This week in video games: Mario, Wolfenstein, and Assassin’s Creed return, Destiny 2 enhancements teased, Microsoft cans the Kinect, and a single-player campaign for PUBG? Here’s your round-up of the week’s big news from the mad, bad world of video games.
This week in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Two things that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds won’t be getting any time soon are a single-player mode, and a sequel.
Speaking at PAX Aus, Brendan Greene revealed that although campaign mode was once a possibility, it is now unlikely.
On the subject of a sequel, Greene confirmed to IGN that PUBG is a very much a game as a service and will continually receive new content and technical refinements. Just like, erm, Destiny then.
In other PUBG news, an update to the blue zone piles on the pain for the game’s braver players.
Destiny 2 endgame improvements on the way
Speaking of games as a service, Bungie have detailed a number of new Destiny 2 endgame improvements that will be rolled out in the coming months. Highlights include better incentives for players who complete Prestige activities, improvements to Exotics, and changes to the mod economy. Check out the full list on the Bungie Blog.
Super Mario Odyssey review round-up
Some have said that October 27, 2017 was the biggest ever day in gaming, with three AAA blockbusters released. None was more anticipated than Nintendo’s Super Mario Odyssey, which has been universally declared a triumphant return for the mustachioed (ex) plumber.
Oli Welsh, writing at Eurogamer, says:
“The happy revelry that has gone into the making of this nonsensical world is infectious, while the return to the open design of Super Mario 64 has freed all that gleeful energy in a sloppily explosive burst.”
Peter Brown, in GameSpot‘s 10 out of 10 review, says:
“Super Mario Odyssey displays a clear understanding of what makes Mario tick, and is neck and neck for top billing among its esteemed predecessors. It surprises you with not just inventive mechanics, of which there are many, but with expertly tuned level design and moments of charismatic wit.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Ryan McCaffrey at IGN:
“It distills the venerable series’ joyful, irreverent world and characters and best-in-class platforming action, and introduces a steady stream of new and unexpected mechanics.”
Microsoft has finally pulled the plug on Kinect. Production of the much-maligned device has ended, and although it never lived up to its grand promises, its tech is now being used in a variety of other devices, including Microsoft’s HoloLens. It’s somewhat ironic that a new Kinect compatible game arrives on Xbox One this week.
First Original Xbox Back Compat games arrive
There was happier news on the Xbox front last week with the rollout of Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility. There are 13 titles in the first tranche, including classics like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Xbox One X stock shortages?
In unhappy news again, Harvey Eagle, Xbox’s UK head of marketing, has warned of Xbox One X stock shortages. Speaking to Christopher During at GamesIndustry.biz, he said:
“It was the fastest pre-order of an Xbox that we’ve ever had. I can’t guarantee that stock will be available in launch week for people to just walk into a store and pick up. Demand is really high. I’d just encourage people if they want one at launch, to get moving. What I can say is that we will have new stock deliveries into retail each week as we get through to Christmas.”
Nintendo announce Animal Crossing Pocket Camp
Nintendo has unveiled its latest mobile title, the surprisingly full-featured Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The game will be released worldwide on iOS and Android in late November, and is already available in Australia and New Zealand.
The entire planet is one big city
During CitizenCon, Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts delivered a lengthy keynote focused on the next phase of the game’s development. Highlights included an impressive, planet-sized city, which Roberts described as being “pretty much Coruscant.” There was no news on a release date for version 3.0, which remains in testing. Check out Paul Younger’s PCInvasion report for all the details.
Assassin’s Creed Origins review round-up
The year off for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise hasn’t resulted in the revamp many expected, but critical response to the game has been positive, with the usual caveats.
Daniel Starkey, writing at Ars Technica, says:
“A shining example of what exploration-based games can be, dropping many of its franchise’s worst traits even while being sometimes held back by the mundane.”
Polygon‘s Colin Campbell enjoyed the game’s characters, particularly protagonist Bayek and his wife, Aya.
“These two are deeply entwined and very sexy. They spend a lot of time making love in exotic locations. They’re the kind of couple you want to have as friends, but who only really have time for one another.”
And Kirk Hamilton, at Kotaku, enjoyed the game’s Ancient Egypt location:
“Assassin’s Creed Origins’ greatest success is its setting. While obviously condensed when compared with its real-life counterpart, the game’s version of ancient Egypt is stunningly rendered and eminently explorable.”
Nintendo Switch gets Gamecube Controller support
In addition to its publicly confirmed features, Version 4.0 of the Nintendo Switch firmware also sneaked in GameCube controller support. Naturally, many people – us included – saw this as a sign that Super Smash Bros is Switch-bound. However, if we are to believe Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aimé, it was just an honest mistake.
Speaking to Kotaku’s Stephen Totillo, he said: “I think it’s fair to say, Stephen, that that peripheral working was as much a surprise to us as it was to consumers.” We believe you Reggie, sure we do.
PlayStation set for Paris Games Week
Paris Games Week starts tomorrow, with all eyes on Sony. PlayStation’s Paris Games Week Media Showcase begins at 9:00am PT, and promises to pull back the curtain on the next wave of PS4 titles. You can follow the action via the PlayStation website, and here on Thumbsticks.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review round-up
And finally, a quick look at the week’s other big release. The return of BJ Blazkowicz has been widely praised, with IGN‘s Dan Stapleton speaking for many in admiring the game’s story and performances, as well as its mechanics:
“Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a fantastic single-player shooter, but what really got me invested was the brilliantly written characters and the performances of its cast.”
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, writing at Eurogamer, found the game gave him as much to think about, as it did to shoot at.
“It is a well-wrought FPS caught on the rocks of some marvelous, horrendous discussions about race, gender, discrimination and complicity.”
This week’s recommendations shine a light on the difficulties of game development. First up is an honest account from Halo franchise director Frank O’Conner on the issues that have plagued Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
And if you were saddened by the recent closure of Visceral Games, do check out Jason Schreier’s terrific account of the troubled production of the studio’s now-cancelled Star Wars game. Games journalism at its finest.
Assassin’s Creed week on Thumbsticks
To mark the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, we have been running a week of Assassin’s Creed features. Find out why the Animus is a brilliant – or terrible – concept, learn about the production of the series, and find out how the in-game world can shine a light on the real world.