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The Arcade Vol. 4: Big Chungus in ‘MultiVersus’ and Kermit the Frog’s spidey senses are tingling

Good to see you again, fellow netizens! As for those of you who are now here, let me bid you a warm welcome to the Arcade: a space for you to soak in all the quirkiness and intrigue the world of video games has to offer. Why don’t you take a seat, save your progress, and download the latest gaming news with us? Oh, and enjoy your stay while you’re at it.

1. First look at HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ TV show

Back in the summer of 2013, the game of a generation was released and AAA story games haven’t been the same ever since. For those of you that don’t know what I’m on going about, The Last of Us follows Joel, a survivor of a zombie apocalypse that ravaged the globe as he is tasked with escorting Ellie, a young girl who is immune to the infection and the world’s only hope at survival, across America to doctors who can prepare a vaccine. That description barely scratches the surface of how emotional and moving this game is, and it is a tale you should really experience for yourself.

But back to the topic at hand. Almost ten years on and with two remasters and a sequel to its name, it was only a matter of time before Ellie and Joel’s story made it to the big screen. Recently, a teaser has been released for HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us, featuring The Manalorian’s Pedro Pascal as Joel, and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsay as Ellie. The mini-trailer was part of a collection of teasers for the services’ new season, but what little bits were shown were enticing enough. 

The clip shows Joel handing Ellie a gun, running through the streets with *redacted* (no spoilers here) in his arms as well as the introduction of Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman as Bill. There was no showcase of the zombies in the snippet, but we did catch a glimpse of some nasty looking fungal infection on a wall, hinting at the dire state the world is in. The advert showcases a range of new shows, but if you wish to skip to The Last of Us, then jump to the 1:43 mark.

You can expect to join Ellie and Joel on their dangerous journey in 2023.

2. Sony’s PSVR2 will release in 2023

It has been revealed that PlayStation’s new virtual reality headset, PSVR2, will be released in early 2023.

Sony’s newest VR device will feature an OLED display with 2000×2040 pixel per eye and a smooth refresh rate of 120Hz. It will also take advantage of inside out eye tracking and have 110 degrees field of view. Fancy or what?

Sony has confirmed that there will be over 20 games available at launch, and added that it’s currently developing exclusive games for the headset, including Horizon: Call of the Mountain, based on the widely popular series of the same name.

While the PSVR2 has specs that rival the Oculus Quest 2 and the Valve Index, the fact that it is a wired headset and needs a PlayStation 5 in order to function could become a hindrance, but that remains to be seen. Will you be picking up this next-gen headset?

3. ‘Genshin Impact’ new update is everything fans wanted and more

Genshin Impact developers HoYoverse have seen massive amounts of success with its online Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) in the past, but players have always felt frustrated by some aspects of the game’s open-world design.

In this newest update however, HoYoverse is right on the money and the new area of Sumeru is a delight to explore. You can zip around the canopies of Apam Woods thanks to the strategically placed four-leaf clover sigils, and when you do have to climb mountains, unlike the other areas where it was a constant race between how fast you could get to the top and your stamina bar running out, this time there are convenient stamina flowers right where you need them. It makes going back to old areas feel cumbersome and even more frustrating in comparison.

Sumeru also brings back the use of elemental puzzles, meaning you’ll be rotating your team members frequently to make use of their unique elemental abilities. For instance, by charging a green mushroom with Electro energy, you can jump far higher than if you simply just jumped on it. There is also a new element, Dendro, which can be combined with others for a variety of different effects.

Sumeru feels like a return to Genshin’s roots. The last area, Inazuma was hostile and had puzzles that were seemingly hard for no reason. Sumeru’s more relaxed approach brings back what made this game so fun to begin with: finding fascinating new sights no matter where you look.

The Sumeru update is playable now.

4. ‘Pokemon GO’ Ultra Beast horror shorts are actually terrifying

Pokémon isn’t known for its horror elements. Sure, the games have spooky bits, such as the infamous Pokémon Tower from Pokémon Red and Blue which is haunted by ghosts, but it’s not blood-curdlingly scary. However, recently, to celebrate the end of Pokémon GO Fest 2022, a three-month real-world celebration and for the addition of Sun and Moon’s Ultra Beasts in Pokémon GO, the folks at Niantic have released a series of 90-second found footage style horror shorts featuring the Ultra Beasts, and, credit where credit’s due—they’re very well done.

One of the shorts shows a Nihilego floating in a dark, quiet Japanese underpass as an onlooker films, while another—arguably the scariest one—shows a Japanese man working late in an office when the power goes out. Opening the window, he discovers a Xurkitree drinking up the power from the building, which turns around and attacks him.

