Pokémon Go publisher Niantic has aroused fans’ suspicions after a promotional image showed some telltale signs of potentially being AI artwork, rather than something made by an actual human artist.
The Week In Games: Pocket Monsters And Simulated Goats
The image in question appears in promotional material for Adventures Abound, the next season of the mobile collectathon game, set to run from September 1 to December 1. If you open up the official Pokémon Go website’s page, you’ll see a colorful image of what looks like a city. But further inspection reveals some strange artistic decisions that has fans suspecting it might be AI, such as blurred lineart and the fact that the environment itself lacks any sort of cohesion, as if it was made without any sort of planning. The detail that most stuck out to me is that there’s a subway car that doesn’t really look like it has a tunnel to go through. Plus, there’s nothing about it that really signals it’s meant to be Pokémon art. The barren cityscape contains exactly none of your favorite critters.
After some fans pointed this out online, Kotaku reached out to Niantic for comment, and a studio representative sent a statement that stopped short of either outright denying the AI suspicions or crediting any specific artist for the work.
“Niantic uses a variety of tools and software to create visual assets,” the statement reads. “We don’t disclose specifics around our processes.”
Read more: Pokémon Go Fest 2023 Is A Reminder The Game Is Meant For A Big City
If this piece is AI-generated that’s a huge bummer, considering the Pokémon franchise offers a rich well of talent to draw from if Niantic wants good assets for Go’s upcoming season. Pokémon Go itself has had some lovely art show up in both promotional assets and when you boot the app, so the possibility that Niantic and The Pokémon Company could be choosing AI over real artists is really sad to see.
Companies choosing to use AI tools instead of hiring real artists is an unfortunate trend these days, and Pokémon is hardly the first video game franchise to raise questions about its use of this technology. Most recently, an ad for Amazon’s upcoming Fallout TV show also appeared to be made by AI instead of a person. It seems feeding a prompt into a machine to mediocre result is cheaper than paying an artist for good work. Capitalism comes for us all.
Niantic laid off over 200 employees in June, which led to canceling its previously planned Marvel game called World of Heroes and shuttering its basketball game NBA All-World.
Previews for Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the thirteenth game in the Assassin’s Creed series and first since 2020’s Valhalla, released early on September 12, and they suggest a long-awaited return to the historical fiction series’ roots. That could come as good news—in the 16 years since the first Assassin’s Creed came out, the series has expanded well beyond the bounds of its original premise.
The Week In Games: What’s Coming Out Beyond Assassin’s Creed Mirage
The initial game offered a pinpoint-focus on modern-day protagonist Desmond Miles and his stealthy quest to take down the blast-from-the-past Templars through assassinations and slow-burn stand-offs, but later installments were overcrowded with complicated plots, busy maps full of confusing icons, massive run-times, tons of side quests, and new gameplay features that included tower defense.
But from the stealth-heavy, streamlined gameplay the latest Mirage previews describe, it seems like players should prepare to flip up their cloth hood and wander back to the series’ beginning. Though you won’t be traveling too far back—Mirage also acts as a prequel to Valhalla. It centers that open-world game’s 9th century thief and mythological superhuman reincarnate, Basim Ibn Ishaq, as he and his knives traverse Baghdad.
But, like developer Ubisoft said it would earlier this year, Mirage keeps that story more “intimate” by being both shorter (you could finish it in about 20 hours) and more linear than Valhalla.
Pre-order Assassin’s Creed: Mirage:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Assassin’s Creed stealth is back in a big way
Early reactions, for the most part, seem to think that’s a good thing. After completing a training segment in which Basim becomes a Hidden One assassin, and then entering Mirage’s open-world, “I was told that there were new points of interest to check out,” Kris Holt writes for Engadget. “I immediately opened the map and was pleased to see there weren’t a million icons that threatened to pull me away from the main objectives. There were 15 or so, which feels far more palatable than the overwhelmingly busy maps I’ve seen in previous games.”
For IGN, Nick Maillet saysMirage “brings the social stealth history simulator back to its roots in the best way possible.” Though, it offers some leeway. The game “ensures that the ‘it’s stealth if no one is alive to tell about it’ method works, […] but that pure stealth is rewarded too,” says Joshua Duckworth for GameRant. Classic series mechanic Eagle Vision helped Duckworth “determine what we needed,” while side characters helped introduce “key concepts like throwing knives and the iconic Assassin’s Creed Leap of Faith.”
