This Week in Games
Return of the Zack
by Heidi Kemps,
Welcome back to another news-tastic This Week in Games! If you're expecting to read anything here about recent Overwatch 2-related presentations, you are gravely mistaken, because after a year of having to constantly report on increasingly awful revelations about Activision-Blizzard's fetid corporate culture, I have no desire to try to help them rehabilitate their image through hype. And that also goes for Diablo IV. Screw that nonsense.
Before we dive into this week's news, I want to acknowledge the rumors that a Nintendo Direct presentation is imminent. Usually, Nintendo has a big Direct presentation prepared for E3, but E3 has been nonexistent this year. They were also unusually quiet during Summer Game Fest, leading to additional speculation that they were saving their big reveals for their own presentation. It would make sense, seeing as how we don't know much about their 2023 release slate right now. There's also a little leak that happened that I suspect was something being saved for a Direct reveal…
Hell yeah, Tactics Ogre! I'm hoping this is a port of the PSP Ring of Fate remake, which made an already brilliant game even better. While this leak appeared briefly on the PS Store, it feels like the sort of multi-platform release that would be revealed during a Nintendo Direct, like the Chrono Cross and Legend of Mana remasters were. Switch is seen by many as the ideal platform for strategy RPGs, after all. So who knows – this might be a reveal of a Nintendo Direct in disguise.
MICROSOFT'S BIG SHOWCASE HAD SOME PLEASANT SURPRISES
Summer Game Fest continued over the weekend through the start of this week, bringing with it a special presentation from Microsoft about games coming to PC and Xbox platforms. As usual, I'm not going to go through every single trailer, instead focusing on the stuff most relevant to this site's readership. Still, there were some noteworthy showings outside of our usual coverage: Forza Motorsport is coming in spring of next year (and Forza Horizon 5 is getting some charmingly silly-looking Hot Wheels DLC), Minecraft is getting strategic with strategy spinoff Minecraft Legends, Ara: History Untold is a turn-based strategy game of epic size and scope… and then there's High on Life, created in part by Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame, which hopefully won't inspire a fanbase as bad as Rick and Morty’s.
Perhaps the biggest game being hyped was Starfield, which Bethesda clearly hopes will be their next Big Thing. Personally, I found it rather difficult to get swept up in Todd Howard's marketing pitches after having read this Kotaku expose about the miserable development of Fallout 76 and how much Starfield’s development was hobbled by mismanagement. If your gut feeling, like mine, tells you don't trust Todd Howard, it's probably for a good reason.
Here's a nice surprise. We all know that KOEI built their empire on games based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, starting with strategy games before developing the Musou formula we all know and love. Meanwhile, the Team Ninja studio KOEI acquired from the Tecmo merger has been finding great success with the Nioh games, set in historical Japan. So for their next game… how about Nioh, but more Three Kingdoms-y?
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a multi-platform game based on the Three Kingdoms story, though it's clearly taking some liberties… not unlike the current anime season, though maybe somewhat more grounded. Anyhow. Wo Long’s combat appears to be more focused on Chinese martial arts and weapons, as well as a newly-created morale system. Interestingly, the producer for this game is former Sony developer Masaaki Yamagiwa, who helped get the beloved Bloodborne made at his former company. Sounds like this one's in good hands.
Well, here's an announcement that's long overdue. Persona’s coming to Xbox and PC! Yes, Persona 5 Royal is no longer confined to PlayStation exclusivity, and will be coming to Xbox Series and PC (and, perhaps most importantly, Game Pass) later this year. But wait, there's more! Persona 4 Golden has been available on PC for a while, but it's coming to Xbox platforms, too… along with Persona 3 Portable! Okay, maybe it's not so portable now, unless you have a Steam Deck that might run the PC version. But hey, P3 Female Main Character is making her return, and that's definitely worth celebrating.
