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E130: A look at the Nintendo Direct showcase and the ongoing Microsoft case.
Good morning gamers! Nintendo took center stage last week with their own summer Nintendo Direct. The showcase was filled with tons of new game announcements and exciting remakes. In case you couldn’t catch it live, here’s what you missed.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is Nintendo’s first brand-new side-scrolling Mario game in over a decade. The 2D action platformer introduces a modernized art-style with slightly redesigned characters. It also features a new gameplay item called Wonder Flowers that when touched, activates Wonder Effects, which changes level mechanics and/or transforms the player. Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Peach and Toad were all shown as seemingly playable characters.
Super Mario RPG, one of the SNES’ most beloved Mario games, is getting a remake. The game is set to release on November 17 which will feature overhauled graphics and the return of the game’s original cast of characters.
WarioWare: Move It! is the newest instalment in the series featuring more than 200 micro games designed to get players moving using the Switch’s Joy-Cons. The game releases November 3, and is playable in local co-op or with up to four players in party mode.
Princess Peach will star in her very own game set to release sometime in 2024. The game looks to be a 2.5D side-scrolling adventure set on various stage platforms.
Pikmin 4 arrives on July 21 featuring a Dandori Battle mini-game, night expeditions and glowing Pikmin.
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is getting a two-part DLC called Hidden Treasures of Area Zero. Part 1: The Teal Mask sees players learn about the legendary Loyal Three Pokémon while Part 2: The Indigo Disk explores the Terrarium Dome.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is getting a remaster featuring completely overhauled graphics.
Detective Pikachu Returns is releasing on October 6. The game promises to explore the origins of Detective Pikachu, and offers tons of mysteries to solve across Ryme City.
Dragon Quest Monsters: The Ji Dark Prince is a new Square Enix adventure where a cursed Prince and his friend travel through the demon realm filled with monsters.
Batman: Arkham Trilogy, a collection of all three Rocksteady Batman games will be available on the Switch in the Fall 2023.
Metal Gear Solid Collection Vol. 1 arrives on the Switch October 24.
Microsoft vs. FTC
Last week, during the Microsoft vs the Federal Trade Commission hearing, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Xbox Game Studios, testified. Spencer provided insights into the console wars, Microsoft's acquisition strategy, new game releases, and more.
PlayStation is trying to “block Xbox’s survival” according to Spencer. He says that Sony gets a 30% cut of all Microsoft games sold on PlayStation, which helps fund third-party exclusives that hurt Microsoft.
Starfield was a major reason that Microsoft acquired Bethesda. Spencer says that they heard Sony was inquiring about making the game a PlayStation exclusive and Xbox couldn’t let that happen. Spencer also said that if the game was coming out on PS5, the September release date wouldn’t be possible.
Indiana Jones from MachineGames recently became an Xbox exclusive. Spencer says that the reason is "Disney owned Spider-Man being PlayStation only” and he wanted a famous IP to be associated to Xbox. ZeniMax liked the idea of launching on the Xbox Game Pass and having their games on fewer consoles.
The Elder Scrolls VI is “so far out it’s hard to understand what the platforms will even be… we’re talking about a game that’s five-plus years away" says Spencer. He was uncertain if he's already stated it would be an Xbox console exclusive.
Minecraft did not have a PS5-optimized version because Sony did not provide Microsoft with PS5 development kits. The FTC argued that Microsoft had time to develop Minecraft for the PS5 by now and decided not to, as revenge against Sony.
Valorants Global Head of Esports Leo Faria has confirmed that team-branded skins are coming to Valorant in 2024. He said, “next year, we’re introducing for the first time team-branded skins in-game and all of that is monetized via microtransactions”.
Thunderpick, the cryptocurrency betting company, has officially announced a $600,000 (paid in Bitcoin) CS:GO tournament series called the Thunderpick CS:GO World Championships. The event will start with four regional qualifiers, followed by a $500,000 grand final where 8 qualified teams will play on LAN.
Vitality have decided to opt out of the VCT EMEA Last Chance Qualifiers and the VCT Champions out of respect for the family and friends of former Valorant player Karel “Twisten” Ašenbrener. The organization “can’t imagine anyone else playing in these last competitions of the season” so their 2023 VCT season is over.
The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) is returning to Sydney, Australia in October 2023 as part of the SXSW Sydney festival - and could very well be the first CS2 Major. IEM Sydney will feature 16 of the worlds best Counter-Strike teams fighting for their share of the $250,000 prize pool.
Valve has confirmed that they’re abandoning the Dota 2 battle pass in order to focus on content “for all Dota players to enjoy”. Their resources will now shift towards making new game content, and crowdfunding for The International will have less of a cosmetic focus.
Hideo Kojima says he will be “deeply involved in producing, supervising, plotting, look, design and content” of the Death Stranding film adaptation.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, reportedly set to be revealed in August, will feature remasters of Modern Warfare 2 maps Terminal and Scrapyard.
Marathon will reportedly allow players to choose their own missions, drop into different servers and to buy or choose different loadouts, perks and abilities.
Electronic Arts (EA) is officially splitting their business and studios into two separate organizations, EA Entertainment and EA Sports.
Game Review - Final Fantasy XVI
Final Fantasy XVI represents an evolutionary leap for the esteemed Final Fantasy franchise, pushing boundaries and embarking on a bold new path. Stepping away from its traditional RPG roots, the game favors a dynamic and fast-paced combat system that leaves the RPG elements as more of an afterthought.
Set in the high fantasy realm of Valisthea, Final Fantasy XVI sets itself apart from most of its predecessors through its well-rounded storyline and gorgeous world design. Players are treated to a gaming experience highlighted by intriguing characters, striking combat sequences, and a groundbreaking soundtrack that, in our opinion, sets a new bar for video game audio. Even during the game's most lore-heavy moments, and through its plethora of cinematics and cutscenes, the new Active Time Lore feature masterfully allows players to reconnect with pivotal elements of the story that they might have missed.
Final Fantasy XVI has secured itself a spot among one of the better entries in franchise history. Despite the departure from its long-standing RPG formula, and its extremely lacklustre side quests, the game remains a must-play for fans and newcomers alike. We give Final Fantasy XVI a rating of B.
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