Episode 138: You people and your phone games

We’re all back and didn’t have any technical difficulties! The crew highlights some of the things we’ve been playing over the past week (month). Kaz is killing it in the mount hunting arena, Kyle is killing it the game collection arena, and William is very happy with Collection of Mana. After we highlight our favorite announcements from the Nintendo Direct, and make fun of our not-so-favorite announcements too. And in discussions we briefly talk about the Me too uprising in the Indie Game scene and the sudden departure of Ikumi Nakamura from Tango Gameworks. What is going on? Anyways, Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

  • Nintendo Direct
    • All dat Smash goodness. Terry, another season of DLC, Banjo out now, Sans
    • SNES games on NSO, and you can buy an SNES controller for $30 to go with it
    • Doom 64 port (surprisingly nice. 64 is a completely different game and has never seen re-release)
    • Weeb Simulator Tokyo Mirage Sessions is getting a Switch port
    • Deadly Premonition is somehow getting a sequel (subtitle: A Blessing in Disguise)
    • Xenoblade Chronicles is getting a remaster that finally makes the game look nice instead of like everyone really enjoys vaseline
    • Trials of Mana release date April 24, 2020
  • Reggie is going to teach at Cornell starting this year, which is neat.
  • New Wii fit peripheral for the switch? https://www.polygon.com/2019/9/5/20851960/nintendo-switch-fitness-controller-exercise-video 

Discussion:

Many prominent figures in the industry have had abuse and other allegations levelled at them in the past few weeks.

I don’t know that we want to dwell on this one (particularly Alec Holowka), but a good 5+ prominent devs had victims step forward in the past couple weeks. Looks like it might be the start of a long ride.

Ikumi Nakamura has announced she’s leaving Tango Gameworks.

It’s a pretty big deal given her introduction by Mikami to talk about Ghostwire: Tokyo; she was clearly being set up as his successor. Details are sparse on why she left so suddenly in the middle of production on the game she was writing, directing, and everything-ing. It’s not even for another gig, she has a call for work in her resignation tweet. https://twitter.com/nakamura193/status/1169350900772564992

Episode 137: If You Didn’t Pick Blue Lions, You’re Wrong

This week on Pause Screen, Kaz is out, so Kyle and William talk about playing Smash, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Hollow Knight. For news this time, we talk about new team composition rules in Overwatch League, the International, console unity against loot boxes, WayForward’s upcoming games, and more! Then, to finish up, we talk about the recent Stadia announcements and how terrible they sound. Come pause with us!

Episode 135: Very Fun and Ethical

This week on Pause Screen: poor william and his grown up life doesn’t have time to play any games, Kaz is kinda in the same boat, just coasting along with Wow and Heroes. Kyle, our hero, played a lot: Momodora, Sky Force, Double Dragon Neon, Bloodstained and more.  On the Hype train we talk about Cadence of Hyrule which has been getting good reviews, Dota Underlords is now available in beta, and how Kaz needs to apply for Kaz Hirai’s vacant position at PS/Sony.  We also poke fun at the terrible choices that Pokemon Sword/Shield have been making and EA’s defense of their Loot Boxes. In our discussions we each pick out our top favorite things from this year’s E3. Do you have any excitement in common with the crew? Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

  • Cadence of Hyrule came out, is apparently good
  • Dota Underlords is definitely Auto Chess, was given out as a beta to Dota 2 Battle Pass holders. Is now in open beta on mobile and PC as of today!
  • Kaz Hirai has officially retired from Playstation/Sony
  • Everyone is in a tizzy about Pokemon Sword and Shield, mostly due to not including all Pokemon ‘for balance and cost reasons’, partly due to it being ugly and a little stale
  • In an oral session with the UK Parliament, EA called loot boxes “surprise mechanics”, and compared them to Kinder Eggs, Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise (which is apparently a kids’ toy brand?). Yep. https://www.pcgamesn.com/ea-loot-boxes
  • Microsoft established an Age of Empires studio on the down low https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/344426/Microsoft_has_quietly_established_a_new_Age_of_Empires_studio.php
  • Microsoft is an official partner with CD Projekt for GOG 2.0, which probably means Game Pass integration https://www.reddit.com/r/gog/comments/c0h50i/

Discussion:

Bethesda has Orion, Microsoft has XCloud and Game Pass, Stadia is a thing, Ubisoft has their new service, and EA’s is still going strong. How do you guys feel about the all-digital future in this post-E3 2019 world?

