Original Switch Development Unit, Toyama’s Next Death Game
Today: Maybe you’re not happy about your name, but at least it’s not Turok — Silent Hill creator is working on an all-new horror game at new studio — Six Days at Fallujah is back, and we talk to the CEO of the publisher
Collectors get hold of early Switch dev kit
A gaming hardware enthusiast has managed to get hold of an early Switch dev kit from 2016, about a year before the console hit the market.
It's the earliest Switch model anyone outside licensed developers have gotten their hands on, and the collector bought it from a seller in Hong Kong. The unit is identified as DPRD and has some slight differences from the final retail unit, such as different button types and a purple-tinted screen bezel.
Early dev kit: The data contained on the unit will not be released since the unit is close to final hardware, but the contents of the device has been backed up and the device itself will be kept in safe storage. Pictures of the device show what appears to be the standard dev kit firmware.
Collector's item: The contents of the dev kit could help compromise the Switch firmware and DRM software, and sharing it would most likely summon the fury of Nintendo's legal teams. It's a pretty nifty collector's item, though, and maybe it can help archivists preserve the console's software library one day.
Which Turok game was marketed with an infamous “Name Your Kid Turok” contest?
a) Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
b) Turok: Evolution
c) Turok: Rage Wars
d) Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion
The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.
FACT OF THE DAY
Hollywood memories and comic crossovers
In the introduction movie to NetherRealm studios’ Mortal Kombat 11, Sub-Zero asks Liu Kang what Kitana told him, and Liu Kang replies “All I need is a pail of water”. Why? It’s a reference to the Mortal Kombat movie, and how Liu Kang defeated Sub-Zero in it.
Sub-Zero and Raiden makes another reference to the broader Mortal Kombat mythos when they mention dreams of a “strange and unjust world” with “With a dark knight and a caped Wonder?”. Sub-Zero and Raiden both appeared in Injustice 2, NetherRealm’s fighting game based on the DC comics universe.
Grasshopper Manufacture’s old visual novel The Silver Case is out for Switch in Japan, while genre-bending masocore action game Speed Limit is coming out on a new platform nearly every day this week.
Tuesday – February 16th
Azur Lane: Crosswave for Switch
Fallen Legion: Revenants for Switch, PlayStation 4
Speed Limit for PlayStation 4
Wednesday – February 17th
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium for Switch
Speed Limit for PC
Thursday – February 18th
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case for Switch
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust for Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Speed Limit for Switch
The Silver Case for Switch
Void Terrarium Plus for PlayStation 5
Friday – February 19th
Speed Limit for Xbox One
Thomas Was Alone for Switch
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Silent Hill creator opens new studio
Keiichiro Toyama created Silent Hill, Siren and Gravity Rush, and now he’s head of a new studio called Bokeh.
It's still early days, and Toyama's 9-minute-long introductory video doesn't reveal much more than concept art and the studio's philosophy. “Regarding our first game, I have multiple directions for my works,” explained Toyama-san. “The one I took is quite dark, far from my more recent titles. It’s like I’m coming back to my roots, for example towards horror.”
Return to fear: Bokeh's first project is a horror game, but Toyama doesn't want to ruin your sleep: “…I want to keep an entertainment note. While keeping elements from horror, I want the player to feel exhilarated when playing the game,” he said. His horror is based on “the everyday life being shaken.”
Death game: Toyama's inspired by the notion of death games, where “You have these regular people driven into irrational situations. They’re on the edge emotionally, while dealing with action or drama.”
Can a war crime be turned into a good time?
Over a decade ago, a first-person shooter called Six Days in Fallujah caused a bit of a stir. It was supposed to be an authentic adaptation of the battles that took place in Fallujah during the Iraq war, and the game met heavy criticism because the conflict was still on-going and many considered the US military action in Fallujah an atrocity, or even a war crime.
