May
13
Posted by James at 09:33
Inti Creates weren't the only publisher to share Nintendo Switch sales data, as the CEO of Nippon Ichi Software America, Takuro Yamashita, recently spoke to MCV UK about how Disgaea 5 Complete has been performing globally.

The game's western release has accumulated 114,000 pre-orders ahead of its launch later this month, with two thirds of those coming from North America (78,000 pre-orders) and the remaining third from Europe (36,000).

This was far from most people's wildest expectations for the title, including my own, given the game's tepid reception at Switch launch in Japan. Indeed, Mr. Yamashita stated that the game has yet to break 20,000 sales in the region.

What's intriguing is that this demand for Disgaea 5 Complete in Europe and North America suggests a widening gap between sales of Nippon Ichi Software's games in Japan and copies sold from players in the rest of the world.

In February last year, a year after Disgaea 5 launched on PS4 outside of Japan, NIS revealed to Famitsu that non-Japan sales of Disgaea 5 stood at 112,000, while Japanese sales reached 60,000 units. That's a ratio of 2 copies sold in Europe, North America and non-Japan Asia for every copy sold in Japan, but the Switch version performance suggests that gap is widening, something NIS America hadn't anticipated to happen with the Switch version.

Based on these figures shared by the publisher, the Switch version of the game is on track to swiftly outperform first-year sales of the PS4 version outside of Japan in a matter of days after it launches on May 26. Hopefully this signals more support for Nintendo's hybrid going forward - we've yet to hear a peep out of some publishers, like Spike Chunsoft...
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May
12
Posted by James at 15:13
Speaking at the Tokyo Sandbox game developer event/mixer today, Inti Creates gave some insight into the development of 3DS and Switch release Blaster Master Zero. The reimagining of NES darling sidescrolling platforming/shooter hybrid Blaster Master took 35 people six months to make before arriving just in time for the Switch's launch day in Japan.

We also heard about the game's sales performance on the eShop; the Switch port of the game has currently racked up 80,000 copies sold. We weren't told whether this met Inti Creates' own expectations, but this is a fairly respectable figure for what was presumably a version of the game bolted on fairly late in development.

There are tell-tale signs that this was indeed the case: The Switch version of the game inherits the 3DS's strange 5:3 aspect ratio, and the game uses non-integer scaling to scale up to both 720p and 1080p resolutions, so it's fairly clear that the game wasn't originally planned to be on Switch.

In any case, 80,000 sales for the Switch version alone should have net Inti Creates a tidy amount of revenue and would have almost certainly justified the cost of the port. Whether the game sold enough for them to have broken even is hard to say, since we lack information about sales of the 3DS version, and we don't know whether the 35 staffers working on the project were solely dedicated to it or were working on other games. The former is more likely there.

Regardless of current sales, Inti clearly plans to make sure Blaster Master Zero has long legs. Last week it released an update to the game which added a new, remixed difficulty setting, and it's currently working on new DLC characters who are more than just a palette swap.
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May
11
Posted by James at 03:38
Last year's Hitman was Square Enix's first foray into producing a AAA episodic game, and it was positively received, both as a game and as a way to make a big budget third person stealth-action game work in a new episodic format.

But it appears that the game has underperformed - at least to Square Enix's lofty expectations. Just as the company revealed their greatest ever operating profit for the last financial year, they also announced today that Hitman's developer, IO Interactive, is up for grabs. The future of the Hitman IP, which Square Enix maintains ownership of, remains uncertain.

It's not the best start to Square's new focus on producing episodic content for larger games. Going episodic would bring in a return on financially risky projects sooner rather than later. Instead of spending five years and tens of millions crafting the next Final Fantasy while the dynamics of the market change around them, going episodic also enables them react to change faster.

It'd be difficult to accuse Square Enix and developer IO Interactive of doing episodic wrong with Hitman, given the quality of the game, the frequency of episodes and the responsiveness of the team to react to demands of the game's players. But it seems something didn't stack up financially with Hitman, and it's a shame that a game of its ilk couldn't exist in today's market, and an even greater shame that Square Enix won't give IO Interactive another shot.

Square Enix notes that it plans to double down on its most well-known IP. No pressure on Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square's next big budget episodic game, then...
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May
10
Posted by James at 15:18
When retail listings began to emerge for the UK release of Puyo Puyo Tetris, it was hard to imagine a situation where the PlayStation 4 version wasn't going to be the preferred platform for fans of Tetriminos or Puyos.

