5 Conclusions - 04/01/19

January 4, 2019
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A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.


Conclusion One: There’s no such thing as too much COD

With Christmas a distant memory, it feels like we’ve consumed a number of calories on par with a pre-hibernation bear. And just as we settle ourselves onto the couch for a prolonged slumber, who would appear but Infinity Ward, carrying a platter of new Call of Duty teasers.

“No,” you say. “No, Infinity Ward! It’s only been three months since you released Black Ops IIII. You’ve only just released the first DLC. I honestly cannot fit any more in.”

“Oh, come now,” they say, waving the platter under your nose invitingly as you recoil. “There’s always room for a little bit of COD.”

Yes, in scenes reminiscent of Aunty Donna’s somewhat disconcerting ‘Always Room for Christmas Pud’, we may soon see an announcement for Call of Duty 2019. Details are pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but Senior Comms Manager Ashton Williams has been tweeting cryptic messages involving a variety of skulls, skeletons, and ghosts.

 

This has led to speculation that the next instalment of the franchise may be a sequel to 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, which wasn’t actually about ghosts, but about a quicktime event fighting special forces team called, you guessed it, the Ghosts.

The theory has been debunked by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what else emerges in the next few months. Wake me up when we know more.

Conclusion Two: 2019 is the year the rest of the world accepts videogames are here

It’s weird. Videogames have been around for decades, and a massive part of life since the 70s and 80s. With Nintendo, Atari, Sega, Sony and Microsoft, not to mention PC gaming and all of its associated games and mega-companies such as Valve, pretty much everybody will be aware of games, or a game, or a games company. Every generation, too, I suspect.

Yet, videogames are often derided as ‘you know, for kids’ which simply isn’t true, as this website if nothing else will tell you. It’s logical too, right? The kids of the 70s and 80s are now the middle-aged men and women with jobs, families and adult life to contend with.

Even if they’re recognised as being a consequential medium in their own right they’re rarely mentioned alongside films, music and books when the entertainment industry is mentioned, or art. Yet games are art. Games are a key entertainment medium and games are now, mature. Not to mention they are one hell of a cash cow.

According to The Independent, the gaming category value totals £3.864 billion in the UK, more than the combined value of video and music. Multiple games — including Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 — sold more than a million copies.

Surely with those kind of numbers — those frankly staggering numbers — alongside the games which aim to match cinema that have been released, and those that are still to come (The Last of Us Part II, anyone?), and the further integration of some breakout hits into everyday life (Fortnite), the world will accept that videogames are here, and mention them alongside, and in the same breath, as all other mediums?


Conclusion Three: Nintendo in the 80s reapplied all the cool things

Super Marios Bros. has a level numbered -1, known to all on Earth as the Minus World. Accessible in-game, it is a glitch and the level is unbeatable by normal means.

It turns out, thirty-two years after its release, The Legend of Zelda has a minus world, too. This one has been found by YouTuber SKELUX, who had to hack their way into this negative world.

 


The cool thing is that this one is totally freaky. Dodgy enemy sprites, a world map that extends into darkness, and more. This world is likely a hidden repository for artefacts and so on that the devs wanted to use in the game for other actual parts of it, and some which they didn’t end up using.

Whatever the case, it shows that if Nintendo had an idea they felt was good — either for public consumption or otherwise — they tended to reapply it to other games. Which begs the question: what else is hidden away in their vast library of games that’s come out in the past thirty-odd years?

Conclusion Four: Bayonetta loves Catherine

OK, so Bayonetta’s Steam page got a new post on January 2nd. It consists of the following:

Having reviewed each Bayonetta game on the Switch recently, and having played before (extensively), I can’t recall any goddamn sheep. I’m racking my brains to remember which games have sheep, and the most obvious is anything in the Worms series, but not Platinum’s brilliant witch.

Now, we learnt recently that Atlus were remastering the game Catherine for PS4 and PS Vita. Catherine had sheep. They were a central tenet of the game. Also, the game is very much full of sexual, adult themes. Bayonetta is too, so there’s a kinship there.

Sega bought Atlus in 2014. So clearly this means we’re either getting Catherine, or the Catherine: Full Body PS4 remaster on PC, published by Sega, or we’re going to get some kind of Bayonetta and Catherine crossover. Oh my. Either would be rather delightful, don’t you think?

Conclusion Five: Slightly Mad Studios might want to change their name…

...as their latest project is totally mad.

What they’re doing — the developers of Project CARS by the way — is developing a console which is as powerful as a relevant PC and can utilise all major VR headsets.

So basically what they’re doing, says Variety, is creating a Mad Box (see what they did there?) which is a PC that can use VR headsets from various parties. Does that include Sony given that’s proprietary tech? Doubtful. So what does it do that a PC doesn’t? What’s the unique selling point? Why is this worth putting together and selling and ensuring the company grows and grows?

They have investors and they will provide a free engine for people to develop their own VR games. All of this is fine and dandy, but VR isn’t that big yet. Will it be big enough to warrant this and small enough for Slightly Mad to win in the market, or will they surprise us all and provide something which takes VR to the big time? I’m dubious here at Jump Dash Roll. If honest, I’m dubious the Mad Box will even see the light of day...

Shaun McHugh

In the winter of 1998, my father made a terrible mistake. He bought me a gift that would forever change my life. That gift? The DMG-01 Nintendo GameBoy. Since then, life has been a blur of consoles, gaming rigs, and modding it till it breaks.