#35: Did EA invite you to its Picnic?

TODAY: EA’s planning a picnic in the Garden of Warfare, and you might be invited – Bethesda hires magicians to work on Wolfenstein: Youngblood Switch port – Test your mental fatigue with our Rise of Insanity giveaway

Top Story

EA quietly slips out ‘Picnic Closed Alpha’ invites for Plants vs Zombies

EA has started a closed alpha test for a new project codenamed Picnic, and Plants vs Zombies fans have been receiving invites. This is the “first glimpse” of the latest battle in the unending war between the forces of nature and the hordes of undead.

While you’re usually not supposed to blabber about this stuff online, invite recipients have obviously revealed the existence of the community test. The initial testing is focused on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and only supports English language.

Zombies eat greens so you don’t have to

Initial tests on:

  • August 1 (7.00pm – 11.00pm GMT)
  • August 2 (7.00pm – 11.00pm GMT)

A longer test is scheduled for:

  • Begins August 3 (7.00pm GMT)
  • Ends August 6 (7.00pm GMT)

EA is already running pre-alpha tests of Plants vs Zombies 3 for mobile platforms, so it seems like project Picnic is a whole other kettle of fish. In February, EA revealed to investors that a new Plants vs Zombies title was in the works, and that it’s scheduled to launch before the end of this fiscal year – so by end of March 2020.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

In which of these games can you play Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow from TV?

  • Injustice 2
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold (DS)

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

News Bits

Witcher live action airs in Q4 2019

Geralt of Rivia is getting the Netflix treatment with what’s being called a “very adult” show, spanning eight episodes in its first season. Henry Cavill plays Geralt, and he certainly looks the part – he has also supposedly played CD Project RED’s game adaptations for inspirations.

Expect monsters a-plenty when the show debuts later in 2019 – and in the meantime, check out the live-action trailer.

Remember: WB Games is also a thing

While San Diego Comic-Con might be hogging the limelight when it comes to comic book-related news, Twitter is where the really juicy almost-announcements happen: WB Games Montreal seems to be working on a DC comics property! They’ve allegedly got two projects in the works, and they’ve delivered quality working on Batman with Rocksteady before – oh, and apropos Rocksteady, they’re also said to be developing another DC project. Man, what a super project that must be!

Daily Fact

Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series had a very different rhythm

Want to throw down with some of Joker’s goons? Well initially it would have been quite the rhythmic affair since the early combat prototypes for Batman: Arkham Asylum was as a rhythm action title. It was Rocksteady’s love of Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung movies that gave them the idea – it was the cadence those movies had for combat the team wanted to capture.

Eventually it got switched for what became the FreeFlow system, which is actually quite a performance to behold. It’s practically a dance involving fists, boots, head-butts, joint popping and flashy gadgetry. In fact the FreeFlow system has gone on to impact a number of other games – practically setting a new benchmark for close quarter action. Outside of that, Rocksteady was given remarkable freedom from DC to do whatever they wanted with the Batman universe.

Game Spotlight

Spider-Man on PS4 is the best comic book game ever, seriously

(Insomniac/Sony – PS4)

Judging by San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, now is a very good time to be a Marvel fan. Avengers: Endgame is the biggest movie ever, MCU Phase 4 was revealed, Square Enix are teasing Marvel’s Avengers, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 just hit the Switch.

Spider-Man is doing particularly well – he’s got a new movie out right now and the PlayStation 4 exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man just became the best-selling superhero game of all time in the US.

In honour of that achievement, we’re training the spotlight on Spider-Man, which was just updated with Far From Home costumes, demonstrating just how committed Insomniac are to their game. We’ve played the game (including DLCs) half to death – and although we’re kinda more into Batman, we got to admit: Spider-Man is the best superhero game ever. Let’s have a closer look!

Alright, let’s do this one last time

Insomniac’s Spider-Man takes place in its own little universe, separate from the MCU, the comics – really, every other version of the character. While he’s still living in New York, Peter Parker is a little older than usual – he’s graduated from college and doing photography for the Daily Bugle, as well as working on research for a certain Dr. Otto Octavius. In this world, small-time villains like Rhino, Electro and Scorpion have been kicking around for a few years, while heavy-hitters like Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus and Venom have yet to appear.

All this means that Spider-Man can tell a really compelling story, and it’s the first major advantage it has over the Arkham Batman games. While the Arkham stories are interesting enough, they’re not really about Batman or Bruce Wayne, or about any of the people caught up in Bruce Wayne’s complicated life. Like Telltale’s Batman games, Insomniac’s Spider-Man is a bit more personal: It’s as much a story about Peter Parker and the people around him as Spider-Man’s struggle against the new villain Mr. Negative. So when things start to go south, you actually care!

Does whatever a spider can

The gameplay seems pretty heavily inspired by Arkham, complete with Scarecrow-style hallucination sequence and oodles of more or less useful gadgets – but swinging your way through Manhattan is a transforming experience. It felt pretty great in Spider-Man 2 back in the PlayStation 2 days, but this is a whole new level. It’s perfect, right down to the way the music kicks up its tempo once you start swinging, and calms back down when you’re back on your feet again. Sure, Spider-Man has some weak spots like the silly collect-a-thon side-quests (capture pigeons, you say?), but really – we don’t give a damn because doing anything in this game is just so much fun!

Swinging around, having nearby crimes tingle your spider sense, investigating and suddenly finding yourself involved in huge action set-pieces, webbing enemies to walls and lamp posts, taking selfies with notable landmarks … it’s all just jolly good fun! And most importantly, it’s fun because it captures the feeling of being Spider-Man, and just nails it 100%.

