#22: It’s all gone a bit DARQ…

Today’s DailyBits looks at a side-scrolling psychological horror called DARQ, which might have passed under your radar, finds out Konami is all sorts of confused about having PES 2019 pulled from PS Plus, and that the dastardly duo from Team Rocket are making a splash in Pokémon Go.

Top Story

Prepare for trouble as Team Rocket sail over Pokémon Go Fest

Yet another big tease from Niantic as a hot-air balloon bearing the Team Rocket ‘R’ happened to glide over fans attending Europe’s first Pokémon Go Fest in Dortmund, Germany. The stunt references the original Pokémon show where Jessie and James chased Ash and Pikachu in a Meowth-shaped balloon.

Leaked source code suggests Team Rocket will play a major role in the next big feature update for Pokémon Go. Team Rocket is a well-connected criminal organization that seeks to use Pokémon to further their own ends, and aren’t fond of wandering Trainers undoing their plans.

Conquering the world, one Pokéball at a time

The leaked code also hints at the return of Shadow Pokémon – familiar from GameCube games Colosseum and Gale of Darkness – which must be ‘purified to escape their trainer’s control. Almost two dozen Pokémon feature ‘shadow’ variants according to the leak.

“We have cool things coming up…” teased Niantic’s Anne Beuttenmüller. “I think you will be happier with the things that are coming…” Fans have been clamouring for more content and features ever since updates grew more bite-sized after friends, gifting, trading and player vs. player Pokémon battles had been introduced.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these features are NOT in Super Mario Maker 2?

  • Super Mario 3D World levels
  • Luigi Assist mode
  • Local and online multiplayer
  • Amiibo support and Mystery Mushrooms
  • Story mode

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

News Bits

The Last of Us 2 to launch with four editions?

If this rumour out of China is credible, then The Last of Us 2 crowd us with no less than four editions at launch. Apparently there’s a standard edition, special edition, collector’s edition and Ellie edition. We’re surprised they didn’t spring for a Joel edition or how about the Clicker edition? Still, no official release date yet!

People Can Fly hope pigs can too for Bulletstorm sequel

Despite owning the Bulletstorm IP, creator People Can Fly is too busy with other projects to grace us with a sequel to the funny, irreverent and over-the-top shooter. The original game was a bit overshadowed by Gears of War, despite being a very different game. Former Epic Games designer Cliff Bleszinski thought their ‘crass marketing’ hurt the game’s appeal.

Daily Fact

BioShock had a Nazi problem, and a mole infestation

Did you enjoy bathysphere ride down to Rapture? Well, you could have been blasting out into space if Irrational Games had kept their original concept. BioShock was intended to take place aboard a space station, much like the System Shock games it was inspired by.

The game was originally intended to feature three different factions: Drones who carry resources, protectors who guard the drones, and harvesters who try to rob the drones. The three factions were always the core idea for the game, and eventually evolved into Little Sisters, Big Daddies and Splicers – but they were still missing a central theme.

Would you kindly… rethink your design

The original idea was that the player went to the space station to rescue someone from a cult, fighting mutated monsters along the way. The design and concept turned messy, and didn’t exactly turn out the way Irrational had wanted. Development was almost abandoned – but since people were excited about the rumours of a spiritual sequel to System Shock, they decided to keep going.The drone/protector/harvester dynamic was kept, while the new story concept revolved around a rediscovered WW2-era Nazi science laboratory that had been running amok for decades and developed its own perverse ecosystem. Many of Bioshock’s core concepts were present at this stage of the design, including plasmids and EVE. However, the drones weren’t little girls but moles scurrying around the lab.

The environments were turning out bland and inconsistent, and the team felt they had overplayed the cyberpunk elements. They decided to move the whole thing out of space and down under water. They dropped the Nazi lab idea and developed an entirely different vision: The underwater utopia Rapture, built by the charismatic – but slightly mental – business magnate Andrew Ryan.

Quote of The Week

Dr Disrespect’s E3 Apology & The Aftermath

Dr. Disrespect (née Guy Beahm) is a bit like Marmite. Fans of the successful Twitch streamer lap up his jokes laced with 80s and 90s pop-culture references, and enjoy his fiery, wrestling-inspired ‘heel’ persona. Others reject his larger-than-life character, painting him as a bully using his brand as an excuse to be, well, not very nice. No matter what you think about his act, it’s fair to say that the good doctor has made a few mistakes in recent years.

