Sunday Bits – December 15, 2019

TODAY: There’s a quick recap of the week’s top news – we’re taking a look back at the classic Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast in this week’s Blast from the Past – This week’s winner is revealed!

Blast from the Past

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, where the dark side is no match for a PC mouse

Long before Respawn Entertainment went all Order 66 with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order this year, there was another adventure following the journey of a troubled Jedi Knight. Raven Software created Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast which released back in March 2002.

It was a mix of first and third-person as we fill the force flinging boots of Kyle Katarn, who was originally introduced in 1995’s Star Wars: Dark Forces from LucasArts. He’s come a long way from those early days as a mercenary working for the Rebel Alliance. Now he’s armed with lightsabers and force powers as much as blasters and thermal detonators.

”Mon Mothma never used to send us on blue milk runs like this!”

Jedi Knight II is still popular even today because of the game series unique approach to Star Wars, which was to give you access to a variety of force powers to fling at enemies or even other players online. Its wild flailing lightsaber battles are well known as much of it comes down to who can violently jerk their mouse around to hit the other first. Seriously, there are some tense exchanges if you go online to play.

It had a good story to follow too as it occupied a time in Star Wars that many wondered about, and that was the fate of the galaxy after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Sure, there have been plenty of novels authored that expanded the universe but now you could play a pivotal role in the continued struggle against the remnants of the Galactic Empire.

It’s just so satisfying as you fling force powers at the criminal underworld, Stormtroopers and eventually other force users. It allowed you a great deal of freedom in how to dispatch your foes. Did you charge in with your lightsaber and cut them down or did you force lift and drop them over the side into pools of lava? A Jedi would do that, right? Well *my* Kyle did. In fact the game is ‘agnostic’ when it comes to Force powers and whether you think a Jedi should or shouldn’t have or use a certain power.

”I’m no Jedi, I’m just a guy with a lightsaber and a few questions.”

It was also getting to see how something like the Empire would try to recover after the loss of the Emperor and the second Death Star. A new big bad has arisen and wants all that Imperial dark side glory for himself. Enter Kyle ‘just going on a blue milk run’ Katarn and suddenly you’re the hero plunged into an all-new threat that could undo the hard work of the New Republic, despite having sworn off his Jedi powers. Now he needs to retrain himself and undergo trials set by none other than Master Luke Skywalker himself at the new Jedi Academy.

It wasn’t all just about the combat in Jedi Knight II as the story campaign had you solving some environmental puzzles too. Occasionally there were even some friendly NPCs that would help out. It’s clear the Jedi Knight series had a serious impact on Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order.

However this game was far less graceful in unleashing its Force abilities leading to some rather creative methods to kill enemies. You didn’t bother to counter your foes exactly; you just proceeded to overwhelm them with mouse-swishing lightsaber frenzies. You ended up scoring the walls and floor more than Stormtroopers or Dark Jedi most of the time, but that was all part of the fun. Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast let you redeem Kyle Katarn as a Jedi and made you feel like a hero while doing it, and it led straight into its sequel Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy where you then play as a student of his – light or dark.

Where to get Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast today?

It’s easy to get hold of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast these days. It’s practically a blue milk run! It’s readily available to purchase on PC through Steam or DRM-free on GOG, which has it 65 percent off as of writing. There’s even an open source version maintained by a passionate community for Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.

Jedi Academy in fact has a Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 port in development that was announced back in September, and it will launch in early 2020.

Weekly Top Stories Recap

The Game Awards 2019 announcement round-up

The Game Awards is over, the winners have been declared, the new games have been announced and the Geoff has Keighleyed. Missed the show? Here’s a handy round-up:

The biggest reveal of the night was probably the name of the next Xbox, which Microsoft has decided to name Xbox Series X.

It both looks and sounds somewhat sinister, like the kind of experiment secret government agencies conduct deep underground and from which something occasionally escapes and wreaks havoc. In any case, all 15 developers under the Microsoft Game Studios umbrella are busy working on games for it.

