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This Week in Gaming News: Bye Bye Boss Key, Bonjour Black Out

I told you the E3 news would start hotting up, didn’t I? As gaming’s biggest annual event draws ever closer, we as news-seekers become ever more entrenched in leaks, rumours and, perhaps most shockingly, a variety of publishers deciding to show off brand new games before the pomp and circumstance of the event has even started. It’s madness I tells ya!

The biggest of these premature announcements was perhaps the most Marmite (look it up) game ever seen. You know what I’m talking about and because it’s caused such a stir, and was given its own chuffing reveal event, I feel like I really have to mention Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in place of something I’d much rather talk about – in this case, it has to be Platinum Games’ secret new title that will apparently “turn the action genre on its head.” But five stories is your limit, and reluctantly it’s gone. After you’ve had your minute silence to pay respects to the aforementioned omission, we’ll get that CoD nonsense out the way…

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ Thinks Very Highly of Itself

Well, this is a hotbed of diverse opinion now, isn’t it? They say any publicity is good publicity (I think people who work in PR usually say that the most), so on that basis Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 did rather well for itself. Naturally, the internet is fit to burst with people hating the fact that there’s no single player, wary of the Black Out mode featuring a lot of microtransactions, and just generally being salty about the whole thing. Then there are the people who feel a company like Activision need to be defended and have their game stuck up for. It’s all very loud and very silly. Not quite as silly as a lengthy event full of grown men mispronouncing the word ‘duty’ to make it sound like they were giving a public presentation on taking a shit, but that’s neither here nor there. Actually, it’s specifically there, and not here in England where I live and we talk all proper like, but I digress.

Gaming News Black Ops 4
Typically understated self-promotion from Activision

Giving too much air time to people’s reactions is something that YouTube can carry on doing as far as I’m concerned (apart from my own, which I will happily give you an abundance of), so let’s discuss the game itself. Black Ops 4, as we already knew, does not feature a single player campaign. We discussed that information a few weeks back as sources had claimed that Treyarch simply ran out of time, but since then the developer has, of course, completely debunked that and have claimed to Eurogamer they never had a ‘traditional campaign’ planned at all. Hmmm…

Instead of a campaign, the game will come with three main modes: Standard multiplayer, a Zombies mode with three missions and seasonal events, and Black Out – which is the new battle royale mode. Treyarch co-studio head Dan Bunting, in his interview with Eurogamer, was unwilling to state how many concurrent players this mode will feature, but it will have the largest map the developer has ever produced (featuring parts of older maps), and will allow players to use “land, sea and air” vehicles. Activision was keen to relay the message to us that they play a lot of BR games and they wanted to make their own version only when it could be done “the Black Ops way”. Or when it’s most profitable and popular, whatever.

That’s really the gist of what we know right now. The reveal event was mainly a lot of bluster and bravado, and proof that nobody at Treyarch understands how Roman Numerals work (I think the game really is called Black Ops IIII). It releases on October 12th this year and, according to Twinfinite, has been confirmed by designer Matt Scronce to not be releasing on Nintendo Switch.

Can I stop now?

‘Rage 2’s Daily Drip-Feed

Remember Rage? Yeah, I don’t really remember much about it either, but don’t worry about that – it’s getting a sequel! Awesome?

Bethesda provided the quickest drip-feed campaign known to man as it released teaser images on Saturday and Sunday last week, an announce trailer on Monday, a gameplay trailer on Tuesday, and then reposted it on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. Isn’t that a Craig David song? In fairness, it’s probably not the game reveal anybody expected (or maybe even wanted), but it certainly promises to be full of bombastic action and, according to an interview with Tim Willits on Gamestar, free of loot boxes.

Gaming News Rage 2
Seems like ages ago we were staring at dirty-teeth-May-14-man

According to IGN, you play a character named Walker who, much like Chuck Norris’ character, is a ranger. In fact, he’s “The last Ranger of the wasteland,” and will come up against an evil bunch of bastards called The Authority even though, as a ranger, you’d imagine he would have quite a lot of respect for authority. He probably does, just not for The Authority. Got that?

Walker will be traversing a “massive open world” with a “vast and varied landscape” and he’ll be able to use a variety of vehicles like monster trucks and gyrocopters to do so. When not driving or flying, he’ll be murdering and causing chaos with upgradable weapons, something called Nanotrite powers, and something else called Overdrive, which lets him “push weapons beyond their mechanical limits”. It all sounds very… well, videogamey, but it looks a lot of fun. The original 2011 Rage certainly looked beautiful and featured some solid id mechanics, but it was largely forgettable. Maybe time will have been kind to the franchise and we will see a more substantial and varied game at the second attempt.

Cliff Bleszinki Can’t Enter the Door Without Boss Key

My word, how the mighty have fallen. I might be getting old, but my memory still works well enough to hark back to when Cliff Bleszinski was the David Beckham of video games developers, and now look at the poor sod. In fairness to the man, Boss Key Productions was clearly a development studio with talent in making games, but evidently not one with talent in making people actually give a tiny rat’s ass about them.

Gaming News Boss Key
Turns out Lawbreakers is like Overwatch, but isn’t Overwatch. Unfortunately, Overwatch is Overwatch and Overwatch is still relevant

Lawbreakers, as we discussed a few weeks back, was beyond languishing with a player base of fewer people than required to even have a single match, and Radical Heights was a blatantly rushed-out, broken, and cynical cash-in (or not, as the case may be) on the battle royale trend currently reigned over by a little game from Cliff’s former studio – Epic Games. Perhaps most ironic of all is that Cliffy B actually presented the first ever trailer for Fortnite at the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards. He probably should have slipped in something slanderous about it giving you cancer just to protect himself, but I guess he wasn’t to know he’d eventually try desperately to rip it off and then be forced to fold his new company when that rip off failed. Hindsight, eh?

