#20: Popeyed Mario!

Today we learn how Popeye got the ball rolling for Mario, discover fantastic free games in this week’s deal round-up, and find out how the next iteration of Grand Turismo will take inspiration from the “past, present and future”.

Top Story

Three teams working on Cyberpunk 2077, not three Cyberpunk games

CD Projekt RED has clarified that they are not working on three separate Cyberpunk projects after all. The source of the widely-publicized error was apparently a less-than-stellar Google translation of statements made by studio president Adam Kiciński.

He was actually saying that CD Project RED has three teams working on Cyberpunk 2077 together, and not on three separate projects. The Warsaw and Kraków teams are combining their efforts on the game itself, while the 40-strong Wroclaw studio is knee-deep in R&D – presumably inventing actual chipware or something along those lines.

Three teams enter, one game leaves

And that’s not all! Another two teams are busy elsewhere: “A separate, dedicated team at the Warsaw studio is handling the development of Gwent. The final team is Spokko, which is currently working on a yet unannounced mobile project.”

CD Projekt RED has made no secret of their plans for meaty expansions for Cyberpunk 2077, much along on the lines of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s extended adventures – and if sales are strong enough, there will probably be a sequel. Cyberpunk 2077 launches for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on April 16th, 2020

| Official Website | Release Date |

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these classic characters is NOT available in the Super Mario Maker Mystery Mushroom?

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Pac-Man
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Hello Kitty
  • Dixie Kong

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

News Bits

Remedy wooed by Sony? Shuhei Yoshida gives a visit

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida was recently spotted visiting Remedy Entertainment during his on-going tour of game studios. He even got to play Control! Was it just a quick friendly visit? Rumours are circulating about partnership, but Remedy seem to like their newfound independence and have started shying away from exclusivity.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD out August 6 for PC and console

The Microsoft Store has revealed a release date for Metal Wolf Chaos XD, and we can expect the Vice President to perform his coup on August 6, 2019. That means we can once again help the President defeat the rebellion with his personal assault mech suit and fight his way back into the Oval Office.

The famously bonkers Metal Wolf Chaos was originally released on Xbox in December 2004, and was developed by FromSoftware in partnership with Microsoft. This new version has received a facelift courtesy of Devolver Digital.

| Official Website | Release Date |

Daily Fact

It’s-a Me, Jumpman! From New York City to Mushroom Kingdom

Mario-creator Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t just pull everyone’s favorite mustachio’d plumber out of thin air – he actually evolved from an earlier character named ‘Mr. Video’, also called ‘Jumpman’. In fact, there probably wouldn’t be any Mario at all if Miyamoto-san had been able to license Popeye for his arcade game!

Unable to use Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl, Miyamoto invented Donkey Kong, a game about a man rescuing his girlfriend from the clutches of an ill-tempered ape. Originally, the hero of Donkey Kong was called Mr. Video, and was supposed to find his way through a maze to save his distressed damsel. The design eventually evolved to involve jumping over barrels, and the Donkey Kong we know was released in 1981.

Hold the spinach – give me some of that Fire Flower power

In the English language version of the game, the hero was called Jumpman – but the sales brochure named him Mario instead. Mr. Video was supposed to be the leading man of every game designed by Miyamoto, who recognizes that the red and blue hero would quickly have disappeared from memory if the original name had been kept.

The name Mario was officially adopted in the 1982 arcade game Donkey Kong Junior, where Mario would appear as the villain of a game for the first and last time. Mario finally got his own game in 1983, starring alongside his younger brother Luigi in Mario Bros. The arcade game portrayed them as Italian-American plumbers battling sewer creatures below New York City.

Eventually, Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo Entertainment System brought Mario and Luigi to the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Toadstool from King Koopa.

Weekly Deals

What are ya buyin’?

It’s the start of the month which means lots of free games from subscription services like Games with Gold and PS Plus. This week also brings a new free title to the Epic Games Store, and a selection of free games to folks with Twitch Prime accounts. Everyone loves free stuff, right? With the Steam Summer Sale continuing this week, you still have a bit of time to grab some crazy deals before they roll out too.

