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This Week in Gaming News: Skippy McE3 vs. Big Daddy No Discs



Autumn is a weird season, isn’t it? It’s a devious little bastard that, thanks to global warming, presents itself as such a polar opposite to summer that it frequently gets away with crimes that are almost automatically attributed to winter. Firstly, as soon as the clocks go back – you know, they FALL back – and it gets dark early, people start chiming in about how, “Winter is definitely here,” despite the fact it’s still only October at the time. The weather this year (yes, I’m British so I’m talking about weather) has turned especially cold especially quickly, and yet again people start blaming winter. Lastly, and the basis for this entire digression from video games, people are getting sick and blaming poor, old winter.

This week, I have been a veritable zombie – downed by the scientifically real man flu – and thus I’ve not really had much time to react to gaming news by myself. I’ve picked up on things I find interesting and included them here, and you’re going to get pretty much my hot take (and not just because I have a fever) on it all. Worse still than the sickness, I finally bought a 4K TV in a Black Friday sale, but its feet are too wide for my current setup, meaning I can’t test it out before I move to my new house at the end of the month. Seriously, autumn is an underrated prick.

E3 2019 Will Be Sony-Free

Earlier on in the year, when Sony announced there would be no PSX event, we all assumed that they were biding their time to build up some more significant announcements for next year’s E3 event. How wrong we were, as it turns out the company can’t be bothered with that either.

Sony’s official statement (from BBC) reads:

We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019.”

It’s obvious that Sony aren’t going to have no announcements whatsoever next year, so there are several schools of thought coming out of this news. Firstly, that Sony will hold its own event, or multiple events, next year and may even hold an event down the road during E3 week itself. The second prediction is that PlayStation 5 will, indeed, arrive in 2020 and Sony will blow the world’s socks off in 19 months rather than 7.

Honestly, I can’t conceivably have a problem with this. Some people are saying it’ll be a blow to the E3 event itself, and my question is: who cares? Through pretty much every logical viewpoint, E3 is total shit. Journalists seemingly hate going to it because there’s tons of queueing, they have to go to LA, and it’s hot and sweaty and long. I’ve been to games events before and they are not a fun time. You spend hours and hours queueing for a 15-minute go on a game you’ll not be playing again for ages; all the while your backlog of full games you actually own sits waiting for you in your comfortable house away from smelly, sweaty people.

Be honest, you know this was shit

Even if you don’t go to E3, you likely still don’t enjoy it either. What benefit to video game fans does the event even serve any more? You watch the press conferences and they’re unquestionably horrible, and there is no scenario that doesn’t end in someone being disappointed.

May I present the evidence to the court:

  • If developers talk too much, it’s boring.
  • If a company instead just shows a bunch of videos then it’s not a proper conference and people complain that it could have happened anywhere other than E3.
  • If a company puts on an actual show for the crowd it’s usually misguided, cheesy and boring for those at home who just want to see games.
  • If games aren’t announced that people want, then hate spills forth and surrounds the event in negativity.
  • Even if companies say or show things that are impressive, there’s nothing tangible for you to experience now, and when the games come out they are oppressively scrutinized if they aren’t exactly like the trailer we saw at E3.
Gaming News Sony E3

There has to be a better way than this

Sony aren’t stupid, and there’s no question they can probably feel the growing discontent for the whole thing. Their E3 presentation last year was confusing, barebones and more than a little bit mental. The only thing E3 really has going for it any more is that it still captures the attention of gamers for a week, and there’s a guaranteed audience. Even then, that audience will likely have seen several leaks weeks before, and will spend the days afterwards compiling ‘OMG Top 10 E3 Cringe Moments LMFAO’ videos anyway.

E3 is a bastion of the grandiose self-importance that games companies place on themselves because they know that their target market are an obsessive and loyal bunch. It’s boring, it’s always disappointing and it’s almost totally pointless. Here’s hoping Sony will find something better next year and save us all from E3 apathy.

Microsoft Ain’t Got No Disc

Strong rumors surfaced this week via tech website Thurrott that Microsoft is looking to finally go ahead with a disc-free Xbox One. Cast your minds way back to the pre-release talk around the Xbox One and a digital-only Xbox is very much old news to Microsoft, and through sheer bloody-mindedness, they’re going to make it happen.