Gaming News Cliffy B
Boss Key Productions: The Obituary

In a statement released on Twitter, Bleszinski stated that Boss Key Productions was “effectively no more,” and that he needed to take some time away from video games to be with his family and care for his sick dog. He also stated that he still hopes to make something in the video games medium again “someday,” and that Radical Heights’ servers would “remain up for the near future.”

The news is really pretty sad, and I’m not just talking about that poor dog, as Bleszinski has been a key figure in bringing the gaming world a real sense of attitude and style, as well as one of the most iconic franchises of the last decade in Gears of War. As well as that, he just seems like a bloody good bloke, and I genuinely hope we’ve not seen the last of him.

?????, ‘Superhot JP’!

Superhot is brilliant. Fact. Therefore, I was positively tingly with excitement at the announcement that the brilliant slow-mo shooter will return in Japanese form! Adapting the formula created by the Superhot Team, developer GameTomo aims to “[maintain] the same intoxicating rhythm of slow motion combat, [and present] a brand new adventure with a distinctive Japanese flavor.”

Thanks to the FAQ section on the game’s official website, further details have been revealed. It is described as “a new game in the Superhot universe, using Japanese environments, from samurai castles and hot springs to karaoke bars and bullet trains,” and will have gameplay additions of “new weapons, see through shoji screens, and some other surprises.”

Gaming News Superhot JP
The core concept of Superhot is so good that simply releasing more of it in a new setting is enough for me

According to GameTomo, the standalone game will be “priced very reasonably,” and will feature 15-18 regular levels and 3-4 endless levels. This all sounds bloody lovely, with the only caveat being that Superhot JP (a working title, apparently) will be released on PC and PS4 “in Japan first and then possibly other countries worldwide.” Possibly? Are you kidding me? Provided this is only cautious pessimism and we do eventually see the game release in the west, I can’t wait. Although, as it’s likely just a digital release, I’ll just make a Japanese PS4 account and download it anyway. Yeah, that’s how I roll.

Nintendo’s E3 Presentation Was Leaked. Or Was It?

This is probably faker than the claims that the moon landing was fake, but considering we don’t have the hindsight to prove it’s fake, I’m going to use this final news story to briefly analyze and fantasize over an apparently leaked Nintendo E3 schedule from this last week. Because, let’s be honest, if you’re a Nintendo fan, the truth is usually much less exciting than the fiction, so we might as well use our ignorance for a little bliss right now, eh?

First things first, let’s take a look at what this ‘schedule’ (unaltered from the source) involves:

  • Intro trailer showing Dragon Ball FighterZ, FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, Octopath Traveller and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • Super Smash Bros. – Developed by Bandai Namco
  • Punch Out!! Become the Champion – Developed by Next Level Games
  • Metroid Prime: Renegade – Developed by Bandai Namco
  • Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion
  • Fire Emblem Memories – Developed by Intelligent Systems
  • Fallout 3 Anniversary – Developed by Bethesda
  • Yoshi’s Flipping Island – Developed by Good-Feel
  • Pokemon Lets GO! Pikachu and Eevee Editions – Developed by Game Freak
  • F-Zero SX – Developed by Platinum Games
  • Fortnite – Developed by Epic Games
  • Star Fox Lylat System – Developed by Retro Studios

That’s quite a lot to digest, isn’t it? Obviously, some of these are pretty much guaranteed to happen. I’d wager that the ‘intro trailer’ is nailed on because we basically know that all those games are coming to Switch other than Dragon Ball Fighterz. Start off with a safe bet – clever boys. It’d also be pretty insane of Nintendo not to show something of Smash Bros. on the Switch, and whether Metroid Prime 4 is to be subtitled Renegade or not, it’ll still likely make an appearance a year after it was first announced. We also know that Fire Emblem has been confirmed for Switch and the Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion has been known about for months.

Gaming News Nintendo E3
Subtitle confirmed

That covers the things I think are likely, which leaves us with the pie-in-the-sky beauties that I would sell my own grandmother for if it could make them be true. I suppose the most unrealistic thing about the rest of these reveals is that, were they true, Nintendo would be both listening to their fans AND announcing basically all their major IPs at once. That isn’t necessarily a bad tactic, but something tells me that reveals of a new F-Zero, Star Fox, and Punch Out! showing up on the same E3 presentation as a new Metroid, Smash Bros. and Fire Emblem is way too heart attack-inducing to be real. But just imagine it…

The loudest criticism of this ‘leak’ is that it assumes we would all believe a game called Yoshi’s Flipping Island could ever exist. While this is a pretty salient criticism, the previous title was called Yoshi’s Woolly World, so it’s not like those games have been marketing themselves on understated seriousness thus far, is it? Lastly (ignoring the Pokémon thing because I don’t even know what that’s supposed to be), a Fallout 3 Anniversary on Switch (it is 10 years old in October this year) is potentially the best reason to spend an hour taking a shit this side of a vindaloo, so if that were to come true, my Mrs will know where to find me of an evening. Oh, and Fortnite is on the list too, because of course it is. So there’s that as well.

Gaming News Fallout Anniversary Switch
Come oooooooon, be real!

With that lovely visage of me roaming the Capital Wasteland from the seat of my toilet safely in your heads, I will bid you adieu for another week. Did I miss anything important? Did I get anything wrong? Have you ever played a game on the toilet for longer than an hour? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week.

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