This Week in Games
All The King's Fighters
by Heidi Kemps,
Hi folks. Today's one of those days where I can't really form a coherent introduction to the column. But that's okay, because there's plenty of interesting news to look at!
THE KING OF FIGHTERS IS BACK, BABY
You may recall that last week there were a King of Fighters XV reveal slated for the evening of the 6th that wound up not happening. However, before SNK hastily postponed the reveal, it turns out a few screenshots had leaked out onto the internet. It didn't take long for the powers that be at SNK to shrug and say “screw it, let's post the trailer tomorrow.”
And that's what they did. Behold, the long-in-development King of Fighters XV!
While there isn't much gameplay shown, we do get a good taste of what SNK's going for this time around. Visually, the game bears some similarities to Samurai Shodown – probably due to both games running on Unreal Engine and SNK carrying their experience from the last game over. We've got several old favorites confirmed for the roster: Kyo, Benimaru, Leona, K’, Mai, and new-ish protagonist Shunei. In the coming weeks, I'm sure more details about the engine and the roster will drop, so look forward to getting hype over your obscure favorite making a return.
But what I like most about this trailer is the atmosphere. Eagle-eyed SNK devotees have noticed a lot of fun stuff going on here, from the return of KoFXII’s TV broadcaster to characters from SNK's obscure wrestling game 3 Count Bout appearing in a background. I get the feeling that there are going to be some really deep cuts in this one.
Also, there's going to be a new KoFXV anime short from Masami Obari. That's pretty exciting news to me! It's been a while since we've had SNK-related animation that wasn't, uh, weird. I feel like I should rewatch the Fatal Fury movie sometime.
Next came some DLC announcements for Samurai Shodown's season 3. We'd heard that a character from The Last Blade was going to be added to the game, and SNK made good on that promise. Here's the trailer for Hibiki!
Meanwhile, Cham Cham is finally, finally back in the main Samurai Shodown roster. Jeez, they really made us wait for her. Well, now that my favorite SamSho character is back in the game, I feel like I should pick it back—oh, right, the netplay's still garbage. Well, so much for that.
Speaking of netplay, though, SNK also hyped up their Steam and PS4 re-release of King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match, making sure to emphasize the rollback netcode. We still have no idea in the slightest what KoFXV's netcode is going to look like, but the fact that the people in charge are sitting there talking about how good rollback is feels like a good sign to me. Of course, I may just be reading too much into this, so I'm fully prepared to be disappointed.
Well, anyway, I think we can prepare for semi-regular KoFXV news drops throughout the year. Are there any characters you're hoping will come back? I always root for the American Sports Team to return, because Brian Battler deserves better, dangit.
LUCASARTS IS BACK… BUT NOT REALLY… BUT WE'RE STILL GETTING NEW GAMES
Ah, LucasArts. A beloved creator of many great PC games of yore, killed by the machinations of the Mouse that purchased their parent company. Though, let's be real – LucasArts was definitely on the decline when Disney decided to empty them into a licensing-driven husk. Perhaps the cancelled Star Wars 1313 could have turned things around, but alas, we will never know.
But even as a licensor, LucasArts – now Lucasfilm Games – hasn't seen the brightest of days. We all know about the mess that was Star Wars Battlefront 2, and in the wake of that mess, EA canned not one, not two, but three ambitious Star Wars game projects, one of which was being headed by Amy Hennig, formerly of Naughty Dog.
From the looks of it, however, Lucasfilm Games might be done with EA's exclusivity shit. It's been announced that there's a new open-world Star Wars game in the works. The good news: EA's not making it!
We're thrilled to announce we are working with @Ubisoft and @UbiMassive to develop a brand-new, story-driven, open-world Star Wars adventure!— Lucasfilm Games (@LucasfilmGames) January 13, 2021
Learn more about the future of @LucasfilmGames in the Star Wars galaxy and beyond: https://t.co/uO1K1pivl2 pic.twitter.com/wRDccZvi3o
The bad news: Ubisoft is making it, which makes this kind of a lateral move in terms of “level of publisher shittiness,” exacerbated by the fact that a lot of folks are just tired of the usual Ubisoft open-world game formulas. Still, it means that Star Wars isn't locked down anymore and could be opened to other devs. Can you imagine a PlatinumGames-made Star Wars title? Or Bandai-Namco remaking the Famicom Star Wars game where Darth Vader is a scorpion for some reason? The possibilities!!!!
However, Star Wars isn't the only beloved nerd property Lucasfilm Games is handing over the keys for, as the day before the Star Wars announcement, we got this teaser from Bethesda:
Machine Games of recent Wolfenstein renown is currently working on an Indiana Jones adventure. Most of their work in the past has been about the continuing adventures of BJ Blazkowicz punching Nazis, so it'll be nice to see what they can do with a different character punching Nazis. Of course, in the wake of Microsoft's Bethesda buyout, questions remain about the game's potential Xbox exclusivity, which this trailer does not address. We probably won't know about that for a while.
While this isn't a genuine revival for the once-beloved LucasArts – which, honestly, is extremely unlikely to happen for numerous reasons – it's still encouraging to see that something new is being done with these world-beloved Ips. Perhaps now's the time to give the Willow license back to CAPCOM for some classic re-releases!
CD PROJEKT RED HAS AN ~APOLOGY~ FOR CYBERPUNK, DESCRIBES HOW THEY'LL ATTEMPT TO FIX IT.
Hey, Cyberpunk 2077 managed to worm its way back into the news! CD Projekt Red has released a video apology/roadmap-to-fixing the game, detailing what they want to do to attempt to repair this mess.
Oh lordy, there's a lot of corporate bullshit here. Even at five minutes, I had a hard time sitting through this thing. I say that as someone who just willingly watched EX-ARM.
What really gets me is the whole “oh, we totally didn't catch all those problems on current-gen consoles” thing. For starters, we know y'all didn't show any screenshots of the game on PS4 and XBOne or give those versions to reviewers, indicating that you were actually extremely aware of those problems. Nice to try and foist blame for that onto your QA people.
Anyhow, here's the roadmap:
Note that DLC is being delayed, and patches to fix issues on next-gen systems (the PS5 and Xbox Series) are de-prioritized. If you're playing on those platforms, your issues aren't going to be addressed until later this year. Yeah, like… looking at this, I feel that “later this year” is when Cyberpunk 2077 really should have launched to be what players were truly hoping for. I wonder, would people have been more upset over a year's delay than they are over the game's current state? We can theorize all day, but some things are just unknowable.
Anyhoo, I think we're done for this week. Are you hyped for KoFXV? Do any of the Lucasfilm-related announcements have you intrigued? Is Bao the worst KoF character ever? (Answer: kinda, he's tied with Momoko.) Discuss with your ANN buddies in our forums below! We shall return again next week with hot news and hot takes. See you then!
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