Connect with us


10 Wild Nintendo E3 predictions



Nintendo-E3 2016

Every year E3, brings us the biggest gaming news of the year, as Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo drops their biggest announcements about upcoming games, release dates, and new consoles. With the three-day conference fast approaching, I figured it would be a good time to release my 2015 predictions. With so many recent developments happening over at Nintendo headquarters, I believe, there is a reason to be optimistic about Nintendo’s presence at the event this year – even, if the new Legend of Zelda game doesn’t make an appearance. It’s always hard to guess what Nintendo will announce since the company has always been so unpredictable, but I have high hopes for what could happen during Nintendo’s live-stream presentation. So what surprises are in store this year? Here are my best guesses.

Note: This is a list of predictions, and not things we already know to expect such as gameplay footage and release dates for games such as Star Fox, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Wooly World and so on.



1. New Super Mario 3D World 

WiiU has Mario Maker to look forward to, but the 3DS doesn’t yet have any new Mario game scheduled for an upcoming release… at least not yet. Super Mario 3D Land reinvented everything fans love about Mario gaming and it is still considered one of the best games on the portable platform. It was also released four years ago, and considering the series turns 30 this September, I’m expecting Nintendo will announce a new Mario game for their portable system. Super Mario 3D World was developed by the same team that created Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS, so instead of predicting a direct sequel to Land, I’m guessing they’ll release a handheld version ofSuper Mario World instead.


2. Retro Studios / Metroid

With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze out of the way, Retro is free to focus on their next project. Initially, there were rumors that they were working on Diddy Kong Racing 2 with Monster Games, but those same rumors also promised it would be shown at last year’s E3 as well, and it never was. Discussion of a Wii U Metroid game started with tweets stating that the developer is working on “a Wii U game with a new engine,” and recent job postings on the developer’s website indicate that they are indeed working on something. Since Retro Studios was responsible for the popular first-person shooter iterations of the sci-fi epic, it wouldn’t be at all surprising for the Big N to hand the reigns back over to the Texas-based studio. We know a Metroid game is eventually coming, but I think the bigger question is what sort of Metroid game will we get? After Metroid: Other M failed to reach the critical and commercial success of thePrime trilogy, so going back to what didn’t work with the franchise doesn’t make much sense. When Samus does indeed return, I think she will return in two forms; the first will be a return to the 2D platforming roots and released only for the WiiU. The second will be a first-person shooter exclusive to the New 3DS, a game that takes full advantage of both screens as well as the handheld’s C-stick. There isn’t a Nintendo franchise more in need of a revival than Metroid, so why not release two games instead of one? Expect to catch a brief glimpse of these two projects at the very end of their presentation.


3. DENA Mobile Games

With their recently announced partnership with DeNA, Nintendo has made it clear that their first smartphone and tablet games are due out before the end of the year. I don’t expect Nintendo to focus too much attention on this new partnership, but I do anticipate the announcement of their first three titles. The question is, which games or franchises might be headed to smart devices. Could it be a Super Mario endless runner or a side scrolling platformer much like Super Kitty? Nintendo’s chief didn’t say, but he did rule out porting its existing classic games. If I had to place a bet on which franchises they choose, I would put my money on a mobile version of Punch Out, Wario Ware andMario Kart, three games that would easily work on a mobile device without the need of a controller.


4. Amiibo

Companies like Activision and Disney have enjoyed massive success with their respective toys-to-life offerings, Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Activision noted that their franchise had crossed $2 billion in worldwide sales – an impressive feat for an independent publisher. The first edition of Disney Infinity alone has generated over $500 million – and that was before the release of their future editions which reportedly outsold the inaugural set. There was some question of whether the market would be too crowded for Nintendo to make an impact when it launched Amiibo alongside Super Smash Bros. but those concerns were crushed when Nintendo released the numbers for the third quarter of its fiscal year and revealed that the company sold 5.7 million amiibo worldwide, and counting. Nintendo has been caught off-guard by the success of its Amiibo line, and with most figures in short supply, expect Nintendo to announce a re-release of some of the most sought-after characters. Don’t expect them to re-stock on every character, but certain figures such as Captain Falcon, Ike and Marth should come back with larger supplies. Nintendo’s interactive figures have been a huge success for the company, and there’s no reason for them to stop production. Beyond that, the remaining roster of Super Smash Bros. will be brought to life in toy form, and set for release before the end of the year.


