This Week in Games
New Retro Memories
by Heidi Kemps,
Heya folks! October is wrapping up, PlayStation 5s are making their ways into the hands of various media outlets… and Cyberpunk 2077 got delayed again in the worst way possible. I swear, CD Projekt Red is doing their damnedest to make me care less about a game I already wasn't interested in. I mean, yeah, I know a lot of folks are hyped as hell for Cyberpunk, but the appeal is personally lost on me. Oh well, with the delay, we all have plenty of time in November to enjoy Yakuza: Like a Dragon!
Also, Chris Lee, director of Halo Infinite… has just left Halo Infinite, proving that this game is extremely cursed and is likely mired in a development hell we'll only read about in a longform tell-all five years from now. And Destruction All-Stars for the PS5 is delayed out of the launch window, but you'll get it free if you have PS Plus! Wow, the start of next-gen is already looking a bit messy.
So that's the big Western gaming news, now onto the more Japan-focused stuff I like to center the column around. Let's start off with Nintendo news this week, because ONCE AGAIN they decided to drop some interesting news just as last week's column went up.
NINTENDO IS RELEASING FIRE EMBLEM… AS IN, THE OG FIRE EMBLEM
Hey, did you know it's the 30th anniversary of Fire Emblem? It… likely wasn't in the forefront of your brain, given the hell year that 2020 has been, but it is! And to celebrate, Nintendo is re-releasing Fire Emblem! The Famicom Fire Emblem! In English!!! Whaaaaat?
Yes, you can not experience the very first outing of Marth and company as though it was released in 1991 and sitting on a shelf at ShopKo for you to beg your mom to get. And boy oh boy has Fire Emblem ever come a long way from this, because dang, this game's rough. Intelligent Systems would refine it greatly over the years to follow, but yeah, it's more of a novelty than anything, especially given that Shadow Dragon on the DS tells the same story and plays a lot better. Also, it's not available in that nice little NES Online collection you get access to with your paid Switch Online membership – you have to buy it separately.
Of course, Nintendo localizing an old game out of the blue got people talking about more English releases of older, un-localized Japanese games. In particular, Mother 3. Honestly, I wouldn't rule it out. While Mother isn't as huge a franchise as Fire Emblem, it does have a strong fanbase that would absolutely lose their goddamn minds to play Mother 3 legally. Nintendo acts in very mysterious and unpredictable ways, so… it's possible, but don't assume it will happen.
If you want to own Fire Emblem, though, you'd better act fact: It's only available until March 31st, 2021, which is also when Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros 35 are set to disappear. And it's also the end of Nintendo's fiscal year. Hmmmmmm could there be a connection
Also of note is today's Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase, which gave us some cool stuff. There are a few things you can snag as surprise eShop launches: HAL's Part Time UFO is a visually adorable puzzler ported to Switch from mobile platforms, while No More Heroes 1 and 2 have received HD remasters. You can also snag a free demo of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity if you can't wait for more Zelda-themed hack-n-slashin’.
In terms of unreleased stuff, we got glimpses of No More Heroes 3, Bravely Default II (which now has a February release date), and the newly announced Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town. Beyond that, something I found interesting from this presentation is the reveal that some cloud gaming-driven titles are beginning to show up on Switch. Control Ultimate Edition, based on Remedy's critical- and fan-beloved adventure for the PS4/PC/XBOne, is now available on Switch, but it isn't running natively – it's running on a different machine that you're streaming from, similar to how the Google Stadia works. Will this be how ports of “big” titles on the other platforms will be coming to Switch in the future? Perhaps so, since Hitman 3 is also coming to Switch in the fashion, and leaks indicate a cloud-powered Switch version of the recent Resident Evil 3 remake is also due for release. It'll be interesting to see how well these games run, because if they do well, I could see Nintendo embracing cloud gaming and actually managing to do it right. Then again, they're still way behind on a lot of online functionality so… maybe not.
VISUAL NOVELS GET SCIENCEY AGAIN WITH NEW SEMICOLONS
According to Gematsu, this will be kind of like a sequel, building off the time-travel world-changing concepts that the original Steins;Gate established. They also report that some of the old characters will make appearances, so I guess we're gonna hear some tuturu~s again.
And finally, some news of the long-delayed Anonymous;Code! This game was announced way back in 2015 and has been in hiding for quite some time. So long, in fact, that the originally planned PS Vita version is extremely not happening, and a Switch edition is coming instead. Barely a peep has been heard about this simulated-earth science-fiction story since 2016, but now we've got a new trailer that drops plenty of key story phrases. The Japanese release is slated for fall 2021, so you're probably looking at Spring 2022 for an English edition.
In other visual novel news: we're getting an English version of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. The anime adaptation of this was released back in the aughts by Funimation as Rumbling Hearts, and that's about the most we've seen of this franchise in English. Anyhow, KimiNozo is the game that cemented developer age as a force among visual novel creators, so it's definitely one I want to check out. After I play Muv-Luv. I still haven't played Muv-Luv. Agh!
FIGHTING GAME NEWS: A NEW SAMURAI SPIRIT APPROACHES
Hey, in case you forgot: SNK actually has two fighting game franchises involving Japanese swordplay, and one of them is appearing on Switch this week! The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny is a port of the Neo-Geo Pocket Color fighting game that released many moons ago. Several NGPC fighting games have appeared on Switch at this point, and I'd recommend checking them out if you never owned the ill-fated but beloved handheld: it's impressive how much action they capture with a small screen, limited animation, and two buttons.
Speaking of The Last Blade, hey, Samurai Shodown's getting a Last Blade guest character! Unfortunately, we don't know who it is yet, but it's said to be “someone the fans absolutely adore,” so Kaede is probably the easy guess. Or possibly Akari.
OK! That wraps up this week's column. With the console launches drawing ever-closer, have you picked a favorite? Have you pre-ordered anything? Or are you just going to stick it out with what you have for the time being? Are you upset about the Cyberpunk 2077 delay, or does it give you more time to play other stuff? Let us know what you think in the forums! Also, a heads-up: I'll be busy next week, so someone else cool will likely be writing the column in my place. Thanks as always for reading, and I will see you again very soon!
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