The producers of Netflix’s surprisingly popular One Piece live-action series say scripts for a potential second season are done and the show could return on the streamer as early as next year.
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In an interview with Variety, Marty Adelstein, the CEO of Tomorrow Studios (the folks who made the One Piece live-action series as well as Netflix’s swiftly canceled Cowboy Bebop live-action series) confirmed that, “We’ve got scripts ready.” The caveat, however, is that production of a possible second season of the One Piece live-action series can’t start until Hollywood’s SAG-AFTRA strike is resolved.
“Realistically, hopefully, a year away, if we move very quickly, and that is a possibility,” Becky Clements, president of Tomorrow Studios, told Variety. “Somewhere between a year and 18 months, we could be ready for air.”
Read More:Netflix’s One Piece Live-Action Series Delivers More Than It Disappoints
A faithful and charming live-action anime adaptation, the Netflix series has become something of an anomaly in the anime community since its August 31 premiere: a rare success story. It debuted as the top show on the streamer with 18.5 million views—a feat Clements says “exceeded” Netflix’s expectations.
“I think [Netflix is] looking at various situations about how many episodes they do, do they break them up?” Adelstein said. “I think they’re trying to figure that out this week. I suspect we’ll hear from them in the next week to two weeks. There seems to be a big impetus to keep this going and to come up with a long-term strategy. So we’re just waiting for that.”
Adelstein told Variety that a potential second season of Netflix’s One Piece series needs to expand its audience beyond just existing fans of the series, a process he said the first season had already started.
“We’re getting a lot of family viewing and that is really the key, is to bring in the non-fans and people who aren’t aware of the IP because the show stands on its own and you get people to watch it and people really love it,” Adelstein said.
In our review of Netflix’s One Piece, we said the show “is one of the rare well-made live-action anime adaptations” that is “full of heart, from its vibrant set and wardrobe designs to the disarmingly charming found-family dynamic that the live-action crew so effectively exudes.”
Only Up! Is a brutal janky platformer that blew up on Steam earlier this summer after becoming a hit with Twitch viewers. A number of controversies later, its creator has removed the game from Valve’s digital storefront seemingly forever, saying they made a lot of mistakes and need time to heal before making their next game.
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“The game has kept me under a lot of stress all these months,” the game’s developer, Indiesolodev, wrote in what appears to be the final update for Only Up! (via PCGamesN). “Now I want to put the game behind me. And yes. the game won’t be available in the Steam store soon, that’s what I decided myself.” The game now shows as “not available” on its store page, though players who already purchased it still have access.
A parkour game about constantly ascending to new heights, Only Up! released back in May and rose to popularity in June with over 10,000 concurrent players and 90,000 viewers on Twitch. Reviews of the game’s actual quality were mixed, however, with some players praising the surreal and capricious 3D platforming while others critiqued its glitchy physics and hasty design full of what appeared to be cheap asset flips.
A hit among Twitch streamers who found viewers were attracted to it as a sort of voyeuristic failure porn, Only Up! was nevertheless briefly pulled from Steam for a day in July after it was accused of stealing another developer’s copyrighted 3D anime model. As PC Gamer pointed out at the time, the game also appeared to be loosely affiliated with NFTs, from images of Goblintown tokens appearing in levels to the title itself which is a common rallying cry among crypto scammers.
“What I need now is peace of mind and healing,” Indiesolodev wrote in today’s update. “I plan to take a pause, and continue my education in game design and further with new experience and knowledge to direct my energies to my next game.” They’re sophomore project is currently titled “Kith,” which means friends or acquaintances, though it’s also the name of a popular streetwear brand. Indiesolodev describes it as completely different from Only Up! with an emphasis on “cinematography.”
“This time I hope the project will be created by a small team,” they wrote. “This is a challenging project on which I want to significantly improve my skills in game design.”
Some players are already mourning Only Up!’s unexpected disappearance, asking why Indiesolodev didn’t just decide to give it away for free. But most of the comments on their update are just congratulating them for creating a viral game out of nowhere. “You did a fantastic job with this game and should be nothing but proud of yourself,” wrote the_drummernator. “I’ve had a great experience with it so far, and finally getting to the top after many setbacks was very fulfilling.”