5. Super Mario WiiU 30 Year Anniversary Bundle

The WiiU has been a huge disappointment for Nintendo, and even with post-Mario Kart 8 sales, it continues to lag behind expectations. Nintendo is the most venerable name in gaming and yet Wii U has not sold nearly as many units as the company hoped. Almost two years into its life, Wii U has so far sold only 10 million units into retail. Compare that to the Wii which went on to sell over 100 million worldwide. Nintendo wants to sell more consoles. They take pride in their system, and with good reason. The WiiU is perhaps, their best console to date, and the best way for Nintendo to sell more WiiU consoles so late in the game, is to release a Super Mario 30 year anniversary bundle which includes Mario Maker and one other Mario game. Expect a new model with more than 32GB and a new color and/or Mario theme to match the big event.

N64 controller

6. GameCube Virtual Console Support

Now that Nintendo has begun releasing N64 games on the virtual store, expect them to release games from the Gamecube era as well. GameCube is the only home console not featured on the Virtual Console and with the recent re-release of the Wii U GameCube Controller Adapter, it only makes sense.


7. Next Level Games

Next Level Games have made a name for themselves over the past decade after working closely with Nintendo on numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful titles. The independent video game developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is best known for its work with Nintendo, having wowed us with Punch-Out!!for theWii and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the 3DS. Dark Moon proved that Mario’s younger brother was far from irrelevant while Punch Out brought back the biggest names in boxing after a 15-year hiatus. Recent rumors hint that Next Level Games are currently working on a new unannounced Wii U game which is set to make use of Nintendo’s own intellectual property. Next Level developer Dan Pratezina revealed via his personal website that working at Next Level Games and ”being surrounded by Nintendo IP all day” is ”making him want a Wii U”. If this is true, the question remains, what Nintendo IP are they tackling, this time, around? My guess is a sequel to Mario Strikers which will, of course, come with amiibo support and allow you to add any amiibo character to your roster.


8. Shigeru Miyamoto takes the stage one last time.

Miyamoto maintains an active role at Nintendo, developing several projects at a time. He has, however, announced that he will be retiring soon, and has been preparing Nintendo for the time when he no longer works for the company. As part of this, Miyamoto revealed multiple projects at E3 2014 including a completely new franchise for the Wii U. His next project Star Fox is slated to be released in 2015 and is guaranteed to be at the forefront of Nintendo’s presentation, but I also expect a full blown demo and trailer for Project Giant Robot and Project Guard as well. This will be the last time Miyamoto takes the stage at E3, leaving Nintendo to abandon the digital presentation of previous years.

pokken tournament

9. Pokken Tournament for WiiU and 3DS

Last August, fans of Pokemon were shocked when the teaser trailer for Pokken Tournament, a collaboration with Tekken publisher Bandai Namco, was released. Ever since, the biggest topic of discussion has been whether or not the Japan arcade exclusive fighting game will grace the Wii U console. While some third party publishers have left the Wii U, Bandai Namco remains loyal and considering how much money thePokemon series makes, there’s little doubt that both Nintendo and Bandai Namco have Wii U in mind for the new fighting game; After all, Bandai Namco is the co-developer for the new Super Smash Bros. on 3DS and Wii U. Rest assured that Pokken Tournament will make its way to the Wii U eventually. The question is when, and will they also consider a version for the 3DS as well? Given that Super Smash Brothers made its handheld debut thanks in part to Namco’s assistance, it’s not out of the question to think a 3DS version of Pokken Tournament could also be in the works. As it stands, the arcade version is Namco’s first priority, but it seems likely that with some fine-tuning, the game can get a console release as early as 2016. Either way, there will be some mention of Pokken Tournament at E3 2015, albeit brief, with more info to follow during the 2016 Japan Expo arcade game showcase, which takes place sometime in February. More Pokemon games also mean there is a good chance Nintendo will develop amiibo in the form of playing cards for the Pokemon universe; and considering the hundreds of characters Pokemon has, a card-based system would make more sense than the toy figures they currently produce.


