Here’s our review of the week’s best video games news from Thumbsticks, and elsewhere on the web.
It’s been a reasonably quiet week for video game news, with most announcements held back for E3. However, we can always rely on Nintendo to give us something to chew over. Electronic Arts also announced the return of a popular franchise, and Square Enix confirmed the development of a new AAA title.
Watch Sony’s E3 press conference on the big screen
If you’re excited about Sony’s E3 press conference, but a) can’t be there, and b) want an excuse to cheer and whoop in public, then you can try your luck at attending a PlayStation E3 Experience 2017 cinema screening. The press conference will be screened at 85 venues across Canada, Latin America, and the United States.
Need for Speed returns
EA have announced a November release for Need for Speed Payback, the 23rd-ish game in the long-running racing franchise. Developed by Ghost Games, Payback promises thrills, spills, cops chases, and heists. Despite EA’s curious emphasis on the game’s narrative, we’re pretty excited to see the series make its return.
Shadow of more delays
Warner Bros and Monolith have confirmed that Middle-earth: Shadow of War – the follow-up to 2014’s Shadow of Mordor – has been pushed back from its intended August release. The game will now arrive worldwide on October 10, 2017.
Sonic Mania gets a release date and super-cool trailer
Sega have confirmed that Sonic Mania – one of two Sonic games arriving this year – will be released on August 15 for PC and consoles. Sonic Mania is a deliberate throwback to the series’ 16-bit roots, and features a mixture of old and new stages in the classic 2D style. The key to its success will be level design, and with the likes of Christian Whitehead, Pagoda West Games, and Headcannon on board, we’re cautiously optimistic. Here’s the fantastic animated pre-order trailer to whet your appetite.
Nintendo’s online service detailed
After much confusion, Nintendo has finally confirmed that its paid online service will launch in 2018. Priced at $19.99 a year, the service will provide access to online multiplayer gaming, as well as a dedicated mobile app for friend management and in-game voice chat. Subscription will also include access to a ‘Classic Game Selection’, which features online enabled updates of old NES titles. Polygon has pulled together a nice chart comparing Nintendo’s new service with PlayStation Plus, and Xbox Live.
Splatoon 2 headset unveiled
A free, feature-limited version of Nintendo’s chat app will be available this summer to coincide with the release of Splatoon 2. Also hitting stores is a wonderfully designed Splatoon 2 headset from Hori. It’s a marvellous piece of kit, but, as you can see from Gamespot’s report, it does demonstrate how unnecessarily fiddly Nintendo’s new smartphone-connected chat set-up is.
Nintendo and Apple fight for parts
Finally on the Switch front, USGamer reports on the The Wall Street Journal’s story that Nintendo is competing with Apple for components used to make the Switch. Presumably Nintendo can have all the 3.5mm headphone sockets.
Rime DRM to be removed
Players who responded to the invitation to break Rime‘s Denuvo DRM protection have claimed that the anti-piracy software actually slows down the game. Heather Alexandra at Kotaku takes a look at the situation. However, it shouldn’t be a problem for long, as Grey Box Games are being true to their word, and are releasing a DRM free update of the game.
Square Enix team up with People Can Fly
Square Enix have announced a partnership with Polish studio People Can Fly to develop a new AAA video game. The studio is best known for Bulletstorm, and its work on the Gears of War franchise. The remastered Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition was recently published by Gearbox Software on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam.
Steam Direct will charge $100
Following on from its decision to kill Steam Greenlight, Valve has announced the price of its new Steam Direct publishing initiative. James Brightman at GamesIndustry.biz examines what the $100 charge will mean for developers.
Kerbal Space Program acquired
Take-Two has announced that it has acquired Kerbal Space Program. In a press release the Grand Theft Auto publisher says they view the game as “a new, long-term franchise that adds a well-respected and beloved IP to Take-Two’s portfolio.” The development team at Squad will continue to provide support, ongoing updates, and expansions for the game.