Episode 136: Laggy Goodness

After a short break, Pause Screen returns! Over the past month, Kaz returned to guest-star on the 3bit Gamer Show as well as play some WoW, Archero, and Tales of Vesperia, William has picked up Hollow Knight, and Kyle limits himself to talking about Mario Maker 2, Blazing Chrome, Rhythm Heaven Silver, Dota Underlords, and some Smash. On the Hype train, we talk about the Switch Lite announcement, Luigi’s Mansion 3’s release, SGDQ, Wind Waker’s new barrier skip, and more! To finish up, we have a discussion about the sleaziness that is all of G2A. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – *toot toot*

Discussion:

G2A would probably be a used car salesman’s persona

Episode 134: Facetanking

On this week’s episode of Pause Screen Kaz talks some more PSVR and compares notes on Yoshi’s Crafted World with Kyle, who’s finished with Gato Roboto and Ninja Blade, and has started Team Sonic Racing and some Mario hacks. Then William chimes in to let everyone know he’s still playing Vesperia. In our news section, we talk Google Stadia info, Baldur’s Gate 3, the Pokemon direct, some new announcements, rumors, release dates, translation patches, and more! To finish up, we raise a glass and talk about GameStop’s woes and the apparent end of the 3DS era. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN – KIND OF E3 EDITION *toot toot*

SAD TRAIN

Episode 133: kojima surprise

This week on Pause Screen Kaz did not projectile vomit on her first VR expedience, Kyle is just too good at platforms and gets himself stuck and William didn’t get to play much (except for mobile games, who want’s to hear about that?) On the Hype train we are all surprised with the release date of Death Stranding. We talk about the excrement or derision surrounding the game. Oh and the fetus in the expansion pack.  We all get confused at the new Call of Duty naming scheme and the new Pokemon Sleep game, but can still be excited about them.  In discussions we talk about the nature and future of Esports, are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? Last of all we talk about the direction MIcrosoft is taking, will we see the end of console exclusives soon? Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Blizzard’s Overwatch League commissioner has left for Epic Games.

Do eSports have a real future? Or are we doomed to just watch games come and go as companies pour money into it as a marketing tactic? https://www.pcgamer.com/overwatch-league-commissioner-to-leave-blizzard-for-epic-games/

https://kotaku.com/as-esports-grows-experts-fear-its-a-bubble-ready-to-po-1834982843

Microsoft announced that they’re expanding Games Pass to PC, and that they’ll be putting their future releases—including Gears 5!—on Steam.

Interesting play, especially considering they’re set to announce new hardware in a couple of weeks. They’re really pushing having their games everywhere and building an ecosystem, rather than a strict console strategy. https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/05/30/microsoft-approach-to-pc-gaming/?ocid=XGP_soc_omc_xbo_tw_Photo_lrn_5.30.1

Episode 132: Predicting E3

This week on Pause Screen Kyle talks Sonic Forces, Bowser’s Inside Story, Legendary, and Mario Kart Tour, Kaz has finished up with Stardew Valley and ordered a PSVR, and William updates us on Vesperia, Furi, and FGO. In the Hype Train we have the Mario Maker 2 Nintendo Direct, DOTA OVERLORDS, Insomiac hiring sprees, Nioh 2, wacky handhelds, Nintendo pulling mobile games from Belgium, and more! We also discuss Epic’s poorly handled ‘mega sale,’ and Amazon’s attempts to ‘gamify’ the workplace. And to finish up, we talk our E3 predictions for this year! Come pause with us!

Discussion topics

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • The Mario Maker 2 direct happened, and it was fantastic. Ranked online multiplayer! Slopes! Adjustable water and lava levels! On/off switches!
  • Valve registered a trademark for DOTA OVERLORDS. Sounds like a spinoff game potentially, maybe the Auto Chess thing we know is coming?
  • World War Z has quietly sold 2 million copies
  • Sony is ramping up hires at Insomniac, presumably in the wake of Spider-Man’s success
  • Nioh 2 got a closed alpha announcement and a gameplay trailer, and it looks great https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmzW0IYhXlk&feature=youtu.be
  • The company that funded Firewatch made a new handheld console. The gimmick is that it has a hand crank. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5wdep/this-new-gaming-handheld-has-a-crank-and-looks-cool-as-hell
  • Nintendo has pulled FEH and Pocket Camp from Belgium as per their anti-loot box law

https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/21/nintendo-pulls-two-mobile-games-in-belgium-due-to-loot-box-laws/

Discussion:

Epic had a big sale, but didn’t tell publishers about it. Several publishers pulled their games in response.

The big deal was $10 off $14.99 and up, which effectively devalued a lot of games before they even came out. The money came from Epic’s pocket, but it really messes with your market strategy when stuff like that happens. Seems Epic still has a lot to learn.

https://kotaku.com/publishers-pull-their-games-from-epics-store-during-its-1834828248

Gamifying the workplace: Amazon makes a game to help productivity in packing wearhouses

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/05/amazon-gamifies-its-warehouse-work-like-tetris-but-with-real-boxes/

Episode 131: Chinese Gameocracy

Kaz and Kyle have to go Williamless this week, but they manage to push through their emotional pain to talk about Stardew Valley, WoW, Smash tournaments, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, and more. We also kick up a little pre-E3 hype by reviewing the conference schedule, talk even more about loot box legislation, get excited for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and are thoroughly whelmed by Medievil. Finally, we talk China’s rising status in the gaming world and the perils of animating Mortal Kombat. Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

Discussion:

Gaming and China.

