It’s taken 530 days, but Nintendo finally got around to giving us another full-fat Direct presentation. Rumours of Zelda re-releases were abound in the past few weeks, and though we did get some news, it’s not what most expected.
While there were notable absences as well, nary a mention of Metroid or a new Mario Kart, there was still plenty to natter about. So, without further ado, over to our crack team. Don’t forget to leave your own musings in the comments.
Motion-controlled archery was a Wii era highlight.
After enduring such a long wait for a proper Nintendo Direct, the latest showcase was pretty underwhelming. It was longer than the Nintendo Direct Mini presentations we’ve been seeing, sure, but it wasn’t any more exciting.
The highlight for me was No More Heroes 3. We already knew it was coming, so its appearance didn’t really bring the surprise factor that viewers crave, but it looks to be a lot of fun. Added extraterrestrials might just make it the wackiest entry yet, which is really saying something. Here’s hoping that Suda 51 goes all out with his captivating brand of craziness!
Hades getting a physical release is good to see, but I’m holding out hope for PS5 and/or Xbox Series X|S ports instead. Still, if they never materialise this will be my version of choice.
Skyward Sword HD was the only other game of note. Nintendo is charging full price for a remaster again, which we’re all accustomed to by now, but it’ll be nice to revisit the classic Zelda formula. After all, it’s much better than the new one that Nintendo borrowed from Ubisoft...
In the real world, perfectly normal. In a hack and slash game featuring aliens, definitely weird.
Ever the Nintend-optimist, I tuned into the long-awaited Direct full of hope, promise and an expectation of ports galore. The former and the middler were sadly lacking, but the latter was out in full force once more.
I steered clear of Skyward Sword's original Wii release because of a deep, burning hatred of motion controls, so am relieved to hear that a stick/button control scheme has been implemented for the HD remaster. This will almost certainly lead to me picking the game up, although I am a tad disappointed that, at this stage at least, it appears to share more in common with the Twilight Princess HD remaster over the superlative, dreamy Wind Waker Wii U update.
The announcement of Splatoon 3 throws up questions for me, too. Namely, will there actually be anything new in this iteration? I adored the first game, yet have largely been left nonplussed by the second. The trailer began by hinting at some sort of desolate world - could this be part of the single-player campaign? Will we get numerous new multiplayer modes? For me, this is what the series needs to move forward.
Finally, my personal highlight: Mario Golf: Super Rush. Multiplayer options? Check. Colourful, charming course? Check. A full story mode? Check. You had me at golf, Mario. Book your tee-off time for June 25. FORE!
Avert your eyes, Rob!
Other than being beside myself at the lack of a Metroid Prime 4 update, this Direct was fairly as expected, if underwhelming after the comparatively long wait.
A new step onto the golf course with Mario Golf: Super Rush would have been a huge cause for thrills back in the day, but these days there’s a smattering of fairway fare already available to scratch that itch now and again.
The first thing that really moved the excitement needle was the news that Fall Guys is coming to Switch, though that quickly dissipated when I remembered Nintedo’s online approach, and I was vindicated with an Xbox announcement the following day.
Perhaps a few ports? Apex Legends, Plants Vs Zombies: Battle For Neighborville and even Outer Wilds seem like an interesting distraction, but all things I would have already fallen into elsewhere.
What about Splatoon? The sequel (Splatoon 2) was my first foray into being a squid now (well, then) but, like Rob, the potential of a dash of singleplayer adventure in Splatoon 3 is intriguing, especially after the previous game toyed with solo play a bit in DLC which I never got around to. I’ll take it.
Speaking of ports, could we please have Metroid: Prime Trilogy for Switch, Nintendo?
What was your Nintendo Direct highlight? Let us know below.
Mario’s latest leap onto the Nintendo Switch is a re-release of Super Mario 3D World from the Wii U. It also includes the all-new Bowser’s Fury add-on, which got us wondering which other old games might benefit from a new slice of gameplay.
Which game from days gone by has you keen to take another bite of the cherry? Let us know in the comments.
Getting this on Switch might take some work, it doesn't even fit the page properly.
James | Dragon Age: Origins
Being a huge fan of “classic” BioWare you might think I’d be content with the upcoming Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, but in fact I have a yearning for the more fantasy setting of Dragon Age.
With the next installment (possibly a soft reboot?) already on the way, it’s very unlikely, but having not been on Xbox 360 at quite the right time, I missed the much-lauded inception of the series.
Given the gameplay improvements noted even in the mired sequel, to get an exciting new area would make the already substantial DA:O (especially accounting for Awakening, its existing expansion) rival the likes of Skyrim in terms of fantasy RPG scope.
