• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

This Week in Games
Cloudy With a Chance of Dinosaurs

by Heidi Kemps,

Hey, remember that game bundle for Ukraine relief I mentioned last week? It's now up on itch.io! It's pay-what-you-want with proceeds going to charity, and it is jam-packed with some really great indie stuff: Celeste, Baba is You, ZeroRanger, SuperHot, and hundreds of other indie titles. It's an amazing deal that helps people in need, so grab it before it's gone!

So! Lots of neat news this week, most of it from the “Japan-developer-centric” PlayStation State of Play mini-broadcast (which, it should be noted, came at an awkward time). Interestingly, much of what was shown isn't platform-exclusive, so there was a lot for everyone to get excited about.


Hopes were high that the State of Play broadcast would showcase the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, since the last we heard, the game was set to get more news in “spring.” Alas, this was not to be – but that doesn't mean there was nothing worthwhile about this showcase. In fact, there were quite a few interesting new games announced and shown. Let's talk about some of them!

First off, we had CAPCOM's new title Exoprimal starting off the broadcast in a truly inspired way: by opening up a portal in the sky above a near-future city and having it vomit out a ginormous swarm of friggin’ DINOSAURS. Yes, a world where it just sometimes, for some reason, spontaneously rains bloodthirsty giant reptiles that then must be put down. It's so stupid, it's genius!

Exoprimal is a third-person shooter action game with a heavy focus on co-op team play. You and a group of buddies don super-powered exosuits and then blast the everloving hell out of dinosaurs. There's not much information about gameplay modes yet, but we do know that at the very least there's a team battle mode where two teams of players compete to roast the most reptilians.

Of course, you can't say “CAPCOM” and “dinosaurs” together without bringing up Dino Crisis, the company's long-dormant other major survival horror franchise. Before the title reveal, I honestly expected this to be some sort of Dino Crisis reboot. I was pretty sure of it when I saw that one of the characters in the trailer looked a lot like Regina. But no, Exoprimal’s a whole new thing, and that's fine.

Speaking of new shooters, Bandai-Namco Games pulled an interesting little surprise out of their hat in the form of Gundam Evolution. This is a free-to-play first-person hero shooter… where all the “heroes” are well-known Gundam mobile suits. It'll be available on PC via Steam, as well as all current PlayStation and Xbox series consoles. It was actually first announced last year, but seemed to be forgotten amongst a sea of other Gundam and other F2P Bamco titles, so it's good to see it alive and prepping for launch. If you're interested in trying it out, there will be a Steam closed beta from April 7th to the 12th, and you can sign up here.

But wait, Bamco's got something else for us, too… something downright bizarre, even!

I can't say that I expected JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle to be making a comeback on current-gen consoles, but here it is! All Star Battle R is more than just a re-release, though: CyberConnect2 is substantially revamping the game by upgrading the visuals to 60FPS, adding standard fighting-game mechanics like hitstop and input shortcuts, implementing Marvel/NESTS-era King of Fighters-style assist characters, and… airdashes! Yes, Jojo ASBR is now officially an anime fighting game!

And, of course, there are numerous new characters and stages being added. No definitive announcements on which characters will be joining the lineup, but Part 5's Trish and Prosciutto's names were shown in screenshots, so they're most assuredly in.

I'm definitely interested in seeing how dramatically Jojo ASBR improves. Even if it doesn't become a “serious” fighting game, if the core gameplay's overhauls go over well, I can see it garnering a dedicated competitive scene akin to that of the Naruto arena fighters. It's coming to Xbox and PC, too, so all of you Jojo faithful aren't going to be left out in the cold if you don't have a PlayStation.

Well, since we're talking about old games being brought back, how about we dive into the sewers to visit four of our old childhood friends?

Man, that stage 1 music from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game sure is a banger, huh? Yes, we're getting a heaping helping of turtle power from the TMNT Cowabunga Collection. It's an extra-large classic gaming pizza with all the toppings you could want: Every single Konami-published NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, and arcade Turtles game ever made, complete with regional variants and online play! Well, okay, not all of the games have online play, but most of the big ones do: Arcade TMNT and Turtles in Time, Hyperstone Heist, and SNES Tournament Fighters.

Developer Digital Eclipse is promising their usual array of extras, with save/load and rewind features that will help you finally get past the dam stage in NES TMNT. (I actually got to the point where I could clear the dam, but area 3 always wrecked me. That game's really stupid.) No release date yet, but the Cowabunga Collection will be available this year on all current platforms for $40 USD.

Okay, so… Forspoken’s been delayed to October, there's no Final Fantasy XVI… but Square Enix still has some new things for you to get hyped for.

First is Diofield Chronicle, an all-new real-time strategy game with a high fantasy/geopolitical theme. This is a nice surprise – most Japanese developers go for turn-based, grid-driven strategy games over RTS titles, and the few RTS games that come out of Japan are often criminally overlooked. I'm liking the visual style a lot, too! Rumors were circulating that this was a PlatinumGames title, but those appear to have been debunked: the primary developer is Lancarse, a contract studio who's worked on a huge variety of stuff. Like most of the other games shown, Diofield Chronicle isn't a PlayStation exclusive: it's coming to Xbox, Switch, and PC as well. (Hopefully the Switch version has touch control options!)