While Pokémon hasn’t really done this kind of typing in the past, these shorts prove that the iconic video games and horror go quite well together. Hopefully, we’ll see something similar to this once Halloween rolls around.

5. Chinese pizza place shuts down due to ‘Genshin Impact’ collab

Genshin Impact is back in the news again, this time not for its fancy new update, but for its collaboration with a popular pizza chain.

In China, players have been able to enjoy the game in a new way, with Genshin Impact teaming up with Pizza Hut for a special collaboration. The promotion features the characters Amber and Eula wearing the American pizza delivery chain’s uniform and also includes some in-game rewards. As you can imagine, pizza plus video games is a winning combo, so much so that police have had to shut down at least one Pizza Hut restaurant over crowd safety concerns.

Due to China’s strict COVID-19 regulations, you can see why the police were forced to intervene. Fortunately, this was just a temporary closure and the store resumed normal operation once crowds had been sorted out.

Unfortunately for international players, this event is only taking place in China, but it goes to show that the popularity of the free-to-play gacha game only continues to rise.

6. ‘Rick and Morty’ in ‘God of War: Ragnarok’ promo

God of War: Ragnarok is probably one of the most anticipated games of 2022. A follow-up to 2018’s God of War, if it is anything like its predecessor, it is sure to be a massive hit. Heck, even Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said it’s the game he’s most excited to play next.

As the November release date looms, Sony has begun to release promotional material for its new title. One of the coolest pieces of teaser is a highly anticipated Rick and Morty collab.

Rick and Morty enter the nine realms and the impressionable boy is immediately attacked by some vulture-looking birds. Typical. Meanwhile, Rick ignores him and opens a chest to find the Leviathan Axe, main character Kratos’ weapon of choice in both God of War and God of War: Ragnarok. He then looks straight at the camera and says there are some “unannounced upgrades” in there too, hinting at possible new weapons for Kratos to use.

With the first episode of Rick and Morty’s sixth season airing recently, it makes perfect sense for the show to promote itself with a tie-in to one of the most popular game series around. Maybe show creator Justin Roiland should consider more video game episodes in the future?

7. Kermit the Frog is Spider-Man

After four years of being a PlayStation exclusive, Sony’s mega-hit Spider-Man game is finally available on PC. And you know what that means? Mods. You’ll get the standard mods that turn Spider-Man into Venom, or maybe Carnage, but one modder has gone above and beyond and given our web-slinging hero a crossover we never knew we needed.

Introducing the hero of Manhattan: Kermit the Frog. That’s right, our favourite green muppet now fights crime too. Modder TangoTeds is to blame—or thank—for this glorious creation. What’s even better is that the mod changes the game’s default suit, meaning from when you boot up the game, you can start beating up bad guys and zooming around New York City as the mean green frog. An iconic mod for an iconic game.

8. ‘League of Legends animated show ‘Arcane’ wins first animated Emmy

If you know anything about League of Legends (LoL) it’ll probably be its reputation for having astronomical levels of toxicity among its players. However, its foray into TV has exceeded all expectations.

Arcane, an animated show based in the LoL universe, and featuring many of its characters, has done very well for itself, becoming the first streaming series to win an Outstanding Animated Programme Emmy. The show even beat out some very well known contenders such as The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers. A huge feat, recognised by Arcane co-creator, Christian Linke: “It’s a big deal for us as we come from video games. It’s been amazing to see the world embrace our characters and our stories.”

Riot Games, creator of LoL worked closely with Arcane animation company Fortiche, but acquired a significant non-controlling stake earlier this year. They worked together to bring character Jinx to LoL in 2013 and have several unannounced projects on top of Arcane in the works, so stay tuned. While the show may have been a huge success, there are many who would rather not see Riot Games prosper, especially due to its damaging record in regards to how women are treated in its workplace.

9. Fighting game ‘Mutliversus’ trademarks Big Chungus meme

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware that hit fighting game Multiversus has been out for quite some time and features a whole host of characters from our favourite cartoons: Jake the Dog from Adventure Time, Harley Quinn from Batman and even Ultra Instinct Shaggy, a popular meme of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo where Shaggy gets the same power as Goku from Dragon Ball Z.

Now it seems that Warner Brother Games, the creator of Multiversus, have set its sight on a new meme: Big Chungus.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Big Chungus meme is essentially a fat version of the iconic Looney Tunes character, Bugs Bunny, who is also a playable character in the game.