On September 8, seemingly out of nowhere, Microsoft announced the Mega 3:4 scale Xbox 360 collector set. It will propel you back to the halcyon days of 2007, at least if you’re willing to throwdown $150 for a collectible that doesn’t actually play any games.
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It’s a Lego set that’s not technically Lego (Mega Bloks is Mattel’s copycat block-building brand), and it comes with 1,342 pieces that can be assembled into an Xbox 360 complete with a controller and a (fake) copy of Halo 3. There’s even a replica motherboard inside the completed Xbox case. I don’t understand why any of these choices were made but the result is oddly appealing.
It releases on October 8 but the first batch of pre-orders already appear to be sold-out. Here’s what the product description reads (the set is a Target-exclusive):
Inspired by the most influential gaming console of its time, this collector building set celebrates the legacy of the Xbox 360. Jump back in with a fully buildable, light-up console and controller. The console opens to reveal a disc drive (and other Easter eggs); place the Halo 3-themed disc inside to activate the motherboard. Adult builders take note: completing this set unlocks the ultimate achievement.
It doesn’t seem to have any online connectivity to fans’ existing Xbox profiles, but it’s a charming retro throwback nonetheless. Of course, some people have been quick to poke fun at the unexpected and pricey collectible. “Sure, you could buy a real Xbox 360 for much less. But this one won’t get the [Red Ring of Death],” joked Niko director of research, Daniel Ahmed.
An actual Xbox 360 runs between $50 to $75 at the moment, though as others have pointed out, the $150 price tag is normal for a set with over 1,000 blocks. Plus, the design is pretty nifty. If I had money to burn I might pick one up to add to the display case. As things stand though, I’d be much happier to see Microsoft finally reveal an Xbox mini. The tech giant’s original console is over 20 years old now, and a perfectly retro piece of memorabilia in its own right.
Would I pay $150 for a box that came with Project Gotham Racing pre-intalled? Absolutely.
Donald Mustard is leaving Epic Games. Mustard was a driving force behind Fortnite’s success and the chief creative officer at Epic Games for the last seven years.
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On September 8, via a post on Twitter, Mustard announced the surprising news, explaining that after an “incredible adventure” he was retiring from his role as CCO at Epic later this month.
“I am humbled to have been a part of the team that every day tries to bring ‘joy and delight’ to the Fortnite community,” said Mustard.
“I can’t wait to now share in the future of Fortnite as a player alongside all of you! The teams are in the best hands and they are working on huge, jaw-dropping, amazing things!!!”
Mustard’s history with Epic Games
The departing CCO joined Epic in 2008 after the large company purchased Chair Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based video game studio founded by Mustard in 2005. The studio’s first game was Undertow, and it later found success with 2009’s Shadow Complex. It also developed the Infinity Blade series of mobile RPGs.
“I have enjoyed nearly 25 years in the game industry collaborating with some of the most talented people ever and I am so proud of what we have made together,” tweeted Mustard. “I am especially proud of the opportunity I’ve had to help create and shape Fortnite.”
While with Epic Games, Mustard oversaw Fortnite’s massive explosion into a pop-culture juggernaut. He was also well known for interacting with the game’s large community of players, often teasing future updates or crossovers ahead of their official announcements.
Mustard hasn’t publicly announced what his next job or career move is, though we do know what the outgoing CCO plans to do next. In his statement announcing his departure, Mustard said he was “excited to spend time” with his wife and family.
For a game like Overwatch 2, in which its story has been trickled out over dozens of disparate external media stories rather than in one, cohesive thing—you know, like, a video game campaign?—there are bound to be inconsistencies along the way. But lord, seeing the game’s 38 heroes suddenly get canonical birthdates and ages really just makes it apparent how weirdly incongruous these ages are with the timeline we know.
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This new birth-chart fodder comes from the official Overwatch website, which was updated this week to give each hero a canonical birthday and age. Some of these make sense, like how many of the old-guard characters like Soldier: 76, Ana, and Reaper are in their late 50s and early 60s. The new kids on the block—like recent addition Illari being an 18-year-old sun-powered queen, or D.Va being a 21-year-old esports champion—probably check out too, because they’re mostly removed from the larger timeline of Overwatch. It’s when we start comparing more central characters’ canonical ages that things start to get murky.
