Hello! Welcome to the latest edition of the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Apple Arcade, new trailers, lootboxes, plus all the latest releases!
APPLE ARCADE DETAILS ANNOUNCED
This week, Apple took to the stage in San Jose this week to talk about some of their latest products and services. They showed off the iPhone 11, which looks like a shocked emoji thanks to its multiple cameras. But this is a gaming roundup, not a tech roundup, so none of that matters to us.
What does matter is Apple Arcade. This is Apple’s new gaming subscription service. It’s out next week for £4.99 a month and allows access to a library of tailor-made titles. Apple have invested in the development of this library, with a wide range of development partners, including Mistwalker, The Chinese Room and UsTwo, all of which are noted indie developers. Most games will be exclusive to the platform, with only two exceptions – Sayonara Wild Hearts and Beyond a Steel Sky – confirmed to be releasing elsewhere. That said, Apple have been a bit vague on when release dates as only Sayonara Wild Hearts has been confirmed to be available at launch.
This won’t be a Stadia-style service. It’s all downloads, so it’s more akin to something like the Xbox Game Pass, where a subscription gets you access to a library of titles. It offers crossplay support across all your Apple devices, and Xbox and PS4 controllers are compatible with the service, where appropriate.
It’s a pretty decent service, all told. A service of curated games specific to Apple’s platform is an excellent idea, especially when mobile markets like the App Store are cesspits of free-to-play microtransaction-laden nonsense. UsTwo’s presence is notable, for instance, as they developed the excellent Monument Valley, a game that sadly gets buried under the Clash of Clans knock-offs that dominate the stores. It gives developers a platform for mobile-focused gaming that allows their games to be found outside of the trash. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does, although as someone who doesn’t own a single Apple device, I’m hoping to see more of the games come to other platforms as well.#
Lots of trailers dropped this week, revealing some cool stuff about some eagerly-awaited games.
First up is a Tokyo Game Show trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake, which sent the Internet into meltdown. It’s looking gorgeous, and they’ve made it clear that the Wall Market quest is still in place, so we are definitely getting some HD cross-dressing Cloud action. We got to see the Turks in action, with Tseng now looking like the assassin you fight halfway through a Yakuza game. And everyone got thirsty for Tifa doing bar pull-ups. Stay classy, Internet.
We also got a gameplay teaser for System Shock 3. It looks fantastic and gruesome, with SHODAN being as creepy and evil as ever. It all looks a little bit Bioshock, to be honest. Which makes sense, considering that Bioshock was supposed to be a spiritual successor to SS2 in the first place, so it’s coming full circle. There wasn’t a lot to be gleaned from this teaser so far, but what was shown is super exciting.
Finally, Capcom have revealed a spin-off multiplayer title in the Resident Evil series. It’s not RE Outbreak 3, like many were expecting, but is instead called Project REsistance, and it’s an asymmetric multiplayer game like Dead By Daylight. On one side, a team of plucky young survivors. The other is The Mastermind. The survivors (four teens called Tyrone, Valerie, Samuel and January) have to make their way through an Umbrella facility while the Mastermind places traps and challenges in their way. It’s an interesting take on the asymmetric multiplayer horror genre, because one player gets to be the whole environment. It reminds me a little of Cabin in the Woods, now I think about it. While I’m not a huge multiplayer gamer, this looks really interesting.
DCMS COMMITTEE SAY LOOT BOXES ARE GAMBLING
It was only a matter of time. A while ago, the UK Gambling Commission said that lootboxes were legally not gambling, but this meant the law may need to be changed. Representatives of EA and Epic sat in front of MPs and talked about “surprise mechanics” as if that was a serious argument. And the likes of NBA2K20 have trailers that are literally slot machines and roulette wheels. Now the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Committee has determined that legislation must be introduced to tackle predatory monetisation in video games.
This doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing legislation any time soon, but it’s a start. It goes into surprising detail too. They recommend that the definition of gambling be updated to include lootboxes and other such “surprise mechanics”. They want PEGI to apply a gambling tag to applicable titles, with appropriate age ratings. And they want sales of games with these mechanics to be banned from sale to children, at the least until research can be done on the detrimental effects.
It’s a damning indictment of EA and Epic’s flawed arguments a few months back and shows that MPs weren’t impressed. It would also be interesting to see how quickly EA change their tune if suddenly children weren’t allowed to play FIFA every year.
It’s about to get very interesting.
KFC WANT YOU TO DATE COLONEL SANDERS
Since we’re on a podcast break, I guess I need to unilaterally bring you Weird News. And oh boy is this some weird news.
There’s a dating sim on Steam where you go to culinary school and get romanced by a sexy anime boy called Colonel Sanders. Yes, that one. The fried chicken man.
Ordinarily, I’d take one look at this and laugh at someone’s silly meme game, then walk away and never cover the game here. That’s right up until you see that this game has been made by Psyop and…Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, really.
Yeah, that’s it. That’s the story. KFC have released an official Sexy Anime Colonel Sanders dating sim. This is real. It’s called I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator. You can buy it from Steam right now. I’m not sure who needed this, but it exists now, and we’re just going to have to accept that.
First new release this week is GreedFall [PC, PS4, Xbox One], which looks to be a lower budget alternative for everyone who wishes Bioware would just drop Anthem and go back to making solid RPGs. It’s a big old piratey adventure with some monsters and epic battles. Although since it’s a Focus Home game, expect those battles to look a little ropier than the trailer suggests. Sadly, its high seas adventure is wasted by being released a week earlier than Talk Like a Pirate Day and someone on their marketing team needs firing for that blunder.
Next up is Daemon x Machina [Switch], which is Nintendo-published mech-fighting anime nonsense. I honestly am not sure what this is about, but I see robots fighting and I think that’s all you need to know. So if you like anime nonsense about battling robots, and you have a Switch, then maybe give this a try!
The first of the big two releases this week is Borderlands 3 [PC via Epic Store, PS4, Xbox One], which is more Borderlands. I’ve never been too into this series personally, but I know it’s beloved by many. It has a lot of guns you can shoot and pick up as loot. It’s still got the same sense of humour. It’s Borderlands. What else do you need?
Finally, there’s Gears 5 [PC, Xbox One]. Gears of War is another big series that I’ve never paid much attention to. I know it has chainsaw guns and the old protagonist sounded like a gruff, angry version of Bender from Futurama. This one sees you playing as Kait Diaz, who features in the last game, and there’s a new mode called Escape Mode which sees you and your friends moving through a Locust Hive. I’m sure Gears fans are excited, and if you are, I hope you’re enjoying it!
GAME OF THE WEEK
The latest Game of the Week is Blasphemous [PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch], a dark, moody 2D platformer that evokes the likes of Castlevania and Shadow of the Beast, with more than a touch of Dark Souls influence too. You play as The Penitent One, who must save the world of Cvstodia from a terrible curse known as “The Miracle”. It’s a gory game, and looks set to be punishingly hard, but it gets Game of the Week because it looks to have fluid gameplay crossed with gorgeously horrifying pixel art.
And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you next time with more of the latest news!