Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, thinks that any doomsaying about single-player games is at best premature.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Zelnick was asked about the upcoming release of Red Dead Redemption 2 and if the perception of single-player, narrative games being less profitable overall was accurate.

“There are people saying that a game won’t work if it’s not a free-to-play battle royale,” Zelnick explained. “People really are saying that, and not even tongue-in-cheek. I don’t buy that. Single-player, in my opinion, is not dead, not even close. Companies that feel like they’ll just avoid the hard work of building a story and characters and go right to where the money is in multiplayer, I don’t think that’s going to work. I’d be surprised.”

Zelnick points out that, while a big reason for Grand Theft Auto V’s monstrous success is its multiplayer mode GTA Online, it points to players wanting single-player games because they want that single-player campaign alongside the multiplayer.

[Source: Variety]

 

Zelnick’s right, but I would probably argue that the perception of single-players games being gone is itself outdated. It is hard for anyone to argue that when there have been multiple major single-player only titles to sell millions and millions of copies in the last few years. Anyone who is still doing that is assuming that, if a game does not sell fifty million copies and generate revenue for years, it’s not worth selling.

Few players are as exciting to watch as Nashville Predators defensemen P.K. Subban. The former Norris Trophy winner and Olympic gold medalist plays with a passion that most fans can’t help but admire. Today, he can add NHL cover athlete to his list of career accolades. 

“Growing up, and still to this day, my friends and I love seeing who is on the cover and ultimately getting to play the game,” said Subban via a press statement. “Being the cover athlete for NHL 19, for me, represents growth within our sport, embracing different personalities, and showing that anything is possible. I’m honored to be able to sport the Smashville colors on this year’s cover.”

Subban isn’t the only athlete gracing the cover of NHL this year. If you buy the Legends or Ultimate editions, The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, will grace your cover. EA Sports has not detailed what these special editions contain or how much they cost.

NHL 19 is scheduled to ship on September 14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If you pre-order the Legends or Ultimate editions, the game unlocks three days earlier. EA Access members can also get 10 hours of early gameplay starting September 6. 

To learn about all the exciting changes coming to the title this year, read our in-depth preview

After starting the console generation in the hole with a handicapped debut, EA’s NHL series has slowly skated back toward relevancy by rebuilding popular modes like EASHL and introducing new ways to play like NHL Threes. But despite incremental changes, the game has never felt truly next gen. Based on our early impressions with NHL 19’s new skating and physics systems, that time could finally be coming. 

In addition to getting hands-on time with the title, we sat down with longtime producer Sean Ramjagsingh and new creative director William Ho, who most recently worked on the Need for Speed franchise, to talk about the big changes coming to NHL 19 both on and off the ice. Here are the standout changes. 

A Revolutionary New Skating System
For years, we’ve been asking for dramatically improved player handling to give us more fidelity in moving in small spaces, more agility when making turns so it doesn’t feel like you are steering the Titanic, and better puck pickups. EA Canada thinks it can go three for three on these requests thanks to the integration of the Real Player Motion animation technology and significant changes to how players skate. 

Grabbing the controller, it only took a matter of seconds to understand just how dramatically the skating system has improved. Players burst out of their stops, showing the acceleration of world-class athletes. Their edgework, crossovers, and carving looks more in line with NHL players, and it’s much easier to turn, cut, and make hard stops.  Turns are more responsive and natural feeling. “Before it was difficult to just take a step or two over, now you can actually do that,” Ho says. That fidelity of movement is going to be necessary, because when elite stick handlers get used to the new skating, they could be even harder to stop. 

You should also notice a wider variety of skating animations from player to player. For the first time in the series, EA motion-capped small, mid-sized, and large players to give them unique movements. 

The wide new variety of animations makes it easier for the players to reach for the puck, kick the puck to their stick, or glove the puck, which hopefully alleviates the myriad frustrations around puck pickups. “We’ve really dramatically improved in this department,” Ho says.

More Realistic Player Collisions
The new skating animation system couples with a new physics engine to add a lot more variety to the types of hits you see across the ice. 

