#83: Tonight’s State of Play

TODAY: World of WarCraft demonstrates the power of old-school — Iga wants to turn Bloodstained into a big series — Hungry for some arcade action? Habroxia’s got you covered

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What to expect from Sony’s State of Play

Sony continues their State of Play video series with a new presentation airing layer today at 9pm BST/10pm CEST. There will apparently be new games revealed, as well as brand-new content from PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios. Don’t go in expecting any PlayStation 5 news, though – Sony already made it clear in a blog post that they’re not ready to talk about it yet.

So what will we see? Well, we know that Naughty Dog is going to announce something big about The Last Of Us Part II, since the developer has been releasing short, cryptic teasers online for a while now. VP, writer and director Neil Druckmann at Naughty Dog has tweeted that “We’ve been silent for too long, it’s time to put an end to that.” Maybe we’ll finally see some gameplay, and maybe even a release date?

Then there’s Batman’s 80th anniversary and WB Games Montreal’s less-than-subtle teasing: The developer tweeted a short animation last night, along with the words “Capture the Knight / Cape sur la nuit”. The four insignia from the animation represent the Court of Owls, an organised crime group and secret society that wreak havoc in Gotham. At this point, we’d be more surprised if a new Batman game isn’t announced tonight.

Which game will steal the show?

Then there’s Wattam, the anticipated collaboration between Keita Takahashi (of Katamari Damacy fame) and Funomena (founded by thatgamecompany alumni who worked on Journey). The game was announced a while ago, but there hasn’t been much news since then. Judging by this mysterious chain of quote-tweets, there will probably be some kind of announcement tonight.

Finally, the Japanese PlayStation Store posted and then immediately removed a MediEvil demo, so it’s pretty safe to assume someone just pressed the button too early and that it will reappear during the event. The demo reportedly weighed in at 11.6GB and supposedly features two stages: ‘Dan’s Crypt’ and ‘The Graveyard’. MediEvil is scheduled to launch on October 25th, so this seems like a good time to start the hype.

State of Play will be broadcast on a number of platforms, including Twitch and YouTube. All updates will also be posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What is the name of the kingdom where MediEvil takes place?

  • Hallowford
  • Gallowmere
  • Deadland
  • Zarok

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

News Bits

World of Warcraft Classic sees revenue from WoW subscriptions rise by 223%

The eagerly anticipated release of the back-to-basics World of WarCraft Classic has earned a lot of attention: According to Superdata’s latest report, the subscription revenue has increased by an estimated 223% from July to August.

As a result, World of WarCraft is back in the analyst’s list of highest-earning PC games, landing in third place behind Dungeon Fighter Online and League of Legends. However, Superdata’s report shows that the increase is still smaller than that caused by the release of the Battle for Azeroth expansion last year.

Star Wars Battlefront II Community Update – a new planet and new modes

Star Wars Battlefront II continues to win back goodwill by adding new content. In the latest community update video, the developers talk about the new planet they are adding – Felucia, featured in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – and two new modes, Instant Action and Co-Op, as well as the new Clone Commando hero.

Daily Fact

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom: Latest in one of SEGA’s oldest series

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a fun platformer that’s almost a year old now, and the interesting thing about it is that it’s actually the latest game in the ancient Wonder Boy series. It was developed with the help of Wonder Boy creator Ryuichi Nishizawa, and acts as a follow-up to the recently remade Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap.

The Wonder Boy series is made up of the Wonder Boy and Monster World games, and the latest title is a mash-up of the two. Whatever it’s called, the series is one of Sega’s oldest properties: It predates Sonic the Hedgehog by half a decade! Wonder Boy first appeared in 1986, while Sonic made his debut in 1991.

While Sonic is admittedly more popular – we won’t be seeing a Wonder Boy movie starring Jim Carrey any time soon – it is still pretty impressive that the series is still going strong after 33 years. There’s even another game out this year, Wonder Boy Returns Remix, which is a remake of the very first game. Definitely worth a look if you enjoyed The Cursed Kingdom and Dragon’s Trap.