This was mostly down to a couple of reasons which seemed to offset the game's natural fit for the Switch's hybrid local multiplayer party trick: Pricing, and release timing. The European publisher for the game, Deep Silver, appears to have set wholesale pricing for the Switch version at nearly twice that of the PS4 release, as the PS4 version could be had for £20 from most major retailers, with the Switch version going for £35.

To make matters worse, Nintendo decided to release Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the same day. It seemed like there would be only one game Switch owners would be interested in that weekend.

Instead, quite the unexpected happened: the Nintendo Switch version sold the lion's share of boxed copies over the game's launch weekend, outselling the PlayStation 4 version by 3:1. According to GfK Chart-Track, Switch sales accounted for 74% of all copies sold over that period.

What is even more intriguing is the sales split doesn't stop there: due to strange Tetris licensing rules, a digital version of Puyo Puyo Tetris can only be released on the Switch as the PS4's PlayStation Store already plays host to Ubisoft's Tetris Ultimate, resulting in an even wider sales split by way of the digital release on the Switch's eShop. That version currently sits at third place on the eShop's sales ranking, which counts software sales over the last two weeks.

If any game has benefitted from the famed 'launch effect', then, it's this one. I've been finding it to be a top-notch puzzle game, one which not only blends Tetris and Puyo Puyo together rather thoughtfully, but is a great fit for the Switch's portability. The ability to invite anyone to a local multiplayer session with ease is a boon here.

While the PlayStation 4 release is a bargain, it's absolutely worth the asking price on Switch, which begs the question: Given the wide sales split between both platforms, you could argue that it was going for too little on PS4...
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May
03
Posted by Ben at 16:31
No Matter Studios have released an update for Kickstarter backers (of which I apparently am one, I don't remember doing it, but I'm getting the updates) on the progress of their game Prey for the Gods, the most notable one is that the game has had a name change

Credit to No Matter Studios, they've been honest about the reasons why. Essentially Bethesda / Zenimax thought that Prey for the Gods is similar to Prey, much in the same way 'Prey' is similar to Bioshock

Anyway, the upshot to this is that the game is now called Praey for the Gods, a play on you both hunting, and being hunted by the gods. It's clever, a bit awkward, and needless, so thanks Bethesda
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What Remains of
Edith Finch
May 02
Posted by Ben at 14:18

What Remains of Edith Finch is by Giant Sparrow, the people behind The Unfinished Swan, which was inventive and clever. What Remains of Edith finch is shorter, denser, and feels less like a collection of chapters bundled together, and more like a cohesive narrative

It's a narrative game, not a huge amount in the way of gameplay other than finding which objects you can interact with. You've returned to the family house, which is almost like a Tim Burton bit of architecture, all your family has died off, often in tragic or strange circumstances, and so your mother took Edith and abandoned the house hoping to leave whatever "curse" has beset your family. You wander through the house, discovering the stories of your ancestor's lives, and sometimes deaths

All your ancestorís rooms are locked, so you have to find a way in, itís usually fairly simple and one room generally leads to another, and each room has its own vignette or story. The vignettes are brilliant. Some are shorter than others, but some really are fantastic, or fantastical, inventive, joyous, and every so often, heartbreaking. You can see the legacy of Unfinished Swan in there, but I was also reminded of That Dragon Cancer, and while it's a horrible thing to say about a game that's as raw and honest as That Dragon Cancer, but Edith Finch does it better, even if it doesn't have the same weight behind it

Thereís a brightness and charm to What Remains of Edith Finch, one I wasnít expecting given the tone. Itís a love letter rather than a suicide note. It really does feel as though the characterís lives are being remembered rather than their deaths, itís whimsical at points. It looks great too, at points I was genuinely surprised by how good it looked. There's some moments where it's just that the fidelity is amazing, maybe it's running at a higher resolution on the Pro, but there's other moments, an underwater section in particular, that just have superb art design. There are a few rough edges, repeated objects, the game loading in on the periphery of your vision, and some pop in when zooming in to distances, but on the whole itís a very well put together game.