This doesn’t guarantee that Big Chungus will make into the game as a playable character, it’s possible it could be used as a purchasable skin from Bugs Bunny, or simply not used at all. But given Warner Brothers’ track record with Ultra Instinct Shaggy, I wouldn’t be surprised if a little piece of 2018 found its way into the coolest fighting game of 2022. 

10. ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ account link lets players choose house and wand before playing

Calling all Potterheads! Boy, do we have a treat for you. February 2023 will see the release of the highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy video game. Set in Hogwarts in the 1800s, players will take on the role of a wizard student enrolling in their 5th year. During their time there, they’ll learn how to use magic and fight the evil that threatens the peace of the world.

In order to make things a little more personal for players, Hogwarts Legacy is letting those with a WB Games account link it with their Harry Potter Fan Club account. By doing this, players who have been sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses on the Fan Club app will be able to start the game in that specific house. Additionally, if they have taken the wand quiz and discovered which type of wand would be drawn to them, their in-game character will also end up with that wand.

This is a lovely little touch that will make fans of the series enjoy their adventure at Hogwarts even more. Of course, given who wrote Harry Potter, there have been calls to boycott the game, so as to not bring any more attention to JK Rowling and her views on transgender individuals.

Hogwarts Legacy releases 10 February 2023.

The Arcade Vol. 3: Meta rivals Twitch, ‘Squirrel with a Gun’ breaks the internet and more

Good to see you again, fellow netizens! And if you’re new here, then let me bid you a warm welcome to the Arcade: a space for you to soak in all the quirkiness and intrigue the world of video games has to offer. Why don’t you take a seat, save your progress, and download the latest gaming news with us? Oh, and enjoy your stay while you’re at it!

1. Meta is coming after Twitch with a streaming service of its own

If you know your way around the internet, then you would have definitely heard about Twitch, the live streaming service that lets people broadcast a variety of content. From video games to study sessions—you name it, Twitch has it. But now, a report from Business Insider has revealed that, for the past two years, Meta has been developing its own streaming service.

Dubbed ‘Super’, the platform was originally meant to rival Cameo, an app that lets people pay for celebrities to record a personalised message for someone. However, Super has now evolved into a true Twitch rival. According to a pitch deck given to 100 creators to test the service, the platform will have many of the same features as Twitch—including creators being able to monetise their streams and have viewers donate to them via a tier system. The deck also sports a ‘sponsorship’ model in which brands can pay influencers to heavily promote their products within streams.

While it still seems to be in its development phase, the fact that Meta has openly spoken about the project and freely given access to the deck shows that they are at least trying to generate some hype around the upcoming platform.

2. Play as a little mouse in this ‘Stray’-inspired adventure game

It’s been almost a month since the release of Stray and while the hype surrounding the video game has died down a little, we are already seeing the fruits of its legacy. The Spirit and the Mouse is a third-person adventure game where, as per its official website, you get to “bring kindness and light to the people of Sainte-et-Claire as Lila the mouse!”

“Explore a small village, make electrifying new friends, and do good deeds for those in need in this lush narrative adventure game,” the description goes on to add.

This charming creation has been developed by Lucie Lescuyer and Alexandrea Stroukoff, who have a decade of experience in the games industry between them, from making AAA console games to mobile and indie games. The venture is the first project they have developed under their new label, Armor Games Studios. So, if you’re a fan of Ratatouille and cosy indie games, this is definitely a title to keep your eye peeled for.

The Spirit and the Mouse is slated to release on PC and Nintendo Switch in Autumn 2022.

3. Someone has recreated ‘The Office’ (US) intro in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ and it's absolutely delightful

Since its release in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) has been a must-have for every Nintendo Switch owner out there. Its calm and idyllic setting and gameplay let a lot of people escape the four walls they were confined to during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it wasn’t just the relaxing nature of the game that captured everyone’s hearts, it was the sheer amount of customisation that you could perform.

Recently, redditor @Brave-Highlight-7168 took this customisation feature to another level by recreating the intro scene of everyone’s favourite sitcom, The Office (US).

The office in animal crossing from AnimalCrossing

@Brave-Highlight-7168’s intro once again highlights the extent of a fan’s imaginations and the wonderfully-inventive content we have come to expect from the ACNH community. As people across the world continue to join the player base, we can only anticipate more wholesome recreations in the future And I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come up with.

4. ‘Skyrim’ fan makes talking plushie of Whiterun Guard and brings the meme to life

Since its monumental launch in 2011, Skyrim has become one of the most played and influential games of its generation. From sprawling, snow-covered landscapes to a myriad of fearsome and wondrous creatures, Skyrim really knows how to capture the imagination of its players.

