The Best Video Game News This Week: Min Min, Mixer, and Suicide Squad
It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round-up…
I’ve been playing The Isle of Armor, the new DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield. One of the big additions that it brings is a whole new Wild Area, and the return of legacy ‘mons within it. I’m not familiar with a lot of the critters from the previous Generations, so sometimes I see a relatively old Pokémon that is totally new and exciting to me. As I wandered in the Potbottom Desert, a Sandile popped out of the sand.
What a moment (for me). It’s a crocodile, with markings that make it look like it’s got shades on. Or very heavy eye makeup. It’s a Ground and Dark Pokémon, and it’s the only Ground and Dark Pokémon in the entire series. I wish real crocodiles had markings that make them look like they have shades on, I thought. But, I realised I didn’t know a lot about real crocodiles, either. Worried that I had underestimated how cool crocodiles are, I researched what we know about these animals, and I hope that these facts are new to you, too.
There are 14 species of crocodile, the smallest being the dwarf crocodile, which grows to about 1.5 metres in length. The largest is the saltwater crocodile, which grows to about 7 metres in length and may weigh up to a tonne. You likely know that these reptiles are ambush predators; they’ll wait, with their eyes and noses just above the water, for their prey to drink at the river. Their stomach acid is the strongest of any vertebrate, and their bite is ten times more powerful than that of the great white shark. However, they are also known to chow down on not-insignificant quantities of fruit as well as meat. Also, the jaw-opening muscles of the crocodile are quite weak, which is why zoologists are able to hold their jaws closed with rubber bands or even their hands.
Crocodiles don’t eat a lot, either. A sizable individual might only eat 20 kilograms of meat in a month, which is equivalent to about 13 chickens. Also, they consume stones to aid digestion, in order to grind what isn’t dissolved by their stomach acid. These stones have another advantage: they weigh the crocodile’s body down, so it’s able to dive and float effectively. They’re not lone wolves, either, so to speak. Crocodiles will team up to take down large prey, and females will take their hatchlings from the nest, into her mouth, and into the water to raise them. And, perhaps the most interesting fact of the lot, is that crocodile blood may help us treat cancer.
Crocodiles get into lots of scrapes, but they hardly ever contract infections, even though they’re swimming in unclean water. Scientists found that their blood contains antimicrobial peptides (or AMPs) that are seriously strong against pathogenic infection. We also know that some types of AMPs are able to target cancer cells specifically, and not attack the healthy cells that surround the cancer. Ergo, if scientists isolate these molecules and develop drugs from them, there is a treatment for cancer that is especially effective at controlling tumour growth.
So, I’ve discovered crocodiles are actually cool animals, even without the shades.
Here’s the news.
All rumours aside, we know that WB Games Montréal is developing two new DC Comics-based projects, and that these were started in 2018. Then, in 2019, the studio celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Batman comics series with a strange set of symbols. These appear to be referencing the Court of Owls, a nefarious cabal of families who pull the strings from the shadows of Gotham. Based on these game domains, it’s not likely that these are the work of WB Games Montréal. However, Rocksteady Studios hasn’t made a new game in four years, and there are rumblings that the Suicide Squad game is their newest undertaking. The DC FanDome event is set for August, so perhaps we won’t be waiting long to find out.
Min Min is utter mayhem. Her noodle-like arms are capable of a range of ranged attacks, using her Ramram, Megawatt, and Dragon fists. Min Min can even bounce her arms off of the floor to catch those who think they’re just out of reach. The A and the B buttons operate each arm independently, which will let players throw double punches. Throwing the Ramram out is a good way of discouraging opponents from getting any closer, and it can be directed in mid-air. The Megawatt is heavy and slow in comparison, but it deals a lot of damage to those who get caught by it. And lastly, her Dragons are able to shoot a directional laser at the end of their extension. Utter mayhem. Min Min will arrive as the first fighter in the second Fighters Pass on June 29.
“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own livestreaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” said Xbox’s Phil Spencer in the announcement.
As a result, all Mixer sites and apps will redirect to Facebook Gaming from July 22, with Mixer Partners being granted Partner status automatically within Facebook Gaming and Microsoft promising to “match all existing Partner agreements as closely as possible” on the new platform. Any viewers with an outstanding balance, active subscriptions or Mixer Pro subscriptions once the transfer occurs will receive an Xbox Gift Card as a thank you. Ninja, Shroud, and many other streamers and content creators made the leap from Twitch to Mixer, and Facebook Gaming says it’s “up to them” whether they stay with Facebook Gaming.
Chris Avellone, an established writer who has worked on games like Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, has been accused of sexual assault and harassment. According to the allegations, Avellone would use his role at Obsidian Entertainment to manipulate women who wanted a career in the industry. After these stories were published, Techland and Paradox Interactive released their own statements regarding Avellone’s contributions to Dying Light 2 and Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2. Techland has ended its partnership with Avellone, and expressed that it “[treats] matters of sexual harassment and disrespect with utmost care, and have no tolerance for such behaviours.” Paradox Interactive said that though Avellone did work on the game in its early iterations, “none of his contributions remain in the game that Hardsuit Labs is continuing to develop.”
A free-to-start title for Switch and mobiles, Pokémon Unite was designed to be an approachable avenue for players who want to try out a co-op strategy game with a recognisable cast of characters. In the game, teams of five players explore and hunt Pokémon to score points, with one team starting at one end and the other starting at the other end. As the players catch new Pokémon and battle each other, the Pokémon will level up and learn new moves. Players are able to choose which moves they want their Pokémon to learn, and each Pokémon has a unique Unite move, like an ultimate ability.
“Ashraf Ismail is stepping down from the project to take a leave of absence,” said an Ubisoft representative. “The development team is committed to delivering a great game in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.” Ismail, who has also worked on Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed Origins, allegedly initiated an extramarital affair and approached young Ubisoft fans romantically. “The lives of my family and my own are shattered. I am deeply sorry to everyone hurt in this,” he said in a now-unavailable post to his personal Twitter account. The accusations against Ismail follow those levelled against product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie and associate public relations director Stone Chin. “We are deeply concerned by these accusations,” said Ubisoft in a statement to Gamasutra. “We take any allegations of abuse or harassment very seriously and we are looking closely into the allegations to determine next steps.”
Arriving on July 3, the update will let players swim and dive off of the shores of their island, and catch new creatures for the Museum. Pascal the philosopher will return as a random encounter when the player grabs a scallop from the sea. In exchange for the scallop, Pascal will offer mermaid-themed DIYs, and a nugget of obscure wisdom he’s learned from his journeys around the world. Furthermore, this is the first summer update, and there is a second update in the works for August 3.