Aussie Gaming News Digest for 9 November 2017

Matt Sayer 9 November 2017 NEWS


All the day's biggest news in one easily-digestible roundup.


Harry Potter is getting the Pokémon GO treatment

After turning the entire world into phone-wielding Pokémon trainers, Pokémon GO developer Niantic is setting its sights on the world of magic and muggles with an augmented reality game based on Harry Potter. As reported by TechCrunch, Niantic is teaming up with Warner Bros. Entertainment for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a location-based mobile game slated for release in 2018. While there are no concrete details regarding how the game will play, the Harry Potter universe certainly seems ripe for similar Pokémon GO-style territory-capture mechanics. Casting spells to defeat magical creatures or solve puzzles at real-world locations feels like a perfect fit, and we're looking forward to hearing more soon.

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New Pokémon are coming to Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Early copies of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have found their way into the wild ahead of the games' official launches next week, and folks over at Reddit have dug into the games' files to see what secrets they have in store. Among the tidbits turned up are mentions of brand new Pokémon as well as official names for Pokémon teased earlier this year by Nintendo.

Warning: skip the next paragraph if you want to go into Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon completely fresh.

Five new Pokémon names have been uncovered: Poipole is the name for the previously-teased UB Adhesive, an Ultra Beast only obtainable as a gift; Blacephalon is the Ultra Beast UB Burst; Stakataka is the Ultra Beast UB Assembly; Naganadel is the evolution of Poipole and turns the poison-type Pokémon into a fearsome Dragon-type; and last of all is the brand new Zeraora, a mythical Electric-type beast that focuses on speedy attacks.

If you're interested in following the data mining efforts in real-time, you can check out the Reddit spoiler post. For everyone else, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will release on Nintendo 3DS on 18 November.

Call of Duty: WWII and Assassin's Creed Origins each sell twice as much as their predecessors

Shaking up the established formula has proven to be the right move for both Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, with the latest entries in both franchises selling twice as many copies at launch as the previous games in their respective series. Call of Duty: WWII has exceeded US$500 million in sales in the three days since its release, twice as much as last year's poorly-received Infinite Warfare. Assassin's Creed Origins, meanwhile, has already notched up double the launch sales that Assassin's Creed Syndicate did, likely due in large part to the series skipping last year and letting the hunger for a new Assassin's Creed game return.

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Grand Theft Auto's microtransactions will inform all Take-Two's games going forward

Following on from the unprecedented success of GTA Online, the game's publisher Take-Two Interactive has revealed that all its future games will be heavily influenced by GTA Online's approach to "recurrent consumer spending" – or microtransactions, in other words. In a conference call with investors, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick stressed how the games industry is shifting away from one-and-done games to titles that keep players engaged over months and years. Because this creates an opportunity to stimulate spending beyond the initial game purchase, it's a more profitable solution for a company as large as Take-Two.

"We aim to have recurrent consumer spending opportunities for every title that we put out at this company," said Zelnick. "It may not always be an online model, it probably won't always be a virtual currency model, but there will be some ability to engage in an ongoing basis with our titles after release across the board."

We'll have to wait and see if this approach applies to Rockstar's highly-anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, but given the money GTA V continues to make, it seems almost certain microtransactions will be a big part of the Wild West come next year.

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The Miiverse is officially dead

After announcing its imminent demise earlier this year, Nintendo has officially flipped the kill switch on the Miiverse, its pseudo social network for the Wii U and 3DS. All the brilliant fan-made artwork and quirky posts that populated the service have now vanished from the Internet, though anyone who applied to have their Miiverse posts backed-up for posterity should receive an email with those posts within the next few weeks. As one final farewell to the failed service, visiting the Miiverse website presents you with a mosaic created from hundreds of Miiverse posts, a testament to the popularity of the service Nintendo is now killing off. Oh, Nintendo.


The video game voice-actor strike is over

If you'd noticed any sudden changes in voice-acting in certain games over the past year, it was likely due to SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, holding a voice-actor strike in protest against the working conditions enforced by 11 major video game companies including Activision, Disney and Take-Two Interactive. Of the games affected by the strike, one of the more notable was Life is Strange: Before the Storm, with actress Ashly Burch refusing to return as the voice of Chloe.

Thankfully, SAG-AFTRA has now reached an agreement to end the strike, with 90% of its members voting to approve the new contract guidelines established back in September. The new guidelines ensure that voice actors are paid fairly based on the number of voice sessions they work, as well as enforcing transparency so that actors have a clearer idea of the games they're working on and whether they'll be required to swear, use racially-charged language or perform physical stunts as part of their contract.

While the new guidelines don't include every provision SAG-AFTRA was aiming for, they represent a positive forward step for the video game industry, and one that will hopefully provide fuel for other parties like game developers and designers to press for more sustainable working conditions.

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