Konami decided to put the project on ice, but after developer Atomic Games went bankrupt, Highwire Games finished the game, which will be published by Victura. We talk to Victura's CEO Peter Tamte about Six Days in Fallujah and why the game is still relevant over a decade later.
Daily Bits: What led to Six Days in Fallujah’s resurgence?
Peter Tamte: Two things — First, these Marines and Soldiers shared remarkable and very personal stories with me that I thought many people would want to experience, and I felt I had let these Marines and Soldiers down when the game got cancelled in 2009. Second, I remain offended that people inside and outside our industry believe videogames are not qualified to tackle real-life, controversial events. I believe we have a responsibility to use what's unique about our medium to help people understand the events that are shaping our world in the same way film helped people understand WWII and TV helped people understand Vietnam. Every other form of media is about watching what someone else does. Six Days in Fallujah asks you to solve these challenges for yourself. It doesn't do this through a fictional avatar you may not care about. It does this through real people who you will see on camera and understand their stories.
Daily Bits: Many thought videogames were the wrong medium for exploring the war in Iraq when Six Days in Fallujah was announced in 2009. Do you think the game will remain controversial today?
Peter Tamte: I think games like The Last of Us and God of War have shown that videogames can be more than toys. But, ultimately, many people simply don't want any stories about the Iraq War told through any format. So, there will be pushback.
Daily Bits: Ganes have changed considerably over the last decade. Games like Spec Ops: The Line have shown that games can present a nuanced picture of contemporary wars. Has Six Days in Fallujah changed too? If so, how?
Peter Tamte: The story is told similarly to what is in our trailer. Players will meet the real people in the story through brief interview clips in which they give players context into the situation and what they were thinking at the time. Then, players will face the encounter they just saw described in the interview. We've spent more than three years building special technologies that will make the combat experience more like what these Marines and Soldiers described. We'll be talking about these more in the coming weeks.
Daily Bits: Who is the target audience? Will anyone be able to enjoy the game, or will it be most interesting to players with an interest in and understanding of the conflict?
Peter Tamte: I think most of us are curious what it's really like to be in combat and how we would do. Our first priority is to present this combat experience more realistically than other military shooters have so far, and this is best enabled through unique technologies. Getting this mix of technology and experience right is what has taken us 3.5 years so far.
Daily Bits: What do you hope players learn from Six Days in Fallujah? What should they expect from the experience?
Peter Tamte: I hope players will gain a new understanding of the complexity and human cost of urban combat. I also hope players will gain empathy for the difficult challenges Marines, Soldiers, and Iraqi civilians faced, and I hope getting to know these remarkable people, and how they think about these challenges, will be inspirational to the rest of us.
Daily Bits: Finally, when will you show the game in action?
Peter Tamte: We plan to reveal a gameplay demonstration sometime during the coming weeks.
Six Days in Fallujah is scheduled to launch on PC and consoles later this year, and we are curious to see how it turns out. Thanks to Peter Tamte for taking the time to talk to us, and we will keep an eye on Six Days in Fallujah as it gets closer to release.
MESSAGE FROM TODAY'S SPONSOR
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WHAT ELSE HAPPENED TODAY
Kingdom Hearts III will have “exclusive Keyblade” on PC if you buy the game on the Epic Game Store
4A announces Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition for PC and next-gen consoles featuring Ray Tracing, DLSS 2.0 and other improvements
Which Turok game’s marketing campaign encouraged parents to name their kid Turok?
ANSWER: Turok: Evolution!
The history of videogames includes quite a few colourful PR stunts, and the publisher Acclaim were responsible for some of the most noteworthy ones. Their marketing campaign for Turok: Evolution encouraged parents to name their child after the titular Native American dinosaur hunter.
Acclaim promised $10,000 to the first parents who named a child born on September 1st after Turok. That might sound like a bit of an odd idea, but Bethesda offered a lifetime supply of Bethesda game to the first child to be born and named Dovahkiin on 11th of November 2011, Skyrim’s launch date. Frankly, Turok got a better deal than Dovahkiin.
Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey.