The Week in Review at The Escapist: New dogs, and Sony PlayStation should make new FPS games if it's so concerned with Microsoft / Activision.

Sorry for the delay on a new Week in Review! Been a very busy last few weeks for me with some family matters that I had to attend to back in Nebraska, my family from New York visited for Thanksgiving, and then last week I adopted a new puppy! His name is Barry and he’s a six-to-ten-month-old lab/shepherd mix. I was going to wait until the new year to adopt a second dog, but Max has really need a buddy to play with, and since I’m not traveling any further this year, I figured now would be the right time before what is expected to be a very busy 2023 for us.

Yes, there will be a picture of the new pup below!

What Did I Play, Watch, or Read This Week?

I’m making my way through Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and I’ve had a great time with it. The game is much improved over the original game with more exploration and an unrestricted movement system in battles that I always prefer over grid-based movement, and the pace of the game is also just much faster as battles in the original could go on for far too long simply because your movement was too limited. That’s not even to mention the game has a wonderful soundtrack, and the visual design of the worlds you visit is super fun and colorful. It’s just a fun game in general, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with a Nintendo Switch, even if you’re not huge on tactics games.

I also got started on Amazon Prime’s The English this week, which is a new Western series starting Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer. Darren has written about the show a few times in much more detail than I’ll dive into here, but I’m only two episodes in and I love it so far. It’s beautifully shot and scored, and Blunt and Spencer have great chemistry on-screen that keeps me invested with lots of great downtime between the characters fleshing out their individual stories and personalities. I plan on making my way through the rest of the series this weekend as it’s only six episodes long, so stay tuned for my final thoughts on The English on The Recap this coming Tuesday.

Hopefully I’ll have time to get some more time into Marvel’s Midnight Suns this weekend, another game I’m very much enjoying even though I’m only a few hours in… that is, if I can get myself to stop playing Marvel Snap whenever I’m not working or doing other things that I should be doing…

Be sure to let us know in the comments what you’ve been playing, watching, or reading this week!

Barry (left) and Max (right)

If Sony Wants to Compete in the FPS Space… Then Compete?

I personally have no stake in the Microsoft acquisition of Activision. The main thing I’m hoping for is that the acquisition goes through so that Activision’s studios will be free of Bobby Kotick, and hopefully under Microsoft they’ll be allowed to stretch their creative wings a bit and not just work on Call of Duty all the time. I still remember when Raven Software was making a bunch of really cool and unique FPS titles like Quake 4 and Singularity, in addition to games in other genres. There’s so much talent at a lot of the studios that have been relegated to Call of Duty support studios that I hope Microsoft taps into should the acquisition go through.

That said, Sony has been making a bit of a fool of itself with its legal department talking about how “Post-Transaction, Xbox would become the one-stop-shop for all the best-selling shooter franchises on console (Call of DutyHaloGears of War, + DoomOverwatch), as the Decision explains, and it would then be free from serious competitive pressure.”

Microsoft has already committed to Call of Duty being even more widely available than it is now, with a 10-year deal agreed to with Nintendo, a deal it has also offered to Sony. I can only imagine this would be extended either way because Phil Spencer has made clear it makes no financial sense to remove Call of Duty from sale where there are millions of buyers every year. Overwatch 2 is also free to play and isn’t leaving PlayStation, and the other biggest FPS game (which was “overlooked” here) is Destiny, which is also available on PlayStation and isn’t going anywhere considering Sony acquired Bungie earlier this year.

Whether or not you agree with the acquisition strategy of Microsoft doesn’t really matter here. What’s most interesting to me is Sony decrying Xbox as the home of the FPS when Sony just hasn’t even tried to compete in that space with its own studios. The last FPS title released by Sony was Killzone Shadow Fall, and since then the publisher has mostly focused on where it succeeds most, with character-focused action-adventure games. In my opinion, if Sony wants to compete in the FPS space, then maybe it should start investing in it and building new IPs to actually compete?

I’m a huge fan of a lot of the stuff Sony puts out, but I’m also waiting for it to actually do something fresh in other genres and the multiplayer space. Regardless of who’s “winning” the console wars, I think it’s fair to say Microsoft definitely beats Sony in the variety of games it releases, with a range that includes Microsoft Flight Simulator, Halo, Grounded, Age of Empires, Pentiment, and the upcoming Minecraft Legends.

Sony has the talent to create new genre-defining games, but really since the PlayStation 4 era, I feel like the publisher has played it pretty safe in the types of games it releases… which isn’t really a surprise considering just how many multiplayer titles it released in the era of PlayStation 3 that never managed to make the huge splash it was hoping for.

That said, Sony, if you ever want to revive Resistance, SOCOM, or Warhawk, I’ll be there day one.

What’s Happening at The Escapist?

We’re getting close to wrapping up the year at The Escapist, so there’s a lot of prep work going on behind the scenes for 2023 at the moment. We’ve been actively recruiting a lot of new freelancers to refill our writing pool for the new year as 2023 is looking like it’s going to be an absolutely jam-packed year for big game releases. Hell, I think my wishlist doubled just from last night’s Game Award announcements.

The team will be taking the week of Christmas off as we do every year, so there’s work being done now to make sure we have content ready for that week. Towards the end of the year, hopefully we’ll be able to share some growth stats with you, but 2022 has been overall a great year for The Escapist with our streams, video content, and subscriptions all growing at a steady pace.

2023 is going to be an exciting year for us, especially with our new parent company Gamurs really giving us the support that we need to grow and expand. I can’t tell you how excited I am that we’re going to film Adventure Is Nigh Season 3 in person next year, as that’s just going to raise the production quality of that show to a whole new level and showcase what we, as a team, can really do when given the opportunity and support needed.

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