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This Week in Gaming News: Buy ‘Em Out, Boys



Howdy, pardners. If any of you have managed to wrench yourselves away from Red Dead, I welcome you to another roundup of the week’s gaming news sautéed with some of that classic British sarcasm and moaning you all paid the entry fee for. You get the kettle on and I’ll get started…

MeXbox One

Ola, mi amigos! Microsoft held a special event in Mexico City this week and gave it the snappy name of X018, like some kind of reverse Mega Man timeline. While nobody’s socks will be blown off by what the quality of was announced and shown off at the event, it certainly wasn’t lacking in quantity. I’m not going to discuss everything in the event here because it’s tough to care about a lot of it (yes, including Kingdom Hearts 3 trailers because I’ve never fancied playing a Winnie the Pooh video game), but I’m going to use up a couple of sections to talk about the two biggest and juiciest pieces of news.

Arguably the biggest announcement was Microsoft’s acquisition of two more gaming studios, although it’s big with a proviso. If these studios go on to make more shitty Avatars or something of similar pointlessness, then it means about as much as if they’d acquired me. If, however, we get either some great games or a certain remaster then we can all walk hand in hand and sing songs of joy – hell, maybe even X018 will catch on as a name, you never know.

Gaming News Obsidian

It couldn’t happen, could it? Surely not…

Three paragraphs in, and it’s probably about time I told you who those studios actually are. The first up that was snapped is InXile Entertainment, most famous for the Bards Tale series and Wasteland 2 – a post-apocalyptic RPG from the producer of the original Fallout. The sexier of the studios, however, is undoubtedly Obsidian, known for Star Wars: KotoR, Fallout: New Vegas and the good South Park RPG (the first one about sticks). Microsoft made the reassuring statement that both studios “will continue to operate autonomously and bring their unique talents, IP, and expertise to Microsoft Studios as they build new RPG experiences for our players and fans.” Worry not then, it seems.

There’s a full rundown of the event here, but to briefly list the other announcements of lesser note, X018 gave us news on Black Friday Xbox deals, DLC for Forza Horizon 4 and State of Decay 2, new content and modes for Sea of Thieves and Devil May Cry 5, and some keyboard and mouse support. Oh, and one more thing…

Xbox Finally Cracks Down

File this one under ‘for real this time’ with caution, but that there Crackdown 3 game has an actual, proper, confirmed, legit, definite release date now. Celebrate! Remember much about 2015? Probably not, right? Well, that’s when Crackdown 3 was revealed to the world at Gamescom alongside its “100% destructible environments.” It’s been delayed every year since then, but nobody cares about that anymore, because it’s absolutely, positively coming out on February 15th 2019.

Creative Director Joe Staten announced the release date during X018 alongside a trailer for the game’s multiplayer mode (the only place where those destructible environments actually exist) called Wrecking Zone, which centers around two teams of five agents trying to raze the other’s tower to the ground. The game will be available on Game Pass, further enhancing that service’s relevance, and as a bonus (or maybe an apology), the original Crackdown is now free on Xbox One until November 30th.

Squenix is Not for the Squeamish

Oof, it’s been a painful week for Square Enix. The company announced on Friday that three of the four DLC expansions for Final Fantasy XV have been cancelled and that game director Hajime Tabata has left the company. According to Gamespot, Luminous – the new internal studio who were developing the expansions – will now focus on making a new, unannounced, AAA game.

The cancellation of the expansions comes in the wake of the earnings report posted by the company that showed £33 million losses, and it seems those losses have been cut at the expense of FFXV. I’d surmise that the company perhaps lost money by wasting it on development of one of the worst games ever in The Quiet Man, but it’s clear that barely any money was spent on that game – especially on the sound budget, amirite?

Gaming News Final Fantasy

Not pictured, the DLC or the game’s producer

As is seemingly always the case, the departed director is not done with games yet, and can now make that project he was always planning without the shackles of corporate overlords. In a statement, he announced “I have a project that I truly wish to solidify as my next challenge after FFXV. For that reason, I have decided to leave my current position and start my own business in order to achieve my goal.” Expect him begging for money on Kickstarter in the coming weeks.

