Thursday news, part two:
Microsoft's fight with Sony now has it signing Call of Duty deals with platforms we've never heard of
As part of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to convince regulatory agencies that its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a good idea, it has now announced 10-year partnerships with a couple of streaming platforms you might not have encountered before: Boosteroid and Ubitus.
>> I'm glad I'm not the only one that has never heard of those platforms before.
Sims 4 'infant stretching' bug terrorizes players with unusually long babies
The Sims 4's new infants update for the base game launched yesterday and I was fully expecting the bug du jour to be some kind of AI tomfoolery—infants autonomously setting fires somehow or being unintentionally eligible to "have a science baby" with their own parents or something. Like that time everyone's Sims were assholes for no reason. But no, The Sims 4 is instead experiencing an "infant stretching" epidemic.
After 2 years of prototyping, a new studio from Diablo 3's director has settled on a project: 'Man, do we want to make this game'
Jay Wilson, who worked at Blizzard for a decade and most notably served as Diablo 3 game director, has launched a new studio called Gas Giant Games. The studio's creative director, Julian Love, also has Diablo experience—Diablo 3 through Diablo: Immortal and Diablo 4—so it's not too surprising that the company is making an action RPG.
In Call of Duty's latest update, Modern Warfare 2 got all the love
There's a prevailing narrative among Call of Duty fans that the standard, 6v6 Call of Duty doesn't get as much attention from Activision as its free-to-play battle royale cousin, Warzone 2. While Warzone players enjoy map updates, franchise crossover modes, and frequent balancing changes, those playing Call of Duty the old fashioned way (and pay $70 to do so) settle for the occasional new map, gun, and playlist update.
For once, it's traditional 6v6 Call of Duty getting more love on patch day. Modern Warfare 2's Season 2 Reloaded patch, out today, is packing a new "core" multiplayer map, the next episode of MW2's co-op raid, a new DMR based on the M4, and the second drop of party modes to lighten the mood after a night of ranked.
8 D&D classics including Spelljammer and a Silver Box bundle are headed to Steam and GOG
In 2022, the famed Gold Box D&D games finally came to Steam. They'd been on GOG for years, but the newer Steam releases featured updates including preinstalled versions of the Gold Box Companion and All-Seeing Eye apps that made the aged games more manageable on modern hardware. Now SNEG, the company behind those updates, is doing the same for eight more D&D classics from long ago, including Spelljammer, DragonStrike, and the Silver Box games.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is getting an expanded campaign, a roguelite mode, and a dodge button
I liked Ghostwire: Tokyo, but cripes did it need a dodge button. Combat basically amounted to circle strafing enemies while firing fancy magic at them, and I'm not alone in feeling that its fighting was the worst thing about it. A little fluidity, a little flair, might have helped, and myself and many others (just google it) have sometimes asked: where art thou, dodge button? In a newly announced free update dubbed Spider's Thread, I'm getting my goddamn dodge, baby.
Halo Infinite's new update is good (now do it again)
It's a good time to return to the 2021 shooters that got a critical walloping at release. In case you haven't heard, Battlefield 2042 is really good now, and I'm starting to feel better about Halo Infinite's multiplayer after last week's Season 3: Echoes Within update.
32 years later, Toxic Crusaders is getting a new beat 'em up
Toxic Crusaders was a curious early '90s cartoon for kids, based on a schlocky, campy action film series that was emphatically not for kids. I never saw the cartoon, which possibly never aired outside of the United States, but I am familiar with The Toxic Avenger series it was based on. That series has spawned four films, and all are incredibly silly, varying levels of offensive, and often obscenely violent.
It's the Troma Entertainment house style, basically, and a newly announced Toxic Crusaders videogame appears to be just as much a celebration of Troma as the Crusaders themselves. In a similar vein to the early '90s Toxic Crusaders games, this new one is a sidescrolling beat 'em up a la Streets of Rage or, more recently, Shredder's Revenge. Playable characters include Toxie, No-Zone, Junkyard, Major Disaster, Headbanger, Yvonne and Mrs. Junko.
Dwarf Fortress just announced its 'cutest update ever' and baby, it's babies
Break out the swaddling blankets, fashion the tiny pickaxes, and roll back the child labour laws: Dwarf Fortress' next update has been announced and it's going to make everyone baby. The prosaically titled "Baby Update" doesn't have a firm release date just yet, but it'll give "every living thing" a distinct baby (and child, if applicable) sprite, from aardvarks to gorlaks. You can see a couple of the new sprites from the official Baby Update Preview (BUP) below.
Heinz brings baffling tomato and soil corporate synergy to Fortnite
The metaverse might, generally speaking, be a bit of a bullshit concept. But one shining proof-of-concept for a lot of the ideas that circulate around it is Fortnite because, honestly, what even is this thing anymore but a platform for anything and everything. Stuff like an Ariana Grande concert or a Marvel showdown make obvious sense as brand crossovers, but at the edges there's all sorts of weirder stuff like a Martin Luther King Jr. exhibition and, now, a map dedicated to informing players about the problems we're facing with soil degradation, sponsored by food giant Heinz.
Someone dropped over $150K on a CS:GO gun skin and I think it's time for the revolution
In an event that future historians will point to as evidence of our hubris and decadence, a spendthrift player has splashed a six-figure sum on a single AK-47 skin in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Spotted by Dexerto, a CS:GO player over on the Chinese version of Buff—a marketplace for players to trade digital doodads like skins and stickers—spent ¥1,095,000 (that's Chinese yuan) on a "factory new" Wild Lotus skin bedecked in four rare stickers. That's about $160,000/£131,500.
>> This proves that some people can stay alive with no brain activity.