E3 is stronger than COVID-19, PS5 Pro at Launch?

TODAY: Is Death Stranding really a debut game when its director has made games for over 20 years? — Valve is showing off Half-Life: Alyx’s locomotion models — ESA thinks that E3 is stronger than COVID-19

BAFTA Game Awards

The 2020 BAFTA Game Nominations are in

The nominees for the 2020 British Academy Games Awards have been revealed: Death Stranding and Control are tied for the most nominations with 11 each, the most any game has received in BAFTA’s history.

Death Stranding’s inclusion in the Best Debut Game category has caused a bit of a kerfuffle, since most of the developers at Kojima Productions had years (or even decades) of experience from Konami, and it didn’t seem fair to place Death Stranding alongside Askiisoft’s Katana Zero and Foam Sword’s Knights and Bikes.

  • Disco Elysium trails Death Stranding and Control with 7 award nominations
  • Death Stranding was not nominated for Best Game

The award ceremony takes place on April 2nd and tickets are available now. The BAFTA Games Awards ceremony takes place at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and can be streamed live on your favorite streaming website.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of the following Konami games was produced by Hideo Kojima?

  • Frogger: Helmet Chaos
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand
  • Suikoden III

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Daily Fact

Mario’s First Car

Mario Kart might be Nintendo’s most popular franchise, but it was also the first game where Mario and his crew did something other than bop each other on the head – unless you count Mario’s stints as referee in Punch-Out and golfer in Nintendo Golf.

Super Mario Kart was originally just a two-player splitscreen racing game, but Nintendo clearly deemed it promising enough to put Mario in it. That turned out to be a great decision and turned kart racing into a major videogame genre.

It also paved the way for a variety of sports titles starring Mario and company, including the upcoming Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Will it feature a Dr. Mario minigame where you fight off COVID-19?

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

PS5 Pro at Launch?

Sony could be launching the PS5 and PS5 Pro at the same time

There have been rumours about Sony launching PlayStation 5 regular and pro versions simultaneously for a while now, and now Japanese journalist Zenji Nishikawa is staking his reputation on its veracity.

Nishikawa has made some sound predictions in the past, notably about the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Switch Lite, and he reported about the rumour in September last year on his YouTube channel.

According to Nishikawa, the PlayStation 5 Pro will cost between $100 and $150 more than the regular edition, similar to the price gap between the regular and pro versions of PlayStation 4.

  • The report claims Sony is taking this approach to give players more choice from the beginning of the generation
  • Sony has been coy on the details of the PS5, while Microsoft has been uncharacteristically candid

Sony is not alone: Microsoft has more or less confirmed that they are launching two versions of their next-generation console, which make sense since the Xbox Series X is supposed to be very powerful and is expected to cost north of $500.

Not everyone needs or wants features like 8K and 120Hz video output, so it makes sense to provide a bit of choice.

Half-Life: Alyx Gameplay

Valve releases three Half-Life: Alyx gameplay videos

Valve is getting ready to launch Half-Life: Alyx on March 23rd and has just published three videos showing off the different locomotion styles.

You can choose between Teleportation, Shift and Continuous movement options to ensure a comfortable experience.

Valve has made no bones about Half-Life: Alyx being been built from the ground up with VR in mind, and that there is no way to play the game without a VR headset. Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the game follows Alyx Vance in the time leading up to the events of the Combine uprising.

  • Half-Life: Alyx can be played in both room scale and sitting/standing configurations
  • Playable on any of the three major VR headsets (Oculus, Vive and Index)

Want to get your hands on a Valve Index? Too bad, because there’s no way to get it right now. Index has been out of stock since December and Valve is having difficulty increasing their production capacity. The culprit? Our old friend COVID-19!

What Else Happened Today?

  • Death Stranding has a PC launch date: June 2nd. The game will launch simultaneously on Steam and Epic Games Store
  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker is heading to PS4 and Xbox One albeit slightly later than the PC version which will appear on Steam Early Access this summer
  • Call of Duty: Mobile drops Zombies mode on March 25th. Activision has decided to focus its efforts on Multiplayer, Battle Royale and Ranked Mode.
  • E3 2020 moving ahead full speed according to organiser ESA, amidst rumours that the annual convention traditionally held in Los Angeles could be cancelled thanks to COVID-19
  • Nintendo will finally add multiplayer to Mario Kart Tour on March 8th, allowing players to compete with up to seven opponents over the internet

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of the following Konami games was produced by Hideo Kojima?

Answer: Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand!

Kojima might be most famous for over-the-top political melodrama and science-fiction, but that’s not his only wheelhouse.

The oddball Game Boy Advance game Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand had a built-in light sensor, which you use to charge the solar weapons in the game. The game’s monsters are vampires, and you need to play the game in the sun to catch some rays that can be turned against the bloodsuckers.

If that sounds tempting, you can get used copies – for a price. Auctions usually start at $50, which isn’t that much compared to Panzer Dragoon Saga or Radiant Silvergun, but still pretty pricey for a mass-produced cartridge on a hugely successful system. In any case, it’s an interesting example of the playfulness and experimentation that characterized Japanese games of the period.

Today’s issue of DailyBits was written by Simon Priest, Ken McKown, Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Christian Vaz and Jamie Davey.