with as much legacy and history as Destiny suddenly orbital-drops onto Steam. This has resulted in a horde of Desti-neophytes rushing to see what all the fuss is about. Are they enjoying diving into the deep end of Bungie’s loot ocean of a game, though? Yes and no.
At this point in its life cycle, Destiny 2 is obstinately, maximally itself. This means heaps of lore, stats, currencies, and activities that can lead to a pretty overwhelming experience for newcomers. While many longtime Destiny 2 players are just happy to finally have their favorite shooter-MMO hybrid on Steam, some new players have expressed confusion and even rage over all the things they have to come to grips with upon starting the game. Also, Warframe fans have decided to turn Destiny 2‘s arrival on Steam into some weird tribalistic showdown between two free games that everybody can enjoy? It’s the internet, so I guess I’m not sure what else I was expecting.
This week Ghost Recon Breakpoint releases, letting players explore a large open-world map as super tactical soldiers. If it is anything like the last game, it also means players will be able to cause all sorts of mayhem using vehicles and explosives.
I enjoyed the gameplay of the last Ghost Recon game, Wildlands, but the world felt so boring and the story never hooked me that I stopped about 60% of the way through. I’ve been tempted to go back and finish off the last leaders of the Cartel for a while now. Maybe I should do that before I play Breakpoint? Or maybe I’ll skip Breakpoint and never play Wildlands again! Who knows?
There’s more coming out this week beyond a new and big Ubisoft game. Warsaw looks like a cross between World War II and Darkest Dungeon. Destiny 2′s big new expansion drops this week, alongside the jump to Steam. And for Ghostbusters fans out there, that game from a few years back is being remastered for current-gen systems. I remember liking the first few hours of that game and hating the rest of it. Maybe I’ll like it more on new consoles?
Other stuff is coming out this week! Check out the list below:
Monday, September 30
Chop Is Dish | Switch
Blockoid | PC
Fallen Empires | PC, Mac
Nobodies | PC, Mac
Duck In Town – A Rising Knight | PC, Mac
Balloon Fighter | PC
Cube World | PC
Ten Days To War | PC
Spaceland | PC
The Lost | PC
Tuesday, October 1
Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation 2 | PS4
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep | PS4, Xbox One, PC
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound Of This World | PS4, Switch PC
ReadySet Heroes | PS4
80 Days | Switch
Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition | Switch
Lanternium | Switch
Super Crate Box | Switch
Hunting On Myths | PC
Particle Wars | PC
Wednesday, October 2
Asdivine Kamura | Xbox One, PC
Warsaw | PC
We Were Here Too | Xbox One
Spooky Ghost Dot Com | Switch
Marginalia | PC
Norman’s Night In | PC
Drawn Down Abyss | PC, Mac
RaceXXL Space | PC
The Long Return | PC
Thursday, October 3
Neo Cab | Switch, PC
Legrand Legacy: Tale Of The Fatebounds | PS4, Xbox One
Candleman | Switch
A Hole New World | PS Vita
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandator | PC
Fault: Milestone One | Switch
CASE: Animatronics | Switch
Galaxy Champions TV | Switch
Cubixx | Switch
Tic-Tac-Letters by POWGI | Switch
Hexagroove: Tactical DJ | Switch
Hero Of The Forest | PC
Hexxon | PC, Mac
Endless Fables 4: Shadow Within | PC, Mac
Alive 2 Survive | PC, Mac
Friday, October 4
Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint | PS4, Xbox One, PC
SlabWell: The Quest For Kaktun’s Alpaca | Xbox One
Frogwares, the studio behind a ton of Sherlock Games across most major platforms, have today accused publisher Focus Home Interactive of not only delisting a bunch of their games from digital shopfronts, but of then refusing to return the code.
This letter is addressed to everyone who is interested in the video game industry, and wants to take a look at what’s happening behind the curtain.
We are Frogwares, the developer of the Sherlock Holmes video games, and The Sinking City. We make detective games because it’s our passion, and because it allows us to live off it.
