#72: Nintendo Having VR Dreams?

TODAY: A veritable avalanche of Nintendo patents — Niantic promises to keep their Pokémon off your lawn from now on — Can’t wait for the Switcher? How about some Sin to keep you busy?

Top Story

Another Nintendo patent out of the closet, but for a Switch VR headset this time

Sweet baby Mario! Another Nintendo patent has been discovered, and this time it’s for a virtual reality headset. It might be a successor to Nintendo’s Labo VR kit, which was a cheap’n’cheery but quite impressive experiment made from cardboard.

The new VR patent reveals a VR headset intended for use with the Switch’s handheld mode, which could presumably also work with the Switch Lite. Some key Nintendo titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey features VR modes, so Nintendo is clearly taking it seriously.

Mario Kart VR could finally be on console and not just in Japanese arcades

The new VR goggles replaces Labo’s cardboard with plastic, and adds foam for comfort. It also features revised lens design that keeps light from bleeding into the headset. The patent is not new, and was submitted in February 2018 and published at the Japanese Patent Office on August 22nd, 2019 according to Nintendo Life.

Hopefully the new VR kit solves some of the Labo’s design problems, like requiring the JoyCons to be attached to the Switch while playing, meaning you need to hold your arms up and your hands at the side of the device to play – which isn’t terribly comfortable for long sessions. Besides, the VR market could use some Nintendo magic!

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these RPGs was NOT made by Greedfall developer Spiders?

  • Bound By Flame
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • The Technomancer
  • Mars: War Logs

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

News Bits

‘Irregular releases’ for Nintendo’s NES and SNES library going forward

There will not be any more monthly releases of classic NES and SNES games, as Nintendo is moving to an ‘irregular’ release pattern. Nintendo has confirmed this won’t just affect Japan, but all territories, and that they will no longer “adhere to a regular schedule” for the NES and SNES games. Sad, since Nintendo fans tend to have an insatiable hunger for classics and were already starved by the drip-feed of new releases.

Fresh update for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield

Nintendo’s official YouTube channel has posted an update offering more details from Game Freak’s Pokémon Sword & Shield. The video shows off customization features, Pokémon Camp, cooking and two new Pokémon: The, uh, tea pot Polteageist and the water bird Cramorant.

Daily Fact

It was almost possible to complete Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two without paint

Warren Spector’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two didn’t perform particularly well at launch, selling only a quarter as much as the first game. Dwindling support from Disney – by then in the middle of pivoting to mobile games – doomed the series.

Interestingly (but perhaps not surprisingly considering the game was helmed by Warren Spector), it was supposed to be possible to complete the game without employing the central paintbrush gameplay mechanic – but last-minute changes made it mandatory after all.

According to Warren Spector, the third Epic Mickey game would have been a musical, with increased emphasis on multiplayer, building on Epic Mickey 2’s co-op mode. Unfortunately, low sales and less-than-stellar critical reception meant there was no big finale after all. Leaked concept art from 2016 also revealed that there were plans for an Epic Mickey kart racer!

Daily News

Niantic settle class action over Pokémon GO, removes Pokéstops close to homes

Pokémon GO has grown into quite the phenomenon, with over one billion downloads since launch in July 2016. It has taken both East and West by storm, and unlike most videogames actually encourages you to go out and play in the sunshine with your friends. Wholesome!

Unfortunately, this has also led to some problems, particularly with regards to exactly where Pokémon appear. The so-called Pokéstops where you can battle and capture Pokémon can be found all over the world, which has caused some problems with trespassing on private property.

A Wild Plaintiff Appears! Plaintiff uses Class Action. It’s super effective!

A class action lawsuit was filed and Niantic has just settled the case. While the studio doesn’t accept any liability for Pokémon GO users or their actions, they have pledged to remove all Pokéstops that are too close to residences and private property. They also intend to implement a reporting tool enabling property owners to flag a troublesome Pokéstop.

Niantic will pay $4 million to settle the case, mostly for legal fees, while the 12 petitioners in the class action will receive $1,000 each in compensation. The judge ruled the requested $2,500 “way too high”. Niantic say that 95 percent of complaints submitted via the new online report system will be solved within 15 days.

Nintendo really bent out of shape with new patent for Joy Con

Another Nintendo patent has surfaced in Japan, showing a JoyCon controller design with a hinge that allows the controller to be bent, enabling the upper half of the controller to be inclined around 20 to 30 degrees.

