21 Mar 19
Cuphead – Microsoft and Nintendo’s, together at last
The morning Inbox is worried that Valve and Steam could be in serious trouble, as one reader decides to give PS Now a test.
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[metro-fact-box title=”A busy week” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
That was a seriously good Nintendo Direct. I didn’t even known it was on but when I watched it later on YouTube there were some genuine surprises. I mean, we had Nintendo loaning out the Zelda franchise to some indie game I’d never heard of and Cuphead coming to Switch while Nintendo thanks Microsoft for their help. This has been quite the week for news!
There’s clearly big changes going on behind the scenes and you’ve got to assume that all the big companies already know about it, or at least suspect who the big players are. Google vs. Microsoft is going to be epic and could end up magnifying the mistakes of the Xbox One even further, making it a very close fight. My money’s on Microsoft though, they know games and Google didn’t even show any.
The fascinating thing though is the burgeoning love affair between Microsoft and Nintendo. Ori looks a dead cert for the Switch now, and a rep or two in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has got to be a big possibility now. But could we ever see Nintendo games on Xbox? I would’ve said not, but after Cadence Of Hyrule, who knows?
[metro-fact-box title=”Only on indie” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
What a great Nindies showcase from Nintendo. Almost all the games looked really interesting, even before you get to Cuphead and the Zelda crossover. I agree Outland looks great, but I’m also interested in RAD, Neo Cab, The Red Lantern, and Blaster Master Zero II.
I can already tell I’m going to tear up if any of the huskies die in The Red Lantern though, even if that just proves it’s a good game that can make me feel that way. Blaster Master Zero was great and Double Fine stuff, while sometimes a bit iffy on the gameplay, always have great ideas and I like the sort of 3D Mega Drive feel of the graphics and mutation gimmick.
I don’t know why but I’m also really drawn to Neo Cab. It’s such a weird idea, that I don’t really fully understand yet, but to me that’s the great appeal of indie games. They’re things that no big publisher would ever go near and yet they’re often the most interesting things out there. I’m glad Nintendo is giving them such exposure.
[metro-fact-box title=”Got games” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
Given all the talk about streaming at the moment I thought I’d give PS Now a go, since I’d always meant to get round to it but have never really been one for retro gaming, even if it’s just a generation or two back. I played some as tests though and it actually worked pretty well. I put on Super Stardust, which is a really fast twitch game, and there was a little bit of controller lag but it was still playable.
To be honest PS Now is something I’d completely forgotten about till now as Sony never seem to want to advertise it, even though it works pretty well. With all that’s going on with Google at the moment I’d expect them to get much more heavily into it and use it much more like Game Pass, in terms of having brand new games on it. Sony has actually been into streaming for longer than anyone so while it hasn’t been a bit part of the business for them they’ve presumably got a lot of experience with the tech by now. And, unlike Google, they’ve actually got some games.
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[metro-fact-box title=”Worst case scenario” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
A very sensible write up of the Stadia and the future of streaming, GC. I found myself agreeing with most of it. What particularly struck me was the point about people not caring about performance as long as something is convenient. I’d actually go further and say they don’t care about anything except convenience. What other explanation is there for abandoning all thought of immersion, precision control, and graphics in order to play Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on a phone?
It’s worth in every definable way to playing it on a console or PC but it’s more convenient and so people go for it. That’s fine, I’m not trying to stop them. But when that starts to dictate how games are designed it does become a problem.
The worst case scenario for the influence of Stadia and other streaming platforms is that they start to convince publishers to design games for smartphones (since I’m sure that’s how it’ll be used most) and that starts to eat away at what’s left of the single-player market. Noboy wants to play God Of War on a phone but The Division or Call Of Duty? That could be a huge. Times are changing, and not necessarily for the better.
[metro-fact-box title=”Exclusive wars” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
With all the distractions at the moment with streaming and Google it’s fascinating to me that Steam is also currently undergoing a massive crisis. One so bad that if Valve handle it badly they might actually be in real trouble. The Outer Worlds and Control, both games that I am really looking forwards to. There’s a bunch of others too, of varying degrees of fame, and it seems almost every day that Epic Games get a new exclusive. That has got to have Valve worried.
Maybe they’ll end up like Microsoft and regret the day they ever gave up making their own games. Either way it looks like the old guard is in danger all over the map and the video games industry in a year or two may look completely different from how we’ve known it for the last couple of decades.
But Microsoft and Sony has got options, I don’t really know what Steam can do except getting into some sort of exclusive war with Epic that’s just going to anger customers and get really confusing. Buying at retail is almost beginning to look like the good old days now.
[metro-fact-box title=”Justice for Castlevania” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
Those Konami collection sound so low effort I’m surprised they could even be bothered to release them. I’m genuinely unsure whether they knew Haunted House was a Castlevania game or not and didn’t just randomly fill the Arcade ‘Classics’ collection with whatever random ROMs they found on MAME. Clearly nobody that has any love for the company’s history went anywhere near any of this and I find that deeply upsetting.
Why not just the other collections have all the Castlevanias and Contras from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, rather than just naming a handful and vaguely promising more for later? You just know they’re going to leave out tons and they’ll probably be lazy ports too with technical problems. (Remember their Silent Hill ‘remaster’?)
Sorry if I sound bitter but I hate what Konami has become and I would desperately like to see someone buy their franchises and do justice to these classic games. The Castlevania bit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was so amazing it’s shameful that the company that actually makes the games can’t do at least as well.
[metro-fact-box title=”Format wars” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
Is it just me guys or is this whole Google Stadia episode thing sounding more and more like the Betamax of the video technology way back in the late ‘70s. And Amazon are just going to become the new VHS equivalent when they reveal their gaming introduction to us later in the year?
GC: Amazon hasn’t announced anything? Their video game plans are just a rumour.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
[metro-fact-box title=”Positive change” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
I’m looking forward to Stadia. No idea if I’ll adopt it or not, but it’s a new concept and I always like to try new things and to see how they disrupt existing things.
Generally, subscription services are financially beneficial to heavy users, which rightly or wrongly I’ve assumed is most people here. If it means we can cut out the cost of a console, it’s accessories and the actual games, and be in a position where we can all have enough money left over to cover a better Internet subscription then it’ll change more than games.
If there is an uplift in people getting fibre then ISPs will get more money too, allowing them to improve infrastructure faster and reduce costs, etc.
Of course the other benefit is that we don’t just use our Internet for games, it would benefit music, TV and all the rest of it that the whole family and even the house uses these days.
Of course, that only works if Stadia and a better Internet package costs less than the current console, peripherals, games, and existing Internet package. Also, assuming people don’t choose to buy another console too. Anyhow, I like change, I’m excited to see how this plays out.
[metro-fact-box title=”Inbox also-rans” colour=”grey” icon=”no-icon”]
Cuphead is coming to the Switch. At last I can play this game on the go.
Oxenfree is free on Epic Store on PC from Thursday, 21st March.
[metro-fact-box title=”This week’s Hot Topic” colour=”grey” icon=”exclamation”]
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Tom Meadows, who asks what Achievement or Trophy are you most proud of getting?
Achievements, Trophies, and similar in-game rewards have been a staple of video games for a long time now, but which did you find the most satisfying to get and how long did it take you? How much do you care about achievements in general and what inspires you to go after the more difficult or time-consuming ones?
What’s the secret of designing a good achievement and what are some of your favourite, and least favourite, examples? Are there any old games you wish achievements could be added to or a modern title that you think missed an obvious opportunity?
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