Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, E3 cancelled, NFTs implode and Monkey Island is back babyyyyyy
Everyone’s favourite big summer gaming event has been having a rough time lately thanks to the pandemic. After being cancelled for 2020 and then pivoting to a digital-only event in 2021, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3, will not be going ahead at all in 2022. (link)
News was first broken by PR lead for Razer, Will Powers, who reported the email sent out by the ESA confirming the cancellation of the show. This has since been confirmed by the ESA on their website. (link) There is a promise to bring the show back in 2023, but it’s got people questioning how long the show has left in the long run.
If proven to be true, it would be real shame in my opinion. 2020 was a nightmare year for games announcements due to the show’s absence from the calendar, as every publisher in the world put on their own showcase at random times at any time they felt during June to September, making it incredibly hard to keep track of. Honestly, I gave up trying to follow it all. A lot of the shows even clashed with each other, seemingly just because they could.
E3 provides a specific window of time for these showcases, and while that week or so can get hectic to keep track of, a week is fine to follow, while four consecutive months is not. Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest was a big part of this problem, as Keighley can’t pace a show to save his life (the Game Awards is infinitely more enjoyable when you skip through the VOD the next day, for instance). E3 corrals everyone into one space, which is beneficial for press and, honestly, publishers too, as those of us covering this stuff don’t just throw up our hands and give up three weeks into the onslaught.
Hopefully the industry will still host an informal not-E3 and keep it to a sensible window of time, because that week is always a great time to see people discussing what’s on the way.
NFTs Turn Out To Be Worthless, Who Knew?
You know how cryptobros have been selling the value of NFTs as digital in-game items that you can take across games and have infinite value? Surprise! It was always a grift, as two separate games featuring NFTs have announced that support is ending, and the items are non-transferrable after all.
The first of these was F1 Delta Time, an NFT-based game that launched way back in 2019. The digital assets you could purchase in that game were, of course, F1 cars. But this closure is what happens when the promise of NFTs crashes up against reality of real-life game design and licensing. (link)
The game is closing down because the F1 license they acquired to make it has expired. Not unusual, but most licensed games aren’t promising digital items that you own forever. Except, clearly, you own nothing because those cars are still the intellectual property of the FIA and the individual racing teams. Oops.
Okay, technically the rubes who fell for this do still technically own the bit of code holding the receipt for the link to what is now a non-existent car, but something tells me that’s not what those buyers were expecting.
Now, one story of this happening would be enough to say “I told you so” but then it happened again. And, what a surprise, it’s Ubisoft, desperately forcing NFTs on us no matter how much we say no, which is consistent with their usual management style.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint will be seeing an end to all its support. But oops, they recently dumped a bunch of NFT items into that game, and anyone who bought them is now holding a token for a useless item in a dead game. But hey, maybe you can transfer it to a different game, I hear you ask? You sweet summer child, of course you can’t do that.
However, Ubisoft have compensated buyers with a thank you for “your mark in [the game’s] history” and a promise that they will try and pull the same thing again in future games. How nice of them. (link)
How anyone can look at stories like this and still think there’s value in NFTs is beyond me.
Monkey Island, Max Payne Remake Announced
In much better news, two huge surprise announcements popped up this week. First of all, a new Monkey Island game is on the way thanks to Devolver Digital, and both Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman are back on the writing team, with the original composers also confirmed to be back. (link) Tim Schafer appears to be too busy running Double Fine to also be returning, however. There’s also, surprisingly, art direction from former Media Molecule designer Rex Crowle, who most recently produced Knights and Bikes. (link)
The game is set to take place after Monkey Island 2, allowing Gilbert to continue the story in the way he would have preferred. However, Gilbert has confirmed that Curse of Monkey Island will remain canon, although there’s a feeling that any game after that can be safely discarded. All of this is very exciting, because Monkey Island was excellent and I refuse to hear from anyone who thinks otherwise. And to get more is brilliant news.
But the surprise news didn’t stop there, as Remedy and Rockstar have both confirmed that the first two Max Payne games will be receiving remakes. (link) Remedy will be developing, using their Northlight engine that was put to great use in Quantum Break and Control, so presumably we’ll still have Sam Lake scowling for Max, only this time with the same level of fidelity we got in Control.
I doubt that these remakes will somehow be retconned into Remedy’s slowly expanding supernatural universe, but I don’t think anyone expected these remakes to happen at all, so who knows?
Quiet week this week, with half of the releases being returning games. The first of these is the House of the Dead Remake (Switch) which brings back Sega’s 1996 zombie-based rail shooter. Featuring gyro controls as a replacement for the original lightgun, the remake promises to be a faithful recreation of the beloved arcade classic.
And then there’s Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One), acting as this week’s Square Enix release. A remaster of the PS1 sequel to beloved JRPG Chrono Trigger, this remaster also brings the visual novel Radical Dreamers, previously exclusive to the Japan-only Satalleview add-on for the Super Famicom, which acted as a prequel to Chrono Cross itself.
And arguably the biggest release of the week is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox), which is the latest Lego Star Wars game, and one that promises to adapt every mainline movie in the franchise into its blocky silliness. Each episode features 5 levels based on key moments from the film (making a total of 45 levels), and you can start with whichever trilogy you want. There’s also promise of hundreds of playable characters too, and I don’t even know how they managed to find that many, so that’s impressive.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Chinatown Detective Agency (PC, Switch, Xbox One), a moody sci-fi point and click.
You play as Amira Darma, an ex-cop starting up a detective agency in 2030s Singapore. And with her first client, she must travel a neon-lit cyberpunk world full of political upheaval and economic collapse.
I love a good mystery point and click and this looks set to be no different. Promising time and money management mechanics and a narrative that sees you travelling the world unravelling mysteries, I’m genuinely excited to play this one.
And that’s it for this week! See you again soon for more from the world of gaming!