His most recent breach of common sense and etiquette happened at E3, where he and his cameraman decided to film inside the public bathrooms at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, capturing a number of adults as well as a minor relieving themselves. This is in breach of Twitch’s terms of service – not to mention California state law – so his Twitch account was suspended and his E3 ticket quickly revoked.

On July 1st, Beahm issues a statement where he apologised for his conduct at E3. Here are some choice snippets:

“I’d like to talk about Dr Disrespect’s Twitch ban from E3. This was my first IRL stream as the Doc and if it’s not obvious by now, one of the things I try to stay true with is authenticity….”

“When we were walking around filming at E3, we clearly weren’t thinking about the laws/repercussions of filming in the bathroom because honestly, it wasn’t in our mind frame at the time….”

“We had no ill intentions and I feel that was pretty obvious if you watched the entire thing…On behalf of the Dr Disrespect brand, I apologize for this..”

He goes on to say that he wants to move beyond the incident, and acknowledges the great amount of support he has received from his friends, family and community. His apology was met with a mix of forgiveness and accusations that he was hiding behind his brand rather than taking responsibility.

The apology was covered by several games press outlets, but Nathan Grayson’s coverage for Kotaku earned the direct attention of the doctor himself. After Kotaku tweeted about the article, News Editor Jason Schreier and Dr. Disrespect appeared in the thread for some good, old-fashioned flaming. Following the spat, Dr. Disrespect then decided to mock both Grayson and Schreier in front of his followers.

Schreier replied to the insult aimed at him, and plenty of others have joined the fray since then. As usual, there is no such thing as a consensus: People are criticizing Dr. Disrespect for mocking the journalists, and jumped to their defense – and even many of his fans seem to think he has crossed a line and that his brand and character is no excuse for bad behaviour. Others support the Doc’s jabs, relishing in the opportunity to complain about Kotaku in general.

It’s going to be interesting to see Dr. Disrespect attempt to defend his act in the future. While it’s hard to predict how people will respond to edgy characters like his, it’s getting clear that not everyone see him as an entertaining caricature – in today’s political climate, people are just as likely to interpret his act as something more sinister and damaging.

Under The Radar - DARQ (PC, Switch)

Lucid Dreaming Takes A DARQ Turn

The idea of lucid dreaming can be difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with the phenomenon. Essentially, the premise behind lucid dreaming is that once you understand you are in a dream, you gain the ability to manipulate it. While this might sound like fun, DARQ appears to be a cautionary tale showing what might happen when lucid dreaming goes wrong.

DARQ is a side-scrolling puzzle game heavily inspired by lucid dreaming, where you play as a boy named Lloyd who explores the phenomenon. Being able to do practically anything you want while sleeping sounds cool, but what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare? Developer Unfold Games opted for a psychological horror tone rather than the typical gore and violence horror tropes. The trailer demonstrates Lloyd’s ability to bend the laws of physics to his will as he walks along ceilings and effortlessly traverses through walls.

Though the game already looks intriguing, the story behind the development is arguably even more interesting. Development was started back in November 2015 by Wlad Marhulets who had no experience making games at the time. Over the past three and a half years, Marhulets taught himself pretty much every aspect of game development: Programming, 3D modelling and texturing, lighting and more.

After working on DARQ for a year, Marhulets released a trailer which ended up attracting the attention of Bjørn Jacobson (lead sound designer on Cyberpunk 2077) and Adam Schmidt (sound engineer known for his work on Inception and The Dark Knight Rises). With these big names on board, DARQ’s development began to take shape. The art direction changed over the next couple of years, finally settling on the look we see today.

DARQ went viral on Reddit at the beginning of this year, sparking massive interest from gamers and publishers alike. The hype reached astronomical levels after Unfold Games revealed that the team had received offers from twelve different publishers. Ultimately, the team decided to turn these offers down as some of the publishers wanted 80% of the profits as well as full ownership of the IP.

DARQ is planned to launch for PC on Steam sometime this summer, meaning it should be out within the next six weeks. Marhulets stated that he has been working over 100 hours a week  and has even quit his job to ensure that the project is finished. Unfold Games has also stated that a Switch port may be in the cards some time after the PC release. DARQ is supposed to be roughly five hours long and cost around $20.

