Shoutout to all the cats.
Happy almost April!
Spring is here and, while it’s still cold where I live, both the video game and esports industries have been keeping me warm with all of the juicy news that’s been going on.
Full disclaimer, this post is on the longer side. I found myself cutting out sections because I realized it might have been way too much reading, and I don’t want ya to have to read too much.
Let’s get into it!
“Project Spartacus” has finally been announced
A few weeks ago, rumors surfaced that Sony was working on a competitor to the Xbox Game Pass. I covered it when the rumors came out, basically saying it seemed interesting but I needed more info to get an idea of it’s worth.
Sony took to Twitter to formally announce their champion, but instead of giving it a fancy name, it’s just being PlayStation Plus but with new features.
Here’s the breakdown of what you can expect in the revamped PS Plus which launches this June:
PlayStation Plus Essential
- Provides the same benefits that PlayStation Plus members are getting today, such as:
- Two monthly downloadable games
- Exclusive discounts
- Cloud storage for saved games
- Online multiplayer access
- There are no changes for existing PlayStation Plus members in this tier.
- Provides the same benefits that PlayStation Plus members are getting today, such as:
- Price* for PlayStation Plus Essential remains the same as the current price for PlayStation Plus.
- United States
- $9.99 monthly / $24.99 quarterly / $59.99 yearly
- €8.99 monthly / €24.99 quarterly / €59.99 yearly
- United Kingdom
- £6.99 monthly / £19.99 quarterly / £49.99 yearly
- ¥850 monthly / ¥2,150 quarterly / ¥5,143 yearly
- United States
PlayStation Plus Extra
- Provides all the benefits from the Essential tier
- Adds a catalog of up to 400* of the most enjoyable PS4 and PS5 games – including blockbuster hits from our PlayStation Studios catalog and third-party partners. Games in the Extra tier are downloadable for play.
- United States
- $14.99 monthly / $39.99 quarterly / $99.99 yearly
- €13.99 monthly / €39.99 quarterly / €99.99 yearly
- United Kingdom
- £10.99 monthly / £31.99 quarterly / £83.99 yearly
- ¥1,300 monthly / ¥3,600 quarterly / ¥8,600 yearly
- United States
PlayStation Plus Premium**
- Provides all the benefits from Essential and Extra tiers
- Adds up to 340* additional games, including:
- PS3 games available via cloud streaming
- A catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations
- Offers cloud streaming access for original PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4 games offered in the Extra and Premium tiers in markets** where PlayStation Now is currently available. Customers can stream games using PS4 and PS5 consoles, and PC.***
- Time-limited game trials will also be offered in this tier, so customers can try select games before they buy.
- United States
- $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly
- €16.99 monthly / €49.99 quarterly / €119.99 yearly
- United Kingdom
- £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly
- ¥1,550 – monthly / ¥4,300 – quarterly / ¥10,250 yearly
- United States
- PlayStation Plus Deluxe (Select Markets) For markets without cloud streaming, PlayStation Plus Deluxe will be offered at a lower price compared to Premium, and includes a catalog of beloved classic games from the original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generations to download and play, along with time-limited game trials. Benefits from Essential and Extra tiers are also included. Local pricing will vary by market.
Now that we have an official announcement and pricing, I think my stance on it hasn’t changed that much. I think it’s bogus that we have to pay extra to stream older titles (not to mention if your internet sucks, you’re in trouble), when Xbox has some form of backwards compatibility that you don’t have to pay for. That being said, the pricing model seems to be a bit cheaper than Xbox’s Game Pass (with the highest tier, Game Pass Ultimate, coming out to $180 USD a year).
I’ll keep my eye on it as we get closer to launch especially because of the ability to play games from PS2/PS3, but at this moment, I don’t think I’ll find myself investing in this.
If I find out anyone of you upgrade your PS Plus just to play old titles that have been ported over a thousand times, a la The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we’re going to have some problems.
“Lessons have been learned“
Let’s just rip off the band-aid; Battlefield 2042 is a flaming hot turd. Questionable design choices, questionable lack of developer interaction, updates breaking things rather than fixing them; it’s just been a hot mess.
Well, according to an article by Tom Henderson, “valuable lessons have been learned” as DICE has reportedly started working on the next title in the series.
Here’s my quick take on this. Leading up to the launch of Battlefield 2042, players were fed consumer friendly sentences like how the game is “way ahead of schedule” or how after feedback came back on the Specialists system, DICE was adamant that they wouldn’t remove them.