While this announcement came during the Microsoft presentation, Atlus sent out a press release a couple of days later to note that both P4 Golden and P3P would be coming to PlayStation platforms, along with a native PS5 version of Persona 5 Royal. Which is swell! But the absence of Switch versions seems… unusual. P3P and P4G shouldn't have any trouble running on Switch, after all, and Nintendo and Atlus have a good relationship. Perhaps those announcements will be coming later… as part of a Nintendo Direct, maybe? Hmmm hmmm hmmmmmm!
Perhaps the most noteworthy (and mysterious) announcement during the Microsoft event came from a very familiar face. Hey, I know this guy!
Why, it's our old pal Hideo Kojima, one of gaming's most famous auteurs! Previously, his studio Kojima Productions was famously tied up with Sony to produce Death Stranding – leading to some folks to speculate that Sony might look to acquire them in this currently merger-heavy industry. Kojima, however, is putting those rumors to bed with the revelation that he is working on a project with Microsoft for PC and Xbox Series. Specifically, the game is using Microsoft's “cutting-edge cloud technology.” What Kojima plans to do with this cloud tech at this point is completely up in the air (didn't intend that pun, but I'm keeping it), so we'll no doubt be hearing plenty more about this game in the future.
CAPCOM TEASES, THEN DELIVERS……….. sort of
CAPCOM's online showcase presentation earlier this week was less about announcements and more about revealing new footage and gameplay of already-announced titles, particularly the Resident Evil 4 remake, the Resident Evil Village Shadows of Rose DLC, and Exoprimal. Here are some trailers!
Of course, the biggest tease was about Dragon's Dogma, the cult-classic ARPG that's somehow received an enhanced edition and an anime adaptation without any sign of a sequel for slightly over a decade now. During the showcase, series director Hideaki Atsuno showed up to announce that… a Dragon's Dogma 10th anniversary stream would arrive in a couple of days. Ah, the old announcement-of-a-stream-that-might-have-an-announcement! Wait, hold on… the 16th? That's today! How'd I miss... oh, at the same time as the Square-Enix thing. One sec...
Oh hey, what do you know, it's Dragon's Dogma II. Maybe airing this alongside the FFVII anniversary stream wasn't the best idea, considering what was shown there – we'll get to that in a bit – but it does kind of contribute to the scrappy underdog status Dragon's Dogma seems to carry, doesn't it?
Alas, there's practically nothing else to go on besides a logo for now. Still… get hype, I guess?
A SHORT BUT SWEET FINAL FANTASY VII ANNIVERSARY PRESENTATION GIVES FANS WHAT THEY WANT
I don't need to introduce Final Fantasy VII, do I? It's 25 years old and Square-Enix is going to milk that magic number for all it's worth, dammit! So here's the ten-ish-minute presentation they put together to celebrate, though most of what really matters is at the end.
We've got merch, we've got a Steam release for FFVII Remake Intergrade, some new footage of Ever Crisis… is anyone seriously playing that First Soldier thing? Square-Enix knows what you're really here for, though, so let's get to the juicy announcements: Zack's back, baby!
Crisis Core Reunion is coming to pretty much every platform under the sun later this year, and it's looking mighty nice! It's a full-on remake, so improved visuals and tweaked gameplay are to be expected, and perhaps some additional story content as well? Crisis Core is perhaps the best of the various 2000s FFVII spinoffs, so it's nice to see it make a return.
And bam, here it is, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, part 2 of the FFVII Remake project. From the trailer, we can see that things are going to start diverging significantly from the established canon from this point on. From the title, we can assume the Jenova story is going to be the focus, but things are definitely going to get weird. Unfortunately, it'll be a while yet until we see just how weird: the release date is “next winter,” so development still has a long way to go. But hey, it's something to chew on for a while, right?
Oh man! That FFVII presentation definitely delivered, but what did you all think about everything else? Did Microsoft show anything that piqued your interest? Is the new footage CAPCOM showcased getting you hyped for their upcoming titles? There's plenty to discuss, so feel free to bring your excited squeeing (or bored indifference) over to the ANN forums, linked below! Have a great weekend, and remember, Zack >>> Cloud forever!
discuss this in the forum (14 posts) |