Players Come First in Xbox’s Future, F-Zero is Alive

TODAY: Nintendo might be bringing F-Zero back at long last — Ubisoft shows more from their Prince of Persia VR escape room experience — Enjoy Warhammer on the go with Mechanicus for Switch

Top Story

New Xbox strategy puts players first

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says players will be front and centre in Microsoft’s new Xbox strategy, with Xbox Game Pass playing a key role in their plans.

“All Xbox Game Studios titles launch into Xbox Game Pass the same day as their global release,” according to the Xbox blog, including tentpole franchises like Halo, Forza, Age of Empires, Gears of War, Minecraft, Microsoft Flight Simulator and more.

Legacy support: Spencer is proud of the power of the Xbox Series X and calls it a game changer – but notes that you won’t need to get an Xbox Series X at launch to enjoy exclusives: First-party titles will be playable on Xbox One as well, at least the initial wave of games.

If you do buy the new console at launch, you can enjoy your entire Xbox game library on it thanks to backwards compatibility that incurs “no additional cost and with no work from developers.”

Game Pass xCloud: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is also merging with Project xCloud at “no additional cost” to subscribers, and grants access to “100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet.” Xbox One X and Xbox One S production is being discontinued in preparation for the next console generation, starting this holiday season.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What was the name of the graphics mode that enabled F-Zero’s fake 3D?

  • Mode 3
  • Mode 5
  • Mode 7
  • Mode 9

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.

Daily Fact

Shining Force II features a secret fingering-wagging Sonic battle

Sega’s 1993 tactical role-playing game Shining Force II featured a spiky little Easter egg in the form of a secret battle.

If you complete the game, then you can fight in a special battle against … Sonic the Hedgehog, complete with his famous finger-wagging pose. And that’s not all: You can also fight against all the game’s bosses and two prism flowers if you wait until the end credit roll has finished.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

F-Zero Sighted

Fans discover F-Zero Twitter account

Nintendo might be reviving the F-Zero series, since they registered a Twitter account for the series in March.

Internet sleuths discovered that Twitter account is registered to an email address similar to the one used for the Ultimate Smash Bros. and Splatoon Twitter accounts, as well as the recently discovered Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary account.

New tech first: The F-Zero series began on Super Nintendo in 1990, and had entries on Nintendo 64 and GameCube before the final game F-Zero Climax appeared on Game Boy Advance in 2004. Nintendo has considered reviving the series before, but according to Shigeru Miyamoto their hardware hasn’t been a great fit.

Unknown future: “Maybe if we create a new type of controller interface, and we find a controller interface that’s particularly suited for F-Zero, then maybe we’ll do something with it again in the future,” said Miyamoto in a 2015 interview. Could this mean the Switch finally fits the bill, or are they just making sure no-one else registers an F-Zero account?

Price of Persia Escape Room

Ubisoft shows off their new Prince of Persia VR escape room experience

In February, Ubisoft suddenly announced that the Prince of Persia series will be revived with Prince of Persia: The Dagger of Time – but it’s not a typical Prince of Persia adventure.

Instead, it’s a co-operative VR escape room experience that can only be played at a few locations around the world. Developed by Ubisoft Dusseldorf, “two, three or four players team up and work together” to solve puzzles in a virtual Fortress of Time at the behest of Kaileena, the Empress of Time.

Virtual escape: “…climb, and use magical powers to solve puzzles with room-scale VR in a dedicated physical space.” The game was originally planned as an Assassin’s Creed spin-off, but the team thought the One Thousand And One Nights setting was more fitting.

A fresh look: Ubisoft is finally showing what the game looks like, although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the launch. Ubisoft is also developing more VR games, and are currently hiring for a new AAA VR project.

Game Review

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Developer: Bulwark Studios

Version played: Nintendo Switch

If you’re a Warhammer 40,000 fan, you’ve probably noticed the steady stream of 40K-branded shovelware released over the last decade. Games Workshop hasn’t been too fussed about who does what with their license, and it’s safe to say that most of the resulting games have not lived up to the Dawn of War series.

Fortunately, Mechanicus is a cut above the rest: It’s a competent turn-based strategy game and is also pretty faithful to the miniature game, at least in spirit. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus puts you in the augmented boots of Tech-Priest Magos Dominus Faustinius and lets you build your army from literal parts. Once you’ve assembled your squad, it’s time to explore Silva Tenebris in a campaign spanning over 50 missions.

Missions allow a lot of strategic breadth, from careful and methodical tactics to stomping in with guns blazing. You can also adjust the difficulty if your strategy misses its mark or you get bored of stomping your enemies. Whether this is your first or hundreth turn-based strategy game, Mechanicus can be customized to suit your fancy.

The Switch port is solid, but pretty bare-bones: It runs at 30 frames a second, the loading times are decent and the Joy-Con input works well. As usual, there’s no touchscreen support, but that’s pretty typical for Switch ports of even mouse-controlled games like this. If you’re looking for a Warhammer game to play on the go, Mechanicus is a fine choice, and even features a digital artbook chock full of delicious Warhammer 40,000 lore.

As usual with Switch ports, you are expected to pay a premium for what amounts to a two-year-old game, but if you’re a Warhammer 40k fan you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. A playthrough takes about 20 hours, and there’s plenty of replayability.

Thumbs up

  • Accessible yet deep combat system
  • Includes the Heretek DLC

Thumbs down

  • Touch-screen controls would be nice
  • The story is definitely for hardcore 40K fans
  • The battlefield environments aren’t terribly varied

Score: 6/10

Buy it on Amazon for $39.99

What Else Happened Today?

Gaming Deals

Today’s Gaming Deal Highlights

There are so many great deals now that it felt wrong not to share some of them ahead of the weekend’s bargain extravaganza.

Hasbro Games Jenga: Super Mario Edition (Board Game) $19.99 @ Amazon US

Far Cry Primal (PS4) $12.99 @ Amazon US

Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition (PS4) $14.99 @ Amazon US

Quantic Dream Collection (PS4) $25.88 @ Amazon US

Two Point Hospital (PS4/Xbox One) $29.99 @ Amazon US

Maneater (PS4/Xbox One) $25.05 @ Amazon US

The Dark Pictures Anthology – Man of Medan (Xbox One) $14.99 @ Amazon US

Raiden V: Director’s Cut Limited Edition (Nintendo Switch) $31.99 @ Amazon US

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (Nintendo Switch) $32.92 @ Amazon US

Ubisoft Sale (PC) 85% off @ Humble Store

The Sims 4 Sale (PC) 63% off @ Humble Store

Humble Warhammer Bundle 2020 (PC) $1 @ Humble Bundle

Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War (PC) Free @ GOG

If you buy any of these games by following our links, DailyBits will earn a small commission, so thanks in advance! Tomorrow will bring even more amazing video game deals, so stay tuned!

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What was the name of the graphics mode that enabled F-Zero’s fake 3D?

Answer: Mode 7!

Like many great innovations, Mode 7 doesn’t look that special on the surface.

However, it allowed the Super Nintendo to bring games into the third dimension, by enabling a background layer to be scaled and rotated by scanline. That allowed games like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero to provide the illusion of depth even though their tracks were made from tiles and the characters were just sprites.

Mode 7 had a long and illustrious career: While the Nintendo 64 could render real 3D graphics, the Game Boy Advance couldn’t and used similar techniques to add depth to F-Zero: GP Legends and The Simpsons: Road Rage. Sure, it doesn’t look terribly impressive any longer, but it has an instantly recognizable and rather charming style.

Today’s issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, Christian Vaz and Jamie Davey.