Daily News

Koji Igarashi has plans to make Bloodstained into a series

Koji Igarashi, more commonly known as ‘Iga’, showed that he’s still got the magic touch with the brilliant Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night earlier this year. In an interview published in the latest issue of Game Informer, Iga talked about the pros and cons of funding a game through Kickstarter rather than a more traditional publisher.

For example, quality control was a difficult chapter in Bloodstained’s development: “When you’re working with an outsourced studio, it can be difficult to match the quality line when things changed,” said Iga. “With Bloodstained, we would first share our goal with the outsourced studio and make sure we both agree and determine the necessities, but even with proper planning it’s difficult to reach.”

Iga breaks down what makes Kickstarter different

Iga noted that entire portions of Bloodstained had to be scrapped and remade, which might explain some of the problems the developers faced and why the game kept getting delayed. Bloodstained was originally scheduled to release in March 2017, but was delayed by over two years before finally hitting the market in June this year.

It also appears that Iga wasn’t fully involved in the Nintendo Switch port: “I didn’t expect [the Switch port] to be as bad when it was released”. He confirmed that WayForward is working towards fixing the Switch port through incremental updates.

Most tantalizingly, Iga revealed that Ritual of the Night is just the “starting ground for the next step,” and that there are plans to turn Bloodstained into a big series

A review roundup for The Surge 2

The Surge 2 is out today, and will let players loose in Jericho City. The Action-RPG boasts “hardcore, brutal melee combat” against “deadly foes and colossal bosses”. Its 2017 predecessor, The Surge earned an average of 73 on Opencritic. Reviews are now live and here’s what games critics have to say about the sequel.

IGN (Score 7.6/10) – “The Surge 2 checks many of the boxes for a successful sequel, but this sci-fi action RPG falls just short or recapturing the full dismembering joy of the original.”

GamesRadar (Score 3.5/5) – “The Surge 2 offers the hard-earned pleasures of Souls-style combat, with less of genre’s signature sting.”

GameSpot (Score 8/10) – “Deep, varied, and punchy combat make The Surge 2 worth the effort, even if you have to bear through its lifeless story.”

Polygon (Unscored) – “Familiar isn’t always bad, and in the case of The Surge 2, familiar is just aggressively fine.”

Destructoid (Score 7.5/10) – “While Deck13 still has some work to do, The Surge 2 is a massive step up from its predecessor in just about every respect. For the first time, I’m actually excited to see what the studio is working on next.”

Rock Paper Shotgun (Unscored) – “If you missed the first Surge, but always meant to take a look, hop into this one instead. Think of it as a shortcut to a better game.”

PC Gamer (Score 79/100) – “The steely smash-and-crunch of the combat merrily pushed me through its 20-hour campaign and beyond into New Game +, compelling me to ignore the rudimentary world and focus on those glorious moments where sparks, limbs and scrap metal fly with brutal abandon. Deck13 has come a long way, welding together a solid, structurally sound Soulslike that adeptly showcases what makes this genre special.”

The Surge 2 currently has an average of 76 on Opencritic and is now available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Game Spotlight - Habroxia

Heading back to the arcade

(Lillymo Games Inc.- PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch) Release Date: September 26th 2019

Habroxia is a throwback to the arcade-style scrolling shooters of yore, challenging you to take on an alien threat as you blast through space. Similar to the R-Type games of the 80s and 90s, Habroxia puts you in a little spaceship and pits you against 15 levels featuring both horizontal and vertical layouts.

The persistent ship upgrading system allows players to tailor the experience to their style of play. Whether you need more health, a wider shot spread, rockets, or even a pickup magnet, you’ll be able to make your way through each level and boss battle on your terms. Habroxia also offers a few different game modes to choose between.

