This Week in Games
Summer Crush

by Heidi Kemps,

Hi again! There's a lot of interesting announcements this week, so let's not beat around the bush – we've got games to discuss!

STUFF THAT GOT ANNOUNCED VIA SUMMER GAMES FEST AND AFFILIATED EVENTS

Crash Bandicoot 4 is happening! Yeah, I was like, “wasn't there already a Crash 4?” but it turns out I was thinking of one of the many post-Naughty Dog games Universal pooped out that were technically Crash games but had no number attached. Well, here you go! I mean, Crash 4 has about as much staff in common with the PSOne Crash games as all of the Universal stuff, but if you're a Crash fan don't let a negative nelly like me damper your excitement!

And hey, congratulations, Internet! You've successfully meme'd Skate 4 into existence. Now all you have to do is buy the damn thing to make sure EA keeps making them. Then again… this is EA we're talking about, so they'll probably find an excuse to kill Skate again anyway. Sigh.

Also, Alf claims he made Hatsune Miku. Does this mean he now made Minecraft by proxy?

STUFF THAT GOT ANNOUNCED AT NEW GAME+ EXPO

Well, some seems-like-a-no-brainer announcements (P5 Scramble) didn't happen, but overall, there was plenty to get hyped about. I'm not going to talk about everything here, and I suggest you watch the whole presentation if you missed it. Now, let's look at some of the new and mostly-new stuff that caught my attention.

As expected, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is getting a North American release courtesy of NIS America. I suspect (and hope) that the localization this time around won't be the phenomenal boondoggle it was last time, Relocalizing and redubbing a whole game ain't cheap, guys! We'll be playing this one on PS4, Switch, and Steam.

Are you excited about No More Heroes 3? Well, the first ever in-game footage was shown during New Game+ Expo! There's… just one problem.

God bless you, Suda, you beautiful trolling bastard.

This next announcement might be the highlight of the whole event. For me, at least.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2! It's really great to see that Bloodstained has been successful enough to become its own series. Even better, it's giving us games that capture the feel of the whole Castlevania series rather than just parts of it. Can we get a 16-bit-styled game sometime in the future? I sure hope so! (Note to Inti Creates: you can skip the Castlevania 64 era, it's fine)

Good news, Re:Zero fans: You're getting an official anime game, and it doesn't look half bad, either. Re:Zero The Prophecy of the Throne is a blend of strategy/RPG and visual novel, though since the trailer focuses far more heavily on the visual novel-like parts, I feel like things are likely weighted a smidge more in that direction. You'll be able to enjoy this new story on PS4, Switch, and Steam.

Meanwhile, Death End Re;Quest 2 certainly looks promising! The story is by Corpse Party alumnus Makoto Kedōin, and I hope it's more like the original Corpse Party than the mess that was Blood Drive. That reminds me, I still need to buy and play Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient…

Hey, you know what I enjoy? A good Mystery Dungeon game, that's what. Especially the Shiren the Wanderer series. Alas, Shiren never seems to get the love it deserves in the West, and I feel like that's partially because of the platforms it gets localized on: the Wii Shiren the Wanderer is extremely rare, and the superb Shiren the Wanderer: the Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is stuck on the PS Vita.

Until now! Shiren's finally coming to Switch and Steam, two platforms that are both massively popular and where roguelike games have a very strong following. Hopefully now more folks will give Shiren a whirl! Just be warned: If you've played other Mystery Dungeon games like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon, you'll be familiar with many of the mechanics… but Shiren gets meaner. Like, a lot meaner. In a good/infuriating way.

Fallen Legion: Revenants is something that was totally off my radar until I saw this trailer. It looks like it wants to be a mix of Castlevania-style atmosphere with Valkyrie Profile-like combat, which is a fine combination in my book. Apparently it's part of a series, which I now need to go back and learn more about!

Idol Manager looks cute! I dig the pixel aesthetic, and the idol-sim genre is not particularly well represented in the West outside of some mobile games.

Speaking of sims underrepresented in the west… Pretty Princess Party! This game absolutely wears its shoujo manga influences on its sleeve, and I am 100% down with that. It's obviously targeted at young girls, but let's be real: if it's any good, this will be a lot of folks’ guilty pleasure. Hell, if it's even close to being as fun as the overlooked DS title Princess Debut, I'll be happy to dress up in massive frilly gowns with my rabbit friend.

Also, Aksys is continuing their support of the otome game genre with Café Enchante, another title from the well-liked Otomate brand. All of the hotties in this one seem to be unusual mythical beings, including a Dullahan whose face is just weird magic fire. How do you smooch that? I don't know, but I sure want to find out! Thankfully I'll be able to take my otherworldly mantitties with me wherever on Switch! Piofore: Fated Memories is coming, too, but that one interests me considerably less. Different strokes, I guess.

Sadly, there's still no news on King of Fighters XV, but SNK did have a very interesting surprise: the final character for Samurai Shodown's season pass. This season has been filled with fanservicey favorites like Mina and Iroha, so a lot of folks were thinking there'd be a big, tough-guy character to balance out the copious boobies. What we got was… unexpected, to say the least.

