#94: My Little Ponymon!

TODAY: Looks like Doom Eternal will keep us waiting forever — How can a hedgehog swim if he's wearing sneakers? — Activision reveals plans to turn you into an NPC

Top Story

Famitsu magazine reveals Galarian Ponyta exclusive to Pokémon Shield

If you're a Pokémon fan, then you also know the pain and sorrow of Pokémon version exclusivity. Well, buckle up, because pain and sorrow is headed your way!

The new Ponyta from the Galar region in Pokémon Sword & Shield will only be available in Shield, while Sirfetch'd, the much-vaunted evolution of Farfetch'd, is exclusive to Sword...

Gotta Catch ‘Em All, and you can (if you have Internet)

In ye olden days, the only way to obtain version-exclusive Pokémon was to trade them in person using a Game Link cable. Now that the future is here, you can just go online and hit up one of thousands of other players to complete your Pokédex. Well, what's left of it anyway.

So far, 8 Pokémon have been revealed as exclusive to Sword, while 7 are exclusive to Shield. Both versions launch for Switch on November 15th.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which id Software developer hid his face in Doom II?

  • John Carmack
  • John Romero
  • Adrian Carmack
  • American McGee

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

News Bits

Doom Eternal’s delayed to March 2020, and even later for Switch

The demonic invasion of Earth has been postponed as id Software announces that Doom Eternal is delayed until March 2020, while Switch owners will have to suffer an even longer wait. The hordes of hell were originally intended to dine on the denizens of Earth in November. On the bright side, Doom 64 is now a free pre-order bonus for all versions, since that's also delayed.

Outer Wilds begins exploration on PlayStation 4 this October 15

Open-ended space exploration sim Outer Wilds will touch down on PlayStation 4 on October the 15th. Having already begun its journey across PC and Xbox One back in May, Mobius Digital's alien romp will have you camping out near your rocket ship waiting for the local star to go supernova after 20 minutes.

Daily Fact

Sonic wouldn't take his shoes off at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mario and Sonic are once again gearing up for some Olympic competition, this time in Tokyo. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games isn't the most obvious mix of brands, and balancing fun and realism (yes, really) gave the designers some headaches. Turns out hedgehogs aren't the greatest swimmers in the world, but Sonic needed to participate in the water sports events!

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Fortunately, the ever-resourceful developers at Sega and Nintendo knew what to do: They gave Sonic a lifejacket, saving him from sinking unceremoniously to the bottom of the pool. They also ended up giving only female characters swimsuits, which were reused for gymnastic events.

Why? Well, iconic characters like Mario and Sonic become a tiny bit less iconic without their iconic footwear! Sega chief producer Osamu Ohashi cut to the core of the problem, sardonically remarking that “These characters just aren't naturally suited to sports.” Quite!

Daily News

Sony celebrates PlayStation VR’s third anniversary with sale

PlayStation VR has been face-hugging gamers and launching them into head-first virtual worlds for almost three years now, and how will Sony celebrate this milestone?

The third anniversary is on October 13th, and the occasion will be marked with some fresh release dates for upcoming PlayStation VR titles, along with a special sale. Pretty earth-shaking, huh? The special anniversary sale will be on between October 8th and 22nd, and offers discounts of as much as 70% on select VR games.

The list of upcoming PlayStation VR titles, courtesy of the US PlayStation.Blog:

  • Bonfire (Baobab Studios) - Trailer - October 22, 2019 - ”In Bonfire, players can look forward to becoming the star of an absurd alien adventure with famed comedian and actress Ali Wong. After crashing your spaceship in an alien jungle with a wary robot sidekick, it is up to you to navigate an immersive world and animated movie-like space survival story of trust and friendship where every decision matters.”
  • Audica (Harmonix) - Teaser Trailer - November 5, 2019 - ”Audica is a new and colorful VR Rhythm Shooter from Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band and Amplitude. Armed with a pair of rhythm blasters, players can shoot and smash targets to the beat of an amazing soundtrack as they battle for the top spot on Audica’s leaderboards.”
  • Paper Beast (Pixel Reef) - Teaser Trailer - Early 2020 - ”Paper Beast is a playful exploration game born from the dust of big data where players can undertake a virtual journey of discovery through a colourful and interactive ecosystem filled with puzzles. Meet unique wildlife such as the BernardShell, and help them to navigate across various environments such as rivers filled with slippery obsidian rocks from water erosion.”
  • Pixel Ripped 1995 (Pixel Ripped Inc) - Spring 2020 - ”Pixel Ripped is back with a brand new nostalgia-fueled virtual reality game-within-a-game, this time in 1995! To save multiple dimensions, our hero Dot recruits the help of David, the best gamer from 1995. Face challenging throwbacks to all your favorite 16-bit and 32-bit classics while surviving the struggles of a typical nine-year-old.”
  • The Room VR: A Dark Matter (Fireproof Games) - Announcement Teaser - Spring 2020 - ”In The Room VR: A Dark Matter players can enjoy a spine-tingling world designed from the ground up for the unique capabilities of virtual reality. Explore cryptic locations, examine fantastic gadgets and discover an otherworldly element that blurs the line between reality and illusion in this new chapter to the award-winning game series, The Room.”

Activision patent looks to turn ‘human players into NPCs’

Judging by a recently-surfaced patent, Activision has an idea for how to turn human player ‘profiles’ into more believably human NPCs. It's an interesting idea, which goes further than simply cribbing the name and look of a player, and promises to incorporate a surprising amount of detail.

I'm an NPC? No, you're an NPC!

Activision's ‘player profiles’ are much more like a proper profile like the ones you'd expect law enforcement or intelligence agencies to keep on people. It's not just your name and some superficial information you've provided yourself.

They include playstyle, average game session length, solo or multiplayer preference, in-game purchasing habits and – perhaps most sinister – “demographic information of the player (e.g., geographic location, gender, income level, etc).”

The idea is that a system like this could generate more believable bots governed by an AI system generating behaviour patterns from this data. It all sounds a little creepy, and should hopefully raise some concerns about privacy and data protection. But the real question is, will the bots trash talk like you, and use your favorite insults?

News Bits

Sony working on ‘verifying’ ‘complete’ PlayStation 5 backwards compatibility

Sony has told Famitsu that PlayStation 5's backwards compatibility still isn't completely nailed down but that they are “putting all power on verifying whether they can secure a complete compatibility.” If they pull it off, then the PlayStation 5 will be the first-ever console to fully support a previous generation's catalogue of games without outright including the previous-gen hardware.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run remake “would be fun to explore”

Could we be returning to Springfield in a remake of the cult classic Simpsons: Hit & Run? Producer Vlad Ceraldi worked on the 2003 game, which adapted the Grand Theft Auto formula to everyone's favorite yellow-bellies. Ceraldi just needs “parties who are in charge” to pull the trigger, and he'll be on the job.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which id Software developer hid his face in Doom II?

Answer: John Romero!

Probably the most famous Easter egg in gaming history is John Romero's severed head sitting on a pike behind the Icon of Sin, the final boss in Doom II. Just enable the noclip cheat (type ‘idclip’), walk through the Icon and say hi to John Romero. He even screams when you shoot him, though it appears he is unable to make you his bitch.

There's even a clue hidden in the Icon's garbled speech samples, which are actually reversed recordings of John Romero saying “to win, you must defeat me, John Romero”.

Romero is actually still working on Doom. Not at id Software, and not on Doom Eternal, but in his own home and on his own time: He recently launched Sigil, a ‘fifth episode’ for the original Doom that's really quite good, and well worth picking up if you need some Doom to tide you over while waiting (even longer) for Doom Eternal.

Weekly Giveaway

Surviving Mars on Steam

For this week's DailyBits giveaway we’re all heading to the red planet! We are giving away 5 Steam keys for Surviving Mars, the strategy-management game from the developer of Tropico - where you have to help the first Mars colonists survive everything their new home can throw at them.

We'll include the Season Pass too, because we're good like that.

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to email us (Once this week!) at team@dailybits.news with the subject line ‘Surviving Mars giveaway’. We will choose five random entries over the course of the week, and each will receive a Steam code for Surviving Mars on PC! It couldn't be any easier.

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