We do our best to confirm rumors before we publish them. Heed the caveats and have fun speculating! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
Is Amazon Game Studios finally about to take the lid off of New World? Maybe, maybe not, but this might be a clue: AGS’ Greg Henninger’s tweet a few days ago sure seems to suggest something’s going on with the company.
“About to go off the air for the next 7 days,” he says. “I am bursting at the seams to tell you all everything I’m currently working on. That day will come soon.”
We noted that Henninger, who was at one point the Daybreak Community Manager for H1Z1, had left Daybreak and moved to AGS back in April. At the time, we assumed he’d gone to John Smedley’s team there, given that it was Smed who’d retweeted it, though Smed is reportedly working on a very different game from New World. So then why do we think it might be New World? Because AGS was reportedly having influencers to the studio to playtest the game earlier this month, possibly signaling that it’s about to break its silence. Order some extra popcorn!
While Daybreak producers are spelling out their games’ future, a now-deleted post over at Reddit by an alleged former employee of Daybreak Games purports to spill the beans on a lot of the behind-the-scenes developments, projects, and decisions at the troubled studio.
This rumor is interesting and largely lines up to what we have heard and discovered over the past week, which could mean it’s true or could just mean someone’s making guesses to perpetrate a hoax on the community or force Daybreak’s hand. The bad news is that the unnamed ex-employee claims that Just Survive “is on its last legs” and likely to sunset, while the two current EverQuest titles are due for their last expansions this year. The first EverQuest may be creating “nostalgic raids” for the 20th anniversary.
On the upside, two interesting projects are alleged to be in development, both of which align with past rumors and hiring notices. The post claims that PlanetSide 3 is in its early stages as a team-based battle royale-style game while EverQuest 3 has been in development for a year as it was “being rebuilt from the ground up” to also focus on battle royale-style PvP.
Not counting Standing Stone’s titles, Daybreak currently develops and publishes six of its once massive stable of MMOs: Both EverQuests, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, H1Z1, and Just Survive. As last week’s bizarre corporate shenanigans and mass-layoffs unfolded, some of the reps for these games addressed their playerbases (with more than a rote denial that anything was wrong).
DC Universe Online’s Executive Producer Katnikov says that “nothing has changed in DCUO’s development schedule” and “these events have not limited [the team’s] plans for the game and future development” as the Deluge update overperformed and there are two episodes and more style unlocks in development. A huge three-parter Superman birthday tie-in apparently begins on May 16th.
PlanetSide 2 Producer Nick Silva reiterates the statement made earlier on Reddit that nobody from his team had been laid off. “PlanetSide 2 has not been negatively impacted by any of the recent reorganization at the company,” he writes. “Our plans for the rest of this year have not changed and we are excited to continue to bring amazing new systems, features, and content to the game we all love. In the coming month we will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of PlanetSide as a franchise. There will be new content, some promotional events, and a new alert type added to the game. We’ll also continue to put out game updates at a regular cadence, as we have been previously.”
Buried in the Daybreak ruckus of last week was the rumor that Daybreak is not in fact merely the publisher of Standing Stone Games’ MMOs (LOTRO and DDO) – that instead it owns SSG outright. It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard the rumor, especially once it really heated up earlier this month when SSG’s Rob Ciccolini let slip that Daybreak Austin’s Jack Emmert was his “direct boss” in an interview. I have my own reasons to believe it’s true. But as they say, it’s not about what you know – it’s about what you can prove.
Daybreak declined to comment on the question of the full extent of its stake in SSG when I inquired last week; a spokesperson told me Daybreak wouldn’t comment on rumors (which is worth a chuckle since Daybreak commenting on the Russian sanction rumors is how it got into this mess). And sure, Daybreak doesn’t have to give its customers or the media a complete family tree. But given that Daybreak’s apparently been misrepresenting its own ownership for the last 3+ years, you’d think maybe they’d come clean just this once, as this isn’t a good look – which is why MMORPG players have dug up the bit about how a Daybreak VP appears to be an SSG director.
What do you think – do you buy the rumor that Daybreak owns Standing Stone Games, in full or in part? And if so, why do you think they’ve both been presenting it as nothing more than a publisher/developer relationship since the Turbine split?
Epic Games is super sorry about all the Fortnite downtime earlier this month, so sorry it spent 11 seconds talking about it in its latest dev video, which is less time that the rockin’ video intro took. The studio also says that it’s keeping an eye on weapon swapping changes (it already rolled back some of them) and that it’s still working on swap animations and tinkering on various quality-of-life issues, including trap identification.
Meanwhile, several sites are covering what they believe to be leaks about the game’s Week 10 Challenges; players are looking at seven new weeklies, among them headshot damage counts, chest-searching in multiple named locations, and skydiving through floating rings. Can’t say as I’ve ever had a quest to go skydiving in an MMO before.
Finally, ESPN has a piece up on popular streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, whose Vegas event at the new Luxor e-sports arena charged competitors $75 to come try to kill him (winners took home $2500). E-sports are getting weirder.
According to a report on Gamereactor, Ubisoft would like a piece o’ that PUBG and Fortnite action.
The publication claims to have an “anonymous source inside the studio” who’s told it that Massive is building a quick-turnaround battle royale clone following an Ubisoft directive in January. As VG247 pointed out, this isn’t much of a surprise; not only do game companies like money and trends, but Ubisoft in particular namedropped PUBG in an investor call last year, suggesting Ubisoft might add the mode to its existing games via DLC.
Ubisoft answered the rumors by saying, “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” which you’ll notice is not a denial.
As we’ve previously covered, Massive is also working on The Division 2.
With all the April Fool’s updates and misinformation
that were flying around this weekend, it was a little difficult to tell what was a prank and what was real, especially after developers saying they were not going to do “traditional expansions.”
