E3 2023 cancelled due to lack of "sustained interest"
"We had to do what’s right for the industry"
E3 2023 has been cancelled. The Entertainment Software Association announced the news to its members earlier today and confirmed it publicly shortly thereafter. The ESA's email said that the event "simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry."
Foxhole's developers are bringing their massively multiplayer formula to medieval warfare
Siege castles with thousands of fellow soldiers
Foxhole finished its early access journey last year as an expansive massively multiplayer World War 2 shooter that looks and functions like an RTS in which every soldier is an individual player. Now developers Siege Camp (formerly Clapfoot) have announced Anvil Empires, which seems similar in every way except its now thousands-strong armies are forging arrows and sieging castles in medieval warfare.
Each month, subscribers to Amazon's Prime service get a new batch of games to keep. April's collection includes a bumper crop of fifteen games, released in waves every Thursday, including Terraformers, Metal Slug 4, and BJ Blazkowicz sad eyes in Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Nobunaga's Ambition celebrates 40th anniversary with new western release in July
Slightly more ambitious
Not many video game series reach the 40-year mark, but that's the anniversary Nobunaga's Ambition celebrates this year. The historical grand strategy series is celebrating with the announcement of a new western release, Nobunaga's Ambition: Awakening, which will launch this July. You'll find the first trailer below.
Pineapple On Pizza asks an important question: can a video game convey flavour?
It's short, free and ten minutes long, give it a try
Indie studio Majorariatto have released small, experimental games every March since 2017 - barring the cursed year of 2020 - and now they’re back with another thought-provoking adventure called Pineapple On Pizza, this time asking the profound question: can video games convey such a complex flavour? It’s out now, it’s free, and it’s only about ten minutes long.
Wildfrost is excellent at creating moments of triumph. Early on in my playthrough while I was still getting to grips with the game, I came face-to-face with a boss who got stronger when hit. Its card art had become bigger, juicier, more tauntingly malevolent, and easily could have taken out any of my team with a single hit. Thankfully, three of my team members were due to act one turn before it. The first chipped away a little of its health (its job was mostly healing) but the next doubled a stacked debuff that I had set up and turned the goliath into a giant bomb, and the effect of my two cards combined was just enough to trigger it. BOOM! My backline leader didn't even need to lift a single finger.
Playing with turn order and setting up synergies is a key part of how Wildfrost plays as a roguelike deck builder. Each individual card on the stage is part of a counter system, with both delaying and advancing them on the playing field being strategic choices. Some actions are free, like moving your cards around the stage or withdrawing them for healing, but playing cards out of your hand or shuffling your deck will pass the turn.
Chat Hi-Fi Rush with us in RPS Game Club
Live from 4pm BST
The inaugural RPS Game Club liveblog session is here! From 4pm BST today, March 30th, we'll be chatting all things Hi-Fi Rush, which the RPS Treehouse has been playing throughout the month of March. We hope you've been playing along too, so why not come and join in the discussion with us? See you at 4pm sharp!
Electronic Arts are laying off 6% of employees in a new "restructuring"
"We are moving away from projects that do not contribute to our strategy"
Electronic Arts has become the latest tech company to suffer mass layoffs. Today the publisher announced a new “restructuring” which will impact roughly 6% of their total workforce, or over 700 employees if an SEC filing from March 2022 is any estimate.
Man, do I love the feeling of jamming out a guitar riff in games. Sure, in reality, I’m slumped on my couch in a position that my body will give me payback for when I’m thirty, but in my fantasy, I’m a musical prodigy whose guitar licks are so epic it would make Slash cry. My joy for virtual jamming came as a direct result of playing hours and hours of Guitar Hero. Harmonix held my music taste in its death grip, and almost breaking my fingers on those flimsy plastic buttons trying to conquer Through The Fire And Flames is a precious memory of mine.