But Mirage’s combat is a little bare bones
Together, these elements form Mirage’s “extremely simple” combat system, Mike Mahardy writes for Polygon. “It looks flashy, don’t get me wrong,” he continued. “Basim dual-wields a sword and a dagger, giving him some bespoke choreography that we haven’t seen elsewhere in the series. But by and large, melee interactions came down to the same old attack, dodge, parry, counterattack, repeat routine that marked a litany of third-person games in the 2010s.”
And “what skills I did see in my preview session didn’t exactly get the blood pumping with excitement,” agreed Rock Paper Shotguneditor-in-chief Katharine Castle. “The Predator tree focuses on your eagle Enkidu, enhancing their ability to mark up guards and chests and the like, while the Trickster tree lets you carry extra tools and increases the number of potions you can carry. Inventory-based stuff, in other words.”
Still, it overall seems like Mirage’s “story and gameplay feel more like what made AC so popular in the first place,” IGN said. “Its new setting and social stealth-heavy gameplay mechanics feel like the series has finally realized what was promised back in 2007.”
Mirage might be a hard reset for Assassin’s Creed, a welcome change for a particularly distended franchise. It’s out on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows on October 5.
Pre-order Assassin’s Creed: Mirage:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Transformers actress Megan Fox provided her likeness and her voice for Nitara—a Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance vampiress reintroduced in NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat 1 reboot released September 19—but fans can’t take it seriously. Though NetherRealm blessed Nitara with incredible combos, none of them are impressive enough to detract from what fans are calling needlessly lifeless voice acting.
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Nitara is undead, but she shouldn’t be boring. “It literally just sounds like [Fox is] reading off the paper with no effort at all,” TikTok gaming commentator Stoney Tha Great said in a recent video. “I’m just saying, if you’re playing a blood-sucking vampire demon, you should probably sound like one.”
Though it pains me to say this about my celebrity crush and star of the 2000s’ all-time best horror comedy, Jennifer’s Body, Fox is often disappointingly colorless in her MK1 dialogue. Some of her fight introduction lines especially—“The blood spilled today won’t be mine,” “I will battle you to death”—should inspire panic but instead elicit mild concern about her eternal monotone, which some MK fans are comparing to another unpopular celebrity voice performance: Ronda Rousey in MK11.
Read More: Mortal Kombat Brings Nitara Back As Megan Fox
I’d remind everyone, though, that Mortal Kombat is not best known for its subtlety. It’s a ridiculous fighting game series with physics-defying evisceration and an incomprehensible sci-fi story—unintentionally terrible voice acting only enhances its camp, I think.
But, no matter your thoughts on how passionate a Megan Fox demon should sound, NeatherRealm brought in Hunter x Hunter voice actress Cristina Vee Valenzuela to record Nitara’s screams, grunts, and other in-battle murmurings, she wrote on Twitter. Some things are better left to the professionals.
Update 09/27/2023 4:00 p.m. ET: The Brazil Ratings Board has removed the Nintendo Switch from its list of consoles for Red Dead Redemption 2, suggesting that it was mistakenly added. Original article continues below.
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A Brazilian rating board listing suggests Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch, five years after the original game launched for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
A new listing for Red Dead Redemption 2 on the Brazilian Ministério da Justiça website (their Ministry of Justice and Public Security), which was first spotted by Twitter user Necro Felipe, now includes the Nintendo handheld as one of the consoles it’s playable on.
The news comes as a surprise to fans given the lukewarm reception the original game received back in August, with many saying it was a barebones port with performance issues that was missing content. Chief among the complaints was its lack of multiplayer, graphical downgrade, and its struggle to run at 60 frames per second. These shortcomings were further accentuated by the fact that Rockstar Games’ port of the 13-year-old game had a full $50 price tag for the Switch. Given the Switch’s recent struggle to run NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat 1, it’s understandable that fans are feeling a bit nervous about how poorly RDR2, which is bigger and longer than the original game, might play on the Switch.
Kotaku reached out to Rockstar Games for comment.
Should the listing be true, chances are Rockstar Games could officially announce the Red Dead Redemption 2 port by the end of October to coincide with its fifth anniversary (the game released on October 26, 2018). Video game companies tend to mark these kinds of occasions with some sort of big announcements involving merch and new game info, so it’s not completely outside of the realm of possibility here.
