Hello hello! Jon here again with your Circle roundup.
It’s E3 season, so naturally, today’s Roundup features E3 content. But in my constant effort to give you a diverse Roundup, it also features pieces on DRM, killing players in PUBG for their beans, theme parks, and even a little esports.
To all of you heading to E3, have fun! And while you’re there, check out the Streamer Showdown panel hosted by ChanmanV and Twitch. It’s a game show I work on and we’ll be having our first live show at E3. I wrote the clues. Feel free to message me if they suck and also message me if they’re particularly good.
And with that, the Roundup!
Allegra Frank and Samit Sarkar compiled a list of 12 hyped games that may or may not show up at E3 this year. On the list is a sequel to a cult classic (Beyond Good & Evil 2), a title entering a previously empty genre now inhabited by giants (the class-based multiplayer game BattleCry), a game that is practically vaporware (Half-Life 3 — R.I.P.), and a remake that will make an obscene amount of money no matter how terrible it is (Final Fantasy 7 remake). Check out all 12 games and how likely they are up to show up at E3 2017 here.
Michael Andronico reviewed ARMS, the Nintendo Switch fighting game which allows you to fight using your actual arms. Despite requiring separate buttons to jump and dodge, the control scheme is surprisingly intuitive. Best of all, the game is in-depth enough to support a meta-game, which is the defining mark of every great fighting title. Mastering controls and combos is entry level training for a competitive fighting game. The real battle lies in mind games — baiting, judging, reading, and executing. Read Mike’s review here.
Heather Alexandra reports that Denuvo is losing faith among game developers. The anti-piracy software firm has been struggling to maintain its promise to keep games safe from cracking during the initial days of release. Hackers have been getting better and Denuvo hasn’t been able to keep up — Tekken 7 was cracked just four days after launch. After years of complaints from legitimate consumers who have complained that anti-piracy software is often clunky and invasive, more developers have begun to drop DRM altogether. Reach Heather’s story here.
Austin Walker has been spending a lot of time with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the made-for-streaming title that is now quickly crossing over to the general gaming world. PUBG is the latest entry to the MMO survival shooter genre that was inspired by Day Z and heavily refined over the years. Up to 100 players spawn on a massive 5×5 mile map filled with supplies, weapons, and vehicles, and the map shrinks as the timer runs down, forcing violent engagements. The winner is the last player standing. Anyone looking to win PUBG will need a large skill set that’s not traditionally required in shooters, such as map navigation. The more Austin learns the game, the more he enjoys it. Read Austin’s piece here.
Matt Gerardi reports that the collaboration between Nintendo and Universal Studios to build a theme park is finally showing fruit. Both companies officially announced Super Nintendo World in a ceremony on June 7 and a concept trailer. Current plans are to finish the park in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Read Matt’s report here.
It’s E3 season! This section is about to have a ton of trailers for games that will (or probably will) appear at E3, but first, here’s the non-E3 stuff.
And now for news outside of the Circle. . .
Fighting games are experiencing a surge of renewed popularity thanks to streaming. EVO is not just the most popular fighting game tournament in the world, it’s now one of the most watched esports events of the year. Street Fighter V, following on the heels of this renaissance, was released to a deeply polarized reception. SFV was reviewed favorably by the gaming press, who are overwhelmingly casual fans of the genre, but it remains utterly reviled in the FGC. Why? The game was greatly simplified from previous titles to make it more accessible and less intimidating to new fans, but it was done at the expense of reducing the series’ famous skill ceiling. When everyone can be Daigo, no one is Daigo. See Core A-Gaming’s analysis here.
Mass Effect: Andromeda was underwhelming, and that’s putting it lightly. While the game was far from terrible, it was clearly unfinished. The story was generic and riddled with gaps. The game was filled with bugs and missing basic quality of life features, which sometimes went past annoying and became downright infuriating (no saves for Architect fights?). Thanks to Jason Schreier and Kotaku, we now know why: throughout its entire 5 year development cycle, the team was constantly understaffed and 3.5 years of production work was effectively scrapped. What we got was 1.5 years of rushed work. Read the piece here.
Dota 2 has released the first act of its multiplayer story campaign, Siltwater. The Conclave of the Brine has called four champions to enter the Dark Reef prison, domain of the monstrous Stilwater. The campaign is exclusive to Battle Pass owners. Read about it here.
CD Projekt RED revealed yesterday that several assets have been stolen from them, including early design work for Cyberpunk 2077. Although CDPR assured fans that the leaks are outdated, they still cautioned against looking into the material to avoid spoilers. What a company. Even after a leak, their first priority is worrying about their fans rather than the theft of their corporate property. Read their statement here.
And now for the E3 (and E3 possible) clips!
A Hat in Time, a 3D platformer funded through Kickstarter, and the game that Banjo-Kazooie fans are desperately praying to be good after Yooka-Laylee flopped.
Fortnite, a shooting-crafting-building game where players must defend themselves against waves of zombies. Tim Sweeney has described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead”. It’s even going to feature a PvP mode!
Vampyr, an action RPG where players take the role of Dr. Jonathan Reid, a vampire and a doctor living in 1918 London. As a doctor, Reid is compelled to save lives, but as a vampire, he thirsts for the very patients he’s trying to save. Because the game is set on 1918, it presumably also involves the great Spanish flu epidemic. It was really, really bad. To put into scope just how bad, World War I claimed about 38 million casualties and 17 million deaths. The 1918 epidemic killed around 50 to 100 million people and infected 500 million worldwide. Yeah, you might wanna get that cough checked out. One YouTube commenter said that they hope “this game doesn’t suck. . . my blood.” LUL!
Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, is a 2D platformer. It’s also the latest upcoming entry in the Bubsy series, which released its last game back in 1996. Just a PSA for the rest of us old fogies that a kid born in 1996 isn’t actually a kid anymore — they’re a 21 year old adult who can drink, gamble, and get hitched. Old enough to also know that nobody asked for another damn Bubsy game because Bubsy is one of the most annoying characters that has ever been spawned from a videogame. I am not alone in this opinion. Somewhere out there is a streamer who is already planning on doing a 20 hour Bubsy cast of doing nothing but intentionally killing Bubsy.
And that’s it for this week’s Roundup! Tune in next week for another Roundup, which will be written by someone else who has good taste and also hates Bubsy!