Bonus Round: Tweet power, tweet responsibility

Happy Saturday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. To be honest with you, I’ve had a strange week. I’ve been waking up extremely early in the mornings, as early as 3.30am, and then finding myself unable to get back to sleep. My Fitbit says I’ve been getting an average of 4 hours 23 minutes of sleep each night. That’s not a lot! So I’m a little loopy and, to be completely frank, I probably won’t be putting 100% effort into this week’s article. I wonder if you’ll notice. Let’s get into it!

Spider-Man 2 screenshot

Spider-Man 2 coming in September?

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is surely one of the most anticipated games of 2023. The first Spider-Man and spin-off Miles Morales are some of the best-selling exclusives on PlayStation consoles. Naturally, anticipation for the sequel is high, and has only grown in the absence of any real information about the game. Since we got a teaser trailer in September 2021, all we’ve learned is that the game is due at some point in autumn 2023.

That is, until this week. Veteran actor Tony Todd (of Candyman fame) is set to play Venom in Spider-Man 2, and seems to have somewhat spilled the beans. As reported by Game Informer, Todd made reference to a September release date in a Twitter response to a fan (which he has since deleted):

Tony Todd's Spider-Man 2 release date tweet

It’s, uh, irregular for a voice actor to reveal key release information about a megabudget project like this, even one as prolific as Todd. He seemed to realise that he’d overstepped, following up with a joke that implied his statement shouldn’t be taken seriously:

Who knows if Todd’s information was accurate or not? Either way, I can’t wait to get my hands on the new Spider-Man game. Marvel’s Spider-Man is, of course, developed by Insomniac Games. I know how they feel!

TMNT: The Last Ronin artwork

AAA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game in development

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is experiencing something of a renaissance. After a pair of truly dismal Michael Bay-produced movies in the 2010s, we’re now getting the animated Mutant Mayhem from Seth Rogen. It looks awesome! 2022 was also a great year for TMNT video games. Both The Cowabunga Collection remaster package and the retro throwback Shredder’s Revenge released to great reviews last year. And there’s more on the way: it looks like we’re getting a AAA NInja Turtles action RPG.

In an interview with Polygon, Paramount Global’s Doug Rosen revealed that an adaptation of futuristic TMNT comic series The Last Ronin is currently in development. He didn’t reveal too many specific details; the game’s developer is still unknown, and he admitted that the game is likely “a few years off” from release. But we do know that rather than playing as all four turtle brothers, players will control a single ninja reptile with a mysterious identity. We also know that The Last Ronin will borrow from some of the best games of the last few years, with God of War named as a key source of inspiration.

God of War is a pretty dark touchstone for the often-lighthearted TMNT franchise, but it’s not unheard of. In fact, the original Turtles comics were pretty edgy, taking inspiration from Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil. The comic series that this game is named after and based on is very much in that vein, too. TMNT lends itself well to goofy comedy, but I think there’s still room for a grittier take too. After all, human-sized turtles emerging from the sewers wielding swords and knives would be the stuff of nightmares in real life. Not that I remember what nightmares are like!

Twitch logo

Twitch announces layoffs

Finally, here’s a real bummer of a news story to round us out: a bunch of people are losing their jobs. Parent company Amazon recently announced a round of 9,000 layoffs (after already announcing 18,000 earlier in the year), and we learned this week that over 400 of these jobs will be cut from game streaming giant Twitch.

This is, of course, an ongoing grim trend in the tech sector. Google and Facebook Meta have both announced large rounds of layoffs, as well as many smaller tech firms. These corporations took on huge numbers of new staff during the worst of Covid-19, expecting the public’s pandemic levels of media consumption and spending to continue indefinitely. As it turns out, most people rather like going outside occasionally if given the opportunity, and now Big Tech is being forced to downsize.

As per usual, the fleeting whims and notions of zillionaire CEOs have wreaked havoc on worker’s lives. I hope these executives are sleeping even worse at night than I currently am!