Xbox Series X Games First Look, Fortnite’s Party Royale

TODAY: Facepunch Studios knows the real measure of your manhood — Epic brings world-class DJs to the premiere of the new Party Royale mode — All that next-gen news got you longing for some sweet retro-style indie action?

Xbox Series X Games Reveal

First look at Xbox Series X game footage

Microsoft just hosted a special Inside Xbox live stream featuring a first look at upcoming games for the new Xbox Series X.

An online event has been on the cards ever since E3 2020 was cancelled, and Sony is expected to host a similar event this month. Previously Microsoft had just announced technical specifications and core features, so this is the very first taste of next-gen gameplay.

Highlights

  • Xbox Game Studios update on COVID-19
    • First-party project reveals starting July (Double Fine, Ninja Theory, 343 Industries)
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla by Ubisoft – Debut Gameplay
  • Bright Memory Infinite by FYQD-Studio – Trailer
  • Scorn by Ebb Software – Trailer
  • Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 by Paradox Interactive – Trailer
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon by Sega – Trailer

World Premieres

  • DiRT 5 by Codemasters – Trailer
  • CHORUS by Deep Silver – Trailer
  • Madden 21 by EA Sports – Reveal
  • Call of the Sea by Out of the Blue – Trailer
  • The Ascent by Neon Giant – Trailer
  • The Medium by Blooper Team – Trailer
  • Scarlet Nexus by Bandai Namco – Trailer
  • Second Extinction by Systemic Reaction – Trailer

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Evil Genius was the last game developed by which British studio?

  • Elixir Studios
  • Bullfrog Productions
  • Feral Interactive
  • Creative Assembly

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Daily Fact

Facepunch put the D in your Steam ID

Facepunch Studios decided to take a unique approach when deciding certain attributes of player characters in Rust.

The online survival game entered Early Access in December 2013 before finally releasing in February 2018. And oh boy, those early days were a proper sausage fest: Rust even used your Steam ID to determine how – ah – well-endowed your character would be.

That’s right, your virtual wiener was at the mercy of an arbitrary ID issued by Valve. Of course, it wasn’t the only feature determined by the Steam ID: features like body proportions and skin tone were also influenced.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

Fortnite Event

Famous DJs for Party Royale Premiere

Fortnite’s upcoming non-combat Party Royale mode will be a big DJ set headlined by Deadmau5, Steve Aoki and Dillon Francis.

The success of Travis Scott’s in-game concert has clearly attracted attention and Epic Games are obviously eager to find new ways to capitalize on their 350 million registered players and the 3.2 billion hours they have spent on Fortnite.

Concerts and DJs: Travis Scott attracted 12.3 million concurrent users last month. The Party Royale mode didn’t seem to be a big deal at first, but it looks like Epic is going all in now.

Experimentation: Party Royale Premiere LIVE will take place on May 8th between 9.00pm and 10.00pm ET. There will be a rerun on May 9th between 2.00pm and 3.00pm ET. Epic Games calls Party Royale a “new experimental and evolving space,” full of minigames and other attractions.

Game Spotlight

Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl

Version tested: Nintendo Switch

For better and worse – but mostly worse – Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl is an incredibly faithful homage to NES-era brawlers. So faithful that it reminds you how old-fashioned and flat out dull most NES games feel today. The controls are stiff, the structure is unrelentingly old-school and there’s lots of cheap-shot enemies. Even if these features were reimagined in an interesting way, the basic old-school brawler formula is just underwhelming 30 years later.

The whole game is a bit of a baffling proposition. It seems to target the gamer who craves boredom and frustration, is a die-hard Kevin Smith fan and has a friend with the same predilection for boredom, frustration and Kevin Smith. If that’s you, then this is your lucky day. If not, then you’re probably wondering why the game looks like a NES game when the Genesis was the hot thing in 1994.

Verdict: Avoid

Slayin 2

Version tested: Nintendo Switch

Slayin 2 has got the presentation down pat, with choice pixel art and killer music – but the gameplay takes some getting used to. It’s a mobile game, so the control scheme is simplistic, but the game is a pretty tough combo chaser. It looks simple, but racking up high scores and earning that loot isn’t.

