This Week in Games
The Leaks of Us

by Heidi Kemps,

Hey folks! The end of April has been really good for releases, hasn't it? If you've been eyeing Sakura Wars with curiosity, I did a review of it over at GameSpot, so please check that out if you're interested! Between that, Streets of Rage 4 (out today!), Trials of Mana, and the lingering length of both Persona 5 Royal, Animal Crossing and the FF7 Remake, there's a lot worth playing right now… and a lot worth looking forward to in the next couple of months! Just make sure you mute any terms related to The Last of Us 2 on social media…

THE LAST OF US 2 HAS BEEN COMPLETELY SPOILED, BECAUSE PEOPLE GOTTA BE JERKS

The advent of the PlayStation 5 may be looming, but there's good news for those of you looking to keep those PS4 discs spinning over the summer: The Last of Us Part 2 will be dropping on June 19th, with the highly-anticipated Ghosts of Tsushima coming a little under a month later on July 17th. Sounds like you Sony faithful won't have to worry about not having anything to play over the hot summer months, especially now that anime con season is basically a wash. 

The timing couldn't have been worse, though, as the announcement came mere hours after numerous plot details about the much-anticipated The Last of Us Part 2 leaked online from an anonymous source.

Said source, providing details and YouTube uploads from a debug build, is allegedly a disgruntled staff member at Naughty Dog fed up with the crunch the team was put through to get the game out the door. If that is true, then that is a profoundly awful and selfish thing to do to your coworkers who have all been busting their asses to get this thing out the door… not to mention the fans who have been waiting for the game for years, because it hasn't taken long for people to be total shitheads and drop spoilers on social media whenever someone so much as mentions TLoU2.

Naughty Dog hasn't explicitly confirmed the validity of the leaks, though they have acknowledged it.

The mere fact that they haven't said something like “we don't comment on rumors and speculation” and instead instruct fans to be careful kinda says it all, though.

To me, something about the “disgruntled employee/contractor” story seems a bit fishy… it sounds more like a cover story concocted to take advantage of recent reports about crunch happening at Naughty Dog. There are plenty of other folks who would have access to final or near-final code, so there's a good chance this is someone trying to cover their tracks. Remember how the tester who leaked a bunch of Smash 4 details got his ass sued to hell and back by Nintendo? Whoever this leaker is will likely face the same wrath if Sony can track him down. And believe me, these publishers are extremely serious about sussing out NDA-breaking snitches.

Anyway, if you've read the spoilers, don't be a dick and spout them to folks who don't want to hear them. In fact, maybe don't talk about them at all outside of your private Discord group. Yes, even if what you've heard makes you upset. Yes, even if the crunch culture of Naughty Dog is gross and terrible. That's no excuse to ruin things for others. Ugh, stuff like this really brings out the worst in the gaming community, doesn't it?

WWE2K21 WILL NOT BE BRINGING THE PAIN

Hey, remember WWE2K20, last year's yearly release of the mega-popular (read: 2K Games holds exclusive rights so you have no choice) wrestling simulator? If you don't, here's a reminder of how it turned out:

In a year that had no shortage of game industry screwups and disappointments, WWE2K20 somehow managed to be the biggest disaster of them all. Horrendous bugs, awful character models, nonsensical physics... there was even a bug over New Year's that made the game unplayable because of a basic calendar error. How did something like this make it to market?

Long story short: longtime WWE game co-developer Yuke's decided to end their involvement with the series, leaving the yearly installment to be foisted entirely upon assistant developer Visual Concepts. Visual Concepts knows how to make some good NBA games on their own, but had never built an entire WWE game from scratch. Truncated development schedule, inexperienced development team forced to build a whole wrestling game from the ground up, and execs at both Take-Two and WWE with absurd demands and expectations… yeah, it's not hard to see why it was a total turd, huh?

Rumors began circulating about WWE2K21 soon after WWE2K20 hit the market to overwhelming negativity. The WWE wasn't happy, 2K Games could lose the license and so on… we could all sense that the Powers That Be were pissed at the shoddy product that launched (even though WWE2K20’s sorry state is mostly their fault rather than the devs), but nothing was being said publicly.

While we are still unaware of the behind-the-scenes fallout, it was announced through several news sources on Sunday and confirmed by 2K Games on Monday that WWE2K21 will not be happening. In their words: “We want to ensure the development team at Visual Concepts can create a great game that will entertain grizzled WWE 2K veterans, as well as newcomers who want to climb through the ropes and step into the ring for the very first time.” To translate from corporate-speak: “We screwed the pooch, so we're actually going to give the developers a proper amount of time and money needed to make a tentpole wrestling game this time!”

Of course, they don't actually apologize for 2K20's problems. Why take responsibility for your mistakes? That just scares the investors away!

There is something to take its place, though: WWE 2K Battlegrounds, an arcade-style game more about over-the-top action and flashy antics.

Er… there's not much to go on here in terms of gameplay, but ughhhh, I just can't get over those character proportions. There's something really, really creepy about chibi body sizes with realistic-looking faces. Get Good Smile to make some WWE Nendoroids and use those instead, please. (I'm sure those would sell nicely, too.) Still, I guess it's something to tide wrestlefans over for a while…

(Phew, I don't have to pretend I know anything about the WWE for the rest of the column now)

DEADLY PREMONITION 2 HAS A RELEASE DATE

It feels like it wasn't long ago when my boyfriend was chatting with me, saying, “hey, whatever happened to Deadly Premonition 2? Did they give it a release date?” Well, at the time… no. But now… yes! Witness the first new bits of Deadly Premonition-related media since its Nintendo Direct debut last–- year!

Yeah, er… not much gameplay shown here, is there? But let's be honest: you're not playing Deadly Premonition for a thrilling gameplay experience, you're in it for the atmosphere, characters, and all-pervasive weirdness. It's probably better to show less of it so people go in not knowing what to expect.

Anyhow, we'll be enjoying the further adventures of Agent Francis York Morgan on Switch come July 10th. Still no word on it appearing on other consoles, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a timed exclusive. Although… Nintendo themselves are pushing it pretty strongly, which makes me wonder if they might have put in a bit of funding for the project to get it going, much like they did with Bayonetta 2. Hmmm!

Well, this week's been kind of messy, huh? Are you still looking forward to TLoU2, or has the spoiler leak and the internet jumping on it killed your hype off? Discuss your feelings about the whole ugly situation in our forums! (This isn't an invitation to post unmarked TLoU2 leak spoilers in the forums, which should be obvious, but it needs to be stated again anyway.)

I'll be back again next week with happier news overall, hopefully. Thanks for reading!


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