According to the site, Microsoft will even be offering a “discs to digital” scheme, where existing Xbox One users can take [their] disc to a participating retailer (like the Microsoft store) and trade in [their] disc for a digital download.” To be fair, that actually sounds pretty awesome, provided it’s free – and that feels like a rather significant caveat we’re yet to glean.

Gaming News Xbox Discs

Put your disc away, dude!

Thurrott went on to explain that “The goal with the new console is to lower the price point for the hardware… the new console price point is expected to be $200 or less.” I actually deleted a rant I was about to run headlong into about the fact that digital games are still inexplicably overpriced compared to physical ones, and therefore the overall price point would not be lowered, but then I remembered that Xbox Game Pass is a thing.

While Sony are scrambling to keep up – and are therefore still charging £60 for a game I can physically own, play and then sell on for £40 up front – Microsoft’s service potentially sets this new console up as being a cheap streaming machine that basically offers all new exclusive releases for a much lower fee. So, a revised, rant-free attitude from me, and here’s hoping this whole rumor is true.

‘Cause I’ve Got a Golden Joystick

The annual Golden Joystick Awards happened this week, and with them came some recognition for 2018’s gaming elite, some new trailers (more on that later), and yet more praise for bloody Fortnite. Probably the biggest news coming out of the event was the Lifetime Achievement Award for the legend that is FromSoftware’s Hidetaka Miyazaki – an even more impressive feat considering the dude is only in his early 40s.

God of War (remember that?) was the biggest winner this year, as it picked up four awards – Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design, Best Audio and PlayStation Game of the Year – and a fifth for developer SIE Santa Monica, who won Best Studio.

God of Award

Forza Horizon 4 won the Xbox Game of the Year, Dead Cells won Indie Game of the Year and, perhaps only because Smash Ultimate isn’t out yet, the still-lovely Octopath Traveller won Nintendo Game of the Year. The other awards of note were the Most Wanted, which went to CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 and a Critics’ Choice win for Red Dead Redemption 2.

If You Need Me, I’ll be in My Trailer

I promised, and now I deliver. The Golden Joystick Awards showcased a couple of new trailers for upcoming games, and I present them thusly to you. First up is a new release trailer from Devolver Digital for the absolutely stunning platformer Gris, coming to Nintendo Switch and PC next month. It has a massive Journey vibe to it for me, which is one of my all-time favorite games, so you can color me very excited.

According to Devolver’s site, “Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality.” Sounds pretentious as hell, right? But then, anything that can truly be considered art pretty much has to be. Hopefully there’s enough clever puzzles and platforming challenge to make the game more than style over substance.

The second trailer shown at the GJAs was for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. You might remember in the Gamescom episode of Goombastomp’s Not Red E Podcast (returning this week, we promise), we weren’t that bowled over by the gameplay of Namco’s latest, and this trailer only features a smattering of in-game footage, but it certainly does its best to make everything look exhilarating.

Project Judge Will be The Greatest Game Ever

Son of a gun, this game looks magnificent and I bloody well want it now. Damn you, Father Time, just hurry up already! DualShockers unveiled a sizeable dump of new screenshots they were sent by SEGA this week, and they show off an array of glory that soothed my aching joints and cleared my bunged-up sinuses. I will never make any apologies for being a big Yakuza series fan, and as an adaptation of the formula, Project Judge looks phenomenal.

I think the first word is Battlemouse, but it’s still nonsense to me

A lot of the screenshots shown on the site are of people’s faces looking intense, but pictures of the mini and arcade games are what really get my juices flowing. There’s “Kamuro of the Dead,” which is basically House of the Dead, Puyo Puyo and even a playable version of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown that can all be played when you’re wasting time in the game world.

Gaming News Project Judge

Maybe the Dualshock 4’s gyro controls could work in this?

There’s pinball, there’s batting practice, there’s Mahjong, there’s Blackjack and Poker. Additionally, we’ve got drone racing and some batshit giant cuboid cat…thing. It all looks as ridiculous as I’d want, and that’s disregarding what we’ve already seen of the game’s combat and how it will feature a lot of new detective mechanics into the inevitably brilliant writing and story pacing that Ry? ga Gotoku Studio is known for. Most shocking of all is that a demo is coming to the Japanese PSN store this month, with the game coming out in December. We’ve got to wait until 2019 for a western release, so maybe I’ll ramp up the frequency of my Japanese lessons if the wait gets too much.

Right, my palms have sweated long enough. I’m going for a nap. See you in seven when I’m hopefully feeling better. Please pity me.

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.

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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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