Kiriko, one of the new support heroes introduced in Overwatch 2, is one of the most glaring examples of the math not mathing. When Blizzard first revealed Kiriko, it claimed she grew up with Genji and Hanzo, and even trained alongside them in the ways of the sword. However, now that all involved have official ages, things aren’t adding up. We’re told Genji and Hanzo are 37 and 40, respectively, while Kiriko is supposedly 21. On paper, I believe those ages because each of those heroes feels written to be those ages, it’s the pitting those numbers against the lore, art, and story we know that doesn’t click. Look at this illustration of the three training in Kiriko’s Origin Story trailer. You expect me to believe there are nearly 20 years of difference between these characters? Sure, Kiriko looks young and could reasonably be under 10 here, but you expect me to believe that Hanzo is pushing 30 in this image?
Attack of the Fanboy compiled some examplesof Overwatch fans pointing out other oddities and inconsistencies. Consider Sojourn, who’s now listed as 47 years old. Her sister Valentine, introduced in the spin-off novel “Overwatch 2: Sojourn”, would have had to have been 14 years old when giving birth to Sojourn’s niece Bonnie. Which sure, isn’t impossible, but it does seem highly unlikely.
Personally, one of the biggest eyebrow-raising age questions of Overwatch is Pharah and Mercy, who became a canonical (possibly unrequited) pairing in the story when it was revealed Pharah is a lesbian during the game’s first Pride event. Mercy is 39, whereas Pharah is supposedly 34. Meanwhile, art of Pharah exists in Ana’s origin story that shows a very, very young Pharah standing with much of the original Overwatch crew; the gap between the two appears much larger than five years.
Honestly, with all of Overwatch’s narrative changes and shake-ups over the years, I get it. Trying to get this game’s story off the ground has been tumultuous enough that expecting it to be airtight and perfect in its timeline and lore is just nitpicking. But it is funny to look at all the numbers next to each other and realize a majority of Overwatch’s story is about vibes more than getting into the nitty-gritty of the timeline.
If you’re curious, here are everyone’s ages and birthdays:
D.Va: June 22, (21)
Doomfist: May 25, (47)
Junker Queen: June 14, (31)
Orisa: May 9, (1)
Ramattra: March 29, (28)
Reinhardt: June 26, (63)
Roadhog: September 12, (50)
Sigma: March 12, (64)
Winston: June 6, (31)
Wrecking Ball: October 15, (16)
Zarya: December 4, (30)
Ashe: October 1, (41)
Bastion: ??? (32)
Cassidy: July 31, (39)
Echo: February 5, (14)
Genji: October 28, (37)
Hanzo: November 3, (40)
Junkrat: February 29, (27)
Mei: September 5, (33)
Pharah: April 15, (34)
Reaper: December 14, (60)
Sojourn: January 12, (47)
Soldier: 76: January 27, (58)
Sombra: December 31, (32)
Symettra: October 2, (30)
Torbjorn: September 21, (59)
Tracer: February 12, (28)
Widowmaker: November 19, (35)
Ana: January 1, (62)
Baptiste: March 12, (38)
Brigitte: September 22, (25)
Illari: December 21, (18)
Kiriko: July 7, (21)
Lifeweaver: April 28, (31)
Lucio: March 20, (28)
Mercy: May 13, (39)
Moira: April 4, (50)
Zenyatta: July 14, (33)
Moving forward, we should all make a pact to no longer ask for people’s birthsigns; now, we’ll just ask each other which Overwatch hero we share a birth month with. Unfortunately, my own answer of “Wrecking Ball, the intelligent hamster” doesn’t sound particularly cool.
Gearbox Software, the studio most well-known for the Borderlands franchise, is reportedly up for sale as parent company Embracer Group considers options to “shore up its finances,” according to a September 11 Reuters report.
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Three people familiar with the matter told Reuters that various third parties have expressed interest in purchasing Gearbox from Embracer Group, with the Sweden-based holding company working with both investment bank firms Aream & Co and Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale. Unnamed “international gaming groups” are among the likely buyers; however, Reuters’ anonymous sources said that a deal may not actually happen, though they didn’t provide a reason why.
