Hello! Welcome to the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, lots of partnerships being formed, and exciting things on the horizon.
There Will Be More Control and I Will Become More Insufferable
Remember Control? If you follow this roundup, or indeed literally anything else I do online, then you absolutely do because I refuse to let anyone not hear about it. It was the best game of 2019 and its spooky SCP Foundation vibe is something that absolutely everyone who loves a bit of supernatural action should play (and it’s currently just under £15 for the Ultimate Edition in the Steam Summer Sale right now, just saying).
Anyway, there’s going to be more of it. That’s why this is the lead story. It’s my roundup and therefore this is the most important news of the week. Microsoft could buy the entire moon in the time I’m writing this and I literally would not care as much as I do about this news. So buckle up.
Anyway, so there are actually two Control projects on the way. Developers Remedy have announced a renewed partnership with 505 Games that looks very similar to the deal they signed with Epic that I alluded to last week – two games, one big, one small, both in the same franchise. Obviously, a Control remaster is not on the cards as the small title because it’s about as current as you can get, but there will be a multiplayer title set in the universe.
Initially I was reluctant about this because Control was a solid focused single player experience, but then upon reading the announcement, I saw it was co-op, not competitive, and realised it’s likely a game about FBC agents being sent into sites plagued with paranatural activity and neutralising any threats. That has some real potential, and I look forward to roping in the rest of the team for that when it’s ready for release.
But that’s not all. Remedy also confirmed that a “bigger-budget Control game” is also on the way, implying a sequel. Could this mean Control 2 AND Alan Wake 2 at some point? That shared universe is getting larger by the minute it seems, and I. Am. Ready.
Now go play Control please. It’s excellent.
Medium Developers Making Silent Hill?
Similar to how last week’s rumours of Alan Wake stuff have led to Control announcements, another rumour from last week has seen some more concrete developments.
No, Kojima has not been revealed to be the secret mastermind behind Blue Box. In fact, Blue Box delayed their promised announcement on Friday, stating that we now will know more in August. So that story is currently going nowhere.
But Silent Hill fans have got something significant this week. Bloober Team, best known for the Layers of Fear series and the Blair Witch game, as well as previous Game of the Week The Medium earlier this year, have announced a “strategic partnership” with Konami.
The official announcement is mostly corporate gibberish (possibly in part due to translations between Polish and Japanese and then both into English) but the signs of what a partnership like this could mean are obvious. Bloober Team, despite their silly name, are primarily a horror game developer. And The Medium was very much an indie attempt at making a Silent Hill style game, with its fixed camera angles, dual world setting and a story heavily focused on trauma all feeling very much like Konami’s franchise. Akira Yamaoka doing half the soundtrack helped a bit with that too.
And now they’re working with the owners of that franchise? A company who don’t have any other horror franchises to speak of? We can all see where the wind is blowing on this, right? And unlike every other theory regarding Silent Hill in the past few years, this at least has credibility since it stems from an official announcement.
Horror fans are mixed on this announcement, however. Bloober Team has a mixed reception from within the scene, with some loving the developer’s work while others deride it for being exploitative. The Medium in particular received some backlash earlier this year over accusations of dismissing mental illness and glamourising child abuse, although there are others (such as myself) who disagree with these claims. So it’ll be interesting to see what emerges from this partnership and whether or not we’ll get the first good Silent Hill game since 2003.
There are other rumours circulating too, with suggestions that a second Silent Hill game may be on its way from a Japanese studio, but these have been floating around, largely unsubstantiated, for a while now, and feel more like wishful thinking right now than anything concrete. We shall see.
PlayStation Acquire Housemarque
Hopping back to Finland again, action game developers Housemarque have been acquired by PlayStation Studios. If you’re not sure who they are, they are known for working with Sony on small shooter titles such as Resogun, Dead Nation and Alienation, and for their first larger scale title Returnal, which released earlier this year as a PS5 exclusive.
It’s an announcement that surprised me, because the developer’s close relationship with Sony made me assume they were already a first-party studio for PlayStation, but that reaction shows how much this makes sense. The last time Housemarque made anything for another publisher was in 2012, when they co-developed the Angry Birds Trilogy collection for Activision (which I did not see coming when I checked this).
This has naturally led to debates about why the Housemarque acquisition by Sony is seen as reasonable while Xbox’s acquisition of Bethesda was a bad thing. There are differing opinions on this, but when one acquisition leads to disappointment that people on one platform will no longer get titles in certain major franchises and the other feels like it had already happened years ago, there is certainly a clear difference there.
There may have also been accidental confirmation that Sony may have also bought remake and port factory Bluepoint, fresh off their success remaking Demon’s Souls for PS5. This hasn’t been officially confirmed by Sony, but a tweet about the Housemarque news from their Japanese account originally had Bluepoint’s logo on it (along with an image of that Demon’s Souls remake) before being swiftly deleted. Curious.
Super quiet week for new releases this week. In fact there are only two games, and only if you own a Switch to play them on.
One of them is the Western release of Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny. The latest in Nippon Ichi’s tactical RPG series of demons and absurdly high stats, this sixth game sees the series jump to full 3D visuals for the first time. You play as Zed, a zombie living (unliving?) in the Netherworld who sets out to destroy a god, as you do. The game looks exactly like you’d expect from the series – tactical RPG gameplay with a lot of jokes and weird anti-heroes, basically. And also incredibly anime. Of course.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Sky: Children of the Light, the latest game from thatgamecompany, best known for beloved cult classic Journey.
Previously released on mobile and now getting its first release on a console, this game has the exact kind of gorgeous art style you’d expect from the developers of Journey, but with just a hint of Ghibli-esque magic too. You play as a small flying child bringing light back to the world by collecting spirits and candles. There are social mechanics in the game, built specifically to encourage friendship between players, as a natural extension of what Journey was trying to achieve.
I’ve played a little bit of it as it is a free-to-play title, and it’s all very lovely and I’m happy to call it Game of the Week.
And that’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out Mat’s esports roundup on Monday and I will be back with more general gaming news same time next week. See you then!