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FROM IGN.COM


Warner Bros. Games has announced a "standalone Quidditch experience" called Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions, and playtest signups are now open.


According to the game's FAQ page, Quidditch Champions will allow players to partake in the Wizarding World's iconic sport and "other broomstick adventures alongside friends in a competitive, multiplayer setting." Playing the game requires constant internet connection, hence Warner Bros. Games is holding a limited playtest for people to try out the new Harry Potter title.


During the playtest, you can either play the game by yourself or you can team up with friends and other people online. You'll also be able to create and customize your character to your liking.


Quidditch Champions has been in development for several years at Unbroken Studios, which is also lending a hand in developing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Warner Bros. Games released the following statement about Quidditch Champions' connection to the Harry Potter franchise alongside Portkey Games, which is publishing the game:


"While Portkey Games are not direct adaptations of the books and films, the games are firmly rooted in the magical universe of the Wizarding World. While remaining true to J.K. Rowling’s original vision, Portkey game developers chart new territory by creating fresh ways for fans to immerse themselves in the Wizarding World."


The announcement of Quidditch Champions comes on the heels of the release of Hogwarts Legacy for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, which sold over 12 million copies two weeks after its launch in February despite controversy surrounding the Harry Potter author. The game will release on PS4 and Xbox One on May 5, while the Nintendo Switch version comes out July 25.



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FROM VARIETY.COM


PlayStation has struck a deal to acquire game developer Firewalk Studios from ProbablyMonsters Inc, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced Thursday.


Firewalk, which is currently developing an untitled AAA multiplayer game for Playstation 5 and PC, will collaborate alongside PlayStation brands including Bungie and Haven Interactive Studios to create constantly updated “live service” games for PlayStation consumers. Firewalk marks the 20th studio to join PlayStation Studios.


The Bellevue, Washington-based company’s day-to-day operations for its 150-person team will continue to be run by Firewalk’s management, in collaboration with PlayStation Studios External Development team.



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FROM POLYGON.COM


A third mainline game in the Horizon series appears to be in the works at Guerrilla Games. The developer of Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West said in an announcement Monday that Guerrilla’s “bright future” includes “expanding the world of Horizon with Aloy’s next adventure and our exciting online project.”


Hints of a third game comes just a few days after Guerrilla released the Burning Shores expansion for Horizon Forbidden West, and likely won’t be a surprise to players who have completed that add-on. As video games and their major story DLC tend to do, Burning Shores offers clues about where Aloy might be headed after her journey to the west coast.


Guerrilla’s tease about what’s next for Aloy was tucked under the announcement of a leadership change at the Dutch studio: studio director and executive producer Angie Smets is moving to a role at PlayStation Studios as head of development strategy. Guerrilla’s management team now consists of Joel Eschler, studio director and production director; Hella Schmidt, studio director and general manager; and Jan-Bart van Beek, studio director and art director.



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FROM PCGAMER.COM


Longtime Bungie writer and former Halo Infinite creative lead Joseph Staten left Microsoft earlier this month, and now we know where he's going: To Netflix.


"In my work life, there's nothing I love more than collaborating with others to build worlds filled with iconic characters, deep mysteries, and endless adventures," Staten tweeted. "So today, I'm thrilled to announce that I've joined Netflix Games as Creative Director for a brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP. Let's go!"


Staten has a long and varied history on the Halo series, ranging from voice work in Halo 2 to writing director on Halo: Reach and, as mentioned earlier, head of creative on Halo Infinite. But he has far more than just that under his belt: He was also story director on the original Destiny, and after leaving Bungie in 2013, he went to Microsoft, where he served as creative director on a remarkable array of games including Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break, Crackdown 3, and Microsoft Flight Simulator, among others.


When Netflix moved into game development in 2021, its focus was primarily on mobile game development. But in November 2022, it said it wanted to create a "triple-A PC game," which had all the looks of being a live-service shooter. It's fair to say that Staten knows a thing or two about heading up projects of just that sort.



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FROM POLYGON.COM


An independent game studio made a big splash this week with footage of its project Unrecord, a first-person shooter in which players take on the role of a police detective. What sets Unrecord apart from its FPS contemporaries is its presentation: Players witness the action through the slightly warped lens of a police body camera.


Unrecord looks unsettlingly real due to its Unreal Engine 5-powered, photorealistic graphics, but there’s more to the game’s presentation than just convincing lighting and believably derelict game levels. The fisheye-lens distortion and herky-jerky movement as the player chases down and shoots at suspects look nearly indistinct from real-life bodycam footage that we’ve been inundated with as police departments release similar footage to the public, often for incredibly distressing reasons.


In fact, some viewers have questioned whether the gameplay footage of Unrecord is gameplay footage at all. The studio behind it, known as Drama, says it is — “We do not use any real videos or external rendering,” it promised — in an FAQ released on Thursday.


“There have been many doubts raised about the authenticity of the gameplay,” the studio said. “The game is developed on Unreal Engine 5, and the game footage is captured from an executable and played using a keyboard and mouse. It is not a VR game. In reality, it seems rather flattering to compare the graphics of Unrecord to reality, but fortunately, we know that a game first focuses on gameplay and universe on which we primarily concentrate. Considering the high production costs of a video game and our global reputation at stake, if Unrecord were a scam, it would be a blockbuster scam.”



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FROM KOTAKU.COM


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a horrific tragedy for tens of millions of people, but as we’ve seen, life still goes on between the bombings. And that includes making, and releasing, new video games.


The experiences of the team at Frogwares—a studio best known for their Sherlock Holmes games—have been one of many ways international readers have been able to learn about the war and its effects on Ukraine’s people. Over the past year we’ve seen members of the team join the armed forces, seen that others have been able to relocate to safer locations and that, through it all, Frogwares have somehow been able to keep developing the games that fans around the world know them for.


They were able to release one in March 2022, an incredible achievement, but that was also a game that had mostly been developed prior to the invasion. Last week they released a second, called Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, a modern remake of a game they first released in 2008.


It seems to be reviewing OK, no doubt helped by the fact that the original was a pretty good adventure game to begin with. Aside from the graphical upgrades, though, the 2023 version has one other difference with the original: it includes a splash screen at the beginning of the game providing some important context for The Awakened’s development and release:


On February 24th, 2022 our home, Ukraine, was brutally invaded and thrown into all-out war.


In April 2022, we began development of Sherlock Holmes The Awakened.


This game is dedicated to all the fighters, volunteers, supporters, and every single citizen who stood their ground and kept our country standing.


It is our own act of resilience against the chaos and horror the enemy tried to impose on our livelihood.


Slava Ukraini


The Awakened is out now on...pretty much everything (PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Switch).



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