Level 50: A World Full of Leaks

This week we feature our first subscriber only post, talk about the numerous leaks across the gaming industry, and take a look at the upcoming "summer of games"

✏️ The Pause Button Exclusives

Too Many Characters, Too Little Time: How does the Fire Emblem series under-utilize its colorful cast of 596 characters? In our first-ever subscriber only piece, Pause Button guest contributor Mashiyat Zaman considers how Fire Emblem's eclectic cast could better distinguish themselves in the plot of one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises. Link

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📜 This Week’s Most Important News

The Summer of Games: This week, longtime gaming industry vet Geoff Keighley announced Summer Game Fest, a three month celebration of everything games covering news, events, playable content and more. Developers including Playstation, Riot Games, Xbox, and others are slated to participate. The announcement is significant for a few reasons: 

  • It provides game developers an outlet to announce summer gaming news in replacement of E3’s cancellation 

  • It provides a steady stream of gaming news over the next few months to keep consumers busy - this is a welcome change from E3, which was more focused on creating one hit wonders through headlines

  • The festival is completely digital, a first for the gaming industry

With developers opting more and more for digital first announcements, Summer Game Fest could be the first step in revolutionizing the way we get news about our favorite news titles. One thing is for certain: E3 is going to have a tough time coming back from this one. Link

💡 Industry Content

How to Build a Successful Games Company: Venture Capitalist Jon Lai knows a lot about games and how they work. Before working at popular firm a16z, Lai spent 4 years at Tencent, which holds stakes in industry giants like Discord and Riot Games. Lai broke down Tencent’s approach to games: how they invest, publish, and look at the games industry. Link

OOF: It was reported that a hacker bribed an insider at Roblox in order to gain access to the private information of the game’s nearly 100M monthly active players. Data leaked including emails, password changes, two-factor authentication and more. As more titles like Roblox appeal to younger audiences, it’s becoming clearer how important data privacy and security are to building inherently social games. Link

We Need More Digital Social Spaces: TechCrunch released an article praising games as the go-to digital community space in light of the current shelter in place orders. Much of what they cover won’t be new to frequent Pause Button readers: the idea of games as a “third life” or digital social playground. It’s nice to see the concept analyzed from a new POV though. Link 

Correction: Last week we reported that The Last of Us: Part II was allegedly leaked by a disgruntled Naughty Dog employee, it since has been announced that the leak was connected to an unrelated third party, not an employee. 

🎮 Fun & Games

Doom OST - An Open Letter: Following the release of game studio id Software’s DOOM Eternal last month, many fans noted that much of the games soundtrack was below the quality they expected from the series famed composer, Mick Gordon. Well, turns out that was for good reason: Gordon didn’t make most of the soundtrack. This week id Software’s Executive Producer took to Reddit to clear up the misconceptions around what happened with Gordon and the game’s delayed soundtrack. This serves as yet another example of the inherent conflict of games as a business versus an art form. Link

Nintendo’s Leaky Faucet: Following last week’s Pokemon related leaks, more info leaked covering a ton of historical Nintendo content. The leak included source code for the Wii, game files for the original N64, and other juicy internal data. The best part? An internal deck outlining why Nintendo went with their notoriously complex “Friend Codes” instead of online screen names. Link

😎 Other Cool Stuff

Good Deals: Quick PSA — Square Enix released a JRPG game bundle on Steam for 72% off. It includes Chrono Trigger, Max’s second favorite game of all time. Link 

The King of Kong Saga Continues: If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Billy Mitchell, I highly recommend you get up to speed. Mitchell was once touted as one of history’s most famous video game players, but after being irrefutably caught cheating in numerous games, most notably his world record for the original Donkey Kong, many have turned their back on him. Ars Technica wrote an update on Mitchell’s pending “defamation” lawsuit, the latest is what is surely one of gaming’s most noteworthy storylines. Link

It’s Party Time: Fortnite launched “Party Mode” a version of the game where there are no buildings and no weapons. Users are dropped into a smaller version of the game’s map and set free to do fun activities (driving, paintball, dancing etc.). We’re expecting to see future events like last week’s Travis Scott concert take place in Party Mode, rather than through the traditional Battle Royale. Link

😍 Our Current Favorites


  • Spongebob Battle for Bikini Bottom: Rehydrated: When I was a kid, I LOVED Spongebob. So much so that I bought a Spongebob game for my PS2 and played it to 100% completion. Imagine my excitement when I remembered last week that they’re remastering that same game for modern consoles. Link


  • Airpods + Discord: This is a bit ridiculous, but I bought a pair of Airpods last week and have enjoyed using them with Discord. Lots of multiplayer and cordless gaming means I’m a happy camper. Link

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