The past seven days haven’t just been a busy time for the video game industry, but the world as a whole. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to escalate, and that has affected everybody, video game players and developers included. Studios have been showing their support for Ukraine in a number of ways this week in an attempt to make a difference, no matter how big or small.
The gaming world has rolled on in other ways too, of course, as both the Steam Deck and Elden Ring launched, and Pokemon hit us with some unexpectedly big news. All of that and more in this past week’s biggest stories.
Studios Show Their Support For Ukraine
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, and as touched upon above, video game studios, developers, and companies have been attempting to show their support for Ukraine however they can. CD Projekt Red was one of the first major studios to do so, pulling its products from sale in Russia and Belarus on Thursday. The following day, Russian PlayStation owners discovered they were unable to buy Gran Turismo 7, and Microsoft suspended sales of its products and services in Russia, including everything under the Xbox umbrella. Others, including The Pokemon Company which donated $200,000 to the cause, have been trying to help the people of Ukraine in other ways.
Everyone Is Playing Elden Ring
Remember last week when everyone was playing Lost Ark? Then before that, it was Horizon Forbidden West. Then Dying Light 2. Basically, it has been an incredibly busy start for video games in 2022. However, the year may well have peaked with the arrival of Elden Ring. FromSoftware’s newest offering has been breaking all sorts of records, and I don’t just mean the slew of 10/10s it received from reviewers. It has had a better launch week than any other Souls game to have come before it and has even bettered a number of titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Suffice to say, it has been a good first week for Elden Ring,
Pokemon Presents: Scarlet & Violet
It has been such a busy week that the reveal of Scarlet & Violet probably feels like a lifetime ago. Sunday’s Pokemon Presents was pretty jam-packed, and the massive cherry on the cake was the reveal of the new games and that we’re getting a whole new generation of Pokemon. What’s more, we’ll be getting Scarlet & Violet before the end of 2022 if all goes to plan. This is Game Freak, everything will go to plan. The presentation also included a Legends: Arceus update, a new Pokemon in Unite, and news on all the other Pokemon games you can play right now. So you know, just a quiet Sunday for Pokemon fans.
Niantic Is At It Again
It hasn’t been all good news for Pokemon fans this week. As The Pokemon Company unveiled Scarlet & Violet, Pokemon Go players were out catching 750 million Pokemon as a part of the Johto Tour. The day after, the season of Alola began. More good news, but it brought with it an unexpected and unwelcome twist. A severe downgrade to incense. One incense will now last for 90 minutes instead of 60, which is great. However, unless you’re walking pretty briskly, it will only attract a Pokemon every five minutes instead of one every 60 seconds. Niantic also sprung this on trainers with 24 hours notice despite promising it would give a month’s warning if it planned on rolling back any changes brought about by the pandemic.
The Steam Deck Is A Mixed Bag
It has been such a busy week for video games that the arrival of the Steam Deck might have gone right over your head unless you received one in the mail. If you live in Seattle, your Deck might have even been hand-delivered by Valve’s Gabe Newell, something that appeared to be equal parts incredibly sweet and slightly awkward. The newest addition to the world of handheld gaming has received mixed reviews. Being able to play PC games on the go, good. Stick drift right off the bat, bad. On the bright side, Valve has assured Deck owners suffering from drift that it’s a firmware issue and an update already rolled out should have fixed it.
The GTA Trilogy Looks A Little Bit Better Now
Rockstar might be full steam ahead as it nears the launch of GTA 5 on current-gen consoles, but it won’t be leaving the still somewhat broken remastered trilogy behind. In fact, it rolled out an update that has fixed a number of things across all three of The Trilogy’s games and also reinstated some elements from the OG versions that were removed. Claude flipping off NPCs, for example. They’re still not perfect, and at this point, they probably never will be. However, as someone who finished the remastered version of GTA 3 this week, I can confirm the collection is playable, and although annoying at times, the weirder bugs and glitches can sometimes be a lot of fun.
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