Microsoft are buying up Activision Blizzard. Just like that, for nearly $70bn Microsoft will own the IP for Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Spyro amongst numerous others. It’s a massive industry shaking move, one that will have unforseen ramifications in over the course of the 12-months or so that we’ll be waiting until the acquisition is complete. It’s an event which has already led to $20bn being wiped off value of Sony, but when you’re talking about such sums which have little to no bearing on profit and loss it can all become a bit of a blur.
Needless to say, there are plenty of questions about what this means for console exclusives, the future of Game Pass and whether this was just a route into the mobile market by way of King. What was most striking about this news though was that Microsoft still expect to be the third largest player in the games industry behind Tencent and Sony. Part of me wonders whether this is truly a play at challenging Sony for the console marketplace, or whether there’s a bigger picture at play to further strengthen the wider corporate interests of Microsoft when pitched against Amazon which is making its own moves into the games industry.
Time will tell, but be sure to let us know your thoughts on all this in the comments.
It’s the first Our Week in Games of 2022, and I’m pleased to be back writing. My past few weeks have been a truly random collection of gaming adventures. I’ve been making use of Game Pass to explore the Halo: Master Chief Collection across my Series S and laptop. While it’s infuriating that singleplayer mid-mission checkpoints aren’t part of the cross-save functionality, it has been nice to switch between machines largely without hassle. I’ve never been a massive Halo player, but I was impressed with Halo: Reach which told a tale of a doomed group of marines facing down the alien threat. I enjoyed it a lot more than I had expected, and it serves as a nice prequel to the remastered Halo: Combat Evolved. Pressing a button to switch between the original graphics and the remaster shows just how far technology has come in twenty plus years.
I’ve also been getting my JRPG fix. Over the Christmas period I bought the Final Fantasy X HD remaster on the Switch. I have scarcely played any Final Fantasy title since completing IX way back when, and I had been a massive fan of that and its predecessor. I’m enjoying FFX, and can only imagine I never played it originally because I didn’t get a PlayStation 2 for a couple of years after launch. I’ve also been playing Octopath Traveler on the Xbox, and have been finding it a nice change of pace from my Halo adventures. I don’t expect to ever finish Final Fantasy X or Octopath Traveler, but my time with them so far has been more than worth the price of entry, even if only to remind me of those halcyon JRPG days on the original PlayStation. I don’t think I can bring myself to play the Final Fantasy VII remaster at the same time as the other two Square Enix titles, but you never know what I will boot up next.
After many months of putting it off, this week I finally gave in to my primal urges and picked up Spelunky 2. The many hours of frustration and premature deaths I experienced with the first game evidently weren’t enough to warn me off picking up its sequel, but to make matters worse, this time I’ve bought it for the Switch.
In becoming portable, Spelunky 2 laughs in the face of me angrily stepping away from my computer after unceremoniously landing on a heap of spikes, because now it’s coming with me, following me round the house in a hand-held format that I fear I will never be able to escape from.
Aside from dooming myself to an inescapable loop of rogue-like death, I’ve also been plunging into Atlantic Fleet, the turn-based WWII warship sim by Killerfish Games. Excluding the simple gameplay of World Of Warships, I’ve always felt that warship combat has been a deprived area in simulations. I want to experience commanding a lumbering warship around the oceans of the world but I’ve never found anything that quite scratches that itch. Submarine operations are well covered by the Silent Hunter series and the more recent U-Boat, but there’s never really been an equivalent covering surface operations.
Not that Atlantic Fleet really does that either. The simulation is extremely basic, with ship command restricted to setting the steering and range of the guns. This does mean it’s simple to command any number of vessels, but I want to dig in further and have to worry about ship morale, resupply operations and the difficulty in trying to hide what is effectively a large apartment block in the middle of a large flat blue space.
Maybe one day I’ll find something that really nails the simulation I’m after, but until then, at least I’ve got an infinite number of caves to explore while I’m sat on the toilet.
My latest proper play through was The Last Door by Game Kitchen — a spooky point and click adventure.
Cosmicism is well-trodden ground at this point, and The Last Door does little to differentiate itself from the endless imitators of Lovecraft’s mythos. It doesn’t much have to; The Game Kitchen have crafted an engrossing point and click adventure with enough chills and inventive puzzles to make it worth checking out, even if you’ve seen most of its themes before.