So yeah, I love a good guitar sesh, so when I saw that Hi-Fi Rush was about a wannabe rockstar that smacks evil megacorp robots with his guitar to a catchy rock OST, Tango Gameworks had my attention.
Ten years on, Owlboy developers are remastering their first shoot-em-up
Savant - Ascent Anniversary Edition is coming this summer
Owlboy developers D-Pad Studio are swooping back in time to revisit their very first game, Savant - Ascent, originally released ten years ago. Savant - Ascent Anniversary Edition is remastering the shoot-em-up platformer in which you control Savant - avatar of Norwegian music producer Aleksander Vinter - with new stages, bosses, powerups, and a revamped soundtrack by Vinter himself. The remaster will launch on PC and other platforms later this summer.
Review: The Last Worker review: this dystopian satire on automated jobs rather labours its point
A short animated sequence kicks The Last Worker into gear, reeling off the game’s backstory with breezy efficiency. It’s an apt start for this first-person satire set in a fully-automated dystopia, in that it underlines a very human aptitude for artistic communication. It’s surprising, then, that as The Last Worker continues its story, it takes less graceful turns, electing for verbosity over economy. For a game that takes critical aim at the future of work, frankly, it’s all a bit laboured.
So what does happen in that opening animation? First, we see everyman hero Kurt among thousands of recruits arriving at the gigantic distribution centre of megacorp Jüngle (like Amazon, get it?), to spend their working lives plucking products off shelves to order. Before long, though, any drop in output sees the employees themselves plucked off and given the boot, to be replaced by robots. As the numbers dwindle, top-performer Kurt remains steadfast, and even finds love among the boxes with a fellow product picker. But when she gets pregnant and quits, he stays behind, living full-time in the warehouse. Years pass. Jüngle smothers the entire retail market, and Kurt becomes, well, the last worker.
Wintry deckbuilder Wildfrost gets release date of April 12th
A good day to get snowed in
Layer up with your thickest snow coat and a pack of cards because Wildfrost is coming to PC soon, on April 12th. One of the standout games we played at last year's EGX, this roguelike deckbuilder has a healthy dose of Slay The Spire about it as you venture out to defrost an eternal winter, battle baddies, and expand your card collection with elemental items stronger, cuter companions and elemental items.
RPG classic Live A Live hops to PC on April 27th
The former Switch exclusive is also getting a Steam demo later today
Fans of Octopath Traveler have likely had their eye on Live A Live for some time now. Last year, it came to the Nintendo Switch as an exclusive remake of the 1994 RPG. Bu that exclusivity period has been brought to a surprising end as Square Enix have announced Live A Live is hitting PC and PlayStation consoles on April 27th. A demo is available now for PS owners and later today for those on Steam, if you want a preview of the first three stories from the time and genre-hopping adventure.
Deals: A trio of Corsair peripherals are 50% off at their US store
The K70 Pro Mini Wireless, Sabre RGB Pro and HS65 Surround are all strong options.
A trio of Corsair peripherals has gone on flash sale at the company's US web store, making it a nice time to pick up a matching all-Corsair setup for about 50% off. There are three items included; the HS65 headset, the Sabre RGB Pro Champion Series mouse and the K70 Mini Wireless 60% mechanical keyboard. I've tested all but the keyboard, and they're fantastic pieces of kit - and now at surprisingly low prices.
Deals: This £150 Samsung gaming monitor is crazy-good for the money
Perhaps the best monitor deal we've seen in Amazon's Spring Sale.
Normally we expect to pay around £200 for a mid-range gaming monitor, but today you can pick one up for just £149 after a significant discount in Amazon's Spring Sale. This is a great price for the Samsung Odyssey G3, a 27-in flat VA panel monitor that boasts a 165Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution and excellent adjustability.
Last time, you decided that ground pound attacks are better than reloads dumping unspent ammo. 60% against 40%, that one, which is a satisfying outcome. Chunky disagreement but a clear outcome. This week, I ask you to think carefully about two quite different cycles, one repeating and one resuming. What's better: time loops, or resuming interrupted reloads?
