So this is going to be the inaugural post in my new Gaming News Roundup series. If the title wasn’t already self-explanatory, it’s basically going to be a series in which I share gaming news that I found interesting or had something to say about. I’m thinking of making it a weekly thing, but we’ll have to see how that goes.
Nintendo Direct Mini
So starting off with the major stuff this past week, we had our first Nintendo Direct in ages. The catch being that this was not a full-length Direct and only featured games from Nintendo development and publishing partners. Nintendo even let us know in advance so as to not get our hopes up, but that didn’t stop people from doing so, even on the same tweet that that announcement was made. Those same people then proceeded to hop onto YouTube and that pretty much explains why the video has almost as many dislikes as it has likes.
But aside from the Nintendo fans that can’t read, the Direct actually had some interesting stuff to show. New Cadence of Hyrule content, an HD remaster for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne coming in Spring 2021, and finally, after a three year gap of no news, a new trailer for Shin Megami Tensei V, you know, that series that Persona is a spin-off of that many fans still haven’t heard about for some reason. Not only did ATLUS give us a release window of 2021 for that last one, but they also announced that it would be having a simultaneous worldwide release, which is honestly the most surprising part. ATLUS is notorious for their slow localization times, even with their most popular series. It took us a good 5 months to get Persona 5 Royal and we’re still waiting on news for that Persona 5 Scramble localization, so it’s nice to see them embrace a simultaneous release here.
And that pretty much wraps up the English version of the Nintendo Direct Mini. I say English, because there was actually a longer (and honestly, better) Japanese version of the same Direct. Whereas in the English Direct we got some random free-to-play third-person shooter and a new WWE game, the Japanese Direct was over there with a really cool-looking action-farming game by the name Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, a new Yo-Kai Watch spin-off, and even a sequel to Atelier Ryza. I’m honestly surprised that that last one did not make it into the English Direct, as I recall Atelier Ryza doing pretty well outside of Japan and this sequel had an English version announced at the same time for release this Winter. Maybe it was too anime for Western audiences, I don’t know. Whatever the case, that and the Megami Tensei news were my biggest takeaways from this Direct and I’m excited to play them.
Xbox Games Showcase
It wasn’t just Nintendo with a presentation this past week though, Microsoft also had their big pseudo-E3 presentation in the form of the Xbox Games Showcase, similar to what Sony did about a month ago. They had a bunch of new stuff to show, including new game reveals and all that. Unfortunately, most of it was CGI trailers and such, but that’s pretty much what we’ve come to at this point.
They started out with a big showing for Halo: Infinite, which looks fine for the most part. The inclusion of a map kinda makes the game look like its going to have an open-world, which is a bit concerning, but I’ll be holding judgement on that for now. I’d be lying if I said the series hadn’t been in decline since Bungie left the equation, but I’ll still probably end up playing this at some point, it does look like some fun.
Then we had State of Decay 3, a new Forza game, and a new title from Rare by the name Everwild. The trailer didn’t really reveal what exactly the game was about or how it would play, but I’m expecting some sort of nature-themed 3rd-person action adventure, it does look interesting if anything.
Obsidian went on to show their upcoming game Grounded, but I was much more interested in what they had to show immediately afterwards, a game titled Avowed. It’s a first-person RPG set in the same lore-filled world as the studio’s Pillars of Eternity series. I may not have played that series yet, but I love Obsidian as a studio and this looks like they’re trying to make the next Skyrim, which I’m all for. They made my favorite Fallout game, so we’ll see if they can manage to top my favorite Elder Scrolls.
The presentation went on to announce a few more unexpected games, such as Stalker 2, a new Fable game, and a neat-looking third-person action adventure titled “The Gunk”. I’m particularly interested in that last one seeing as its from Image & Form, the same studio that brought us the excellent SteamWorld series.
Bloober Team, the guys behind Layers of Fear and the recent Blair Witch game, also went on to show their upcoming horror game The Medium. This looked great for the most part, but they kinda shot themselves in the foot by later revealing that it would be capped at 30fps for a “cinematic experience”. I don’t care what excuse they use, 30 fps is just not acceptable, especially considering this is going to be on the new Xbox Series X. It’s fortunately also coming to PC, so hopefully that won’t be a worry there, but it still bothers me that we are in 2020 and people are still using that “cinematic experience” excuse to push lower frame rates.
