Hello! Welcome to another edition of the Geeky Brummie Weekly Gaming Roundup! This week, we talk corporate greed, the newest Nintendo Direct, and the many games that dropped on us in the past seven days.
ACTIVISION SEE RECORD YEAR, CELEBRATE BY FIRING STAFF
Activision Blizzard have elicited the ire of the games industry this week. Speculation has been rife for months that staff at the publisher may be out of a job soon, but this wasn’t confirmed until this week. 800 staff have been let go due to corporate restructuring.
While this is sad news any time that companies have to let go of a lot of staff due to financial issues, Activision have also experienced, in CEO Bobby Kotick’s words, “the best [financial results] in our history.” That’s right, despite a record financial year, Activision have still decided it would be best to fire a bunch of hard-working staff. 800 to be precise.
It’s not been a popular decision, and not just for the outgoing employees who’d been dreading this moment for months. It’s also attracted criticism from customers, journalists and other game industry professionals alike. Rival studios are presenting a united front in encouraging the staff to apply with them, while customers are calling for boycotts. There are even calls from activists pushing for better unionisation for Kotick to be fired.
It’s a decision that smacks of greed and short-sightedness, and Activision may have hurt themselves in the long run with this. Here’s hoping all those staff find new positions soon.
NINTENDO DIRECT NEWS
There was a Nintendo Direct this week, outlining all the new releases for the Switch. The presentation opened on the announcement of Super Mario Maker 2, which is taking the Wii U level builder and adding even more crazy features for you to throw in your levels.
If JRPGs are your thing, then this was the Direct for you. There was news on Dragon Quest Builders 2 and Dragon Quest XI S, the announcement of Rune Factory 5, the reveal of a game called Oninaki from the developers of I Am Setsuna, and a bunch of detail on the latest Fire Emblem title, Three Houses.
Lots of games getting ported to the Switch too, including Dead By Daylight, Deltarune Chapter 1, GRID Autosport, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Unravel Two, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Final Fantasy VII and IX (the latter of which was released immediately after the presentation). There was also confirmation of Mortal Kombat 11 getting a Switch release alongside the other systems.
There was new gameplay of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, showing off Captain Marvel just in time for her upcoming movie. We also got a good look at Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the Castlevania-but-not-really game from Koji Igarashi, which is finally coming out in summer. And there was the announcement of Astral Chain, developed by Platinum Games. It’s got robots, fast-paced combat and an incomprehensible anime plot, so in other words, it’s a Platinum game. So that should be fun.
The final announcement of the presentation was a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Built from the ground up, this remake is a 2.5D reimagining of the classic Game Boy title that’s looking very cute indeed.
Overall, a bit of a mixed bag with announcements. Not a lot of major surprises, and a little disappointing to see no Pokémon, Animal Crossing or even gameplay of Persona 5’s Joker in Smash Bros. Some good stuff in there, and some weird stuff (we’ll get to that).
ROCKET LEAGUE GOES FULL CROSS-PLATFORM
Rocket League has been a game at the forefront of the movement towards greater cross-play, and this week it achieved that dream. Back in January, the matchmaking system allowed players across PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch to play against each other, and this week the Friends Update has allowed players to set up games amongst friends, regardless of platform.
This is fairly small news, admittedly, but it’s hopefully a sign of things to come for future multiplayer titles. Cross-play is a significant push forward, allowing people to play each other regardless of the box they’re playing on, and here’s hoping it becomes a standard for most games. Let’s all stare and point at Sony to ensure this happens.
HOLLOW KNIGHT TO GET SEQUEL
Indie favourite Hollow Knight is set to get a sequel. Initially teased on Twitter, Team Cherry have now revealed Hollow Knight: Silksong. You control Hornet, a prominent character who featured throughout the original game, as she battles through a strange land.
The game began life as DLC for Hollow Knight, as a stretch goal for those who originally backed the game on Kickstarter but took on a life of its own. It promises to be as large as the original game, and will be free to Kickstarter backers who expected the DLC. The game is set for release on PC and Switch, with other platforms yet to be confirmed.
A lot of new games came out this week, so let’s go through them all quickly. Trials Rising is offering up some more physics-based bike shenanigans that the Trials series is known for. Pixelly skateboard game OlliOlli saw a Switch release with the bundle OlliOlli Switch Stance. And anime worlds collide, quite literally, in epic fighting game Jump Force.
In weird releases, this week’s Nintendo Direct saw the announcement and subsequent release of Tetris 99. It’s Tetris…Battle Royale. Because clearly every game needs to be a battle royale now. If you want something less chaotic, you should check out my Game of the Week, Eastshade, where you play a painter interacting with a stunning world.
In AAA titles, Crackdown 3 is, somehow, now a real game, so if you’ve been itching to battle your way through a city as a super-powered Terry Crews, then your prayers have been answered. Then there’s Far Cry New Dawn, where Far Cry 5 goes a little bit Fallout, as the perfect antidote for those still upset by Fallout 76. And finally, there’s Metro Exodus, which sees you coming out of the metro tunnels of the title and out into the post-apocalyptic wilderness.
Phew. I think that’s everything. And with that, we come to the end of another Geeky Brummie gaming roundup! See you next week with even more news and releases from the world of gaming!
Find Leigh on Twitter at @TheCheapFerret