TODAY: Even Naughty Dog must bow before Bungie, high priests of crunch — Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an early contender for game of the year — Sony is getting ready to spill the beans on PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X Specs
Microsoft finally reveals full specs and features of the Xbox Series X
Microsoft has finally revealed the nitty-gritty specifications of the Xbox Series X, including clock speeds for all parts. Microsoft's three pillars for the next generation are power, speed and compatibility.
Quick resume allows users to suspend multiple games and seamlessly pick up where they left off. The loading times comparison video shows how much quicker loading times will be thanks to the new SSD storage.
- 8x Core Custom Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz, 1TB Custom NVME SSD, 12 TFLOPS GPU
- The new pad features an Elite Controller style D-Pad and a Share button
- Xbox Series X is targetting 4K @ 60Hz, but supports up to 120Hz
- Microsoft has partnered with Seagate to create SSD expansion cards
- The Series X features system-level HDR support allowing any game to be displayed in HDR — the demo shows off 2001 Xbox title Fuzion Frenzy
When I go forwards, you go backwards: Microsoft has also revealed more details about their backwards compatibility. Certain Xbox One games will support higher resolutions and framerates, with no additional work required from developers, so hopefully lots of games will support these enhancements.
Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?
Which console was the first Animal Crossing developed for?
- The Virtual Boy
- The Nintendo 64
- The Nintendo Gamecube
- The Nintendo DS
The trials and tribulations of Bungie
Halo is pretty much synonymous with the Xbox: The first game was the original console's killer app and the beginning of Bungie's rapid ascent to the upper echelons of game development – and Halo 2 had one of the crunchiest, most troubled development cycles in the history of gaming.
Microsoft was pushing Bungie to finish Halo 2 in time for the launch of Xbox Live a full year before the game eventually launched. Microsoft even held an executive vote to try and force Bungie into releasing the unfinished game in order to meet the deadline. Microsoft's VP of game publishing Ed Fries fought back, and managed to buy more time for Bungie.
The final months of development were an incredibly tense affair. One developer said he had to kennel his dog and live and sleep in the office for two months. Despite the extreme crunch, Bungie only barely managed to squeak past the finish line.
The team eventually revealed that Halo 2's multiplayer modes were a mere shadow of what it should have been, and apparently the game's infamous cliffhanger ending was simply a result of the game not really being finished according to plan.
Animal Crossing Verdicts
Animal Crossing: New Horizons reviews are starting to appear
Nintendo was forced to delay Animal Crossing: New Horizons last year, but it looks like that extra development time has helped make the game even better.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons currently has a Metacritic rating of 91 based on 49 critic reviews, making it the highest reviewed game of the year so far. Here’s what some of the critics had to say:
Pocket Gamer UK (Score 100/100) — “Animal Crossing; New Horizons, much like its predecessors, operates outside of the boundaries of most games. While the most tension you'll ever feel is while sprinting away from wasps, there's a warmth and comfort in the code which you won't find almost anywhere else.”
Telegraph (Score 100/100) — “With a game this broad and lengthy, there’s more to discuss than I could fit in one review, but suffice it to say, this a game that Nintendo has clearly worked incredibly hard to get right. It shines at every moment, from the wind rustling through the trees, to the sunset glinting off the water to the jaunty tunes at the start of the day fading into more relaxing melodies in the evening.”
VGC (Score 100/100) — “New Horizons does more than enough to build on previous Animal Crossings and easily joins the list of software every Nintendo Switch owner should pick up. At a time when the world outside can often be quite scary, New Horizons is the comforting escape everyone needs.”
IGN (Score 90/100) — “The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, and Super Mario each found new life on the Nintendo Switch, and following those games in kind is Animal Crossing: New Horizons: An expanded, polished, next-generation reboot of a classic Nintendo game. Perhaps most importantly, like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is full of surprises.”
GAMINGbible (Score 80/100) — “While New Horizons doesn't do much - or anything at all, really - to win over anyone who didn't "get" Animal Crossing previously, veteran fans and interested newcomers alike will find 2020's sweetest, most wholesome game yet.”
PlayStation 5 Reveal
Sony reveals PlayStation 5 tomorrow
Sony will stream a live event on the PlayStation Blog tomorrow featuring lead system architect Mark Cerny. He will present the PlayStation 5's architecture and explain how “it will shape the future of games”.
The announcement comes suspiciously soon after Microsoft revealed everything about the Xbox Series X, although there's no way to know if it's a coincidence or whether it's Sony or Microsoft who reacted to inside information about the other's announcement plans. In any case, we will finally learn more about the PlayStation 5 after a grueling period of uncertainty.
- The live stream starts at 9am PT / 4pm GMT / 5pm CET
- Despite lots of leaks and rumours, nothing is certain about which of the two next-gen consoles is more powerful
The story so far: Sony started revealing details about the PlayStation 5 in April last year, announcing that it will support hardware-accelerated ray tracing, feature high-speed SSD storage and support 8K televisions. The details remain a mystery, from the actual technical specifications to the console design.
What Else Happened Today?
- Ground Shatter reveals Fight in Tight Spaces, a turn-based tactical deck-building game with slick animated fight sequences scheduled to launch on Steam in late 2020
- Netflix has suspended production of The Witcher thanks to COVID-19. Variety says the team was recently informed by email that production is halted for two weeks
- Japanese elementary school kids host graduation in Minecraft when faced with school closures. SoraNews24 has translated tweets by one of the graduates' parents
- 343 says Halo 2: Anniversary on PC will be ready soon on the official forums. If everything goes according to plan the next test flight period will begin at the end of March
- Nintendo honors hardcore grandma in Animal Crossing: New Horizons by naming a villager after the 87-year-old’s character.
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Rack N Ruin Nintendo Switch Code
You could be in with a chance to receive a Nintendo Switch code for Rack N Ruin, if you refer DailyBits to a friend! You can use our widget to start earning your referrals, which you can build up throughout the year giving you a greater chance of being selected.
Rack N Ruin is currently available on the Nintendo eShop for $21.45 and we've got a code to hand out today; note that today's code will only be available for our US readers.
Rack N Ruin is a fusion of a top-down action adventure game and a classic arcade shooter. Take control of Rack, a maniacal demon wizard with a gleeful appetite for destruction, and embark on a grand adventure across a world filled with magic and wonder. Then transform the once enchanting world into a hellish nightmare. As the world falls deeper into darkness, Rack's power will grow, and the champions of good will rise to face him.
- Mikhail Rapoport, USA - Coffee Crisis (PS4)
Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?
The Animal Crossing series first appeared on which Nintendo console?
Answer: The Nintendo 64!
You probably know Animal Crossing as an early GameCube game, but it actually started out as a late Nintendo 64 title.
Originally named Dōbutsu no Mori, Animal Crossing was released on GameCube on April 14th 2001. The version that eventually reached the west was based on the updated version named Dōbutsu no Mori+ with a variety of new features and additions, which was re-released in Japan as Dōbutsu no Mori e+.
Being a Nintendo 64 game ported to GameCube, Animal Crossing is pretty small by the console's standards: About 32MB. You could remove the disk from the drive after starting it, and still play the game as normal! The only thing that stops working is saving the game, allowing you to save scum like a boss.
Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Simon Priest, Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Christian Vaz and Jamie Davey.