10. SNES Remix

The NES Remix series is more than just a trip down memory lane – it is a huge win for Nintendo. Having exhausted the NES library, the SNES library would be the next step and when IGN asked NES Remix director Koichi Hayashida about the possibility of expanding the series to include other platforms like Super Nintendo or Game Boy Advance, he replied, he has a large desire to explore the very idea and it is something they are considering so long as there is enough of a demand. I expect SNES Remix to be announced at E3 and released sometime around Christmas.

Mother 3 Wii U

Special Mention – Mother 3 release

18 years after debuting on the Super NES, EarthBound was once again released on the Virtual Console in North America and Europe to everyone’s surprise. Given the tremendous exposure surrounding the launch of the game, you might expect Nintendo would want to consider the possibly of localizing other titles in the Mother series — specifically the Game Boy Advance sequel Mother 3 — which remains the most notable Nintendo game to never see release outside of Japan. When asked by IGN if the positive reception given to Earthbound would change the way Nintendo views the franchise, Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime replied, “I have nothing to announce regardingMother 3 at this time.” For the unfamiliar, there are some significant hurdles that impact the prospects of Mother 3 ever being localized namely, a substantial amount of animal cruelty, a notable scene of physical violence, repeated drug and alcohol references, and more importantly, potential copyright issues with certain musical numbers. But there is still hope: Firstly, Earthbound has its fair share of animal abuse, drug and alcohol references, prostitutes, drug dealers and musical copyrights as well, and that had its initial release 21 years ago. Secondly, the latest Nintendo Direct confirmed that Gameboy Advanced Games would be on the Wii U Virtual console, and obviously, Mother3 is on the GBA. Considering the addition of Lucas in Super Smash (a character from the Mother series) and the fact that Earthbound was in the top 10 on the Wii U eShop for a very long time – I see no reason why they shouldn’t localize the game. That said, I don’t honestly think Nintendo will bring Mother 3 to North American shores, but one can dream.


Looking ahead, I believe Nintendo’s future is very bright. I don’t expect the NX console to get a release until late 2017, but there is still plenty to look forward to. 2016 marks the 30 year anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series in Japan and I believe Nintendo decided to not focus on the new Zelda game come E3, simple because they plan on releasing several big plans for the series all at once. I expect that Nintendo is indeed working on either a TV series or big screen adaptation of the franchise. With movies like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Avengers bringing in billions of dollars of revenue, a Legend of Zelda film is very much possible. I also expect we will eventually get the Legend of Zelda LEGO set and game we’ve all been asking for. And yes, an entire line of amiibo figures dedicated to Hyrule is also possible.


Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Game Reviews

‘Woven’ Review: Comfortably Soft and Lumpy

Despite those blurry visuals and stilted gameplay, there’s something endearing about this innocent elephant’s adventure.



With a sincere warmth and fuzziness that conjures up dreamy recollections of 3D games gone by, Alterego Games’Woven mostly overcomes its blurry visuals and technical jankery to somehow create a pleasant, old-fashioned experience. Those excited by modern gaming probably won’t give this lovable hand-me-down a second look, and perhaps they shouldn’t; extremely simple actions and soothing narration support a fairy tale quality that’s probably best suited to younger players. However, anyone willing to look past the well-worn exterior in search of a relaxing break from stressful button pushing may squeeze more fun out of this familiar stuffed toy than they might originally expect.