The Arkham games are pretty fantastic, but you never get to see Gotham City bustling with pedestrians just going about their day, or save unfortunate citizens from petty criminals in some dark alley. The Batmobile is a tank, Bruce Wayne is just a side-note, and Gotham City feels much more like a videogame level than a place. While there are things the Arkham games do better, Spider-Man does The Spider-Man Experience much better than the Arkham games do the Batman experience. And then there’s that twist … which we’re not gonna spoil for you!

Daily News

Wolfenstein: Youngblood for Switch made by “magicians”

Wolfenstein: Young Blood by MachineGames and Arkane Studios is out this week, and believe it or not – there is a Switch version! According to executive producer Jerk Gustafsson, the Switch port team “are magicians”.

Panic Button specializes in ports, and thanks to them Wolfenstein: Youngblood will hit the switch at the same as the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Bethesda is taking the Switch seriously, and apparently Nintendo is rather pleased with them bringing many new gamers into the fold.

Switch is Bethesda’s new port of call

“I’m always impressed by the guys at Panic Button, that they can accomplish things like that. It’s a miracle. We’re pushing the engine pretty hard in this game. Of course we did that for New Colossus as well,” Gustafsson told Venture Beat in an interview. “These guys are magicians. It’s a great honor to be able to work with them. I’m very happy that we can get Youngblood on Switch.”

Panic Button cut their teeth on Psyonix’s Rocket League for Switch, and went on to port Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for Bethesda. Wolfenstein: Youngblood follows the adventures of B.J. Blazkowicz’s twin daughters as they join the French resistance to liberate France from the Nazis. It’s out on July 26th.

Highly doubtful rumour circles again for Red Dead Redemption ‘remake’

Now that Red Dead Redemption 2 is out and the game’s world includes pretty big chunks of the original Red Dead Redemption’s map, rumours have once more started swirling about a remake.

Note that the rumour is about a remake and not a remaster. This means they’d adapt the content from the original game to fit into RDR2 and its vastly improved technology. Since RDR2 is a prequel to the first game, it’s not inconceivable that the story could lead into a slightly tweaked version of John Marston’s adventure.

Share your horse’s salt lick for this one cowboy

Apparently actor Rob Wiethoff has been recording new lines to help bridge the events of the two games. Now, of course, Wiethoff was also involved in RDR2 since John Marston was a prominent member of the gang central to the game’s story. Rumour has it the remake should arrive sometime in 2020 or 2021.

Unfortunately, there’s probably nothing to the rumours. Fans have clamoured for the games to make their way to the PC for years, all in vain – but on the other hand, Rockstar has a proven record of remastering and re-releasing their games long after you’d expect them to. Bully had a significant facelift with the Scholarship Edition, and L.A. Noire saw a special release for PlayStation VR.

Daily Giveaway

Rise of Insanity

It’s time for another awesome giveaway from all of us here at Dailybits – and this one’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a first-person psychological horror game called Rise of Insanity – think Silent Hill, Layers of Fear, or P.T., except a little bit scarier. It’s even got VR support, if you think you’re brave enough…

Every day this week, we will give one lucky winner on our active reader list a PS4 code!

“Set in America in the 1970s, the story centers around Dr. Stephen Dowell, a renowned psychologist faced with a difficult patient who shows distinct yet contradictory symptoms of different mental disorders.

The life of the doctor himself is also shrouded in mystery – you must step into his shoes to find out the truth. What terrible fate has befallen your wife and child? Is your new patient, on whom you are testing your experimental treatment methods, somewhat responsible for what happened?

Who is to blame? Don’t lose your nerve, and overcome your fear.”

News Bits

Tencent and The Pokémon Company join for mobile game

There’s some major corporate synergy going on between Tencent and The Pokemon Company right now, as they’re working on a new Pokémon title for mobile platforms. Specifically the TiMi Studio Group is handling the new project, and they’re the studio who developed Call of Duty Mobile. Nothing more is known about the project yet, so stay tuned.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair trailer released

Playtonic Games and publisher Team17 have released a new trailer for the upcoming Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. The new game hits PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch later in 2019. The platforming duo needs to rescue Queen Phoebee’s Royal Beettalion, and they’ll do it across 2.5D levels that can alter as you uncover more puzzles and secrets.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

In which of these games can you play Stephen Amell’s TV Green Arrow?

Answer: Injustice: Gods Among Us!

This weekend saw lots of great news for comic book fans at San Diego Comic-Con, including the debut of the first trailer for Arrow Season 8 – the final season of the series that kicked off the DC Comics-CW ‘Arrowverse’. There hasn’t really been a Green Arrow game (although many think Batman Arkham devs Rocksteady would be a perfect fit), but he has been playable in some games – such as the Batman: The Brave and the Bold game based and Injustice 2.

But the TV version of Arrow – complete with voiceover by Stephen Amell himself – can only be found in one game, and that’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, the first game in the Injustice series. If you’ve got the Ultimate Edition of the game you can change costumes for various characters. Green Arrow can be changed to his Arrow costume (circa Season 1) and his voice will change to Amell too! Now, Rocksteady, how’s that Green Arrow game coming?

DailyBits Feedback

Help us Improve DailyBits!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this issue of our e-zine, DailyBits! Feedback is extremely important, and we are grateful for any time you can spare to provide feedback on this issue and help us improve future ones. It would be very helpful if you could add us to your email contact list, or otherwise drag our emails from the “Promotions” folder to “Primary” (on Gmail only) just to ensure that future editions don’t come in as spam.

Please feel free to send any feedback over to team@dailybits.news. Thank You!