This development comes almost two weeks after Embracer Group shut down Volition, a 30-year-old studio responsible for games like the open-world shooter Agents of Mayhem, the first-person shooter series Red Faction, and the open-world action game series Saints Row. The holding company made the decision to shutter Volition and lay off its developers because of a failed $2 billion investment deal with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which fell through in May. As a result of the funding arrangement falling through, Embracer Group announced in June a “restructuring program” meant to bolster its position in the industry. According to an August 31 statement from Volition on its sudden closure, the studio said that part of Embracer Group’s restructuring program involved evaluating operational and strategic goals, which prompted the holding company to shutter the studio.
Despite closing Volition and potentially selling off Gearbox Software, Embracer Group still owns quite a few companies. This includes publishers Deep Silver (Dead Island 2) and THQ Nordic (Biomutant), developer Coffee Stain Studios (Goat Simulator), developer-publisher Saber Interactive (Evil Dead: The Game), book publisher Dark Horse Comics, and game distributor Limited Run Games, among others. One of Embracer Group’s last acquisitions was in October 2022, when the company scooped up British anime distributor Anime Limited, though a sale price wasn’t listed.
Kotaku reached out to Embracer Group and Gearbox Software for comment.
A patent for a new Nintendo controller, published by the United States Patent Office on September 7, indicates the Super Mario developer is at least considering how to permanently shake its Joy-Con drift issue. Joy-Con drift, a phenomenon in which your Switch responds to phantom Joy-Con movement, has frustrated Switch owners since the console’s 2017 debut, triggering class action lawsuits, and begetting an official apology from Nintendo, which outsourced some drift repairs to a constantly overwhelmed repair shop in Syracuse. But through all of this Joy-Con misery, Nintendo has failed to incorporate a permanent fix until, maybe, now.
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According to the controller patent, which was first filed on May 11, it proposes “a resistance section using a magnetorheological fluid whose viscosity changes with a magnetic-field intensity and which becomes resistance when the operation element is displaced.”
“I hope this means we’re getting Joy-Cons that use magnetism not to drift, as a change like that is long overdue,” games writer and accessibility advocate Laura Kate Dale told me over Twitter DM. However, some think the patent could instead hint at Nintendo introducing “force feedback analogue sticks similar to the resistive triggers on PS5” to a future console, Dale says. If that’s the case, “my main hope is that they can be switched off on a system level for disabled players,” she continues.
Read More: Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Repair Center Was Constantly Overwhelmed, Claims Former Supervisor
Nintendo’s patent is also kicking up more rumors about the much-asked-for Nintendo Switch 2, which appears to be scheduled for a 2024 release, though some developers reportedly received hands-on time with the device earlier this summer. Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment.
“There are a lot of rumors doing the rounds that the Switch 2 is going to basically be a Switch, but with more power under the hood, and a reliance on DLSS-style upscaling to improve framerates and resolution,” Dale, who leaked Switch news in 2016, told me. “As a disabled gamer, I’d love to see a hypothetical Switch 2 make an effort to be more accessible” by adding some features that “are now standard on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, such as system-level colorblindness filters and accessibility tags on the digital store.” Out with the Joy-Con drift, in with the more accessible gaming future.
After four years of updates, Nintendo has announced that its mobile racing game Mario Kart Tour will no longer receive new content after October 4.
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The in-game message was shared to X (formerly Twitter) by longtime dataminer OatmealDome. After thanking the community for playing and announcing the next set of tours (a series of races that last two weeks), Nintendo confirmed that content from October 4 onward will simply be recycled in perpetuity.
“From 10/04/2023 (Wed) on, tours will consist of content from tours that have appeared before,” the company wrote. “Note: No new courses, drivers, karts, or gliders will be added following the Battle Tour starting 10/04/20223 (Wed).”
While the game won’t receive any new updates going forward, Eurogamer reports that Mario Kart Tour will remain playable for the foreseeable future.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment.
Mario Kart Tour launched in September 2019 and quickly became one of Nintendo’s most lucrative mobile games. As of September 2022, the smartphone spin-off has raked in some $293 million globally, but not without its fair share of controversy. “Spotlight Pipes,” a gacha mechanic that basically functioned like loot boxes with undisclosed odds, drew particular ire from the game’s community. Nintendo removed these pipes in September 2022, but the company is still facing a class-action lawsuit as of May 2023 from a parent who claimed his child shelled out some $170 on Spotlight Pipes via a credit card.