“The new physics engine gives us the ability to tune every single limb on the character, and because you see them in new positions they were never in before, we’re seeing tons of new checks,” Ramjagsingh says.
We saw several of these hits in action in our brief time with the game. Some examples include a larger player driving through his target, open ice hits that stop the puck carrier flat, and awkward collisions that take out a players’ arms and legs on the same side. Ramjagsingh says they’ve even seen players helicopter spin when hit right. 

The incidental contact when players are fighting for the puck also looks more realistic based on the brief time we’ve had with the game thus far. 

With physicality returning to a more prominent place in the game, the team is still refining defensive tools like poke checks to make sure they aren’t too overpowered. As the game is currently tuned, if a puck carrier is protecting the puck properly, there is a very low chance of getting poke checked and a higher chance of drawing a penalty.

Introducing The World Of Chel
The EASHL is the NHL franchise’s stickiest mode, so when exploring new ways of capturing the essence of the sport, EA wanted to expand the way players compete against one another. Enter The World of Chel.

This new social hub includes EASHL, Threes pick-up games, plus two new modes. The first is NHL Pro-Am, which allows players who want to play online to hone their skills against A.I. before jumping into real competitions. This mode offers 40 3v3 challenges against the best hockey players past and present. The second is Ones, a new skill-based competition that pits your talents against others in a three-for-all where the player who scores the most goals against an A.I. goalie in a certain amount of time wins.

As you win these 1v1v1 competitions, you earn points that can eventually move you up the competitive tiers. Conversely, if you’re on a losing streak you face the real threat of being relegated back down the ladder. You start playing in a parking lot rink, and can earn your way up to the cove rink, dock rink, and eventually a resort-style rink with massive stands, a festival atmosphere, and live music. These outdoor environments are partially inspired by events like the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships (and feature a unique announcer), but EA took some liberties with the locations. For instance, one is modeled after Lake Louise in Banff National Park, which has the beautiful Canadian Rockies as a backdrop. 

Ones hosts a daily tournament, so whoever ends up in first place gets a special reward in the form of cosmetics. Another player who sees you wearing a Ones reward will know you’re a past champion. These matches are quick, so while this mode won’t be a destination experience for me, I could see myself killing time in these games while waiting for my EASHL team to form up. 

Greater Player Customization
No matter which World of Chel mode you play, your created player earns XP and rewards in the form of hockey bags. 

When first creating your player, you can choose your height and weight, which has parameters based on the 12 available player classes that break down according to classic hockey archetypes (sniper, playmaker, grinder, etc). From there, you can pick from dozens of traits to activate in a primary and secondary slot, as well as specializations. The primary trait is more heavily weighted, and the secondary gets about half the weight. The game gives feedback when you are activating a trait via new HUD icons that light up in the lower left-hand corner, so you can understand if the trait fits with your play style. A large number of traits are unlocked right from the start, and the game awards the rest quickly as you level up.

Specializations are more context-based, like getting more energy late in a period or giving your team energy boosts if you get a late goal. 

Since you won’t always be playing the same class in EASHL, NHL 19 allows you to save multiple loadouts so you can develop different roles like stay-at-home defensemen, hitting sniper, etc.

“Ultimately, we want people to have their favorite loadout so that when they’re playing with their buddies, they are min-maxing,” Ho says. “They are strategizing as a group in how they are going to go in as a team with everyone playing their role on the team with their different loadouts.”

Every time you level up, you earn a hockey bag that includes a random cosmetic item. Given that EA wants to expand into the wider hockey culture, this means you will receive apparel well beyond team jerseys. Yes, there is a lot team-brandedded apparel (for current teams – don’t expect a lot of Whalers and North Stars gear), but you can also earn parkas, hoodies, hats, track pants, cargo pants, breezers, unique skates, and fun sticks like an NHL ’94 themed twig. In all, EA says it has more than 900 customization items in the game, with more to come post-release. 

Given this is EA we’re talking about, you’re probably wondering if these hockey bags are microtransaction focused. “They’re not monetized, I’ll say that right away,” Ho says. So why is it randomized instead of letting players pick what they want? “We wanted to create a lot of divergence so everyone is getting different rewards so they’ll equip different pieces of apparel.  We’ll get instant variety on the ice.”

You can’t trade items with other players, but at least you won’t have to contend duplicates. 

