#52: Need for Speed Countdown…

TODAY: Primal Rage seriously pissed off a mother from Arizona — Even your enhanced flesh is an insult to the perfection of the digital — Three Japanese students have made the best Superman game ever

Top Story

Need for Speed website counts down to August 14 for new reveal

The official Need For Speed website has started a countdown that terminates on Wednesday, August 14th – when the next game in the series will presumably be revealed.

EA revealed that the next Need For Speed will “revitalise the street racing versus cops fantasy at the core” of the series back in May, while CEO Andrew Wilson told shareholders that “We’ll take the wraps off our new Need for Speed game heading into Gamescom in a few weeks.” during EA’s July earnings call.

GamesCom starts on August the 20th, so the big question is whether this is a proper announcement or one of those pesky announcements of an announcement.

Need for Speed: DUI – Breathalyser Edition

The long-running series has its 25th anniversary this year, and hopefully EA will be celebrating the milestone in style – they certainly have high hopes, estimating 4 million sales by the end of the fiscal year on March 31st 2020.

The last major entry in the series was Ghost Games’ Need For Speed Payback from 2017, which saw a mixed reception and met criticism for its heavily microtransaction-driven approach to customization and its scripted police chases. Hopefully the new game will revitalize the series the way Criterion Games did with Need For Speed: Most Wanted back in 2012.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these Superman movies was NOT made into a videogame?

  • Superman Returns
  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Justice League

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

News Bits

Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York announcement

When it rains it bloody pours! Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York was just announced by studio Draw Distance, and puts you in the undead shoes of a fledging vampire caught between the Camarilla and the Anarchs.

The interactive fiction is planned for PC and Nintendo Switch and will endure the Embrace in Q4 2019, and should complement rather than compete with Paradox Interactive’s upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2.

Off-screen gameplay of MediEvil at Brazil’s Game XP 2019

The upcoming PlayStation 4 remake of cult+classic MediEvil was shown off at the Game XP 2019 event in Brazil. Voxel has snagged some off-screen footage of the long-dead knight Sir Daniel Fortesque in action. Make no bones about it: MediEvil will resurrect on PlayStation 4 in time for Halloween on October 25, 2019.

Daily Fact

Primal Rage’s ‘watershed moment’

Video game violence has often been the subject of controversy, and one of the more memorable occasions involved Primal Rage, a rather brutal mid-nineties fighting game by Atari Games, Probe Software and Time Warner Interactive. Specifically, one of the game’s more colorful fatality scenes led to US retailer Best Buy pulling the game from its shelves.

A boy aged 11 was playing the Sega Genesis version of Primal Rage, and had the misfortune of executing the character Chaos’s golden shower fatality in front of his mother. Outraged, Ellie Rovella of Gilbert, Arizona launched a grassroots campaign to get the game banned, and as a result Best Buy pulled it from over 251 stores across the United States.

Time Warner fired back saying that the game was clearly labelled T for Teen, and that she should not have purchased the game for her young son if she thought it was inappropriate. They resubmitted Primal Rage to the ESRB rating board, who ruled that the game would retain its original rating.

Best Buy started selling Primal Rage again – but refused to stock the Sega Genesis version unless it received an M for Mature rating, despite featuring exactly the same content as the other console versions. Yet another example of a corporation clearly taking the piss.

Daily News

Nightdive Studios working on System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition

System Shock 2 by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios was originally launched in August 1999 and now Nightdive Studios is giving the cult classic a tune-up and a lick of new paint.

The studio hasn’t revealed exactly what they will “enhance”, but most of the studio’s output has focused on making old games playable on new computers. Nightdive launched System Shock: Enhanced Edition back in 2015, a milestone immersive sim first-person game that inspired the Deus Ex and Bioshock series.

“You are a remarkable example of a pathetic species. Transmitting cybernetic modules.”

System Shock 2 puts you behind the eyes of a cybernetic soldier aboard the starship Von Braun, whose entire crew is either dead or infested by a biologically engineered parasite. The rogue AI SHODAN remains in charge of the ship, and recruits you to destroy the infestation.

