Happy Wednesday! What games are you playing lately? I finally beat Watch Dogs 2, which I highly recommend. If you like exploring open world cities like in GTA V and Spider-Man, you’ll enjoy the San Francisco Bay setting of Watch Dogs 2. Plus, it lets you do something you can’t do in GTA V or Spider-Man:

I’ve been playing Saints Row: The Third, which is the game most similar to GTA V that’s available on Switch. If you love driving around but not in a racing game, and if you enjoy heists, combat, and lots of outfit options, Saints Row: The Third will keep you entertained for hours, plus it has a great soundtrack. In addition to Untitled Goose Game, I also bought Neo Cab, which just won the IndieCade award for Best Narrative Design. Let us know on Twitter what games you’re playing! Have more thoughts on games that you want to share? Consider pitching us!

Blizzard Suspends Player Over Support for Hong Kong Protests

Blizzard suspended and, at first, took prize money away from professional Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai, who is from Hong Kong, after he spoke out in support of Hong Kong during a tournament livestream on October 5th. For context, Tencent, a gigantic Chinese company that is the world’s largest video game company, owns 5 percent of Activision Blizzard, Blizzard’s corporate parent.

In response to Blizzard’s unprecedented actions, people worldwide responded with an overwhelming voice against Blizzard, and even Blizzard employees organized a walkout at Blizzard’s headquarters in Irvine.

It’s not every day that a U.S. Senator links to a Kotaku article:

Blizzard has since stated that they will return the prize money to Blitzchung but they are continuing to suspend him, though for six months instead of one year.

Blizzard, which is the developer and publisher of Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone, is not the only major game company under scrutiny for its apparent submission to the Chinese government’s repressive actions toward Hong Kong. Riot Games, developer and publisher of League of Legends, is fully owned by Tencent. On October 9th, during the League of Legends Worlds broadcasts, casters were abbreviating League team Hong Kong Attitude’s name to “HKA.” On October 11th, Riot stated that “political statements of any kind—Trump, Brexit, Hong Kong, etc.—won’t be aired.” Meanwhile, Epic Games, which is the developer and publisher of Fortnite, is 40 percent owned by Tencent. Epic’s CEO on October 9th tweeted the following:

If you have tips or observations in the coming months about Blizzard, Riot, or Epic’s responses to events in Hong Kong, tweet at me.

Sony Announces PS5 Details

Sony announced that the PlayStation 5 will release during the holidays 2020; no exact date yet. The PS5 will have an SSD that will allow for more configurable installations so that you could, for example, install only a game’s multiplayer campaign. Among other features, such as ray tracing for more realistic light, the new console will emphasize haptics, with a controller that can give a lot more types of tactile feedback than previous consoles.

Pokémon Introduces Galarian Ponyta

The Pokémon franchise introduced a new Pokémon: Galarian Ponyta, the Unique Horn Pokémon.

Galarian Ponyta will be exclusive to Shield, while previously announced Sirfetch’d will be exclusive to Sword. Pokémon Sword and Shield both release on November 15th. As many instantly observed, Galarian Ponyta looks like it should be a My Little Pony character. I’m completely sold and will definitely be choosing Shield over Sword.

More News

Patricia Hernandez at Polygon reported in-depth on the history of Razer’s wildly popular pink gaming gear.

Many of us in the Sidequest community love interactive fiction. Tommy Wu, CEO of game development company FableLabs, proposed marriage through an interactive fiction game.

Steam is having a LGBTQ+ games sale with many popular games deeply discounted, including Mortician’s Tale, Dream Daddy, Life is Strange: Before the Storm (which I highly recommend!), and many more. I’m happy to see a number of romantic visual novels included in this sale, since many visual novels don’t get nearly as much press attention or advertising as games from huge developers.

Fortnite purposely went offline last Sunday, only showing players a black hole, as part of the lore after its season 10 concluded.

Nvidia’s Lightspeed Studios is remastering classic PC games to enable ray tracing.

Apple Arcade, which launched last month, added five more games.

Steam is rolling out remote play for local multiplayer games.

Here’s a full list of game releases this week. Of particular note, The Witcher 3 and Overwatch both released on Nintendo Switch on October 15th.