News: The Best Video Game News This Week: Okami 2, Fortnite Chapter 2, and League of Legends celebrations
It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round up…
The pigeon is remarkably ordinary and unobtrusive for how important it is to British culture. I mean, we’re talking about the place that chose a lion as its national animal, which says a thousand words on how we perceive ourselves and what the facts of the matter actually are. And, given that it is a Christian country, I honestly think that the pigeon should feature much more frequently in iconography. Pigeons and doves are one and the same, so when you see a dove carrying an olive branch, that’s actually just a resourceful pigeon and not the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. But there’s something about the drama of Panthera leo that is simply lacking when one imagines a Columba livia domestica. Yes, the birds are war heroes, but they also flock to the middle of the road to fight over a noodle from a Chinese takeaway and take flight when death by bin van is imminent.
Enter their cool cousin, the Nicobar pigeon. I could just leave you with the name alone, and you’d be convinced of its comparative panache. Inhabiting the coastal regions of South East Asia and the Pacific, these birds are a shade of grey like their townie relatives, but they have iridescent green and blue feathers with golden and coppery metallic sheens. Both the boys and the girls have identical plumage, because they believe that either sex should have equal opportunity to be eaten by predators. They’re forward-thinking but adopt a traditional approach to family values, as they pair up for life and take care of the chick until it is three months old and is able to earn its keep. When the chick is all grown up, it’ll have a white tail, and this adaptation acts like a ‘taillight’ for the nomadic and nocturnal birds to follow each other in flight in the dark.
Don’t they sound super cool compared to the city pigeons that are completely calamitous? The Nicobar pigeons are so cool that the person sticking up the ‘PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS, THEY HAVE THE PLAGUE’ sign would be starstruck by their gorgeous glad rags. Any country would be honored to be worthy enough of this bird’s attention and status.
Last month, Nakamura departed her role as creative director of GhostWire Tokyo, and she may have just found her latest project. ‘Okami is going to be back! We want to make Okami sequel and fans are looking forward to it too,’ she said on Twitter, beaming with Okami director Hideki Kamiya in front of Platinum Games. As Shinji Mikami’s apprentice director and the lead art designer on both The Evil Within games, snapping Nakamura up for an Okami sequel would be an inspired move, and fans are all aflutter with excitement for a possible sequel. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes next.
Seamless connectivity was the unique selling point of Google Stadia. It means that players will be able to switch between compatible platforms whenever and wherever they want, due to the in-built WiFi connection in the controller. But, when Stadia launches this November, this feature will only work when the controller is linked to a Chromecast. A community manager for Stadia confirmed this on its subreddit, and Google was able to explain why this is the case to The Verge. It’s focusing on delivering an equitable experience on TVs as a priority, in order to compete with PlayStation and Xbox. It makes sense, but it’s a teeny stumbling block for those whose heads were turned by Stadia for this reason.
The firings apparently occurred on October 11, as a lot of Kindly Beast developers suddenly changed their profile information on Twitter to imply they were no longer working there. Then, negative reviews of developer Kindly Beast appeared on Glassdoor; a website that allows current and former staff members to anonymously review companies. The stories from anonymous former Kindly Beast employees cite an unpleasant and precarious working environment, as a result of CEO Mike Mood’s actions. ‘Work was discarded at the discretion of the Board and sometimes openly insulted by the CEO,’ one review said, and the other accused Kindly Beast management of ‘consistent lies’, broken promises, and game development ‘limbo’. Mood spoke to GamesIndustry.biz and responded, ‘We are deeply saddened that Kindly Beast is in the unfortunate position of having to scale down our talented team. Our hearts go out to those who’ve been affected and we’ve provided our former staff members with career transition assistance at this difficult time.’
Overwatch launched on the Nintendo Switch on October 15, but few were in the mood to party. Activision Blizzard chose to cancel the Overwatch on Switch launch event at Nintendo in New York City, and no explanation was provided. One could assume, though, that it was to do with the ‘#BoycottBlizzard’ backlash to Blizzard’s sanctions imposed on a Hearthstone Grandmasters winner. Ng Wai ‘Blitzchung’ Chung yelled, ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!’ during a post-match interview livestreamed to the Blizzard Taiwan Twitch channel. As a result, Blizzard deleted his interview, removed Blitzchung from Grandmasters, revoked his prize money, and banned him from Hearthstone for 12 months, as it considered Blitzschung to have violated competition rules. Though Blizzard has now walked back on its sanctions, it was the smartest move to cancel, because if the event had gone ahead, it would have led to undue stress on Nintendo employees and voice actors due to Blizzard’s current controversy.
‘On the studio level, for me personally, one of the nice things is that now that we’re part of Microsoft, we’re focusing more on what the next games are going to be, rather than, how do we pitch the next games?’ Obsidian Entertainment’s senior designer Brian Hines explained in an interview. What’s sweet is that Microsoft popped the question to Obsidian because it likes what it does and thinks it does it very well. Hines recalled that it said, ‘“We’re buying you because we want you to keep making games the way you’ve been doing, not to change you.” And that’s been reassuring a lot of people on the team, we’re not suddenly going to be asked to be a different studio than we have been.’ The Outer Worlds is Obsidian’s next offering, and the Microsoft buyout has helped the game to achieve a ‘grander scale’ and a ‘better quality’ than what was possible as an independent studio.
Fortnite was gone. It was sucked into a giant black hole and the servers were shut down. Epic Games kept its players fixated on a livestream of the catastrophic singularity, but it wasn’t totally boring because you could play Space Invaders on it, too. Now, Fortnite has returned to us as Chapter 2 Season 1. A whole new world was revealed, with swimming, fishing, and motorboats aplenty. New features like the Bandage Bazooka, the ability to carry injured allies, and group emotes means that Fortnite is more social than ever. Moreover, the Battle Pass has been redone and has a totally new structure centred around tiered achievements. Bronze Battle, silver Scavenger, and gold Survivor medals are awarded for a range of activities in the new world.
‘Project L’ was unveiled as the rumoured fighting title Riot Games has been working on since it snapped up Radiant Entertainment in 2016. With ‘Project L’, League of Legends champions will battle each other on new 2D stages in a totally new genre. Though we don’t have information on how large its roster will be, who will be featured, or when the game is set to release and for which platforms, we do know that Jinx, Katarina, Darius, and Ahri are confirmed as playable heroes. ‘Everyone wants a great game but what we’ve been seeing is that people are really excited to see Runeterran champions in a new light; even from a new camera angle,’ Tom Cannon of Radiant Entertainment said. This was just one of numerous announcements Riot Games made during its League of Legends 10th anniversary celebrations, which also included new tactical shooter ‘Project A’, League of Legends: Wild Rift for mobiles and consoles, and new competitive card game Legends of Runeterra.
For real. The Analogue Pocket will not only be compatible with Nintendo Game Boy games, but also Sega Game Gear, SNK Neo Geo Pocket Colour, and Atari Lynx. But it’s not using digital downloads or emulations to achieve this incredible feat: it uses the original games cartridges to play the classics on a modern bit of kit. It has kickass features like a high definition display that is ten times that of the first Game Boy, and button mapping means that players will be able to customise how they play. And it will receive a dock that will output the game onto an HDTV, which will allow wireless and wired controllers to sync up to it too. It’s coming out in 2020, so start saving your pennies now as it’s priced at $199.99.