The Best Video Game News This Week: The Avatar Project, RE 3, and the Vatican Minecraft server
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…
It is well-documented and widely accepted* that Pokémon Shield got the better deal when it comes to version exclusives. Pokémon Sword may be more popular, but Shield has Larvitar, Lotad, Sableye, and of course, Zamazenta. I have been doing my best philanthropic work to breed Shield exclusives to punt out into the world through Special or Link Trades with Sword players. However, I was made aware of the one superior Pokémon present in Sword.
Shield has the Ice Gym and Sword has the Rock Gym, both in the town of Circhester in the games. Circhester is a snowy locale, so the Ice Gym makes more sense than a Rock Gym. This victory is bittersweet, though, because the Rock Gym Leader uses a Gen 8 Pokémon that is much, much, much cooler than the equivalent in my game. It’s called Stonjourner, it looks like a sentient Stonehenge, and it is the wonder of the Galar region. “Once a year, on a specific date and at a specific time, they gather out of nowhere and form up in a circle,” its Poké Dex entry reads. Now, I’m thinking of other British monuments Game Freak could have chosen for Sword and Shield. The Blackpool Central Pier Wheel: Electric and Fairy. The Iron Bridge: Steel and Dark. Birmingham’s Bullring Bull: Normal and Rock. Here’s the news*.
* by me
“So we’ve been talking a little about maybe putting out a third entry, but really the big thing is between 1 and 2, there were so many improvements made,” said Dragon Quest director Tomohiko Sho. “If we were going to go from 2 to 3, what else can we put in to really impress the players who played both games that will get them really excited and really emotionally moved by it?” Sho is referring to the leaps and bounds Dragon Quest Heroes 2 made from its original, such as the co-op mode, cross-platform play, and class swaps. As a result, it would be tough to break the mould once again in a third game. Sho is happy to give it a go, though. “Obviously this is a Square Enix property so we can’t really say anything, but I have kind of mentioned to them before, ‘Shouldn’t we consider a third entry?’” he recalled.
The Division developer is beavering away on The Avatar Project and is currently seeking AI game designers, programmers, animators, and development testers. The adaptation was announced two years ago, but it had been all quiet on the Pandoran front since then. The official Avatar Twitter account revealed that the game is still in production at Ubisoft Massive when a fan asked after it, and presumably it’s chugging along at its own pace. Avatar producer James Cameron was floored by the Snowdrop engine when The Avatar Project was revealed. “With the power of [Snowdrop], and the team’s passion and obsessive focus on detail, we know they’re the right group to bring the beauty and danger of Pandora to life,” he said at the time.
The League of Legends publisher has settled the class action lawsuit that was filed against it one year ago. Accused of fostering a “bro culture” that “rewards behaviour that disadvantages women” and restricted their career opportunities, Riot Games said that it will “take an approach that we believe best demonstrates our commitment to owning our past, and to healing the company so that we can move forward together.” The estimated 1,000 female employees that have been working with the company since 2014 will be paid out of a $10 million fund. Their compensation will be determined on a case by case basis, depending on how long they’ve been at Riot and whether they are full-time or contractors. “We’re pleased to have a proposed settlement to fully resolve the class action lawsuit. The settlement is another important step forward, and demonstrates our commitment to living up to our values and to making Riot an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent,” said a spokesperson for the publisher.
Nemesis is looking fresh. Based on the leaked artwork, he’s got a new design that ditches the stitches and has “Caution” stickers dotted on his suit. Less is more and all that. On the cover, Nemesis looms over Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira, and this is almost a confirmation of a Resident Evil 3 remake. Almost. Though this was found on the PlayStation Network, it could be fan-made. But, new cover artwork for Project Resistance was also stumbled upon and the font and the red “RE” in titles Resident Evil 3 and Project Resistance match. It’s either a very dedicated Resident Evil fan moonlighting as a designer or a real Resident Evil 3 remake. We’ll update you as soon as we hear from Capcom.
Trolls are subjecting the server to DDoS attacks, shutting down the non-toxic gaming space that Catholic priest Father Robert R Ballecer has set up. He’s also known as the Digital Jesuit, and when the world caught wind of a Minecraft server for The Vatican, he was interviewed on his latest venture. “You see this guy in a collar talking about the latest offerings from Google, or how you run fibre optics across the Atlantic, and they didn’t understand it,” he explained. “They said, ‘Wait a minute, these two things don’t go together’ but after time people started realising, ‘Okay, he knows what he’s talking about he just happens to be a priest.’” The Minecraft server is moderated and volunteers are banning those who are believed to be setting off the DDoS attacks. It is hoped that Ballecer and his team take back the server from the trolls and it can become a safe space for all gamers.
Bluepoint Games loves the PlayStation 5. “The SSD has me really excited,” said president Marco Thrush when the next-gen console was officially revealed. “You don’t need to do gameplay hacks anymore to artificially slow players down—lock them behind doors, anything like that. Back in the cartridge days, games used to load instantly; we’re kind of going back to what consoles used to be.” The developer is definitely hard at work on a PlayStation 5 project, and Thrush recently revealed that the team will be “most proud of” this venture. Bluepoint Games has done proper good remasters of Sony games in the past, and people are theorising that this secret project is a remaster that takes advantage of that special sauce in new hardware. It could be Demon’s Souls, Metal Gear Solid, SOCOM, The Legend of Dragoon… we aren’t sure. But, we are sure that we’ll be in for a treat whatever Bluepoint Games cooks up.
The game mysteriously materialised on the Microsoft Store, set for a launch date of February 18, 2020. Not only this, but it has been “remastered for the first time on Xbox One,” and will achieve 4K resolution at 60 frames per second on the Xbox One X. Big news, and the listing is still up on the Microsoft Store, which is almost like it’s actually happening. A Bayonetta remaster has also popped up, as the ancient prophecies foretold. The ancient prophecy is the appearance of a Bayonetta and Vanquish remaster bundle for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 back in 2017. Sega said nothing on the leaked remasters then, and the story petered out of existence. Until now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next, but the office is very excited for both remasters.
“Hong Kong is part of China, and this can’t be meddled with by outside powers,” says the web game’s title screen. In the game, the player will select a “traitor” stood on a crowded street in Hong Kong. Figures such as student activist Joshua Wong, entrepreneur Jimmy Lai, former chief secretary Anson Chan, and founder of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Martin Lee are all possible targets. Once selected, a shambling mass of protesters wearing masks and armbands will walk from left to right; the player must hit the protesters away before they reach the barricade. When the “traitor” shows up, the player must defeat them to show an animation of the figure arrested by Chinese authorities. State-owned tabloid paper Global Times claimed that the game has found success on Chinese social media platforms WeChat, Weibo, and Zhihu. This is the second game to be inspired by the Hong Kong protests; Liberate Hong Kong is a game wherein the player must avoid rubber bullets and tear gas canisters as a political activist.