This week in gaming: Nintendo shows off more third-party titles, we’ve got a price for the PS5, and more!
In the spirit of keeping our readers up to date with what’s happening in the video game industry, the Doublejump Digest is a brief collection of the major news stories from the past week. Keep an eye out for the Digest every Sunday night, and head on into the archive for news from weeks gone by!
- For his Doublejump Debut, Liam Mallia combined two of his favourite things, video games and Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai Cinema, in an analysis of the latter’s incredible impact on Ghost of Tsushima.
- Ruby reviewed the adorable Best Friend Forever, finding that although it “falls short of its potential, [it] delivers a pleasingly diverse cast of characters and cute dogs.”
- John continued his deep dive into past console launches and launch libraries by investigating the circumstances that led to the PlayStation Vita’s unfortunate failure to take hold.
- Callum took an early look at Dreamscaper, a roguelite that offers “engaging gameplay and a thought provoking narrative”, especially for an early access title.
- Ethan examined the impact that Super Mario 3D All-Stars’ limited-time release could have on game preservation as a whole.
- We were a little later than we’d have liked to be, but we delivered itemised coverage of the games that were announced and shown off at the PlayStation 5 Showcase event — and, of course, the long-awaited price and release date!
Nintendo dropped another Direct Mini Partner Showcase — here’s what we learned:
In its third surprise Direct of the month(!), Nintendo focused primarily on revealing a handful of Japanese titles that will be on display at Tokyo Game Show next week. This being said, as per usual, we were in for some surprises — including titles from Western developers.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most interesting announcements:
- Monster Hunter Rise is the newest entry in Capcom’s storied franchise and it looks fantastic. It seems to borrow a lot of elements from Breath of the Wild in particular, as the emphasis this time around seems to be on scaling walls and just vertical traversal in general. Plus, the game will introduce “palamutes”: canine buddies that will help you in battle. And yes, it does look like we will be able to pet the dog. Monster Hunter Rise is currently planned for March 26, 2021.
- Capcom also revealed Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, a sequel to the original 3DS title. Stories 2 boasts an incredibly gorgeous animated art style, as opposed to Rise, which is going for photorealism, and it will be set in an open world environment, We are probably about to hear more from Stories 2 next week at TGS but, until then, we at least know that the title is slated for a summer 2021 release.
- Hades, the newest title from one of the best developers in the business, Supergiant Games, is available right now on the Nintendo Switch! This announcement set our very own Discord server on fire as everyone from the staff who has played Hades absolutely loves it for the way it incorporates Greek mythology and for its infectious hack-and-slash gameplay.
- Speaking of shadow-drops, Nintendo closed the show by revealing that Ori and The Will of the Wisps is also available on the Switch right now. What’s more, the Xbox Games Studios’ title will run at 60fps on Nintendo’s console and iam8bit is already taking orders for a spectacular glow-in-the-dark physical edition, which will compile both Ori and The Will of the Wisps and the first game in the series, Ori and The Blind Forest. Ori and The Will of the Wisps, a clear game of the year contender, is available right now for the Switch and the Xbox family of systems.
- Rune Factory is what happens if you take Harvest Moon and add light-action RPG combat to it. Rune Factory 5, announced as part of this Direct, doesn’t look to be a great departure from the core concepts of the series but it does look graphically more impressive than previous titles — most of which have only been available on handhelds. Rune Factory 5 is currently set to release sometime in 2021.
- Similarly, Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny will more than likely not reinvent the many mechanics that have defined this tactical role-playing series but, at the very least, a great improvement for this title in particular is incorporating 3D models in favour of 2D sprites. Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny is bound to come to the west in summer 2021.
Rocket League goes free-to-play on Wednesday:
Psyonix has finally announced that Rocket League will go free-to-play this coming Wednesday, September 23: the same day that cross-play will be coming to Rocket League on all platforms — meaning that Switch and Xbox players can finally queue up to go against players on PC and PS4. Unfortunately for Steam users in particular, though, this update is bittersweet as it means that Rocket League will be an Epic Games Store exclusive from Wednesday onwards.
Rocket League is set to re-launch on September 23rd together with veteran benefits, a return to Season 1, various quality of life improvements. It will then get its first in-game-event, Llama-Rama, a crossover event with Fortnite, soon after.
Former Witcher developers announce The Invincible:
Marek Markuszewski, the CEO of new Polish studio Starward Industries — which is composed of developers with experience working on The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Dead Island, Dying Light and Call of Juarez — told TheGamer’s Cian Maher all about his upcoming title: a story based on Stanislaw Lem’s 1964 novel of the same name with a “bold, atompunk setting” that aims to “encourage people…to ‘become obsessed with [Lem’s] ideas.’”
Starward Industries is developing The Invincible on Unreal Engine 5 “specifically…for PS5 and Xbox Series X”, but Maher says that it’s still “a ways out from release”. We’ll surely be seeing more of this one in the next couple of years!
Ubisoft changed Gods and Monsters’ name to Immortals: Fenyx Rising due to a trademark challenge:
As a change of pace from the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games (see the Doublejump breakdown for more info), Monster Energy took on Ubisoft over the Immortals: Fenyx Rising’s original title, Gods and Monsters. Documents from the US Patent and Trademark Office indicate that Monster Energy took issue with the original title, filing opposition papers against Ubisoft due to Monster’s own heavy involvement in the games industry and the unapproved connection that would be present in the Gods and Monsters title.
In an interview with VGC, Ubisoft has since made the statement that it changed Gods and Monsters’ name due to a change in tone and that it was the game design that warranted a new title. Whichever reason is the real one, Immortals: Fenyx Rising is set to release on current-gen and next-gen consoles, as well as PC, on December 3.