Ready set go!

Kotaku had an interesting piece on the mental toll of making Mortal Kombat 11.

Should studios have to provide extra support for devs in situations like that? How do artists handle that sort of thing, anyways?

https://kotaku.com/id-have-these-extremely-graphic-dreams-what-its-like-t-1834611691

Episode 130: Sanic do-over

The crew start by talking about the game’s they’ve been playing. Kaz had a major win in wow by getting over 13 new mounts. Kyle finally beat Spyro reignited and surprisingly enjoyed himself in Sonic Forces. William continues his journey through Fate Grand Order (is anyone surprised?)  on the not-so-hype train we talk about the awful new Sonic movie trailer, and how even the directors vow to change the design won’t happen.  Persona 5 S is for Scramble and not switch, and Rocket league has been bought by Epic.  But we are hyped about Bloodstained, Blizzcon, Planet Zoo and Cuphead on switch. In the discussions we dive deep into Nether Tealm, epic and Riot and the Crunchtime Culture in the video game industry. Come Pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • Sonic happened – correction: something that professed to be Sonic happened.
  • But! There’s hope https://twitter.com/fowltown/status/1124056098925944832
  • Kingdom Hearts 3 now has a Critical mode, which hopefully makes it less pitifully easy than before. Also, they announced it’s getting a DLC called reMIND, which will have a new area and boss.
  • Joker is now in Smash! Also, Smash Ultimate is now the best selling fighting game of all time. https://www.unilad.co.uk/gaming/smash-bros-ultimate-hits-huge-sales-milestone-as-nintendo-reports-best-year-since-2009/
  • Persona 5 Scramble 🙁
  • Cuphead is out on switch along with a neat new patch, allowing you to play as Mugman, some new fully animated sequences, game animations, and other tweaks
  • One of the major reasons online slot machines are so popular in any type of casino, including online casinos
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has somewhat updated visuals and a release date! June 25 for Switch and June 18 for everything else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A640g5gDBJA
  • Blizzcon announced, tickets on sale, blizzard not have a booth other than gear at gamescom. New ticket system beware!
  • activision /Blizz announced COD league
  • Rocket league bought by Epic. uh oh, what does this mean for the future of the game?

https://www.polygon.com/2019/5/1/18525843/epic-games-buys-rocket-league-psyonix

  • PLANET ZOO!

Discussion:

There’s been a whole lot more discussion on crunch time and labor practices in the industry, this time brought to you by NetherRealm, Epic, and Riot. I don’t know what to say about it apart from what’s already been said, though.

https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/gy4qv7/league-of-legends-studio-faces-employee-walkout-promises-changes

https://www.pcgamer.com/former-devs-speak-out-about-severe-crunch-at-mortal-kombat-studio/

Everyone got really mad about the time grind in Mortal Kombat 11.

How much of a grind is ‘okay’? How can you make those systems fair while still giving die hards something to do for a long time?

Episode 129: Rise up Sheeple

This week on Pause Screen the crew update us on what they’ve been playing. Kyle complete Sekiro and gives his review of the Fairune Collection, Kaz is creating soap opera levels of mischief in Stardew valley while keeping up on her WoW chores, and William did play some Fate: Grand Order but has internet connection issues all episode long!  On the hype train we talk about Sekiro’s Sales numbers, the Smash Ulitmate stage builder leak, Spyro Reignited patch (Kyle can finally finish!) and Nintendo Direct rumors.  After a tangent on complaining about YouTube and Youtuber Culture, We get into our discussion about Nintendo being Ranked the 9th most reputable company in the US.  What has nintendo done to earn the good will of it’s fans? What are other video game companies missing? and how easy it is for a company to loose the grace of it’s fans.  Come pause with us!

HYPE TRAIN *toot toot*

  • Sekiro sold 2 million copies in its first 10 days
  • Rumor mill says that Watch Dogs 3 is going to be set in London. Sounds interesting
  • Stage Builder got leaked for Smash Ultimate
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy finally got a patch so I can finish it
  • Rumor said there was going to be a nintendo direct today, everyone was talking about it. And nope, didn’t happen

Discussion:

Nintendo was ranked the 9th most reputable company in the US, the only gaming company to make the top 10.

Given the close relationship between gaming companies and customers, why don’t we see more of that? Related, the Elder Scrolls: Blades beta came out on phones, and people hate the monetization. Between Stadia and F2P stuff, is Nintendo really a weird standout, or will other companies try the more consumer-friendly approach?

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190403005250/en/Netflix-Ranks-1-Reputation-Institute-2019-U.S

https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/06/the-elder-scrolls-blades-hands-on-a-shallow-skinner-box-that-you-can-pay-to-not-play/