Game announcement round-up:

  • Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 (Ninja Theory) – Announcement Trailer – TBA 2020 (Xbox Series X)
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix) – The Game Awards 2019 Trailer – March 3, 2020 (PlayStation 4)
  • Godfall (Counterplay Games/Gearbox Publishing) – Reveal Trailer – Holiday 2020 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  • Ruined King: A League of Legends Story (Airship Syndicate/Riot Forge) – Official Teaser Trailer – TBA (PC, PlayStation 5)
  • CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story (Double Stallion Games/Riot Forge) – Official Teaser Trailer – TBA (PC)
  • Gears Tactics (Splash Damage) – World Premiere Trailer – April 28, 2020 (PC, Xbox One)
  • HUMANKIND (Amplitude Studios) – “Your Story” Gameplay Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC)
  • Maneater (Tripwire Interactive) – Eat, Explore, Evolve Trailer – May 22, 2020 (PC, PlayStation 4)
  • Warframe: Empyrean (Digital Extremes) – Update Trailer – December 12, 2019 (PC)
  • Control Expeditions (Remedy Entertainment) – Launch Trailer – December 12, 2019 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  • Prologue (Playerunknown Productions) – Teaser Trailer – TBA (PC)
  • Wolf Among Us 2 (Telltale Games/AdHoc Studio) – Teaser Trailer – TBA (PC)
  • Fast & Furious Crossroads (Slightly Mad Studios/Bandai Namco) – Announcement Trailer – May 2020 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr (ZeniMax Online Studios/Bethesda Softworks) – Cinematic Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  • Naraka: Bladepoint (24 Entertainment) – TGA Trailer – Early 2020 (PC)
  • New World: Aeternum Awaits (Amazon Games) – Official Trailer – May 2020 (PC)
  • Nine to Five (Redhill Games) – Teaser Trailer 2019 – TBA 2020 (PC)
  • Magic: Legends (Cryptic Studios) – Cinematic Teaser Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC)
  • Weird West (WolfEye Studios/Devolver Digital) – Reveal Trailer – TBA 2020 (PC)
  • Apex Legends – Holo-Day Bash Event (Respawn Entertainment/EA) – Event Trailer – December 12, 2019 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
  • Sons of the Forest (Endnight Games) – Reveal Trailer – TBA (PC)
  • Dark Alliance – Dungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast) – Official Announcement Trailer – TBA (PC)

The Game Awards 2019 announcement round-up was featured in issue #141 of DailyBits.

‘Finished but not released’ Star Fox 2 barrel rolls onto Switch Online

More classics have been added to the Nintendo Switch Online library, with Star Fox 2 leading the pack of 4 SNES and 2 NES games.

Star Fox 2 was developed in the final days of the Super Nintendo’s lifetime, and never made it to market since Nintendo shifted their focus to the Nintendo 64. It was finally released in 2017 as an unlockable for the Super NES Classic Edition mini console.

Nintendo Switch Online requires a subscription

Super Punch-Out, Kirby Super Star and Breath of Fire II are also being added to the slowly expanding but already rich SNES, alongside Crystalis and Journey to Silius for NES.

Like the other retro games available on Switch, the new additions support the rewind feature which allows you to cheat death and undo your mistakes. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

Finished but not released’ Star Fox 2 barrel rolls onto Switch Online was featured in issue #140 of DailyBits.

Indie World Showcase round-up

Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase was 20 minutes of explosive indie trailers, announcements and assorted goodness – we’ve got a steaming hot summary for you right here!