But today, that is under threat. Some of our games are being removed from Sony’s and Microsoft’s storefronts, and even maybe from Steam. This list includes our titles like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack The Ripper and Magrunner: Dark Pulse (see full list below).
Why? Because Focus Home Interactive, the licensee (or “publisher”) that was in charge of commercializing these games on these platforms, refuses to transfer the title IDs to us, the creators and IP owners of those titles, even though our Publishing and Distribution Agreement has expired.
Because, according to their official statement, sent to us only last week, “Focus has put in place a policy in accordance with which they will not transfer any title – the content ID or title ID – belonging to any developer which has removed all of their games from the Focus catalog”.
A policy that is not in any of our previous or existing contracts with Focus and that has never been applied to us in the past.
Because of that policy, our games will be taken down from all storefronts.
As it stands right now, the only game left is Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishment which only has until September 29th. It is possible that it will be taken down at this date or earlier if nothing is done. The players will no longer be able to buy and play the game. We will also lose all our wishlists and every other bit of information on those store pages. As the creators and IP owners of all those games, we have no control and no say in this. The decision of Focus Home left us voiceless.
We are in the process of setting up new store profiles, and we are contacting console stores and hope to try and rectify the situation. However, we are unable to confirm if this can be done and already know that it will be impossible for certain games on previous gen, and very costly for others as we will have to update the SDK and that takes months. We are certainly not going to give up, and will pursue this issue through the appropriate channels.
We have always been an independent studio. We worked with many licensees on the grounds of mutual interests and benefits, but it’s the first time in 20 years we have encountered such a situation. We are losing all revenue attached to these games, for some – for an unknown period of time and for other games, forever. This new policy from Focus Home towards former contracted developers will land a serious blow to our studio, threatening our future games and the people who develop them.
Right now, we are in a tough situation. We are preparing ourselves for a significant loss. To those parties that can help us and have influence over the situation – feel free to contact us.
As of today, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes and Magrunner: Dark Pulse have been removed from the PS3 store, while Sherlock Holmes versus Jack The Ripper, The Testament Of Sherlock Holmes,and Magrunner: Dark Pulse are no longer available for purchase on Xbox 360.
Sherlock Holmes Crimes & Punishments is currently available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 until September 29, while the rest of the company’s Steam games are self-published, so those should be OK.
We’ve contacted Focus Home Interactive for comment.
SteamedSteamedSteamed is dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s PC gaming service.
Back in 2015, Valve got sued by a French consumer organization called UFC-Que Choisir (not to be confused with non-French, non-consumer organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship). UFC-Que Choisir had a multitude of bones to pick with the longtime Steam steward, the biggest among them being that Steam doesn’t let users resell their games. Four years later, a French court has ruled in UFC-Que Choisir’s favor. Valve plans to appeal.
According to the French gaming siteNumerama, as well as UFC-Que Choisir itself, the High Court of Paris ruled in UFC-Que Choisir’s favor earlier this week. If Valve’s appeal fails, this ruling stands to have ramifications not just in France, but across the European Union. Specifically, the court didn’t find Valve’s defense that Steam is a subscription service compelling. As a result, the court declared that users should be allowed to resell Steam games.
The court ruled in favor of UFC-Que Choisir on other counts, too. In its original suit, the organization had also taken aim at the fact that, if a user leaves Steam, Valve would keep whatever currency was left in their Steam Wallet. The recent ruling states that the company will instead have to reimburse users who request it. Valve must now also accept responsibility when users say an item on Steam caused them harm, even if it’s in beta. Valve’s rights to users’ mods and community content will also be diminished, and the company will have to clarify the conditions under which users can lose access to Steam for poor behavior.
If Valve refuses to change its rules and post the court’s decision to Steam within a month, it will have to pay a fine of up to 3,000 Euros per day for up to six months.
Again, though, Valve, plans to appeal the ruling. “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” a Valve representative told Kotaku in an email. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”
So don’t expect any major changes in the near future. Still, it’s notable that UFC-Que Choisir scored this victory, and it could very well lead to changes on Valve’s platform. A 2014 Australian court ruling, for example, led to Steam’s current refund policy. Similarly, the company began to go after the 2.3 billion dollar Counter-Strike gambling ring that sprung up in its backyard in 2016 only after lawsuits began to trickle in. For now, however, the appeal still lies ahead, so probably don’t go around trying to pawn off your old, digital-dust-covered games just yet.