Well Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiire Me, Princess

The video games industry is a pretty unique one in that it can generate more excitement at the existence of a job advert from people who won’t be going for the job than from people who will be. Games companies looking to hire is undoubtedly exciting when it involves someone working your favorite game franchise, and few come with as much guaranteed fervor as The Legend of Zelda.

The job listings don’t really give off too much revealing information, but the key components, as translated by Resetera member guru-guru, mention that one of the roles requires “experience working on HD hardware,” and that the other is for a level designer. He notes that duties include “[planning] game events, the field, dungeons, [and] enemies.”

Could a Switch remaster be the cause for the job opening? Would anyone want to play this game again?

Two schools of thought therefore exist regarding what these job openings mean. One thing that is guaranteed is that this is a 3D Zelda game that will be on Switch (thanks to that HD hardware point). What isn’t guaranteed is whether it’s a brand-new title, or a remaster of an older game. You’d expect that a level designer wouldn’t be needed for a remastered title that already features designed levels, unless one of the older 2D games is getting a 3D makeover. Obviously, it’s not exactly a shock that Nintendo will be developing a new Zelda game, but it’s interesting how soon after Breath of the Wild we may see a potential sequel.


Red Dead Redemption 2 is now on Switch! Well, it is if you watch a let’s play of it on the console’s new YouTube app. You can tell it’s been a bit of a slow week when a 2018 console barely catching up with the functionality of the Wii is big news, but I’m personally delighted that Switch is finally moving closer to being the multimedia machine it really should be. While you lovely Americans have at least had Hulu on Switch for a while now, us poor Europeans have had nothing but games on it. Granted, I’ve got a phone and a laptop, but the Switch fits a little niche in my gadget library as being a nice little middle ground for some toilet or bed-based YouTubing.

Gaming News Switch

If the main article wasn’t negative enough, rest assured I agree this took WAY too fucking long to arrive

Naturally, with the sales performance of the console, it would be madness not to add some additional functionality to it in order to keep the momentum going. Surely, developing app functionality on an OS that can clearly already handle it is an easier way to bolster the system’s holiday season draw than developing new games, so hopefully this app is the first of many. Netflix was spoken about way back in January as an ongoing consideration for Nintendo, so expect movement on that in the new year. For now, you can now download the YouTube app for free (and without a Nintendo Switch Online subscription) on the Nintendo Eshop.

Right, I’m away to stream some Call of Duty Blackout, and I’ll see you in seven.

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.


Beanie Babies: The Collectables with Heart



For our Toys We Love Spotlight, I’m looking at one of my personal favourites: Beanie Babies. I had collected so many of these growing up, and households worldwide in the 90s and early 2000s were sure to have at least one Beanie Baby in their possession (was it even the 90s if they didn’t?). These plushie companions were cute, cuddly, and collectable, so it’s not a surprise that the Beanie Babies craze swept the globe, forcing parents and toy collectors everywhere to dig into their wallets.

Beanie Babies had a few aspects to them that made them stand out from your average plushie. Firstly, they did not have as much stuffing as most soft toys. Whilst some thought that this made them look cheap, it also made them light, posable, and gave them a realistic feel and look. The bear Beanie Babies were particularly good to pose, and this set them apart from run-of-the-mill teddy bears. Another element that made Beanie Babies more unique was their special tag. Each toy had a tag attached which had the toy’s name, date of birth, and a quotation etched inside. The former was something that could have been a risky choice, as although it wasn’t completely taking away the child’s choice of name — there was nothing stopping them from just calling their Beanie whatever they wanted — a pre-selected name can be difficult to sell, as kids can often take great pride and pleasure in naming their toys.

It was a great success, however, and worked as a nice finishing touch for the Beanie Babies, adding a dash of personality and flair (something much needed in the often critically over-saturated soft toy market), as well as making each Beanie Baby feel like their own creature with their own little stories. Adding to that was the wide variety of animals that were available, such as Tiny the Chihuahua, Pegasus the Unicorn or Swampy the Alligator. This means that the desires of each individual child or enthusiastic collector could be catered to (I myself favoured the dogs and bears).

The puppies were my Beanie Baby of choice. They were all such good boys and girls.