The patent application includes a second design, showing the bottom of the JoyCons angled, possibly for improved grip. It’s hard to tell just from the simple schematics. The JoyCons could be perfectly straight when using them detached, while allowing them to be bent for use in handheld mode – perhaps they’re meant to avoid wrist strain when playing in handheld mode?

How much hinges on this new patent? Not a lot – it’ll probably fold

Nintendo recently showed off a new belt-shaped peripheral for Nintendo Switch, which appears to enable a whole new wave of sport and physical games like the ones that made the Wii such a phenomenon. The Switch hardware itself has just been revised, and the newer console model offers longer battery life for handheld mode. The Switch Lite is also just around the corner.

Game Spotlight

Divinity: Original Sin 2 on Switch is a cool port of one of the best RPGs ever

(Larian Games – Switch)

Divinity: Original Sin 2 launched for PC in 2017, garnering a lot of praise from the RPG community, and even some game of the year awards. It’s the sixth game in Larian’s Divinity series, which has been going since the, ah, memorably titled Divine Divinity from 2002 – but the series didn’t really hit its stride until 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin.

The Original Sin games offer an unparalleled sense of freedom – arguably even more than Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, although the world is not as big. Combined with a fantastic turn-based combat system, Original Sin was a superb game – and Original Sin 2 is its perfected evolution. Now Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition (Why not Divinitive Edition?) is out on Switch, and it feels right at home.

Nobody tosses a dwarf

Since Divinity: Original Sin 2 is originally a PC RPG with mouse and keyboard controls, you might imagine that a console version would have pretty cumbersome controls. The Original Sin 2 team have done an especially good job, and the controls are pretty intuitive, without sacrificing any of the complexity the series is known for. The only thing missing is touch-screen input.

The sheer openness and freedom of the game remains the main appeal. No matter the situation, there are usually several ways to proceed. See a locked door? You can look around for the key, pick the lock, or just ram the door open – or blow it up, set fire to it, teleport it away (or maybe just teleport yourself to the other side of it) – or, y’know, look for another way, like a window.

Pretty much every situation offers the same range of freedom, and it’s glorious. Even better, the game is really funny too – which is unfortunately still a rarity for RPGs. There’s a skill that lets you talk to animals (and get quests from them too), spells that turn enemies into chickens, and occasionally straight-up hilarious situations – like dealing with a fire slug royal family.

Gather your party before venturing forth

The combat is a high point – although it’s possible to keep it at a minimum if you just want to explore the world. It’s turn-based and Larian tries to keep things as straightforward as possible – except when you’re turning enemies into chickens or teleporting them into a lava pit.

The use of elemental magic is the most clever part, since it often allows you to use the environment to your advantage: exploit relationships between elements like setting oil on fire or boiling puddles of water to create steam which blinds your opponents. If there are no elements to exploit, you can create them yourself with Rain or Poison spells. You can even use blood to your advantage. If you’re not into magic, there are more basic ways to use the environment to your advantage too: Archers in elevated positions get bonuses to damage, for example.

The combat is a lot of fun, and it’s even better in co-op. However you approach Divinity: Original Sin 2, you’ll discover an RPG with an incredible amount of freedom, imaginative combat, a mountain of quests to complete, a good-humoured and intelligent story – and one that doesn’t hold your hand all the time! Highly recommended.

News Bits

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition out January 23, 2020

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition finally has a release date. The remake of the classic GameCube four-player co-op RPG will launch on January 23rd next year for PlayStation 4, Switch and mobile. Crystal Chronicles is a more action-oriented game, without the series’ signature turn-based battles.

World of Warcraft Classic gets classically DDoS’d, and recovers

Activision Blizzard has announced that they’ve recovered from a recent Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack against World of Warcraft Classic servers. The group responsible appears to have been from the UK and tweeted a warning just before they attacked US servers, which also affected non-Classic services. Blizzard are remaining vigilant in case they should strike again.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these RPGs was NOT made by Greedfall developer Spiders?

Answer: Call of Cthulhu!

Greedfall is the next big RPG from French developer Spiders, which made a name for itself making “double-A” RPGs for the last few years – and Greedfall looks like the team’s most ambitious game yet: A colonial-era fantasy game about setting sail to a mysterious monster-infested island. It’s a big departure from the Mars-set Technomancer and War Logs, especially – and it’s out this week.

Last year’s Call of Cthulhu game, however, was not made by Spiders – although it was published by the same company as Spider’s RPGs, namely Focus Interactive. Call of Cthulhu was developed by fellow French developer Cyanide – which previously collaborated with Spiders on fantasy RPG Of Orcs and Men in 2012! They also made the Game of Thrones RPG, but we don’t talk about that…

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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