#28: Switch Won’t Go Pro in 2019

TODAY: Psychonauts 2 won’t be blowing your mind this year – No ‘Switch Pro’ just yet, but at least the 3DS is still going strong – id Software’s technology is still hotter than hell

Top Story

Nintendo sticking with Switch Lite for 2019, no surprise ‘Switch Pro’ reveal

Sorry, but the ravenous mass of Nintendo fans will have to make do with the Switch Lite as their holiday 2019 treat, because there won’t be any sudden surprise ‘Switch Pro’ announcements. They will have to wait until 2020 – at the earliest.

However, the existing Nintendo Switch will see an upgrade, as there will be a hardware revision. This is more of a ‘side-grade’ than an upgrade, as new US Federal Communications Commission filings reveals that Nintendo is changing the CPU socket type, the CPU itself as well as the NAND memory type of the Switch console. The new hardware is believed to be the new Tegra X1 chipset codenamed Mariko.

2019 is the year of the Lite, not the Pro

The new Switch Lite is being advertised as compatible with Switch games that support the handheld mode, so it makes sense that Nintendo will bring the two models’ hardware in line to ensure full and seamless compatibility.

Wall Street Journal has claimed since March that Nintendo was going to launch two new Switch models by summer 2019. By now it’s clear that things have turned out differently, and that the Switch family will only see one major change this year.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these is NOT a real quote from a launch review of Warframe?

  • “There’s a lot of potential here for a ‘mere’ free to play game, and it could be the biggest game ever with enough support.”
  •  “Warframe’s daunting complexity doesn’t detract from its delicious combat and flexible progression.”
  • “An interesting free to play game with some potential to expand in future updates.”
  • “Some problematic menus pale in comparison to Warframe’s real problem: a pervasive tendency toward repetition.”

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

News Bits

Psychonauts 2 delayed to 2020 to make sure it’s great

Looks like Raz and the rest of the Psychonauts 2 gang won’t grace your screens until next year, as Double Fine announces another delay. Microsoft is now publishing the action-platformer – but it’s still coming to all the promised platforms. Tim Schafer and his team thanks the “amazing, supportive” backers and fans for their understanding. Psychonauts 2 will launch on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Final Fantasy VII Remake for ‘PlayStation 4 only’

Square Enix has dismissed rumours that Final Fantasy VII Remake will appear on multiple platforms. The game was expected to be a timed exclusive, but it now appears that it’s going to stay on PlayStation 4. Square originally said it would “debut first” for PlayStation 4 in June, but the E3 2019 trailer was missing the ‘Play It First’ tagline – which probably means heartbroken PC and Xbox fans.

Daily Fact

Who you gonna call? 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Despite being nothing more than a game set in the Ghostbusters universe, actor Dan Aykroyd actually considers 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Terminal Reality and publisher Atari as more-or-less ‘the third movie’ in the franchise.

That’s likely because original Ghostbusters cast Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson were all involved and voiced their original characters – effectively reuniting the ectoplasm cleanup-crew for the first time since the last movie from 1989. The game is also set just two years after the events of Ghostbusters 2, after the city of New York has officially hired them as contractors.

Die-hard fans will be painfully aware that a fully reunited Ghostbusters will never happen, since actor Harold Ramis passed away in February 2014. Aykroyd and Ramis were also involved in writing the 2009 game, truly making it the closest you could ever get to Ghostbusters 3.

Weekly Quote

The Switch Lite Will NOT Replace The 3DS

Following the reveal of the Nintendo Switch Lite, Nintendo of America’s CEO, Doug Bowser has confirmed the 3DS line of devices will continue to be sold alongside the Nintendo Switch.

“Short answer: the Nintendo 3DS does have a place beside the Nintendo Switch family of products, and we’ll continue to support it as long as consumers continue to purchase them.”

This tells us that the 3DS is still selling well enough to warrant continued support, though Nintendo has stopped developing first party titles for the handheld as they have transitioned to Switch development. That said, Nintendo confirmed back in April that new third-party software would still be arriving on the 3DS.

We imagine the release of the Switch Lite at a lower price point will have some impact on 3DS/2DS sales. The 2DS previously cemented itself as the best budget-friendly option and has proven a favourite for parents buying the handheld for their children. Bundled with Mario Kart 7 – which has been pre-installed on the 2DS for some time – the handheld is still shifting a respectable number of units in 2019. However, with the Switch Lite launching in September – alongside the Link’s Awakening remake and just before Pokemon Sword/Shield releases in November – it seems natural that it will capture the 2DS’s commercial niche.

The Switch Lite will not feature detachable Joy-Cons and cannot be docked for use on a television, making it exclusively handheld. At just $200/£200 ($100 cheaper than the original Switch), its footprint is noticeably smaller – featuring a 720p 5.5-inch screen and a proper D-Pad opposed to four buttons on the left side. While the Switch Lite is still a bit too large to fit in your pocket, it will be noticeably more portable than the existing model.

According to CNET, Bowser confirms that no other new Switch models will be released this year – so no Switch Pro yet! This might be disappointing if you have put off buying the original Switch in expectation of revised hardware, but there are so many reports about a Switch Pro that we would be surprised if it does not appear sometime in 2020.

The original Switch will be receiving a stealth upgrade this year, improving both the CPU and the type of RAM used in the device. While these improvements are minor in the grand scheme of things, they will most likely increasing the battery life of the device by a small margin. Nintendo will be looking to patch up some of the exploits currently found on a large amount of existing Switch devices, which stem directly from the Switch’s hardware, making them impossible to remove via OS updates.

For now, 3DS owners might as well hold onto their devices so they can enjoy upcoming third party titles – owning both a 3DS and a Switch will remain the best Nintendo experience for the foreseeable future. It’ll be interesting to see how well the Switch Lite sells during the holiday period of 2019 though.

Daily News

Sci-fi shooter Disintegration from Halo co-creator expected at Gamescom 2019

V1 Interactive’s debut title – sci-fi shooter Disintegration – is arriving sometime after April next year. This has raised a few eyebrows, since V1 was co-founded by former Bungie creative director and Halo co-creator Marcus Lehtoe.

Judging by the teaser trailer, there will be plenty of futuristic weapon-laden vehicle action – it’s like someone took a Star Wars pod-racer and decked it out Mad Max-style! It’s unclear how much of the gameplay revolves around vehicular mayhem, but this could be Disintegration’s answer to the trusty Warthog.

A picture is worth at least 140 characters

Marcus Lehto tweeted a large screenshot of the game back in early December 2018. It hints at a world ravaged by conflict, with nature slowly crawling back to reclaim previously urbanized areas.

Whatever Disintegration has to offer, we will have to wait until this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany to find out more. The convention runs from August 19th to 24th, and we can expect a full announcement of Disintegration during the show.

Id Software enjoys “enormous” advantage thanks to in-house technology

Doom is still going strong for Id Software even after more than 25 years, and the latest incarnation is anticipated by new and old fans alike. Doom Eternal will be kicking demon butt in November this year.

The studio’s success is not just thanks to its long-running franchises like Doom and Wolfenstein – the massive efforts they put into R&D for their in-house technology. “We get to push in all of the ways that we want to push,” said executive producer Marty Stratton in an interview with VGC. It gives id an “enormous” advantage because the only limit is the challenge of innovation itself.

The road to hell is paved with good technology

“…the fact that we can sit in meetings with both the engine team and content creators… it makes the game better in countless ways – literally countless ways,” continued Stratton. “We’ve not had to compromise on the platforms, either; Doom Eternal will release on all the same platforms that Doom 2016 did, but the leaps that it has taken technically are… it doesn’t look anything like it.”

To Stratton’s mind, the key to success is pushing their game design to challenge the technology, meaning the technology drives rather than limiting the game. It’s a constant arms race between the design and technology sides of id Software, and they both benefit: “Our tech is so scalable… it’s again a great advantage for us. That team is seeing the stuff years down the road and because they take such pride in how optimised the engine is, they make sure it runs on everything from a Switch to the highest end PC.”