More isn’t always better, so it would need to be driven by a compelling story - a must-have for all BioWare adventures worth their salt - but with the breadth to explore within the genre there’s surely plenty of ideas left on the table.
BioWare’s more recent output has hardly been knocking it out of the park, so a return to familiarity could be just what fans need, and a perfect alternative to the sci-fi adventures of Mass Effect.
Many of us Mass Effect aficionados missed out on BioWare's fantasy epic.
Sam | Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
MGS3 is an all-time classic that already has an HD re-release under its bandana. The chronological sequel, however, does not.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is a mainline entry in the iconic series that most players missed. Hell, I owned it and never finished it because playing with a single analogue stick was plain gruelling. If the PSP game was released as DLC for the MGS HD Collection, or bundled with a remastered version of Snake Eater, that problem would be solved.
It’s a long shot with Konami at the helm, but handheld stablemate Peace Walker held up incredibly well on consoles. Accounting for that and the fact that MGS3 has already received a lauded visual remaster, which unfortunately belongs to a tie-in pachinko machine, there’s real potential here.
In terms of all-new content, Portable Ops sees players rejoin Big Boss six years after the events of Snake Eater. What better reason could there possibly be to bridge the gap between entries via a new expansion?
With Sony rumoured to be pursuing a purchase of dormant Konami IP, maybe the PlayStation manufacturer will see this dream become a reality on PS5.
Would it need a name change if it came to home consoles?
What old favourite game would you like to see revived with some new DLC? Let us know below.
We first had the pleasure of meeting Ole Toubro back at Rezzed 2018, when he was part of the team at Danish developer Mighty Moth, working on the aviation exploration title Above. He’s since moved on to form an even smaller team, with his new studio Not-Disclosed Games. We caught up with him to discuss games, the industry, lockdowns, Pilsners, the connotations of the word "tolerate" and last, but by no means least, hot tubs.
So, tell us about your new company, Not-Disclosed Games.
We are currently two people working with coding and design. We have been working together for quite a while and we do some contract work together as well. We also have half a guy doing sound and we are actually looking for an artist with the right finesse and skillset.
Your first game is twin-stick horror/sci-fi shooter Universe Apart. Can you tell us about the game, and what led you to combining these genres?
We both really like twin-stick shooters and my buddy had made a tiny playable one so we just built from that - adding everything around it. Trying out different art, ways to make it tile-based and random, have long-term gameplay etc. etc. After we got the shadows working we knew we had to make some horror elements - that gameplay and implementation is ahead of us: So if people have suggestions they should hit us up on Discord :)
What impact has COVID-19 had on the development stage?
Well I guess indie game developers have a pretty clear advantage in this - most of us were already used to working from home. I actually think this might have been a benefit for indie games, I mean just look at this February Steam Festival - the line-up is pretty fucking awesome.
What is it like to be such a small team in such a humongous ocean of development companies? How big a risk is it to release a game in the current climate?
Yeah the talent out there is quite amazing isn't it. I actually don't mind being a tiny fish swimming among all these different companies. Be they huge or small, multicoloured or grey, quirky or mainstream, hypers or truthers. I think the medium has far from matured - perhaps it never will - and it is just quite wonderful to be a part of. Our game is still in an early stage, but we like what we are creating - so we are pretty sure others will too.
We discussed the process of creating, and releasing, games/music/art last night; how strongly we both feel about actually getting stuff out there and provoking a reaction - good or bad. Could you elaborate on that?
Yeah that was quite a good chat wasn't it :) I mean to really piss people off you can't be charging them as well, can you? Or is that exactly what the giants excel at with various broken products, stupid release schedules, in-game purchases or advertisements. I don't know. I just think many people outside games see every little hiccup as a catastrophe, they take it personally and some even want the drama. And the marketing teams behind the large games fuel this: There is no such thing as bad press! Fact is very few people know how stupidly hard it is to make a good game - and to make art, as we were discussing last night, you have to infuse that tremendously hard process with message and meaning, dare I even say soul. Some teams are at the right place and time to do that, and some even get hyped and reach a broad audience - to the benefit of everybody involved. Let me sail on my own tiny little hype train or boat or whatever: Universe Apart will have existential dilemmas and abusive elements - they are just not in the demo yet - or are they? :)
"Don't be too hard on yourself, trust your feelings and reach your deadlines."
Where do you see the future of gaming? Is it VR? Streaming services? Traditional consoles/PCs?
All of those… and implants and AR and huge simulations and tiny interfaces and stuff that game us. I actually think game theory integrated with everyday stuff is the next big thing - you already see it to some degree in software like TikTok, Instagram etc. Whole processes we interact with are currently being designed for our conscious and unconscious selves to interact with - and that is pretty much games.