Yes, Warden from For Honor is now playable in Samurai Shodown! That's… probably the last crossover I would have expected, though the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Warden's a fighter whose niche (heavily armored knight) isn't covered yet in SS, and For Honor is a decently popular game in both the West and Japan (albeit one with a very different playerbase). I would have preferred someone with a little more outward personality, but overall, Warden certainly isn't a terrible choice for a crossover representative.

Also: King of Fighters R-2 is coming to Switch! This marks the second Neo-Geo Pocket Color port to the console, which makes me think there are even more planned. Of course, the ones everyone wants are the SNK vs. CAPCOM games: Card Fighters Clash and Match of the Millennium. Would CAPCOM be willing to play nice? Hard to say – I mean, it's been a long since SvC Chaos marked the end of the crossover games. (Note: Please don't play SvC Chaos.)

Guilty Gear Strive continues to look amazing, no surprise.

Finally, we have the mysterious Escape from Asura. This is heavily speculated to be related to the Criminal Girls franchise, as Mikage LLC head Ryo Mikage has said that he plans to launch Criminal Girls X in the West. We'll learn more in due time, I suppose.

STUFF THAT GOT ANNOUNCED IN JAPAN

Quite a few games of interest have been announced in Japan over the last week, and while few of these have Western releases confirmed yet, I think we'll definitely see all of them at some point.

First off: Earth Defense Force 6. EDF is like the anti-AAA game: It doesn't look particularly pretty, it feels like everything's held together with duct tape, and there's little in the way of compelling plot besides “shoot bugs” and “shoot the shit out of more bugs, with a jetpack this time.” But let me tell you: These games are stupidly, ridiculously fun, and I have no doubt that EDF will deliver more of the same when it drops on PS4 next year.

But that's not all! We're also getting… uh, Earth Defense Force meets Minecraft and 3D Dot Game Heroes? Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is a collaboration between D3 Publisher, longtime EDF developer Sandlot, and Yuke's, and it looks nothing like the EDF games that have come before. For starters, the world is a cube, and everything is cubes, as described in the light novel-esque full title: The Round Planet Has Become Square? Digi-Vox Earth Defense Force World Brothers. Here's the first video preview!

Hey, do you like shooters? Like, arcade-style scrolling shooters? If you do, there are some very interesting announcements this week. The first is Darius Cozmic Revelation, Taito's second collection of Darius titles for Switch and PS4. The first games in the set have been announced: G Darius HD and Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+. The former is… well, G Darius in HD, which guarantees I'll be buying this because G Darius is fantastic. Another Chronicle EX+ seems to be an enhanced version of an arcade upgrade to Dariusburst that's different from the Dariusburst AC port included in Dariusburst Chronicle Saviors. Yes, I know that's confusing, but let me simplify it: It's more Darius and Darius is good stuff. Eager to see what else makes it into the pack, but even if it's just these, I'll still get it. The lure of G Darius is too strong.

Speaking of shooters, here's another one that might be of particular interest to anime fans. Wing of the Asteria is a Greek mythology-based horizontal shooter similar to Namco's old-school favorite Phelios – and, fittingly, Namco composer Yoshinori Kawamoto (who scored Phelios) is working on the soundtrack. Character designs are being done by Shujiro Hamakawa, aka Shuzilow.HA. You may remember Shuzilow.HA from his work on anime Solty Rei and Gankutsuou, but his best-known creations in Japan are from his time with Konami, where he's known for design work on Twinbee and Parodius. While this game's still super-duper-early (all that exists are design images), it sounds like something to look forward to.

Finally, there's a Puzzle Bobble coming to Oculus Quest. How will VR enhance an extremely simple game like Puzzle Bobble without trippy Tetris Effect-style visuals? Well… it probably won't, honestly, but hey! More Puzzle Bobble!

…AND NINTENDO'S GOT MORE FOR US

Who here wants to know who the ARMS representative for Smash Ultimate is going to be? Well, guess what, Masahiro Sakurai made another of his in-depth character introduction videos from his house, and he's gonna tell you all about them!

Showing us Sakurai's gaming setup is nice, but I really wanted that money shot of his undoubtedly massive game collection. Oh well.

Anyway. Min-Min! Maybe not everyone's first choice, but nobody seems particularly displeased with her inclusion. She's cute, she has a fun design theme (Chinese food!), and she can put two mechanical dragons on her hands. Sounds good to me! Also, you get basically the whole ARMS soundtrack for Smash when you buy her, which is nifty.

Meanwhile… hey, you thought you got all the piping-hot Pokemon news last week? NOPE! We've got Pokemons in your MOBAs now!

Pokemon Unite is a collaboration between Nintendo and China's Tencent Games, who own Riot Games, who make the massive League of Legends. These guys know something about MOBA design, is what I'm trying to say here. I have a feeling this will be primarily aimed at a younger set than things like DotA2 and LoL, though. But since the MOBA genre is particularly hard to break into, focusing on a different playerbase might be what Pokemon Unite needs to find success. We'll see a few years down the line if we have 13-year-olds competing at massive live Pokemon Unite tournaments, I guess.

Boy, that's a whole lotta good stuff! If I skipped over your favorite, I apologize – there's just so much to take in! What was your favorite announcement of the past week? Did New Game+ Expo live up to your expectations? It's officially summer, so let's all chill in the forums and talk about good-ass video games instead of going outside and subjecting ourselves to heat (and people who insist on not wearing masks). See you all again soon!


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