The Beanie Babies also had their own way of tackling difficult issues in society, showing them to kids through the guise of a soft toy. I’ll give you an example through my own experience: I had a Beanie Baby that (as odd as it may sound) gave me more of an understanding of the horrors of September 11th. Weird, right? Allow me to explain. I was only just nine years old on that now-historical day when the twin towers in New York were attacked and so many innocent people lost their lives. I had come home from school (it was afternoon time here in the UK when it happened), and I remember my mum watching it on television in complete shock. She had watched the whole thing whilst I’d been at school.

I didn’t really understand what was happening to be honest. Even when I was watching the repeats of the plane crashing into the side of the tower, I was somewhat oblivious the gravity of the situation (though as a nine year old child, I suppose I could be forgiven for that). The news continued to report the tragedy for a long time, and my school held assemblies to discuss the matter. I knew people had died, and that made me very sad, but I remember thinking that people died all the time, so why was this one incident reported on so much? About a month or so after, TY released three Beanie Babies as a tribute to those lost during 9/11. One of these was a Dalmatian Beanie Baby called Rescue, and I wanted him the moment I saw him, not really knowing the true nature of his purpose. My mum obliged happily, knowing what he represented. I remember taking my little Dalmatian with the red collar and American flag on his leg home and reading his tag. It read:

To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America

Rescue the Dalmatian was joined by America the Bear and Courage the German Shepherd. The Beanies were a set of three released to honor those who perished in the tragedy of 9/11.

I found Rescue in my room recently, and the memories flooded back to me upon reading it again. I remember looking into all the acts of heroism and bravery after reading Rescue’s tag, and that’s when the situation really hit home to me. I looked into the stories of firefighters and first responders and those who had died, as well as all the search-and-rescue dogs attempting to save people among the chaos. As a child, it can be hard to see past your immediate opinion and truly consider the sheer weight of a situation, but with Rescue’s help, I was able to see just how this event was indeed very different to anything I had ever seen before, and how serious it was. It was the first time I felt like I was thinking like a grown up. I looked at the world differently from then on — obviously as I got older, but also from my ability to think harder and search deeper. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have even bothered if it wasn’t for Rescue reminding me of exactly how much was lost on that day.

Rescue, perhaps the goodest and bravest boy of them all.

Beanie babies will forever be ingrained in culture. They are still bought, sold and collected even now and will remain a timeless staple of most of our childhoods. They certainly are for me. Especially you Rescue, the bravest firefighting Dalmatian the world has ever known.

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‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo



The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Ramps Up Its Roster With The Kombat Pack



Our favourite brutal and bloody fighting game series Mortal Kombat is back with a new announcement surrounding brand new characters that will be joining the fight in the latest instalment of the franchise, Mortal Kombat 11.

During Gamescom 2019, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios introduced the Kombat Pack via an official reveal trailer. The Kombat Pack will feature six new fighters who will be introduced to the game over the next six months. Shang Tsung and Nightwolf are the latest additions who have already been released but the trailer also shows off four new and exciting additions to the world of Mortal Kombat.

The first up will be the Terminator T-800 who will be released on October 8th 2019 to coincide with the October release of the next Terminator film, Terminator: Dark Fate.  The trailer shows that the character model features the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than just going for the Terminator style metallic endoskeleton. This is an interesting choice that leads to an incredibly impressive character model of Arnie. I’m really hoping that he will start to decay into his metal form as he is beaten down in the game but only time will tell.

The next release will be well known Mortal Kombat character Sindel, whose appearance fans have been waiting for after she was confirmed to be coming to the game in late May. Sindel will join the fight on November 26th, 2019.

The next character is another interesting one: DC comics top villain Joker. Joker is a pop culture icon who is no stranger to fighting games so his inclusion isn’t that much of a surprise. His physical appearance is somewhat unexpected however. He seems quite young and dashing, not what is typically expected when one thinks of the Joker. It is always fun to see unique interpretations of well known characters so hopefully the Joker will not disappoint when he becomes playable. This won’t be for a while though as he isn’t slated for release until January 28th, 2020.

The final character from the Kombat Pack will be Spawn from Todd McFarlane’s comic book of the same name. McFarlane already suggested that Spawn would be joining the game way back in December 2018 before Mortal Kombat 11 was even released, so this one isn’t much of surprise. The release date for Spawn is the furthest, coming to the game on March 17th,2020.

