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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Announced

Following the development of their incredibly successful augmented reality mobile game, Niantic Labs has announced officially that their next title will be Harry Potter: Wizards Unite(HWPU). Details on the game so far are scarce, but it will likely use similar AR tech to Pokemon GO, and copy some of the geo data as well (if Ingress is to be used as an example).  In a statement on their website, Niantic said this about the game: “Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover and fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.” HPWU will be releasing some time in 2018.

CCP Games Stops Production on VR Games

Earlier this week, Eve Online and Eve: Valkyrie developer, CCP games announced that they would be restructuring their priorities away from virtual reality gaming to focus more on the PC and mobile markets. As a result, their Atlanta Studio, the developers behind Eve: Valkyrie and Sparc will be closed, with support for those games moved to the London studio. In addition CCP is selling off it’s Newcastle studio and a third studio in Shanghai is being “reduced and refocused”.

TellTale Games Announces Layoffs

On Tuesday, TellTale Games the studio behind popular choose-your-own-adventure games such as The Walking Dead and more recently a Guardians of the Galaxy series announced that they would be laying off 25% of their staff. CEO Pete Hawley said the following: “Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years. The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team.” No previously announced games will be affected by this restructuring.

Runic Games and Motiga Shut Down

Two Seattle-based studios were shut down earlier this week by their China-based publisher, Perfect world. The publisher stated that they were refocusing their efforts on online games as a service. It is worth noting that while both studios were operating under the Perfect World banner, their closures are unrelated.

Blizzcon Recap

Last weekend was Blizzcon, and there were a ton of announcements in relation to Blizzard’s various IPs and upcoming content. Below is a quick recap of some of the biggest announcements.

  1. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth – On the heels of the highly successful Legion expansion, Blizzard has announced Battle for Azeroth an expansion pitting the armies of Horde and Alliance against each other, as well as bringing some major changes to how the game works overall.
  2. New Overwatch hero Moira – Overwatch announced that a new hero would be coming to the battlefield in the form of Moira, a damage dealing healer with varying life-steal and healing effects. Moira is already available on the PTR for those who want to check her out.
  3. Overwatch Gets Cross-Franchise Content – Content from WoW, Star Craft, Diablo, Heroes of the Storm, and even The Lost Vikings will be making its way into Overwatch soon in the form of a new map, Blizzard World (a Blizzard-themed theme park) and skins for existing heroes based on characters from other Blizzard franchises.
  4. World of Warcraft Classic – Over the years, the landscape of WoW has changed quite a bit (literally) and many players were feeling nostalgic for the original gameworld. World of Warcraft Classic is coming soon in the form of servers where everything is as it was in the original game at release in 2004.
  5. Hearthstone Expansion – Hearthstone announced its next expansion, Kobalds and Catacombs, coming very soon with a host of new cards, as well as a brand new Dungeon mode!
  6. Star Craft II Goes Free to Play – The popular RTS Star Craft II will have its base game go free to play on November 14th. Additional expansions can still be purchased for $15 each.

Notable Releases:

Xbox One X – On Tuesday, Microsoft launched it’s new console, the Xbox One X, a more powerful version of the Xbox One with enhanced graphics and 4K capabilites. Initial reviews of the hardware have been very positive.

Sonic Forces [All Platforms] – Sonic returns in this 3D platformer/classic platformer hybrid. Initial reviews have been mixed.

Need for Speed Payback [All Platforms] – The next entry in the Need for Speed franchise has released. Initial reviews have been mixed.