So you’re telling me all of sudden, all the feedback players have given has been suddenly heard and understood? I want to believe it, but DICE dropping one of the worst FPS’s of all time, not even showing a lick of support for it and expecting us to believe they’ve figured it out is mind boggling.
I don’t know if my point makes sense, but I really want to believe that DICE have learned something. However, given their track record and utter dismantling of a beloved series, it’s getting harder to believe as it’s only been 5 months since 2042 launched, and it’s a wasteland.
Do I hope they fix this ship? 100% I do. I just know it’s going to take a lot of work and I don’t know if EA/DICE are up to the task.
Rockstar and Take-Two are out of their minds
Ahhhhh Grand Theft Auto V: the game that has been giving nonstop memories and stories for almost 10 years.
Here’s their newest one.
Announced last week, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S (aka this is next generation only) owners can subscribe to be a part of an elite society known as GTA+. GTA+ is a subscription service that gives you access to a few extra perks for Grand Theft Auto Online such as a monthly deposit on $500,000 into your GTA Online account and other benefits.
I’m not going to go through and pretend to understand this new service since I don’t think I’ve touched GTA Online since Grand Theft Auto 4. That being said, this is insane. GTA V has been out for almost 10 years (broken record I know), and Rockstar/Take-Two has found a way to drag this title through 2 generations of consoles while charging you every step of the way. Let’s not forget there’s an entire community of players begging for content in Red Dead Online, but they’ve been shafted and shunned.
The point I’m trying to make here is this is insane. Don’t get me wrong; if the rewards in this service are good then by all means it’s a good deal. I just can’t believe that this is the way the gaming industry works now, and I mean that outside of GTA (Fallout 76 subscription I’m looking at you).
20 year anniversary of Kingdom Hearts
I HECKING LOVE KINGDOM HEARTS.
All caps aside, Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the first Kingdom Hearts game. I’m not going to lie; I never beat the first game because I never liked it. The controls were horrendous, the story didn’t make sense and much more bothered me. Personal dislikes aside; to see this game celebrate 20 years makes me feel nostalgic in a sense. Twenty years ago, a crossover like this seemed so ambitious and yet Square Enix made it work revolutionizing the gaming scene. Also, twenty years ago, I was seven so it makes me realize that I’m old.
Congrats Kingdom Hearts, and here’s hoping we get a new entry sometime before my mid life crisis.
Also, Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of the greatest games of all time. I will not be told otherwise.
Also, part 2, the Kingdom Hearts series had some of the best musical openers of all time. I still listen to all of the openers to this day.
“Enemies” Unity Tech Demo
I was going to do a write up on this, but I didn’t know what to talk about. This is a tech demo from Unity Technologies using the Unity Engine (link to the official breakdown of the demo). This engine is sort of a competitor to the Unreal 5 Engine, and this cinematic is incredible. To see how far we’ve come since the days of Sonic on the Sega Dreamcast to this is mindblowing.
As you can imagine by the term “bullet hell”, this game is similar to DOOM. Scathe has you slaying hordes of demons with up to four homies with full cross-play support and drop-in/drop-out online co-op multiplayer. Seems cool, and the game is expected to launch on all platforms minus the Switch later this year.
Heavily inspired by Paper Mario and Undertale, Outbound Ghost has you playing as a ghost with no memory of who you area or how you died. It’s up to you to figure that out and help other ghosts pass to the other side. It’s set to launch in Q4 2022 on pretty much all platforms.
I think I wrote about this quickly in one of my previous recaps. For those unaware, Forever Skies is a new game from Far From Home (not the Spider-Man movie) former devs from Dying Light and Dead Island. We finally got a gameplay trailer, and basically, you’ll be traveling around in a blimp in a post apocalyptic world, getting off to explore and scavenge materials while trying to figure out what happened to Earth. It’s headed to Steam Early Access sometime this year and will eventually hit consoles.
I want to go a LAN event
Alright sob story aside, with COVID still being a challenge worldwide, it seemed near impossible for companies to put together LAN events. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way (and no that is not a reference to Will Smith and his Oscars incident).
This section is probably going to be really unorganized and make zero sense, but I’m throwing it in here anyways!
Here’s a list of a few LAN event that have happened or are going to happen, some of them allowing live audiences while some of them do not:
- Rocket League Championship Series Winter Major just took place this past weekend at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California which saw G2 Esports take home the chip in front of a live crowd.
