With January 1 fast approaching, 2021 will soon be just one more year. Many will already be looking to the future, but we have decided not to do so now; instead, we’ll go back to 2021 and pick some of the most important and / or interesting stories of the year, starting with the month of January.
Scalpers face a backlash
At the start of the new year, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S consoles continued to be scarce. With many people missing out on getting one for the holiday season, it’s no surprise that January’s headlines continued to be dominated by Public Enemy # 1: Scalpers. Their claims had already gotten far-fetched by the end of the year, but when a group of British scalpers known as Carnage claimed they had recovered 2,000 PS5 consoles in one day at GAME, there were cheers when GAME fired back and stopped them dead. eBay also removed the listings they considered fraudulent.
While the bots continued to be a problem throughout the year, the scalper groups quickly realized that if they wanted to avoid the wrath of the players, they had better shut up. They even tried to complain about being vilified and their “insanely valuable industry” was just a business reselling products. No one believed them and countries like the UK have considered introducing legislation to ban the practice.
If it’s any consolation, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has expressed how frustrating and upsetting it is “when dealers and bots get their hands on the stock.” Unfortunately, ongoing component shortages mean PS5 console supplies are unlikely to meet demand until 2022.
Sony is ending production of all but one PS4 models
The console situation was not helped when Sony announced that it was halting production of all models of PlayStation 4 consoles in Japan except the Jet Black 500 GB Slim. No announcements were ever made for other countries, although the Western PlayStation Direct website also mentioned that the PlayStation Pro is no longer in stock. The original PS4 launch had already been halted and that would mean the PS4 Pro and other slim models had to follow suit. New PlayStation 4 consoles are now very hard to find online and it looks like PS4 consoles have been discontinued around the world.
Resident Evil Village demo features Lady Dimitrescu
Towards the end of January, Capcom released a demo for Resident Evil Village. Maiden’s exclusive PS5 demo put players in the shoes of a young girl trying to escape Dimitrescu Castle, but the character who really caught the attention of players was Lady Dimetrescu. Between her and her three daughters, they vowed to haunt Ethan and do their best to prevent him from finding his daughter. The 9-foot-6 castle resident sparked a flurry of fan accounts and memes, all of which pleased the developers immensely, though art director Tomonori Takano was initially taken by surprise.
Lucasfilm Games has become the default header for the Star Wars brand
After having produced in recent years a mixed bag of Star wars games, Disney revealed that all officially licensed Star wars the games would now be hosted under the Lucasfilm Games banner. With EA’s 10-year contractual exclusivity for Star wars games set to end in 2023, players wondered what that means for the franchise. They would soon find out. Two days later, Ubisoft announced a Star wars their own game developed by Ubisoft Massive Entertainment on the Snowdrop engine. The next day EA said they would continue to make games in the franchise and are currently said to be working on a sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Later in the year, Aspyr Media would confirm that they were in the process of remaking Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic “from scratch with the latest technology to match the revolutionary innovation standard set by the original.” Quantic Dream would also announce Star Wars: Eclipse located in the Haute RÃ©publique. It also turned out that the Lucasfilm Games banner would cover other franchises as well, as the official license of MachineGames Indiana Jones project was brought into the fold.
Cyberpunk 2077 saga continues
Perhaps the most disastrous launch of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077the saga continues. We’ve heard that game development has been struggling for some time, with blame being thrown in all directions. CD Projekt RED has faced charges of tampering with the E3 2018 game demo, another lawsuit from their own investors and the threat of receiving a fine from the Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection. The PS5 and Xbox Series X | S versions were pushed back later in the year. While they weren’t sure when the game would return to the Playstation Store, they started releasing fixes to fix issues with the game, one of which later introduced a revolutionary bug. And all of this in just one month.
Things started to improve later in the year. The game had the biggest digital launch of all time, eventually reaching a total of almost 14 million copies sold with relatively little impact refunds. The game returned to the PlayStation Store but with a warning, although CDPR claimed that the game has reached a satisfactory level of performance and stability after numerous fixes. They’ve even started releasing free DLC, although we won’t see anything else until next year. This includes versions of the game for the latest generation of consoles, which have been delayed at least until the first quarter of 2022.
Our favorite anecdote from January 2021
You can’t be serious all the time, and the game tends to tell interesting and / or downright bizarre stories at times. Our favorite anecdotal story in January came from Ikea. Yes, this furniture store. See, they’ve recreated the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles for their store displays so that customers can try and fit them into their choice of preferred storage unit. The PS5 replica even displayed a message: “Which IKEA media storage unit will fit my new oversized and oversized game console?” They had height, width and length measurements in centimeters and inches, sometimes with a bit of commentary. The good news is that the scalpers have yet to get their hands on it.
January 2021 PSLS Game: Hitman 3
Hitman 3 is Agent 47’s best release in the trilogy. The game is glorious play through six beautiful maps, leaving a trail of bodies in your wake. The many varied ways of dealing with targets mean replayability is fun and exploration is fun. The core of the game may not have changed in the past few years, but that’s why it works so well. Agent 47 might be on a hiatus for now, but IO Interactive is on the right track and only time will tell if their next project is that good.
Tune in later for another sneak peek at the news for 2021 as we move into February.