Video game headlines: CD Projekt Red, 'No Man's Sky,' 'Club Penguin Rewritten'
‘Club Penguin Rewritten’ shuts down after Disney request
“Club Penguin Rewritten” (CPRewritten) was shut down following a notice from Disney. This was announced by an admin on the CPRewritten Discord. The Discord server has since been completely wiped of all messages except the announcement. The server name was changed to “Rewritten.” Three individuals were arrested in connection with the shutdown, but have since been released.
The website for the game was turned over to Operation Creative, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. CPRewritten was a fan-made remake of “Club Penguin,” a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game created in 2005 by New Horizon Interactive, now known as Walt Disney Online Studios Canada. The original game shut down in 2017 when its sequel, “Club Penguin Island,” was released, which shut down a year later.
CPWritten released in early 2017 when the original shut down. It allowed users to create free accounts and had no revenue generation until recently when the creators introduced advertisements on the website. Some have speculated that this is the reason for Disney’s request for the website to shut down. In contrast, “Toontown Rewritten,” a fan-made remake of Disney’s MMO “Toontown” that shut down in 2013, has been in development since 2013 and is still available online. “Toontown Rewritten” has no revenue source.
CPRewritten is not the first fan-made “Club Penguin” remake to be shut down by Disney. Several other remakes like “Club Penguin Online” were shut down following accusations of pedophiles approaching children on the platform, along with distribution of child pornography.
CD Projekt Red: ‘Witcher 3,’ ‘Cyberpunk 2077’
CD Projekt Red (CDPR) announced on April 13 that they would be taking over the development of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This announcement was paired with news that the game will not make its original release window, the first half of 2022. CDPR did not give a new release date for the project, but did state that they will give an update as soon as they could.
Two days later, on April 15, CDPR clarified during an investor teleconference that the game was not in “development hell.” The in-house development of the rest of “The Witcher 3” port will not affect the development of the studio’s next game.
Saber Interactive was previously completing the work at their Russia office. The company was also responsible for the Nintendo Switch and 4K ports of “The Witcher 3,” released in 2019. Though Saber Interactive is headquartered in Florida, its first game studio is located in St. Petersburg, Russia. CDPR has not made any comment regarding why they are not completing development in-house, but CDPR condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
During the earnings call for investors on April 15, CDPR also commented on one of their more recent large releases, “Cyberpunk 2077.” The company stated they will shift their resources from the game to focus on other projects, but the game will be receiving a story expansion in 2023 with no more major overhauls planned.
The game’s launch received several delays and was met with harsh criticism upon its launch due to many bugs and glitches. The game released its version 1.5 update in February alongside its release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. With this update, CDPR believes they have finished most of the development on the game. The game reached 18 million units sold according to its investor relations Twitter account.
‘No Man’s Sky’ OUTLAWS update
On April 13, the “No Man’s Sky” development team announced the latest update for the game: OUTLAWS. This is the 19th update to the game since its 2016 launch, and the second update of the game this year; the SENTINEL update was released in February.
There have been pirates in the game since its launch, but this update “represents the moment where the pirates have started to put down roots, occupy space stations and colonize the surrounding system.” According to the post, pirates represent an increased threat and planetary dog-fights are now more common in pirate-controlled systems. The outlaw systems also have their own technology merchants and marketplaces for contraband items, on top of unique mission agents.
Space combat has also been improved as part of this update — it was rebalanced for “challenge, flow, and speed.” The destruction effects also received an overhaul; ships, asteroids, freighters, and space cargo also got redesigns for their destruction effects, which makes gunning them down “more satisfying than ever.” Some warp and engine effects for frigates and freighters were also updated for flair and impact. When on planet surfaces, players occasionally see a fleet of frigates in the sky.
A new type of high-tech starship class was also introduced: Solar Ships. Procedurally-generated variations give a diverse range of designs and introduce unique technologies. Players can recruit other pilots into their squadron who will automatically warp to the player’s location during space combat. The complete list of changes included in this update is available on the “No Man’s Sky” website.
‘13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim’ launches on Nintendo Switch
“13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim” released on Nintendo Switch on April 12, nearly a year-and-a-half after its initial PlayStation 4 release in Japan. While the PlayStation 4 release would launch worldwide the year following its Japan release in 2020, the Nintendo Switch version launched two days earlier in the West than in Japan. The Vanillaware-developed game is a combination of side-scrolling adventure segments followed by real-time strategy battle segments that focuses on the stories of thirteen high-school students who are dragged into a futuristic war between mechas and hostile Kaiju in a nonlinear fashion. The Nintendo Switch version of the game adds new weapons for the thirteen playable mechs.
To celebrate the launch, Atlus, the game’s publisher, held a “13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim” art exhibit at the Los Angeles’ Gallery Nucleus art museum for two days. People who attended the event could purchase prints of the new pieces; leftover prints will be sold online starting April 18. Atlus had a livestream that featured a giveaway of 13 OLED Switch models on April 15. A 1/16 scale statue of one of the mechs from the game appeared at the JR Akihabara Station in Tokyo, Japan to commemorate the game’s launch on Nintendo Switch.