- Rainbow Six Siege Esports has started back up on Monday, hosting LAN events in North America over the course of 5 weeks, as teams compete for a chance to be invited to the Six Invitational.
- Call of Duty League Major 2 Tournament (more on this in a down below) will be held in Minnesota this weekend in the Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota with fans in attendance!
- The Apex Legends Global Series is hosting a LAN in Stockholm, Sweden on April 29th-May 1st. I believe teams are still qualifying as we speak, but basically the top 10 teams from each region (40 teams in total) will hot drop over the course of the weekend with only one team to be crowned Apex Champion. I think this is their first LAN event in over a couple of years, and I’m definitely going to be watching this as I still have a huge soft spot for the game. At the moment, no fans are allowed to attend.
- Fragadelphia will be hosting ten LAN events in CS:GO starting this April across varying states in the US culminating with the finals in Philadelphia.
- VALORANT Masters 1 will be held in Reykjavík, Iceland starting April 10th!
- The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2022 Spring Finals will be open to the fans for the first time in almost two years on April 10th in Berlin.
Again, I had no idea where I was going with this section. I guess this was just more of an appreciation post for the fact that these events are still being put together despite the way the world is unfolding. Now that my knowledge of esports is growing, I hope that I can attend one (or more) events soon before they disappear off the grid again (not a jinx I swear).
Call of Duty League Recap
Alright couple of things to go over here, and this is going to be my second time covering CoD so please be nice.
Major 2 kicks off today in Minnesota, and to be fair, I’m hyped for how this tournament could play out. First, let’s take a look at the bracket.
It almost feels like the bracket for the Major 2 tournament is the damn near identical as Major 1’s with OpTic Texas possibly meeting up with the Atlanta FaZe is the second round. That being said my biggest surprises came from the fact that the Toronto Ultra and Los Angeles Thieves have been absolutely struggling this time around starting in the elimination bracket while the New York Subliners have changed course after their roster switch up. All three performances have been a complete 360 from a month ago.
Also, Merk and Maven will be back.
Damn I love those guys.
Merk, Maven and Major 2 bracket aside, I wanted to take a look at something that caught my eye and that would be the absolute struggle fest the LA Thieves have had during Major 2. For those of you keeping track or unaware, the team has not won a single match during the four week stretch of online qualifiers prompting big names, and Reddit big brains, to speak up.
I talk about him a lot, but for the uninitiated, the above tweet comes from founder of 100 Thieves, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, who just happens to be a former professional Call of Duty player. Needless to say, the team has been massively underperforming, and last time one of Nadeshot’s teams struggled **cough cough** 100T VALORANT **cough cough** he tweeted something like this, gutted half the roster, and then assembled the Avengers coaching staff.
I don’t know if he will do something like this again, but you have to give him a ton of props when it comes to making moves. He will do what it takes to make shit (excuse my language) work.
Okay this one is a bit random, but something that actually bothers me a bit. For some reason, professionals in the scene like to specifically target the Reddit community for their shit takes (excuse my language again). While I do not condone the bad takes, I will say that for every bad take you get, there are a least a few takes that are justifiable or actually showcase valid concern through open discussion. I’ve seen this topic come up a lot recently especially in VALORANT with pros bringing up the shit posts and responding to them.
I’m not trying to start a fight or defend Reddit; I just think it’s odd that Reddit gets specifically targeted for being “odd” when at the same time some analysts have shit takes but are given a bigger platform… My bad that last sentence was petty.
Something that I actually wanted to mention also is if they think Reddit is bad, they should check their Twitter mentions because there are some absolutely unhinged individuals in those replies.
Why can’t we just all be friends damn it?
Also, Boston Breach player Anthony “Methodz“ Zinni went trending on Twitter (making him one of three famous gamers in the past few days) last week after fans were playing matchmaking between him and CDL caster Alyssa “Allycxt“ Parker.
I honestly was thinking about not including a recap this week since we’re still waiting on a team to fill the last spot in Masters 1, but at this moment, so much stuff has gone on I have to cover it.
First up, the 11 out of 12 teams qualified are:
I’m not as well versed in the other regions, but I do recognize a few of the repeating visitors such as FNATIC, KRÜ Esports, DRX (who used to be Vision Strikers, Korea’s top team for quite some time) and a few of the others.
Couple of points I want to make based off of the teams so far:
- My North American picks were originally Cloud 9 and Version 1, and boy was I freaking wrong. OpTic Gaming and The Guard exceeded all of my expectations; OpTic found their form after a shaky Group Stage and the lack of experience did not hurt The Guard whatsoever as they claimed the number one seed in NA.
