#8: Platinum Games Comments on Next-Gen…

In today’s issue we learn that candles really can burn twice as long, as Westwood Studios’ Blade Runner is given more life on PC thanks to ScummVM. Platinum Games tells us what it thinks about next-gen, and it turns out that Wolfenstein: Youngblood is richer, shorter and cheaper…

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these titles is NOT one of the ill-fated Philips CD-I Zelda games?

  • The Wand of Gamelon
  • Zelda’s Adventure
  • The Hand of Fear
  • The Faces of Evil

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

News Bits

Scumm gets Westwood Studios’ Blade Runner working

That’s right, ScummVM makes it possible to get 1997’s Blade Runner from Westwood Studios hobbling along in playable state. It’s not perfect and there are still issues, but now it actually works on modern PCs. Incredibly, the original source code was lost by Westwood when they moved office. Developers from the game’s community are continuing their quest to get this sci-fi adventure back up and… running again.

Cris Tales is an indie JRPG blending past, present and future

Announced at the PC Gaming Show during E3 2019, Cris Tales is gonna warp your time-travelling mind with a story split between past, present and future – all at the same time. For now, all we know is that it’s got stylish art, and that you’ll assume the role of the hero Crisbell and attempt to defeat an evil empress. It’s coming to PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch in 2020. At least that’s what they claim presently will be the future. There’s already a demo out on Steam.

Daily Fact

Including Cadence of Hyrule, only 5 non-Nintendo developers have worked on the Legend of Zelda… and 2 were on the same game!

The latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running and insanely popular Legend of Zelda series, Cadence of Hyrule, was launched last week – and it’s no ordinary Zelda game either! It’s actually a rhythm action game where you have to time your attacks and even your movement with a beat, but that doesn’t make it any less of a proper Zelda game – it still offers all the puzzles, action, exploration, and everything else you love about the series.

It’s also one of those rare Zelda games developed outside Nintendo’s own studios: Brace Yourself Games joins a small and exclusive club of only five developers – other than the Big N – who has worked on Zelda games in the series’ 33 year history. Not even Mario is kept that close to home.

It’s dangerous to go alone

The first external developer to ply its craft on a Zelda game was Capcom. Between 2001 and 2004, Capcom created three handheld Legend of Zelda games for the Game Boy Color and Advance: Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons and The Minish Cap. They were supposed to make a third Oracle game, but it never made an appearance.

Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors was actually the product of a collaboration. The Zelda-flavoured Dynasty Warriors spin-off was developed by Omega Force (responsible for the Dynasty Warriors series) and Team Ninja (best known for Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden). Team Ninja are currently finishing up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for Switch, and made another Dynasty Warriors-style Fire Emblem game for Nintendo.

The final developer is Vanpool, probably the least famous of the lot, who made the Tingle spin-offs, including the tremendously wacky Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland, an oddball adventure game where Tingle is continually tricked out of his money. Not quite as crowd-pleasing as Cadence of Hyrule…

Daily News

Google’s Stadia Controller opens to standalone pre-orders

Dang it. You slapped down cash for the Founder’s Edition kit of Google’s fancy Stadia Controller and didn’t add an extra pad for a friend, sibling or pet. Well, no need to worry since Google has decided you can just order a standalone controller. What a time to be alive!

What the heck is a ‘Stadia’ anyway? It’s Google’s fancy new cloud-based game-streaming service that was originally teased as Project Stream, and unveiled at GDC earlier this year. Their GPU-packed data centres will stream the latest titles to your devices, and that includes the Chromecast dangling out of the back of your TV.

Google Stadia launches this November 2019

At launch Stadia will be available in 14 countries: United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. Google promises the service will be able to deliver 8K and 120 FPS streams in the future.

You don’t actually need a $69 Stadia Controller to use Stadia, but it does feature some exclusive functionality, like ‘cross-screen’ support that allows you to easily move the stream between devices and keep playing. It supports dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz / 5GHz) and Bluetooth v4.2, features a 3.5mm headset jack and a USB-C port, and even has the Google Assistant built-in and presumably ready to report back to its corporate overlord.

Until now you had to add any additional pads you wanted when checking out the $129 Founders Edition kit. Google have since corrected this glaring stupidity. Now the tough question – what color do you want it : Clearly White, Just Black or Wasabi?

