A Week of Announcements
There is nothing particularly special about this week. There is nothing particularly special about this time of the year. This should have been a week like any other, yet for some reason ALL the games were announced in the last few days.
During Nintendo’s Nindies showcase this week Blaster Master Zero 2 received a surprise announcement, made all the more surprising as the game was available for purchase there and then. This kind of surprise stealth release seems to be something that Nintendo enjoys doing, as they previously did this with the sudden release of Final Fantasy IX. 2017’s Blaster Master Zero was essentially a remake of the original NES title, so while it took liberties in a few unobtrusive ways, the game was mostly working to a template. As such, this is Inti Creates’ first wholly original Blaster Master game, and by all accounts this follow-up honours the original in a very satisfactory way. Not only does it honour the source material, but it also seeks to honour Sunsoft, the original developer of Blaster Master, by including substantial Easter Eggs from games such as Ikki and Atlantis no Nazo.
Also announced during Nintendo’s Nindies showcase was a Switch port of Cuphead. A Switch port of the game has been rumoured for a couple of months now, ever since Nintendo and Microsoft were rumoured to be working together to bring Microsoft content to Nintendo platforms. The developer claims that the Switch version will run at 1080p and 60fps, just like the Xbox version, and it will also feature a ‘Simple Mode’. ‘Simple Mode’ drastically simplifies many of the game’s boss encounters, but players cannot finish the game this way, so it acts more as a practice mode than a Nintendo style baby mode that offers players an easy path to the end credits. Cuphead will be available for Switch owners on April 18.
The biggest announcement this week (albeit for a limited number of PC-centric gamers) was for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. A commenter on this game’s announcement trailer described the game’s reveal as being the Half-Life 3 of vampire games, which seems fair enough. The original Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines certainly did not make as big a splash on the gaming world as Half-Life 2, but fans of both series have been kept waiting for so long that a sequel to either game had begun to seem almost impossible. Happily this is not so though.
The original title emerged at a time when the concept of sandbox gaming was being explored, but the form of that concept had yet to solidify. As such the game offered several openly explorable hub environments, which were each the length of about a city block. These smaller sandbox environments were superbly detailed, interactive, and just full of amusing humour – and it is this attention to detail, afforded my smaller, more intimate environments, that had made the game so memorable and endearing to its cult audience. It sounds very much as though Paradox is looking to replicate the structure of the original game by having four hub areas that the player can travel between at will. While a sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is something that sounds desirable on paper, there are significant concerns that it will be full of poz and wokeness due to the fact that Cara Ellison is serving as lead writer. Ellison has accrued a number of ethical infractions against her on Deep Freeze, including being the ‘journalist’ responsible for causing a moral panic that would eventually see Hotline Miami 2 banned in Australia.
Started a moral panic about a 4-second scene in Hotline Miami 2—spending the majority of her hands-on preview claiming that this problematic, upsetting scene made her feel betrayed and unsafe in her “safe space”, and quoting discredited statistics. Often called a “rape scene”, the scene not only cuts before anything happens, but is immediately shown to be fictional in-universe. The controversy following Ellison’s article may have contributed to instigating Hotline Miami 2’s Australian ban.
Weeks ago the internet began speculating that a Castlevania collection was on its way, but it turns out that Konami’s plans were significantly more ambitious. This week Konami revealed that they have three different retro game collections inbound; Konami Anniversary Collection: Arcade Classics (April 18), Castlevania Anniversary Collection (Early Summer 2019), and Contra Anniversary Collection (Early Summer 2019). The game lists are as follows:
Vulcan Venture (Gradius II)
Life Force (Salamander)
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
Super Castlevania IV
Contra III: The Alien Wars
One would have loved for the Castlevania collection to have featured entries from the GBA and DS, but the language of the collection’s press release makes it sound like any of the later ‘Metroidvania’ titles are unlikely to make an appearence:
The first Konami Castlevania Collection is designed to be a completed collection around the origins of the historic franchise. Classics that defined the Castlevania series.
As such, one imagine that the remaining roster will be Castlevania: Bloodlines, Castlevania Legends, Castlevania: The Adventure, and Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. One feels that Dracula X is unlikely to be included since Rondo of Blood has kind of invalidated its position in the Castlevania legacy, but if Dracula X is included then it will likely take the place of Castlevania Legends, since the story of Legends has been made non-canon in retrospect.
Finally, Persona 5 The Royal has been announced for PS4 – in a fairly bullshit way. Atlus has been teasing P5R since the end of 2018, dangling a March announcement like a carrot in front of a hungry horse. The announcement announced little more than the game’s title, which does not impart anything interesting at all, and served more as an announcement that on the 24th of next month Atlus will finally release some details about the game. Atlus is lucky that Persona is such a great series, as one would be seriously put off by all of this nonsense otherwise. The only notable aspect of the announcement at all was the fact that it features a new female character. People have been reporting as fact that she is the new female main character, and they are probably right about this, but this has not been confirmed. People have drawn their own conclusions about who she is, but if she turns out to simply be a new party member or even a mere NPC then they will crack the shits and behave as though Atlus has broken a promise to them. Nintendonlies are already behaving this way because they took the inclusion of Joker in Smash as a confirmation that Persona 5 was coming to Switch. Today’s announcement disabused them of this notion.