Doubling Down On Legends
We’ve had NHL legends appear in various modes like Hockey Ultimate Team before. But thanks to an agreement with the NHL Alumni Association, EA Canada is bringing enough legends to NHL 19 to fill out several all-time teams. More than 200 legends are featured in this year’s title, including The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. These legends aren’t all from recent eras, either. The game has Hall of Famers extending back to the days of black and white television, including stars from teams relegated to the dustbin of history like the Hartford Whalers and Minnesota North Stars. 

A New Scouting System
We plan to go into greater detail on this at a later date, but what we can tell you right now is EA has designed its franchise mode scouting system to give players more control on how they scout, which results in more useful information on prospects. The CPU teams also have access to this new system, and should be much more active in draft day trades to make sure they get their most coveted prospects. 

In addition to handling amateur scouts, you will also be managing a team of pro scouts, who will need to be deployed so you understand how other team’s prospects are progressing and whether or not aging players are regressing. These changes should add more interesting management options for players who like to tinker with roster creation. 

NHL 19 is scheduled to release on September 14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

E3 2018 had no shortage of awesome games to peruse and play. Whether it was brand new announcements, gameplay reveals of secretive projects, or blow-out demos that captured showgoers’ attention, we wrote previews and features on dozens of distinct games. Today, we highlight the best of the best, with our picks for the most exciting and buzzworthy titles shown over the course of the gaming industry’s biggest week.

Best Action Game – Spider-Man

Until you swing through the streets of New York City, drop into a gang of bad guys, and take them down with an array of amazing moves, it’s hard to grasp just how tight and exciting Insomniac’s Spider-Man really is. The spectacular web-slinger has rarely looked better than he does in this new adventure, and we came away extremely pleased with the flow of navigation and combat. It would be a mistake to dismiss this new superhero game as just another licensed cash-grab; this is one of the most promising showcases of action gameplay in years.


Best Adventure Game – The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

After two episodic series telling the story of Max, Chloe, and Rachel, the Life is Strange series is spinning off in a cool direction. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit stars 10-year-old Chris, and players see his imagination turn everyday tasks into thrilling superhero adventures. We enjoyed seeing the world from Chris’ innocent perspective, and this standalone (and free!) adventure expands the Life is Strange universe in interesting ways. We’ll have the complete picture next week, since Captain Spirit releases on June 26.


Best Fighting Game – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Nintendo’s E3 Direct prominently featured the company’s flagship fighter, with a deep dive into a massive roster, new abilities, and a painstakingly refined experience. With Ridley joining the most robust character selection ever, Smash is once again poised to capture the hearts and minds of both casual and competitive players. With a smorgasbord of legendary characters to pick from and a dizzying amount of maps to play on, folks will be blasting each other off the boards for years to come.


Best Multiplayer Game – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

While multiplayer modes have been proliferating in all sorts of genres over the last decade, Smash remains one of the best options to join your friends in the same room. You just choose from the ridiculous array of characters, then battle away! Because couch battles have been kept alive, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the potential to turn your living room into a war room. Nothing is better than delivering that final smash face-to-face!


Best Cooperative Game – Anthem

Though BioWare is famous for its single-player adventures, E3 gave us even more reason to be optimistic about the studio’s online cooperative shooter. Sure, plenty of games let you tackle missions and fight bosses with your friends, but how many of those games also have rocket-powered exosuits that make you feel like Iron Man? Focusing on co-op may be a new direction for BioWare, but we can’t wait to team up and see more of what Anthem has to offer. You can learn everything we know so far by reading our cover story right now, and keeping an eye on our coverage hub throughout the month!


Best Platformer – Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori’s first game put a new twist on familiar platforming elements, and the sequel is expanding on that foundation in important ways. Ori and the Will of the Wisps features the same gorgeous visual style and fluid movement, but the team is reworking combat to make it more interesting. With new weapons like a spear, axe, and bow, Ori’s capabilities have grown significantly, and we can’t wait to see more of them in action.


Best Racing Game – Forza Horizon 4

Playground Games has been on a roll with the Horizon games, offering up a potent cocktail of open-world exploration, car collection, and over-the-top racing. The fourth installment adds the new ingredient of regular yearly seasons, which rotate through on a weekly basis. As the game world passes between winter, spring, summer, and fall, new events open up across historic Britain, and players must adjust car handling dynamically to weather conditions like snow and rain. The environments are gorgeous, and you share the changing world and its roads with real players with whom you can team up or compete against.


