The announcement of a new Mortal Kombat game and a release date has many gamers excited. Will 2023 be the year of fighter game fatigue? Read the latest news from the past week.
Roblox: The Facebook of gaming
If you have children who like video games, you have likely heard of Roblox. Roblox is a sandbox game where players can buy or create their own levels and minigames. The game is marketed towards young gamers, and runs on Robux, a digital currency that is required to purchase these games and levels.
Last week, the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), part of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) announced that Roblox violated its guidelines for advertising to children under the age of 13. From an article on GamesIndustry.biz:
CARU found that social media influencers in Roblox’s Influencer Program who had large child audiences did not clearly and conspicuously disclose their material connection to Roblox in their videos in a way children can understand," the group said, "and that influencers in the Video Stars Program who promoted their unique Star Code did not clearly and conspicuously disclose, in a way children can understand, that they will receive a commission when Robux (Roblox currency) are purchased.
With 43% of Roblox daily users under the age of 13, CARU sees this as a huge issue. Roblox disagreed with CARU’s assessment, but stated that they would make influencers who market to children use the word “paid” in their disclosure.
It’s not the first time Roblox has come under fire for exploiting young users. The reporters at People Make Games put together an excellent piece about how Roblox makes money off youth. When Roblox put pressure on them to take down the video, they did what any good investigative reporting team would do, they dug deeper. You can view both their videos below.
Blowing up Overwatch 2
Blizzard’s multiplayer game Overwatch 2 announced the cancelation of their proposed “Hero Mode,” a single player versus everyone (PvE) mode for the game. The PvE mode was one of the main differentiators between Overwatch 2 and the original game, which was taken offline when the sequel launched.
Overwatch 2 director Aaron Keller shared a blog post on Blizzard’s website last week describing the changes. From that post:
Things rarely go as planned in game development. We struggled to find our footing with the Hero Mission experience early on. Scope grew. We were trying to do too many things at once and we lost focus. The team built some really great things, including hero talents, new enemy units and early versions of missions, but we were never able to bring together all of the elements needed to ship a polished, cohesive experience.
We had an exciting but gargantuan vision and we were continuously pulling resources away from the live game in an attempt to realize it. I can't help but look back on our original ambitions for Overwatch and feel like we used the slogan of "crawl, walk, run" to continue to march forward with a strategy that just wasn't working.
Since its launch, Overwatch 2 has not lived up to many of its original promises, leading one publication to call it “a failed idea.” Keller states that game development will continue, with a shift in focus towards Story Missions.
We are focusing our efforts and our passion into making this game an ever-evolving experience. We are still committed to building many of the elements we talked about at BlizzCon 2019, including the Story Missions that delve into the next chapter of the Overwatch universe, new types of co-op content we haven’t yet shared, and new stories that we’re planning to tell both in and out of the game. We’re excited about this direction and we can’t wait for you to finally get to experience what we’ve been building.
Fallen lords, kombat of mortals and a roleplaying musical
A few notable games received release dates and new trailers this week. Here is the latest.
Lords of the Fallen, a dark fantasy RPG releases October 13. It also received a new trailer.
NetherRealm revealed Mortal Kombat 1, the next fighting game from the studio. The latest game in the series releases September 19.
Finally the Humble Games Showcase highlighted several new projects. One of the most intriguing is Stray Gods: A Roleplaying Musical. A new video talks with the creators and cast. The game launches on August 3. Read more about the showcase and other Humble releases coming soon.
Side quests (more stories worth reading)
🧛♀️ We took a look at Redfall. Read our review of Bethesda’s vampire game.
😢 Brendan O'Brien, the original voice actor of Crash Bandicoot has passed away.
⚔️ The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sold over 10 million copies over its first three days.
🕹 The European Union approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. It’s a big step, but it still requires approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority CMA and the FTC.
👾 Video games as board games are hot right now, as Apex Legends and Monster Hunter World recently launched Kickstarters. They’re so popular, there is an event dedicated to turning your video game into a board game happening this week in London.
⌨️ Steam is experimenting with 90 minute game trials, beginning with the Dead Space remake.
🔦 Alan Wake 2 will release in October, according to the voice of the protagonist .
🎮 Sony announced their Access controller, designed to make gaming easier for those with disabilities.
🛡️ Finished Tears of the Kingdom and looking for something more? Here are 7 tabletop RPGs similar to Zelda.
👻 Square Enix shutdown their mobile game Echoes of Mana a little over a year after launch.
🎥 The trend of real-life stars in video games continues, as Nicolas Cage is coming to Dead By Daylight.
👩🏽🦰 An informative and fun board game based on women’s suffrage? Check out Votes for Women.
🛡️ A Washington Post interview with Eiji Aonuma, producer of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and former marionette designer.
New Releases this week:
5/22: Inkbound (PC)
5/22: Glitch Busters: Stuck On You (PlayStation, Switch and PC)
5/23: After Us (PlayStation and PC)
5/23: Miasma Chronicles (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
5/23: Planet of Lana (Xbox and PC)
5/23: Star Trek: Resurgence (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
5/24: Dark Quest 3 (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
5/25: Death From Above (PC)
5/25: Hello Goodboy (Switch and PC)
5/25: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (PlayStation, Xbox and PC)
Check out our story on 10 new games to play in May.