And finally, we now know what those “Valkyrie Elysium” trademarks Square Enix has been filing for in recent months have been leading up to...

Well then. Hmmmm. I feel like every longtime Valkyrie Profile fan has some weird mixed feelings about this. It certainly doesn't look bad, but it's not really what we wanted, either. But is it even possible to make a big-budget, experimental game like Valkyrie Profile 1 or 2 in the current market? I guess I'd rather have a solid action-RPG Valkyrie game than nothing at all, but that's assuming the gameplay and story are up to scratch, which you can't really surmise from a trailer.

Original developer Tri-Ace doesn't seem to be involved in Valkyrie Elysium's development: they've got all hands on deck for Star Ocean 6. Instead, the new team is Soleil Game Studios, which consists of quite a few ex-Tecmo Team Ninja folks – in fact, they absorbed Tomonobu Itagaki's old Valhalla Game Studios after he left to start yet another company. They seem perfectly capable, so hopefully they can deliver something interesting. Valkyrie Elysium will be on PC, PS4, and PS5 later this year, and I'm hoping that it's the reincarnation the series has needed – I'm cautiously optimistic, but also prepared for disappointment.

I'd say that was a pretty good presentation overall! Lots of surprises, all of them interesting in some way or another. Now let's rewind to just a little bit earlier in the week for another announcement stream.


Fighting game tournaments are coming back to life… and what bigger event is there than EVO? 2022 is scheduled to be the first in-person EVO event since 2019 – 2020 and 2021 went online-only due to obvious reasons, and then there was that whole other gross mess in the middle that lead to Sony buying out the event. After such a long hiatus, us fighting game faithful were expecting big things out of this year's official lineup announcement stream. And we got the announcement we all wanted… THE VENUE THIS YEAR HAS A WHOLE BUNCH OF FREE WATER REFILL STATIONS!

(This might sound sarcastic. I assure you: it absolutely is not.)

Honestly, the stream itself was kind of a drag, due to the bizarre decision to host lengthy exhibition sets for every single featured game. I could maybe understand that if you were targeting a general audience less familiar with fighting games, but the people who are going to be watching the EVO lineup announcement are people who already know fighting games and more or less know what games they're interested in. All this did was drag the show out to about two hours while viewers were stuck waiting for pro players to finish 2-out-of-3 sets before the next official game reveal.

Anyhow, this year's official lineup is:

We already knew Smash Bros was out, so its omission is no surprise. Most of the games that seemed like obvious picks – SFV, Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7, KoFXV – all made it in easily. Mortal Kombat 11 is a welcome returnee, as it was actually omitted from what was planned to be the 2020 lineup (only to be re-added when things went online-only), and Granblue Versus finally getting a proper large tournament event has been a long time coming. Dragon Ball FighterZ continues to stick around, but the one I'm happiest to see here is Skullgirls. If you've followed this game for any amount of time, you're likely aware of the many, many tribulations the development team has endured over the years. I'm very happy that Skullgirls is finally, finally getting a nice big spotlight – it's well earned.

It'll be interesting to see how Smash Bros's absence affects the event as a whole: the games would always draw in a huge pool of entrants each year, eager to buy up Nintendo-related merch from vendors and Artist Alley inhabitants. Will the replacement games draw in the same sort of numbers? I have my doubts, but we'll have to see how crowded the event hall is when August rolls around to know for sure.


  • Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has yet another free demo on PS4/PS5 you can download and try out before its full release next week. Square Enix really, really wants to get this game more attention, which is extremely difficult right now seeing as how everyone's still obsessed with Elden Ring. If you're curious, a download and trial run certainly can't hurt.
  • Ikumi Nakamura, who delighted the gaming world with her antics at Bethesda's E3 press conference a few years back, has formally established her own game development studio, UNSEEN. The crew so far consists of a diverse, multi-national group of developers who've worked with CAPCOM, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and others. I'll definitely be keeping tabs on them.
  • A Chaos;HEAd Noah and Chaos;Child double pack is coming to Switch on October 7th from publisher Spike-Chunsoft. These games are part of the same Science Adventure visual novel series as Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes, as evidenced by their blatant disregard for the proper use of semicolons. I've not played either of these, but I am definitely interested in checking them out.
  • Advance Wars Re-Boot Camp has been delayed to later this year due to current world events. This isn't the first time Advance Wars has found itself the victim of terrible timing, either…

Okay! That wraps things up for this week. Kinda weird how many of the games in the Sony presentation are actually multi-platform… but that means I can ask “what was your favorite announcement?” without alienating non-PlayStation owners. So… what was your favorite announcement? I really want to see more of Valkyrie Elysium, but I'm also interested in what's going to be reworked for Jojo All-Star Battle R. And I'm trying to decide if I should just commit to EVO right now, or wait and see just to be sure there won't be a new COVID-induced cancellation wave. I'm sure you all have something to say, so why not join in for some fun conversation in our forums? Link below, as always! See you all again soon for more gaming news!


discuss this in the forum (10 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

This Week in Games homepage / archives