#102: PDXCON Brings New Crusades…

TODAY: Nintendo didn’t need brass balls to market a soccer game — Could Blizzard be gearing up to announce Diablo IV? — Get ready to suck up some ghosts this Halloween

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PDXCON 2019 has come and gone, so what was announced?

Paradox Interactive just held their annual PDXCON event in Berlin, where developers and fans get together to revel in talks and announcements. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall REVELATIONS (Triumph Studios) – Announcement Trailer – November 19, 2019 (PC)
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal (Harebrained Schemes) – Announcement Trailer – November 21, 2019 (PC)
  • Crusader Kings III (Paradox Development Studio) – Announcement Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC, Xbox Game Pass)
  • Empire of Sin (Romero Games) – Gameplay Trailer – Spring 2020 (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch)
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance (Paradox Development Studio) – Announcement Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC)
  • Prison Architect: Psych Ward: Warden’s Edition (Double Eleven) – Announcement Trailer – November 21, 2019 (PC)
  • Stellaris: Federations (Paradox Development Studio) – Announcement Teaser – TBA (PC)
  • Stellaris: Lithoids Species Pack (Paradox Development Studio) – Release Trailer – October 24, 2019 (PC)
  • Surviving the Aftermath (Iceflake Studios) – Announcement Trailer – October 19, 2019 (Xbox Game Preview, Epic Games Store Early Access)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (Hardsuit Labs) – E3/Gamescom Demo – Late 2020 (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

“This first expansion allows players to explore deeper into the Planetfall universe, uncovering how the collapse of the Star Union empire has awakened beings from its mysterious past,” said Lennart Sas, co-founder of Triumph Studios and Game Director of Age of Wonders: Planetfall. “With the introduction of Heritor Secret Technology, NPCs, and Essence, Revelations is a new chapter for Planetfall that will affect the rise and fall of empires to come.”

“Heavy Metal brings a greater level of diversity to BATTLETECH by including eight new ‘Mechs and a variety of devastating weapon systems that will change the way players destroy their opponents,” said Mitch Gitelman, BATTLETECH Game Director and co-founder of Harebrained Schemes. “The new mini-campaign weaves its way through your mercenary career to the point when you become an elite MechCommander, capable of facing off with two of the most legendary MechWarriors in BATTLETECH history.”

“Crusader Kings III is a grand medieval simulator where you are free to live out any plausible ruler fantasy that we could think of – but not without challenge,” said Game Director Henrik Fåhraeus. “Seeing its predecessor explode in popularity was very satisfying, especially considering that user friendliness was never our primary goal. Now we have a chance to address an even larger audience.”

“Psych Ward: Warden’s Edition is built to enhance Prison Architect’s existing gameplay mechanics to give players new and interesting ways to experience the game,” said Steacy McIlwham, Product Manager for Prison Architect at Paradox Interactive. “Each feature in this expansion brings its own set of scenarios and opportunities that require players to get creative with their prison management. Psych Ward: Warden’s Edition is just the start of our plans for Prison Architect, we have much more in the works that you’ll hear about soon.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. With the Stellaris: Federations expansion, players can extend their diplomatic dominion over the galaxy like never before. Use every trick in the book to gain an edge on friend and foe alike, with a host of new options to influence, manipulate, and dominate without firing a shot.”

“Surviving the Aftermath is the game we’ve always wanted to make,” said Lasse Liljedahl, CEO and Lead Designer at Iceflake Studios. “When we pitched our plan to Paradox, they recognized our passion and commitment to making this game the best survival colony builder it can be. We’re beyond thrilled to finally share our dream project with the world and to have the support of one of the industry’s leading publishers.”

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which Nintendo console appears as equipment in the first Luigi’s Mansion?

