As we head into a new week sure to be filled with Gamescom-related announcements, let’s take a look back at what has been an eventful past seven days in the gaming world.

The summertime August heat is in full swing, so what better time is there to catch up on some air-conditioned gaming? This week brought us plenty of gaming news to help with that, including a big update to No Man’s Sky, tidings of a new Saints Row game, and more!

Let’s take a look at this week’s gaming highlights:

No Man’s Sky got a huge update with Beyond

2.0

On Wednesday, No Man’s Sky got its biggest update yet with Beyond. What was once scheduled to be three significant, separate updates got bundled into one, and as you might expect, it’s a game-changer.

Let’s start off by detailing changes made to the game’s online mechanic: No Man’s Sky now has a social space called The Nexus, and that’s where players can go to socialize and trade. More importantly, console players can now play with up to eight friends at once, doubling up from the previous limit of four. Those playing on PC get an even bigger limit increase, jumping from a maximum of four player groups up to 32.

If you own a Playstation VR, you’ll now be able to play the game entirely in virtual reality, which lends a huge amount of immersion for the exploration-based title. When you use a PlayStation Move controller to manage your ship’s throttle from a first-person VR perspective, it’s a whole new experience entirely.

The Beyond update also introduces a staggering amount of bug fixes and general quality of life improvements, along with the ability to tame a select number of alien creatures. There are also new environments and an expanded base building system, too.

Dollars to donuts, the biggest quality of life improvement is that the developers have finally relaxed inventory limitations, allowing players to carry nearly limitless quantities of mined substances. This takes away the game’s biggest grind, and should be a welcome change for fans both new and old. Given all these updates, our writer Steve Vegvari thinks Hello Games deserves praise for their commitment to No Man’s Sky.

Volition is making a new Saints Row game

THQ Nordic

The quarter one financial report for THQ Nordic revealed great news if you love the wild, quirky Saints Row games: Volition is apparently “deep” in development of the next Saints Row title.

The revelation came in an earnings update that was filled with other juicy THQ Nordic-related project updates, which includes a brand-new Timesplitters game and a developmental update for Dead Island 2.

It’s been almost six years since Saints Row 4 came out, with 2015’s Gat out of Hell DLC being the last official entrant to the franchise. While Volition released Agents of Mayhem in 2017 and placed its setting within the same world, it wasn’t quite the Saints Row experience were all hoping for.

Neither Volition nor THQ Nordic have said anything else regarding the game’s development, suggesting that we may still be in for quite a wait before Saints Row 5—or whatever it ends up being called—gets an official teaser. At least we know it’s on the way.

Screenshot of angel character flying through fiery scene in Saints Row video game

Twitch somehow played porn on Ninja’s old channel, and he’s upset about it

Social Mixer

Ever since Ninja made a high-profile jump from Twitch to Mixer, his old Twitch channel has lain dormant. A recent update to Twitch’s recommendations system meant that Ninja’s Twitch channel, which still has some 14.7 million followers, began advertising for other channels that are housed on the Twitch platform.

The recommendation algorithm somehow began advertising a channel that was displaying the inappropriate content, and Ninja was rightfully upset to learn that Twitch had allowed this to happen on a channel that still has brand attached to it.

To be fair, viewers who may not know he’s no longer part of the Twitch channel could have been very, very confused by what they saw take place.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear apologized to both the streamer and the Twitch userbase, stating that the company would be investigating how such an explicit channel came to be recommended on one of the platform’s most-subscribed channels. All told, it’s been one of Twitch’s biggest gaffs so far.

Gamer Ninja standing in front of blue background

An Apex Legends event has left fans angry

Take The L

This week, Respawn and EA started a timed Apex Legends in-game event called Iron Crown that has caught flak on two fronts: some think the cosmetic timed-exclusives are a hefty cash grab, while others are demanding that the event’s Solo mode becomes a regular feature.

In regards to the cosmetics, the event features 24 items (12 epic, 12 legendary) in total, though only two of them can be earned for free simply by playing the event. The rest are locked behind paid loot boxes, which is fair game in a free-to-play title—though picking up each of the remaining items would cost fans about $170 USD, which many consumers say is far too much.

In contrast, fans wanting Solo mode to return as a regular fixture in Apex Legends is a good thing for the developers: they’ve said it’s too early to decide if the mode will be permanent or not, though it’s clear that it’s what the fans want.

That being said, Rainbow Six Siege fans liked large-scale timed events like Outbreak and Showdown, but those never became permanent additions to the game either.

Screenshot from Apex Legends video game featuring armour-covered fighter wielding an axe

Need For Speed Heat got revealed

Vroom Vroom

A few days ago, a countdown timer appeared on the Need For Speed website, indicating that big news was approaching. That countdown hit zero earlier this week, with developer Ghost Games then revealing a trailer for Need For Speed Heat that showed off the in-game world. It also confirmed that the game will release on November 8th, 2019, for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The announcement trailer was fully cinematic, with the developers stating that gameplay for the upcoming title will be shown off during Gamescom’s opening night on August 19th. Since that’s just a few days away, we won’t have to wait much longer to see how the next entrant in the Need For Speed franchise is truly looking.

Ghost Games is promising fans an immersive narrative that will take place in Palm City, which will come in the form of an open-world environment. The developers have kept quiet regarding the game itself, so you’ll have to wait until August 19th for the gameplay trailer if you’re feeling the—dare we say it—Need For Speed.

This week’s game releases

Game Releases
Game Release Date Platform Metacritic
Friday The 13th: The Game – Ultimate Slasher Switch Edition August 13, 2019 Switch Link
No Man’s Sky Beyond August 14, 2019 PC, PS4, Xbox One Link
Bus Simulator August 14, 2019 PC, PS4, Xbox One Link
Ion Fury August 15, 2019 PC Link
Grandia HD Collection August 16, 2019 Switch Link

What’s up next week?

Next week

Gamescom will kick off with an opening night celebration on August 19th, with the Cologne-based event running all the way through to August 24th. If history is any indication, you can safely expect a good batch of gaming news to pour forth from the event.

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John's Take

Author

Consumers shouldn’t be surprised at how much the timed exclusive cosmetics cost in Apex Legends: anyone who thinks $170 is outrageously steep hasn’t been paying attention to industry trends of late (looking at you, FIFA!). I’m not defending the practice, but I get it.

Remember when games had cheat codes that let you do things like spawn tanks or unlock outfits? Those are called microtransactions now, and it’s big business in games whether they’re free-to-play or not.