One fighter not mentioned is Ash from the Evil Dead, who has been being teased for sometime.His lack of inclusion here doesn’t rule him out of the game just yet. Here’s hoping that on top of the Kombat Pack, we will also get a few extra fighters here and there over the next few months.

The Kombat Pack will be $39.99 (those who purchased the premium edition of the game for $99.99 will have access to this content once it becomes available) to get all six fighters, one-week early access and various skins and gear sets. The DLC fighters as well as the skins and gear will all be available for anyone to purchase following the one –week period of early access.

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Limited Edition ‘Twin Peaks’ Box Set Includes a Whopping 21-Discs




Next year marks 30 years since David Lynch and Mark Frost changed television forever with their groundbreaking series Twin Peaks and to celebrate they are releasing a new, exhaustive box set which collects all of the pieces of Lynch’s quintessential mystery thriller and packs it into a whopping 21 disks.

The set, available only on Blu-ray, includes all three television seasons and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, as well as the film’s deleted scenes (The Missing Pieces). It also includes new interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unedited versions of several musical performances, and so much more!

If that’s not enough, there will also be a special 4K UHD disc included in the set, containing a new ultra-high def transfer overseen by David Lynch of both the American and international versions of the 1990 Twin Peaks pilot, as well as “Part 8” of A Limited Event Series, titled “Gotta Light?” The set will also include all existing special features from the previous releases of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series.

If you’re not salivating yet, it should also be mentioned that Lynch has confirmed the addition of 20 hours of additional features for die-hard Lynch fans to delve into.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set

Last but not least, the collection comes in a beautiful box which the official press release says, once opened, a depiction of the infamous Red Room is revealed with its brown and crème chevron floor and brilliant red curtains. Sitting in front of the red curtain will be an exclusive die-cut acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Fans who can’t afford the set will be able to purchase a more standard collection on Blu-ray and DVD, titled Twin Peaks: The Television Collection which will be released on October 15.

The From Z to A set costs $139.99 and is available for pre-order here. The Blu-ray TV collection costs $91.01, and the DVD TV collection costs $50.99.

While your waiting for your set to arrive, be sure to check out our insanely popular Twin Peaks podcast, The Lodgers, hosted by Simon Howell and Kate Rennebohm.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set
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‘Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’ Trailer Reveals New Monsters and More!




I’m guessing we are not alone in choosing Monster Hunter World as one of the best games of 2018. In our review, Matthew Ponthier wrote, “Monster Hunter World is a hallmark entry into the storied franchise and is a title that will light a fire in the belly of any triumphant Hunter”.

And so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise either that we are hotly anticipating Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, the massive expansion to Capcom’s best-selling game to date. The latest trailer revealed this week during Gamescom 2019 gives a glimpse of returning and new monsters, including a closer look at Velkhana, the mysterious Elder Dragon that’s new to the series. Additionally, new options will be available to help players progress through the main World game and further encourage existing players to aid other hunters in the community.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Iceborne will include a multitude of new monsters and subspecies for hunters to challenge, and now, two more have been confirmed to join the upcoming massive expansion’s lineup. The brute wyvern Brachydios is a returning fan-favorite known for its explosive slime attacks, while Namielle, a mysterious all-new Elder Dragon, unleashes powerful water-based attacks. More details about the new flagship monster Velkhana have also emerged. This Elder Dragon’s icy breath can cause frozen pillars to form on the battlefield, which hunters can use to create exciting opportunities for new hunting strategies.

 A free Guardian Armor set will be provided to all hunters, both World and Iceborne, as part of an upcoming title update on September 4 in time for the launch of the expansion. This upgradable armor set offers increased defense and skills that help hunters survive in the New World. The buffed armor can be equipped from the beginning of the World game, and is especially geared towards newer hunters to help them progress through the main story.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Last but not least, there will be another gameplay feature new to the series that focuses on Low Rank and High Rank player assistance by creating a further incentive for the community to help fellow hunters. Helpful players will get rewarded with exclusive in-game Pendants and Trophies for assisting other hunters in ranks below their own.

The upcoming Iceborne expansion will be coming to the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, globally on September 6th, 2019, with a PC release to follow in January 2020.

Watch the trailer below.

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