The Best Video Game News This Week: Pokémon Snap, Skate 4, and Bugsnax
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…
On June 21, it is Father’s Day in the UK. Now, if you’ve forgotten, this is your reminder and you’ve still got a day and a bit to cobble something together. I believe in you. Godspeed.
So, for those who are still with us, and not speeding towards Halfords in the hope that it’s open, it’s Father’s Day this weekend here in the UK. This day is to celebrate our father figures and to thank them for all that they do for us, because, even if we’re adults, we’ll probably ask them to help us before trying to tackle the problem.
There are a lot of video games that explore the theme of parenthood and the shift in identity and responsibility that occurs when a man becomes a father. These games have often been from the perspective of a man who may have been hardened by a violent world, and believes that there is no other existence than this. But he may become the guardian of a girl or a young woman, who doesn’t believe what he believes. She’s optimistic, and perhaps naive, about the realities of survival. And, maybe, he starts to think that there is light left in this world.
These are games about being a dad, but I ask, are there dad games? Are there games that embody and immerse the player in that role? And, that role is not necessarily about guarding or protecting a child all the time and to the ends of the earth. If your dad is hunkered down behind the countertop, occasionally scrabbling into drawers for ammunition and tape, and knows how to make a nail bomb by waving his hands around in a backpack, I would consider your dad to be a very unique man. I’m talking about the literal, lived, everyday experiences of being a dad. So, with no further ado, here are my ideas for dad games.
You are in IKEA with your partner and young child. You must fulfil your mission: purchase the PERSHULT shelves and get out. Your partner and your child will continually deviate from the path, and you cannot progress towards the PERSHULT and to the checkouts without them. They will also pick up other objects they think are “nice,” or “cool,” and these will weigh you down, physically and psychologically. The player must make it to the checkouts and the exit of the IKEA within the time limit, within their budget, and within their sanity.
This one is sort of like Football Manager, but it’s managing your child’s burgeoning professional career. Instead of orbiting the actual matches and seeing the data laid out in front of you, you’ll need to chart the wins, draws, and losses on a sheet of paper on the fridge. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that you’re doing your bit by picking the kids up and dropping them off to and from matches, so the car will need to be fuelled regularly. Washing kit will also be required, and the player will need to be aware of drying times ahead of any fixtures, as the tumble dryer may only be used once a season. Finally, the players must be satisfied with their career progression, and if they don’t want to play for West Ham, and they’d rather be a vet or something, then that’s all well and good, too.
Here’s the news.
Star Citizen was announced in 2012. 2012! The game still doesn’t even have a release date! With almost three million pledges over the course of eight years, the project has now surged over the $300 million mark, and, looking at the timeline, the month that helped it over the line is May. Approximately $15 million was donated to Star Citizen last month, after the measly monthly offerings of January to April, which ranged from $4 million to $5 million. Why did funding suddenly triple? I don’t know. Will Star Citizen ever be released? I don’t know. I’ve got my fingers crossed, though, for all 2,717,711 backers.
“We were not aware of the stereotypical connotations and wish to apologise to anyone who may have been offended by the character design,” said developer Neostream after receiving criticism for the characters seen in the game’s latest trailer. These “mystic” enemies have dreadlocks and large lips, and barrel towards the protagonist armed with a white dart blower. Little Devil Inside artists did not intend to parody “African and/or Afro-American human tribes” and will be changing the design as soon as possible.
The cinematic trailer for Hitman 3 premiered in The Future of Gaming presentation, and sets the scene for the final entry to the World of Assassination trilogy. “Supported by his Agency handler, Diana Burnwood, Agent 47 joins forces with his long-lost friend Lucas Grey. Their ultimate mission is to eliminate the partners of Providence, but they are forced to adapt as their hunt intensifies. When the dust settles, 47 and the world he inhabits will never be the same again,” said IO Interactive. The game boasts a world that “reacts to everything [the player does]” and will be a “darker” exploration of the Hitman experience with “unrivalled freedom.”
Bugsnax worries me! There’s something sinister happening here, and I’m the only one who sees it! But it does draw from some very sweet games which are known for introducing novel mechanics. Young Horses programmer and producer Kevin Geisler shared that Ape Escape, Dark Cloud, Pokémon Snap, and Viva Piñata had influenced the final product, so we could expect something rather intriguing from Bugsnax. In addition, president Philip Tibitoski said that the player’s purpose on Snaktooth Island is to find out what happened to explorer Elizabert Megafig. They’ll piece together the mystery, and complete the encyclopedia of Bugsnax, by consuming the creatures whole. These animals will then cause the character’s appearance to change based on the food that the Bugsnak was personifying. I won’t lie to you: I’m worried.
As a sequel to the original game, which was released on the Nintendo 64, New Pokémon Snap will be set on a number of islands and looks to be a rail shooter, but, of course, this is thankfully a scientific camera pointed at the Pokémon. Apples and “pester balls” appear to return in the game, which will attract the pocket monsters and help the player capture a better photo. Lots of new Pokémon will inhabit the islands, including those native to the Galar region in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Finally, the player will also observe “new, never-before-seen Pokémon expressions and behaviors” on their research trip, which is curious.
If we know anything about Aloy, it’s that she can’t sit there twiddling her thumbs while there are robot relics to discover. This time her adventure will take her to the western coast of what was the United States, before the Earth got its revenge and drowned iconic landmarks and areas in foliage and rust. In Horizon Forbidden West, there is a weed which is choking wildlife and poisoning the land, and Aloy will discover what ancient machinations are polluting the world and endangering humanity. She’s not alone, though; new tribes will clash in her quest for answers (one of these groups ride giant robotic elephants, and they look quite unfriendly). It’s all gorgeous, of course, and Guerrilla Games promises that there will be “virtually no loading screens” on the PlayStation 5’s souped-up SSD.
“Those of you who are familiar with the way we make games know that we won’t ship something which is not ready,” said CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński and head of studio Adam Badowski in a statement. “We are fully aware that making such a decision costs us your trust and trading trust for additional time is one of the hardest decisions a game developer can make.” Cyberpunk 2077 is actually complete, but the studio wants to ensure that the experience of playing the anticipated sci-fi RPG is free from bugs and glitches. “The quests, the cutscenes, the skills and items; all the adventures Night City has to offer—it’s all there. But with such an abundance of content and complex systems interweaving with each other, we need to properly go through everything, balance game mechanics and fix a lot of bugs. A huge world means a huge number of things to iron out and we will spend the additional time doing exactly that,” said Iwiński and Badowski.
The wait has been worth it for creative director Chris “Cuz” Parry’s one-million Watt smile and high-pitched excitement. “We’re back! We’re doing it! Skate’s happening! We’re rolling! We’ve secretly got together, it’s the beginning… the skate evolution continues,” he announced in EA Play Live, on June 18. “We want to thank you for your passion, your patience, and all the support you’ve shown us… you commented this into existence! Amazing!” At the moment, the project is in its very early stages, and there’s a “long way to go” before we’ll get a glimpse of gameplay. Regardless, producer Deran Chung said that getting the Skate community involved will be a priority for the team, and that this would be “just the beginning” of what’s in store.