This Week in Gaming: Cyberpunk 2077, Windows 11, and the Abandoned conspiracy theory
The week after E3 is usually a fairly quiet one in the world of gaming, and we’re all collectively holding our breath until the late summer shows — in this case EA Play and the rumored State of Play event. That said, there were a few notable stories this week.
Cyberpunk 2077 returns to the PlayStation Store
Several months after it was removed from the PlayStation Store for being so buggy and almost unplayable, Cyberpunk 2077 has been restored. It’s now available to purchase for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 users. However, there is a catch. Sony warns that the game is still not going to be optimal on the base PS4, and that only players with PS4 Pros or PS5s should play it.
In other Cyberpunk 2077 news, Microsoft has revealed that next month is the last possible date on which it will refund those who bought the game is July 6. Microsoft didn’t remove the game from its store following its troubled launch, but it did publicly offer refunds to anyone who bought the game and regretted it. Now that’s ending, so it looks like Cyberpunk 2077, in whatever form it’s in, is here to stay.
Windows 11 adds auto-HDR to games
Microsoft revealed Windows 11 this week, and it has a myriad of new features. The company promises the new OS will be excellent for gamers and showed off one of the biggest new features it’ll have: Automatic high dynamic range for all games built on DirectX 11 or higher that don’t already have it. Essentially, games will look prettier on Windows 11 PCs, without the player or the game’s developers having to do any work to make it so. According to Microsoft, over 1000 games will support auto-HDR.
The Windows 11 presentation also carved out time to show off how Xbox Game Pass will be thoroughly integrated into the new paradigm, which Microsoft has tested with the new Xbox app on Windows 10. Microsoft also recently announced it’s updating its data centers with Xbox Series X hardware, which more or less means that games played via Xbox Cloud Gaming will look and play better. The Windows 11 Xbox app will also support xCloud gaming.
Kim Swift, of Portal fame, joins Microsoft to build cloud games
Chalk up another great acquisition by Microsoft. Kim Swift, the woman behind Portal and Left 4 Dead, is going to be helping Microsoft develop games specifically for the cloud. In case you don’t know who Kim Swift is, she’s the one who produced a portal-based student game called “Narbacular Drop” that eventually caught the interest of Gabe Newell and Valve. She went on to lead the team that created Portal and worked on several other Valve projects. Her most recent project, however, was with Google. She was part of Stadia’s internal development studio and was overseeing their games in development. Stadia shut down that project in February.
Games built for cloud, at least according to what Google has promised, are the future of gaming because the games are not bound to the hardware of a single PC or console, but can instead harness the vast power of the cloud for bigger worlds, better graphics, etc. Xbox Game Studios head Peter Wyse told Polygon that cloud-native games are next for Xbox: “We don’t know exactly what that looks like today, or what that even plays like… Kim is going to build a team focused on new experiences in the cloud, something that’s going to support our mission of bringing our Xbox games to connect 3 billion gamers to play our games.”
Strange story of the week: Indie dev goes on camera to prove he’s not Hideo Kojima
There’s an interesting trend in the world of gaming to attribute many things to being secretly the work of Hideo Kojima. Specifically, many who want to see Kojima make the Silent Hills game that was promised in his iconic P.T. game demo are quick to attach meaning to so-called clues that hint he’s doing just that. In this case, the studio that’s at the center of this is Blue Box Studios, which is making a horror game called Abandoned.
The studio has sworn up and down multiple times that it is not a smokescreen for a Silent Hill project, and director Hasan Kahraman even put up a video promising that he’s not secretly Hideo Kojima and he’s not working on Silent Hill, but the conspiracy just keeps growing. I almost feel sorry for Blue Box, as this whole thing all-but-ensures that Abandoned is not going to live up to the new Silent Hill game those who partake of this theory have built up in their heads.
Games out this week:
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S
- Scarlet Nexus: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 And 2 on Nintendo Switch
- Legend of Mana Remastered: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
What are your thoughts on the highlights of this week in the world of gaming? Let us know in the comments below!