This Week in Games: Mario on the Big and Small Screen

by Heidi Kemps,

Since I'm overseas right now, my submission schedule for This Week in Games is a bit off. This week I'm coming in just under the wire, mainly because Nintendo decided to, well, pull a Nintendo and drop a whole mess of news in my lap in the middle of the day Japan time (and late at night PST). It's probably a good thing my schedule is skewed, because otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to discuss this stuff! How fortuitous! But first, let's check out some other news bits.

EVO JAPAN HAPPENED, WAS REAL GOOD

In case you missed the photo feature we did for EVO Japan, it's over thisaway. Overall, the event was a ton of fun, the tournaments were filled with great moments, and a lot of great players got their chance to shine. It was a bit sparse on announcements (current status of Julia Chang in Tekken 7: still dead), but I have a feeling we won't have to wait too much longer to hear more about Soul Calibur IV and SNK Heroines.

Anyway, if you missed the EVO Japan Finals (likely, since it was during the afternoon and evening Japan time), I recommend catching up on the Guilty Gear Xrd R2 and Tekken 7 Grand Finals. They're both incredible.

MONSTER HUNTER WORLD SHIPPED A WHOLE LOT OF COPIES LAST WEEK

How big of a deal is Monster Hunter World to Capcom? Well, they just announced they shipped 5 million copies of the game globally. That's a lot of beasts getting killed! While those are copies shipped and not sold, we do know that 1.4 million copies were sold in Japan just last week, making Monster Hunter World one of the best-selling Japanese PS4 games right off the bat. It marks a strong return of the franchise to Sony consoles, and it'll be interesting to see where Capcom puts their priorities with the franchise – the portability and worldwide success of the Switch is incredibly appealing, but the extra power of the PS4 (and, by extension, PS4 Pro) can add that extra bit of oomph to the Monster Hunter universe. I wouldn't be surprised if both Sony and Nintendo were coming up with ways to court Capcom for future MH development.

YS VIII APPARENTLY HAS A BETTER LOCALIZATION NOW

I say “apparently” because I haven't been able to try it myself – my PS4's back at home, and I don't have the Vita version. But yes, apparently that localization-fixer-upper patch I was talking about last week actually did, technically, drop in January! That's pretty swell, and from what I'm hearing it's quite comprehensive. The patch itself is quite large, weighing in at over 1GB on PS4 and almost 300 MB on Vita, making your already-taxed-for-space proprietary Vita memory card cry even more. Anyway, if you have either of those consoles, go play Ys VIII, it's great!

THERE'S A MARIO MOVIE COMING FROM THE MINIONS STUDIO

Among the bombshells Nintendo dropped today was the revelation that they're producing a Mario movie with the animation studio Illumination. Illumination doesn't have the same name recognition as, say, Pixar, but you no doubt have seen (and probably hate) their most famous creations: the Minions. Yes, Nintendo's partnering with the Despicable Me studio to make Mario into a CG animated film.

Now, I know reading that probably fills you with some sort of existential dread, but there are a few rays of hope here. For starters, Shigeru Miyamoto is listed as one of the movie's producers, meaning he has a good degree of control and has to sign off on a lot of things. Hopefully, if somebody at Illumination is like “ah, yes, we need a lengthy scene where Waluigi dabs,” he'll do a table-flip and say “HELL NO.” The recent history of Mario and company being handled by People Who Are Not Nintendo has been pretty solid, too – hell, Mario/Rabbids sounded like an awful idea and it actually turned out great, mainly because Nintendo made damn well sure it lived up to their high standards.

And let's face it, folks: no matter how bad this is, it can't be as bad as every other Mario adaptation that's ever been made. (Yes, I'm saying The Great Princess Peach Rescue isn't very good. It's weird and interesting, but it's not good.)

YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR SWITCH ONLINE SERVICES LATER THIS YEAR

Nintendo finally announced a date for the launch of paid Switch online services. Starting this September, you'll need to add yet another online console subscription service to your monthly bills if you want to enjoy Switch games online with others. It's a bit cheaper than the others, though: one month is $4, 3 months is $8, and a year will be $20 – at least, that's what they said last year. It could change, especially if they're planning on doing things like making voice chat not a ginormous pain in the ass.

MARIO KART IS GETTING SMART… ON PHONES

Nintendo might be shuttering its first-ever app, Miitomo, but they're not planning on stopping their mobile expansion anytime soon, especially with how successful Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp have been. The next property to get the smartphone treatment is Mario Kart. While details are sparse on the upcoming mobile game, called Mario Kart Tour, we know we're probably going to have to wait a while, as Nintendo plans to launch the app in early 2019. In the meantime, you're going to have to keep on rolling for your Fire Emblem waifus/hazubandos or building furniture to get your Nintendo smartphone fix.

NEW RELEASES

OUT NOW: DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT (PS4)

Perhaps you know the basic concept behind Dissidia from the PSP games: basically, a bunch of heroes and villains from across the various Final Fantasy universes are brought to a new dimension to blow the everloving crap out of each other. Dissidia NT is a very, very different beast from its PSP predecessors, however. It was originally an arcade game, one of many new-ish titles in the recently hot genre of “team-based third-person arena battle games.” Yes, you're on a team with two other players in Dissidia, and by god, you'd better be able to do teamwork or you're gonna get trounced. You launch attacks and use skills to try and damage and/or disable your opponents. There's a lot of complex and interlocking systems here, particularly the management of Bravery, a number used to determine how much damage you give and receive.

If you're wondering why you haven't seen many official reviews of Dissidia NT yet, there's a good reason: most outlets didn't get review copies until launch day. It seems a little shortsighted of Square-Enix to do that: even if they wanted to be sure that reviews reflect the actual launch-day experience, you've got a bunch of competitively-minded gamers trying to decide if they want to invest time and money in either this or Dragon Ball FighterZ. There's also a mobile spinoff in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Opera Omnia, too, just in case you don't have enough gacha in your life.


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