Deals: Razer's Naga Trinity, your favourite MMO mouse, is down to £45 (from £100)
RPS readers can't be wrong, right?
The Razer Naga Trinity is the RPS MMO mouse of choice, or at least it was the highest-ranking MMO option the last time we did some Reader's Choice polls, so I thought you might like to know that this popular rodent is more than half-off on Amazon at present as part of the firm's Spring Sale. That makes it a great time to pick up a mouse that's like three models in one...
Deals: The bleeding-edge WD SN850x 2TB SSD w/ heatsink is down to £140.94
A great choice for PC - and PS5.
The WD SN850x is something of a favourite around these parts, capturing our 'best PCIe 4.0 SSD for gaming' crown, and today it's also one of the best value SSDs thanks to a heavy discount as part of Amazon's Spring Sale.
Toasters, pulleys, wheels and giant hats: the coolest Alt Ctrl games at GDC 2023
Nearly all of them were made by student dev teams, too
Alt.Ctrl.GDC is a regular fixture at the Game Developers Conference, and this year I spotted some properly incredible creations from its largely student-led group of exhibitors. There was a big focus on co-op games and time trial demos in this year's cohort, with nearly every stand having some sort of whiteboard pinned up that was constantly being scrubbed out with new fastest lap times and corresponding visitor names. There was also lots of friendly hooting emanating from them as well, as mates and strangers attempted to co-ordinate their gaggles of limbs to steer various game characters in the right direction.
It was excellent fun, and I sampled a bunch of games that used toasters, intricate pulley systems, papier-mache tree stumps, bike wheels and more in place of your typical controllers and mice and keyboard. There were also plenty more I didn't get to try out, mainly due to time, and you can see the full list over on GDC's website. For now, though, here are some personal highlights of what I saw, including the largest bowler hat I think I've ever seen in my life.
Monster-taming RPG Cassette Beasts is launching on PC and Game Pass next month
A Pokémon-like where you transform into the monsters
Are you a fan of RPGs where you make friends with adorable critters? Not a fan of trapping said friends into small balls, only letting them out to fight gangs and other Godlike creatures? Well, Cassette Beasts might be the game for you. It's a Pokémon-like where you’ll still be beating up wildlife creatures in turn-based combat, but rather than capturing them, you record their likeness on the titular tapes and then transform into those same street cone-wearing crabs and metal-clad wolves. It looks like an energetic, nostalgic romp, and it’s coming to PC and Game Pass on April 26th.
Silent Hill 2 remake is not "ready for release", Bloober Team confirm after week of rumours
Bloober Team have issued a statement about their upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake, clarifying rumours about the project’s release schedule and sales expectations. Last week, Polish site Bankier spoke with Bloober Team’s CEO Pitor Babieno in an interview that was mistranslated and began to circulate online. The mistranslations mentioned the remake was “technically ready” for launch, but Bloober Team have clarified these “statements have been taken out of context, due to inaccurate translations.”
Atlas Fallen gets a three-month delay, now launching in August
Sand in their eyes
The folks behind The Surge games - Deck13 - had only announced a release date for their next action RPG earlier this month, but it seems Atlas Fallen needs more time to cook. Publisher Focus Entertainment today announced a three-month delay to August 10th - an appropriately summery window for a game set in sandy fantasy deserts.
How the Gulf War, Apple's drag-select and "cheesed together" FMVs gave us Command & Conquer
"If we were trying to make it cheesy, it probably wouldn’t have worked"
There’s always been something quaintly practical about the name Command & Conquer. Sure, there’s a touch of Julius Caesar’s ‘veni, vidi, vici’ in there. But less romantically, the title evokes Internet Explorer or Acrobat Reader - sitting comfortably alongside the clearly and sensibly labelled Windows software of the mid-90s. It’s a reminder of just how early Westwood happened upon the blueprint for real-time strategy, right as many PC users were buying their first trackball mice.