Under The Radar - A Place For The Unwilling

Your Time Is Running Out

Sandbox adventure game A Place For The Unwilling lets you loose in an open world during the final twenty-one days of a dying city. Every decision you make will have an impact of the fate of the city, but you’ll have to manage your time efficiently since you can’t be everywhere at once.

Boasting similarities to gems like Majora’s Mask and Sunless Skies, this narrative adventure focuses on density, quality and depth of experience rather than large, mostly empty environments. Set in a single city, A Place For The Unwilling aims to cram as many details into this small region as possible, in order to recreate the lively hustle and bustle that characterises a real city.

You’ll get acquainted with eighteen characters who makes up the entire community, and you’ll find yourself performing mundane everyday tasks like reading newspapers and going to work. As a trader, you’ll get to know the locals and must hone your skills as a savvy salesperson. The monotony of everyday life ends there, though: Whether you like it or not, you’ve got just twenty-one days and lots of mysteries to uncover in that time.

From what we’ve seen of A Place For The Unwilling so far, the story is purposely enigmatic: The man behind the game’s story is the award winning writer Ángel Luis Sucasas, author of four novels and two collections of short tales. Developer ALPixel Games recently published a release date announcement trailer showing off a number of locations in the city, as well as giving us a taste of the game’s ominous tone.

The trailer follows a male character called Henry, writing what appears to be a suicide note to a friend before proceeding to hang himself – quite a dramatic framing for a trailer, if you ask us! We’re shown part of the city, revealing detailed art and a mysterious atmosphere. Each location appears to contain small, squiggly silhouettes of people that can be interacted with:

“They are people like you, not some kind of ghost or ethereal being, but the crowd holds a shroud of anonymity above the living. You shouldn’t ignore them, they might mean nothing to you at first, but if your path tangles with one of the shadows and, by chance, you hear its name, the dark fume will fade away and you will see the person who was below the whole time..”

Announced on Kickstarter back in February 2016, A Place For The Unwilling was originally scheduled to release just over a year later (April 2017). Like so many other games funded on Kickstarter, the release date was slightly too optimistic and the developer couldn’t hit their original deadline. This week, the developers revealed the new launch date for their long-awaited game, which will be out on Steam come July 25th.

News Bits

Ubisoft bans ‘XP farming’ in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Some clever clogs realised they could use the new Story Creator Mode in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to make easy, repeatable quests to help rapidly grow character levels – since Assassin’s Creed is an RPG now. Ubisoft has cracked down on this intentional “misuse of the tool” because they’d rather you spend real money to buy their XP boosts instead. Malaka!

Closed Beta for augmented reality Minecraft Earth

What are those creepers doing out there? Possibly playing the new Minecraft Earth which blends reality with augmented reality, much like Pokémon GO. You walk around and interact with Tappables, which are mobs or blocks. Any flat surface can support a ‘build plate’ where you can use your collected resources and build. Once built, you can ‘place it in the real world’ and explore it.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these is NOT a real quote from a launch review of Warframe?

Answer: “There’s a lot of potential here, and it could be the biggest game ever with enough support.”

Yes, we made that one up, but the rest are all true! “Warframe’s daunting complexity doesn’t detract from its delicious combat and flexible progression” is from the game’s most positive review at PC Gamer – which ‘only’ awarded it 86%. This is why reviews of online games are pointless, folks.

As for the other two, they’re from much less friendly sources. “An interesting free to play game with some potential to expand in future updates” may have thrown some of you off as it was (unintentionally!) similar to our fake one, but it’s from Italian gaming site Multiplayer.it, which gave Warframe a 70. As for “some problematic menus pale in comparison to Warframe’s real problem: a pervasive tendency toward repetition,” that’s from the game’s worst review by GameSpot – who only gave it a 60. Hopefully they’ve changed their minds by now.

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