SteamedSteamed is dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s PC gaming service.
Yesterday, Steam’s first big library overhaul in eons entered open beta. The fresh coat of paint and (virtual) new shelves make for welcome additions, but it’s going to take some getting used to. Then there’s the new community-centric game page display, which somewhat ironically has the community divided. Here are some tips to help you deal with all of that and more.
Accessing the new library
For now, the new Steam library is still in beta, so by default, you’re stuck with the old digs for a little longer. Savor these more innocent times, because when change comes, it strikes like an arrow. That’s tip number one, and it also doubles as life advice.
Tip number two (but the first tip that exclusively applies to Steam): If you want to access the new library now, click the “Steam” drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of Steam, select “settings,” and click over to the “account” tab. You should see a section labeled “beta participation.” From there, select “change,” because ultimately, you are the arbiter of change in your own life, not some mindless tumbleweed being blown whichever way the wind takes you (turns out the second tip was also life advice after all, surprise). Doing that should make a pop-up appear. Select “Steam beta update,” restart Steam, and you’ll be good to go.
Hiding those pesky community features
The new Steam library is heavily community oriented, which isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. As far as I can tell, this is the most complained-about element of the overhaul at the time of writing. In particular, folks seem to take issue with the way that individual games’ pages put the game activity of your friends and, regrettably, a whole bunch of randos front and center. Fun fact: The Steam community likes to post porn! Not all of that porn gets moderated right away! Fortunately, your friends get prime real estate at the top of the activity feed, but even then, their achievements and screenshots can still spoil major portions of games you might be playing.
Currently, there’s no option to entirely disable this, but there is a workaround. First, open up the same settings menu you used to enable the new library. This time, select the “library” tab. In there, you should see an option called “low bandwidth mode.” Select it. This will, among other things, disable community content by default. This doesn’t remove your friends’ accomplishments from the activity feed, so you’ll still have to watch out for that, but it renders broader community content entirely optional.
If you activated low bandwidth mode, you’re already part of the way to shrinking the Goliath-like footprint of new Steam. Part two is just as easy. Simply go to the same too-tucked-away menu and select “low performance mode.” You’ll lose out on a few graphical effects, but everything will load much faster. It’s a worthwhile trade-off if you’re running Steam on an older machine, or even if you’ve got a snarling hotrod of a PC and just want to play your dang games already.
Dragging and dropping
The new Steam library places a big emphasis on “collections,” which allow you to organize games according to Steam-generated tags or whatever arbitrary criteria you please. If you want to add a new game to a collection, you can right click on that game and scroll down to “add to,” but that’s a pain. Instead, just drag that game’s icon or title to whichever collection you please and drop it there. This works whether you’re in the sub-menu for a particular collection or viewing your Steam library as a whole.
Stopping games before they start
You know the nightmare lurking in the heart of man, for you have lived it: You’re scrolling through your Steam library, looking to play a particular game, but you’re only half-thinking about the task at hand, and before you know it, you’ve launched the wrong game. Now you have to watch a bunch of splash screens and other obligatory nonsense that you don’t and will never under any condition give even a single shit about. Then, and only then, can you quit to desktop.
If, however, you look near a game’s title in its new detail page after you’ve launched it, you should see a big “STOP” button. Hit that, and Steam will abort the launch. Thank god.
Viewing games by size on your hard drive
If you’re anything like me, your hard drive is constantly on the brink of heaving its girth into an increasingly tantalizing grave because you’re terrible at efficiently managing space. However, eventually, something has to give, such as when it’s time to install a new game. The new Steam library makes it easy. In every category (or “shelf,” as Steam now calls them), there’s a range of “sort by” options, one of which is “size on disk.” You can do this for your entire library, or just in particular categories. Now go ask yourself if you’re really ever going to finish Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, or if it’s time to say goodbye.
