#57: The Switcher walks among us!

TODAY: Finally some Beyond a Steel Sky footage, only 25 years after first game — Train your brain with just 30 minutes of Mario per day — Ithlinne’s prophecy is nigh: The Switcher walks among us!

Top Story

EA finally warming up to Switch following FIFA success

Despite its success, Switch hasn’t made Electronic Arts reconsider their lukewarm relationship to Nintendo – only last month, CEO Andrew Wilson said they didn’t see much point targeting the platform since most Switch owners also have a PC, Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

However, there might be a change of tune – or at least some nervous pitch-shifting – with respect to their biggest mass-market franchises: . “We invested with FIFA. We had good success there. I love that we have such a great global reach and global presence on that platform with that game. We are absolutely looking at more Switch games in our portfolio, so more to come on that,” according to Laura Miele, EA chief studios officer.

FIFA is playing ball, but most others stay benched

While they’re no longer actively ignoring the Switch, that doesn’t mean the publishing giant has anything exciting to announce either. “We’re not going to announce anything as of yet. But it is absolutely a platform we’re looking at for some of our more successful games,” she continued. FIFA20 will hit Switch alongside PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in September.

EA also published Coldwood Interactive’s Unravel Two, and Fe by Zoink, but neither are among the publisher’s bigger titles. Maybe EA will reconsider if Switch sales pick up following the release of the new and improved Switch model, as well as the handheld-only Switch Lite.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What notable title was announced at the first Gamescom in 2009?

  • Fable III
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Halo Reach
  • Fallout: New Vegas

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

News Bits

First glimpses of Beyond a Steel Sky

There’s now a trailer out for Beyond a Steel Sky, the sequel to 1994 dystopian sci-fi classic Beneath a Steel Sky, as well as gameplay footage with developer commentary. Revolution Software is determined to meet and exceed fan expectations with its “dynamic, bounded-sandbox world” that reacts to your actions and “subversion” of the world and its characters.

Persona 5 Royal heading westwards next spring

Atlus is finally bringing Persona 5 Royal for PlayStation 4 to US and EU in spring 2020. The Japanese will go back to school a little earlier, on October 31st this year and reunite with the Phantom Thieves and its newest member – Kasumi Yishizawa. Check out the latest trailer and see what it’d be like if school was actually fun.

Daily Fact

Grow your brain with 30 minutes of Super Mario 64 a day

When not scheming to destroy the world or performing gruesome experiments on remote islands, German scientists occasionally do some nice science too. One example is a 2013 experiment involving a group of test subjects in Berlin required to play 30 minutes of Super Mario 64 every day for two months. What were ze results, Herr Doktor?

Their magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans revealed that the amount of grey matter in their brains had increased! They compared the results against a control group who did not play video games.

The areas of the brain that showed the greatest plasticity were the right hippocampus, the right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum – which governs spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and the fine motor skills of the hands.

“This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games,” declared study leader Simone Kühn, the senior scientist at the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

As a result of their findings they theorized video games could serve a therapeutic role for those suffering mental disorders linked to brain regions that have been altered in size. This includes schizophrenia, PTSD or neurodegenerative afflictions such as Alzheimer’s dementia. It could also lead to more Mario games thanks to increased sales. Win-win!

Daily News

Everspace 2 announced by Rockfish Games, now a space shooter with RPG

Rockfish Games launched their indie hit Everspace back in May 2017, and now the studio is finally announcing a sequel. Everspace 2 is officially official, and will be kickstarted come September.

The original was a fast-paced shooter with rogue-like elements, and Everspace 2 will go full RPG and feature an open world powered by the Unreal Engine. PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launch is scheduled for 2021, but will hit Steam Early Access in late 2020.

When you die, the stain of dishonour stays on you!

Everspace 2 will feature a huge collection of spaceships, persistent progression and greater focus on storytelling. The announcement trailer features in-game pre-alpha footage with plenty of explosions, cool spaceships, gorgeous space vistas and more explosions. According to Rockfish co-founder and CEO Michael Schade, the team decided to move towards an open-world RPG design because of feedback from fans of the first game:

“With EVERSPACE 2, we are making a big leap towards an open world space shooter, but will still remain true to our DNA and offer exactly what our fans love: a beautiful fantastic sci-fi world paired with uncompromising space action that gets down to business right away,” according to Schade.

Rockfish start their kickstarter campaign starts on September 9th, and will be asking for €450,000 to help keep the studio independent. Everspace 2 will debut at GamesCom 2019 this week, and will also appear at PAX West later this month and then on TwitchCon in September.

New game from studio behind Endless Space & Endless Legend

Amplitude Studios is ditching fantasy in favour of history in their new, ambitious turn-based strategy game Humankind. You’ll be in charge of a Neolithic tribe as they drag their knuckles through thousands of years of history, all the way into the modern age – for better or worse.

“Amplitude Studios was founded with the intention of creating this game, all the games we’ve created up until now have been leading up to this moment. We are so excited to finally be able to share with the community what has been at the heart of Amplitude since day one,” declared chief creative officer Romain de Waubert.

Go forth, my Norse-Egyptian samurai legionnaires!

Humankind offers the choice between 60 different historical cultures you can pick and mix elements from in order to form your own, unique civilization. Real historical events and figures will appear alongside great scientific and cultural discoveries, world wonders to build or seize, all to test your people’s mettle against the swords, faiths and culture of other would-be hegemons.

