GhostWire: Tokyo will apparently release in October

GhostWire: Tokyo, the next game from Shinji Mikami and Tango Gameworks, will likely release in October. At least, that’s the word from Sony’s CES 2021 presentation, which CNET has archived on YouTube (you can also watch it on Sony’s site). At about 10:39 in the video, the blue screen above lists release months for several upcoming PlayStation 5 games, including GhostWire: Tokyo, which we know will also release on PC.

We’re not 100 percent certain that the October release month is accurate or that it applies to the PC version, as Bethesda hasn’t made an official statement. Just because the fine print appeared in an official Sony presentation doesn’t make it a sure thing: The company has made errors before.

That said, we knew the plan was to release GhostWire: Tokyo in 2021, and an October release date wouldn’t be surprising. The two other games made by Tango Gameworks, The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2, also released in October.

If the year 2020 fogged up your memory of the years prior to it, GhostWire: Tokyo was announced at E3 2019, and was received joyfully both for its spookiness and for creative director Ikumi Nakamura’s enthusiastic presentation (she has since left the project, though)

Microsoft recently bought Bethesda’s parent company, so it might seem weird that Sony has the scoop on a Bethesda-published game, but GhostWire was announced as a timed PS5 console exclusive and a PC release, and Microsoft is honoring that agreement. It’s an odd situation, because PC obviously means Windows, so Microsoft is releasing the game on its competitor’s console and on its OS, but not its own console for now. It doesn’t make a different to us, but it is a funny consequence of a landmark acquisition. 

I’ve emailed Bethesda to see if I can confirm an October release window for the PC version.

TheGrefg shatters Twitch record with more than 2 million viewers during Fortnite skin reveal

Spanish streamer TheGrefg has gone and shattered a Twitch record for concurrent viewers, reaching the lofty heights of more than 2 million viewers for his Fortnite skin reveal stream.

As of 1:18 pm PST, David “TheGrefg” Martinez has reached a total of 2,390,000 concurrent viewers. Funny enough, Martinez reached that goal before even showing his Fortnite skin, saying he was waiting for some image assets from Epic Games. TheGrefg is getting his own Fortnite skin as part of the Fortnite Icon Series, which has allowed some of the internet’s biggest streamers and personalities to be immortalized in the battle royale world.

Ninja, the blue-haired Fortnite wunderkind himself, previously held Twitch’s record at 667,000 viewers. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently came close with a peak of 420,000 viewers during her Among Us stream in October. Martinez’s new record also easily breaks esports league ELEAGUE TV’s previous record of 1.1 million total viewers.

Riot changes Valorant’s ranking system to be ‘much easier to understand, more fair’

Sweeping changes to Valorant’s ranked system should make it easier to see where you stack up when Episode 2 (aka season 2) kicks off tomorrow. This week’s release introduces a new battle pass and hero Yoru—a tricksy Japanese duellist designed to dominate 1v1 face-offs. But Riot has also been doing some tinkering under Valorant’s hood, making dozens of minor changes to Ranked play in an effort to make everything fairer and easier to understand.

Most of these changes are minor, but hope to add a little more clarity to where you stand. Progression arrows have been ditched in favour of a progress bar showing how close you are to ranking up. Rank Rating (RR) values have also been tweaked, and a demotion protection system will now give you one last chance to salvage your rank at 0RR before crashing down a stage.

“Our current rank system doesn’t give you a great picture of where you stand in between ranks, how much you should generally expect to gain match to match, and why you are moving,” Riot writes in the patch notes. “With these changes we hope the rank system is much easier to understand, more fair, and it’s harder to quickly lose ranks for those days when your game is off.”

Valorant will also be getting regional leaderboards for the top 500 “Radiant” players, as well as “Immortal” players—the three previous Immortal ranks now compressed into one rank representing the top 1% of players in each region. You’ll need at least 50 competitive games to qualify for a spot, while those already on the leaderboards will need to play at least one game a week to keep their place.

Rank rewards have also been added for Episode 1, giving out increasingly-shiny Gun Buddies based on your highest rank attained over the past episode. Episode 2 will feature similar goodies, and a revamped info page will now show you a peek at what you can expect from any given rank.

Episode 1 ends tonight at 11pm for all regions. Should all go to plan, Episode 2 will begin with patch 2.0 sometime tomorrow. Valorant was our favourite multiplayer game of 2020, and this week’s rollover should set the shooter up for another strong year.

Jane Austin’s MMO for socialites shuts down

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great remorse that I must announce that high-society MMORPG Ever, Jane sadly shut its doors for good this year.

Kickstarted back in 2013 for $100k, 3 Turn Productions’ digital facsimile of regency England was a curious twist on the genre—one that ditched swords and sorcery for an equally cut-throat world of gossip, mingling, and social ladder-climbing pulled from the works of Jane Austen. Following various closed and public betas, the developer hoped to see a full release in late 2020.

Unfortunately, it looks like the coffers ran dry for Ever, Jane. In August, 3 Turn explained that a rough year had forced it to postpone the game’s launch. Hopes to drum up subscriptions to cover the game’s monthly server costs didn’t pan out, and in December, the team announced that Ever, Jane would close the estate by the end of the year. 

Ever, Jane was never a pretty game, and I do reckon 3 Turn were perhaps a little out of their depth. But I have a great deal of respect for what the developer was gunning for with an entirely social-driven MMO. The game’s promise even shone through on occasion, with one player telling The Guardian about their scandalous alter-egos—from a travelling vicar to a gay barrister moonlighting as an opera singer.

“My characters have experienced sweet and tender poetic courtships, hot seductions, shame and subtle triumphs,” they wrote. “They’ve loved in secret, made calculating connections and stupid mistakes in the name of friendship.”

