#85: A little bit of BioShock is all we need

TODAY: Respawn going back to its roots with a certain WW2 franchise — Will you battle Darth Vader in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order? — Oculus ups the ante with peripheral-free hand-tracking

Top Story

Mafia 4 might be on the way, and yes, BioShock 4 is coming too

2K’s Mafia games are essentially Grand Theft Auto-esque period-pieces with stronger focus on storytelling, and has carved out a lucrative niche in the crowded open-world genre since the first game was released in 2002. There have only been three entries in the series so far, the most recent being Mafia III from 2016.

Now it looks like Mafia 4 is going to the mattresses, possibly alongside remasters of the first two games in the series: 2K just filed trademarks for three Mafia titles! Two of the trademarks use the logos from the first two games in the series, while the third one has a new style – and no numbering, suggesting a reboot or at least a new game with no number in the title.

Youse guys under the sea

If a new Mafia game doesn’t float your boat, how about a new BioShock game? Turns out there’s a relationship between the two series now: Illusion Softworks, later known as 2K Czech, developed the first two Mafia games, before new studio Hangar 13 took over after 2K Czech closed down. Hangar 13 has also had its trademark renewed, and is sporting a brand new logo – so it’s reasonable to assume they’re working on the new Mafia.

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier confirmed that a new BioShock game is under development on ResetEra, and the developer is literally next door to Hangar 13. He also says that most of the Mafia III team has moved on from Hangar 13 – could that means they’ve moved in next door, and are working on the new BioShock?

While this is sort of old news – Kotaku mentioned BioShock 4 in an article about Mafia III last year – it’s been a while since last time we heard anything even vaguely related to BioShock 4, and the Mafia/BioShock connection is pretty tantalizing. Let’s hope both are announced soon!

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What was Nintendo’s first mobile title?

  • Super Mario Run
  • Miitomo
  • Pokemon Go
  • Mii Sports

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

Wattam hitting Epic Game Store

Sony revealed a new game from Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy at State of Play earlier this week. Wattam is looking just as cute and weird as Takahashi’s earlier games, and it turns out it’s not a PlayStation 4 exclusive after all! It’s launching for PC this December, exclusively on Epic Game Store. So still exclusive, just not to the PlayStation 4.

Daily Fact

Respawn created Call of Duty from the ashes of Medal of Honor

Respawn is the studio behind Titanfall, Apex Legends and the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but the team had a long – and somewhat bizarre – history before becoming famous for their sci-fi shooters. Founders Jason West and Vince Zampella as well as many of Respawn’s developers used to work at Infinity Ward, where they created the Call of Duty series.

Yup, the Apex Legends team is responsible for Call of Duty: the “old” Infinity Ward run by West and Zampella created all the games in the series up to and including Modern Warfare 2, before an avalanche of drama tore the studio apart, leading to the founding of Respawn Entertainment, who signed up to do Titanfall with EA.

But wait, there’s more! The team at Infinity Ward was formed by developers leaving EA to make Call of Duty, which was an evolution of their work on another World War 2 game. Which one? Why, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, of course! That’s right, the team at Respawn has gone full circle, since they’re now developing a new Medal of Honor game for EA. Does this mean they’re going to run off to Activision to create a new IP afterwards? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Game Spotlight - Code Vein

Escape the nightmares

Code Vein (Bandai Namco – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Release: September 27th 2019

You may have seen Code Vein in the news recently, a result of a unique and pretty interesting partnership between Bandai Namco and the American Red Cross: During the TwitchCOn weekend, blood donors will receive a free copy of Code Vein, along with a “promo blood kit”. So not only do you help save lives, you get a free game too! Sweet deal.

If you haven’t been following Code Vein’s development, the game was originally scheduled to come out in September last year, but was delayed to allow the team some more time to refine the gameplay. Often compared to Dark Souls (what game isn’t these days?), the combat system and other gameplay feels very different.

You are part of a hidden society of Revenants called ‘Vein’, and you need to fight to survive in a broken world by trading your memories for powerful Gifts. Team up with a cast of AI characters, and traverse hellish landscapes, defeat colossal bosses and try to avoid becoming one of The Lost.

Teamwork is key

The most recent build of Code Vein put us into a large, rocky area brimming with enemies. Once you engage in combat with an enemy, your AI companions join in and help you out, using all the tools at their disposal. There are a number of builds to pick between, including Caster, Ranger and Fighter, which you can switch between at any time. Each class features its own unique moves and gifts, as well as different weapon specialization.

During the preview we also battled one of Code Vein’s bosses, the Blade Bearer. Equipped with – wait for it – a big sword, the Blade Bearer uses ice attacks to keep you on your toes. Your AI companions really prove themselves during boss battles, moving in for backstabs while you distract your quarry, and resurrecting you if you should fall. Despite helpful AI companions, boss battles still feel challenging and satisfying.

We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the final version of Code Vein. Mastering the combat system with its parries, dodges and combos has been good fun so far, and we’re curious to see what more surprises the game has to offer.

Code Vein is out tomorrow on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can still pick up the Standard Edition Pre-Order Bundle that comes with GE Weapon Collaboration, Blood Veil Ogre: Venous Claw and the Reserved Bloodkin Set for £49.99. The Deluxe Edition Pre-Order Bundle is also still available, featuring the three bonuses above, plus the Season Pass, Season Pass bonus: Alternate Mia Set and Accessory Set: Insatiable Thirst for £64.99.