Read More:Take-Two CEO: $50 For Red Dead Redemption On Switch, PS4 Is ‘Great Value’ Buy Red Dead Redemption 2:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
But Rockstar Games has not officially announced RDR2’s release on the Switch, just yet, though the official Brazilian MSRB rating board listings have scooped game announcements in the past. In fact, in 2022, the very same ratings board was where the world first learned that Final Fantasy XVI would be the series’ first rated M title for its depiction of sexual themes, nudity, and hate crimes.
Time will tell whether the Red Dead Redemption 2 port is a real thing, and if it will be yet another port whose gameplay performance won’t warrant the price tag.
EA Sports FC 24, the latest soccer game in the series previously known as FIFA, has only been out for a little over a week and its loot box antics are already causing some fans to lose it in frustration. The Elite Season Opener Pack costs $30 and went live during the game’s paid “early access” period, jumpstarting the franchise’s annual pay-to-win race earlier than usual.
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EA Sports FC 24 came out on September 22 for players subscribed to EA Play Pro or who purchased the $100 Ultimate Edition. As IGN reports, the Elite Season Opener Pack (285,000 FUT coins or 3,000 FC points) went up for sale shortly after, even before the game became available to everyone else starting on September 29. The pack promised 45 Rare Gold non-tradable players rated 80 or higher, but that includes “loan” cards, and many fans who decided to splurge on it have mostly gotten sub-90 players or duplicates of ones they already owned.
“I’m going to be honest right now to you boys please miss this pack,” FIFA content creator Swarmzy said in a video posted on TikTok. “I don’t even know what to say about this pack boys, just like, look at it man, it’s just awful man…Jesus Christ man I can’t believe it.”
FIFA’s most popular mode by far is Ultimate Team. It sees players grind or pay to unlock packs of pro player cards they can then use to create an all-star roster with which to compete against one another in competitive online multiplayer. It’s an economy driven by gambling mechanics that keeps players coming back each year to buy the newest annual release in the series and also lines publisher Electronic Arts’ pockets with revenue from microtransactions.
EA Sports FC 24 is no different, though the timing and price of the Elite Season Opener Pack has some players feeling like the company is turning the screws even more aggressively than normal. Players who don’t opt to spend the money will potentially be at a big disadvantage as they embark on their latest Ultimate Team campaign, while those who do may end up regretting it as well, given how stacked against them the odds are. The probability of unlocking a Gold 90+ player is just 5.6 percent, and some fans have spent $30 on the pack and not received any.
Some fans are joking that the pack is so outrageous it’s an intelligence test to see who actually buys it. While content creators with money to burn can be seen opening them just for the adrenaline rush and clout, some are arguing that the average value of the cards players are getting is barely half the cost of the FUT coins (earned by playing the game) that are required to buy the pack in the first place. The 3,000 paid FC point cost of the pack is also 200 more than the 2,800 points players can buy for $25, forcing them to dip into another $5 purchase to meet the required amount.
Nonsense like this hasn’t necessarily hurt FIFA’s popularity in the past, and EA Sports FC 24’s review scores, both from critics and users, are basically the same as the last game’s. But it’s always a good reminder that the best way to play the hit soccer game is just to grind for players you like and not worry too much about actually fielding a team that can dominate the leaderboards.
A 4chan user alleges they’ve watched a new trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI, Rockstar Games’ years-in-the-making action-adventure game that’s already been leaked so hardwe might as well call it a river. And GTA fans, always eager for the smallest morsel about their upcoming obsession, seemed ready to turn off their critical faculties and enjoy a sweet dose of hopium.
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Fans on Reddit in particular got worked up, clinging to the October 26 trailer release date the 4chan user claimed to have seen (or lifted from a GTA leaker on Twitter, who “confirmed” in September that the 26th would be important), as well as the supposed game details 4chan’s alleged leaker claimed to have memorized (many of which were previously provided by 2022’s info flood). The fans don’t fully believe the 4channer, they say, but…what if?
GTA lovers have been clinging onto “what if?” for most of the decade since Grand Theft Auto V released. They’re aching badly for more big-time crime in Rockstar’s huge, seedy, cynical worlds, so much so that they see portals to it everywhere. This dirt road in Virginia is shaped like a roman “6”—surely that’s a sign. The golden femmebot embracing the Rockstar logo in some random promotional art is also a sign, somehow, that GTA 6 is on its way. This nondescript photo of a flat house in the recent San Andreas remaster, nestled next to images of instantly recognizable Rockstar environments, is a sign, too, as is this t-shirt in GTA Online.