  • Sports Story (Sidebar Games) – Showcase Trailer – 2020 – ”Sports story is a game about sports, but not always. Various non-sporting pursuits provide variety. Alternate activities like dungeon exploration, stealthy infiltrations and fishing expeditions mean something unexpected waits around every corner. Sometimes it is even sports.”
  • Streets of Rage 4 (Dotemu / Guard Crush Games / Lizardcube) – Showcase Trailer – Q1/Q2 2020 – ”Amongst the best beat’em up series ever created, jammin’ ‘90s beats and over the top street beating, the iconic series Streets of Rage comes back with a masterful tribute to and revitalization of the classic action fans adore.”
  • Gleamlight (D3PUBLISHER) – Showcase Trailer – Early 2020 – ”Welcome to Gleamlight – a 2D action game that will take you through an adventure traversing a beautiful, transient world.”
  • Bake ‘N Switch (Streamline Media Group) – Showcase Trailer – Summer 2020 – ”A long time a dough in a bakery far, far away, The First Bakers came together to defeat the Scourge. The Scourge threatened their precious food source – unreasonably cute and blobular dough creatures that roam the land.”
  • SuperMash (Digital Continue) – Showcase Trailer – May 2020 – ”SuperMash is a game that makes games! Mash together two game genres to get a completely unique new game each time, then challenge your friends to see how they do!”
  • The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition (Croteam) – Showcase Trailer – December 10, 2019 – ”Assume the role of a sentient artificial intelligence placed within a simulation of humanity’s greatest ruins and linked together through an arcane cathedral. Players are tasked with solving a series of increasingly complex puzzles woven into a metaphysical parable about intelligence and meaning in an inevitably doomed world.”
  • Sail Forth (David Evans) – Showcase Trailer – 2020 – ”Sail Forth is a procedural sailing adventure about classic naval action and exploring beautiful scenery. Embark on a journey through varied environments, grow your fleet and do battle with pirates, sea monsters, and the sea itself!”
  • Dauntless (Phoenix Labs) – Showcase Trailer – December 10, 2019 – ”Battle for survival at the edge of the world. As a Slayer, it’s up to you to hunt down the boss-sized Behemoths that are devouring the land. Team up with millions of players as you master challenging co-op battles, craft deadly weapons and powerful armor, and forge your legend as a Slayer of Ramsgate.”
  • Murder by Numbers (Mediatonic) – Showcase Trailer – Early 2020 – ”Solve Pixel Puzzles to find clues. Use the clues to interrogate witnesses. Work your way to the truth… and uncover the mystery of Murder by Numbers!”
  • Oddworld: Strangers Wrath HD (Oddworld Inhabitants) – Showcase Trailer – January, 2020 – ”Along comes Stranger, a tall, dark and enigmatic bounty hunter with a mission to capture troublemakers and scoundrels and return them to civilized townships for incarceration.”
  • SkateBIRD (Glass Bottom Games) – Showcase Trailer – Late 2020 – ”Grind on bendy straws, kick-flip over staplers, and carve killer lines through cardboard and sticky tape parks. Above all else, skate birds try their best!”
  • Liberated (Atomic Wolf) – Showcase Trailer – 2020 – ”In this near-future dystopia, the eerily familiar always-online society gives way to complete government control all in the name of safety. But in the midst of it all, an insurgent group of Liberated rises. This is not a grand tale of good versus evil, you must witness what transpires from many points of view to parse the truth.”
  • Boyfriend Dungeon (Kitfox Games) – Showcase Trailer – 2020 – ”Romance your swords! Capture the hearts of weapons to level them up in this “shack-and-slash” dungeon crawling adventure.”
  • Dreamscaper (Afterburner Studios) – Showcase Trailer – Early 2020 – ”A surreal, Hack and Slash Roguelite, players battle a nightmarish depression that lives in a young woman’s subconscious.”
  • The Survivalists (Team17) – Showcase Trailer – 2020 – ”A living world full of surprises, secrets and danger awaits in The Survivalists, an adventure-filled, survival sandbox set in The Escapists universe.”
  • Axiom Verge 2 (Thomas Happ Games) – Showcase Trailer – Fall 2020 – ”The long awaited sequel to Axiom Verge, Axiom Verge 2 expands on the universe with completely new characters, abilities, and gameplay.”

Indie World Showcase round-up was featured in issue #139 of DailyBits.

