Hello, hello! Jon here back with your Circle Roundup.
Before we start our Roundup, I would be remiss if I didn’t honor Bill Paxton. Personally, my favorite Paxton vehicle is Twister (But what about Big Love! He was awesome in Big Love -HG). Until Twister, I had no idea that steak and eggs was a thing. Steak for breakfast!? Genius! In fact, Paxton’s role in Twister was so significant that storm chasers and meteorologists from all over the country honored his death.
But he also dabbled a bit in videogames. Paxton lent his voice to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in the role of Kahn, a playable character in Advanced Warfare’s zombie mode.
Rest in peace, Extreme.
And with that, the Roundup.
Austin Walker reviewed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it was everything he could have asked for. Skyrim talked about going to mountains off in the distance yet when we arrived there, all that was awaiting us was a bunch of rocks and maybe a bear. But in Hyrule, there are wonders beyond every horizon, a story within every forest. Read Austin’s full review here.
Michael Andronico got to play Tacoma, the latest title from Fullbright of Gone Home fame. Tacoma is about an astronaut fetching an AI from a decommissioned space station. A familiar premise, but in Tacoma, the player isn’t amputating space zombies with laser cutters or running away from giant xenomorphs. Instead, the astronaut spends their time retracing memories and relationships. Read Michael’s preview here.
Jeff Bakalar reviewed the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch, which is turning out to be everything it promised: it boots up in no time, the transition between its various forms is seamless, it’s convenient, it’s portable, and it’s easy to play. It’s like this thing was designed on Cybertron. Unfortunately, the only launch title worth playing right now is Zelda. But on the other hand, seriously, what a launch title. Check out Jeff’s full review here.
Harold Goldberg looked at Switch for Boys’ Life. He details one feature that no one’s talking about: the Joy-Con controllers are great for carpal tunnel sufferers. Read it here.
Gita Jackson wrote about The Genius, a Korean reality show where celebrities battle each other in a series of games. Contestants are constantly shuffled through a variety of teams in a format reminiscent of Mario Party. Among the contestants is Jin-ho Hong, AKA YellOw, one of the greatest StarCraft pros of all time. In case you’re wondering what the title of this show is in the original Korean, it’s literally “The Genius” transliterated into Korean. Read Gita’s breakdown here.
Christopher Byrd reviewed Night in the Woods, the first full title from developer Infinite Fall. The game is about Mae, a 20-year-old college dropout who came back to her hometown of Possum Springs. It’s a beautifully animated town in an anthropomorphic world (Mae herself is a black cat), but the real draw of the game is in the characters. They are vulnerable, cruel, insecure, and struggling with mental health issues. Ironically, the cast of Night in the Woods come across as far more human than many other titles starring actual humans. Read Chris’ full review here.
And now for news outside of the Circle. . .
The University of Limerick has just opened applications for its Game Design & Development M.S. program. Designed and led by Brenda Romero (Jagged Alliance, Wizardry, Mechanic Is The Message), the program features courses that will prepare students in all aspects of game development (system design, narrative design, game balancing, etc.). Tuition for Irish students is €5,700 and international students is €13,700. Learn more about the program here.
Button mashers rejoice! Eddy Gordo is coming to Tekken 7! I’m getting horrible flashbacks of salt and cheese just typing this. The capoeirista is a notoriously divisive character, criticized in the Tekken community for being overpowering against inexperienced players but utterly useless against veteran competitors, but he is also an undoubtedly important mascot of the series. Watch the reveal here.
Children of Zodiarcs is coming to both PS4 and PC. I’ve been keeping my eye on this Kickstarter title for a while. In case you aren’t familiar, Children of Zodiarcs is an upcoming tactical JRPG in the vein of titles like Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force. Check out the news here.
The government of Bolivia is taking action against France for Ubisoft’s portrayal of the South American nation in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. In Ghost Recon Wildlands, Bolivia is being torn apart in a brutal war between drug cartels, which the Interior Minister Carlo Romero takes issue with. Plus, literary lion Don Winslow helps out with narrative design. Read more here.
Say hello to Orisa, the latest hero joining the Overwatch cast! I’ll give you the quick rundown: she’s omnic, she’s a tank, she’s got a badass head design, and she’s the first female omnic on the cast (official Blizzard materials refer to Zenyatta as “he” while Bastion is always referred to as “it”). Check her out in the latest developer update here.
And that’s all for this week! Have a good one!