If you get along with its idiosyncracies and don’t mind some difficulty spikes, there’s lots of fun to be had. The design is varied in spite of its simplicity, and in the end Slayin 2 is a unique little experience. If you liked the original or simply enjoy unusual concepts, you should recruit a friend and get ready for an action RPG not quite like any other.

Verdict: Recommended

Infinite: Beyond the Mind

Version tested: Nintendo Switch

You might roll your eyes at the instakill bottomless pits and the button mashing, but Infinite: Beyond the Mind definitely captures the joy of the platformers of yore. It’s easy to learn but hard to master, it’s challenging enough to feel exhilarating and even encourages speedrunning with its timer.

Sure, there’s not exactly a dearth of old-school platformers these days and many look more impressive than this, but Infinite: Beyond the Mind’s Strider-esque Mega Man-meets-Metal Slug brawler sensibility is quite unique. If you like fast-paced, frantic action platforming then you will definitely find something to like about Infinite: Beyond the Mind.

Verdict: Recommended

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

New Animal Crossing is a huge success

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ remote island retreat is a big hit, selling over 13.4 million in its first six weeks on sale.

According to Nintendo’s latest financial report, Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold 11.77 million units between March 20th and the end of the quarter on March 31st.

Best sales yet: This makes Animal Crossing: New Horizons the sixth best-selling Switch game to date, if you count Pokémon Sword & Shield separately. The sales are even more impressive when compared to Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 3DS, which sold 12.55 million in total.

Silver lining: The enormous success is probably part thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped videogame sales as people seek escapist entertainment to distract from the boredom of lockdown.

VR Bits

Valve finally comments on Index shortage

It has been just over eight weeks since Valve reopened pre-orders for its Index VR headset after months of stock shortages. There is still an 8 week waiting time, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Now Valve is finally talking about the situation:“We are making every effort possible to deliver units in a timely fashion,” said a Valve spokesperson. “The current conditions due to Covid-19 are causing fluctuations. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this time, and we plan to make more shipping/tracking info available soon.”

Carmack wants to bring Quake to Quest

Doom and Quake programmer John Carmack talked about porting Quake to Oculus Quest on Twitter: “If Zenimax gave it a greenlight, I would make it happen!” Zenimax and Oculus has a bit of a rocky relationship, so it’s not exactly likely that Zenimax would let Carmack create his own VR port.

Fortunately, there are at least two fan-made VR ports! The first is the Oculus Quest exclusive QuakeQuest by DrBeef, while the second and more recent one is QuakeVR by Vittorio Romeo. QuakeVR works on any headset, and even features a bunch of VR-exclusive features like dual-wielding weapons and two-handed aiming.

Smaller, lighter Quest headset on the way

There’s a new version of Oculus’ stand-alone Quest headset on the way. It’s smaller, lighter and supports higher refresh rates than the old version. While the Oculus Quest has been quite successful, it remains uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time and the new version will likely address that complaint.

The new headset was scheduled for release in 2020, but will probably be delayed thanks to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

What Else Happened Today?

  • Rebellion is giving away Evil Genius, so create a Rebellion ID account and link it with Steam and start your evil plan for world domination today
  • Peckish co-op arcade game Cannibal Cuisine out on May 20th. Expect a unique dining experience for 1-4 players on PC and Switch
  • New trailer for sci-fi shooter Disintegration in preparation for June 16th launch. Get ready to lead a crew of outlaw robots and reboot humanity on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is definitely franchise material following strong sales. Respawn Entertainment’s already busy working on a sequel
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition hits Switch on May 29th, check out the new trailer to see more of the world, characters, combat and story

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Evil Genius was the last game developed by which British studio?

Answer: Elixir Studios!

Elixir Studios isn’t the most famous early-2000s game studio, but it definitely had some talent on board.

Founded by Demis Hassabis, previously of Bullfrog and Lionhead, Elixir was founded to create original IP but only managed to squeeze out two games in seven years – Republic: The Revolution and Evil Genius.

The company shut down in 2005 before completing Evil Genius 2, blaming “the current risk averse publishing climate”. Rebellion Entertainment bought their IP in 2006 and continued developing Evil Genius 2 – until now. Incredibly, Evil Genius 2 is scheduled for release this year, and it will be very interesting to see what it has turned into over the last 15 years.

Today’s issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Simon Priest, Erlend Grefsrud, Christian Vaz and Jamie Davey.