Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Apple Arcade is here, companies with E and A in their initials are terrible, and a Game of the Week becomes a TV show!
E3 PLANS TO BECOME INFLUENCER HELLSCAPE
The ESA, the professional body representing the games industry in the US, is back in the news again. Last time they featured, it was discovered that they’d leaked personal details of numerous games journalists and content creators. Since then, they have issued a weak apology and pretended it didn’t happen.
Well now, they’re back at it again. A leaked planning document has shown what the ESA has planned for E3 next year, and it sounds terrible.
There are plans to increase public presence at the show, moving it further away from the trade show it’s traditionally been until recently. As part of this, they plan to turn the show floor into a series of “experiences” with usual demo booths tucked away into the corners. An example of a planned “experience” would be a partnership with the LA Lakers to host a basketball tournament, which is exactly the last thing I’m interested in seeing at a games convention.
Speaking of partnerships, there was also talk of paid partnerships with media to promote upcoming games, with the intention of “controlling the message”. Now, I’m not sure if the ESA are aware of this, but undisclosed paid sponsorships like this are illegal, and can result in huge fines for everyone involved. Plus I have my doubts about the ESA’s ability to control the message when they’re so bad at controlling the security of people’s personal details. But that’s just me, I guess.
Documents like this suggest an ongoing identity crisis with E3, where they’re desperate to keep it relevant without being too clear on how. In this age where developers can communicate with fans directly through online content such as the Nintendo Direct, E3 is beginning to look like a bit of a dinosaur. But turning it into an influencer festival with basketball games and controlled messaging sounds like the wrong way to bring it up to date.
ANTHEM DROPS ROADMAP
Hey, remember Anthem? Yeah, that Bioware game that wasn’t really a Bioware game. It still somehow limps along despite being barely considered in the public consciousness since its release back in February.
Back at launch, Bioware had confirmed a roadmap of content for the months to follow, and now we’re several months on, and one major event has happened, three months later than intended. And now it seems like we can’t expect any more of this any time soon.
In a blog post, Chad Robertson stated that the roadmap has been shelved, with a focus on addressing “core issues” with the game, which reads a lot like they intend to finish the game, which I feel they should have done seven months ago. They’ve stated they’ll tide people over with seasonal challenges, but this reads a lot like support winding down until EA can quietly pull the plug on the game and quite possibly Bioware.
And this is the problem with these live services games to date. A half-complete launch game, with vague promises of future plans that may not even come to light because the game’s too broken on launch to function. Let’s hope that this acts as a cautionary tale for other publishers to abandon the idea of making everything a live service, and more so a cautionary tale for developers to never allow themselves to be bought by EA.
Hey, do you want to have yet another PC games launcher? Well tough, because Rockstar are setting up their own launcher, with blackjack and hookers. No seriously, GTA games are in there. Blackjack and hookers abound!
Speaking of GTA, anyone signing up to the launcher now gets a free copy of San Andreas, better known as Objectively The Best Grand Theft Auto Game. You can also launch any Rockstar game you already own through the app, no matter where you bought it originally. So that’s nice.
Oh, and it has cloud saves. You know, the cloud saves that Epic say take time to implement for their store. And yet Rockstar have that feature straight away in their new launcher. That’s interesting.
KNIGHTS AND BIKES GETS TV SHOW
I’ve been very cynical this week, and perhaps understandably so. So here’s some fun news! Previous Game of the Week holder Knights & Bikes is getting its own TV show. And it makes sense. Rex Crowle’s unique art style would lend itself well to a cartoon, and the humour and charm of the game itself would translate nicely into a TV show format.
This isn’t the first time Knights & Bikes has existed in a form other than the original game. Two books have been published by inclusive publisher Knights Of, written by Gabrielle Kent. Kent will also be involved in the show, which will be produced by Tiger Aspect Productions, who are responsible for other British children’s entertainment such as Mr Bean: The Animated Series, Aliens Love Underpants and…uh…Peaky Blinders?
So it looks like we’ve not seen the end of the Penfurzy Rebel Bicycle Club for a while, and this is nothing but a good thing.
NEW RELEASES / APPLE ARCADE LAUNCH
Apple Arcade launched this week, with a library of games available with a subscription on any Apple device. It’s been a bit of a nightmare confirming exactly what games the service has launched with (especially as I don’t have an Apple device), but here’s a quick roundup of some highlights of what should be out based on the information I have been able to find:
- EarthNight – a runner game with massive dragons in earth’s atmosphere
- Exit the Gungeon – a sequel to indie darling Enter the Gungeon
- Frogger in Toy Town – remember Frogger? He’s back! In app form!
- Hot Lava – the child’s favourite game where the floor is lava
- Neo Cab – a narrative game where you play a futuristic cab driver
- Rayman Mini – it’s a small Rayman game!
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens – the latest game in the Shantae platformer series
- Shinsekai Into the Depths – an ocean-exploring side scroller
- Various Daylife – a new JRPG from the team behind Octopath Traveler
- What the Golf? – a bizarre golf game where anything can happen, looks like a good laugh
Several of these will also be getting releases elsewhere, with Neo Cab and Hot Lava coming to Steam, and What the Golf will be on the Epic Store and Switch soon as well. EarthNight will also be seeing a release on pretty much every other platform by the end of the year.
One game that has been unquestionably confirmed is Overland, which also launched for Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Switch. It’s a turn-based, procedurally-generated survival game, which normally would put me off, but it looks like it has an interesting premise, some tense moments, and plenty of dogs to help you out. Plus the developer’s logo has a ferret in it so by law I have to support it.
Sayonara Wild Hearts has also launched on Apple Arcade, along simultaneous Switch and PS4 releases. This one’s been getting a lot of buzz. It’s a rhythm action game that looks like someone asked, “what if Rez, but more purple and with female motorcycle gangs?” It’s all set to a catchy pop soundtrack that wouldn’t be out of place on an Anamanaguchi album, and it looks like a fun time.
The big title for this week is The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. This is a Switch remake of the classic Game Boy title from 1993, featuring Link arriving on a mysterious island. The remake looks like it retains all the stuff that made the original great, but now with an adorable art style and a dungeon-building mini-game. Our overlord Ryan is very excited about this one.
GAME OF THE WEEK
That’s the sound of the latest Game of the Week. Now, you may complain that Link’s Awakening is not occupying this spot, but shut up, because no game is as important this week as Untitled Goose Game. Yes, it’s still called that.
The game can be summed up nicely in its own tagline – it’s a lovely day in the village and you’re a horrible goose. That’s it. That’s the game. You play a goose, and you must ruin everyone’s day. There’s a dedicated honk button. If you’re not playing this game right this very second, then what the actual hell is wrong with you?!
10/10 would bother the farmer again.
And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you again soon for more news and releases.
Find Leigh on Twitter at @TheCheapFerret and on YouTube at Bobthepetferret
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