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Gaming Roundup – Happy Jill Valentine’s Day

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

Happy Valentine’s Day! But the only romance here is my love for video games. Here’s what’s been happening.

Netflix Leak Details of Their Resident Evil Show

Netflix are making a Resident Evil show. We knew this already. But we didn’t know specifics. Now we do, although we’re not really supposed to.

Netflix released a plot synopsis on their Media Centre, as they do with all their shows and films. However, it got taken down pretty swiftly which suggests they weren’t supposed to do that just yet. But it’s too late, and the Internet Sees All.

So, here’s the scoop. It’s set in a place called Clearfield, MD, and apparently brings together a conspiracy between the US government and a corporation called Umbrella. It sounds like a story specific to the series, and that whoever had to come up with the town name did it at 4.55pm on a Friday after looking at a picture of Claire Redfield.

Still, it could be interesting to see how this series works, since it doesn’t sound like it’s going to involve a wide-scale zombie outbreak. At least, not at first.

Shock to the System as Game Gets Cancelled

Reportedly, the upcoming System Shock 3 may not be coming at all. According to an anonymous member of the team, every single member of the team is “no longer employed” at OtherSide, the developers of the much-anticipated sequel.

System Shock 3 is, of course, the long-awaited follow-up to the sci-fi FPS/RPG hybrid series of System Shock games for PC that won critical acclaim on release and are considered timeless classics. They’re the spiritual predecessors of the Bioshock series and with a remake of the first game on the way, the time seems right for a sequel.

However, following money troubles at former publisher Starbreeze, the project has been in limbo for a little while now, and senior team members have been departing over the last few months. Now it seems the whole project is shelved and the team are off to pastures new.

It seems to be a case of ambition and budget colliding violently with no way to rectify the situation without a publisher on board. Quite why a publisher hasn’t rolled in to save the project isn’t clear, but now it’s too late for that. Which is a real shame.

However, if you’re waiting for the remake of the first game, you can rest easy, as that is still on its way.

Crashing Onto Mobile Devices

Following the success of Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, it seems logical to follow that success with some new Crash Bandicoot games to whet fan appetites. Good news! A new Crash Bandicoot game is on the way! Bad news! It’s a mobile runner game made by King!

Yes, Activision could have bowed to fan demands and made a brand new Crash platformer, but instead they went down the crappy mobile game route, because of course they did.

All that’s been shown so far are some leaked images and a description, but it’s pretty clear what game this is. It’s an endless runner like Temple Run, which makes some sense for Crash Bandicoot, and with one screenshot clearly showing some kind of map and something about building a base, you can bet it’s laden with predatory microtransactions.

I’ve seen some Crash fans saying that it doesn’t look that bad, but to me this feels like Stockholm Syndrome resulting from years without new games in the series. There’s a certain desperation if you’re willing to settle for a generic mobile game just so you can say your favourite series has a new game. Again, I want to reiterate, the screenshots and King’s reputation scream the exact kind of trash you can find anywhere on the App Store or Google Play these days. Crash fans, you honestly deserve better than this.

Nintendo Does What?!

In the run-up to Pokémon Sword and Shield’s release, a lot of information leaked onto the Internet, showing off the full Pokedex and other spoilers. Nintendo weren’t too pleased. Well, now the culprit has been identified, and as reported by Eurogamer, they, uh…they…what?

Oh, I see. Nintendo have named and shamed the leaker, said to be a reviewer from Portuguese site FNintendo. FNintendo has issued a statement to say they’ve let go of the reviewer responsible, but the damage has already been done. Nintendo will no longer be working with the site, which will make their coverage a little bit harder in future.

I mean, if this means a slot is open in their reviewers’ list, then Nintendo, I’ll take that slot if you want. I promise not to leak information too much. Maybe.

Anthem is Still Being Updated Apparently

Following reports that Anthem is getting a redesign, this past week has seen confirmation that this is the case from Bioware themselves. The much-beleaguered live service shooter is undergoing a major overhaul that looks set to further than just a simple balance patch. We’re possibly looking at a No Man’s Sky Next style update, where everything gets overhauled.