Best Role-Playing Game – Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red gave us one of the best role-playing games of all time with The Witcher 3. Based on what we saw at E3, the team may trump that title with Cyberpunk 2077, a stunning dive away from fantasy and into science fiction. You customize your character to explore a gritty cyberpunk reality where picking at an errant thread could lead you across the city and into new (and dangerous) situations. The world looks absolutely drenched in flavor, lore, and personality. Information on Cyberpunk 2077 was sparse before E3, but this year’s show proved that CD Projekt Red is still the studio to watch for the next great RPG epic.


Best Shooter – Battlefield V

A rededication to squad play with new stories charting WWII settings, Battlefield V is poised to start something special for shooters. Operations mode, the sort of grand match that takes place over multiple maps, returns invigorated full of weapons, vehicles, and tactical decisions. With character customization, new modes, war stories, and even a foray into gaming’s most popular genre right now with a battle royale mode, Battlefield V is serving up a veritable bullet banquet for shooter fans.


Best Sports Game – NHL 19

NHL 19 was only shown behind closed doors, but given the dramatic leap the skating and physics systems are taking, it was easily the most intriguing sports game at the show. Developer EA Canada’s use of the Real Player Motion tech breathes new life into the second to second action, setting up the franchise for the generational step forward fans have hoped for ever since it debuted on the current consoles.


Best Strategy Game – Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War has continually reinvented itself while maintaining its strategy wargame roots. Over the past few years, the dive into high fantasy with the Warhammer IP offered an invigorating take on gigantic battles, and this return to rooted historical bloodshed promises an interesting return to form. Diplomacy plays an even more important role here, turning enemies against each other or to your aid for an edge both on and off the battlefield.


Best Tech – Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller

Scuf has been making high-end controllers for some time now, but we came away especially impressed by the company’s new partnership with Sony. The Vantage is extremely customizable, with removable and reprogrammable side buttons, four remappable back paddles, built-in mic muting, interchangeable convex or concave thumbsticks, and even force feedback modules. The controller plays like a dream, but you have to decide whether the hefty price tag ($169.95 for wired and $199.95 for a wireless version) is worth the potential competitive advantage.


Best VR Game – Tetris Effect

Tetris is one of the best games of all time, and it has kept us entranced for decades. What could be better than taking that addictive gameplay and tossing it into the virtual reality tumbler? With Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s eclectic and electric taste in music providing the backdrop, this visually stunning take on the classic provides a stimulating reinvention that works well in VR. The big change to gameplay is the Zone mechanic, which lets you slow down time for easy stacking and scoring – but it doesn’t take anything away from the intensity of the experience.


Best Nintendo Exclusive – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

We may have been hoping for news on Metroid 4 or the new Pokemon RPG, but even without those updates, it’s still a good time to be a Nintendo fan. If we have to “settle” for an exclusive, we could certainly do far worse than what looks like the most amazing Smash game ever in a long line of Smashes. Nintendo continues doing what it does best by putting its huge first-party IPs in the spotlight. For more discussion on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, check out this excerpt from the Game Informer Show podcast.


Best Sony Exclusive – Spider-Man

Spider-Man looked great at E3, but the only place to get that webby goodness is on the PS4. Sony’s partnership with Marvel is likely to pay big dividends with this latest venture. Buzz is especially hot around the project, and it’s almost certain to be a must-buy for many PS4 enthusiasts. Due to the character’s connection to the blockbuster Marvel movies, we’d some new fans may consider a PS4 purchase just to live out the fantasy of Peter Parker’s wild life. For even more info on this title, you can read our full May cover story online for free!


Best Microsoft Exclusive – Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Microsoft used its presence at E3 to showcase its third-party support, which resulted in few exclusive offerings. However, the slim competition shouldn’t diminish this victory for Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which looks amazing and appears to be a worthy follow-up to the much-loved original. Plus, unlike some “exclusive” titles, the odds of this Microsoft-published title ever moving to other platforms is basically zero.