Woven tasks players with taking control of a meandering patchwork elephant named Stuffy, and guiding him through a sparsely populated knitted world that seems to have met an untimely demise. Because Stuffy has cotton for brains, he is assisted on this journey by a much smarter metal firefly named Glitch (a reference to his role in this story?), who floats alongside the curious-but-clumsy plush toy and provides hints as to how he can use his various abilities. Together, this odd couple will traverse open plains blanketed with colorful yarn grass, maneuver around impassable felt trees and plants, and hopefully discover the secret of where Stuffy’s clueless kin have all gone.

Along the way, the duo will walk great distances (often without much event), solve the occasional environmental puzzle, and generally just keep on keepin’ on.Woven is mostly straightforward in its campaign, merely about getting from point A to B by whatever means the path requires. Most often this involves finding new blueprints that allow players to change Stuffy’s design from an elephant into a wide variety of other animal shapes, each with a set of abilities that come with a new set of arms, legs, and a head. For instance, while the stocky (and adorable) bear can push plush boulders and perform a mighty stomp, the goat and frog can both use their legs to hop, while the kitty cat is able to push buttons on rusted consoles that activate dormant machinery.

However, these abilities are usually only able to activate when context-sensitive prompts from Glitch appear, so don’t expect some sort of platforming freedom. Woven handles a bit clumsily in that regard and others; strolling is definitely the order of the day, as long as Stuffy doesn’t get hung up on the geometry.

But these actions do help provide variety; a tropical bird of some sort (toucan, maybe?) can sing certain notes, while a pelican-thing can fly (sort of) over land and shallow water with great speed. And so, it often becomes necessary in Woven to alter Stuffy’s look with a total reweave. These designs can be applied at various sewing machine-like stations scattered about, which go a step further than just swapping Stuffy the deer for Stuffy the ape. Each blueprint is comprised of five parts, allowing for players to create a Frankenstein Stuffy made up of all the best abilities the player has on hand (or cushioned paw). By mixing certain sets, Stuffy will soon be able to scale mountainside crags, cross piranha-filled rivers, and pick up industrial cogs without the need to make a pit stop and bust out new needle and thread.

Some truly hilarious (or horrifying, depending on your sensibilities) aberrations can be created; seeing Stuffy hobble on hooves as he flaps a wing on one side and swings a muscular gorilla arm on the other, all with the head of a squirrel, is freakishly entertaining. In addition, for those who like to wander off the beaten path, there are a plethora of knitting patterns to discover, tucked away in both obvious and devious locations (and denizens). These cosmetic enhancements can also be applied at the sewing stations, essentially giving players seemingly endless amounts of customization. And these aesthetic changes even get in on the puzzle act every once in a while, especially when a pesky cobra shows up.

But outside the odd ‘connect the power line’ or ‘raise and lower platforms’ objectives, Woven doesn’t throw much at players that even young children shouldn’t be able to handle — and that seems to be the aim. Stuffy’s adventure lives or dies on its wholesome and serene vibe, which players either buy into or they don’t. There’s no combat here, very little to actually do outside hunting down those patterns, illuminating some painted caves, and activating some of Glitch’s ‘memories’ contained by machines hidden in the soft folds. Ongoing narration is pleasant to the ears, often conveying old-fashioned morals and cutesy jokes, but there’s no more story than in a classic fable.

And make no mistake — though the world is certainly bright and cheerful, it’s also quite fuzzy around the edges. The tactile nature of the cloth textures is lessened greatly by the low definition (at least on the Switch version), eliciting memories of the Wii-era. An increased crispness would have really made the world of Woven pop off the screen, perhaps luring in a larger audience who have become accustomed to such. There is still plenty of charm, but it feels like a missed chance at that true magical feeling the game seems to be shooting for.

Other stumbles come when certain worlds try to open up a bit more, which might lead a younger audience to get frustrated by the lack of direction (especially when they keep getting hung up on that geometry!); Woven definitely works better when it’s casually guiding players along, letting gamers of all ages envelop themselves in the easygoing atmosphere instead of requiring tedious backtracking. There’s just something nice about sitting back and relaxing to hummable music, watching the roly-poly amble of a stuffed kangaroo.