Overcooked (PC) Free @ Epic Games Store

Yooka-Laylee, The Escapists, For The King & Cultist Simulator (PC) Free @ (Amazon) Twitch Prime

INSIDE & Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Xbox One) Free with Games With Gold @ Xbox Store

Detroit: Become Human Digital Deluxe Edition & Horizon Chase Turbo (PS4) Free with PS Plus @ PlayStation Store

Half-Life 1 Anthology (PC) £1.02 @ Steam

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy (Xbox One) £15 @ Sainsbury’s

Dark Souls III (PC) £9.99 @ Steam

That wraps up the hottest deals for the first week of July, and a very strong start to the month! From old classics to new favourites, these titles will not disappoint you – and we’d be very impressed if you were able to get through all of these freebies before next week, when we’ll be back with more cracking deals for you.

Daily News

Cuphead’s ‘Delicious Last Course’ needs more time in the oven

2D run-and-gun platformer Cuphead is already quite a scrumptious dish, what with its old-timey art and animation – and brutally unforgiving demand for genuine player skill.

The upcoming expansion Delicious Last Course won’t be served until 2020, according to an announcement by StudioMDHR Entertainment. They want to make sure the DLC is just as tasty as the base game – and want to avoid burning out the studio’s passion for Cuphead – so it’s getting delayed.

No fast food here, just fine dining

“The development of the original game taught us a great deal about the importance of making things in a way that’s healthy and sustainable for our team,” said co-director Chad Moldenhaue. “While we initially announced a 2019 release date for the ‘Delicious Last Course’ expansion, our highest priority is making sure this new adventure meets the meticulous level of care and quality we always strive for.”

Cuphead most recently launched on Nintendo Switch in April 2019.

| Official Website | Release Date |

Next Gran Turismo to be “combination of the past, present and future”

Gran Turismo series creator Kazunori Yamauchi admits he’s ‘forgotten parts of the series’ past’ and was surprised how much had been left behind – but that young fans encountered on his world tours have inspired him to look back.

“I don’t normally play the past editions of Gran Turismo,” admitted Yamauchi-san. “But since I started doing the world tours, the players, they’re all young guys but they all bring GT2 or GT3 with them – like, how old were you when this game came out!? So I’ve had more opportunity to play them recently, and it’s surprising how much I’ve forgotten!”

‘He who controls the past, controls the future…’

Long-time fans of the racing series are divided in their opinion of the more recent Gran Turismo Sport. However, fans’ passion for his older games has Kazunori Yamauchi recognising the value of going back and making sure they carry forward what works.

“Having done all these World Tours, it gave me the opportunity to feel the history of Gran Turismo,” he continued. “It gives me pointers and hints of the things we should make sure that we do in the future of the series.” That future will likely include more virtual reality support, especially considering the beefier upcoming PlayStation 5 console.

“I think the next title that we’re going to create will be a combination of the past, present and future – a complete form of Gran Turismo.”

News Bits

Sony swap PES 2019 for Detroit: Become Human with PS Plus

What’s going on with PlayStation Plus this month? There appears to be a bit of a robot uprising, resulting in Detroit: Become Human Deluxe Edition (which includes Heavy Rain) replacing Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 in the July line-up.

Stardew Valley’s multiplayer “in certification” for consoles

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Stardew Valley are still on track to deliver a multiplayer experience, with game creator ConcernedApe announcing they’re “both in certification,” and are just a few fixes away from being released. Soon you’ll be farming, mining and shamelessly chatting up the town alongside chums fresh off the co-op bus.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these classic characters is NOT available in the Super Mario Maker Mystery Mushroom?

Answer: Dixie Kong!

One of the best parts of the original Super Mario Maker is the Mystery Mushroom, an item that can only be used in the classic 8-bit Super Mario Bros levels – which can turn Mario into a classic character from other franchises! Some of these can be obtained by scanning in Amiibo (pretty much any Amiibo works), but there’s also event courses to get other popular characters – even mainstream non-videogame ones like Shaun the Sheep and Hello Kitty!

But despite this wide range, not all of Nintendo’s own characters made the cut – including Diddy Kong’s girlfriend, Dixie Kong! Despite being the main character of Donkey Kong Country 3, and featuring in all recent Donkey Kong Country games, Dixie got left off the Mystery Mushroom roster – a rather ignominious snub, considering it includes B-listers like Mr Saturn, Tingle, the Wii Balance Board, Mr Resetti, a Mahjong tile, and Dr. Kawashima!

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