That said, during an interview with influencer SWTOR Central
, Community Manager Eric Musco
and Creative Director Charles Boyd
confirmed that they are currently working on an expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic
, but not much more was said about that other than one quote from Boyd:
“We’ve got the story in 5.9 coming out in May, and that’s going to conclude the whole Theron traitor story arc and put a capper on the Eternal Throne-related activities, for the most part, in terms of being the focus of the story. And we’re definitely going to be getting back to a Republic-vs.-Empire-core storyline — getting back to that war — revitalizing it into the core original SWTOR conflict.”
However, it’s not quite time to jump up and down, yet. After Boyd said that during the interview, Musco inserted, “We’re still figuring out what the expansion really is,” hinting that most of the pieces aren’t really settled, yet.
With April Fool’s Day falling on a Sunday, Passover, and Easter, I didn’t actually spend a lot of time on the internet watching the pranks and funny videos. Even Star Wars: The Old Republic
didn’t have its normal joke videos or Cartel Market sales. However, the SWTOR
influencers did have a little bit of fun. SWTORista
, Kid Lee
, and especially Vulkk
participated in a little bit of fun on the prankster’s holiday by making videos about the game.
Sid Caeser is quoted as saying, “Comedy has to be based on truth.” And I was surprised how close to the truth Vulkk’s video was. But that’s not the only things that as hitting home with long-time SWTOR players and even the most loyal fans of the game. Let’s take a few moments to talk about Vulkk’s video and the recent changes to the Cartel Market.
Is Call of Duty the next Activision franchise to migrate to Battlenet? Very likely. As Eurogamer broke earlier this month, players are now able to link their Call of Duty accounts to Battle.net – no doubt in anticipation for Black Ops 4.
I bring this up to MMO players because of the potential impact on World of Warcraft – specifically, token prices – as WoW players buy and sell their tokens to spend down their Blizzard balance to buy up the new CoD title (or cash in on the flurry). Redditors are current speculating about the incoming speculation, arguing that tokens prices have been relatively stable over the past few months, spiking for the Battle for Azeroth hoopla but ultimately settling back down. In fact, just covering the potential for a spike can cause a spike, one poster points out. Gamers will recall a similar situation last year when Destiny 2 landed on Battlenet, sending the token to record heights.
And that leads us to some Leaderboard fun. Do you speculate on WoW Tokens or other legal MMO RMT currency (like PLEX, C.R.E.D.D, etc.), or do you stay the heck away from that noise? Multiple responses are allowed!
Surfacing at the tail end of last week was the news that multiple former BioWare devs who’d all contributed heavily to Star Wars The Old Republic at one point or another in their careers were moving on to a new studio called FogBank to work on unnamed narrative-centric games. The Fogbank roster includes Daniel Erickson and Alexander Freed, both of whom left BioWare and SWTOR years ago. But it also includes renowned storyteller Drew Karpyshyn, who’d returned to BioWare specifically to work on Anthem, which certainly cast some doubt on the state of that game, which has been delayed at least once (though EA denies it).
On Saturday, Anthem studio boss Casey Hudson address growing player concern on Twitter, suggesting rather ambiguously that Karpyshyn had simply finished his work on the game and was moving on as part of the natural course of development. “Story will always be an important part of every BioWare game,” he wrote. “Drew has wrapped up his work on the project, but Anthem’s Lead Writers and their teams continue to do amazing work developing the world, story, and characters.”
Did you see this one coming? Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment are apparently working on a sequel to The Division. The news comes via what appears to be a press release posted to German-language website 4-Traders.
“When we released our game in 2016, it was clear to us that it was just the opening chapter of a much bigger saga, so we’re excited to share more with you today about what awaits you in The Division Universe next,” Massive Entertainment’s Julian Gerighty reportedly says. “We are very pleased to announce that we are currently working on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. […] The Division 2 will be based on an updated version of the Snowdrop Engine that will help us realize our ambitions for this title.”
For the original game, the companies also promise new global events, a Xbox One X update, and pre-Division 2-launch-tie-in events and achievements.
Yesterday, in our report on H1Z1’s plummeting player numbers since the onslaught from PUBG and Fortnite, we mentioned that the game’s launch, once planned for 2016, had been canceled and indefinitely delayed. And Daybreak didn’t launch it in late 2017, when it split the game’s branding.
But Daybreak may be preparing for a real launch at last. Friend of the site Babagra.pl pointed out to us that during Friday’s livestream, Daybreak showed off a season one screen and suggested there “won’t be any more pre-seasons.” That could just be a segue into the “Royalty Showdown” event that’s going on today, as the top 75 players from the 7th preseason will compete (the first event starts today at 1 p.m. EST). Or it could mean the game is finally preparing to launch.
In the meantime, the studio’s just rolled out a ton of big changes to the test server, including pre-match spawn selection timeouts, full-heal consumables, and new loot crate rewards for winning matches.
E-sports blog Dbltap is reporting that Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon told her Twitch following that she has accepted an offer to play on a foreign team – the assumption being that it’s an Overwatch League team as she’s a top Overwatch player in Korea. The best guess on Reddit is that she may be playing for the New York Excelsior (NYXL) as they’ve already got a Korean roster – language barriers and existing rosters seem to point away from other teams – though other people think she’ll be on an academy team.
Geguri became a household name in the e-sports community even in the west back in 2016, when she was harassed by both gamers and professional players who claimed she either wasn’t real or was cheating in her Overwatch play. She wasn’t; she’s just that good on Zarya, as she proved with her video of herself playing. (Apparently, she’s more of a D.Va player now.) That was unfortunately just the beginning of the harassment.