- Team Liquid originally did not make the cut but were given the slot because FPX could not make the event due to circumstances out of their control (bogus COVID ruling, war in Ukraine). Completely heartbreaking for FPX.
- KRÜ Esports was one of the teams I rooted for after they beat Sentinels back in Champs. They qualified after a tough series versus Leviatán, and I’m excited to see how far they go.
Speaking of Masters 1, the format was announced, and the video confused the heck out of me. I’m going to link the official announcement, but instead of embedding the video, I’ll show you this nice graphic somebody on Reddit made.
Since one team still needs to claim their spot, the groups have not been announced yet. What I will say is if we don’t get G2 and OpTic in the same group or even see a matchup between the two, it’ll be a huge miss viewership wise.
Now in the EMEA scene, FNATIC’s Andrey “BraveAF” Gorchakov was suspended from pro play due to texting conversations that have surfaced regarding the war in Ukraine. Both links are to the official statement and to the conversation that surfaced, and while we don’t understand the full context of the situation (BraveAF gave a response right after these surfaced), it’s disappointing to see this unfold.
Also, this is on me for not being able to find it, but I believe the VALORANT Game Changers scene is set to kick off soon. In my honest opinion, I think this is sick. It’s great that there’s a scene that’s dedicated to allowing women to compete at the highest levels of competition.
Edit: I found the link to the NA Game Changers breakdown.
JasonR goes trending ft Tarik
It’s Saturday night, I was out of my house (wishing that I wasn’t), I come home, open up Twitter and see my timeline is flooded with tweets about JasonR and Tarik.
Bit of a backstory. A few weeks ago, former CS:GO pro and current VALORANT streamer, Jason “JasonR” Ruchelski, made headlines for his questionable antics regarding his behavior when it comes to gaming with women which involves muting them in game or dodging games with females in his lobby.
It’s been a little over a month since the news broke, and things seemed to be getting swept under the rug until it all came back, and started trending on Twitter, when JasonR joined Tarik “tarik” Celik’s (former CS:GO pro now full time content creator) VAL party to talk about what’s been going on.
In what was an hour long (I watched tarik’s VOD and I’m not exaggerating the length) discussion, JasonR and tarik went back and forth on Jason’s actions. I don’t want to go off the rails here and turn this into some TMZ drama piece, but long story short, JasonR spent an hour completely missing the point of his actions while tarik tried countering with logic and showing the wrong in JasonR’s way.
It’s disappointing to see that Jason can’t see the error of actions yet it did not go unnoticed how tarik tried his hardest to change his mind while standing up for women worldwide. Women deal with this issue constantly, and it’s sad to see how some individuals don’t see how they further those issues.
W streamer Tarik, and also W for pro VALORANT player Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro for sitting in the lobby for an entire hour while this was happening.
Memes and Wholesome Pics
- In CS:GO, NAVI survived a 71 round match against AGO.
- In some utter B.S., reports have come out that EA will only cover travel for 7 of the 40 qualifying teams that are expected to be in Sweden for the ALGS Playoffs next month. Orgs have come forward and offered support for smaller teams such as NRG, but to see EA treat the scene like this is bull. Trust me, they make enough money from scam… I mean sales and microtransactions to help out these teams out. Edit: They have gone back on their decision and announced that they are offering assistance to teams.
- Usain Bolt, one of the greatest sprinters of all time (behind me), has become a co-owner of esports team WYLDE a team based in Dublin, Ireland.
- Overwatch League player of the San Francisco Shock, Matthew “supertf” DeLisi, has announced his retirement from the game after a six year career. He’s only 22 (holy shit I’m old), but from what I’ve seen, he’s pretty active on Twitch so he’ll still be gaming just in a different sense.
- This was announced last week, but I forgot to add it. PlayStation acquired Haven Studios on March 21st, a year after the announcement of the studio’s formation and that they are working on a new IP for PlayStation. Haven Studios was founded by industry veteran Jade Raymond who’s worked on Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs and helped build EA Motive Studio and Ubisoft Toronto.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild sequel has been delayed until next year Nintendo announced on Twitter.
- Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore, known for streaming popular titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone, has joined Complexity as a content creator and part owner. He joins the Texas gaming org with buddy Timothy “TimTheTatMan” Betar, and this has me wondering how much money do these guys have to make stuff like this happen.
- Apex Legends finally got its next generation update including 60hz gameplay, 4K output, and HDR. More improvements will come in the future.