This Week in Games - Galarian Nights

by Heidi Kemps,

Hello, TWIG friends! I'm back from MAGfest, and jeez, going to the east coast and back really takes a lot out of me for some reason. The event was great, but I feel like I'm still sleeping it off. Maybe I'm getting too old for this…. Nahhhhhhh.

Anyhow, it's my duty as a good games person to remind you all that Awesome Games Done Quick is happening as we speak!

Yes, the twice-annual charity speedrunning event is going strong in its tenth year, and while most of the games I'm really interested in watching have already been run (the Genesis and Awful Games Done Quick blocks), there's still some cool stuff to come: A Fire Emblem 3 Houses run, the infamous Skittles advergame Darkened Skye, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, TASbot, and a lot of Megaman X, among many other things. Go watch and donate if you can!

Wait, hold up, STOP THE PRESSES! I've just been told that Sony unveiled some HOT new PlayStation 5 news at CES! Let's check it out right away!

OH MY GOD SONY JUST DROPPED THE PS5 LOGO OMG OMG OMG…

......................so basically, it's just

ANYWAY, LET'S LOOK AT THE AVALANCHE OF POKEMON NEWS

Pokémon Direct was announced earlier this week, and the speculation machine immediately kicked into high gear, with “Sinnoh” trending across Twitter. Well, as it turns out, people are getting a DS-era Pokémon remake… just, uh, maybe not the one they'd hoped.

That's right, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue and Blue Rescue Team are being remade and repackaged together as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX on Switch! For the uninitiated, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is an entry-level, story-driven roguelike that takes place in a Pokémon-filled world with no humans to speak of. It's got the hallmarks of other Mystery Dungeon series games – overhead, tile-based exploration, turn-based combat, random dungeons with various enemies, traps, and items – but it's considerably gentler and forgiving than the likes of, say, Shiren the Wanderer.

A demo for the game is available in the Switch eShop now, and data will transfer over to the final game, so why not give it a go if it sounds interesting? The full game releases in… March?!? Are you kidding me? Jeezus, forget about any vacations or family outings in March, you can spend the whole month playing video games.

But that's not all! We also got a taste of what's to come in Pokémon Sword and Shield. We'd already heard that there would be additional content for these games down the line, and what was announced today looks pretty slick.

Two expansions were shown and named. The first is Isle of Armor, which takes place on (surprise) an island and features a martial arts master named Mustard. You'll get a cool gi to wear and train with one of two potential rival trainers: the goth-lolita, Poison-type Klara or the comically overdressed Psychic-type Avery. You'll also meet Kubfu, a bear-like Pokémon who evolves into Urshifu, who looks like a bizarre bear/bird hybrid. It's got two different combat stances that change its typing and moveset, which sounds like an interesting gimmick.

The second expansion is The Crown Tundra, which has you exploring a wintry wildlife wonderland. This expansion seems to focus heavily on Legendaries, as it was mentioned in the presentation that you'll be able to catch some legendary Pokémon from previous games through multiplayer battles here. Interestingly, there seem to be a few unknown Regigigas-type Pokémon in the tundra, along with some creatures that look similar to the original Legendary Birds… but also distinctly different. Are these special Galarian forms, Gigantamax forms, or even all-new Pokémon?

Speaking of all-new Pokémon, we've got a real galaxy brain over here.

Holy moly, look at that noggin! I want to crack it open and see what's inside. Hopefully delicious foodstuffs and not, y'know, Pokémon brains. Anyway, yes, this is Calyrex, a new Mythical Pokémon from the Crown Tundra. I, uh… don't think it's got quite the same appeal as, say, a Mew or Jirachi. It looks like it's judging me. Look, I just want to crush your skull, you don't have to stare like that!

The expansions are coming in summer and fall of this year, and are available to buy separately or as a bundle for about $30 USD. Besides the new Pokémon mentioned above, a whole mess of critters from previous Pokémon games that weren't available in Sword and Shield before now are going to be made available. (Polygon has a compiled a list of returning Pokemon shown in the Direct trailer.) I hope that means Misdreavus (THE BEST POKEMON) will finally come home! Even better, more Pokémon are getting Gigantamax forms, including the starters. Very importantly, Cinderace does the Gunbuster pose. Hell yes!

Finally, an update to the game today will give everybody a Galarian Slowpoke. This little dude can evolve into two Galarian forms that will become available alongside the expansions. Hold onto it!

Well, that was a lot of Pokémon news for twenty minutes! here's my possibly not-so-hot, perhaps even tepid take: I really like adding DLC to the existing game over releasing a “halfway-new” title like Pokémon Platinum or Pokémon Ultra Sun/Moon. With DLC, you don't have to start over from scratch on another lengthy Pokémon journey in the same region just to get to a sprinkling of brand-new content – you'll still have everything you earned as you explore new and exciting locales. That sounds a lot more appealing than buying a whole new game to me.

I'm sure some folks are mad at the idea that some classic Pokémon cut from the Dex are being held back for the DLC expansions, but that's not really accurate: thanks to a software update, any new-old Pokémon added via the DLC will also be tradable and transferrable from other games via Pokémon Home (which launches next month, but we still don't have much concrete info about). I can see this being the norm for Pokémon going forward: Ship with a curated Dex, add the rest later with expansions. Personally, I'm fine with that. Even if it means I have to wait longer for Misdreavus. It's okay sweetie mommy knows you're out having fun in Alola you can come back anytime

PLATINUMGAMES GETS A BIG INVESTMENT

We all love Platinum, and we all want Platinum to keep making games. Even as far back as the Clover Studios days, Platinum was known for making great games that sometimes had problems recouping their investments, and… apparently, that's still something that still dogs them, even with partners like Nintendo giving them lots of work. I mean, we exist in an industry where big-budget titles can sell millions and still disappoint in earnings, and Platinum's slightly-over-a-decade of existence has been very tumultuous overall. It makes sense that they'd be looking for an investment to help keep them going strong. And who has an absurd amount of money these days?

That's right, Tencent, the Chinese mega conglomerate that doesn't just have its finger in a few pies, it's basically poking the whole damn game industry bakery at this point. Platinum was quick to assure folks that the deal “has no effect on the independence of our company” and it's basically business as usual – except that, oh yeah, the funding influx could help Platinum self-publish rather than rely on partners to help them get their games off the ground. That sounds pretty good – I know Platinum's got a lot of ideas for cool games that publishers just aren't interested in, and publishing their own games could help get that stuff made and out the door.

Of course, there's some worry derived from the fact that Tencent is a Chinese firm, and, as we saw during the Blizzard hubbub last year, companies can be strong-armed into doing really gross things when the threat of Chinese money being cut off is dangling over their head. While I doubt we'll be seeing Bayonetta forced to writhe around in a parka to satisfy Chinese censors anytime soon, it is a good idea to keep abreast of just who is investing in our favorite developers and publishers, and speak out when issues arise. I don't see any immediate cause for alarm with this deal yet, and here's hoping it stays that way.

… now I'm wondering what Bayonetta in a parka looks like. Fanartists, you know what to do.

Alright! That's another TWIG for the books. What're you all playing to start off 2020? Did you snatch anything good from New Year's sales with your Christmas money? Talk among like-minded nerds in the forums below, and I'll see you again soon!


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