But one of the most famous aspects of the game is its characters, namely, the Whiterun Guard, who has been memed to the moon and back for saying the iconic line: “I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee.”

Redditor @Aragog83 has taken this beloved NPC and created a plushie of the character and even made him talk. Both adorable and hilarious, I hope @Aragog83 puts them up for sale, because who wouldn’t want one?

I made a talking Whiterun Guard plush (please turn sound on) from skyrim

5. Adorable fan art of Paldean Wooper, nicknamed ‘Pooper’

At the beginning of August, Nintendo gave us a fresh look at the upcoming Pokémon Scarlet and Violet games, the latest instalment in the world-wide phenomenon. During the presentation, we were introduced to the Paldea region and shown many new features—including fresh Paldean Pokémon. One that really stole the show was the new variation of the Pokémon Wooper.

Originally being introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, Wooper is quite popular with many fans for its silly and cute design. In fact, Redditor @QuantumF0am was so enamoured with this new variation of Wooper that they decided to create some adorable fan art of the two versions interacting. The image depicted the blue ‘Johtonian’ Wooper splashing about in a puddle of mud and trying to make itself look like its brown Paldean counterpart—who players have affectionately nicknamed ‘Pooper.’

[OC]Johtonian Wooper Trying to Stay Hip. from pokemon

With more details yet to be released and new Pokémon set to be revealed, it’s an exciting time to be a Pokémon fan. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will release worldwide on 18 November 2022.

6. The trailer for a fan-made ‘Assassin’s Creed’ set in Persia has dropped, and it looks incredible

Assassin’s Creed has become one of the most popular game franchises around, with Assassin’s Creed II really skyrocketing the series into stardom. Over the years, they have taken us all over the world, from Jerusalem to Italy, France to the Caribbean and—in its latest adventure—exploring the Viking’s expansion into the British Isles.

Last year, the game’s studio, Ubisoft, unveiled Assassin’s Creed Infinity—a live-service take on the iconic franchise that will add new locations, characters and more as time passes. While no gameplay has been revealed, YouTube channel TeaserPlay has shown a concept of what a Persia-based Assassin’s Creed game would look like using the powerful Unreal Engine 5.

The concept sports a huge, walled city with vast landscapes, ancient ruins, a desert oasis and more. Once again, nothing is really shown in terms of gameplay, but it is assumed that it would take from its predecessors and utilise stealth and parkour. A Persian setting was chosen as it is rumoured to be one of the locations featured in Assassin’s Creed Infinity.

7. Zachary Levi had to go to hospital because of his Nintendo Wii

When the Nintendo Wii released in 2006, it changed the gaming world forever. Its revolutionary motion controls redefined the way games were played and showed that gaming was, in fact, for everyone.

Those of you who remember its launch will also recall the many incidents of gamers accidentally breaking things or injuring themselves and others because of the console’s motion controls. It just so happens that Chuck actor Zachary Levi managed to do both.

In a recent interview with IMDB, Levi revealed how, just after the console’s release, he was up late playing Wii Tennis when he accidentally raised his hand too far and fast—shattering a light fixture and ending up in the emergency room. The Shazam! star eventually had to get 14 stitches in his hand because of the accident.

8. New indie game ‘Squirrel with a Gun’ is causing a stir online

The world of indie games is vast and varied. And while developers tend to follow trends, some appear out of nowhere with ideas so wild and wacky that they completely catch you off guard.

One such game is the currently-unreleased Squirrel with a Gun. Yep, you read that right. In this game, you play as a squirrel. With a gun. That’s it. But don’t let the simplicity of the concept fool you. Developer Dan DeEntremont has released gameplay footage online and it has taken the internet by storm.

In the video, we see a sweet-looking grey squirrel wielding human sized firearms, mugging people and even using the recoil of an Uzi to launch itself to great distances. The pure absurdity of it all is what gives the game its charm.

The synopsis of Squirrel with a Gun on its Steam page reads: “It is not easy, but it’s fun, to be a squirrel with a gun. Squirrel with a gun is a sandbox game that focuses on exploration and shooting combat. Defend yourself from random encounters with Agents, using various weapons. Deflect their melee attacks with exceptional timing to disarm them.”

“Climb and jump across platforms with your natural squirrel skill,” the description continues. “Use weapon recoil to cross even greater gaps. Explore the neighbourhood from a squirrel’s eye view. Talk with residents of the neighbourhood and help them out for goodies. Or mug them for goodies.”

If you weren’t interested before, I’m sure you are now. Squirrel with a Gun doesn’t have a release date yet, however, it is currently available to wishlist on Steam.