PlayStation Network Store Down In China Over “Security” Problems

Mainland Chinese players are suddenly unable to access the PlayStation Store, and Sony’s official reasons for the stoppage aren’t convincing.

Players in mainland China were greeted this morning by the PlayStation Network Store being down, as Sony has indefinitely suspended the service over “security” problems. While major inconveniences similar to this one happen on a frequent enough basis to not warrant significant alarm, the Chinese government’s historical oppression of its populace, along with recent signs of another crackdown on online gaming, make this sudden development mildly concerning.

Until very recently, game consoles were entirely prohibited in China over the authoritarian CCP government’s concerns about the medium’s potential to introduce dissenting political opinions and ideas to citizens, guising the ban as an effort aimed solely at curbing gaming addictions in young people. It was lifted in 2015, but the CCP still holds an iron grip over the industry’s efforts to enter the country’s lucrative market. Fears of another crackdown recently sparked when the government had Animal Crossing: New Horizons pulled from the region’s censored Nintendo Switch – which notoriously only plays three other first-party games – over a single act of in-game defiance by a Hong Kong player, shortly thereafter announcing plans to severely limit or totally restrict online play between China and the rest of the world.

Related: PlayStation Plus Free Games May 2020 Are Less Exciting Than Fans Hoped

The justifications for those domestic and international concerns may have just been further proven, as games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad reported last night that “The PlayStation Store (PSN) has been temporarily suspended in Mainland China” as of the morning of May 10. The official PlayStation China tweet’s gave the official reason for the abrupt stoppage of PlayStation Store services of a “security” update, but Ahmad says it’s “unclear what this means exactly.” As the store is still down at the time of writing, it’s even more unclear what kind of security update takes a full day to implement before turning such a critical service back over to players.

Players skeptical of that response from Sony are right to remain wary, although there is the possibility of the nationwide PlayStation Store outage being due to particularly troublesome issues like exploits or hackers. However, as was the case with yesterday’s Nintendo Switch Online server outage, these sorts of large-scale network complications are often felt across the board, not just in one arm of a wider offering of interconnected services. When a trusted industry analyst like Ahmad, who recently predicted the proximity of next-gen reveals in E3’s absence accurately, is expressing doubt about the official excuse being given by PlayStation’s China division, it probably can only be bad news for Chinese players.

With the hotly anticipated PlayStation 5 right around the corner, it’s not hard to imagine that Sony’s hoping for an eventual and successful release of the next-gen console in China. As proven by the utter failure of the neutered Switch that Nintendo was allowed to put out by the CCP, though, Chinese players’ hopes for a robust next-gen games library are looking bleaker with each passing month.

Next: Chinese Delivery Company Looks Like It’s Straight Out of Death Stranding

Source: Daniel Ahmad

GTA 6 Release Year May Have Been Hidden In GTA 5 All Along


New Horizons’ First Sea Bass Joke Was Too Depressing

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is filled with animal puns, but one of them had to be changed because the original line would have been too negative.

There are a lot of puns, jokes, and wordplay in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but there was one line in particular which had to be reworked to be less depressing. From the names of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ villagers to business titles like Nook’s Cranny, there are no shortage of BoJack Horseman-esque animal references in the game, but the title’s repetitive nature means some players may end up hearing certain lines tens, if not hundreds, of times.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a massive success for Nintendo, with the title having already surpassed the publisher’s estimated lifetime sales less than two months after release. There have been all kinds of memes, talk shows, and even NFL 2020 football schedules displayed inside of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, with everyone brought together by the game’s cheery atmosphere and plethora of cutesy flora and fauna humor. However, it appears like some fans are, unsurprisingly, beginning to grow tired of a few of the title’s most-seen sentences.

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Related: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Islands To Inspire Your Creativity

As recently reported by Kotaku, Nintendo Localization Producer (and creator of some of Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘ animal puns) took to Twitter earlier today and spoke about the writing process behind the game’s well-worn sea bass joke, as well as reassure fans he is just as sick of it as they are. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players receive a message stating “I caught a sea bass! No, wait – it’s at least a C+!”  However, the original version of this joke saw the player feeling a little less sure of their catch, with the message instead reading “I caught a sea bass! Well… maybe a C- bass…” 

In a thread following the original Animal Crossing: New Horizons joke reveal, Heiret says that during the fish joke workshopping process “someone pointed out that, as a joke people were going to see many, many times, generally along with disappointment they didn’t catch something better, maybe it would be better to spin it positive.” The joke, Heiret explains, remains the same, since it is based on the homophonic relationship between “sea” and “C,” but it allows for a slightly more positive gaming experience overall, since it reads as the player thinking that their catch is a little bit better than normal, not a little bit worse.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has blown past all of the expectations both the developers and the publishers had for the game, becoming not only one of Nintendo’s fastest-selling titles ever but even popularizing the Nintendo Switch console itself, leading to the company recently selling more Switches than they did in the console’s launch month. It will be interesting to see where Animal Crossing: New Horizons goes from here… or should players C+ it?