The classic structure of the story mode will send you through each of the levels, displaying your high score at the end to tempt you into finishing it a couple more times. After completing levels 5, 10 and 15, you’ll also unlock three separate endless modes. Invasion Mode puts you up against vertical waves of enemies, Rescue Mode does pretty much what it says on the tin, requiring you to save astronauts as you go, while Shield Maiden Mode provides you with weak guns and shield pickups for a more challenging experience.

As expected from any side-scrolling shoot’em up, you’ll need to be very aware of your surroundings: Not only will you have to battle enemies, but you’ll also have to explore the levels and pick up items, skirting through tight spaces and narrowly missing enemy shots as you go. After completing a level, you are awarded with points for your combos, accuracy and remaining health, giving you an idea of how well you did.

Aliens, aliens everywhere!

Battling your way through a level or fighting a boss seems tricky at first, but the upgrade system does a great job at making things more manageable, and it’s well worth your time to break rocks and defeat as many enemies as possible to maximise the number of credits you can spend on upgrades. For the most part, you won’t need to invest too heavily in additional health as defeated enemies often drop health pick-ups, but you can unlock additional health bars if you feel like you need it.

The boss fights are particularly satisfying, especially when you’ve unlocked a few interesting upgrades for your ship. The transitions between horizontal levels and vertical ones also vary the experience nicely and keeps levels feeling fresh. Considering its budget price tag, this title has a lot to offer in terms of replayability. Overall, Habroxia feels like the perfect fit for a handheld console such as the PS Vita or the Nintendo Switch.

Habroxia will be available digitally on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch from September 26th. The digital version is just £5.94 for the digital version, with an RRP of £6.99. A physical Vita edition is also available for purchase on Play-Asia for £29.34. Physical Vita releases are growing increasingly rare, so if you’re a fan of these classic shoot-em up games and like collecting Vita titles, Habroxia will make a fine addition to your shelf!

News Bits

Madmind Studio release teaser trailer showing off an enemy in their next game: Succubus

The developers behind Agony – a dark fantasy survival horror game that made waves across the internet last year with its adult content – are returning with a spin-off title: Succubus. At the end of Agony, the main character turned into a succubus named Vydija, and the new game follows her new adventures where she battles the cherubs.

Developer Madmind Studio are also updating Agony, so you can see cherubs in many different locations during the game. They have also promised players that they will be able to watch and test early Succubus gameplay later this year.

Taking colour coordination to the next level

The Game Atelier, the developer behind Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, has released an update that allows you to match the game’s UI colours to that of your Switch console. Publisher FDG Entertainment confirmed that the supported colors include “Yellow, Turquoise, Red, Pink, Grey and Green”, suggesting that the patch supports both the original Nintendo Switch and the recently released Switch Lite. It’s a cute little addition, and we hope more games will offer similar customization features in the future.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What is the name of the kingdom where MediEvil takes place?

Answer: Gallowmere!

Just one more month to go before MediEvil returns, and there’s going to be a demo out soon too. We’re pretty excited about returning to the kingdom of Gallowmere: It has been 21 years since the original game came out on PlayStation, and 14 years since the last attempt at a remake, namely MediEvil Resurrection for the PSP.

The game’s quirky, Tim Burton-esque vibe won over a lot of players, but the somewhat annoying camera and control scheme stopped it from becoming a true classic. It faced hard competition, after all, coming out in the golden age of 3D platformers alongside Super Mario 64, Spyro the Dragon and Banjo-Kazooie. Hopefully the remake will fix these problems, and earn Sir Daniel Fortesque a place in the pantheon of platform heroes.

Weekly Giveaway

Cat Quest II on PC

This week’s DailyBits giveaway features a purrfect combination: Cats and RPGs! We are giving away 5 Steam keys for Cat Quest 2, the sequel to the acclaimed epic fantasy RPG by PQubeGames and @TheGentlebros, where you defend the cat kingdom against the dog hordes. We’re sold!

All you have to do to enter the sweepstakes is to be a Dailybits subscriber. We will choose five random subscribers over the course of the week, and each will receive a Steam code for Cat Quest II on PC! It couldn’t be any easier.

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