It’s December 6th, 2017 and here’s what’s happening in games! Hoenn comes to Pokémon GO, a new Portal game, and Nintendo classics on Nvidia Shield. The video game industry changes every day and your time is important. Let’s get you caught up, starting right now, on Games in Time!
Pokémon GO adding Hoenn Monsters and Weather
Niantic has announced that more characters are being rolled out to Pokemon GO. Fifty of the 135 monsters from the Hoenn region, first discovered in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, arrive this week. This follows the handful of Generation III ghost Pokemon that were made available during a Halloween promotion for the game.
Weather played a big role in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, so it’s no surprise to see the game element make it’s way to GO as well. According to Niantic PR: “As Trainers are exploring the world around them in search of Pokémon, the current weather in their vicinity will be visible on the in-game map. The real-world weather around Trainers will impact the gameplay of Pokémon GO in a variety of ways that include changing Pokémon habitats and where they can be found, increasing Combat Power, and earning more Stardust after catching a Pokémon.”
Players will be able to explore rainy, snowy, foggy, and windy conditions when the update rolls out to players soon.
Bridge Constructor: Portal Leaked
Even though The Game Awards take place within hours, that doesn’t stop game announcements from being leaked. Would you have guessed that a new Portal game is on the way? To the dismay of some fans, it’s called Bridge Constructor: Portal and it’s a partnership between Valve and Headup Games. Clockstone Software will use the popular property to develop a game where players solve puzzles with vehicles crossing bridges using portals. The game is coming to Steam and mobile devices on December 20th, with console versions – including Nintendo Switch – arriving next year.
Nintendo Wii Classics on Nvidia Shield
You might not expect Nintendo games to appear outside of a Nintendo device, but what if I told you that remastered, 1080p Wii classics are now available on Nvidia Shield? Well, in China, anyway. It’s all part of a deal between Nvidia and Nintendo to bring The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Punch-Out!! – with Super Mario Galaxy “coming soon” – to the set-top TV box in the burgeoning market. It’s important to note that Nvidia previously partnered with Nintendo to develop the graphics chip that’s in the Nintendo Switch, which is comparable in power to the one in the Shield.
ArsTechnica clarifies that the playback is done through Nvidia’s Geforce Now streaming service, instead of direct emulation. Yet, it does beg the question why 1080p remastered versions of these games exist in the first place. Is the is test case for these games to eventually come to Switch stateside? Stay tuned.
God of War Leaks Possible Release Date
And finally, we may have seen the first look at the new God of War’s release date. For a brief period of time, the US PlayStation Store claimed that game would arrive on March 22nd, 2018, before it was replaced with a December 31st placeholder.
It is expected that Sony will use the upcoming PlayStation Experience event to provide updates on different games, like a God of War release date. Of note is the fact that not only is March 22nd a Thursday next year, but March 22nd, 2005 was the release date of the first God of War game. Stay tuned to the PSX pre-show event on Friday night at 11 PM ET for more details.
- A Hat in Time comes to PS4 and Xbox One today, after its launch on PC back in October. This cute-as-heck 3D platformer was a Kickstarter darling and is rather reminiscent of games like Super Mario 64 and Sunshine.
- WWE 2K18 comes to Nintendo Switch today after it launched on other platforms in mid-October. The decreased power of Switch is rather apparent in this port, so definitely value its portability here if you’re picking it up.
- Yakuza Kiwami 2 comes to PlayStation 4 in Japan on Thursday, December 7th. This wraps up a remarkable 2017 for the Yakuza franchise, with this remake of the 2006 game Yakuza 2. No localization has been confirmed yet, but one is expected to arrive next year, considering the West’s big role in the series’ revitalization.
DQP: “With countries like Belgium and states like Hawaii increasingly looking to regulate games with loot boxes, what do you think game companies like Blizzard or EA will have to do or change in the face of incoming regulation? What do you think will happen to ideas like skins in Overwatch or the Ultimate Team mode in the EA Sports games?”
I think I’m a bit of a pessimist about this, in that I think that the proposed legislation goes nowhere, at least stateside with the Electronic Software Association in the lobbying corner of the publishers. For them, it’s going to be very difficult to make legislative changes, based on the profits are already being brought in to investors. That is, at least in Trump’s America, where business is king.
To be honest, I think the Overwatch lootboxes and the EA Sports Ultimate Team card packs won’t change much over the next several years, because their in-game communities have already embraced the practice. It’s good that players called out Battlefront II for what it was and brought attention to that manipulative design. It’s that kind of attention that will be necessary for real change to happen. But when gamers have already given enough money to what they consider to be an acceptable practice, especially with certain games, then that kind of change may be too difficult to overcome.
When it comes to self-control, addiction, and good parenting, I think those are topics for another time. Here in America, I personally doubt there will be enough groundswell for nation-wide lootbox regulation to occur. And even if it did happen, would we trust that regulation to stop there and hope it didn’t infringe on the artistic expression? Now, if another country wants to ban certain games outright, that’s their prerogative. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, after all.
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