Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, passing out with Pikachu and EA fires its staff.
The Pokémon Company held a Pokémon Presents showcase this week, and speculation beforehand was rife. Will they be adding the classic games to Nintendo Switch Online, now that Game Boy games have been added? Will there be more Detective Pikachu? No, absolutely not, you can go to sleep instead.
The central announcement at the showcase was, no joke, Pokémon Sleep. The app was announced four years ago and then promptly disappeared, but now it’s imminent. It’s a sleep measuring app, but with a Pikachu-based twist. Placing your phone by you as you sleep, the app monitors your sleep and attracts Pokémon with similar sleeping styles. The story is that players’ sleep patterns will somehow be used to monitor Pokémon sleeping patterns.
Players can also use the Pokémon Go Plus device instead of their phone, and this data can then be transferred over when the player wakes up. Pokémon Sleep will also be able to interact with Pokémon Go somehow.
Pokémon Sleep launches in July.
Elsewhere, other announcements at the event included a two-part DLC for Scarlet and Violet, releasing in autumn and winter this year. They will add more Pokémon and variants on existing types. Meanwhile, Netflix are working with French animation studio Dwarf Animation on a stop-motion Pokémon show about a concierge at a resort and his Psyduck buddy.
And no, the Game Boy games are not coming to Nintendo Switch Online. (Yet?)
EA Fires a Lot of Staff, Doesn’t Inform Them Until the Last Minute
EA have fired all their contractors working out of their Baton Rouge office. That effectively amounts to the entire QA team for Apex Legends, which is roughly 200 people.
The news was announced to staff via a mandatory unscheduled Zoom meeting. Staff were only allowed to collect personal items from the office under supervision of security. There are also suggestions that these layoffs were known to EA executives as early as September, who chose to say nothing until now.
These are sadly the latest in a long line of mass layoffs at various game companies in the last couple of months. These include Microsoft, Unity, Riot and various media sites owned by Fandom. Many of these companies employ CEOs making vast sums more than the average member of staff, while still raking in obscene profits.
Best of luck to all those affected by these decisions.
Humble Bundle Earthquake Relief Bundle
The bundle contains 70 games and other items that normally cost over £900, but it can all be yours for £25, and 100% of your money goes to various charities providing humanitarian aid by those affected by the devastating quake about a month ago.
It’s a mixed bag but there are some highlights. Ghostrunner is fun, if frustrating, while XCOM 2 and the System Shock games are classics. There are also some games from Turkish developers in there, such as Mount & Blade: Warband and Cats and the Other Lives. You also get the Starfinder TTRPG and 10 volumes of Saga from Image Comics.
Unfortunately Gotham Knights in in there too, but guess not everything can be good in these bundles. But at least it is for a good cause, which is the important part.
In indie releases, Rytmos (PC, Switch) is a relaxing puzzle game about making music by solving mazes, while Meg’s Monster (PC) is a cute little retro RPG about a monster protecting a lost girl who cannot cry or the world will end.
Scars Above (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is an action adventure set on an alien planet, where a stranded astronaut must survive in a harsh environment. It also has possibly the worst Steam description I’ve ever read.
Fitness Boxing: Fist of the North Star (Switch) is what happens when someone jokingly suggests combining a fitness game with a bonkers anime and it somehow gets greenlit. It’s Fitness Boxing, but with Fist of the North Star characters. I will never play this, but I’m so happy that it exists.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is the latest game in Team Ninja’s increasing attempts to become the next FromSoftware. It’s Nioh, but in a fantasy version of ancient China, so if that sounds like your jam, this is likely to be a great time. A rough PC optimisation though, I’m hearing.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is King of the Castle (PC), which is what happens when Crusader Kings and Jackbox collide in a glorious way.
The host of the game plays a monarch, while remaining players take on roles within their council. Each player has their own objectives, meaning they can work with the monarch or attempt to oust them, with or without the help of other players. Meanwhile the monarch will be doing all they can to stay in their position by currying favour with their council members.
It’s basically a whole lot of political backstabbing and deception, and that just sounds like a brilliant time for all concerned, so it has to be Game of the Week.