Daily News

Medal of Honor VR from Respawn

Anyone remember Medal of Honor? It was basically Call of Duty before there was a Call of Duty, and inspired the creation of Call of Duty. Confused yet? In any case, Medal of Honor sort of fell by the wayside just as Call of Duty was starting to get off the ground, and was eventually succeeded by the Battlefield series as EA’s big shooty war franchise.

But guess what! Medal of Honor is back, in VR! And guess who’s making it – that’s right, Respawn Entertainment, who strictly speaking is the team behind Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, which was the series’ high point. Talk about going around in circles.

Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct Medal

The new game is called Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, and it’s a WW2 VR FPS exclusively for Oculus. According to IGN, the game is 12 to 12 hours long, which is pretty big for a VR game. Features reportedly include leaning around corners, pulling the pins out of grenades with your teeth and even throwing frying pans at Nazis.

Respawn has also gone above and beyond with the in-game extras, including a series of World War Two documentaries, featuring war veterans visiting the locations of battles they took part in. Bit of a strange contrast to the frying pan action, but c’est la vie.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is out in 2020, exclusively for Oculus.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order trailer out today, featuring … Darth Vader?

As part of the Force Friday livestream – which is where Lucasfilm pimps its Star Wars merchandise – EA has confirmed that a brand new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will debut tonight at 11:00PT/19:00BST, and offered a short teaser of what they’re about to show.

The teaser is only a few seconds long, and features main character Cal Kestis and his mentor Cere, along with a figure wielding a red lightsaber. While you only catch a quick glimpse of him, it certainly looks a lot like Darth Vader. Since Fallen Order is set between Episode III and IV and thus at the height of the Empire’s reign, fans have expected the OG Sith Lord to show up.

The circle is now complete

Alternatively, the black-caped figure with the red lightsaber could be the Second Sister, a Jedi-hunting Inquisitor who serves as Fallen Order’s major villain. But the teaser was accompanied by the words “he’s searching for something…something very precious to the Empire,” which seems to suggest the figure is male. Oh, and the musical cue is a piano rendition of Darth Vader’s theme.

Plus, it’d be slightly odd to tease a character who’s already been revealed in several videos, not to mention the game’s cover art. Which makes us lean towards the Darth Vader theory. Since Fallen Order is all about the downfall of the Jedi during the Empire’s reign – which is also Vader’s reign – it would be weird not to include Star Wars’ most iconic villain. We’ll find out soon!

VR Roundup

Facebook’s Horizon will connect people in VR

Facebook is launching “a new social VR world” named Horizon, with a closed beta starting in early 2020. Design your avatar before stepping through the ‘Telepod’ and play games, explore a VR world and – of course – hang out with friends. You can also build your own world, share it with others and host activities that others can join in on. This means Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms are closing down on October 25th so the team can fully concentrate on Facebook Horizon. Sound interesting? Then sign up for the closed beta via this here application.

Oculus introduce hand tracking to the Quest

Oculus has also introduced a brand new feature for Oculus Quest, with no additional hardware requirements: Hand tracking. That’s right! The Oculus Quest now has built-in hand tracking, courtesy of the Insight system. The Insight system used to measuire movement, but now Oculus has taken it one step further and used it to track hand motion as well. The SDK will be available early next year, allowing developers to use the new features. No word on whether Oculus Rift S supports the hand-tracking feature – so far, only Oculus Quest support is confirmed.

Transform your Oculus Quest into a Rift

And if that’s not enough, the Oculus Quest will be able to work as a PC headset thanks to the Oculus Link, which is a high-speed USB3 cable which gives the Oculus Quest the bandwidth necessary to stream data from a PC. Oculus has designed their own custom fiber-optic cable designed specifically for VR, but any high-performance USB lead should do the trick.

This basically makes the Oculus Quest the first affordable and flexible VR headset! Mainstream next?

News Bits

Multiplayer Mario Kart Tour – one day

Mario Kart Tour launched on mobile this week, and should be available worldwide now that the glitches and kinks have been worked out. If you’ve played it, you may have noticed a tantalizing symbol on the title screen – multiplayer! It’s marked as “inbound”, and clicking on it yields the message “available in a future version”. Which means, hooray! Multiplayer is coming to Mario Kart Tour – but how will it play? And will it feature Battle mode?

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What was Nintendo’s first mobile title?

Answer: Miitomo!

It took Nintendo a long time to enter the mobile game market, mostly because it has always had its own line of portable game consoles and had no particular interest in helping mobile phone manufacturers eat that market share. However, as mobile gaming matured into its own market – quite different from Nintendo’s traditional handheld market – Nintendo wisely relented.

Its first game was the quirky social experiment Miitomo from 2016, which arrived just four months before Pokémon Go. Since then, Nintendo has released a bunch of games, including Super Mario Go, Dr. Mario, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing and now Mario Kart Tour.

Quick reminder: While Nintendo owns a considerable stake in The Pokémon Company, it’s not a part of Nintendo, so the mobile Pokémon games released prior to Miitomo aren’t exactly Nintendo games – and neither is Pokémon Go, actually, which Nintendo is probably not terribly happy about.

Weekly Giveaway

Cat Quest II on PC

This week’s DailyBits giveaway features a purrfect combination: Cats and RPGs! We are giving away 5 Steam keys for Cat Quest 2, the sequel to the acclaimed epic fantasy RPG by PQubeGames and @TheGentlebros, where you defend the cat kingdom against the dog hordes. We’re sold!

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to be a Dailybits subscriber. We will choose five random subscribers over the course of the week, and each will receive a Steam code for Cat Quest II on PC! It couldn’t be any easier.

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