#118: Sonic’s Got A Brand New Face…

TODAY: Google reveals the Stadia launch line-up — John Carmack honored with slightly premature lifetime achievement award — 2019 has been a record year for Paradox Interactive

Top Story

Paramount Pictures reveal redesigned Sonic the Hedgehog in new trailer

Paramount Pictures delivered a savage body blow to Sonic fans everywhere when they revealed the design for their live-action Sonic the Hedgehog back in April. While no-one had particularly high expectations, no-one had expected Sonic himself to look … quite as horrifying as he did either: A weird man-in-fursuit aesthetic with odd proportions and grotesquely human facial features.

Sanic the Horrorhog’s days are numbered

After a global wave of relentless mockery and outrage died down, Paramount announced that the production team would take fan feedback into consideration and tweak Sonic’s design, and the new trailer shows what their nipping and tucking has wrought. Gone are the human hands and teeth, his eyes are bigger and his nose less … hedgehog-esque. He actually looks like Sonic now, and not some nightmarish abomination preying on the souls of Sonic fans.

As for the movie itself … well, it doesn’t really look like Sanic the Horrorhog was its biggest problem in the first place. Jim Carry probably won’t take home any awards for his portrayal of Dr. Robotnik and the whole concept kinda stinks. Who wants to see Sonic in the real world? He belongs in the Green Hill Zone!

In any case, Sonic fans can witness the fruits of their mockery and outrage on February 14th, safe in the knowledge that they helped turn a complete disaster into an ordinary bad movie.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which gang members did NOT appear in the first Red Dead Redemption?

  • Dutch van der Linde
  • Bill Williamson
  • Javier Escuella
  • Josiah Trelawny

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

News Bits

Google Stadia will launch with 12 games

Google Stadia is just around the corner, and Google has announced their twelve-strong launch lineup:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Gylt
  • Just Dance 2020
  • Destiny 2: The Collection
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Kine
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
  • Thumper

Only one exclusive, and mostly rather old games, in other words. Google has announced that fourteen more games will be added by the end of 2019, including Final Fantasy XV, NBA 2K20 and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. If you’re still interested in Stadia, check it out on the Google Store.

Wattam releases this December

Wattam, the next game from Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi finally has a release date! Wattam rolls onto PlayStation 4 and the Epic Games Store on December 17th, featuring “more than 100 wacky and carefree characters [who] are waiting to be unlocked and become your friends”. There’s also a Steam release on the horizon, but no release date has been announced yet.

Daily Fact

The Tomb Raider movie had one difference from the game – it was believable

No, not the frankly unbelievable Angelina Jolie vehicle from 2001 – we’re talking about Crystal Dynamics’ “young Lara” reboot from 2013 and the 2018 movie adaptation starring Alicia Vikander. Their basic concept was pretty similar: Lara gets stuck on the mysterious and perilous Yamatai island and must stay one step ahead of a group of nasty mercenaries while hunting for the lost treasure of Queen Himiko.

It’s hardly a surprise but – SPOILER ALERT – the game stays true to the series’ supernatural roots, revealing Queen Himiko to be an evil spirit haunting the island while searching for a new body that help her escape. The movie is actually pretty similar, but drops the ghost story angle.

The movie revealed that – SPOILER ALERT – Himiko was actually just a Typhoid Mary who carried a deadly disease that she was immune to, but which killed off her subjects until they sealed her away for their own safety. It’s actually more interesting and imaginative than the ancient restless evil from the game – shame about the rest of the movie, though.

Daily News

John Carmack is not satisfied with the progress of VR development

Oculus CTO John Carmack was recently presented with the Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award at the VR Awards, which incidentally was also the first lifetime achievement award anyone in the still nascent VR industry has received. His acceptance speech has been published on YouTube, where he explains – with painful honesty – that he thinks the award is a bit premature.