You have a bunch of new games now; don’t panic
After the library update, you might find your game collection looking a little more voluminous than before. This is because Steam now displays free-to-play games you’ve played in your library, even if you don’t “own” them or they’ve been removed from the Steam store. Some Steam users may choose to wear this bigger, buffer game number as a badge of pride. However, if you don’t want your library cluttered up by games that you may never play again, you can just create a collection dedicated to free-to-play games and then, in the library’s list view, shift-click all of those games, right click, go to the “manage” tab, and click on “hide selected games.”
Sorting your pile of shame
If you really enjoy feeling bad about yourself, why not formalize the list of games that you feel ashamed you haven’t gotten around to playing? When creating a new collection, there’s now a category for “play state.” This includes an “unplayed” option, which will group together every game you’ve never laid a finger on, you constantly overwhelmed, guilt-ridden game goblin. Today I learned that I have exactly 666 unplayed games on Steam. “See you in hell,” I’ll tell my game collection when I’m on my deathbed. “You tell them who sent you,” it’ll reply.
Last week, Valve released an update as part of a recent push to make it easier for users to find new, under-the-radar games. The update purported to decrease the presence of popular games in Steam’s recommendation algorithms, increase overall variety, and give people a more personalized selection of games. However, the update appears to have produced some unintended ripple effects, especially for games that aren’t out yet. Now some developers are saying the trickles of traffic their game pages were getting before have now dried up almost entirely.
Over the weekend, a bunch of indie developers voiced their concerns on Twitter, posting graphs of their plummeting wishlist stats and citing sudden drop-offs in store page traffic. The developers of atmospheric puzzle-platformer Unbound: Worlds Apart kicked it off with their own graph of users’ wishlist numbers, which is not moving in a promising direction:
“Thank you Steam for killing indie gaming,” wrote Unbound’s developers.
Mark Viola, the creator of tactical turn-based JRPG Bright Red Skies, lamented similar data, writing, ““Noticed a huge drop as well.”
“Months of effort, ruined in an instant,” he wrote.
Other developers reached out to Kotaku with similar stories. “Our impressions and wishlists have dropped 80% since the change, and it’s a similar story with tons of others,” Alex M-O, a developer on action-platformer Rune Fencer Illyia, told Kotaku on Twitter.
“Our upcoming game went from 30-40 wishlists daily to negative numbers today,” said Failcore Games founder Jan Cieslar. “Thanks to the changes, more people are deleting [the game from] their wishlists than adding them. And it’s Steam who tells us to set up a page as soon as possible and prioritize wishlists if we want to succeed.”
“Our traffic and wishlists [dropped] to 20% of the normal one, and the conversion from view to wishlist has also dropped to 50%, which means they are showing our games to people from other niches or people who already saw them,” said Lowpoly Interactive founder Bogdan Radu.
Both store page impressions and wishlists are extremely important predictors of Steam games’ success, especially upcoming ones. The value of page impressions is pretty self-explanatory, but when users wishlist games, they receive notifications from Steam when the game comes out, as well as every time it goes on sale. That way, it doesn’t get lost in Steam’s ceaseless howling vortex of a shuffle. Wishlists are generally regarded by developers as the most effective way of making a game sell to its fullest potential when it comes out.
The developers who say their games have entered flaming traffic talespins have something in common: Their games aren’t out yet. A couple of developers behind games that are already out have said that their internal Steam stats are in a holding pattern or slightly up. Still, that’s done little to comfort the developers, who—in addition to their own long-term marketing efforts—had been relying on Steam’s recommendations to pull in pre-release wishlists.
“For example, a game like Hollow Knight,” wrote the developers of Unbound. “In the ‘More Like This’ section from the game page, they put only popular games and no smaller games. Moreover, games that will be launched in the near future are currently inexistent there, and this section brings the biggest organic traffic.”