  • GameCube
  • SNES
  • Game Boy Color
  • Game Boy Advance

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

News Bits

Luigi’s Mansion 3 themed Tetris event

The eighth Tetris 99 event takes place between October 25th and 29th, this time featuring a Luigi’s Mansion 3 theme to mark the game’s release on October 31st. The event is open to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, and you get to keep the special theme if you score 100 points

Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition announced for PlayStation 4 for 2020

Sunless Skies’ peculiar mix of gothic horror and interplanetary science fiction hits PlayStation 4 in the first half of 2020, according to Digerati Distribution. Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition will include a few extras such as more story choices, but is otherwise the same Victorian-flavored steampunk romp where you explore the infinite void in your steam-engine locomotive and try to keep your stiff upper lip while your crew succumbs to lunacy. Choo-choo!

Daily Fact

Super Mario Strikers neutered its “gonna need a pair” marketing poster

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nintendo never approved this charming promotional poster for Next Level Games’ 2005 sports title Super Mario Strikers for GameCube, which sported evocative imagery of two soccer balls dangling in a net, alongside the slogan “You’re gonna need a pair”. As it turns out, Nintendo didn’t think so.

Super Mario Strikes (known as Mario Smash Football in Europe) was the first GameCube game supporting 16:9 widescreen and 480p resolution, so arguably had a couple of outstanding features. It even had the stones to spawn a ball-smashing sequel named Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii in 2007.

Daily News

Ad in German magazine GameStar reveals art book featuring Diablo IV

German magazine GameStar ran an ad for a book called ‘The Art of Diablo’, which contains “over 500 artworks” from the entire Diablo series – apparently including Diablo IV.

The book is at least partially written by senior Blizzard writer Robert Brooks, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Could this mean Blizzard will unveil the next Diablo at BlizzCon in just a couple of weeks?

Hell hath no fury like a room full of fanboys who don’t want a freemium mobile title thank you very much

Judging by this Kotaku report, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Diablo IV has apparently been in development since 2016, complete with a ‘dark and gross’ art style that departs from the more vivid and colorful Diablo III, which wasn’t exactly a fan favorite.

Last year’s BlizzCon infamously produced the ‘Do You Guys Not Have Phones?’ meme after the less-than-well-received announcement of mobile spin-off Diablo Immortal. Seems Blizzard wasn’t making things up when it said there are several teams working on “different Diablo projects”.

PlanetSide 3 still in development despite Arena spin-off

Daybreak Games hasn’t given up their ambitions for another PlanetSide sequel: The PlanetSide Arena Early Access launch should help them get there. Arena is “intended to be the stepping stone” that bridges the second and third PlanetSide games, according to the latest developer blog. Daybreak Games is hoping to expand from the battlefields of Auraxis to full-fledged galactic warfare.

Terran Republic, New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty – choose your allegiance

The goal is to have mighty empires clash and knock pieces out of each other, and Arena will let the developers try out new ideas without making huge changes to PlanetSide 2 or biting over more than they can chew with PlanetSide 3. “Trying to incorporate different game systems or styles of play or even trying out new modes would be disruptive – potentially catastrophically,” according to the developers.

“[T]he team and I are 100% committed for the long haul as we continue to expand PlanetSide 2, refine PlanetSide Arena, and prepare for the future of the overall PlanetSide franchise.” The original PlanetSide launched in 2003, followed by PlanetSide 2 in 2012 while PlanetSide Arena appeared on Early Access last month.

Game Spotlight

Luigi’s Mansion 3 innovates the ghostbusting genre

(Nintendo – Switch, out October 31)

Who ya gonna call? Luigi, apparently. Since 2001 Luigi has traded his jumping, dashing, and generally being in his brother’s shadow in favour of exploring haunted houses and creepy castles. He’s a regular ghostbuster now – and despite being afraid of everything, he’s pretty darn good at it.

The two earlier Luigi’s Mansion games – one on GameCube, one on 3DS – were both excellent, and while the second game improved the gameplay, it was a bit limited by the handheld format. Hopefully the Switch version will marry the best of both games, especially since Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon developer Next Level Games is back in action.