Daily News

Gameplay footage of indie game ‘Vigil: Prophecy of the Bestowed’

If you enjoy vast and creepy mansions filled with traps, puzzles and home to something sinister lurking in the shadows then Vigil: Prophecy of the Bestowed might be for you. What’s that? It all sounds so familiar somehow? Well, that’s by design, since it’s a love letter to Capcom’s Resident Evil.

It’s under development by MoonGlint and the Residence of Evil (ROE) Team, whose goal is to capture what made the original Resident Evil so good, including the often inconvenient fixed camera angles framing your exploration of the mansion. There’s a demo available if you want to give it a go!

Will it end in an explosive finale, or foreclosure?

Vigil is developed using the Unreal Engine 4 and the project is led by independent programmer and level designer ‘MoonGlint’, who has recently started a Patreon. The Residence of Evil (ROE) Team has a Patreon as well.

Right now the latest footage doesn’t reveal much about the story, or any of the game’s enemies – no surprise since Vigil is still in the early stages of development. You can check out some new gameplay footage showcasing a female characters and some rooms from the mansion on the official ROE YouTube channel. An update demo is expected “in the near future” – first for Patreon supporters, and then the general public.

Nintendo Switch Online’s appeal is “extremely important” to Nintendo

President Shuntaro Furukawa of Nintendo has pledged they’ll be working hard to polish up Nintendo Switch Online, considering how important it is to lure Switch gamers to sign up to the service. He was very pleased with the steady growth of new accounts – now totaling over 10 million – and the rising number of paying subscribers.

“We recognize that making the Nintendo Switch Online service attractive to users is extremely important, and will continue to make the content of the service even more appealing going forward,” Shuntaro Furukawa told shareholders at Nintendo’s 79th Annual General Meeting. Someone remarked that while the subscription is “inexpensive”, the online service “still feels rather weak” content-wise.

Thank you subscriber! But our content is in another castle!

“We cannot provide any new information about how or in what form software developed for past platforms will be delivered to consumers in the future, but we are currently offering Nintendo Entertainment System titles as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service.” Opening up the Nintendo back-catalogue could certainly attract a flood of subscribers. “We are very aware that many of our consumers have been asking for a way to play older titles like this,” he continued.

Currently the Switch online service gives access to multiplayer (obviously), data cloud saving, a smartphone app for voice chat, and Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers – which are basically discounts. Individual subscriptions start at £3.49 per month, or £17.99 for 12 months. A ‘Family Membership’ for up to 8 accounts is £31.49 for 12 months. Inexpensive, but still not as robust as Xbox and PlayStation’s online services.

News Bits

Sacré bleu! Nintendo Switch Mini revealed by French accessory maker?

A French manufacturer is allegedly working on accessories for the Nintendo Switch Mini. Their accessories go into production this month, and their sales materials includes pictures of what appears to be a new Switch model. There has still not been any word on what’s next for the Nintendo Switch platform, so leaks like these are all we have to go on for now.

Konami side-tackled by Sony pulling PES 2019 from PS Plus

Many heads were being scratched after Sony pulled Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 from the PlayStation Plus line-up for July, replacing it with Detroit: Become Human. Was Konami behind the move? No. “I cannot really tell you what happened…” said PES brand manager Lennart Bobzien, as he found out like the rest of us. “I can’t really explain.”

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these features are NOT in Super Mario Maker 2?

Answer: Amiibo support and Mystery Mushrooms!

We’ve brought up the Mystery Mushroom in previous quizzes this week, and that’s because we loved them in Super Mario Maker – they allow players to turn Mario into a new character, from Nintendo staples such as Kirby and Link all the way to special guests like Hello Kitty and Shaun the Sheep! But for some baffling reason, there are no Mystery Mushrooms in Super Mario Maker 2.

While that’s a big shame, there are still plenty of new features in the sequel. Super Mario 3D World-themed levels (including Cat characters!), a ‘Luigi Assist’ mode that help less-able players get through tougher moments, a Story Mode tying the whole thing together, and – despite the pre-release rumours – local and online co-op multiplayer. Awesome stuff! Still a shame about the Mystery Mushrooms, though…

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