Welcome to another issue of Emmen Weekly, where we bring you news and highlights from the gaming industry that caught our eye this past week.
From Fortnite news, Nintendo anti-piracy warfare, more GTA VI leaks, and studio layoffs, it’s been quite the hectic week.
So with no further ado, let’s dive right in… starting with Fortnite.
Fortnite Ranked Coming to Battle Royale and Zero Build
Epic Games announced that Ranked Play is coming to Fortnite Battle Royale and Zero Build.
The ranks that can be earned are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Elite, Champion, and Unreal. Bronze to Diamond will have three ranks while Elite, Champion, and Unreal will have one rank. From Elite onwards, players will have to face off against other highly skilled players to rise to Unreal.
The debut of the ranking system will be in version 24.40 and will be called Ranked Season Zero. This season will last until the end of Battle Royale Chapter 4 Season 3. Epic will also be making adjustments and improvements to the system for the normal Battle Royale Season schedule.
The starting rank of all players will depend on their past match performance. You will only need to play one Battle Royale or Zero Build match to have your rank revealed.
One interesting note is that once you reach Unreal rank, you will stay there for that Ranked Season. Players won’t be returning to previous ranks. Instead, they will be given a number denoting their rank within the Unreal bracket and they will be able to compete with the top players of the world to reach the very top.
There is a leaderboard which will become accessible with the release of the system. Players can also opt out of it by turning “Public Game Stats”.
Turning ‘Ranked’ ‘On’ in the Lobby allows you to see your rank on the left of the screen. You can also see a progress bar indicating how far you have to go to the next rank.
Teams are ranked as a single unit and everyone will gain and lose progress equally based on team eliminations and team placement, which is calculated at the end of the match.
The modes that will support ranked are Solo, Duos, and Squads in Battle Royale and Duos in Zero Build. Playing Solo means you meet players with the same rank as you but Duos onwards, there will be a “team rank” calculated with the aggregate ranks of the members.
All the features of the non-ranked games go into the ranked games, but players can only face other players who have ranked on.
That said, material caps are being decreased from 999 to 500, harvesting rates are being slightly increased, and players will drop 50 of each material when eliminated.
The final cosmetic reward for Season Zero is going to be the Burn Bright Emote. Activating it shows off a player’s current rank color (Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc.)
Nintendo Aggressively Cracks Down on Switch Emulation Following Zelda Leak
Following the leak of the newly released Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom before its release, Nintendo has been cracking down on piracy.
It started normally with them issuing DMCA takedowns to streams and videos of the content. But now, they have taken it up a notch.
Instead of purely focusing on the content creators and their content, Nintendo is going for the emulation software needed to play these leaked games. Starting from GitHub, Nintendo has been going around issuing DMCA takedowns to many websites.
This scattershot approach is also targeting tools such as Lockpick, which dumps keys from your own Switch.
The utility known as Lockpick allows you to dump the console’s unique encryption keys to play their Switch games on PC using emulators. It is considered an essential part of emulation, hence Nintendo going after it.
However, some emulators argue that Lockpick is needed to emulate the games they already own. This was the only legal way, it seems.
Nintendo has long proven itself to be very heavy-handed with its response to leaks and copyright issues. Even regular content creators who operate within fair use still have to deal with Nintendo’s copyright strikes occasionally.
GTA VI Budget Reportedly USD 1 – 2 Billion
A new GTA VI leak (no spoilers in this article, don’t worry) has revealed that the budget for the highly anticipated GTA VI is around USD 1 to 2 billion, with a b.
While fans are still waiting for an official announcement by Rockstar, these leaks are keeping interest alive.
That said, there were previously leaks of unfinished footage that caused a big uproar back in September 2022. You can read more about it on our feature covering the leak here.
The news of the leaks were shared on other online gaming news outlets but Rockstar has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
This budget is causing GTA VI to be referred to by some such as the online news outlet, Dextero Gaming, as “the most expensive game of all time”.
The game has been in development for around ten years now. The current game, GTA V has been earning Rockstar a billion dollars annually so the cost of production has been more than covered.
We at Emmen Gaming are quite interested to see when Rockstar will officially announce the game and what form it will take.
Playstation-Affiliated Deviation Games Hit with Layoffs
The Playstation-backed studio Deviation Games has been hit with layoffs with as many as 90 staff reportedly being affected.
The studio has been developing an original IP for Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was reportedly “over 100 strong” when it signed on with Sony in 2021.
However, despite the layoffs, there are no open roles being advertised online. So what this means for that unknown new IP they are developing is anyone’s guess.
Back in 2021, the studio was quoted as saying, “We’re not afraid to say that our ambitions are super high: we’re setting out to make a huge, content-rich game with a focus on a lot of action and a lot of energy, but let’s leave it at that for now and hopefully it won’t be long before we can share more.”
Unfortunately, this is the next time we heard about the studio and it’s about layoffs.
We bring this story up to highlight just how often studios see layoffs and talented developers are left without work. A company backed by PlayStation seemed more stable and secure than an indie studio or a big publisher like Activision Blizzard but as we can see, it is not the case.
We offer our condolences to all those affected by the layoffs and wish those looking to resituate themselves elsewhere the best of luck in their future endeavors.