Woven will not be for everyone; those who play for challenge or eye candy won’t find either here. And yet, despite those blurry visuals and stilted gameplay, there’s something endearing about this innocent elephant’s adventure. Woven certainly has its share of lumpiness, but somehow remains cozy regardless.

‘Woven’ is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch (Reviewed on Switch).

Continue Reading

Game Reviews

‘Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’ Review: Moon’s Haunted but Still Shines

‘Destiny 2: Shadowkeep’ returns to a familiar destination but Bungie is reworking Destiny with each expansion and Shadowkeep is no exception.



Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Review

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep may be a return to a familiar destination, the Moon, but Bungie continues the trend of reworking Destiny with each new expansion, and Shadowkeep is no exception. Replete with a reworked season pass system, progression systems, customization options, sandbox re-tuning and quest interface, Shadowkeep is both a welcome iteration and extension of the existing Destiny 2 experience offering more RPG-esque player agency than Destiny has ever seen before. While the game is still haunted by some overly familiar issues, Shadowkeep is a welcome expansion and a promising start to the third year of Destiny 2.

Old Haunting Grounds

The Moon isn’t the only familiar face in Shadowkeep. Keeping with tradition, Eris Morn has returned from a long absence for another dark, lunar expansion (the first being D1′s The Dark Below when the character was first introduced) as she investigates a disturbance deep within the Moon. Quite literally haunted by the past, Eris has called upon the Guardians to assist her in finding the source of the phantoms plaguing the Moon and vanquishing “Nightmare” versions of familiar visages from the past.

All is not entirely as old players might remember. An immense hive structure, the Scarlet Keep, now overshadows previously unexplored territory on the Lunar surface. New Lost Sectors hide in the depths of the Moon, and new secrets a la the Dreadnaught or the Dreaming City lie waiting to be discovered by inquisitive players. And at the very center of the expansion an ancient, unknown threat lies in wait, an ominous foreshadowing of the trials ahead.

While the expansion does a decent job ensuring the familiar haunts don’t feel overly recycled, it’s hard to say Shadowkeep makes the most of the Moon. The campaign opens on such a high note as players storm the moon in an unexpectedly matchmade sequence before individual Fireteams independently uncover an unanticipated twist that absolutely shatters expectation. Unfortunately, the narrative quickly devolves into uninteresting fetch quests that fail to live up to the intrigue of the initial mission nor live up to the narrative heights of some of the most memorable missions the Moon previously housed including fan favorites The Sword of Crota and Lost to Light to name a few. That’s tough company to keep, and Shadowkeep fails to measure up.

Similarly, a bit of that intrigue is reintroduced in Shadowkeep‘s final mission, but, like the campaign as a whole, it’s over before the player knows it and fails to live up to the precedent set by previous, lengthier campaign conclusions. More mileage is gotten out of the narrative and destination in the post-game in the way of a new weapon farming system, a new activity known as Nightmare hunts that play like mini Strikes, and a Strike proper, but that does little to alleviate the disappointment of an overly terse campaign that reads like a teaser for what’s to come over a distinct, fleshed-out story.

A New Era, a New Season

Part of that is presumably courtesy of a shift in Bungie’s approach to content releases. While the previous expansion, Forsaken, similarly opted for procedurally released content over the course of the season, Bungie has doubled down on that strategy with Shadowkeep ensuring there’s something new to be experienced each week that players sign in. While certain activities have alway arrived post-launch including raids, dungeons, and exotic weapon pursuits, Shadowkeep and its “Season of the Undying” has seen new PvE and PvP activities launched after the expansion’s initial drop, adding to an already lengthy list of Destiny to-dos.

