5 Conclusions - 21/12/18
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: The Switch is the fastest-selling console of this generation
At least, in the US its first 21 months. According to recently released NPD data from March 2017 to November 2018, the hybrid portable console has shifted over 8.7 million units, outstripping both the PS4 and the Xbox One’s numbers over the same period of their life. A strong showing on the games front has certainly helped Nintendo, given that Super Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart and more recently Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have all been universally acclaimed. That praise has translated into sales too, with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate selling over 3 million copies in only eleven days. My word.
The appropriately named VP of Sales and Marketing for Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser (no, really), was obviously chuffed:
"We are thrilled to see such a strong reaction from consumers in the second holiday season for Nintendo Switch,” he stated. "We're looking forward to delivering more excitement and smiles to our fans in the coming year and beyond."
At the current rate of sales, if the Switch can maintain its momentum it will be on track to outsell both Microsoft and Sony’s behemoths and pull off one of the biggest turnarounds in a company’s fortunes for quite some time. Who would have thought that a lower specced machine built by a previously family-focused company could have achieved so much? Nintendo’s loosening of its rigid moral code to allow more mature titles and a shift to permit greater third-party development has ensured the disaster of the Wii U is just a distant memory.
Conclusion Two: Kingdom Hearts fans should avoid the internet until January 29th
Game leaks are nothing new. In many cases, details of games are leaked specifically by developers or publishers to either get a fanbase excited for a new release, or to try and drum up some interest in a game which has been largely ignored up until that point by the community. Kingdom Hearts III needs neither of these things, but it hasn’t stopped some wag from managing to get hold of the full game six weeks before release, and then posting details of it on the web.
How such a monumental leak sprang from the usually robust engine room of Square Enix is unclear, but it has taken the developer by surprise — so much so that the game’s director Tetsuya Nomura issued an unprecedented statement urging fans not to share details of the game, and assuring them that the biggest spoilers have not yet been released. The full statement is as follows:
"We're aware that a small portion of Kingdom Hearts 3 has been circulating online before its official release. We are also aware as to how this has all happened. We're sorry to see this caused concern amongst our fans who are excited for the release.
The whole team has been working together since yesterday night (Japan time) to investigate what we can do to better this situation, but first we would like to ask that you do not share these videos.
The game's epilogue and secret movie, which are the biggest spoilers in this game, are planned to be released at a later date just in case, so they will not be shown before the game's release.
We want everyone to be able to equally experience the full game after its release, so we ask for your continued support on this matter.
We're also very grateful that our fans have been warning each other already about the spoilers. Thank you very much.
We're one month out from the release, Let's enjoy the game together when it releases on January 29, 2019." - Director Tetsuya Nomura
We presume that by “a later date”, Nomura means that they’ll actually be included within the game and we won’t be left with a Mass Effect 3-style ending which needed a free piece of DLC to adequately wrap up things. Until the release date though, we suggest if you’re interested in the next adventure of Sora you should probably avoid the internet and Reddit in particular. You can still come to Jump Dash Roll though — we won’t be spoiling anything for you.
Conclusion Three: Don’t end up on Santa’s holiday hitlist
If you’re the kind of person who finds Christmas leaves you less “joy to all in the world”, and more “I am burning with murderous rage” - good news! Hitman 2 is putting the ‘ho ho ho’ back into homicide.
This holiday season the Holiday Hoarders mission will be available, for free, to everyone who owns a copy of Hitman 2 on console or PC. For a limited time between December 18th and January 9th, the Paris Legacy location of the game has been given a festive makeover with snow cannons, decorations, and presents that can be unwrapped.
The objective is to eliminate two dastardly thieves who have snuck into the Sanguine Fashion Show and are stealing various items. There’s a variety of new weapons to play with including explosive snowballs. Magical.
If you complete a set of challenges, you’ll also unlock the Agent 47 Santa suit. Although, I’m not quite sure that even Agent 47’s legendary sneaking skills quite extend to sneaking into an enemy complex wearing a santa suit outside of the Christmas period.
Watch a trailer for the event below, and happy holiday killing!
Conclusion Four: Your indie game soundtrack could be the (Jäger)bomb
My relationship with Jägermeister is a complicated one. Usually, the only time I’ll think of the brand is when I’m out somewhere far too late at night, and someone shouts “JÄGERBOMB TIME!” After that, things usually get a bit fuzzy.
But now, there is something much more positive to associate the brand with: the German drinks brand has partnered with London’s leading cinematic bass duo Koven. Together, they are offering one lucky indie game the opportunity to win a bespoke soundtrack for their project.
"We're incredibly excited about the Track and Build competition, as it represents our first steps into the games sector," said Jägermeister's music manager Tom Carson.
"Thanks to our friends at Koven, we can offer a games studio the unique opportunity to have a track created for them by artists who have already made a name for themselves in the genre through their work on Rocket League."
Koven added: "This is such a mad and exciting opportunity for us to be a part of, and for anyone who we end up working with! We are so pleased to be involved and look forward to going through the entries."
Entries are open until the February 15th 2019, when a shortlist of games will be announced. The winner will be selected by the end of February.
Conclusion Five: It’s the most holey of nights
Yes, as in full of holes. Yes, from bullets. Yes, it is a Christmas pun. Why? Because Red Dead Redemption 2’s online beta has brought carols to the saloons. Pop into any of your local drinking establishments with a piano and you may get treated to the ivories being tickled with seasonal delights such as “Jingle Bells”, “Deck the Halls” and “Silent Night”.
And for the pedants out there, yes, these are all era-appropriate as they came before the game’s setting of 1899. Though how realistic it would be for the pianist to keep on playing during a raging gunfight is another matter. Like the band on the Titanic, they just play on.
Have a very merry Christmas!