Best PC Exclusive – Total War: Three Kingdoms

Titles exclusive to PC can often be hidden away from the big console stage reveals during E3, but we have a clear standout this year with Total War’s upcoming title. While the classic strategy franchise continues to attract more players by diversifying offerings outside of history, the core of Total War has always been in its historical fare. We’re looking forward to exploring giant conflicts in 190 CE China.


Best Surprise – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

From Software’s take on what appears to be a character-action game instead of an action-RPG threw us for a loop. It isn’t the Bloodborne 2 we had been hoping for, but we’re incredibly curious to see how Sekiro plays out. It has new death mechanics, no stats/weapons/armor/leveling, and a more focused tale of vengeance. While we don’t know exactly how From Software’s new title is going to shape up, this unexpected direction certainly made a good impression.


Best New IP – Ghost of Tsushima

You can’t blame people for getting excited about sequels, but the thrill of exploring unfamiliar territory is unique. Among the new IP at E3, Ghost of Tsushima dazzled show-goers with its swordplay, striking art direction, and intriguing premise about a lone samurai fighting Mongol forces. While some fans undoubtedly wanted to see more of the Infamous series, we’re glad to see developer Sucker Punch taking a chance on something different.


Game of the Show – Cyberpunk 2077

Even with so many worthy competitors for the crown, Cyberpunk 2077 pulls ahead of the pack to win our Game of the Show award. With style and substance both on display, this dark vision of the future came to life at E3 and we can’t wait to see more – lots, lots more. While the trailer might spark interest, be sure to check out our impressions from a much deeper dive into gameplay to find out why this title is jacking in to our neural implants for the foreseeable future.

In the past few weeks, a new and decidedly strict anti-cheat system was implemented for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to handle the game’s notorious cheating problem. The system also managed to catch a number of players who aren’t cheating, leading to people logging into the game after sometimes weeks or months of not playing and finding their account banned.

According to a Steam blog post, this was merely the result of an overzealous cheat detection program.

“As you know, one of our highest priorities is working towards eliminating hackers and cheaters from PUBG,” the developer writes in the post. “We’ve made great strides in this area recently, but unfortunately sometimes we get it wrong, which was the case recently when a number of players were improperly banned and were unable to access the game for a period of time.”

As compensation, these players are being given 20,000 BP to their accounts, the currency used to buy lootboxes within PUBG. The developer didn’t promise the false bans would stop happening, but asked for patience in the cases that they do.

PUBG Corp. have their own methods for telling who was banned and when they were logged in, so if you were banned and never logged in to see that you were banned, you’re not eligible for compensation. PUBG Corp. and Bluehole also announced this week that the game has sold 50 million copies across both PC and Xbox One.

 

There’s probably no good solution to this besides incredibly accurate cheat detection software, but that seems unlikely. Hopefully they iron out at least most of the kinks.

In a Twitter blog post today, the company revealed its list of what games were most tweeted about during E3 and who dominated the social media conversation. The platform looked at use of various E3 hashtags, mentions to the company accounts, untagged mentions of games, etc. to get the data. It likely doesn’t include shortened game names like “Smash” or “TLOU,” though.

In terms of games, these were the most talked about on Twitter:

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  2. Kingdom Hearts 3
  3. Fallout 76
  4. The Last of Us 2
  5. Death Stranding

In more absolute terms, this list includes everything at E3 talked about and the tags used for them.

  1. Nintendo (@Nintendo)
  2. Xbox (@Xbox)
  3. Super Smash Bros. (#SuperSmashBros)
  4. Fallout (@Fallout)
  5. Playstation (@PlayStation)
  6. Kingdom Hearts (@KINGDOMHEARTS)
  7. Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)
  8. Elder Scrolls (@ElderScrolls)
  9. Death Stranding (#DEATHSTRANDING)
  10. Fortnite (@FortniteGame)

Certain moments and announcements generated more E3 discussion than others, as well. These were the moments that generated the most conversation on Twitter.

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate release date is announced
  2. Ridley announced as newest character added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  3. Elder Scrolls VI trailer is revealed at @Bethesda press conference

In terms of region, Twitter also tracked where the tweets were coming from.

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Spain
  5. France

The most Twitter conversation happened during Nintendo’s E3 Direct. All in all, there were fifteen million E3 tweets during last week, with the total number of video game-related tweets up 94% from the previous week.