Central to the season is the new PvE, matchmade activity, the Vex Offensive, which pits six players against waves of Vex combatants paired and features some minor puzzle elements, all for the sake of earning a series of weapons exclusive to the mode. While the Black Garden locale of the mode is certainly eye-catching, the Offensive, with its recycled mechanics and familiar enemies, doesn’t leave much of an impression beyond that. It might pale in comparison to activities introduced in past seasons (like Warmind‘s Escalation Protocol, or last season’s Menagerie), but is intentionally terse, intended to match this new seasonal philosophy, and will be removed from the game after Season of the Undying (though the exclusive arsenal will still be available in the loot pool obtainable through undisclosed means). Like the Vex themselves, the Vex Offensive might not seem like much independently, but collectively is a piece of a greater whole challenging and rewarding players for participating within the specific season.

Bungie is further defining each season with the inclusion of a seasonal artifact and a season pass system. The artifact, again only available for the season, offers players an avenue for additional, limitless Power gains while also offering unlockable gameplay mods encouraging players to utilize specific classes and builds. The Oppressive Darkness mod, for example, debuffs enemies hit by void grenades, encouraging players to construct discipline-oriented, void builds. Another mod, Thunder Coil, increases the power of arc melee attacks by fifty percent, giving all new life to the Hunter’s Arcstrider subclass. Meanwhile, the season pass operates similar to that of Fortnite or any number of games and replaces the previous cosmetic only level up system of Destiny 2‘s past. From the season’s outset, any and all experience goes toward unlocking rewards from the pass including new armor, armor ornaments, exclusive weapons and exotics, and engrams. The experience requirement for each level is static, meaning progress is fair and steady throughout and never feels throttled. Both seasonal systems are fantastic new additions that reward players for playing the game while making experience gains more purposeful than any other time in Destiny‘s endgame.

New Duds to Boot

Shadowkeep also marks the debut of Armor 2.0, a new system that allows players more agency in character customization than ever before. Whereas armor previously rolled with random perks and a roll of only three stats (Mobility, Recovery, and Resilience), Armor 2.0 comes with no perks and six stats as Destiny 1‘s Intellect, Discipline, and Strength (determining the charge rates of player’s super, grenade, and melee abilities) make their triumphant return. Instead, Armor 2.0 has slots for modifiers so players can pick and choose whatever perks they want just as long as they’ve unlocked those mods. Mods are acquired from most activities, while enhanced mods (better versions of certain traditional mods) are exclusive to some of the game’s more challenging content. While the grind for mods seems excessive in the face of the rest of the game’s grind, it’s a one-time affair, some of the best mods are unlocked via the seasonal artifact, and the payoff is astounding, providing customization like never before.

Convoluting the process, unfortunately, is a messy elemental affinity system where certain mods can only be slotted into armor of a matching elemental type. Mods relating to pulse rifles, for example, are exclusive to Arc armor, so a piece perfectly rolled to a pulse-rifle-inclined player’s preference with a solar affinity won’t do them any good if they were hoping for pulse rifle perks. It was undoubtedly an intentional design decision to generate an arbitrary grind since players won’t need to chase armor with perfect perks any longer but is ultimately a mar on the face of an otherwise pretty great new system.

Convoluting the process, unfortunately, is a messy elemental affinity system where certain mods can only be slotted into armor of a matching elemental type. Mods relating to pulse rifles, for example, are exclusive to Arc armor, so a piece perfectly rolled to a pulse-rifle-inclined player’s preference with a solar affinity won’t do them any good if they were hoping for pulse rifle perks. It was undoubtedly an intentional design decision to generate an arbitrary grind since players won’t need to chase armor with perfect perks any longer but is ultimately a mar on the face of an otherwise pretty great new system.

