#67: Konami Still Believes in Consoles

TODAY: Crytek is ready to melt your PC once again — Tech-savvy Square Enix production studio is bringing out brand new series — 2019 is a great year for spooky games – but what’s horror of the year?

Top Story

Konami still believe consoles games “are the most important”

Despite considerable success in the mobile games market, Konami won’t be giving up on console game development any time soon. According to European president Masami Saso, they’ve got “globally known” IP in the works.

“Even with new platforms coming out, we believe high-end console games are the most important. We challenge for innovative ideas and technology within our console games and apply them to other devices, so we will continue to put effort into our console games,” Masami Saso told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview.

Konami is one of the oldest game publishers around, having just celebrated its 50th anniversary – meaning they’ve seen the industry change dramatically several times: The transition from arcades to home consoles, and then the explosive growth of mobile games.

Could that mean new Metal Gear or Silent Hill?

Their current focus is on multiplatform series like Pro Evolution Soccer and Yu-Gi-Oh, but Konami plans “to work on projects with other globally known IPs in the near future” – and expand into virtual and augmented reality.

“We can provide high-quality mobile games because of our technology to create high-end console games, as well as having knowledge to operate games because of our experience in arcade, PC and browser games.”

Konami intends to leverage the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and want to be leading the charge in esports: “We will continue to provide many games, high-end to casual in many genres, and have fan events and esports championships in the near and foreseeable future,” he concluded.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Crysis was the spiritual successor to what game?

  • Delta Force
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Far Cry
  • X-Isle: Dinosaur Island

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

News Bits

Driveclub pulled earlier than planned

Evolution Studios sadly went out of business in 2016, and their game Driveclub was just delisted from the PlayStation Network. It was due to be pulled on August 31st, but disappeared one day earlier – to the consternation of deal-hunting PlayStation users who expected a last-day discount. The Bikes and VR expansions were also pulled.

Crytek showcase new PC-melting CryEngine 5.6 tech with trailer

Crysis developer Crytek are busy with their latest iteration of CryEngine 5.6 and have just released a new tech trailer. The studio boasts that v5.6 contains “over 1,000 changes to the engine” and that they’re all present and correct in Hunt: Showdown, which hit PC August 27th, and will arrive on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well.

Daily Fact

Platform hero or rochambeau champ?

If you’re old enough to remember the 1986 Alex Kidd franchise – originally meant to be an adaptation of the popular Dragon Ball manga – you probably have memories of being frustrated – but not by the platforming!

All the game’s boss fights were decided by a quick game of rock, paper, scissors – meaning you could simply lose completely by chance. What was behind this “very fanciful, absurd idea”? Apparently, it was an attempt to stand out from the crowd, and especially to differentiate from Nintendo’s Mario games. Alex Kidd creator Kotaru Hayashida admits he had some less than stellar reactions from other developers at Sega:

“…for people who are good at action games to lose everything and Game Over because of a rock paper scissors match… yeah, that sucks,” he admitted in an interview, but he was so curious to see how players would react that he simply left it in. What beats rock, paper and scissors? Big brass balls, apparently!

Daily News

First Borderlands 3 DLC out this year

We’re not even looting and shooting yet, but Gearbox Software has already revealed part of its ‘content calendar’ for Borderlands 3 during their Gearbox Main Theatre Show event at PAX West.

The ‘Bloody Harvest Event’ content update will be released later this year, featuring “spooky activities” and unique rewards, followed by ‘Maliwan Takedown’, which will feature an all-new map, as well as new enemies, rewards and a new boss.

Borderlands 3 is out for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 13, 2019

Once you complete the Borderlands 3 campaign, you unlock the new Guardian Rank system, which lets you gradually improve your Vault Hunter stats. The system is similar to Borderlands 2’s Badass Rank, with the addition of Guardian Tokens.

Earn and spend Guardian Tokens in your skill tree to grow powerful enough to survive the True Vault Hunter mode, which is Borderland 3’s new game plus. On top of that, Mayhem Mode let you turn on crazy mods that provide unique challenges.

Borderlands 3 is out for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 13th.

Square Enix’s Luminous Productions busy with ‘brand new AAA-scale’ IP

Square Enix’s new development studio Luminous Productions, founded in March 2018, is already busy with an all-new IP. Headed by Takeshi Aramaki – lead programmer for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition – the studio is also maintaining the Luminous Engine, which powers Final Fantasy XIV and XV.