[Source: Twitter]

 

Checking out social media data is always fascinating, because it tells a part of the story that you usually don’t get. People’s off the cuff reactions might have been displeasure at a lack of Waluigi or celebration of a game, but they were talking about games at a pace they otherwise might not have.

Steam sales have long been a contributing to growing backlogs and the ease of simply clicking on something under certain budget thresholds has long been the bane of anyone carefully managing their expenses, but could be carefully tucked away in your mind as an individual purchase. Now, Steam and Valve have introduced a tool to bring that aggregate number in your face.

If you so choose, Steam will show you how much money you’ve spent without the use of Steam credit – or, as Steam puts it, external funds used. That’s how much money you’ve put into Steam over the lifetime of your account. In my case, it was a bit more than a month of rent, which is knowledge I probably could have done without.

You can find the page here, which prompts you to sign in to Steam and then presents you with external funds used as of the most recent cycle, which could be a few days in the past. So if you went on a spending spree last week, Steam isn’t going to shame you for that quite yet.

[Source: Reddit]

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the newest AC game that takes place in Greece, is coming out in October, but Ubisoft wants you to start feeling the Grecian air in your hair today.

Whether it’s a mistake or not, Ubisoft has put up a theme for the PlayStation 4 with no pre-order necessary. Just log into PSN, download it for free, and be on your merry spartan way.

If you’re curious about the actual game of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which Ubisoft revealed officially at E3 and also accidentally a week before that, we have a New Gameplay Today playing through a good chunk of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed title, outlined ten things to know about the game, and detail how the game is doubling down on Assassin’s Creed Origins’ RPG elements.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 5.

Lucasfilm has halted production on future “A Star Wars Story” standalone movies, according to a report from Collider. This includes the rumored Obi-Wan and Boba Fett movies. According to Collider’s sources, “the previously rumored Obi-Wan movie was in active development, but those who were working on the film are no longer involved.”

Solo: A Star Wars Story received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, and though it was profitable, it performed poorly at the box office in comparison to other Star Wars movies. Many blame “Star Wars fatigue” for Solo‘s failure, as Solo came to theaters just five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Rather than devoting time to the spinoffs, Lucasfilm will now focus on Episode IX and the Rian Johnson trilogy after that, according to Collider. The series of Star Wars movies written by Game of Thrones T.V. series writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is not part of the spinoff series that has been put on hold.

For more Star Wars, check out our spoiler-filled discussion of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

[Source: Collider]

 

Our Take
Man, this makes me sad. I really enjoyed Solo, and I was looking forward to a Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan movie. Here’s hoping these movies get made eventually.

Scrolls, a digital card game released in 2014 by Minecraft creator Markus Persson and Jakob Porsér, has undergone a branding change to Caller’s Bane and is going free-to-play.

The announcement was made on the official website today, which still refers to the game as Scrolls in various headers and images. 

“We’ve got a new name – ‘Caller’s Bane,'” the website reads. “I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. Perhaps we just didn’t like the sound of ‘Scrolls’. Either way, it’s still the same game you’ve known and loved.”

The name Scrolls had been a point of contention, and eventually a lawsuit from Zenimax, owner of Bethesda. After Mojang trademarked the name Scrolls, Zenimax sued alleging that Mojang was infringing on their copyright for The Elder Scrolls. A Swedish court denied Zenimax’s injunction to stop Scrolls from progressing further and releasing and the two parties settled out of court, with Mojang giving up their trademark on the name.

The lack of a trademark likely made the name harder to use, thus the change to Caller’s Bane. With digital card games like Hearthstone making lots of money for Blizzard, Valve about to launch Artifact, and Bethesda relaunching The Elder Scrolls Legends, Mojang would have needed to change the name to really take advantage of a relaunch for itself.

In 2015, Microsoft announced that they would be sunsetting Scrolls and making the following update its last. The game has not really been talked about since. We have reached out to Microsoft to find out what their involvement is with Caller’s Bane but did not receive a response immediately.

Caller’s Bane can be downloaded now from the official website and has also opened up the ability for players to run their own custom servers for the game.

 

Our Take
The really quick and honestly kind of sloppy nature of the change makes me think this was not something long-planned that they used today to pull the trigger on it. The website still refers to Zenimax as the trademark holder and there’s no mention of Microsoft anywhere.