One sentence in the press release stood out though. The part where Bioware state they would have liked to give the team time to focus on gameplay first time around. To me this raises questions about what they were prioritising the first time around, and why the team wasn’t focused. A company with Bioware’s history shouldn’t be making mistakes that huge at this point, so it kind of makes previous reports about conditions behind development sound 100% true, despite their earlier denials.

It’ll be interesting to see if Anthem is able to be saved, or if it’s beyond help at this point. Of course, first impressions count for everything, so it’s unlikely it’ll win over many of those who got burned the first time around. We’ll see what happens.

RIP Kazooie

Storm Ciara hit the UK this week, leading to heavy rainfall, cold winds and even some small bouts of snow. I made the mistake of walking out in it at one point. I haven’t left the house since (ah, the joy of writing this from a home office!)

But tragically, the storm claimed a beloved victim. Kazooie, off of Banjo-Kazooie, was caught up in the storm and died in the grounds of Rare’s offices in Twycross. Banjo is reported to be fine, but is probably devastated. We won’t know for sure, as both Banjo and Kazooie are statues that stand at the entrance to Rare’s car park, but this is still a tragic event.

Especially as, according to Playtonic, she was always pregnant. I mean, I don’t know, it’s been a weird week. This storm’s done weird things to us here in the UK.

Anyway, RIP Kazooie 1998-2020

New Releases

Let’s kick off releases with some ports and remasters. Daemon x Machina is coming to Steam, so if you want some anime robot nonsense and don’t have a Switch, you’re sorted now. Meanwhile, the console release for Darksiders Genesis has arrived this week after the game saw a December release on PC and…uh, Stadia. Finally, emotional mobile story game Florence has now landed on Steam and Switch as well.

But the daddy of all the re-releases this week is Yakuza 5 Remastered, which marks the arrival of every single Yakuza game on PS4. And if you haven’t done so already, please take this opportunity to play every single Yakuza game. Yes, they’re huge, and yes, there’s seven of them (eight if you count the equally excellent spin-off, Judgment), but it’s one of the greatest franchises known to man. Yakuza follows the story of perpetually angry-faced Kazuma Kiryu, an ex-Yakuza trying to live a normal life but the life of crime just keeps pulling him back in. Expect goofy side stories, distracting minigames (including full scale ports of Sega arcade titles in some cases) and a lot of angry men throwing punches at each other.

Yakuza 5 specifically features 5 playable characters with intersecting stories, and the story allows you to go hunting, play baseball, drive a taxi and reach the heights of stardom as a J-pop idol girl (yes, really). It was no. 14 on my top 100 Games of the 2010s and I will not stop insisting you all need to play this series at every possible opportunity. Play Yakuza, you cowards! You can thank me later!

Indie releases this week include Star Crossed, a co-op shmup type game where you bounce a star between two magical girls, and Darksburg, an Early Access game about two factions vying for control of a town – the human villagers and the twisted Revenants. Both are available through Steam right now.

Dreams has finally got its full release almost a year after it went into Early Access. I’ve not had a chance to explore it properly after the disappointment I had playing around with it last April, but hopefully my criticisms have been addressed. From what little I have played since the full release update, they do appear to have fixed the tutorials, replacing the patronisingly slow narration with simple tutorials that move on when you do the action required of you a few times. This is a positive sign that the game, well, creative tool, may be a more worthwhile prospect now.

Game of the Week

Despite my impassioned rantings about Yakuza 5 up above, that is not my Game of the Week. Luna: The Shadow Dust is instead. Produced by a small multinational team, this is the studio’s first game, and it’s impressive work. It’s a point-and-click puzzle game starring an unnamed boy and a small round fuzzy cat-like creature as they traverse a mysterious magical tower. The whole game is wordless, communicating everything through visual cues and animation.

And what visuals they are. Luna: The Shadow Dust is gorgeous, using traditional animation techniques that appeal directly to my love of 2D animation. The character designs are adorable, with the lil friend being especially bouncy and cute, and a few mouse characters running around adding to the vibe. This also allows for some clever puzzle design, particularly with lil friend’s ability to blend into the shadows.

I adore Luna: The Shadow Dust. I’ll have to express my full thoughts in a review sometime soon, but for now this gorgeous, cute and inventive little point-and-click is deserving of the Game of the Week award. You can grab it from Steam right now.

And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you again very soon with more from the world of gaming!