Amplitude’s labour of love will be revealed at Gamescom this week, and will be published for PC in 2020 by Sega. Amplitude is best known for their Endless Space and Endless Legends tactical turn-based strategy games, which presented fantasy and science-fiction perspectives on one, connected universe.

Early Look - Hands-on Preview - Witcher 3 Switch

Geralt on the go

(CD Projekt Red [Ported by Saber Interactive] – Nintendo Switch)

Release Date: 15th October, 2019

Four years after its release, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is fondly remembered as one of the best games ever. Renowned for its rich story, stunning visuals and endless content, The Witcher 3 can easily eat a hundred hours of your life without showing you everything it has. Now there’s finally a handheld version, so you can mop up those last stray side-quests and uncover those last secrets while on the train, waiting for the bus or just staying in bed on a lazy Sunday.

Bethesda has already managed to bring Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to the Switch, and performed way better than anyone ever expected. How does CD Project Red’s port compare, and what kind of compromises will fans have to tolerate to enjoy the Switch version?

The Witcher 3 is significantly scaled down to be playable on Switch. The game runs at 540p in handheld mode, and 720p with dynamic resolution scaling in docked mode. It’s fair to say the port is nowhere near as sharp and detailed as on PC or the more powerful consoles – but 540p actually looks pretty good on the Switch’s little 6.2 inch screen, so it’s not exactly going to hurt your eyes either.

Foliage and character models have been simplified, and the environments less dense that in the other versions. Not exactly surprising, since even the more powerful consoles struggle to maintain smooth framerates and running the PC version on the highest settings demands a veritable monster of a computer.

The Xbox One X delivers a mostly-stable 30FPS, while the PlayStation 4 Pro struggles to hit the target, dropping frames in particularly detailed areas. Saber Interactive is targeting 30FPS for the Switch version too, and mostly manage to hit it even though there are still noticeable drops when Geralt gets busy with multiple opponents, or strolls through downtown Novigrad.

The ‘Switcher’ is an impressive achievement

The game is pretty hard on the battery, so if want to enjoy it on a long trip, you should probably bring a battery pack. We didn’t have a chance to time how long it took to drain the battery, but we did notice that the console needed charging again pretty soon after we unplugged it.

Loading times are also a bit of a mixed bag. We could load up different areas during our testing, including the Prologue, White Orchard, Crookback Bog and more. Some areas loaded in just 15 seconds, while others took well over a minute. Not exactly a dealbreaker, but worth noting.

In the end, we spent a couple of hours playing the game in handheld mode and came away impressed with how well it works on the Switch. Of course, there’s no way this version can compete with the quality and performance of a gaming PC or more powerful consoles, but no-one seriously expected that anyway. Considering the Switch version of The Witcher 3 includes all the DLC, it’s a massive game and an impressive achievement – and hey, what better way to spend your commute than a bit of Witching?

News Bits

Parkour cyberpunk world of Ghostrunner violently revealed

In this first-person parkour (FPP) we’ll take on the cyberpunk world of Ghostrunner. Mankind has retreated into their last shelter – a huge mega tower – but it’s boiling over with violent revolution, crushing poverty and deadly weaponry. It’s a fast-paced, one-hit-one-kill, and bullet-time riddled journey to uncover its secrets. Ghostrunner is in development for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Indie World Showcase highlights for Nintendo Switch

Nintendo live-streamed their Indie World Showcase containing around 20 minutes’ worth of indie titles in the pipeline for launch on Nintendo Switch. Here’s a summary:

Weekly Giveaway

UnderMine!

Time for another great giveaway from your pals at DailyBits! Like the idea of an action-adventure rogue-likes that mixes Legend of Zelda, Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy? Then you’ll love exploring the rich subterranean world of UnderMine – launching tomorrow – and we’ve got 10 Steam codes to hand out to 10 lucky readers!

Please head here to enter this week’s giveaway – and at the end of the week you could be one of the lucky ones to receive a free Steam code!

“UnderMine is an action-adventure roguelike with a bit of RPG tossed in. Blending combat and dungeon crawling from traditional roguelikes like “The Binding of Isaac,” with the progression of roguelites like “Rogue Legacy,” UnderMine delivers a fresh new entry to the genre.

Mine gold on each run and increase the peasant’s power by finding powerful relics. Rescue NPCs and return them to the hub where they will open up shop and offer powerful upgrades for future runs. Delve deeper, exploring each new area, discover its many secrets and ultimately defeat its powerful boss. ”

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What notable title was announced at the first Gamescom in 2009?

Answer: Fable III!

Gamescom 2019 is kicking off today, meaning we have an exciting week of juicy news, announcements and rumours ahead of us! This is the 10th Gamescom since the show’s inception in 2009, and it was a pretty impressive affair with no shortage of big games – although with less focus on unreleased titles, since it was always meant to be a more developer-friendly show than E3.

The biggest actual announcement was Fable III from Lionhead and Microsoft, which released a year later, alongside Mass Effect 2, Halo Reach and Fallout: New Vegas – 2010 was a pretty great year for games!

Maybe history will repeat itself, and there’ll be some news about Halo Reach for PC and Xbox One this year … and maybe a Fable 4? Is that too much to ask, since it’s 10 years since the last one was announced? Let us pray!

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