Sony’s State of Play Roundup

Sony’s last State of Play – their answer to the incredibly popular Nintendo Direct – of the year is out. Past broadcasts have revealed big titles like Iron Man VR and loads of The Last of Us Part 2 footage, but this is one of the biggest so far. Let’s have a look!

Untitled Goose Game will be flapping and honking its way to PlayStation 4 on December 17th.

Spellbreak is a battle royale with RPG elements from Proletariat Inc, a studio comprised of veteran developers. There will be a closed beta on PlayStation 4 in spring.

Dreams, the game about making games from Media Molecule, will finally be launched on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

Superliminal, a first-person puzzle game based on optical illusions and perspective tricks that launched on Epic Games Store in November will launch on PlayStation 4 in April.

Paper Beast from Eric Chahi – best known for Another World and Heart of Darkness – and his new studio Pixel Reef is a PlayStation VR sandbox game where you play alongside paper creatures, scheduled for release in the first quarter of next year.

Re Mind, the first DLC for Kingdom Hearts III, is coming on January 23rd and will feature both a new story and new playable characters – including Aerith and Squall from Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

Predator: Hunting Grounds stalks onto PlayStation 4 as well as Epic Game Store on April 24th next year. Pre-order to get an exclusive skin based on the Predator’s appearance in the 1987 movie, and early access to Ol’ Painless, the world’s most famous minigun.

Babylon’s Fall, the new game from Square Enix and PlatinumGames, has a new teaser trailer. There’s not much to go on yet, but a full reveal is expected next summer.

Resident Evil 3 Remake is coming, and while the surprise was somewhat spoiled by leaks, the release date is unexpectedly close: You’ll get to face off against Nemesis on April 3rd next year. It also looks like Project Resistance, the 1v4 multiplayer game set in the Resident Evil universe, serves as Resident Evil 3 Remake’s online mode.

Ghost of Tsushima completes the line-up, following after Ken Kutaragi’s reflections on the last 25 years of PlayStation. There was just a quick teaser for Sucker Punch’s latest, but the full trailer will be revealed at The Game Awards, which airs Thursday 5:30pm PST, or Friday 1:30am GMT.

That’s a pretty strong line-up. Looks like the PlayStation 4 is going out with a bang, and it’s pretty obvious why Sony feels no need to show off the PlayStation 5 yet.

Sony’s State of Play Roundup was featured in issue #138 of DailyBits.

More BioShock in the works at new internal 2K studio Cloud Chamber

2K Games has finally announced a new Bioshock! The classic dystopian-theme-park-immersive-sim-like series has remained moribund since the divisive yet wildly successful Bioshock Infinite. The new game is under development at a new internal studio named Cloud Chamber, with offices in California and Quebec.

Cloud Chamber is led by Kelley Gilmore, who has spent nearly 20 years at Firaxis Games working on the Civilization and XCOM games. There’s still no word on when the next Bioshock is ready to rock, but according to 2K it is several years away.

How will Bioshock go beyond sea and sky?

According to Gilmore the studio is still in “the earlier end of our process” developing the new Bioshock, and there’s not even an indication of whether this is a reboot or a sequel to Bioshock Infinite. All 2K is sayingh is that the game will be the “next iteration in the BioShock franchise.”

“We…hope that fans love our future plans for this environment. That said, it’ll be a bit of a wait for more details, as the game will be in development for several years,” said Gilmore. Series creator Ken Levine is “not affiliated” with the new studio or the new Bioshock and presumably remains busy cooking up Ghost Story Games’ first project.

Almost a dozen new games to be unveiled at The Game Awards was featured in issue #137 of DailyBits.

Weekly Console Bundle Winners

Today we’re happy to reveal the winner for the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Bundle that we were giving away last week.

  • Denise Mallett / Dartmouth, Canada

Congratulations to the winner, and thank you to everyone that entered into this giveaway. There will be another opportunity explored in tomorrow’s issue, so don’t miss it!

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