#112: Nostalgia Not Enough For Nintendo

TODAY: Luigi’s Mansion is selling at a frightening pace — Valve and Apple team up to deliver the next generation of entertainment — Turns out Iron Man is the perfect superhero for VR

Top Story

“No clear directive” for Nintendo remakes as ‘nostalgia not enough’

Is Nintendo planning to fully exploit its illustrious back catalogue of classics? Probably not, according to Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa in a Q&A for the company’s latest financial report.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! have all done well, but that there’s “no clear directive to release remade titles,” said Furukawa-san. Nintendo’s objective is to develop new experiences, and remakes depend on the original creator’s passion for doing one.

No rush to remake games with nothing new to say

“Nostalgia is one great appeal, but even in remake titles, what’s more important is to create new game experiences, fun, and more. More than anything, we believe that passion towards wanting to remake the game from the creator of the original game is very important,” he explained. “For a recent example, Link’s Awakening,” he continued, “is a good example of a game that has been reviewed by customers as both ‘nostalgic’ and ‘new’.”

This sets Nintendo apart from the companies like Activision and Sony, who has recently released Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and MediEvil remasters that faithfully reproduce ageing games with a modern presentation. Clearly, Nintendo have loftier ambitions than cashing in on nostalgia.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What cancelled Blizzard game spawned Overwatch?

  • Project Titan
  • Project A
  • Project Nomad
  • Project Ghost

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

News Bits

Applins to Flapples – more Pokédex leaks from Pokémon Sword & Shield

As early players dive into the new Galarian region in Pokémon Sword & Shield, more and more of the new Pokémon are leaking onto the internet. Players are already sharing snapshots of the Pokémon and their Pokédex entries, ahead of the game’s launch on November 15th.

Luigi’s mansion is selling scarily fast

Usually content to live in the shadow of his plumper brother, Luigi has proven his star power as Luigi’s Mansion 3 becomes the fastest-selling Nintendo title in the United Kingdom this year. Luigi also trounced the impressively successful Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but couldn’t quite out-gun Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which was the best-selling game in the UK last week.

Daily Fact

Don’t panic! Tetris 64 set its speed based on your heartbeat

Tetris 64 from Amtex and SETA was exclusive to Japan, and featured a rather curious peripheral for the Nintendo 64: A bio-sensor that would plug into the controller and then clip to your earlobe, allowing the game to read your heart rate.

Why? To control the speed that blocks travelled down the screen, of course! Duh. If you panicked, you would just make things worse for yourself. Nintendo made another attempt at marrying bio-sensors to games when the Wii Vitality Sensor was announced at E3 in 2009 – but nothing came of it in the end.

Daily News

Valve and Apple team up for AR

Augmented reality might well be the next big thing in entertainment. Aside from a variety of AR features common on mobile phones (Pokémon Go is the quintessential AR game), Microsoft’s HoloLens is the only dedicated consumer AR device, but it is still rudimentary not very widespread.

What will Apple call their AR headset? iEye?

Now Apple has teamed up with Valve to work on an augmented reality headset. Valve has already put considerable resources into virtual reality, and has recently launched the Valve Index line of VR hardware. The two companies worked together to bring native VR headset support to MacOS High Sierra, using a Mac version of the SteamVR software.

There was speculation that Apple had shut down their VR/AR headset development in July this year, but it seems they were just scaling down their in-house development to focus on a partnership with Valve. Apple is expected to ship an AR headset sometime in 2020.

Norman Reedus “completely forgot” about Silent Hill P.T

P.T. has become something of a cult classic among horror fans, even though Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hill project – which was supposed to be a collaboration with Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus – fell apart after Kojima’s messy exit from Konami. The eerie experience has even inspired a number of game development studios to build on the creepy, looping hallway concept.

“Imagine there’s a thousand dead whales in front of you,” and you’re like, “What?!”

Norman Reedus was apparently approached by Guillermo del Toro, who simply told him “There’s a guy who’s going to call you and wants to do a video game with you. Just say yes,” he recalled. ‘That guy’ was Hideo Kojima and the project was Death Stranding. Reedus jumped at it, and soon forgot all about Silent Hill: “When Hideo described what we were doing next, I completely forgot about it. I was like, thank god that didn’t work because this is way better.”

“I like the fact that Silent Hills didn’t happen, to be honest, because I’ve gotten such a peek into the way he works and the way he thinks, and I’m completely blown away by this guy,” Reedus told the Hollywood Reporter. Death Stranding is out exclusively for PlayStation 4 and has seen considerable critical acclaim. A PC version is due to be released next summer.