Next: Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Unlock Terraforming (The Fast Way)

Source: Rob Heiret/Twitter (via Kotaku)

GTA 6 Release Year May Have Been Hidden In GTA 5 All Along


WB Montreal’s Batman Game Could Finally Be Revealed This Week

WB Montreal’s long-awaited Batman game may finally be close to a public reveal, and according to alleged leaks it could happen as soon as Tuesday.

WB Montreal has been hinting at a new Batman game in development for a long time now, and according to recent alleged insider information fans could be seeing a reveal as soon as next week. WB Montreal, developers of the prequel entry in the Batman Arkham series Batman: Arkham Origins, previous teased parts of a logo related to longtime franchise mainstays like the League of Assassins and the Court of Owls, but have not given away any concrete information about the rumored title or shown players any sort of gameplay.

It had previously been reported that both the Harry Potter and Batman franchises were supposed to have game reveals scheduled for E3 2020. However, thanks to the current state of the world in regards to large public gatherings in enclosed spaces, E3 has been cancelled and a replacement project, spearheaded by longtime gaming enthusiast Geoff Keighley, has sprung up in its place in the form of the Summer Game Fest, which is scheduled to reveal new games as early as Tuesday, May 12th.

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Related: Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest Could Replace E3

Recently, an alleged leak (first posted to 4chan) was shared to Reddit by user u/BloomMilk. The unconfirmed information says that there will be two new games revealed soon, and that one of them will be WB Montreal’s long-awaited new Batman game (during next week’s Summer Game Fest event) which is described as a “general story reboot with similar gameplay mechanics and character looks.” When asked about the possibility of Batman being a part of Tuesday’s reveal directly on Twitter, Keighley told fans to “manage expectations,” but did confirm that the game “is something cool and fun.”

The unconfirmed information in the alleged leak also states that WB Montreal’s new Batman game will be somewhat different from previous titles, and is “kind of throwing all of the stuff from previous Arkhams out the window.” The leaker also says that “Mark Hamill [is] not set to be Joker again,” which, if true, is surely disappointing to a lot of fans.

While it’s very unlikely that accurate information would appear on 4chan before it appears anywhere else, this does echo previous rumors back in February about WB Montreal’s upcoming Batman title being a reboot of the Batman Arkham series. Players will have to wait and see whether or not anything Batman related is actually released on Tuesday during Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest, but fans have definitely been teased enough at this point, especially after all those weird messages from developers during the latest Batman Day celebrations, and they deserve some answers.

Next: What Those Batman Game Teases Mean

Source: BloomMilk/Reddit, Geoff Keighley/Twitter

GTA 6 Release Year May Have Been Hidden In GTA 5 All Along


The Last Of Us 2’s Dog Violence Feature Written By GameStop, Not Devs

GameStop’s latest controversy stems from their colorful language in describing the dog violence present in the upcoming game The Last of Us: Part II.

Developer Naughty Dog has had to rebuke GameStop for listing “dog violence” as a key selling point for The Last of Us: Part II. From its initial announcement way back in December 2016, it was clear the tone of The Last Of Us: Part II would be bleak and unforgiving. Early trailers focused on grim violence, while writer Neil Druckmann has said the central theme of the game is “hate.” All told, The Last of Us: Part II is shaping up to be an uncompromising and brutal experience.

Over the years, trailers have shown many violent moments from cutscenes and gameplay, either featuring a mysterious cult torturing and terrorizing prisoners or Ellie fighting her way out of sticky situations by any means necessary. According to developer Naughty Dog, every enemy in The Last Of Us‘ sequel will have a name, giving added emotional weight to the killing in the game. That added emotional weight also extends to canine enemies Ellie may be forced to kill in The Last of Us: Part II.

