With successes and failures abound, January has been a tumultuous month for gaming. Dan Burke gives us the lowdown!
Switch your Exclusives?
January is usually a dry month in the video game industry, but Nintendo have been renowned for not following traditional industry trends and so the biggest news for this month came straight from the Nintendo Switch conference. There was a real sense of Nintendo wanting to move forward; the structure and presentation gave off a corporate vibe that would usually be seen from a company like Sony or Microsoft at E3. The console will launch internationally on 3rd March 2017 along with the confirmation that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the last Nintendo game developed for the WiiU.
I’ll start with the typical Nintendo barrier to entry – price. The price of the Switch will be £279.99 in the UK, a tad bit more expensive than the original rumours suggesting a $249.99 price tag. The console comes with a HDMI cable, power adapter, left and right Joycons, a Joycon Grip and charging dock. There isn’t a bundle that includes a game in the box and the Pro Controller is sold separately – hidden costs that Nintendo aren’t advertising. The unit has 32GB of internal memory and can be expanded with the use of Micro SD and SDXC cards. The confirmed titles for launch are Breath of the Wild, Just Dance 2017, Skylanders Imaginators, Super Bomberman R and 1-2-Switch with some big hitters such as Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey coming later in the year. The most surprising news is that Skyrim and Mario kart 8: Deluxe won’t be available on launch, with their release dates set as Autumn and April 28th 2017 respectively. Most retailers have already sold out of Pre-order units, but I personally can’t recommend picking up a Switch on launch with the lacklustre line-up.
In typical Nintendo style, each individual Joy-con has motion control support as well as HD Rumble, a feature that was teased during the conference where the controller could simulate a differing number of ice cubes in a glass, that the user could detect through various vibrations. The Joy-Con (R) has a IR Motion camera that is able to detect gestures along with an NFC reader to scan Amiibos. The Joy-Con (L) has a capture button to take screenshots to upload to social media (with video capture coming in a future software update). The controller has a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but there are no big titles on launch that will show off the technology to its full potential (unless you count a mini-game collection).
Final Stan Lee XVIII
Steering away from the Switch, another big announcement this month is the collaboration of Marvel with Square Enix to produce multiple games, set in the Marvel Universe. The first game is to be based around the Avengers and the studios confirmed to be involved are Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider Franchise) and Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex Franchise). The post on Marvel’s website states, “Featuring a completely original story, it will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come. More details on The Avengers project and other games will be announced in 2018.” Several sources speaking to Eurogamer and Kotaku have also suggested that Deus Ex may be put on hold to assist in development of the new Avengers game.
Pokemon on The Cloud
Just in case you thought there wasn’t enough Nintendo news this month, the Pokemon Bank update is now available on the Nintendo eShop. The Pokemon cloud storage service now allows the transfer of Pokemon from Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow to the cloud via the Pokemon Transporter application and Pokemon from Sun and Moon can now be stored in the bank. The National Pokedex will also be synced across all the games without the need of depositing pokemon caught into the bank (a godsend for a collector like myself) and various stats such as eggs hatched will be tracked across all six 3DS Pokemon titles. A special Mewnium Z crystal is available for players that use the service with Sun or Moon before October 2nd 2017.
To round up this month Capcom had a successful launch with Resident Evil 7 with the game hitting number 1 in the UK charts. The game has had the third-best launch of any Resident Evil game in the franchise and the franchise is considered Capcom’s most successful brand in the UK. An expansion for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth officially released this month known as Afterbith+. The expansion adds a new endgame boss, new enemies, items, challenges and mod support, which for me personally is the most exciting news this month.
– DAN BURKE