By Ronald Gordon
Hello, and welcome back to the Roundup! This time around we’ve got plenty of work from members of the Circle regarding new Microsoft laptops, Roblox, and Ted Lasso in FIFA and news notes mentioning a Witcher spin-off, and Netflix’s introduction to the gaming scene.
Before we start, I recently reviewed a Point & Click Adventure game called The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow. It’s a very interesting puzzler that kept me engaged all throughout thanks to its creepy visuals and mind-boggling story. Cloak and Dagger Games did a great job with the game, and I’d love to help spread the word about Hob’s Barrow.
Starting us off is Joshua Rivera, Writer for Polygon, who recently did a short article on Persona 5 Royal’s recently announced card game. The Phantom Thieves are stepping out of the virtual world to steal the table you use at home for their new game, a card based strategy game featuring beloved characters. “According to Pandasaurus Games co-owner Nathan McNair, the tabletop adaptation will include Palaces, the Velvet Room, and other iconic aspects from the game,” Despite the lack of gameplay aspects, a Persona tabletop game does in fact sound like family fun to be enjoyed. There’s hope for its later announcements offering plenty of insight as to what gameplay might look like, so there’s plenty of time to save up money for card pack openings.
Jonathan Lee wrote about the remake of Return to Monkey Island for Launcher, calling it a “wonderful, heartfelt adventure game that made me laugh all the way through. The only wonky thing to note is the pacing.” Lee also looked into the Overwatch 2 launch, which is rife with disconnects and DDoS nastiness. Sigh, online games.
Tony Polanco brings his Tom’s Guide article about Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 and what the Pro 8 lacks in comparison. While it may not have even been announced yet, the inevitable existence of the Surface Pro 9 brings about speculation as to what areas it might improve upon. “This presumably entry-level configuration would pack an Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. If these leaks are accurate, then it appears the new 2-in-1 will cost $100 more than its predecessor — at least for starters,” Not much speculation is needed when considering price, however specifications are a different matter: “The most significant report we’ve heard about the Surface Pro 9’s specs is that Microsoft plans to offer an ARM version in addition to a model with Intel chips inside.” While no real facts will be confirmed until the day it releases, there’s hope that things will be improving upon its arrival.
Whitney Meers recently wrote about how the downtime between Overwatch and Overwatch 2 forced players to seek out alternative methods of play. In a game called Overblox, a Roblox parody on Overwatch, millions of players flock together to feed their craving for more Overwatch content during the small break they were forced to take. “As GamesRadar reports, even professional players dipped their toes in the blocky waters of Overblox. London Spitfire’s official Twitter account posted an image of team member SparkR playing the game with the caption, ‘We’re handling the whole ‘no Overwatch’ thing perfectly well, thanks for asking.’ The tweet has garnered more than 7,000 likes.” While Overwatch 2 has in fact launched as of recently, its servers suffer from long wait times and several other issues needing work to solve. This leaves Overblox as the one reliable source for anyone who wants to play Overwatch but doesn’t want to wait in a long online queue.
Michelle Ehrhardt wrote an interesting article on Gizmodo, telling folks about the upcoming reveal of the various projects mentioned by Elon Musk’s announcements. From the Cybertruck, to the fully functional Tesla AI, Musk has been working hard to inform people that news regarding what Tesla as a company is undertaking is soon to come. “Despite most of our info on Tesla AI Day coming from guerilla marketing on Musk’s Twitter, the Tesla and Boring Company CEO clearly wants us to take it more as an industry event than a commercial.” The entirety of the showcase is on YouTube, three full hours of content explaining what’s going on regarding Tesla and what’s to come in the near future.
Harold Goldberg wrote an article on Observer about how Ted Lasso was put into FIFA 23 and if really difficult to find in the game. While celebrity cameos aren’t uncommon, especially in sports games nowadays involving various famous athletes, Ted Lasso in FIFA is a very spotty take in Harold’s eyes. “Hollywood doesn’t understand games, except when they do, which is rarely. So adding Ted Lasso to FIFA 23 is a tough tightrope to tread, and you can imagine the potential negative results being hotly debated in conference rooms at Electronic Arts: is it really for the core fans or is it just a way to boost sales by tempting TV viewers?” While Ted Lasso is naturally linked to the game of Soccer due to the main premise of the show he originated from, his addition is either a great reference or a greedy cash grab. The only way to tell would be to watch for similar patterns of celebrity endorsement in the future, and I hope that Harold can offer yet another one of his insightful pieces on the matter.
Finally, please welcome Adam Siddiqui to the NYVGCC as its newest member. You can find Adam’s insightful stories at Gaming Access Weekly, and elsewhere, too!
Beyond The Circle
Starting us off with Beyond the Circle is news about the Five Night At Freddie’s Movie. After gaining some traction a few days ago on Twitter, we now know a lot of what’s going to be happening. The movie will be produced by Blumhouse, the studio behind Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us, and is starting an early production in 2023. Here’s hoping it turns out as good as some of the other video game movies to come out this year.
CD Projekt Red, creators of Cyberpunk 2077 and the Witcher series, recently announced a roadmap of future updates and planned content. Conveniently, new entries for both the Cyberpunk and Witcher franchises were teased in the roadmap, alongside various other announcements that are set to come. In his article on Engadget, Jon Fingas writes about what the roadmap mentions and when these things may be expected to show, but also about the possibility of the games involving Multiplayer aspects. “If all goes well, a producer best known for rare, single player-focused releases will offer a steady stream of games that help it become more of a household name akin to Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft — in size, if hopefully not in quality.”
Lastly, Netflix is taking a step outside of its comfort zone and dipping into game design with the creation of its own game studio. In this helpful article on BBC, it’s mentioned that this new studio “will be led by former Zynga and Electronic Arts executive Marko Lastikka,” and that there are many courageous plans and grand goals to “build a world-class games studio,” as Netflix’s VP of Game Studios is quoted to have said. While there is hope that the massive streaming platform will perform positively in the games department, there are worries that the products released by Netflix will be mobile exclusive and only seek to feed into the Netflix universe of shows and such.
Ronald Gordon is a New York Videogame Critics Circle senior intern. He was the first of our writers – or any intern anywhere – to complete an internship at Rockstar Games.