23 hours ago

Axios Gaming

Megan here to celebrate the 102nd edition of the Axios Gaming newsletter! Thanks for reading, asking questions and generally being the best audience I've written for.

Of course we meant to point out 102. It's not that we forgot when we hit the 100th edition, that would be ridiculous.

Today's newsletter is 1,075 words, a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Marvel's "Guardians" gamble

Image courtesy of Eidos-Montréal

Eidos-Montréal's upcoming entry into the Marvel gaming universe, "Guardians of the Galaxy," has big shoes to fill — but may just be on track.

The details: A recent demo given to the press covers part of the game's fifth chapter, where the Guardians find themselves exploring an oddly deserted Nova Corps station.

  • The demo was only a small slice of the game, one that focused largely on combat to the tune of classic hits with some quieter crew moments baked in.
  • Fights are fast-paced, as you can issue commands to the entire team as Star-Lord to attack or use the environment to your advantage; downed comrades can also be revived if you can get to them safely.
  • The team is constantly in motion, as characters deliver one-liners, offer advice or charge ahead into scuffles.

One small thing: If you've spent a lot of time watching the Guardians in the MCU, it can be a little jarring to see them on-screen without their famous faces.

  • But their general vibes are intact, from wisecracking Rocket to the more measured Gamora, and overall the gang feels far more connected and cohesive as a group.

The big picture: Over the past decade, Marvel has become a movie powerhouse, with its films regularly grossing hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • That grip hasn't fully extended into video games, in which titles like "Marvel's Avengers" received middling reviews.
  • Expect to see a growing catalog, however, with games like "Spider-man 2" and "Marvel's Wolverine" on the way from Insomniac Games.

What's next: The game launches Oct. 26 for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

2. Star-Lord's surprise lead singer

Image courtesy of Eidos-Montréal

In "Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy," Star-Lord is more than just a taken name for hero Peter Quill — it's also a fictional band led by one of the game's own developers.

The details: Quill's jacket is emblazoned with the band's name, Star-Lord, as part of the idea that he's a fan — not that he's running around with his own name.

  • During a recent press event, senior audio director Steve Szczepkowski said he recorded a demo featuring his own vocals — a placeholder as the team sorted out a sound for their fictional metal band.
  • But one of Szczepkowski's collaborators liked his original vocals so much that they decided not to hire another singer.
  • "We listed out a bunch of sort of high-level themes and topics we wanted to cover on the album, like, you know, strong sense of family, a strong sense of self," Szczepkowski said.

The game does still include a ton of licensed music, a touchstone fans of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films have come to expect.

  • During the game's huddle mechanic, for example, Quill will pull the team in and give a speech that kicks off a song in keeping with the theme of his message.
  • "The [Star-Lord] record is definitely visible throughout the game and it makes its appearances, but we never force it down the player's throat."
  • Eidos-Montréal released the first track, "Space Riders with No Names," this month.
3. "Fortnite" blacklisted

Image courtesy of Epic Games

Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney says that Apple has "blacklisted ['Fortnite'] from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals," a process that could take up to five years.

Why it matters: It appears "Fortnite" won't be returning to the Apple store any time soon.

  • "Apple lied," Sweeney said on Twitter. "Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d 'welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else'. Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users."
  • In the email sent to Epic, Apple called the company's conduct "duplicitous," adding that Apple "has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program at this time."
  • “Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and nonappealable.”

Flashback: A federal judge ruled this month that Epic "failed in its burden to demonstrate Apple is an illegal monopolist" and is not entitled to other remedies it sought.

  • Epic said it planned to appeal the decision, while Apple representatives told Axios they would study the ruling before deciding on next steps.

Fans have some thoughts about the news today:

Image via @Plasma_Bladesxx
4. Need to know

🚨 Nintendo is holding a 40-minute Direct livestream tomorrow at 6pm ET covering upcoming Switch games.

🎧 Twitch has struck a deal with the National Music Publishers' Association; it will not change, however, how streamers can use music on the platform.

🤔 "Overwatch" executive producer Chacko Sonny is the latest in a series of ongoing departures at Activision Blizzard. Chief legal officer Claire Hart departed the company on Sept. 17.

😷 TwitchCon organizers are planning to return to in-person events in 2022. TwitchCon Amsterdam is currently set for July 2022, followed by TwitchCon San Diego in October 2022.

5. Worthy of your attention
  • Uncovering The Real History Of The Women Who Pioneered Video Games (Isaiah Colbert, Kotaku)
“With any tech industry that’s constantly disrupting and restarting itself and adapting new things, sometimes I think we can forget our own history,” ["Gamer Girls" author Mary] Kenney said. “Hitting pause and looking at where we came from makes us better game devs and better people to push for greater diversity and advocacy going forward because we’ll know where we came from, the missteps we took in the past that we don’t want to repeat, and the successes we had.”
6. Now is the time to start "Pokémon Unite"

Image courtesy of The Pokémon Company

If you haven't tried "Pokémon Unite" on Switch yet, the free-to-play MOBA is now available on mobile as of today with cross-play. It's also just gotten a sizeable update that includes a space-themed battle pass.

  • The game has a handful of pokémon to choose from, including Pikachu, Venusaur, Lucario and Snorlax; each pokémon serves a specific role, whether it's as a tank, a speedy damager-dealer or something in-between.
  • Each match is only 10 minutes long and queues up quickly if you're looking to play a fast match with strangers.
  • Gameplay is easy to pick up. Once you get a match down, you'll generally have the idea of how it plays.

I don't consider myself a MOBA fan, but "Unite" has been an unexpected delight to play with my friends. Battling as your favorite pokémon aside, it's truly satisfying to hoard points and then dunk them into the opposing team's base while your enemies helplessly watch and weep, probably.

Yeah, that's the stuff.

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🐦 Find us on Twitter: @megan_nicolett / @stephentotilo.

Which game do you enjoy terrorizing children in?

Editor's note: In yesterday's newsletter, PS5 and Xbox Series were omitted from the list of platforms on which "Alan Wake Remastered" will be available. They are PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S and X.