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Games Inbox: Current console generation ending early, Helldivers 2 on PC, and Unicorn Overlord success-GameCentral-Entertainment – Metro

The Thursday letters page is worried that the rest of 2024 is going to be worryingly quiet, as one reader feels embarrassed playing Stellar Blade.

Games Inbox: Current console generation ending early, Helldivers 2 on PC, and Unicorn Overlord success-GameCentral-Entertainment – Metro

Why is there already talk of replacements? (Picture:

The Thursday letters page is worried that the rest of 2024 is going to be worryingly quiet, as one reader feels embarrassed playing Stellar Blade.

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From the top
It’s very strange to me how, almost from the first day, this year has been a tsunami of bad news for the industry, that seems to have come out of nowhere. Things were perfectly normal last year, right up to December, and then: bam! Sony and Microsoft aren’t making enough money, everything’s going multiformat, it’s live service or nothing, console sales are down, and the next gen is already on its way.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X/S came out in 2020, but that was right in the middle of the pandemic and stock was low and games were constantly getting cancelled. Things got better over time, but I’d say the first two years of this generation barely count as six months under normal circumstances.

So that means the current gen has been going for two years-ish so far, and we’re already talking about a new one in 2026, with a PS5 Pro this year? That’s just crazy. I know cutting and running on a generation is kind of Xbox’s thing, but this is beyond ridiculous, and I can say I absolutely do not have the spare £500 for a new console right now, even if I wanted one.

You only have to look at the sales figures to see why Xbox wants to hit the rest button again, still failing to outsell the Switch even in the US. But the PlayStation 5 is also declining much faster than you’d expect, I think because of their silence for the last two years and lack of new games. As much as people try to pretend otherwise new exclusives are what people get excited about with consoles and when you don’t have that you begin to question the whole set-up.

It’s basically mismanagement – hell, PlayStation doesn’t even have a full-time manager anymore – and what a mess it’s making of the whole concept of console gaming.
Purple Ranger

Don’t tempt them
I didn’t realise that Helldivers 2 was doing much better on PC than on PlayStation 5. As if it proving Sony’s fantasies true wasn’t bad enough, now I find out it’s tempting them into releasing all games day one on PC. Not that affects me exactly, but you start doing that and you begin to question what the point of consoles even is.

I’m sure there are plenty of people at Sony HQ running around asking why do we even bother with consoles, given they’re not sold at a profit. I imagine the money they get in licensing fees, from third party publishers, is the only thing holding them back at this point.

I don’t want to play games on a PC. I don’t want to be bothered by upgrades, and compatibility, and whether I’ve got enough RAM. I don’t want to put up with poor performance and endless patches, not to mention cheaters and viruses and all the other bad things that come with PCs. But I don’t think I’ll have much of a choice for much longer.

With all these things going on it seems to me that the last days of console gaming are upon us and, as usual, the people that should’ve prevented it are only making it happen faster.

Hype restoration
I wasn’t even necessarily going to get one straight away, but it really is a shame that the Switch 2 isn’t out this year, or that GTA 6 isn’t coming out earlier. Reading these stories about sales bottoming out everywhere and now we’ve got almost nothing coming out this year. When all Xbox can think to showcase is Call Of Duty then you know something’s up.

I hope 2025 comes out fighting, right from the bell, because we’re going to need some serious hype restoration by the end of this year. I don’t know how we got into this situation but, as usual, I’m sure the only people that will pay for it are the ordinary developers.

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Arkham redux
That Batman VR news was certainly unexpected. I wonder when Warner Bros. gave that the greenlight? If it’s out this year, I guess at least two or three years ago? Assuming VR games take a little less time to make than normal games (because they’re usually much shorter).

So, at that time did they know Suicide Squad was going to be a flop or was this expecting it to be massive and a launching pad for more Batman games? Judging by the video it doesn’t seem to have anything in common with Suicide Squad, it just looks like the regular Arkham games.

The way Warner have handled all this is so bizarre. Does that mean if there was a new normal Batman game it would continue the Arkham story? That seems so odd.

The Legend of Tingle
I have a really bad feeling about this Zelda movie. The director seems an alright guy, but they should never have even attempted a live action film, it just doesn’t make any sense. It should’ve been CGI, with a Japanese director to have any chance of matching the tone and style of the games.

Now we’re going to have Link yabbering away on screen, dropping Marvel style quips every few minutes, while Zelda acts as a love interest. Bonus points for when they have to solve a puzzle, that makes no logical sense and doesn’t actually work. I’m just not sure who’ll end up as the whacky comedy sidekick, Navi or Tingle? Probably both.

Strange decisions
I love how the people warring over Stellar Blade are trying to frame it as a righteous fight against censorship. As if you would be hardcore into that cause and your number one focus would be a video game that was very slightly less pervy than it originally advertised itself as. If that’s the worst case of censorship they can find in the world then I’d say we’re doing very well indeed. Nice one humanity.

But really, it’s such a shame the game has to muddy the waters with its portrayal of women, because I’m playing it now and the combat really is top notch. But all the women and the way they look… I’m sure I would’ve thought it was super cool when I was 14 but now it’s just flat out embarrassing. When my girlfriend walks in and sees it, it’s like being caught reading a dirty mag. No, no! I’m reading it for the articles/playing it for the combat!

The worse things though, as identified by GC, is that no one in the game ever refers to the fact that EVE’s dress sense would make a stripper cringe. And then on top of that there’s absolutely no humour in the game at all. EVE isn’t sexy, she’s cold and robotic and it’s just so weird. Like another reader said, it’s like someone made a mod and dropped EVE into the game out of nowhere.

Such a weird set of decisions in the game and I also wonder at Sony giving their support to it. It is a good game but, really, I thought we were better than this now.

The right lesson
I was pretty worried when I started hearing about how Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth was underperforming, as I was worried that Square Enix would take the wrong lessons from it. But promoting the guy that made it is very encouraging, I hope he gets to make an ‘original’ game next.

I love Rebirth but I think the problem is that not only is it the middle part of the trilogy, so people worry they’ve missed the first one, but maybe Final Fantasy 7 nostalgia isn’t quite as strong as Square Enix thinks. Doesn’t it hold the record for the most returned game ever? So, plenty of people bought but maybe not so many enjoyed it?
Snake Eyes

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Chart topper
Lots of bad news in the US charts, for Sony and Microsoft, but I just want to say how happy I am to see Unicorn Overlord and Rise Of The Rōnin in the top 10. I thought both were only niche games but they actually seem to have done pretty well. I haven’t played Rise Of The Rōnin myself, but I’m definitely interested (especially after having seen Shōgun) and glad to see such a non-typical game do well.

I doubt it’s as crazy as Unicorn Overlord though, which I have absolutely loved and is not something I would have ever imagined going mainstream. I mean… it’s called Unicorn Overlord for a start! For anyone that doesn’t know it’s kind of a strategy role-playing game but where you don’t control the actual buttons, but everything around them, in terms of the loadouts, characters, and where your move your people around on the map.

It’s totally unlike anything else I’ve played and the graphics are amazing, and a bit weird, just like everything. Could not recommend it more and now they get to put ‘best seller in the America’ on the box. If there is a box. I’m not even sure if some of these games get a boxed release anymore…

Inbox also-rans
I didn’t know any Sony game had a slow mode? I think that’s really interesting and I’m going to try it out now, regardless of what it was originally intended for.

TopSpin coming makes you realise just how few sports games there are nowadays that aren’t just football and American sports. The days of multiple tennis games, snooker, rugby, even golf seem long gone. Is it just because casuals only play that sort of thing on a mobile?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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