Technological World for February 2: Pokemon Legends Arceus shines, Halo's live-action TV series, EA gets three new Star Wars games, Steam Deck on Feb 25, and deals for Wordle, Ziva, and Bungie

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Categories Video games | Consumer technology

Pokemon Legends: Arceus is just different enough, we get a first look at the Halo live-action series trailer, three new Star Wars games are in development at EA, Valve’s Steam Deck launches this month, Wordle goes to the Times, Ziva goes to Unity, and Bungie goes to Playstation.

New Pokemon Legends: Arceus shakes things up but stays the same in all the right ways

For all that Pokemon Legends: Arceus does differently, there’s one critical thing that remains the same: the yearning to catch them all.

The first new Pokemon game for Nintendo’s Switch since 2019’s Sword & Shield pairing, Arceus throws back in the franchise chronology and has players creating an encyclopedia of the creatures, called a Pokedex.

What’s different here is the way the game is presented, with a true third-person perspective and an open world to explore. While not all regions are accessible from the start, there are no loading screens or cutaways to endure. In the same way, players slide easily into combat and instead of serving up the Pokemon battles with a different viewpoint, they happen right in the world itself.

It makes for a much more fluid experience, and combined with side missions and collectibles to discover, Arceus is like the open world games that have become so popular.

There are even random events, called Space-time Distortions, that appear in the game and provide intense arena-like battles against rare and powerful Pokemon.

By smoothing out the way players interact with it, Pokemon Legends: Arceus has managed to improve on how people play without messing with what’s at the core of a Pokemon game.

First extended look at the Halo live action series

We knew it was coming and it looks pretty good? The trailer for the live action series based on the video game debuted last weekend, and looks to provide a pretty good origin story for the Spartan soldiers and the most well-known member, Master Chief.

And just like in the video game, we don’t see his face. I wonder when – or if – that will change.

Three new Star Wars games being developed at EA’s Respawn

Electronic Arts is leveraging the success of Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

The company announced last week that it had signed a deal with Lucasfilm Games for three additional games.

And one of them is another Star Wars Jedi game, likely a sequel to the third-person action adventure Fallen Order, which was released in the fall of 2019.

The other two games are in different genres entirely. One is a first-person shooter and another is a strategy game.

Other studios working on Star Wars games include Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment, working on an open-world game, and another action-adventure from Quantic Dream.

Steam Deck launches on February 25

Valve’s Steam Deck will release on February 25.

The handheld gaming console, which is effectively a portable gaming computer running the Steam operating system, was delayed from the original plan of December 2021.

Anyone with a preorder will have 72 hours to purchase a system. Failing to do so in that time will result in the system set aside for you to be released to someone else.

Valve made it clear that you can only order the system that you reserved, so there’s no upgrading or downgrading. You’ll have to reorder if you want a different configuration.

Steam Deck’s three choices are:

  • 64 GB for $499
  • 256 GB for $659
  • 512 GB for $819

Wordle developer sells the game to the New York Times

Wordle, the most popular game being played right now, has been acquired by the New York Times for a price reported to be in the low seven figures.

Brooklyn developer Josh Wardle will only have to work again if he wants to, which is kind of awesome for him.

The Times, which has leveraged its historical crossword in the digital era, will be adding Wordle to its games page, where you can play other word games, including Letter Boxed and Spelling Bee, access to the daily crossword, and other puzzles like Sudoku.

The Times hasn’t overtly monetized any of its games on that page, although it does have advertising and is collecting information on visitors to the pages and if you want to do the daily crossword online you have to subscribe.

The company claims it will not be requiring people pay to play Wordle.

Unity picks up Vancouver software studio specializing in machine-created digital characters

A Vancouver software company has been acquired by Unity Technologies.

Ziva Dynamics provides software and machine learning that allows for the creation of incredibly lifelike digital characters.

Unity, which provides software for the creation of games and digital experiences, will include the Ziva technology as part of the suite of tools available to creators.

Late last year, Unity purchased Weta Digital, the software tools part of Peter Jackson’s special effects company.

This video features a digital character, Emma, created using Ziva’s software. It’s something to behold.

Sony acquires Bungie Interactive

The video game industry continues to be a space where big deals are being made. This week, Sony announced it had agreed to terms to purchase Seattle’s Bungie Interactive for some $3.6 billion.

“Bungie will remain an independent and multi-platform studio and publisher,” Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment said in a release announcing the deal. “As such, we believe it makes sense for it to sit alongside the PlayStation Studios organization….”

Bungie, the creator of two of the biggest shooters of all time in Halo and Destiny, says it retains full creative control and publishing independence of the Destiny universe.

While this announcement comes on the heels of the pending deal between Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard, Sony and Bungie have been in talks for months. Video game impresario Geoff Keighley says to expect more.

What Bungie gets from Sony/Playstation:

  • access to infrastructure and funding to increase operations
  • ability to develop games other than Destiny
  • ability to take Destiny from games and into TV and film

What Sony and Playstation get from Bungie:

  • expertise in the “live service games” space in which games are constantly updated and can bring in regular revenue
  • ability to develop for PC gaming
  • intellectual property that can expand into other media

Destiny 2 will remain a multiplatform game, in the same way that Minecraft has since Microsoft acquired it. But it’s likely that any new games or franchises to be developed by Bungie will be exclusive to Playstation on console, although also available on computers.


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