As always with this sort of game, itís incredibly subjective. Whether you like What Remains of Edith Finch will depend on if the story grabs you, if youíre fine with minimal gameplay, and, of course, if you think the price tag is worth the brief experience. What I can say though is that I thoroughly enjoyed What remains of Edith Finch, more than I expected to after the first vignette, and while itís not a sure thing for everyone, itís a game that will stay with me
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Prey
PS4
Apr 30
Posted by Ben at 17:12

Prey is a strange thing. The original Ďvertical sliceí we saw of ĎPrey 2í half a lifetime ago looked great, an awful lot of people were suddenly hyped to play the sequel to a game not a huge amount of people had played. This was seemingly a massive surprise to the publisher, so surprising they scrapped it, abandoned Prey 2 completely for years, dropped the number, and have now brought it back as a different Prey game, developed by Dishonored creators Arkane Studios

Thereís currently a demo available on PS4 and Xbox One, itís essentially the whole game, more or less, with various areas being locked unless you buy the game. Slightly confusingly the demo doesnít end when you hit the pay wall, you can continue playing and exploring the environment. Itís an interesting way of doing a demo, I reached the Ďendí of the demo fairly quickly, a locked door I was told explicitly I wasnít allowed to go past, but was allowed to, after turning the game off feeling I was done, return to the game and explore more of Preyís world.

Itís a confusing experience. Narratively thatís deliberate, youíre not meant to know whatís going on, but in every other way Prey left me unsure what to make of it. The levels are open, as youíd expect from an Arkane game, but whereas in Dishonored it felt like you were always being directed, here I was always 2nd guessing my movements. Itís not like youíre getting lost, itís not that big an area and thereís a marker on the screen, but I was skipping areas, feeling like I was missing out. I guess at least it gave me something to do once I got to that locked door.

One of the things that had stopped me exploring was Preyís difficulty. Itís not impossibly hard or anything, but thereís an awkwardness to the early sections of Prey. Youíre mainly facing off against small crab-like enemies called Mimics, they flash about, disguising themselves as items in the environment. Itís a really cool concept, weíve spent our gaming lives picking through every bin, every art-deco ashtray, and now theyíll probably kill us. The problem I was having was that they always seemed to appear on my blind side. Fair enough, thatís what Iíd do if I was them, but Iíve seen footage of other people playing and seeing the mimic dart in to an item, then taking advantage of their own trap and laying waste to them. I never managed to take advantage of them nor my environment like that, bar one time when a larger enemyís route was taking it past an exploding barrel.

Part of the problem, I think, for me at least, is that I primarily play this kind of game on a PC with a mouse and keyboard. Playing on the PS4 thereís a lag to the camera movement, something thatís apparently going to be fixed in time for release. The aiming also feels strangely digital, maybe this is me not being as good as I should be, or used to be, with a controller in a first person game, but enemies were easily darting around me. Iíd eventually nail them, particularly with the Goop gun, but I was having a hard time not taking damage. Without wanting to sound like a PC snob, I canít help but feel that the increased speed of movement with a mouse, and the larger FOV that tends to accompany playing on a PC might have a beneficial effect on my experience with Prey

In some ways the Prey demo is exactly what a First Impressions post should be, a question mark. Thereís enough good ideas in there to get me interested, thereís enough flavour of the weapons and skill trees to know thereís more to Prey than you see here, and itís clear that the world Arkane have built is detailed and filled with opportunities. Ultimately though, I canít tell you what I think of the game or if Prey is for me
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Apr
27
Posted by Mark at 17:11
Japanese media being Japanese media, the Fate series has its suite of promotional webcasts where the people responsible bombard fans with information on what's coming up in the franchise's future.

In this case, Marvelous have announced that there's going to be a sequel to Fate/EXTELLA, the Warriorsalike spinoff that I liked enough to give seven out of ten to.

Rice Digital watched the NicoNico stream to find this out, although the fact that the game exists is pretty much the size of it at this stage.

The first game was released on PlayStations both 4 and Vita and is being ported to Switch- it's probably safe to suggest that the sequel will be at least coming to the Sony console.
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Apr
23
Posted by at 11:02
While the Switch waits for its version of the service to be as much as begun, the Wii U is still getting new games added to it- in North America, at least.

Siliconera reports that the Game Boy Advance games Rayman Advance- the GBA port of the first game in the series- and Rayman 3 are joining the service.

Switch hasn't been left behind, though, as it's getting another of the ACA Neo Geo games, in the form of Fatal Fury.
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Apr
20
Posted by Ben at 13:41
We've known Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is coming for a while, but we now have a firm date for the latest sequel in the stunning looking Guilty Gear franchise, and it's coming pretty soon

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 will arrive in Europe on May 26th, for both the PS4, and impressively the Playstation 3.

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 boasts a rebalancing of characters, the return of Baiken, and improved tutorials. If you have Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator then Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 will also be available as a digital upgrade on both PS4 and PS3

Trailer below

Show/hide video

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