Consumer spending on video games is 37% higher than it was this time last year:
Research conducted by the NPD Group indicates that the US video game market saw an increase of 37% in consumer spending for August compared to last year. Video game industry analyst Mat Piscatella shared a nine minute video diving into the spending trends that resulted in a total consumer spend of US$3.8 billion (more than AU$5 billion) across hardware, digital content, and video game accessories. Madden NFL 21 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were key titles in consumer spending, while the Nintendo Switch set a record with the highest hardware sales in US history in August, which explains why the company has had to boost production.
Charles Barkley refuses to appear in NBA 2K until older players get paid:
The NBA’s legendary “Round Mound of Rebound”, who enjoyed a truly incredible career with Philadelphia, Phoenix and Houston between 1984 and 2000, gave an interview to a group of young aspiring reporters through a Play By Play Sports Broadcasting Camp back in July. As part of the interview, he told a YouTuber known as “Nick’s Trick Shots” that he would continue to refuse 2K Sports’ offers to appear in its game until it paid retired players “older than [him]” to include them in the games.
Sir Charles based his reasoning on the “misconception that everybody’s been making a gazillion dollars our whole life” — although the NBA’s current minimum salary is US$893,000, this has ballooned in recent decades and players from the ‘50s and ‘60s, for example, wouldn’t have seen anywhere near that much money in their whole life; the league’s minimum salary in the 1968-69 season was just US$10,000 (US$70,822.34 if adjusted for inflation) and according to the Boston Globe, Celtics superstar Bob Cousy was making just US$30,000 per year when he retired in 1963, a pittance compared to modern superstars, even when adjusted for inflation and especially when endorsement contracts, appearances and other income streams come into play.
GameStop is closing another hundred stores:
After having initially indicated that it expected to close around 300 stores by the end of the year, CNN has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused GameStop to adjust that figure to indicate that it’ll close more than 400 sites. GameStop stores were already struggling before the pandemic hit, and the temporary closures the company enacted as the situation developed served to worsen lacklustre customer rates.
Of course, there are still more than 5,000 stores under the GameStop brand around the world, and Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell has noted that the ongoing closure of untenable sites will allow the company to “more efficiently and profitably service [its] customers.”
NOTABLE GAME RELEASES
- eFootball PES 2021 Season Update (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
- Hades (Nintendo Switch)
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Nintendo Switch)
- Spelunky 2 (PC, PS4)
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Nintendo Switch)
VIDEOS AND TRAILERS
Star Wars: Squadrons — “Hunted” CGI Short:
This seven-minute short is meant to introduce players to the world of Squadrons as it punctuates that the Rebels are not as heroic or as we would be tempted to believe. Our only hope (see what we did there?) is that this promising short will turn out to have been indicative of the game’s overall ambition and vision.
Ghostrunner — Pre-order Trailer:
Fans of parkour in video games and speedrunners should keep an eye out for Ghostrunner which, judging by the preorder trailer, looks absolutely spectacular in motion. It also helps that players will take the mantle of sword-wielding futuristic ninja, which is cool as all hell. Ghostrunner is set to be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 27, with no upgrade deal announced as of this writing.
Twin Mirror — Release Date Gameplay Trailer:
Coming fresh after its recent success with Tell Me Why, Dontnod is ready to invite you to yet another narrative adventure in Twin Mirror. It looks like an evolution of the detective gameplay in Heavy Rain and Detroit: Became Human and we can’t wait to see more when it releases on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on December 1.
Amnesia: Rebirth — Coming October 20!:
This new entry looks absolutely stunning and we are sure to delight in the thrills and the frills of this “harrowing journey through desolation and despair, exploring the limits of human resilience”.
Left 4 Dead 2 – The Last Stand Update — Official Trailer:
Announced just a couple of weeks ago, this is the first look we’re getting at the update that’s coming to Left 4 Dead 2 on September 24, the work of more than 30 members of the Left 4 Dead community with Valve’s blessing and support.
DIRT 5 — Xbox Series S | Official Next-Gen Gameplay:
Acting as more of a demonstration of the Xbox Series S more than for DIRT 5 itself, this gameplay footage shows a rock bouncer racing through muddy Italy. This being said, based on this particular video, it is a rather difficult task to see precisely what is “next-gen” about the Series S.
INTERESTING READS FROM OTHER OUTLETS
- It would cost almost AU$750,000 to buy everything on Steam: Chenggang Wang
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits has been delayed into 2021: Twitter (Official)
- Disintegration’s servers are closing… just five months after launch: Official Site
- Godfall set for November 12 on PlayStation 5, Epic Games store: Twitter (Official)
- NVIDIA set to acquire Arm for US$40bn, move into AI as well: Official Site
- Halo 3: ODST coming to PC as part of the Master Chief Collection: Twitter (Official)
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is the fastest title to 1m sales in franchise history: Twitter (Official)
- Trent Reznor’s iconic QUAKE soundtrack is now available on vinyl: Storefront
- Asobu is a new community for Japanese independent game developers: Twitter (Official)
- Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is now live, with more than 150 games: Xbox Wire
- EA releases new EA Desktop app: Official Site
- Burberry set to broadcast its Summer 2021 fashion show on Twitch: Official Site
- Nintendo has discontinued the 3DS: The Verge
- “Hardware hacker” turns Lego’s Super Mario into a controller for Super Mario Bros.: Twitter
- Super Mario 64 runs on PlayStation 2, and the result is… scary: ResetEra
- Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel quits game development: Eurogamer
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Also published on Medium.