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Related: The Last Of Us Part 2 Developer Naughty Dog Accused Of Crunch Culture

Video game retail giant GameStop recently featured a listing for The Last of Us: Part II on their website, and it included dog murder as one of its major selling points. As reported by PlayStation Lifestyle, this tone-deaf marketing was rebuked by Naughty Dog, who insisted GameStop wrote the listing themselves. The game developer did not provide any of the language that was used by the retailer in promoting the game. Check out the “New Features” included below, as well as the response on Twitter from Director of Communications at Naughty Dog, Arne Meyer.

According to GameStop’s listing, each dog in the game has an owner. These aren’t feral beasts like the Clickers, but trained killers raised by the game’s villains. Upon killing a dog, there’s a high chance the body will be found by their owner/trainer, who will be understandably upset by the discovery, thus fueling their own hatred towards Ellie. It makes sense for Naughty Dog to distance themselves from this listing, even if the information present is accurate (which may or may not be the case).

Perhaps it’s ironic that Naughty Dog, which has come under fire for the disturbingly violent marketing for The Last of Us: Part II, chose to draw the line of poor taste at the in-game mechanic of killing dogs. It also doesn’t help that the listing is rather poorly written and includes wordplay involving the word “stray,” even though the dogs are not strays, but well-trained killing machines. Whatever the case may be, audiences will have the chance to find out for themselves if they have what it takes to kill a whole bunch of dogs when The Last of Us: Part II releases on June 19, exclusively on PlayStation 4.

Next: The Last Of Us 2 Co-Writer Discusses What The Game is Really About

Source: arnemeyer/Twitter (via PlayStation Lifestyle)

GTA 6 Release Year May Have Been Hidden In GTA 5 All Along


GTA 6 Release Year Might Have Been Hidden In Plain Sight In GTA 5

Fans have noticed a subtle detail tucked away in GTA V’s sprawling map that may be the first official clue about GTA VI’s unannounced release date.

While Grand Theft Auto Online players have been preoccupied participating in or striking back against the whole Alien Gang business, it appears that the potential release year of Grand Theft Auto VI may have been hidden right under their noses all along in the Grand Theft Auto V map.

A lot – virtually everything, really – is unknown about the inevitable next entry in Rockstar Games’ flagship sandbox franchise, with the studio having yet to so much as announce or even obliquely hint at its existence. While players know better, they don’t know much, widely (and mostly inaccurately) theorizing about the game’s every detail. Some claim that it will take place in the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City setting and era, while others argue with conviction that the series is headed across the pond to modern-day London. Because of the way the discussion is framed, always transfixed on what may or not be true about the Grand Theft Auto VI map, players may have let a big clue about the new game slip right under their radars all this time even though it was hidden in plain sight in Los Santos from the start.

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Related: GTA 6 Leaks Claim RDR2 Feedback Slowed Down Rockstar’s Production

Joining a small faction of players who have good cause to believe they’ve discovered a hint about Grand Theft Auto VI‘s release year over the years, Twitter user user GTAVInewz has shared their below findings with the community. Players who got sidetracked from stealing helicopters in Grand Theft Auto V  may have noticed an assuming set of Los Santos International Airport doors labelled, “2013,” “2014,” and “2021,” all of which were documented in October 2019 by VX97 on Imgur. The significance of those numbers is that the first two are the respective years when Grand Theft Auto V released on last generation’s Xbox 360 and PS3 and this generation’s Xbox One and PS4, leading some to believe the third year was being openly reserved for the sequel a whopping seven years ago.

While it may seem a little out-there, what makes this theory more compelling is the fact that no other numbered doors at the airport feature numbers that reflect such specific, contemporarily relevant years, as well as every door in question’s placement at one landmark location. 2021 as a launch date for Grand Theft Auto VI would make sense with the next console generation coming the preceding holiday season, and the timing also matches the appearance of credits for the unannounced title appearing in resumés. That said, this could simply be a long-forgotten prank by a single developer or small group within Rockstar. Additionally, even the best-laid development plans in 2013 may not have panned out within the following eight years, and setbacks and delays mean that release windows are highly subject to change.

Anything seems possible so long as Rockstar remains tight-lipped about its next blockbuster project, and this tucked-away Grand Theft Auto V fan catch is one of the most convincing ideas that’s been put out there so far. Some people involved with Rockstar – and, potentially, Grand Theft Auto VI‘s development – say that players are way off the mark on alleged rumors and leaks, but you can’t fault them for being excited about a series that’s gone almost a decade without an entry.

Next: New GTA 6 Theory Explains Why Grand Theft Auto Online’s Economy Is Crashing

Source: GTA 6 News, VX97 via Imgur.

Detroit Lions Use Animal Crossing: New Horizons To Announce 2020 NFL Schedule