Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 01/11/19
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: EA 0 - 1 Valve
Though EA removed its titles from Valve’s Steam storefront when it launched its Origin launcher service and storefront on PC, it appears that the publisher has had a change of heart. Senior VP Mike Blank told GamesIndustry.biz this week that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be available to purchase on Steam, with pre-orders already available from this Tuesday. EA’s Access subscription service will also be available on Steam from next spring.
Other games including FIFA, Apex Legends and Battlefield V will also be arriving on Steam next year, reversing the decision to remove almost all EA collateral from Valve’s platform when Origin started up back in 2011. What reason could EA possibly have for the about face?
"Since the time we removed our games from Steam, there's been this dramatic increase in the number of gaming services, which you would think would be really good for players,” Blank said. “But I think in many cases, it's the exact opposite. It creates more difficulty for players, and providing player choice -- from my perspective and speaking on behalf of EA -- is really critical. It's an opportunity to make it possible for people to play where they want, to reduce that fragmentation and make it more frictionless... Reducing that fragmentation is really important. It's the most player-first thing we can do."
But let’s read between the lines, shall we? EA has done it to make money. Steam is, and always has been, a bigger platform than Origin. It has more content, more resources behind it, and is the launcher most PC players will head to by default. Valve’s near monopoly on the PC market has only recently been challenged with any gusto by Epic. While Origin Access might be an attempt to kickstart what some see as a dead horse, EA are hedging their bets and working with their rival to try and wring the most revenue out of what is likely to be a hugely successful title. Their senior team may spin it differently, but the real motivation is transparent — and this can’t be seen as anything other than a victory for Valve.
Conclusion Two: Goodbye 3DS
Ever since Nintendo disrupted the console world with their home and portable console, the Switch, we’ve wondered at Jump Dash Roll why Nintendo insisted the 3DS would still exist as a viable platform of its own. With the launch of the Switch lite — a purely portable version of the WiiU’s significantly improved successor — the question becomes even more appropriate.
So it’s no surprise to see Nintendo’s President, Shuntaro Furukawa, convey that Nintendo plans to make some of its big 3DS franchises over to the Switch.
What do we take from this? That the 3DS is dead but right now its install base is sizable enough to support and delight until all of those people move over to the Switch. Encourage them by making the Switch more portable, with more titles and that process will speed up. Then deal the hammer blow of a Switch 2.0 when the time is right — probably a couple of years after the PS5 and Project Scarlett have been around.
Conclusion Three: The next RPG entry is a Dragon Age away
Fans of BioWare’s fantasy series Dragon Age — and we count ourselves among them — have been waiting a while for news on the fourth installment. This week, we learned that we’re going to have to wait a while longer.
Daniel Ahmad from intelligence company Niko Partners, who regularly drops credible inside info, this week tweeted that a new Dragon Age game shouldn’t be expected until at least April 2022.
He does caveat the news by saying it’s essentially informal guidance (and also casually mentions that another Star Wars game will be released in 2022 too). But if true, it’s likely to come as a bit of a disappointment for fans who hoped to return to Thedas a little sooner. Still, if the end product is as good as Inquisition, we can probably forgive them.
Conclusion Four: STOP TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF DEATH STRANDING, OK?
We know it’s nonsense. You know it’s nonsense. All we’ve been shown so far is a mix of ladders, babies and walking. There’s Hannibal and there’s Daryl. There are bikes and wastelands and lots of bloody tears. Yet it’s hard to shake the feeling that Death Stranding is likely to be more genius from Hideo Kojima. It’s just… that he doesn’t seem keen to give anything away about the actual game.
A launch trailer out this week clarified precisely nothing. But it looks lovely and, of course, it’s eight minutes long because Kojima.
The game is out next Friday. One of the most hyped titles of recent years will finally be in the hands of players. Will Kojima’s effort surpass the Metal Gear series? We’ll find out soon.
Conclusion Five: Bear trap and machine gun lovers — look in
And since it was Halloween yesterday, we would be remiss if we didn’t tip our hat to the annual shakedown event. Capcom has gone one step further and created a Resident Evil choose-your-own-adventure Halloween-based browser game.
Is it any good? Well, not really. It feels like it has been thrown together during a lunchtime to promote one of Capcom’s Twitter accounts, and the grammar and plot are all over the place. But hey, you may as spend your own lunchtime trying to avoid being shot by machine guns whilst being caught in a bear trap. It might be harder than you expect.
You can play the game here. Well, until they take it down. Halloween has been and gone, after all.
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