We played Luigi’s Mansion 3 at EGX, and here’s our first impressions!

Mushroom hysteria

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is set in a huge hotel completely taken over by ghosts, and the demo we played was set in a medieval-themed area, complete with ghosts hiding behind shields and a ghost king animating a suit of armour as well as a mechanical horse. The game looks gorgeous too – the Luigi’s Mansion series has developed a lovely style of its own that stands out from the other Mario games.

At first, it doesn’t look like much has changed: Luigi’s still got his trusty Poltergust 3000 vacuum cleaner, the game is in 3D but the angle is still reminiscent of an arcade beat-em-up, and the main goal is still to daze ghosts with your flashlight and then suck them up in a fishing-type minigame.

Bustin’ makes me feel Gooigi

Next Level Games has introduced a variety of new features that makes the game feel fresh, with all-new devious puzzles. The biggest addition to Luigi’s arsenal is the suction dart, which allows Luigi to train his Poltergust on objects as well as ghosts. So long shields! There’s also a Dark Light which can illuminate hidden objects, and ghost-catching is augmented with a new Slam move that feels straight out of Ghostbusters: The Videogame.

The most welcome additions are Luigi’s new companions. The Polterpup is simply a cute dog ghost who teaches you how to play the game, but Gooigi is a major change to the gameplay.

You can summon a slime doppelganger at any time, and take control of it to reach places Luigi can’t, like crossing spikes. The demo used the mechanic to present some twisted co-op puzzle rooms, and I’m looking forward to see how tricky things could get in the full game.

The demo culminated in an epic battle with the ghost king, and it took a while before I discovered how to beat him – blast him in the face with the flashlight, stick a suction dart to his chest, and beat his armour out of him! Lots of fun.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 was already one of my most anticipated games of the year – now after playing the demo, it could well end up as my game of the year! It’s only a few weeks away too, on October 31st – how appropriate!

News Bits

Duck and Cover! It’s Munchkin: Quacked Quest

Munchkin: Quacked Quest features multiplatform four-player co-op action where you’ll bash monsters, hoard gold, chuck your friends into sacrificial pits and collect ducks. All-out mayhem and betrayal most foul is all but guaranteed, unless you play solo.

Munchkin: Quacked Quest is out for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch on November 19th.

Rest of the year’s Steam sales leaked

Time to start saving some cash, because there’s not one or two but three more Steam sales this year, and now the dates have leaked according to Steam Database on Twitter:

  • Halloween Sale: October 28 – November 1
  • Autumn Sale: November 26 – December 3
  • Winter Sale: December 19 – January 2

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which Nintendo console appears as equipment in the first Luigi’s Mansion?

Answer: Game Boy Color!

Ghost-hunting Professor E. Gadd’s inventions always seems to resemble an ageing Nintendo Handheld. The first Luigi’s Mansion featured a GameBoy Horror – a riff on the Game Boy Color – despite the Game Boy Advance being available at that point. It served as menu, and a way to contact Gadd.

In Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS, Gadd provides Luigi with a DS substitute called the Dual Scream, and while we have no idea what device will feature in the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion 3, we won’t be terribly surprised if it’s a WiiU gamepad.

Weekly Giveaway

Europa Universalis: The Price of Power Board Game Giveaway

Europa Universalis: The Price of Power brings Paradox Interactive’s award-winning Europea Universalis series back to the table top.

The Kickstarter campaign launched today – and has already reached its goal of raising £21,266 – so we’ve teamed up with Aegir Games to celebrate both their successful campaign and the 100th issue of DailyBits.

We’re giving away a copy of this board game to one lucky member of our community when it launches later on next year. You can enter into the giveaway by using the widget here, and we’ll announce the winner in a week’s time. Good luck!

Here’s who won last week’s giveaway for AeternoBlade II:

  • Glenn (GFitz85)
  • Alan Sennett
  • Robert Stark
  • Vilcsith
  • Oliver Queen

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