While Night Dive has not revealed any details, it’s safe to expect higher resolutions (including 4k widescreen), configurable control scheme, mod support, updated menu screens, bug fixes and other improvements, as established by the studio’s other projects.

Hello Games “interested to see what’s possible” with Switch for No Man’s Sky

While Hello Games remains very busy with the free Beyond update for No Man’s Sky, studio head Sean Murray has said that they’re “interested to see” if they could do something for Nintendo Switch in the future.

No Man’s Sky: Beyond adds vastly support for major VR headsets – PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – as well as expanding the game’s multiplayer and social interactions. Up to 32 players will be able to meet up and cause a ruckus on the frontiers of the great procedurally generated expanse.

Switch: the final frontier.

“It’s super interesting,” Murray told Game Informer. “I love the Switch. We’re obviously very focused on what we’re doing right now, but we have done a lot of work for PSVR to optimize the game. So I’d be interested to see what’s possible. But at the moment, we’re just very focused on what we’re doing right now.”

In short, there are still no concrete plans for a Switch version – but it’s definitely on Hello Games’ interstellar radar. No Man’s Sky: Beyond will be out this week, on Wednesday August 14th.

Game Spotlight

Undefeated is the best Superman game

(Undefeated Games/Vantan Game Academy – PC)

Today we’re taking a break from the world of AAA – and arguably the indie lands too: Undefeated is a student project by three students at Vantan Game Academy in Japan, and probably the best Superman game ever made.

The game is completely free to play on Steam – no hidden costs, no microtransactions, nothing – and shows exactly how much a few dedicated students can achieve with modern tools. It’s exciting to think about how amazing Undefeated could become given a bigger budget, a bit of time, a few more developers, and a customizable main character.

Up, up, and away

Undefeated is a third-person superhero sandbox where you defend a small city. Using your Superman-esque powers like flying, moving faster than a speeding bullets, punching bad guys into space and clapping so hard the shockwave can put out fires. If we wanna be comic book nerds about it, the hero’s actually more like an amalgamation of different versions of Superboy: Casual black costume, shades, and a character model reminiscent of Young Justice’s Conner Kent.

Your home town is under attack by a bunch of super-villains who can control the elements, and their army of goons. Your job is to stop their mischief and kick their asses by completing missions where you put out fires, save citizens in peril, defeat goons and villains and – flashback to Superman 64 ahoy – fly through rings.

Superman Returns returns

Fortunately, flying through rings is actually fun and doesn’t play like the worst game ever made at all! If anything, Undefeated plays more like Superman Returns, a decidedly ropey but tolerable last-gen tie-in to the movie with the same name. For example, the city has a health bar instead of the invincible protagonist.

While you shouldn’t expect a massive, polished 60-hour experience from Undefeated, it’s a fun and impressive little project – and arguably the best Superman game ever made. So if you’re a Superman fan hankering for some Man of Steel action, you should definitely give it a go. And when you’re done, you might want to look into a little VR superhero game named Megaton Rainfall!

News Bits

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville trademarked

A trademark filing has been spotted in between the weeds, revealing that the next Plants vs Zombies is subtitled Battle for Neighborville, which doesn’t exactly sound like the Picnic EA invited playtesters to a while back. Could it be two different games, or just a clever ruse to keep us in the dark? Only time will tell.

Achilles heel for Total War Saga: Troy surprise

Creative Assembly and Sega have filed to trademark Total War Saga: Troy with the UK Intellectual Property Office. The Saga spin-offs from Total War focus on specific historical moments, and it looks like the Trojan war is next. Expect more revelations at GamesCom 2019, which starts next week.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these Superman movies was NOT made into a videogame?

Answer: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!

Today’s Game Spotlight focuses on Undefeated, a Japanese student project that’s basically the best Superman game ever made. The closest comparison is the Superman Returns game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which was the last Superman console game – but not the last Superman movie adaptation.

Man of Steel – the first instalment in the DC Extended Universe and the most recent movie to focus exclusively on Superman – got turned into a mobile game that was little more than an Infinity Blade rip-off, as well as a LEGO Batman 3 level pack. Justice League was turned into a VR game where you could play Superman – as well as a character pack for LEGO DC Super-Villains.

But Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t even warrant a LEGO DLC.

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