I took a look at the version of the store Steam algorithmically generated for me and found this to largely be true. I had to scroll for multiple minutes through the recommendations section to find a game I didn’t recognize or that had failed to achieve some degree of high-profile success. While I did come across a couple compelling indies in the “More Like This” sections of recent cult hits like Hypnospace Outlaw and Wandersong, even many smaller games’ “More Like This” widgets were dominated by indie mega-hits, well-known classics, and barely-related triple-A games. Unreleased games, meanwhile, were nowhere to be found.
In a statement to Kotaku, Valve said that the update is “likely” to undergo further changes, but they may not necessarily be directed at this particular issue. “We’re monitoring the effects of the changes now that they’ve been deployed on a larger scale, and we’re reviewing the mix of feedback from all sources,” said a Valve representative in an email. “It’s too early to say what changes will be made, but new features and tweaks are always likely after initial release.”
In the meantime, indie developers with upcoming games on Steam are left in the cold.
“It’s a pretty clear pattern,” said M-O. “Upcoming games are given negative priority for visibility. ‘More Like This’ is roughly 50% relevant best-sellers, 50% non-relevant best-sellers, and a random [triple-A game] or two… It’s comedically opposite to their stated intention.”
Have you ever dreamed of being a goose who annoys people? Well, then you’ve probably already heard about Untitled Goose Game, which is coming out later this week. If you haven’t heard about it, well I’m happy to be the one to introduce you to your dream game.
When I about 8 years old, my brother, who was 6 years old and I loved the Muscovy ducks that would visit our home in Florida. They were very large and we thought they were geese. We would give them bread and try to pet them. Eventually, we decided we wanted one of these big ducks as a pet. So we lured it inside with bread and water. Then it shit all over the kitchen. Luckily, we had tile floors so it was easy to clean up. But my parents weren’t happy.
Beyond Untitled Goose Game, some other cool stuff is hitting the Switch. Zelda: Link’s Awakening looks wonderful and cute. Castle Crashers Remastered is also heading to the Switch. And if you look close you’ll spot another 3DS game releasing next week. Last week also had a 3DS game release. Is it the second coming for that popular portable console? Probably not.
Other stuff is coming out this week! Check out the list below:
Monday, September 16
The End Of An Age: Fading Remnants | PC
Akash: Path Of The Five | Switch
Winter Cometh | PC
Graviton | PC, Mac
Don’t Give Up: A Cynical Tale | PC, Mac
Hope For City | PC
Solitaire Legend Of The Pirates | PC, Mac
Frenzy Plants | PC
Tuesday, September 17
Castle Crashers Remastered | PS4, Switch
Jet Kave Adventure | Switch
Bus Simulator | PS4, Xbox One
AI: The Somnium Files | PS4, Switch, PC
Rebel Cops | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Devil’s Hunt | PC
LEGO Jurassic World | Switch
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son | PSVR, Steam VR
Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure | PS4, Switch
Daymare: 1998 | PC
Blackbear The Cursed Jungle | PC
Wednesday, September 18
Trailmakers | Xbox One, PC
Football Drama | PC, Mac
Dreamland Solitaire | PC
BoltHalt | PC, Mac
Spirit Arena | PC
Crying Suns | PC, Mac
Seventh Circle | PC, Mac
Planetside Arena | PC
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu | PC, Mac
Thursday, September 19
Police Stories | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac
Devil May Cry 2 | Switch
Overland | Switch, PC
Sayonara Wild Hearts | PS4, Switch
Truck Driver | PS4, Xbox One
Mutazione | PS4, PC
Paper Dolls Original | Switch
GRID Autosport | Switch
Inferno 2 | Switch
Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns | Switch
Lost Castle | Switch
One-Way Ticket | Switch
Mountain Peak Battle Mess | 3DS
Neon Drive | Switch
Soul Knight | Switch
Rezist: Tower Defense | PC
Forgetful Dictator | PC
Cryptofall: Investor Simulator | PC, Mac
Friday, September 20
Untitled Goose Game | Switch, PC, Mac
Rebound Dodgeball Evolved | Xbox One, PC
Skybolt Zack | Switch, PC
The Sojourn | PS4, Xbox One, PC
Niffelheim | PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rain Of Reflections | PC
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch | PS4, Switch, PC