Next-gen consoles innovations are ‘meh’ but “good for the consumer,” says Platinum Games

All that off-the-shelf architecture powering the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles doesn’t quite light a fire in the eyes of Atsushi Inaba, the head of Platinum Games. He seems to think they’re more of the same, with faster load times.

“It’s OK. And by that I mean, I’m sure that things will move faster, graphics will be better and maybe it will be easier with less wait times… that’s good for the consumer,” Inaba-san told VGC at E3. But gone is the rush of mastering weird and wonderful hardware: Xbox and PlayStation will both feature the latest AMD CPUs and GPUs.

“But it’s more of the same, quite frankly, compared to previous generations. It’s nothing that’s disruptive or super innovative, if you ask me,” he continued. The consoles will be little more than neatly packaged desktop PCs, and that means you’re unlikely to see crazy invention borne of necessity any more.

Head in the Cloud services

Atsushi Inaba is more thrilled at the innovation Google’s Stadia presents, which is their cloud-based streaming platform launching this November 2019. These services “…represent innovation and something very, very different – they’re platforms that excite me and where I feel there is a lot more innovation happening,” he explained.

Meanwhile Xbox Game Studios’ Matt Booty reckons this new wave of consoles, paired with cloud-services, could be as “big a transition as when we went from 2D to 3D” in terms of game design.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is richer, shorter and cheaper

MachineGames’ upcoming Wolfenstein: Youngblood is launching at a cheaper price point, but why? The studio explains that it’s because it only took around 18 months to make – significantly less than Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, where B.J. Blazkowicz liberated ‘Murica from those pesky Nazis.

Youngblood features his twin daughters Jess and Soph Blazkowicz as a Nazi stomping duo taking back Europe alongside the French Resistance. The studio reveals that while the story is shorter than in Wolfenstein II, overall the content is richer. More missions, less linear progress, more freedom – oh, and MachineGames have partnered with level design badasses over at Arkane Studios too!

Deluxe is flush with a buddy pass – so go get a buddy

“Of course we have done improvements to the technology but it is the technology of New Colossus, and it is a spin-off. But with that said, the gameplay time is greater so there’s a lot of value for money in there,” MachineGames’ Jerk Gustafsson told VG247.

If you slap $40 down for the Wolfenstein: Youngblood Deluxe Edition, then a buddy pass lets you enlist a close chum to play the entire game alongside you without them needing to own the game. The standard version is $30, but that extra $10 is both cheaper and easier than convincing your bestie to buy it too.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood will release on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch July 26, 2019.

News Bits

Glimpse of Monster Hunter movie trailer seen in the wild

Escaping the clutches of the Shanghai International Film Festival, a movie trailer for the upcoming Monster Hunter film for 2020 has hit the wider web. It lasts a mere 30 seconds and only has a few shots of the actual movie, which stars Milla Jovovich, Ron Perlman and is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Lt. Artemis and her soldiers arrive on an unexplored world full of *gasp* monsters!

Industrious Paradox delivers expansion for console Cities: Skylines

The Industries expansion for Cities: Skylines has now arrived for the console edition of the city builder, which features unique factories and specialised industrial zones. It basically introduces supply chains, and any good Mayor knows there’s profit to be made. Five new maps, Chirper hats and a postal service are also yours alongside a free content update. Finally, you can toll those roads!

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these titles is NOT one of the ill-fated Philips CD-I Zelda games?

Answer: The Hand of Fear!

The darkest chapter of The Legend of Zelda timeline was undoubtedly when Nintendo allowed Philips to release a series of games for its ill-fated CD-i console. Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Link: The Faces of Evil were released in 1993 exclusively for the Philips CD-i – and despite being the most high-profile games on the system, they were two of the worst games ever made.

The poor controls, simple design, and generally rushed development were all bad enough, but nothing compares to the terror of the excruciating cutscenes. Nintendo offered no support either, since the only reason Philips got the license was because Nintendo tried to make a CD add-on for the SNES with them. Maybe Nintendo should have stuck with Sony and that ‘Play Station’ concept instead!

In case you were wondering, The Hand of Fear is a classic Doctor Who episode from 1976 starring Tom Baker, and features the last regular appearance by Sarah-Jane Smith! Honestly, all those CD-i titles sounded like ‘70s Doctor Who episodes…

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