Coronavirus has put the pause button on life, allowing many people to assess where they are, and what they actually want to do with their time/for work. With that in mind, what advice would you give to someone looking to get started in the gaming industry?
Ha yeah - I don't know if I am the right person to ask that - but here goes: Don't be too hard on yourself, trust your feelings and reach your deadlines. Listen to old songs you liked, games you played and loved, movies you adored - none of them are perfect. If caught in the right sardonic mood you could tear each one of them apart and paint them in the worst light possible... So: Do your best, believe in yourself and release!
What game(s) have had the biggest impact on your life?
I am quite fond of simple ones from my childhood that set a mood and let you live there for a while: Lotus, Wolfenstein, Lemmings or Commander Keen - and I could go on :)
In terms of real impact there was this aesthetic little game where you can only move right and you get older as you move, find a dog and another person to love and take with you, then the hair greys and the dog and other person are left behind as tombstones and you also end as a tombstone - that game made me cry. I can't remember it's name, or find it online, it might have been a flash game - that we the human race moved right and left behind…
I also thought quite a lot about the profound idea in Iain M. Banks’ Surface Detail where this guy hosts simmed VR hells for several other races. Consider that: Hell or gods does not exist, but if you violate certain religious laws your sentence is to be uploaded to a virtual hell! WTF? I love how that sets one's mind going about mortality, souls and life itself.
Final question... You're stranded on an island that happens to be blessed with power. Which console/gaming machine do you take and why?
Being stranded on an island sounds like a lot of hard work. I think I would bring a switch so I could play a twin-stick shooter, while being busy on the latrine :)
Thanks to Ole for taking the time to chat to us. Click here for more information on Universe Apart.
With the revelation that Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village’s demo is not 8ft, as some had estimated, but a suitably 9ft 6inches tall, according to Art Director Tomonori Tanako on Twitter, we’ve been thinking about the other (literally) big bads in the world of games.
Size isn’t everything of course, and some of the most fearful creatures are small and unassuming, but here we’re focusing on those nightmares which are larger-than-life. What springs to your mind? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, here’s what haunts our every dark winter’s night…
Compared to Toon Link and Young Link, Gohma is huge.
Sam | Dragon God from Demon’s Souls
Having recently been acquainted with Lady Dimitrescu via the Resident Evil 8 demo on PlayStation 5, she’s certainly an imposing and oddly seductive figure. The “tall vampire lady” didn’t leave quite the same impact as another recent boss encounter on PS5, though.
While the likes of Bowser and Shao Kahn are all-time classic big baddies, they’re also way too obvious. In a similar vein, a lot of boss fights against large enemies essentially take the same obvious form. That can’t be said of the Dragon God in Demon’s Souls.
The Dragon God is really something to behold. It’s a magnificent, ancient creature that I didn’t have any immediate inclination to kill. The boss battle itself plays on that fact, having players utilise stealth in order to fire two ballistae and pin the deity down. Cutscenes accompanying both shots are tragic, but don’t compare to what comes next.
With its shoulders pinned and its weary head on the ground, players must hack at the Dragon God’s face to finish it off. The old beast barely fights back, despite its power being such that its hot breath alone is enough to kill.
Dragon God is just one of several unconventional boss battles in Demon’s Souls, which helped to cement it as my favourite console launch title.
A boss that refuses to fight back certainly sounds like a change of pace from the regular Souls baddies.
James | GLaDOS from Portal
While the more inspired turn for GLaDOS came in Portal 2 when she(?) spent time as a potato, there’s no denying the physically-imposing impact of meeting her(?!) for the first time in your first go-round at Aperture Laboratories.
Not content with being a huge robotic arm with a HAL9000-esque central eye, the lasting impression of GLaDOS really comes from the ever-increasing sense of dread as the plot unfolds; a fun and innocent puzzle game slowly becomes a horrific ordeal in which you couldn’t even trust baked goods. Nothing is sacred.
Being in complete control of your environment, GLaDOS also torments with deceptively murderous turrets and, occasionally, fire to motivate you to your goal. It’s difficult to be angry though, since peeling back the layers of lore reveals an AI built using the uploaded consciousness of Caroline, lab assistant to the mechanical maniac’s creator.
How immediately the player warms to this mostly unseen and yet omnipresent foe is a testament to GLaDOS’ staying power as a killer villain, and the reveal of her full physical form more than lives up to the anticipation of finding out who’s been pulling the strings. Sadly it’s unlikely we’ll see much more of GLaDOS, since Valve famously can’t count to three, but here’s hoping there’s more puzzles with the same sort of depth on the horizon.
Our favourite power-hungry robot. And look, there's GLaDOS, too!
What's your favourite big baddie? Let us know below.