PlayStation veteran leaves Sony after 32 years

Announced on the PlayStation Twitter account earlier today, Sony Worldwide Chairman, Shawn Layden, is leaving SIE. No reason for his departure has been disclosed. The tweet reads:

“It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!”

Many fans will have seen Layden at a number of E3 press conferences over the years. Having started working for Sony in 1987, Layden has been with the company for 32 years, having risen through the ranks. He has previously served as the President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America (SIEA) and Executive Vice President and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI). While no longer playing an integral part in the development side of things, during the PlayStation 4 generation, he has overseen first-party titles such as God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn.

Who will take on the Sony Worldwide Chairman role next?

At the time of writing, Layden hasn’t tweeted about leaving Sony and as far as we’re aware, no press release has been issued by the company either. The only word on the subject is the tweet from PlayStation’s Twitter account. With Sony’s next-generation console, PlayStation 5, expected to release in 2020, now is an interesting window for Layden to depart. As Sony’s plans to acquire more exclusives for the upcoming PS5, whoever steps in to take the mantle will be very busy in the next few months before Sony officially announce their new console.

Bungie to “become one of the world’s best entertainment companies” by 2025

In an interview with IGN, Bungie CEO, Pete Parsons, outlined the studios’ plans to “become one of the world’s best entertainment companies” by 2025. Not only does this mean more content for Destiny, but also “other franchises within the marketplace”. “I think the long-term vision of Bungie would be, we have worlds like Destiny that are great places to go and build friendships in. And we begin to introduce new worlds that people care a lot about”. While exact details have not been disclosed for upcoming titles, it’s probably fair to assume that they’ll offer a persistent online world, similar to Destiny.

The Destiny community seems to believe the project may have something to do with the $100m investment from NetEase – the Chinese tech and gaming company – the developers received back in June 2018. Prior to this announcement, it was believed Bungie used part of this money to buyout their contract with Activision Blizzard. NetEase has been heavily backing mobile gaming projects for a while now, an example of one of the big titles they are making is Diablo Immortal (co-developed alongside Blizzard).

We should see a new IP from Bungie by 2025

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep releases today (October 1st) and marks the fourth expansion for Destiny 2. This will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. In case you missed Bungie’s big Google Stadia announcement, Destiny 2 will also be coming to Google Stadia alongside every expansion so far. Pre-ordering the Stadia Founder’s Edition will net you a 4K-capable Chromecast, a limited edition Google Stadia controller and the complete version of Destiny 2.

Valve introduces France exclusive X-Ray Scanner to Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Valve has introduced an X-ray Scanner to Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) that allows you to see what is inside an item crate. This item is exclusive to all CS:GO players in France in an effort to bypass the recent loot box legislation. Players in France can no longer open crates by using keys, instead they must use the X-ray Scanner to reveal what is inside a crate first. In order to open a second crate, players must pay for the revealed item before scanning anything else.

The way the system is currently set up is that the very first crate every player scans contains a P250 – X-ray. Valve has intentionally set the first crate up like this as a way of stopping players from making brand new accounts until they find a crate with a valuable item inside. This new system makes opening crates slightly more expensive than before as you must pay 2.20€ for the P250. To make matters slightly worse, this P250 is untradeable, meaning French players cannot make their money back by selling it on.

The X-ray scanner is an item exclusive to France, at least it is for now

We can expect to see this system roll out to other places like The Netherlands and Belgium as these countries have strict laws on loot boxes. Valve’s idea of introducing an X-ray scanner is an extremely obvious attempt at circumventing the loot box regulations. It’ll be interesting to see how the laws might adapt to combat this, since this system is exactly the same as the old crate and key system except now you have to pay slightly more money upfront.

Arise: A Simple Story to release this December

Arise: A Simple Story from developer, Piccolo, will release on December 3rd, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Epic Games Store. Depicting an emotional journey through the lives of two individuals, Arise starts just as the protagonist’s life comes to an end. As you can see in this trailer, you’ll relive various moments in the protagonist’s life as you make your way to the top of a mountain. Created by a small team, it’ll be interesting to see how the themes of death and the afterlife are portrayed in this title.

Beast Quest slashes onto the Nintendo Switch

Ever heard of the Beast Quest series of books by Adam Blade? Well, after a successful launch on SteamPlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Beast Quest game is finally making its way onto the Nintendo Switch. Scheduled to release on November 15th 2019, Beast Quest will be available on the Nintendo eShop as well as retail. Transporting players to the mythical land of Avantia, you’ll have to power your way through challenging boss battles, explore rich environments and unearth secrets as you go.

Bandai Namco confirm My Hero One’s Justice sequel in the works, coming 2020

My Hero One’s Justice may not have set the world alight critically, earning less than 70% on Metacritic, but it appears the game has been considered enough of a success to have a sequel confirmed for 2020. Bandai Namco has confirmed that My Hero One’s Justice 2 will take place after the events of the first game, and unsurprisingly will be heading to the same platforms as the first game (PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4). If you are at the New York Comic Con later this week, you can check the game out over at booth 515.

Apex Legends Season 3 launches tomorrow

EA’s free-to-play battle royale shooter, Apex Legends, is getting a much needed boost of content with the launch of Season 3. The latest season introduces a brand new map to the game which is not only larger than King’s Canyon, it also features a number of unique environments such as the frozen landscape of The Epicenter. A new legend named Crypto enters the arena, giving players access to a surveillance drone that can be used to spy on other players and deal damage to opponent’s via an EMP attack. Alongside these two additions to the game are a host of gameplay tweaks that should have a large impact on the way Apex Legends is played. You can experience Season 3 for yourself when the update goes live tomorrow at 6pm BST.