Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, every platform holder is being criticised for something!
Nintendo Closing Wii U and 3DS eShops
Nintendo have announced the closure of the eShop on both the 3DS and Wii U platforms. Both shops will be closing in March next year, giving players a year to snap up all the digital titles that will be lost once they’re gone. However, if you’re reliant on points cards, you’ll only have until August this year, since you won’t be able to redeem them after then.
This is a real tragedy, as there are a ton of games exclusively available as digital titles, and an analysis by VGC estimates this will come to roughly 450 Wii U games and 600 3DS games, plus 350 Virtual Console releases across both platforms that have yet to see an appearance on the Switch Online service.
Wii U titles that will be lost include Pokémon Rumble U and Dr Luigi, while Western players will lose Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars as a physical version of that game exists only in Japan. American players hoping to get F-Zero-like FAST Racing Neo will also lose the ability to get it as that is the only territory where a physical release didn’t happen.
3DS titles that will be lost include Dillon’s Rolling Western, the Pullblox/Pushmo series, Game Freak’s HarmoKnight and Sakura Samurai, all of which are considered quirky hidden gems. Boxboy will also be lost in the West, and Europeans will lose access to Shin Megami Tensei IV, which saw an exclusive digital release here, and has yet to be ported elsewhere.
With the Virtual Console, all games from the Game Boy and GBA, DS and Wii, along with the Game Gear and Turbografx-16 will also disappear as no support for these systems has arrived on the Switch yet. There are also a number of NES, SNES and N64 titles that still haven’t been added to the Switch library.
This is a real blow to game preservation, and until Nintendo makes the effort to bring everything forward to the Switch, there’s a lot to be lost here.
Still, if we could collectively shame Sony into not closing the PS3 and Vita storefronts, maybe the same could be done here too?
Indie Horror Game Censored on PlayStation
Indie publisher Wired Productions announced this week that upcoming horror title Martha is Dead will be slightly different on the PS4 and PS5. In a statement on Twitter, Wired confirmed that changes have had to be made on PlayStation due to the apparent insistence of Sony.
It’s not clear what these changes will be, but due to Martha is Dead being a horror game that, by the developers’ own admission, touches on some difficult topics, it’s easy to see how there might be concerns. That said, the PC and Xbox versions will remain untouched, and developers LKA have made it clear that the game itself provides warnings in regard to some of the more gruesome or difficult scenes.
One suspected change is a scene where the player must play the role of a killer as they peel the face off a woman’s corpse in order to wear it as a mask. Which is an unpleasant scene, but with all the appropriate content warnings in place, it should be allowed to go ahead.
This is purely speculation, of course, as Sony have, to date, not explained what their specific concerns are.
Halo Composers Seek Royalties
The composers of the iconic Halo music are suing Microsoft over unpaid royalties.
A lawsuit was filed in June 2020, and mediation is now set to go ahead next week, which could lead to court if no agreement is reached.
Marty O’Donnell and Mike Salvatori are claiming they have years of unpaid royalties owed to them, and attempts to get this out of Microsoft thus far have been unsuccessful. A big part of the issue appears to be vagueness around contracts, part of which seems to come from confusion around Bungie’s acquisition by Microsoft in the early 2000s. The duo allege that the theme was licensed to Bungie in 1999, and the acquisition led Microsoft to claim the piece is now “work-for-hire”.
It’s a legal mess of contracts and licensing agreements, so it’s not clear what’s really going on. More details can be found in the Eurogamer piece that brought all of this to light.
O’Donnell and Salvatori are also seeking an injunction to prevent the release of Paramount’s Halo TV show, which is set to debut on 24th March.
Horizon Forbidden West is getting an official Tallneck Lego set, and I need it
After the announcement of the EarthBound games, original producer of the third entry, Mother 3, has made a plea for this title to finally receive a localisation and worldwide release, echoing the sentiment of many fans.
Netflix is working on a Bioshock film, although no further details are known.
Knock, knock! Paramount have announced Sonic 3 & Knuckles, in other words, a third Sonic movie and a Knuckles TV show.
In Spellmaster: The Saga (PC), you play as a sorcerer setting up a magical school in the wilderness. Part of the game sees you managing your own personal Hogwarts, while the rest of the game sees you venturing out for action using your powerful magical skills. Seems like a cool idea!
Infernax (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is what happens if Castlevania II gained modern sensibilities to make it less infuriating (but still challenging). You play a knight returning to his home, now invaded by a great corruption, which he sets out to vanquish. Your choices in side quests will determine the outcome of the adventure, and whether you’ll emerge as the hero.
The latest title in a series that shows no signs of stopping, Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is an expanded version of Dynasty Warriors 9 with the usual strategy elements that get tacked onto the Empires titles in the series generally. DW9 wasn’t particularly well-received though, so treat this one with caution.
The King of Fighters XV (PC, PlayStation, Xbox Series X/S) is the latest in SNK’s long-running beloved fighting game franchise, bringing together characters from across their roster along with a few new faces. If you’ve played a KoF before, you have an idea of what to expect here. It’s your standard 1v1 fighter with a bunch of tweaks and improvements, and bonkers story involving multiverses because fighting games simply cannot be chill for one second (this is a good thing).
In the third example of how obsessive branding between two companies can prevent a perfectly good compound title from happening, Total War: Warhammer 3 (PC) is here, and once again is not simply called Total Warhammer. It’s yet another Total War RTS set in the expansive Warhammer universe of tabletop games, and you likely know what to expect if you know anything about the combined franchises.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Horizon: Forbidden West (PlayStation), which is Sony’s long-awaited sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Which I loved, and is a big part of why the sequel is Game of the Week.
Following on six months from the end of the previous game, protagonist Aloy sees herself heading west to track down a mysterious Lance Reddick fellow whose actions threaten the world. A world which, of course, is already threatened by robot dinosaurs and a civilisation that’s broken down into tribalism (and if you want to know how this happened, play Zero Dawn! I’m not spoiling that here!).
The sequel brings a bunch of new cool stuff, like underwater exploration, robot mammoths and pterodactyls (the latter of which you may be able to ride!) and a bunch of gorgeous new coastal environments. I’m eagerly looking forward to hunting robots again, and I’ll have a video up on my YouTube channel next week to provide my initial thoughts.
That’s all for now! See you again next week with more from the world of gaming!