3 Turn’s final post ended with the hope that some rich benefactor might ride in to buy the game. But until that happens, Ever, Jane will remain as lost to history as the era it adored so much.

World of Warcraft director Duncan Jones wrote an entire script for a Full Throttle movie, and you can read it here

Now someone just needs to make it.

When I get writer’s block I stare hopelessly at a blank page desperately hoping something, anything will come out. Not film director Duncan Jones, though. After a recent creative slump, the director of Moon, Source Code, and the World of Warcraft movie wrote an entire script for a movie based on Tim Schafer’s badass biker adventure game Full Throttle.

It’s pretty faithful to the game, with a lot of Schafer’s brilliant dialogue left intact. It also, surprisingly, sticks closely to the structure of the game, including Ben’s adventures in the dingy town of Melonweed to locate tools, parts, and gas so Mo can repair his bike.

It’s a little weird seeing the ‘collect 3 items’ point-and-click adventure game trope in the form of a movie screenplay, but it kinda works. Alas, this isn’t a script that’s being put into production—just a fan project by Jones. But it did attract the attention (and approval) of Schafer. “I did wish hard for this year to be better than last year,” he said on Twitter. “But I did not expect  [Jones] to spontaneously bang out a complete script for a Full Throttle movie!”

This Cyberpunk 2077 mod makes Night City’s weather appropriately crap

Say goodbye to sunshine and hello to toxic fog.

When Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City was first shown off, a lot of people seemed to be surprised about just how sunny it was. Bright blue skies is not what the mind immediately conjures up when you think of dystopian cyberpunk cities, even if they are in the California desert. If you never quite got over this, there is of course a mod for what ails you.

Cyberpunk 2077’s modding scene is still in its infancy, but we’ve picked out a few of the best from the early selection. Check out the best Cyberpunk 2077 mods. 

I think there’s room for more sunshine in cyberpunk, but I’m also Scottish, which means I just freak out at the sight of all that open space up there—where the heck are all the clouds? It’s unnatural. Essenthy’s Climate Change mod means I can escape the terror of the great blue void by replacing it with something a bit gloomier.

Instead of sunshine, you can enjoy fog, pollution, toxic fog, clouds, overcast and the most cyberpunk of them all: plain rain. All of this foul weather appears normally without the mod, but picking one will make it the default, replacing sunny weather entirely. You’ll still see other kinds of weather, so you won’t be stuck with your choice, but that will become the most common type.

Creator Essenthy notes that the mod doesn’t work in North Side, for some reason, and can be spotty in the Badlands. They hope to find a solution once more advanced modding tools become available.

The oppressive basic and toxic fog settings are my personal favourites, calling to mind Blade Runner 2049. That’s when Night City looks as malevolent as it really is. Perfect weather for crime.

Riot and Bungie team up to sue cheat maker

The lawsuit claims GatorCheats cost the makers of Destiny 2 and Valorant ‘millions of dollars,’ and now it’s payback time.

It’s not uncommon for makers of cheat software to be sued, sooner or later, by the companies whose games they’re messing with. Activision dropped a lawsuit on a Call of Duty: Warzone cheat maker in August 2020, for instance, and in 2019 Ubisoft sued a Rainbow Six Siege hacker who decided it would be a good idea to appear on the BBC. 

It think is unusual, however—I certainly don’t recall it ever happening previously—for two major game studios to team up on a cheat maker in a single lawsuit. But it’s happened now: Valorant developer Riot Games and Destiny 2 studio Bungie have filed a joint lawsuit against a hack-maker called GatorCheats.

The lawsuit, available in full at Polygon, notes that both Destiny 2 and Valorant are free, and that Bungie and Riot earn thus money through the sale of virtual items in their games. The success of that system relies on attracting and maintaining large audiences willing to invest money in order to “enhance their experience,” and claims that the presence of cheats actually works against that. 

“A vital part of the player experience is the fairness and integrity of the Games, and thus Plaintiffs invest an enormous amount of time and money to ensure that all players stand on equal footing and have a fair chance of progressing in the Games,” the lawsuit states. 

“If players perceive that others are cheating or have an unfair advantage, they will grow frustrated with the Games and stop playing. That, in turn, could disrupt and/or destroy the Games’ player communities and severely harm Plaintiffs’ ability to generate revenue and to maintain, improve, and expand the Games.”

Interestingly, the suit says Bungie served GatorCheats owner Cameron Santos with a cease-and-desist order in November 2020, at which time Santos agreed to remove the Destiny 2 cheats from his site. Shortly after that, however, he promised his customers that he would continue to support previously sold copies of GatorCheat; furthermore, Bungie believes that even though he took down the Destiny 2 cheat software from the publicly-accessible areas of the GatorCheats website, he’s continuing to offer it privately.

Bungie and Riot are seeking an injunction against the distribution of Valorant and Destiny 2 cheats and the end of support for any existing GatorCheats software, a full accounting of all GatorCheats sales in the US, all proceeds earned from all GatorCheats sales, and various sorts of damages and attorney fees. Numbers aren’t being mentioned at this point, but the lawsuit claims the two studios lost “millions of dollars in revenue,” while also noting that GatorCheats charged exorbitant fees for its services: Valorant cheats went for $90 per month, $250 for three months, or $500 for a lifetime subscription, while Destiny 2 cheats went for $100 for three months, or $200 lifetime.

“Riot is wholly committed to upholding these values for its players, so when we become aware of a cheat maker, you bet we’re going to go after them,” a Riot rep told Polygon. The lawsuit was filed on January 8 and is still a long way from a court, but it’s already having an impact: The GatorCheats website and store have been almost completely stripped of content, and are now listed as “under construction.”