Remember the Agni’s Philosophy tech demo?

“As we all know, Square Enix has a number of popular titles under their belt like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest; Luminous Productions’ mission is to develop a new title that’s on the same playing field as those titles,” said a confident Takeshi Aramaki in an interview.

He’s excited for the challenge of not only starting a new studio but hitting the ground running with an entirely new property, and wants to heavily utilize AI to make the development process more efficient: “The artists should dedicate themselves completely to creative work, so my idea is to delegate to AI all tasks that can be left up to the AI to handle.”

“It might sound a bit overboard if I say to “deliver a brand new gaming experience across the world,” but that’s actually how I feel (laughs).” His dream is to deliver a new series that can stand shoulder to shoulder with titles like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Although Aramaki is an experienced technologist, the studio wants to “firmly focus on the game first and foremost,” rather than their engine. Check out the full Takeshi Aramaki interview for more.

Game Spotlight

Layers of Fear 2 still horror of the year

It’s been a good week for horror fans, with both Blair Witch and Man of Medan launching to general acclaim – but really, Layers of Fear 2 is this year’s big horror game event.

Released in May, Layers of Fear 2 takes place on a 19th century cruise ship where a film production has just gone horribly wrong. While it’s not clear if you are the director or the lead actor or someone else entirely, something is clearly not right. You’re suddenly alone, nightmarish sounds echo through the empty halls and the boat itself seems to keep changing.

Didn’t this hallway use to lead elsewhere?

The first Layers of Fear was a great horror game, obviously inspired by the oh-so-promising Sillent Hill P.T. demo – but it got a bit predictable after a while, and couldn’t stay scary to the end. The sequel works hard to avoid this trap, and mixes things up all the time with each chapter playing very differently from the previous one. In one, you even play as a kid!

But most importantly, the setting is just dang scary. The sounds a ship makes at sea are creepy enough, but simple things like doors creaking open or slamming shut when they shouldn’t puts you right on the edge. The environment constantly plays tricks on you, changing the ship’s interiors when you’re not looking, lights cast shadows from things you can’t see – and then there’s the mannequins. Scary mannequins. You like scary mannequins, right?

Don’t blink

Layers of Fear 2 also introduces a monster that actually hunts you, much like Resident Evil 2 Remake’s Mr. X. You will need to run like hell to shake the shapeless abomination charging after you, but since the interior keeps changing, you can never be entirely sure if you are running away or straight into its maw – and let’s not forget the horror movie homages, featuring scenes and locations from The Shining, The Ring and Psycho.

Man of Medan is all about making choices, Blair Which is about creeping you out – and Layers of Fear 2 is about making you jump out of your skin. It’s not so much creepy or disturbing as it is downright terrifying, and if that’s your thing, well, it’s basically the game of the year.

News Bits

Switch is eaten last on October 8th

Developer Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu is slithering onto Switch early next month, on October the 8th. An adaptation of the 1981 pen-and-paper RPG based on the HP Lovecraft story of the same name, Call of Cthulhu originally creeped up on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One last October.

Monster Hunter: World will end

Will Capcom’s action-packed Monster Hunter: World still be running in another 10 years? Probably not, according to producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, since the game isn’t a ‘live service’ product. Capcom regards it as an event game, and there are no more planned expansions after Iceborne.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Crysis was the spiritual successor to what game?

Answer: Far Cry!

Yes, it’s fairly unusual to have a “spiritual successor” to a game series that’s still going strong – actually far stronger than the series that’s supposed to spiritually succeed it – but that’s the case with FarCry and Crysis.

Ubisoft owns the FarCry brand and keeps bringing out new entries, such as this year’s New Dawn, but the original game was developed by Crytek, famous for their game engines but really more in the business of putting ‘cry’ in their titles.

Ubisoft and Crytek parted ways after FarCry, and Crytek went on to create Crysis – which had a lot more in common with the original FarCry than Ubisoft’s open-world games do: Crysis carries on the tradition of large, open levels, scary monsters and science-fiction elements.

Oh, and X-Isle: Dinosaur Island was, believe it or not, FarCry’s working title! They should have kept it.

Weekly Giveaway

Iconoclasts on PS4

It’s time to save the world in another DailyBits giveaway! We have 5 PS4 keys to give away for amazing platformer-adventure Iconoclasts. All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to follow us on Twitter and on our Facebook page, and we will choose five random followers who will each receive a Iconoclasts PSN code to play on PS4! It couldn’t be any easier.

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