Rockstar, of course, remains habitually silent through all of this all-consuming sleuthing; it hasn’t made any official GTA 6 announcements since 2022, when it informed fans in a Twitter post that the game’s development “is underway.” GTA obsessives have had to make their own fun since then.
Kotaku reached out to Rockstar for comment.
Read More: GTA 6 Leaker Hacked Rockstar With Just An Amazon Fire Stick In A Hotel Room
“Saved this for the 26th,” a popular Reddit comment said about the 4chan post, which claims the predicted October 26 trailer will reveal “two cars drag racing,” “underwear guy running down street with snake,” “ferris wheel,” and about two dozen other Mad Libs entries. “I don’t believe it but we’ll see.”
“idec if its fake,” wrote another commenter, “the miniscule chance that it’s real is enough to get me going.”
“Hope is a beautiful thing,” someone replied.
Publisher Take-Two expects GTA 6 by 2025, suggests its financial forecasts—but those are also subject to wishful thinking.
Nintendo’s relationship with the grassroots competitive scene around its Super Smash Bros. games has never been great, But today it may have hit an all-time low. Fans of the company’s enormously popular fighting game franchise are collectively freaking out about a new set of tournament guidelines that some believe would essentially destroy the existing Smash esports scene.
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Posted on October 24 on Nintendo’s UK, Japan, and North America websites, the rules set strict limits on all “community” tournaments. According to the new guidelines, in addition to being nonprofit events, Smash tournaments would also be limited to 200 participants, unable to set prizes above $5,000, unable to have sponsors, and forbidden from using modified versions of Nintendo games, like the popular “Project M” hack of Super Smash Bros. Melee. Tournament organizers wouldn’t even be allowed to sell food, beverages, or merchandise.
While the guidelines don’t ban all commercial tournaments outright, they do require the companies behind those events to get special licenses directly from Nintendo. However, the company states that it’s “up to Nintendo’s sole discretion whether or not a licensee will be granted to a corporation or organization.” Given Nintendo’s track-record, many fans are worried this will lead some of these restrictions to trickle down to bigger esports events, or make holding a Smash Bros. tournament too much of a headache to even bother with in the first place.
“Ah yes, it is that time of the year where Nintendo remembers to ruin the day of every Smash player,” tweeted Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, one of the top-ranked players in the world. “Fuck Nintendo, they are like a 5 year old screaming for attention at all times when it comes to competitive Smash,” tweeted Adam “Armada” Lindgren, long considered one of the “five gods” of Smash Bros. Melee.
Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, one of the other “five gods,” threatened to continue running his own tournaments until Nintendo’s lawyers reached out to him in person. “I’m running Coinbox,” he said during a recent livestream. “I’m gonna keep running it in January, I’m gonna keep running it in February, March, and April, I will run it every fucking week until I receive word from them directly. I’m not going to stop out of fear. They have to come to me directly with the document. Until then I’m calling their fucking bluff.”
DeBiedma has long criticized Nintendo for failing to back its competitive community the way other video game companies do, most notably Capcom with Street Fighter. Nintendo famously tried to ban the Melee finals from being broadcast at Evo 2013 before eventually backing down in the face of a massive backlash. But that neglect has been turning hostile in recent years, with Nintendo accused of shutting downvarious tournamentsover their inclusion of third-party, fan-developed services and modifications to its games. Then after Sony bought Evo in 2022, organizers of the biggest fighting game tournaments of the year, Nintendo pulled Smash Bros. from the event entirely.
The company was supposed to have its own Smash Bros. league organized by Panda Global. However, following a drama-filled cancellation of Video Game Boot Camp’s Smash World Tour event in 2022, many accused Nintendo and Panda Global of colluding to squash competing tournaments. An ensuing boycott of Panda’s league eventually led it to disband at the start of 2023. After Nintendo announced its new tournament guidelines today, someone allegedly leaked a Panda Global pitch deck for its SmashBros. league, and it appeared to point toward a generous collaboration between Panda Global and Nintendo—the type of competitive circuit pros have long asked for, with sizable payments to host organizers to help with costs.
Nintendo’s new guidelines into effect beginning November 15, 2023. That happens to be right after the dates for Port Priority 8 in Seattle, Washington, one of the many tournaments that would be banned under these new rules. Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update 10/25/2023 8:20 a.m. ET: Added a link to the North American guidelines which are identical to the European and Japanese sets.
