I often stumble onto musings from gaming enthusiasts who boast about their collections or hem and haw about physical clutter being an annoyance. I’ve been playing primarily on PC since 2013, so I don’t have much of a modern physical library, and I have long since given up any aspirations of keeping a presentable collection and chucked my games in assorted cases and disc binders years ago so they consume less space. Now everything roughly fits inside a shoebox! I still have the cases mind you, mostly in the event that I choose to sell off parts of my collection, which I would be willing to do, since I’m never going to hook up and play something on any of my older systems, but that would require actual work.
THQ Nordic went on something of an announcement spree this past week, to the point where I initially assumed this was part of some sort of pre-Gamescom press conference, but nope, just a series of announcements made as they hope that everybody has forgotten about their little incident earlier this year. First off, a bit of housekeeping was done to retitle the holding company that owns THQ Nordic, Koch Media (Deep Silver), and Coffee Stain Studios, which will now be known as Embrace Group. A move that makes things simpler for those who are deep into the goings ons of this industry, but more complicated to the casual observer.
It also makes acquisitions a bit trickier to track, as some studio acquisitions can go under different publishers, while others, as evidenced with Coffee Stain, can be directly under the Embrace Group. Anyways, Deep Silver acquired Milestone S.r.l., developers of motorcycle racing game series MotoGP, MXGP, and Ride. THQ Nordic acquired Goodbye Kansas Game Invest, which is an investment holding company for a scattering of small fledgling Scandanavian game companies including Palindrome Interactive, Fall Damage, Neon Giant, Kavalri, and Framebunker, granting the company a minority stake in each of them. While Gunfire Games, a studio made up of many former Vigil Games staff, and the developers of Darksiders III, have been predictably acquired by THQ Nordic, since they did business with them once before, and the developers likely want more financial stability.
But with acquisitions not being quite enough, other announcements were made concerning upcoming titles, such as the shambling corpse of Dead Island 2. Yes, the surprise success of Dead Island very much helped put Deep Silver on the map in the American gaming space, and since developer Techland moved on to Dying Light, while Deep Silver sought to find a developer capable of bringing their idea of a sequel to life. First they tried recruiting Yager, hot off the heels of Spec Ops: The Line, and announced the game back in 2014, where it appeared to be fairly far along. Then in 2015 Yager was removed from the project, and later replaced with Sumo Digital back in 2016, eight months later. Nothing has been shown of the game since 2014, so it has long since left the public consciousness, but Deep Silver seems resolute against giving the game, and to a lesser extent the IP, the axe and announced development will now be headed by Deep Silver Dambuster… the people who made the poorly received Homefront: The Revolution. I’d say just let it die, but the game is already called Dead Island…
On a slightly more optimistic note, Dambuster is also made up of… some former members of Free Radical, a studio known for the Timesplitters series, which will seemingly be getting another iteration, as THQ Nordic have recruited series co-creator Steve Ellis to “plot the future course for this franchise.” Which at least sounds promising.
Also promising is the announcement that a new Saints Row game is in development. I’ve mentioned before, though not very regularly, that Saints Row 2 and IV are some of my favorite games of all time, so naturally I want to see another one, especially after recently going through the blasé exposé that was Agents of Mayhem. But with no details provided, the most I can do is sit and hope that the game looks good when it is formally revealed.
Speaking of formal reveald titles, Shantae 5 was abruptly announced earlier this year when Apple unveiled their subscription gaming service, Apple Arcade, and since then, very few details were shared beyond an excellent opening animation provided by anime studio Trigger. Now the game has a final title, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, and early details indicate that the game will be… basically what one would expect of this series. More specifically, the title will feature an interconnected world a la the original and Risky’s Revenge, something called Fusion Magic, collectible monster cards, and the return of the art style established in Half-Genie Hero, but with 2D environments. I really like this series, I think WayForward is a talented studio, so I am happy to see a new entry happen shortly after development on the last entry wrapped up. No release window was given, but it will debut on the big 4 currently relevant platforms, and also Apple Arcade, which I guess will still be a thing.
Pokemon online battling is also a thing, and some of the details centering around online battling in Sword and Shield were revealed in a new trailer, which again bizarrely fragmented information between the English and Japanese renditions. This all focused on the meta game stuff, including competitive held items, ranking systems, claims that Dynamax will change up online battling, and some new fringe abilities. None of which is really my forte, as I played two online battles in Pokemon HeartGold, and… never again. Though I will join in for raid-based funsies, and wonder trading pseudo-legendaries with inferior genes. …I am going to be spending $20 a year for the privilege to trade Pokemon online aren’t I? God bless it…
That’s all for this week, but before closing things out I did realize, upon looking at the header image, that I completely forgot about my N64 game collection. I actually have no idea where I shoved that thing, and probably should sell it sooner than later.