Read More: Mario Kart Tour Says So Long To Its Controversial Gacha Gambling
Nintendo has a handful of other mobile games it’s still working on, including Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Super Mario Run. The company, which also saw huge success this year with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is looking to expand its business, dipping its toes into event organizing and other areas, according to The Washington Post.
If the last time you were at the store you thought, “I wish it was more clear that I am a gamer while buying these groceries,” then Xbox has a solution for you: the official Xbox Mastercard. Announced in an Xbox news blog on September 11, the new Xbox Mastercard (issued by Barclays) will let you use points earned from everyday purchases on games or add-ons in the Xbox store, and you can even get your gamertag etched onto one of five “iconic” card designs (they all feature the Xbox logo). But there’s a catch: You can only apply for the card if you’re an Xbox Insider, and only if you’re in the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii.
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Like most rewards-based credit cards, you’ll earn points for every $1 you charge on the gamer credit card, but you’ll earn even more points if you spend your money in specific places:
You’ll earn 5x points for purchases of “eligible products” at the Xbox and Microsoft stores
You’ll earn 3x points on “eligible streaming services” like Disney Plus and Netflix
You’ll earn 3x points on “eligible dining delivery services” including Grubhub and Doordash
It’s unclear what the other “eligible” storefronts are just yet—like, if I buy Overwatch coins through my Xbox account in order to get a new $20 skin, will that count towards earning 5x points on my gamer credit card? Or not, because it’s technically through Blizzard’s storefront? This is a need-to-know detail.
If you become an Xbox Mastercard member, you’ll also get a $50 bonus in the form of points after making your first purchase with the card, and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for free (but only if you’re not already a Game Pass member). “If [you’re] already a Game Pass member, [you] can easily gift it to a friend to play together,” the Xbox news post reassures.
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If you’re not an Xbox Insider, you can’t apply for the card, but luckily becoming an Xbox Insider isn’t all that difficult—just go to your Xbox console, type “Xbox Insider Bundle” into the search bar in the store, and install the “Xbox Insider Hub.” If you’re on PC, head to the Microsoft Store from your start button, type “insider” into the search bar, and download the Xbox Insider Hub. Boom, you’re in.
Will you get the Xbox credit card? Personally, I’m a sucker for cards that earn you points (hell, I’m flying to England for free thanks to one of those setups), and I’m certainly tempted by the idea of swiping a black Xbox Mastercard that reads “hayy GIRL hayy” at my local dispensary, so we’ll see. Xbox Insiders can apply for the Xbox Mastercard starting September 21, while the rest of the United States will have to wait until 2024 to get some new hard plastic in their wallets.
Although thousands of fan-made Starfield mods are already available—such as an early inventory screen overhaul, and Hello Kitty gun skins—official supported modding tools aren’t planned to hit Bethesda Game Studios’ open-space RPG until next year, game director Todd Howard said in an interview.
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Speaking to the Japanese publication Famitsu (and machine-translated by PCGamesN), Howard said mods are important to the studio. As such, Bethesda is working hard to ensure mod support functions without a hitch.
“When the mods are ready, you will be able to do almost anything as we have done in the past, and the mods will be supported next year, but we will do it in a big way because we love it too,” Howard said to questions about mods.
This release cadence mirrors what Bethesda Game Studios has done with its previous games, most notably Fallout 4, which saw official mod support come to the open-world post-apocalyptic shooter a year after it launched. Howard also confirmed that official mod support would hit Starfield in due time during a November 2021 Reddit AMA. So, the studio is making good on its promises.
“Our plan [is] have full mod support like our previous games,” Howard said in response to mod inquiries. “Our modding community has been with us for 20 years. We love what they do and hope to see more make a career out of it.”
Kotaku reached out to Bethesda for comment.
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Starfield has been a massive success for Bethesda Game Studios and Microsoft since it officially launched on September 6 for PC and Xbox consoles. The game’s concurrent player count on Steam peaked at over 330K, which is well above The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s 287K concurrent player record, and overall the game has reportedly reached some six million players. While these are impressive figures, it’s worth noting that Starfield is available for “free” via Xbox Game Pass, so the numbers may not tell the whole story. Still, Starfield is doing very well thus far.