Monday, January 16, 2017

The RUNDOWN! Last week up to now!

Monday January 16th, 2017 (Week ending January 14th edition.)

What’s that you say? You’re looking for a rundown of all the news that’s fit to read from the week gone by, collected into one accessible bite sized info dump. Well my friend, have you come to the right place! Well, have you? That was a question.

Microsoft scales back development on Dragon Action/RPG

- First things first, Microsoft has announced the death of Scalebound, their Xbone exclusive action/adventure/dragon punching (ED – not THAT kind of dragon punch) RPG – thing. In development for a few years at Japan’s Platinum games under the eye of director Hideki (Okami, Bayonetta) Kamiya. Rumors abound, but it pretty much all boils down to Microsoft just not getting how external development really works, and not being able to speak Japanese. Apparently. The old favorite “communication issues” excuse did pop up. Microsoft’s head of Xbox, the esteemed Mr. Phil Spencer did say Xbox One gamers have 17 titles to look forward to, and someone namedroped Crackdown 3 (SNORE). Anyway, watch this (awesome) trailer and join the ranks of the many disheartened and disappointed Xbox One owners who will be getting one less game that features a man out of time in a fantasy world, wireless Beats by Dre, and a pet dragon. But hey... Crackdown 3! yay?

Don't get your heart set on these titles appearing anytime soon

- In the “I’ve been waiting... waiting so long...” category, ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ and ‘Final Fantasy VII: It won’t be called that’ aka: ‘Final Fantasy VII: crystal supremus morgus whateveris’ director Tetsuya Nomura has claimed that both games are still quite a ways off. No firm release dates in site. There are still entire worlds untouched in KHIII, and Final Fantasy VII is going to be presented in some kind of episodic fashion. Nomura is clearly far too busy designing zippers, belts, keyrings, and buckles to focus on two hotly and highly anticipated AAA titles that fans have been raging about for a decade or so. So yeah, keep waiting. Maybe 2018...

Nintendo flicks the Switch

- The big news this week is, of course, Nintendo’s Switch ‘Treehouse’ event. Several bits of software announced:
- Super Mario Odyssey – Sees Mario travelling all over our world, the mushroom kingdom, and other worlds in search of himself. It’s an existential journey that begs the question; “Am I truly alive? Or is my entire life just being determined by some higher po... HOLY CRAP MY HAT HAS EYES!”
- ARMS: Colorful cartoon boxers with elongated spring arms and a simple, casual friendly, motion control scheme. It looks like you’re really boxing! Way cool (ED – is this sarcasm? Of course it is... why did I ask)! Introduces all new classic Nintendo characters like... Ribbon Girl?
- 1-2 Switch – OK, ugh. I may have just regurgitated my White Russian... Move on to the next one.
- Skyrim – Because hey, why not! It didn’t really look all that... pretty? But hey! Portable Skyrim! The dream is real!
- Xenoblade 2 – This is a JRPG. Which is good. The character designs however, look a little steampunky and goofy in comparison to the other two fantastic Monolithsoft games. Which is not as good, but I remain optimistic.
- Splatoon 2 – Because some of you liked the first one I guess... The Japanese infatuation with tentacles continues to confound me. Also; Splat2oon – missed opportunity Nintendo... (ED – No, I did not just register for you.)
- Ultra Street Figher II: The Final Challengers – OK Capcom... hahaha, funny joke... You’re... you’re what? You’re serious? Wait? What? I don’t understand... It’s not like you released a super hot FIFTH entry in the series less than a year ago, is it? If anyone needs me I’ll be in my room...

OK, it sounds like I’m coming down hard on the Switch, I admit, and that’s because I’ve had it with Nintendo’s zionist isolation. There’s this thing called a games industry, it’s been going on around you since 1985. You seem to have stopped paying attention sometime around 2003. Gimmicks, low rent hardware at premium prices, but it doesn’t matter because in spite of your technology division blowing through a year worth of Escobar stock in a fortnight, they still really seem to think that these are good ideas! And the hardcore will drink from your swollen teat because you, once upon a time, and very occasionally now, really knew how to make fantastic games. Someone needs to pull you aside for a chat. There can be only one post-Steve Jobs Apple, floundering in the dark like a blonde in a pitch black basement with Jason Vorhees behind her, fumbling for a lightswitch, and that’s Apple! What’s even worse; we’re riding the disorder and anarchy of the NES Classic launch, and you’d think that Nintendo might look at that raging torrent and they’d think to themselves, “Man, People really want these experiences again!” Even worse, you’d think they might look at Sony and Microsoft, and how successful they’ve been with their gamer equivalent of stripped out track cars, and they might think, “Man, Gamers really like this new focus on hardcore gaming.”

Anyhoo, here are all the Switch details you need:
- It launches March 3rd, 2017.
- Retail price is 399.99 CAN/299.99 USD
- 3rd party support is in, with titles from Ubisoft, Bethesda, EA, Activision, Sega, etc. Etc. Pretty well all the big boys. For a year or so... 
- Online will be a paid service, likely to be launched in the fall of 2017. Not having you’re online experience up and running at launch certainly instills confidence.
- The Nvidia Tegra hardware is woefully underpowered when stacked up next to Microsoft or Sony consoles, and it seems Nintendo still has no clue what 1080p means.
- Games come on little DS looking carts and in adorable widdle packaging.
- Motion controls and Wii-waggle are once again a thing.
- It looks about 87% stupid and ridiculous, and 13% awesome.

And lastly:

- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a DAY ONE LAUNCH TITLE! HOT DAMN! (ED – I assume that wasn’t sarcasm? It’s hard to tell sometimes.)

It is also coming for the Wii-U on the same day, so, ya know, you could always hold onto the best damn console they made since the SNES.

See ya next time! And remember, where there’s smoke, there’s a PS4 that’s been running a copy of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt for a consecutive 617 days.

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