Back then, the developer was fresh from Dune II, its unlikely David Lynch adaptation and progenitor of the RTS genre as we know it today. Inspired by the house politics and struggle for resources that consumed the desert planet Arrakis, Westwood had come up with an addictive formula for harvesting spice and converting that wealth into military power, which in turn could be used in the battle to secure more spice. The team was, quite frankly, surprised by how much fun that formula had turned out to be.
The Tartarus Key looks like a fabulous PS1 version of Saw
Does not appear to feature Cary Elwes though
Waking up in a room you don't recognise with a camera trained on you: the result of a heavy Saturday night, or the opening salvo in an inexplicable kidnapping? In The Tartarus Key, a PS1-style thriller/puzzle/horror game, it's definitely the latter. The free demo is out now, and throws you into the first couple of puzzles for the game as Alex, whose last memory is of being at home in her apartment. Now she finds herself locked in a weird study in a poorly lit mansion, with only a stranger on the end of a walkie-talkie for company. It was enough to staple this game right into the middle of my disorganised Charlie Day conspiracy board of games I'm interested in, I'll tell you that much.
Australian government cracks down on loot boxes and in-game gambling with new age rating proposals
"Such games are not appropriate for children"
The federal government in Australia have today proposed a number of changes to their National Classification Scheme as they seek to crack down on digital gambling and video games that promote it. The proposed changes would apply an R18+ (over 18s) rating to any game with simulated gambling, and an M for “mature” (over 15s) rating to any games with paid loot boxes, potentially changing the classification for games such as FIFA which were previously G-rated (for everyone).
Minecraft is getting an ambitious Dungeons & Dragons crossover
Put down the shovel, pick up the staff
Just in time for the upcoming film, Mojang announced that Minecraft is getting an ambitious Dungeons & Dragons crossover. Like any D&D campaign, the crossover begins around a blocky table with an open pizza box, and then it escalates into a roughly ten-hour, action-RPG take on Minecraft as you trek through the classic tabletop’s fantasy world.
The Last Of Us: Part 1's PC port is being ripped apart by Steam reviewers
Crashes and performance issues
Released earlier today, The Last Of Us: Part 1's long-awaited PC port is being torn apart in Steam reviews. It currently sits at a "Mostly Negative" rating after nearly 3000 reviews, with players reporting regular crashes and plentiful performance issues.
Aging kung fu brawler Sifu has arrived on Steam
After a year of Epic exclusivty
After a year or so spent fighting down the long Epic Games Store corridor in a single continuous take, kung fu brawler Sifu has finally reached Steam. It also comes bearing a fourth and free expansion which adds an Arenas mode.
Kerbal Space Program creator is relaunching his physics sandbox followup with a new name
Balsa Model Flight Sim is now Kitbash Model Club
Balsa Model Flight Simulator launched into Steam Early Access last year, to positive reviews and few sales. It is, like its developer's previous game Kerbal Space Program, about building a machine designed to fly, crashing it back to earth, then constructing something better.
Now its developer has announced they're doing something similar with the game itself. Balsa Model Flight Sim will relaunch later this year with a new name, Kitbash Model Club, a more ambitious physics construction sandbox, and a plan to release as a complete game rather than into early access. Existing owners of Balsa Model Flight Simulator will get Kitbash Model Club for free.
Company Of Heroes 3's first major update brings bug fixes and cosmetics
Plus daily and weekly challenges
Company Of Heroes 3 had rough beach landing, garnering mostly positive reviews from critics (like us) and mixed-to-negative reviews from players on Steam. Today's release of its first major update, titled Operation Sapphire Jackal, may help address that disparity given that it promises to fix "hundreds" of bugs in the base game. On the other hand, it also adds cosmetics - both those that can be unlocked for free and via spending real money.