This Week in Games - Demo Modeby Heidi Kemps,
Hey everyone! I just flew back all the way from the East Coast from MAGfest, and boy, are my arms… legs…. back… uh, well, everything tired. I had a great time, though, and I wanted to thank everyone who came out to our panels or said hi.
Meanwhile… how about Awesome Games Done Quick, eh? It's always a treat whenever it starts up again, and while we're getting towards the end of the marathon, there's still some great stuff scheduled to come up. Also, if you missed some of the earlier runs, like the absurdly bugged Sonic the Hedgehog playthrough or the utter insanity that is Urban Yeti, you can always go watch the VODs over on the Games Done Quick YouTube channel or their Twitch archive. And, as always, if you like what they're doing, toss a few bucks their way to support charity!
Now, onto the week's news…
EPIC LOOKS SET TO BECOME STEAM'S STRONGEST COMPETITOR
In case you weren't aware, Fortnite is making Epic a lot of money. So much money is rolling in from people happily slurping’ away on Slurp Juice, in fact, that Epic has now set up their own online PC download service to compete with Steam – and they're taking this competition very seriously.
For starters, the cut they take per game sold is significantly more favorable for most small and mid-size developers: where Valve takes about a 30% cut of revenue, Epic's store only takes 12%. Also, a few weeks back during the Game Awards, a few small-but-promising games were announced as either exclusives or early launches on Epic's storefront. That's a good start, but still not quite a bombshell.
Well, that bomb finally dropped earlier this week, as Ubisoft announced that The Division 2 won't be available on Steam at all, instead being an exclusive at Epic's storefont. If it does well, presumably more games will follow. Ubisoft, love them or hate them, is a powerful force in gaming, and Epic having them in their camp is an enormous get. If they can find success on Epic's platform, more publishers and developers will be eager to hawk their wares there, potentially forcing Valve to cut better deals or lose support.
So what does this mean for the sort of games we look at most in this column? Potentially, quite a lot. Japanese developers have seen Steam as a way to reach a wide global audience through PC ports, and companies like Namco-Bandai, Sega, and Square-Enix have widely embraced the platform. However, Epic is certainly a known quantity in Japan: Unreal Engine has become a very popular development tool used in big-name titles (Kingdom Hearts III runs on it!), and Fortnite has been taking off over there as well. It presumably wouldn't be too hard for Epic to win over Japanese developers and publishers who respect their company and already use their tools. If Ubisoft does well, Japanese publishers will no doubt take notice. Quite frankly, this space needs a bit of additional competition, so I hope Epic's efforts start to pay off.
13 SENTINELS: AEGIS RIM GETS A DEMO… BUT THERE'S A CATCH
We're still not sure when the next Vanillaware game, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, is coming out. We know the Vita version's canned, but thus far, all we've really seen of the game is in-development footage. That's about to change, though, as we'll be seeing a demo of the gorgeous new mech adventure drop on March 14th. The bad news: We have to pay for it.
Atlus is launching some media collections for 13 Sentinels as both discs and downloads in Japan. The disc version, called 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Music and Art Clips, contains an art booklet, a soundtrack CD, a PS4 theme and avatar set, and a demo called 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Prologue for approximately $30. The download version contains only the theme, the avatar set, and the game for the more reasonable price of $10.
Prologue contains (approximately) the first three hours of the game, and will also let players take control of each of the titular thirteen main characters at some point. However, save data from the prologue will not be able to be carried over into the final game, presumably because there's still a fair bit of work left to be done and maintaining that compatibility would be a huge pain in the butt.
While it'll be nice for the public to finally gets hands-on time with this game, being essentially a paid demo leaves something of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm hoping Atlus USA will find a better, free-r way to localize and distribute this demo to Western fans, as I'm sure they understand that a paid demo is kind of silly in this day and age.
RESIDENT EVIL 2 REMAKE ALSO HAS A DEMO… BUT THERE'S A CATCH
So as of tomorrow, you can hope onto your favorite digital games storefront, download the “1-shot” demo for Resident Evil 2, and enjoy the company of the RCPD's hunkiest dreamboat Leon Kennedy… for all of thirty minutes.
Yes, a whole half-hour of Resident Evil 2 remake goodness! And it's free! I mean, timed demos are certainly nothing new, and this should give you a good taste of what's to come in the full game.
So what's the catch this time? Well, you know how it's called the “1-shot” demo? When those thirty minutes are up, you can't play it again. The demo locks up and becomes a trailer for the game. But hey, at least you won't be left craving more zombie-dodging action for too much longer, as the full game launches on the 25th. Set aside half an hour, dim the lights, turn up the sound, and enjoy.
DEAD OR ALIVE 6 GETS A SLIGHT DELAY
This is about the point in time where a game that's due to ship on a physical disc in a month's time is basically locked-down in terms of content. And DoA6 was, in fact, due to ship in mid-February. However, that's no longer the case: the release date has been pushed to March 1st to “improve quality.”
Of course, such a minor delay (only a couple weeks) so close to the launch date doesn't exactly say “major overhauls to content.” More than likely, the developers caught a few potentially nasty bugs close to the finish line, and opted to delay the ship date a bit rather than launch something really busted. (Get it? BUST-ed? Oh, never mind.)
Anyway, it's only two weeks. Go make Kasumi and Ayane in Soul Calibur VI's Create-A-Soul mode if you really need a fix before March.
Two big-ish Nintendo releases hit this week, though they're not really “new.” Well, one of them is and isn't at the same time.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is an enhanced re-release of the Wii U New Super Mario Bros. game. It packs both the original game and the sort-of-expansion New Super Luigi U. Most importantly, it's the game that introduces the concept of the Super Crown, which transforms new playable character Toadette into a weird Peach-like entity. This is, of course, the idea that spawned beloved internet favorite Bowsette, and that might be the most notable thing about this game, honestly. Admittedly, I've never been big on the New Super Mario Bros. titles, but I'm sure this will sell gangbusters whether I care about it or not. If you dig it, knock yourself out.
Nintendo hasn't forgotten their other handheld, however, and they'll also be launching Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Junior's Journey tomorrow. This is a visually enhanced and expanded remake of the beloved third game in the Mario and Luigi series of whimsical RPGs. However, if you're a big RPG nut, you might be preoccupied with the other big Friday RPG re-release: Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition. This remastered version of one of the Tales series’ best entries includes all the content from the never-released-in-the-West PS3 edition, which makes the “definitive” part of the title more than just a marketing buzzword.
Finally, there's Outrun in the ongoing Sega Ages collection of re-releases on Switch. Portable arcade-perfect Outrun is quite a treat, though part of me hopes that someday all the licensing nonsense will resolve and we'll get a Switch port of Outrun 2006. If Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is worth a Switch port, so is Outrun 2006, dangit!
And that's all for This Week in Games. I'm going back to bed.
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