Rundown (2/04-2/10) Natalie Needs to Stop!

So, you know how I posted my review of Fire Emblem Heroes earlier this week and ended the review by saying that I would stop playing?  I’ve been learning how hard that actually is and that lifestyle games are pretty much the worst thing I could have ever gotten into.  Knowing that if I stop playing the game, I may forever miss out on various bits of content is genuinely disconcerting to me, and because of that, I do not know how to distance myself from the game.  I need to stop, but it’s hard!

Anyways, news has been relatively slow at the start of this year, but with February in full swing, there were quite a few announcements and quite a few leaks that cam crackling through the underbrush of gamindustri.  Starting with the leaks, the first one comes from the recent spring 2018 issue of Licensing Source Book Europe, on page 97, there was a small blurb about the future of Crash Bandicoot from a licensing manager involved with the property.  They mentioned how Activision plans to bring Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy to the Switch and PC this year, that a new title in the series is in the works, and that Activision has a 5 year plan for a series.

All of this is ultimately good news, if unsurprising news.  After Vicarious Visions put so much effort and dedication, and created so many resources that could be repurposed with the N.Sane Trilogy, it only makes sense to give them the responsibility of creating the first new console entry in the series since 2009.  While the idea of the N.Sane Trilogy coming to various platform has been hinted at for a while now.  Though, I can guarantee that some people are going to still react with awe at the notion of Crash being on a Nintendo system, even though there were already 4 Crash games exclusive to Nintendo handhelds..

Leak number two came from YouTube user Doctre81, who uncovered a LinkedIn profile of a Bandai Namco Singapore employee that mentioned their involvement in two unannounced projects.  The first being a “first person shooter/adventure” exclusive for the Nintendo Switch”.  Which most likely refers to Metroid Prime 4, especially due to the long standing rumor about Bandai Namco developing the title.  The second game is, quite simply, Ridge Racer 8, a revival of the long dormant racing game series that very oddly is set to be a Switch exclusive, after the series had spent the majority of its life being very closely associated with Sony.  

While this may seem a bit sketchy, Press Start Australia looked into this topic further, and found other LInkedIn profiles for Bandai Namco Singapore employees that mentioned their work on similarly described projects, so I think it is safe to say that this leak is legitimate.  It does seem a bit odd of a choice for Bandai Namco to develop this game, but it’s not like they could do much worse than Team Ninja did.

While the third and final leak comes from presentation slides that were hosted by the British law firm Browne Jacobsonare and pertained to the game developer Sumo Digital, who worked on a wide range of projects like Forza Horizon, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Snake Pass.  The slides mentioned 3 unannounced projects, a PC to console FPS port, an FPS using an established IP, and a “karting game” that also uses an established IP.  This karting game was assumed to be the next entry in the Sega All-Stars Racing series, as Sumo Digital developed the prior two entries.  

Sega PR representative Aaron Webber claimed this was not the case, but the European toymaker Zappies said otherwise at a recent trade show, where they confirmed that another Sonic & All-Stars Racing game was set to release in 2018, along with a new toyline.  Considering how PR people are basically trained to deny all leaks that come there way, I think it is a good idea to believe the toy manufacturer here.

Oh, but that is not the only bit of Sega news that popped up this week, as after a tease that involved updating the announcement pages for many of their titles on Steam by posting ASCII art of Puyo Puyo and Tetris iconography, Sega has announced that they are bringing the puzzle game mashup Puyo Puyo Tetris to PC via Steam on February 27th.  I previously spoke about how I was interested in this game, and I still intend on checking it out eventually, seeing as how the game is a combination of two of the best puzzle games, and has a wackadoo story attached to it.  

Announcement number two takes the form of The Surge 2, a sequel to the industrial sci-fi Souls-like game developed by Deck13, who previously worked on another Souls-like, Lords of the Fallen.  The original was not the best received, with many criticizing its approach to difficulty among other aspects of the game.  This new entry will take place in an expanded environment, and feature various mechanical expansions and improvements that one would expect of a sequel like this.  The game is set to launch in 2019 for unspecified consoles and PC.

As for the next announcement, it is easily the most… brow raising, as Compile Heart announced that the next entry in the long running Neptunia series would be Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 Plus for PS4.  The game is a “refined” version of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1, a PS Vita title that was primarily developed by Felistella, and served as a complete overhaul of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia for PS3, making the game a remastering of a remake of a game that is less than 10 years old.  Confusion aside, I am a bit dubious that Compile Heart can, or will, be making the changes necessary to improve the game substantially, and am also a bit wary about how they are announcing a project like this, when it has been almost three years since the last mainline Neptunia game, which is a record by this series’ standards.

That would have been about it, but niche Japanese game publisher NISA held their annual press event, but they really did not have much to show off that wasn’t already announced.  With The Longest Five Minutes, Penny-Punching Princess, The Lost Child, The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2, another Touhou spin-off, 25th Ward: The SIlver Case, and so on being already known quantities and due out relatively soon.  However, amidst this line of previously seen titles, there were two new games that at least briefly caught my attention.

The first one being Assault Spy, a spiffy looking character action made by one person that will be hitting Steam Early Access in May.  I am not really a big fan of the genre, but what was shown looks promising, and I always like seeing a larger company scoop up an independent passion project like this.  While the second eye catching title was Nippon Ichi Software’s Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, or at least it was until I found out that it was a fairly bland looking dungeon RPG that did not get the warmest of receptions back in Japan.  Regardless, the game is due out this fall for PC, PS4, and Switch.  This press event was something of a bust, but I guess not every year can be a winner.

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