Developers of a fan-made mod for the unreleased Halo Online game were contacted by Microsoft and asked to ‘pause’ in their development this week. The mod, ElDewrito, allowed players to play the defunct Halo Online, which was a modified Halo 3 game released only in Russia. The mod allowed players not in Russia to play the game, among other features. 343 Industries, the current developers behind the Halo franchise, claim that as the game uses original Halo assets, it is infringing upon Microsoft’s IP. The Modders behind ElDewrito have made clear that no legal action has been taken against them, and simply that they were told what their mod did was not acceptable to Microsoft and they needed to stop. Development on the mod has been halted, but it is unclear what the future will hold for the popular mod.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery released early this week, and so far fans are feeling frustrated at the game’s microtransactions. The game allows for you to purchase cosmetic items for money, but also allows for the purchase of energy. A system commonly found in free-to-play games, certain things require energy to do in the game, and when the energy runs out, players can either wait for it to regenerate (often quite slowly) or pay to immediately get more energy. In Hogwarts Mystery, the first instance that players come across where this is an issue is less than an hour in, where players are forced to either pay to purchase enough energy to defeat an ensnaring plant or wait up to eight hours to get enough energy to continue. Many fans have taken to social media to express their displeasure at such a tactic being used against them so early on, before they have had enough of a chance to play the game and determine if it is worth spending money on. There has been no response from Jam City, the developers of Hogwarts Mystery, but after the controversy behind player disengagement surrounding Battlefront II this past year, it would behoove them to not ignore fans upset with microtransactions.
The Belgium Gaming Commission determined that FIFA 18, Overwatch, and CS: GO lootboxes are subject to Belgian gaming law, which outlaws such games of chance. Belgian authorities have stated that the lootboxes must be removed from the game or the publishers of the games could face possible fines or even jail time. The investigation into lootboxes began after complains of Battlefront II piqued the interests of Minister of Justice Koen Geens, and asked the Gaming Commission to investigate. Battlefront II was excused as they removed lootboxes after the initial outcry. So far, EA has responded that they do not believe their games constitute gambling. Belgium is the second country to come out against lootboxes, with the Netherlands releasing last week that they consider the practice illegal.
Nintendo is partnering with Cygames to develop a new role-playing game, Dragalia Lost, for the mobile platform. The game looks to be a story-based game, in contrast to the slew of quick-action based games Nintendo has released on mobile before (Fire Emblem Heroes, Pokemon Duel, Magikarp Jump, Mario Run, etc). Cygames previously released Granblue Fantasy, a mobile Action-RPG, which gives good insight into what to expect this new title to be like. Dragalia Lost will be out this summer in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, with a Western release potentially coming later in the year.