The Quest Log: July 25, 2017

Hey Huddies! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Did anyone check out the Destiny 2 beta? We’ve got a couple of cool-looking games coming out this weekend, and I’m most excited about Pyre by Supergiant games, which looks like a cross between a sports game and a graphic novel with the kind of polish that we’ve come to expect from the studio. And as always, there’s plenty going on in the news. Let’s take a look:

Pokémon Go Fest Suffers from Glitches and Network Limitations

Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, held their first-ever Pokémon Go Fest in which 20,000 fans of the augmented reality mobile game congregated to Chicago for a chance to catch rare and legendary Pokémon and to celebrate the app’s first birthday. Unfortunately, the festival was plagued with glitches and network errors caused largely due to the overwhelming network demand on mobile service provider networks as well as the game’s own servers. The event was disappointing enough that Niantic offered $100 of in-game currency to all ticket holders as well a full refund on the $20 wristbands that granted access to the festival and had quickly sold out.

Despite the festival’s failures, it certainly demonstrated just how popular Pokémon Go remains, and it’s likely that Niantic will hold another event next year, if not before then. Here’s hoping they’ll have the kinks ironed out before that time comes.

Indie Game Noita Trailer Promises That “Every Pixel Is Simulated”

Indie developer Nolla Games, whose previous work includes The Swapper, revealed their next project, which looks like it’ll be rather ambitious. Noita is a “rogue-lite set in a world where every pixel is physically simulated.” While that sounds a bit ambiguous, the trailer does a pretty good job of demonstrating the claim. The materials of the game’s pixel-art world all contain intrinsic properties meant to mimic the real-world, which means that water conducts electricity, toxic gas can be ignited, and liquids generally behave as you’d expect. The whole system looks neat, and this definitely feels like a title to watch for when it hits Steam early access sometime in the near future.

PUBG Sells 5 Million Copies

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may technically still be a Steam Early Access title, but it’s already sold 5 million copies according to Steam Spy, a third party application that estimates Steam software sales based on its independent polling of Steam user accounts to determine what games they own and play. Battlegrounds, which has often been described to me as The Hunger Games with guns, has already become a gaming cultural phenomenon, thanks in no small part to its massive following on Twitch and other streaming services. Currently a PC-exclusive, it’s due for Xbox One later this year, and it continues to receive major updates from its developers including the recent addition of first-person only servers, which some players hope will make the game feel even more competitive than before.

The Quest Log: June 7, 2017

EA’s and Microsoft’s press conferences are happening this weekend, which means that E3 is nearly upon us! In the meantime, there’s already plenty going on in the industry with yet another Valve writer on his way out the door, a trio of Pokémon games revealed via Nintendo Direct, and more. Check out our highlights below:

Jay Pinkerton Departs Valve

Yet another industry veteran has left Valve, it would seem. Via his officialTwitter account, Chet Faliszek, one of the Valve writer who worked on the Half-Life series as well as the original Portal, seemingly confirmed that Jay Pinkerton, who wrote Portal 2, had departed the studio. Valve, who are better known for Steam than they are for game development these days, lost two other writers earlier this year, leaving us to wonder just how much writing talent could possibly be remaining at the studio.

Nintendo Announce Three New Pokémon Titles for 3DS and Switch

Nintendo announced three new Pokémon titles earlier this week during a Nintendo Direct broadcast. The more traditional Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are coming to the 3DS this November while an enhanced port of the Wii-U’s Pokémon Tournament will appear on Switch this September as Pokémon Tournament DX.

I’d hoped we’d see a proper franchise entry also make find a port to Switch, but at least for now that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Battleborn’s Competitive Multiplayer Goes Free-to-play

Battleborn actually came up during our conversation on the last Heads Up Display episode, which seems like a pretty wild coincidence. The shooter-MOBA hybrid from Gearbox failed to make a huge splash when it launched last year ahead of Overwatch. Gearbox’s marketing had largely attempted to create a rivalry with Blizzard’s team-based shooter in spite of the fact that the two games played remarkably differently from one another.

With online populations dwindling, many assumed that Battleborn would go free-to-play before long, and today is finally that day. Well, sort-of. The game’s competitive multiplayer is now free to play without limit, but the generally well-received cooperative game modes are still locked behind the game’s retail price tag.