“I’m often kind of grumpy around the office because I really haven’t been satisfied with the pace of progress that we’ve been making. When I’m in VR I see the magic there, but my brain is always throwing up these giant ‘to do’ Post-It Notes on top of everything, reminding me of all the work that’s yet to be done. So it’s going to be a little while before I really feel good about reminiscing about my achievements,” he said.

John Carmack was an early adopter of VR, going back to paleo-VR in the 1990s

Carmack’s dissatisfaction doesn’t really seem to be with the state of VR hardware or software, though: he’s probably just not very happy with the adoption rate. VR is still in the cool tech demo phase of development, and no-one has really managed to use the technology for anything groundbreaking.

The hardware has improved dramatically since the first Oculus Rift developer kits were shipped out, and the latest wireless headsets are definitely heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, there’s still no really convincing reason to own a VR headset except that something cool might appear sometime in the future.

Paradox’s CEO comments on the publisher’s success in 2019

Paradox Interactive, the developer and publisher behind titles like Cities: Skylines, Stellaris and Surviving Mars as well as the upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 has delivered its interim report, covering the period from January to September 2019 and it seems like they can be proud of a successful year for the company.

Paradox’s revenues increased by 15% compared to last year, and it seems like most of the increase happened in the third quarter, when the company published Age of Wonders: Planetfall along with expansions for the console versions of Cities: Skylines and Stellaris as well as doing brisk business during the Steam summer sale.

Strategy, management and RPG games have been a recipe for success for Paradox Interactive

CEO Ebba Ljungerud commented on Paradox’s success, highlighting the publisher’s strategy of concentrating on three relatively underserved niches to fuel their growth: “By applying a business model where we sell base games and expansions, the games generate concurrent revenue throughout their lifespans. Our strategy also consists of gradually increasing our capacity and skill to develop and publish games within our three main segments – strategy, management and RPG – as well as continuously growing and strengthening the ties with our player community. This strategy has proven successful in creating growth, limited risk, and high margins.”

It looks like Paradox remains dedicated to expanding its portfolio of management games, with Surviving the Aftermath’s recent early access launch on Epic Games Store: “through the collaboration with Epic Games, we receive a guaranteed remuneration, an effect we see from the competition among the distributors that has increased over the past year. We believe this competition will continue next year and benefit both players and game publishers.”

News Bits

Kingdom management simulator Yes, Your Grace beta this week

After four long years, Yes, Your Grace is finally being delivered into the waiting arms of its Kickstarter backers. The beta launches on November 15th, and puts you in the role of King Eryk, ruler of the fictitious medieval kingdom Davern, and your main duty is to listen to your subjects as they beg for your help.

Since your kingdom has limited resources, you will not be able to help everyone – and that means you’ll inevitably find yourself in a pickle towards the end of the game. Even if you didn’t back the game you have a chance to participate in the game’s beta test if you sign up via the game’s Discord channel.

Rockstar North is hiring for a next-generation open world game

The next generation of consoles are right around the corner, and it should come as no surprise that Rockstar North is looking for new staff to help bring new games to the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett. One of their job listings specifically mentions that they are looking for a character animation engineer for character-based open-world games, which isn’t really a huge surprise considering that’s precisely what the company has been making for nearly two decades. It does make us wonder whether Grand Theft Auto 6 might be a next-gen title, though.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which gang members did NOT appear in the first Red Dead Redemption?

Answer: Josiah Trelawny!

Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally out on PC, and while it’s facing its fair share of problems, it is also the biggest launch title for Google Stadia. However, most PC gamers will have missed the first game, where John Marston hunts down his old friends from the Dutch van der Linde gang – but not all of them!

The second game is actually a prequel, telling the story of how Dutch’s gang fell apart. While everyone listed above were members of the gang, John Marston didn’t hunt down and kill all of them. Nope, foppish conman Josiah Trelawny met a different fate … that we won’t spoil here!

DailyBits Feedback

Help us Improve DailyBits!

We always love to hear from our readers, so if you have any suggestions on how we can improve or just want to say hi to the team, you can do so by emailing team@dailybits.news or clicking here.