So that was all that was shown in the actual show (at least, those that caught my interest), there was actually some more interesting reveals in the pre-show. During that, we got news that Dragon Quest XI S is not only coming to Game Pass, but also coming to PC. The original was my runner-up for game of the year 2019, so I’m excited to get back into it and play the definitive edition, which up to this point has been exclusive to the Switch. However, according to the game’s FAQ, it appears that this port is going to be based on the Switch version and that the graphics would “not be the same as they were for the original Dragon Quest XI for PlayStation 4”. So on top of having to pay for the game twice, this updated version might not even look as good as the original PC release did two years ago. I say might because the FAQ does not explicitly mention the PC version, but knowing Square Enix, it will probably be the same as the Xbox version. We’ll have to wait and see.
Also shown during the pre-show was a game called Balan Wonderworld. This one kinda hits home right in the nostalgia, as its a 3D action platformer developed by a new team put together by Sonic and Nights co-creators Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima. I absolutely love 3D platformers and given the team behind the game, I have high hopes for it. It also helps that the aesthetic is right up my alley.
So that’s pretty much everything Microsoft had to show. What’s cool is that every game shown during the event is going to be available on Game Pass at some point, so I don’t even have to shell out for each, I just gotta keep that subscription going, it’s proven pretty handy so far. Unfortunately though, no new news on the new Battletoads game and no Viva Piñata. It’s been 12 years since the last one, but I’m still here patiently waiting. The event overall wasn’t quite as good as the PlayStation 5 one, but it was still a pretty good watch and I’m excited for quite a few of these games.
Kamen Rider: Memory of Heroez
There were also a number of cool games revealed outside of these events this past week, including a brand new Kamen Rider game, the first new Rider Game since the start of Japan’s Reiwa era. It seems to be a departure from the arena fighters that the last few games were and more along the lines of a proper action-adventure. The trailer showed some combat, some puzzle solving, and even some shooter segments, so it’s definitely got a lot of based covered if anything. Will it be good? Well, that will be debatable, but as a Kamen Rider fan, I’ll probably end up playing it anyways, especially given that it is launching with English subtitles and therefore can be imported.
Goosebumps Dead of Night
And speaking of franchises I am a fan of, a brand new Goosebumps game just got released. I have fond memories reading these books and watching the movies, but WOW does this game look terrible. I mean, this is a brand new $40 game that looks like something I would have found in the Wii bargain bin back in 2010. I’m likely not the target audience here, but man do I feel bad for the kids that are going to end up with a copy of this for their birthday. It just saddens me to see something from my childhood done dirty like this.
Jet Set Radio spiritual successor
Back to more positive news, fans of Jet Set Radio should be on the lookout for Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, a spiritual successor by an indie team known as Team Reptile. From the trailer, the game is much less spiritual successor and more actual sequel, as it straight-up looks like what I would expect from a modern Jet Set Radio game, including everything from the visuals to the funky soundtrack. We don’t currently have a release date for it and the information on the store page is pretty barebones, but it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Humble Bundle bans
And in more concerning news, there has been something odd going on in the bundle community. I’m specifically referring to Humble Bundle, who appears to be cracking down on users engaging in game giveaways and game trading using keys and gift links sourced from Humble. Over the past month, there have been a number of reports from users getting permanently banned from the platform and losing access to all of their unclaimed games and gift links, yet it is not exactly clear what is causing these bans. Some bans are from users that were engaged in the trading of gift links, some from buying too many bundles too quickly or buying duplicate bundles, and even some from users that had simply redeemed gift links they got from giveaways.
Because of these reports, the Humble Bundle subreddit has placed a temporary ban on any sort of giveaway, pending an official response from Humble Bundle. That response was received and basically said that any form of trading keys for other keys or selling keys was forbidden. Another tweet by Humble also stated that they “cannot condone gifting away keys on open forums to strangers”.
A quick look at their terms of service does indeed show a section that seems to prohibit the use of games purchased through Humble Bundle for anything other than “private, non-commercial, personal use.”, but does not appear to explicitly describe the trading or giving away of such games. Their FAQ, on the other hand, states that Humble Bundle “does not allow sales or redistribution of keys from your purchases.” However, this then begs the question “why is there a gift link option to begin with?”. It seems to contradict with what they are saying in their FAQ and in their response to these bans. As someone that uses Humble Bundle a lot and also gives away and receives a bunch of gift links (I post a lot to my Discord, link in the description below), this is definitely some concerning news. We’ll have to wait and see where the situation goes, but it’s not looking too good on Humble Bundle right now and the trading and gifting community is definitely going to be affected by it.