Psychedelic Alan Wake 2 is just as brooding as the white-sheet Halloween sky. It’s the ideal time of year to play the survival-horror sequel to 2010’s Alan Wake, in which the titular novelist and protagonist seals himself away in a dark purgatory. Now, in Alan Wake 2, Alan can warp reality with his words, which recalls John Carpenter’s 1995 weirdo classic In the Mouth of Madness. I’d say there are few better movies to pair your AW2 playthrough with—especially because Madness is now streaming for free.
How Alan Wake 2 Builds Upon The ‘Remedy-Verse’
The theme here is Writers Gone Wild. Both AW2 and Madness feature a grossly successful male horror writer (Alan Wake and villain Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow), respectively) who is just as sullen as he is proud. These men are saturated with genius, their fans and inner monologue inform them, and the earth becomes so heavy with it that reality starts bending to their will. People, innocent and mean ones alike, start falling into Alan’s and Sutter’s hands. And sometimes they die.
The tragedies Alan writes fill him with anguish and a sort of auto cannibalistic introspection. But for Sutter in Carpenter’s batshit movie, death is fucking awesome.
Read More: Alan Wake Creator Says Sequel Is ‘More Intense, More Brutal’
He loves shoveling it onto Madness’ main character, the insurance investigator John (Possession’s Sam Neill, his eyes as wide as ever), who’s tasked with pinpointing his whereabouts and retrieving his manuscript for most of Madness’ runtime. It’s a routine investigation, but it quickly becomes dense with death—that’s what you get from a writer like Alan who enjoys manufacturing fear more than mystery; fear cuts to the chase.
For all its self-serious mania, though, Madness is solidly ridiculous. At least Carpenter—who facilitated legendary, sweaty special effects for The Thing (1982)—does his best to tinge all the movie’s gore with yellowish nausea, but you might find some of it more bizarre than bone-shaking scary. But In the Mouth of Madness’ uniquely nasty silliness will make a lasting impression on you. And you’ll get an even more multidimensional look at Alan Wake 2 than the fourth-wall-axing game gives willingly.
In the Mouth of Madness is streaming for free on YouTube Movies and Tubi.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo’s beloved Switch racer, is finally getting its last major expansion on November 9. And it’s one for the Rosalina and Wii fans.
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Nintendo dropped a video on its YouTube channel on November 1, which revealed the contents of Booster Course Pass Wave 6, due to launch November 9. As part of the game’s $25 Booster Course Pass expansion pack, this latest wave includes eight tracks that span releases from Mario Kart Double Dash to Mario Kart Wii. Alongside the eight courses are eight new playable racers, including Birdo, Diddy and Funky Kong, Peachette, and Pauline (Mario’s first love interest and the lead singer of the Donkey Band).
Buy the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass: Amazon | Best Buy Buy Nintendo Switch Online:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Nintendo of America
The final update’s course offerings are especially solid, with the Daisy Circuit and Rainbow Road racetracks from Mario Kart Wii and. Rosalina’s Ice World from Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS, which previously made a return in Mario Kart Tour.
Players are over the moon across both X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube.
“I was not expecting Rosalina’s Ice World, Cool,” user j.corbygaming2693 wrote in the comments section of Nintendo’s YouTube video. “Also what a great final set of tracks!”
“Oh my god, I can’t put [into] words how happy I am to see [Mario Kart Wii’s] Rainbow Road,” posted YouTube user AstraledaMusic. “It looks wonderful and the music is outstanding. What a blast of nostalgia.”
“I’m so happy that there’s so much [Mario Kart Wii] love in this DLC,” user TheGoldSmith said in the YouTube comments. “Makes me feel like a kid again!”
Folks are quite pleased with Rainbow Road specifically, getting “Wii Rainbow Road” trending on Twitter with a bevy of posts celebrating the nostalgia trip.
“WII RAINBOW ROAD IS COMING TO WAVE 6 OH MY FUCKING GOD WE WIN,” tweeted user ChoritoYT.
“WII RAINBOW ROAD IN WAVE 6 NO FUCKING WAY RAHHHHHHHhHH,” wrote Tweeter Harrison190107.
“WE ARE SO FUCKING BACK WII RAINBOW ROAD BAYBEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Twitter user little_paisano exclaimed.
With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s DLCs finally coming to an end, the Booster Course Pass now contains a total of 48 racetracks from the series’ history. The pass costs $25 as a standalone purchase and is also included in the price of a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Buy the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass: Amazon | Best Buy Buy Nintendo Switch Online:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Overwatch 2’s collaboration with K-pop group Le Sserafim is out now, and it brings a limited-time game mode, cosmetics for specific heroes, and an animated music video featuring characters attending the group’s concert. But now that the skins, emotes, and other cosmetics are out, fans are feeling split on how much the whole collaboration costs. Let’s break it down and get into why the prices are both contentious and, somehow, a relief for Overwatch 2 players.
