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Gaming Roundup – I’M A SHAAAAARK

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, departures, new records, copycat mobile games and automatic discounts, plus all the latest releases!

Kojima Partner Leaves for Tencent

Long-time collaborator for Hideo Kojima, Kenichiro Imaizumi, has left Kojima Productions for pastures new this week, in a departure that has surprised many.

Imaizumi had previously worked on various projects at Konami as a digital technician, including Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Vandal Hearts, before joining Kojima’s team in 2001. It’s here that he forged a partnership with series director Hideo Kojima, serving as a producer on the franchise for much of its run, before leaving Konami with Kojima in 2015. Since then he served as producer on Kojima’s recent Norman Reedus falling down simulator Death Stranding.

His absence from the company has been unexplained, with neither Imaizumi or Kojima Productions acknowledging the split. Instead, news of his departure came with the announcement that Imaizumi is joining Chinese megacorp Tencent. If you don’t know them, you probably should as they own roughly 99% of the games industry at this point, with stakes in Riot, Epic, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Bluehole, and investment in Sumo Digital and Platinum.

It is unusual to see a 20-year partnership such as this end so suddenly. Maybe one day the full story will come out, and hopefully it’ll make more sense than Death Stranding.

Resident Evil Franchise Passes 100 Million Sales

If you’re curious about how well the recent Resident Evil remakes have done, the answer appears to be “very well indeed”. So much so that they’ve pushed the entire Resident Evil series to 100 million copies across all games in the series’ lifetime.

The news comes from a handful of reports giving overall sales figures for various Capcom franchises, with RE riding high above the likes of Monster Hunter and Street Fighter. Initial reports put the series as of the end of last year at 98 million, while a more recent report revealed RE3 selling 2 million in 5 days, and if you understand maths, that makes 100 million total.

Which makes RE Capcom’s biggest franchise. And considering how well they’ve been treating it lately, that’s perhaps unsurprising. RE7 was hugely well received and the remakes of 2 and 3 have been excellent too. Let’s hope it continues this way.

Ubisoft Sues Copycat Developer

Ubisoft have gone after Google and Apple this week in an attempt to take down a potentially copyright-infringing title from mobile platforms. The French publisher have filed a lawsuit against the two tech giants in an attempt to get them to remove a game called Area F2, which they allege is a “carbon copy” of Rainbow Six: Siege. The reason for filing the lawsuit against the store owners is because the game is from a Chinese developer, and trying to get them to defend themselves in a North American court may prove to be impossible, but going after the US-based store owners could result in the game losing its platform, which is the next best thing.

Now, I’m going to level with you here. I can’t really comment on how infringing this title is, because to me all military shooters are carbon copies of each other anyway. But it is also the mobile market, and on either store you’d have a tougher time trying to find games that don’t rip off another title, so there’s probably some basis to this.

That said, without using any of Ubisoft’s direct branding, it may be hard to justify the lawsuit. You can’t trademark a game concept, after all, so if the similarities between the two are just similar mechanics, this will have a hard time getting anywhere in court.

That said, at the time of writing, the game is absent from Google Play and the App Store, so it seems that both Google and Apple are complying, even if it’s just pending a legal judgement for now. Will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Epic Store Price Difference Refund

The Epic Games Store appears to have stealthily added a new feature that’s caught some positive attention. It seems that if you purchase a game and then it goes on sale shortly afterwards, Epic will now refund the difference, as if you bought the game on sale in the first place.

People have many opinions on the Epic Games Store, but it’s hard to fault this, if it is indeed a new policy. I’ve seen endless complaints regarding Steam, the Nintendo eShop and PSN about people buying games and seeing them then immediately go on sale, so the fact that Epic are acknowledging this frustration and offering automatic partial refunds is a pleasant surprise.

Since there hasn’t been any official announcement on this, it’s not known if this also applies to the store’s free games. I mainly think of this as someone who once bought Grim Fandango Remastered on PSN one December, only for it to become a PS Plus game in January. And with GTA5 exploding even further thanks to its current Epic price of zero of any currency, it’s something worth asking about.

New Releases

This week sees a few ports, the most notable of which is the remaster of The Wonderful 101 for PC, PS4 and Switch. Currently it’s only a digital release, as the physical release is experiencing delays due to, you know, everything that’s going on right now. If you’re not familiar with The Wonderful 101, it was a Platinum developed title for the Wii U, and did about as well as you’d expect a Wii U game to do. It featured a group of heroes, 100 to be precise, all acting as a team to defeat an alien invasion. I have the original game, I just never got round to playing it, so now might be a good time to do that.

And after being teased last week, the beginnings of the Mafia trilogy re-release have arrived this week. The Definitive Editions of Mafia II and III hit Steam, PS4 and Xbox One this week, with Mafia II being a remaster and Mafia III being a simple re-release with bundled DLC. A full remake of the first Mafia game will arrive to complete the trilogy in August.

The final port this week is Golf With Your Friends. Already a chaotic success on Steam, where it is just now leaving Early Access, the physics-based crazy golfer also hit PS4, Switch and Xbox this week.

Embr, entering Early Access this week, is a gig economy firefighting game, where a firefighter can be called to your house in the same way you call an Uber. As you’d imagine, the potential for chaos is high, especially if you bring some friends for co-op. If you prefer to start fires instead of putting them out, Total Tank Simulator may be more your thing, as it’s a game where you have to set up a bunch of tanks and other military units on a mission to destroy everything on the map. Both of these games got a Steam release this week.

If Found… is a new release from Annapurna Interactive this week on Steam. It’s a visual novel set in the 90s, as a teenage girl learns and discovers truths about herself on the cusp of a black hole destroying the world. In other emotional relationship-focused game news, A Fold Apart explores long-distance relationships through the combined mediums of paper-folding and 2D platforming. That’s out for Steam, Apple Arcade, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One.

If all that’s too heartfelt for your liking, Family Man, released for Steam, is a game about moral decisions with the aesthetics of Minecraft. You owe money to the mob, and have three weeks to pay it back. Set in a small town, you decide how to best raise this money, whether it’s through honest jobs with little pay or by doing dirty jobs that stretch your limits and could potentially push away your family. It’s like Animal Crossing, but with more murder!

Amazon start their first major foray into gaming this week with the release of the free-to-play title Crucible. It’s a team-based hero shooter with various hunters to choose from, each with their own unique abilities. Unlike other hero shooters, however, each match has a third faction to deal with – the environment itself. Set on a harsh alien landscape, players have to battle not only each other, but also a wide array of vicious flora and fauna. It’s free-to-play on Steam.

Game of the Week

Woah-oh, here it comes! It’s my Game of the Week, Maneater! It’s a lovely day in the ocean and you’re a horrible shark. That’s right, following Untitled Goose Game in the hyper-specific genre of games that let you be animals and do animal things, Maneater lets you be a ruthless killer shark.

The developers describe Maneater as a SharkPG, meaning an open world RPG with ability upgrades, deep lore and a serious story of revenge and loss. Where you play a shark. Yes. You heard me. You play as a shark looking to get revenge on the fisherman who killed her mother, and as you progress through the game you can gradually evolve into a megalodon, because that’s exactly how evolution works.

Maneater looks like it’s walking the line between serious and completely ridiculous and I’m here for this nonsense. If they’ve licensed Hall & Oates for the end credits song, then it’s Game of the Year for sure.

And that’s it for this week! See you next time with even more news and releases!