Return of X-Play and G4
And now for something that came out of nowhere: the return of G4. For those unfamiliar, G4 was a TV network that had shows focused on tech, gaming, and general pop culture, with their most popular shows being Attack of the Show! and X-Play. The network slowly lost its most popular programming and eventually went offline back in 2014 after having been active for over a decade. Well, during the recent Comic-Con@Home event, it was announced that they would be making a comeback in some form, although the exact details are still unavailable. Will it be a proper TV network or maybe a web network of some sort? The Twitter accounts for Attack of the Show! and X-Play both tweeted a teaser, so we at least know that those two are coming back, but it remains to be seen what format they come in.
I personally used to watch a lot of G4 back in the day, with my favorite being X-Play, so this news is definitely exciting, but I feel that, with the general decline of TV networks and such over the past decade, that it simply wouldn’t work that well as a proper TV network, especially given its niche audience. I fully expect it to be some sort of network of web series, but if they do manage to bring it back as a proper TV network, I’m 100% on board with that too.
In other news, now is the time for Suikoden fans to rejoice. Key creators of the series have formed a new studio by the name Rabbit & Bear Studios to create a spiritual successor by the name Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Starting on July 27, they are going to be running a Kickstarter campaign seeking $500,000 USD to fund the PC version of the game, with a stretch goal set for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch releases.
They describe the gameplay as “an ode to the classic JRPG genre from the PlayStation era that will feature classic JRPG exploration and battles in high-res 2.5D graphics, pixel-based characters, a story of war and friendship, a diverse cast of 100 unique heroes to join the protagonist’s endeavor, and a fortress building system to grow their army.” Additionally, the game will also feature a guild system, turn-based battles with parties up to six members, and dynamic boss battles.
Now, I don’t know about you, but this sounds like something right up my alley, even if I don’t have a lot of experience with the Suikoden series. It basically looks like they’re taking the classic JRPG mechanics from that era and slapping an Octopath Traveler look on top of it, which I can 100% get behind. I have no doubt that the Kickstarter will succeed, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the final product shapes up. It’s about time we got more JRPGs done in the style of the classics.
So the Suikoden fans had their thing and now the Fate fans get theirs. This time it comes in the form of Fate/EXTRA Record, a remake of the original Fate/Extra. For those unfamiliar, the Fate/Extra series takes place in a parallel universe to that of Fate/stay night. You may already be familiar with this universe as its also the same one that the recent Fate/Extella games are set in. The original Fate/Extra was released for the PSP back in 2010 and it takes the form of a dungeon-crawling RPG with a large focus on story.
As someone that didn’t really play too many PSP games, much less Fate ones, this is great news and hopefully it comes to PC as well, as they’ve only mentioned it coming to “modern platforms”. If anything, it’s just going to make the already complex Fate franchise even more confusing, as now we have yet another game to slap onto that flowchart.
Ghost of Tsushima setting records
In Ghost of Tsushima news, the game is quietly setting records while everyone’s busy playing it. It is now the fastest selling first-party original IP debut for PlayStation, with 2.4 million copies sold during its first three days of sales. This puts it above games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone, but does not include established series like God of War and The Last of Us, which did manage to sell more. I may be holding out for a 60 fps version of the game, but I’m happy to see it doing so for well for the studio.
Rocket League going free-to-play
And then you got Rocket League, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary by going to free-to-play. It is also unfortunately going to be removed from sale on Steam and moved onto the Epic Games Store, but not surprising given that the studio was bought out by Epic about a year ago. Those that already own the game on Steam will be able to continue playing it on there, but newcomers will have to use the Epic Games Store. They are also adding cross-platform play and progression to all version of the game, which is a definite plus in light of the unfortunate move.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the future of the game, maybe it will lead to a rise in esports events or maybe even a rise in cheaters (although I don’t think cheating has ever really been a problem for the game).
Featured Game of the Week: BLIGHTBOUND
So for this series, I thought it’d be cool to have a weekly featured game to serve as a placeholder for when I don’t have footage of what I’m covering, and this week I chose to go with BLIGHTBOUND. It’s a 3-player co-op dungeon crawler from Devolver Digital making its way to Steam Early Access on July 29th. I had good time playing the beta with some friends, so thanks to the publisher for sending over some copies to try it out.
So that will bring an end to this first edition of Gaming News Roundup. I’m kinda trying out something new with it and it was fun to make, so do let me know any feedback. Thanks for reading and see you guys in the next one.