THE FIVE HEADLINES
#1: EA cancels another Star Wars game
The partnership between Electronic Arts and the Star Wars brand continues to be a troubled one, as EA Vancouver’s open-world game for the franchise has reportedly been cancelled. According to Jason Schreier at Kotaku, the larger-in-scope code-named project Orca has been shelved in order to try to turn around a smaller project for fall 2020. To recap, there was Amy Hennig’s Visceral project of Ragtag, which changed into EA Vancouver’s project Orca after it was cancelled. With Orca now on hold, that makes two Star Wars games released by EA – both Battlefronts – since the ten-year deal with Disney was signed in 2013. By comparison, there have been four Star Wars films released in that time. Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is slated for fall 2019, but keep your eye on this one, as it’s no guarantee the EA contract lasts the full ten years.
#2: SNES games may come to Switch Online
Subscribers to Nintendo Switch Online have been used to receiving NES games as part of a Netflix-like service, but that may be expanding soon, based on datamined code in a recent software update. Modders posted a list of Super Nintendo game titles that were discovered in the code, as if laying the groundwork for a future update. Many of the titles you would expect are included, though Super Mario All-Stars and Star Fox 2 are certainly highlights.
Since NES games in Switch Online use the same KachiKachi software that Nintendo used in the NES Classic, it makes sense to also see “Canoe” appear in the code, which is the emulator in the SNES Classic. Hopefully we’ll see a Nintendo Direct announced in the near future, because we really need these games on this service.
#3: Mortal Kombat 11 reveals its gameplay
Netherrealm Studios took to the stage in a livestreamed event to show off the first gameplay and details of Mortal Kombat 11. Seven characters have been confirmed. Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Raiden return as expected, as does Sonya Blade – and yes, she is voiced by Ronda Rousey, as the rumors suggested. Baraka and Skarlet are playable once again, after their absences in MKX, and Geras is a new character with time and sand powers. New features include Fatal Blows that are metered super moves, Perfect Blocks for counter-combos, a continuation of MK’s story mode, and players will be able to fully customize their characters with different weapons, costumes, and more. Mortal Kombat 11 launches worldwide on April 23rd for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, though rumors suggest that the Switch version may get pushed back.
#4: Rocket League is now fully cross-platform
Psyonix has announced that players are now able to have Rocket League matches with anyone, as the game fully supports cross-platform play. You may recall that PS4 was the last big holdout here, with last fall’s controversy surrounding Fortnite and Sony’s resulting cross-platform beta program. Rocket League was an obvious contender back then for inclusion into the program and it’s good to see it come full-circle, as this kind of flexibility for games with larger communities is becoming accepted more over time. While cross-platform play is available now in Rocket League, party support with friends will arrive in the game’s upcoming first update of 2019.
#5: Ubisoft lets Pioneer drift
If a tweet from creative director Alex Hutchinson is any indication, Ubisoft has cancelled their space exploration game Pioneer. Now, you may be wondering “What is Pioneer? Was it ever actually revealed?” and you would be right – it wasn’t. Pioneer, some may recall, was the game that was virally marketed inside 2016’s Watch Dogs 2, in which during a side mission, protagonist Marcus Holloway broke into Ubisoft’s San Francisco studio to download an unreleased game trailer. Alas, what could have been one of gaming history’s more clever teases will not be panning out into a final product.
GAME AND RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCEMENTS
- PlayStation VR Demo Disc 3 (OUT NOW – PS4)
- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode 4 (March 26 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
- Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission (April 5 – Switch, PC)
- Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (April 2019 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC later)
- Dragon Ball Game Project Z Action RPG (2019 – TBD)
OUT THIS WEEK
- Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal (Tuesday, January 22 – PS4, PC)
- Switchblade (Tuesday, January 22 – PS4, PC)
- Life Is Strange 2 – Episode 2: “Rules” (Thursday, January 24 – PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Smite (Thursday, January 24 – Switch)
- Resident Evil 2 (Friday, January 25 – PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Until next time, I’m at @petespeakeasy
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