Game Spotlight

Iron Man VR is the perfect mix of superhero and awkwardness

(Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montreal/Square Enix – PS4)

One of the hardest things to get right in VR is the sense of movement. The whole point of VR is that you are fully immersed in a virtual environment, which you can look and move around in like you were in a real place – but unfortunately that illusion tends to be shattered the moment you try to move, and often develop motion sickness. That’s why the best VR games tend to keep you locked in place.

That means Iron Man is the perfect VR superhero. While Batman: Arkham VR had to force the player to stand still throughout the entire game, Tony Stark doesn’t actually move! His suit does all the moving for him, plus he has a HUD and a robot helper.

Has he lost his mind, can he see or is he blind?

Iron Man VR is currently exclusive to PlayStation VR, which means it’s a bit limited – like the camera not keeping up with hand movements – but it’s still one of the best VR experiences I’ve had.

I was playing the tutorial section of the game, which introduces you to the power suit’s movement and weaponry. It’s basically a little sandbox, and it was a lot of fun. Set in an area just beyond Stark’s mansion, in a rocky location on the ocean shores, it’s gorgeous in spite of the PSVR’s low resolution. Once I got the thrusters working, it all clicked into place.

Can he walk at all, or if he moves will he fall?

Iron Man VR is about flying using the thrusters in your hand, which feels really clumsy at first: You point somewhere, and go in the opposite direction. Whoa! But as I got used to the movement, it became a lot of fun. Skimming the sea, darting between gaps in the rocks, shooting up towards the clouds and then diving down – I really felt like Iron Man, and it felt great.

Unfortunately the combat isn’t quite as exhilarating, at least my little skirmish with training drones wasn’t that exciting. The triggers in the Move controllers managed thrust, while the main button activates the blaster. The blaster has good range, and hitting far-off targets feels great. There is also a punch, and getting that to work was the hardest part of the demo.

The demo only included a bit of flying over the ocean, shooting down some drones and completing aerial manoeuvres while chatting with Friday – Tony’s AI assistant – but it really made me feel like Iron Man, albeit an Iron Man-in-training who is still not completely steady and must suffer the humiliating spray of a fire extinguisher robot from time to time.

Iron Man VR is out on February 28th next year, and if I ever get a PSVR headset, it’ll definitely be an early purchase. Right after Batman.

News Bits

Keanu Reeves might have ‘doubled his lines’ for Cyberpunk 2077

According to Italian actor Luca Word – who dubs Keanu Reeves’s voice for the Italian market – Johhny Silverhand seems to play a bigger part in Cyberpunk 2077 than originally planned, thanks to Reeves’ enthusiasm for the role. Ward says he has ‘doubled his screen time’ judging by the extra hours of dialogue he has had to record for the Italian dub.

Crisis beckons as ‘London City Pikachu Plush’ sells out

Feel that tension in the air? The soft crackle of static electricity? That’s the calm before the storm, the quiet before lightning strikes. The Pokémon Center in London has issued a dire warning, revealing that the exclusive London City Pikachu plush toys are almost out of stock. Yup, the one with the bowler hat that Pikachu’s ears poke through. They blame the “overwhelming popularity” of the plush toy, and expect to sell out on November 10th. This is truly the darkest timeline.

Weekly Giveaway

Europa Universalis: The Price of Power

We are doing a bonus giveaway in colloboration with Aegir Games to celebrate the Europa Universalis: Price of Power Kickstarter campaign. To participate, you need to visit the Kickstarter page, put down a pledge for the full game and send us your Kickstarter backer name by email.

Everyone that enters will receive a free key for Iconoclasts on the system of their choice, and also has the chance to win two Nintendo Switch Lites! The winner of the first giveaway for the actual board game was announced last week, so check your emails if you missed it.

The giveaway is open until the Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, and winners will be announced the following day.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What was the name of the cancelled Blizzard game that spawned Overwatch?

Answer: Project Titan!

With all the excitement surrounding this weekend’s Blizzcon and especially the announcement of Overwatch 2, we thought we’d remind you where Overwatch came from. It rose from the ashes of the studio’s attempt to follow up World of WarCraft with an all-new MMO, codenamed Project Titan.

While Titan was reportedly also a character-based online shooter, it was set in a wider world and featured much more than just shooting – but the game was “cluttered and confused,” according to designer Jeff Kaplan.

The cancellation of Project Titan was officially announced in 2014. Most companies never reveal that unannounced games have been cancelled, but there was so much buzz surrounding the project that Blizzard had to say something.

The good news is that Blizzard took a lot of ideas and assets from Titan, streamlined the concept and made its debut first-person shooter, Overwatch. Worked out pretty well for them, right?

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