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What’s the cheapest way to buy the Overwatch 2 X Le Sserafim cosmetics?
The event brings new skins, emotes, victory poses, and name cards to five of the game’s heroes. Tracer, Sombra, Kiriko, Brigitte, and D.Va all have individual bundles that cost 2500 premium coins ($25). Kiriko, who continues to prove Blizzard’s favorite these days, also gets a weapon charm, but her bundle itself doesn’t cost more than the others.
Buying each on their own would cost you $125, but all of them are bundled together for 6800 coins ($68), which is about half the à la carte price. There’s also a limited-time discount on buying 7500 coins, which would normally cost about $75, but are on sale for $50 at the moment. This means you can buy everything sold during the collaboration for $50 if you press the right buttons.
Read more: The Overwatch 2 Girlies Serve In K-Pop Group Le Sserafim Music Video
If you haven’t spent a single coin you’ve earned through weekly challenges, you might be able to afford one of these bundles without opening your wallet, but because Overwatch 2 is free-to-play and built around the grind, in all likelihood you’re going to have to shell out some cash.
This event is an outlier compared to some previous bundles in the Overwatch 2 in one notable way: You can buy individual pieces through the Heroes menu, rather than having to splash out for the larger packages and acquire extra junk along with the item you actually want. If I felt so compelled, I could buy Sombra’s skin without having to pay the extra cash that would get me everything else. The skin alone will still run you 1900 coins ($19, which is basically $20 because you can’t buy coins in exact increments), but if you want to be more precise with your spending, that is an option.
Overwatch 2 fans are split on the costs
But while fans on places like Reddit are expressing relief that this isn’t a $100 bundle, others are pointing out that even if it breaks through the usual restrictions of Overwatch 2’s store, $50 is still a lot of fucking money to change your character’s clothes and make them dance.
“Hey guys, five cosmetics are ONLY as much as a full sized video game entirely,” said Redditor Browsersinsidestory.
Spending money on microtransactions (or anything, really) is inevitably about how you, personally, view the value of your own money compared to the thing you’re buying. Trying to ascribe some kind of universal standard as to how much something “should” cost will inevitably lead to online anger and ridicule, and there’s already plenty of name-calling going around over the Overwatch 2 X Le Sserafim collab. But for some, the math checks out compared to other live service games.
“I have issues with the pricing, don’t get me wrong, but this, alongside the coin bundle bonus, actually seems fine,” Reddit user funnyghostman wrote. “If you tried to get five collab sets in Fortnite (and I’m using the Dragon Ball collab as an example) it’d cost you 12.2k (which means you’ll have to get the highest-price bundle, bonuses included). Since the norm in modern live-service monetization discussions is comparing it to Fortnite, I’d say this is actually pretty decent.”
Some folks might break down the cost as reasonable because paying $50 for all five heroes’ cosmetics makes each bundle $10 a pop, but just because that’s the breakdown it doesn’t change that you can’t pay just $10 for a single bundle, so that pricing exists only for people willing and able to pay $50.
It also entirely hinges on how much value people put behind cosmetics in a game they can play repeatedly for free.
“To each their own.” Reddit user mundozeo wrote. “I realize some people have so much money they just don’t care where they throw it at. I’m just very practical with what I get out of mine. I’d rather buy a game or a month of [Game Pass] that I can play and enjoy than a skin.”
Is Overwatch 2 doing better, or are we just used to overpaying?
Normally I find conversations around the cost of video games and microtransactions insufferable because they typically devolve into people talking down to others about how they spend and value their own money in the capitalist hellscape we live in. No one, not me, not you, not anyone else, can determine how much anything should be “worth” to anyone else. But it does stand out to me that Overwatch 2’s still very high cosmetic prices are receiving some warm reactions largely in comparison to the level of exploitation we’ve come to expect from both it and its live-service contemporaries.
As onlookers have been quick to point out (not always kindly), Overwatch 2’s costly cosmetics are a bed of its own making, and even if the game has workarounds to acquire certain items more cheaply, this shit still costs a lot of money and Overwatch 2’s premium currency is not easy to unlock just through playing. As long as these events only stick around for limited times, players who aren’t willing to open their wallets are going to miss out on something.