Tech Bytes: December 2023

Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into an excellent, simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over dinner and drinks.

Alas, we bid another year farewell. And for December 2023, we are ending it on a particular high with a full-fledged blowout of gaming news. So what were the biggest scoops we got this month? You only need to check out the Tech Bytes summary here!

Grand Theft Auto VI finally unveiled

It is no stretch to say that the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series is a seminal name in the gaming world, so naturally, many have been waiting for the next instalment after 2013’s GTA V. In truth, we already knew it was coming due to last year’s big leak (of which we also just received news regarding the culprit), but this month, Rockstar Games finally formally revealed GTA VI.

The setting will be in the open-world state of Leonida, with the returning Vice City also included as part of the sandbox. Given that the location is based on Florida, the trailer showcases many of the kooky elements reminiscent of the area, which will no doubt fit in with GTA’s world.

The trailer also confirms that the game will have the series’ first female protagonist since it went 3D, a woman by the name of Lucia. Lucia will be joined by her partner, with the video prominently showing the duo doing crimes.

At the end of the trailer, it is revealed that GTA VI is set to release in 2025 — still quite a ways away, but we should be able to see more of the game next year.

The Last of Us Online is cancelled

Tech Bytes December 2023: The Last of Us Online Cancelled

Hopes were high when Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog, revealed that this year we will see “a lot more” of The Last of Us’ standalone multiplayer title, paving the way for a possible release in 2024. Sadly, this will not come to pass as the company announced that The Last of Us Online has been officially cancelled.

Naughty Dog stated that the decision was made as the amount of effort needed to support the game post-release was not sustainable for the company, with it potentially “severely impacting development on future single-player games,” says the company.

This announcement comes in the wake of the game’s delay in May, amidst reports of trouble with its development. The reports further stated that Sony was re-evaluating the game’s direction after Bungie, another developer that Sony recently acquired, voiced concerns about The Last of Us Online’s live-service content.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see how ambitious The Last of Us Online would have been, especially given that the multiplayer portion of 2013’s The Last of Us was more fun than it had any right to be. At least we can take solace that we can look forward to playing The Last of Us Part II Remastered soon. It, too, was recently announced and features a new roguelike mode as well as scrapped levels and audio commentary. It will be released on 19 January 2024.

There will be no more E3

Tech Bytes December 2023: E3 Cancelled

You can kiss E3 goodbye; it is gone for good. According to Stanley Pierre-Louis, the CEO of the Entertainment Software Association and organiser of the event, E3 is permanently cancelled, marking the end of a global gaming spectacle that began in 1995.

The reason for its demise has been mooted for some time; it was simply becoming too expensive for game developers and publishers to exhibit at the event, with the big companies moving towards hosting their own showcases. With more names backing out of E3, it was inevitable that something had to give way.

So ends a longstanding piece of the gaming industry’s industry. I’ve long stated that despite its recent shortcomings, E3 was something that had to stay, much due in part to the unique factor of having nearly every gaming company assemble in one place to celebrate games over the course of a few magical days. 

Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest will be the obvious frontrunner event to replace it, but as an event for gamers, there will never be another E3,

Hideo Kojima returns to horror with new project – OD

Tech Bytes December 2023: Hideo Kojima OD

After the sensation that was P.T., people have been clamouring for Hideo Kojima to return to the horror genre. Though Death Stranding had elements of it, it was not a full horror game. But it looks like his next project will be.

Previously teased last year at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022, Kojima’s new horror project has been formally unveiled under the name OD. Appearing at The Game Awards 2023, the trailer confirmed that the game will star actors Sophia Lillis, Hunter Schafer, and Udo Kier

The bigger news is perhaps the reveal that Kojima is working on OD alongside Jordan Peele — another horror-centric director following his brief collaboration with Guillermo del Toro on P.T. and Silent Hills. As per the press release for the title, Kojima Productions says that OD will explore the ”concept of testing your fear threshold, and what it means to OD on fear”.

At this time, little else is known about OD, but Kojima does confirm that there are more “legends” from the film industry working with him on the title, who are likely to be revealed in the upcoming year.

Blade game announced

Following the success of Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man 2, we have more Marvel titles to look forward to in the future with the announcement of a Blade game.

Helmed by Arkane Lyon, developers of Deathloop and Dishonored 2, Marvel’s Blade will be set in Paris, where a swarm of vampires have seemingly invaded the French locale. The game will be a narrative-driven, third-person action-adventure title, with the visuals leaning towards a more comic-accurate style.

With the game still in early development, there has yet to be any news about its release date. But if we only have to look at their recent title, Deathloop, we can be assured that this is something that we should be keeping our eyes on.

Insomniac Games gets hacked

Tech Bytes December 2023: Insomniac Games Leak

Speaking of Insomniac Games, the studio was unfortunately the victim of a massive ransomware attack this month, which saw tons of information from the developer get leaked onto the web.

The data, which totals 1.67 terabytes, features internal materials from their upcoming game Wolverine, including the plot, the cast, bosses, concept art, gameplay footage, and much more — though everything being shown is very much still in a work-in-progress state. 

Insomniac Games’ entire project roadmap was also revealed following the leak. There are obvious ones, like a sequel to Spider-Man 2, but there are surprising ones, like a standalone Venom game being detailed. Notably, Wolverine was set to lead into an X-Men game down the line.

With PlayStation being incredibly silent about their future projects this year, there was a hunger to know more about what their studios are working on. This hacking, though, was the wrong way to learn about it — especially when it also risked employees’ personal information.

This marks December 2023’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this round-up gives you insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in January 2024, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!

Visuals courtesy of Rockstar Games, ESA, Kojima Productions, Bethesda Softworks Asia Pacific, and Sony PlayStation.

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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