Axe to Grind

Speaking to the grind, Destiny has often struggled and failed to find the perfect balance of meaningful power climb and tedious grinds recycling the same old activities. Luckily, at the outset of the climb towards max power, Shadowkeep strikes a much better balance centered on beloved ritual and new and or seasonal activities. Power drops now operate on a clearly labeled, tiered system, incentivizing players to prioritize new or challenging activities for maximum gains. Ritual activities (Strikes, Crucible, and Gambit), though tier one, retain their relevance by offering multiple weekly powerful drops for match completions, vendor bounties completed, and rank progression. Previous, otherwise irrelevant avenues towards power have been retired, but this is a welcome reduction and there is no shortage of powerful drops in the climb to max power. That isn’t to say that the grind couldn’t be shorter ensuring more players can participate in endgame activities when they first arrive, but progression generally feels smoother than any time in Destiny‘s past.

Conversely, content flow might overwhelm casual and even dedicated players as there’s simply too much to do and grind for players tight on time. Bungie now considers Destiny and MMO with proper RPG mechanics, and, in terms of time commitment, that really shows with Shadowkeep. On a certain week, a player might have an accomplished week in-game after sinking only three to five hours into the game. Other weeks the game seems to demand closer to the ten to twenty-hour range. One week, for example, saw the release of the new dungeon, a new Crucible game mode, an exotic quest, a new public event, and the start of the Festival of the Lost, a limited time, Halloween event. That’s simply too much, feels like poor pacing, and favors streamers, Destiny content creators, and hardcore players for whom Destiny is their exclusive hobby, a burgeoning theme with Season of the Undying. While it’s certainly exciting that there’s always something to do in D2, it doesn’t seem true to the game’s roots as a hybrid, a shooter with MMO elements, that could be taken at a more casual pace but still offered an engaging endgame for the dedicated audience. Now, there’s only an endgame with no end in sight.

A Better Destiny Awaits

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for players who want to pay a minimal price for seemingly unending content, and in that regard, Shadowkeep is a steal. A sensational new raid (minus some finicky new mechanics), a foreboding dungeon, an immense new arsenal to grind for, and a better tuned PvP and PvE sandbox in which to enjoy them mean Shadowkeep will keep Guardians’ attention the whole season long and is an excellent proof of concept for the seasonal structure going forward. If Bungie can keep this pace up, year three of Destiny 2 could easily be the best year in franchise history. As a general caution though, Destiny 2 now clearly caters to the hardcore, requires MMO levels of commitment, and is best enjoyed with a regular group; casual, time-restricted, and solo players beware. It might not be the best single expansion release in franchise history (that’s still a toss-up between The Taken King and Forsaken), but, beginning with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, the third year of D2 is the closest the tumultuous title has ever come to Bungie’s ambitious vision for the shared-world shooter and the game fans have been waiting for these past five years.

Continue Reading


What Are Some of the Switch’s Best Indie Devs Making?




The Nintendo Switch has quickly become the preferred platform for some of the most talented indie studios in the industry. Its pick-up-and-play form factor and Nintendo’s concerted effort to court smaller developers this generation (complete with indie-specific Directs) has resulted in a library that’s positively flourished.

Despite the eShop falling victim to some of the discoverability and shovelware issues that long plagued Steam, there have been some real standouts over the years. Since video games take quite a while to produce, there’s often speculation as to what some of the premier developers have been working on. Let’s take a look at four of the most recognized indie studios on the platform and have some fun trying to figure out what they might be up to.

Sidebar Games

It’s hard to believe that 2017’s Golf Story was Sidebar Games’ first project as a studio. The two-man team from down under balanced a delightful dose of Australian-tinged humor with clear callbacks to the Mario sports games of old to deliver one of the best Switch exclusives in 2017, bar none.

Unlike the other studios on this list, Sidebar has been extremely silent on development progress; we can only glean bits and pieces from the few interviews they’ve done. We know the game has been in development for roughly two years and that Sidebar was still in active development as of March 2019 when they put out the call for a pixel artist for their next project. There’s also a fair chance that the new game will either be Switch-exclusive or target Switch first, seeing as how Golf Story is still one of the Switch’s top 10 best-selling indie games to date as of Spring 2019. If exclusivity worked so well the first time, why not try it again?

What Can We Expect?

Whatever Sidebar is working on, it’s almost guaranteed to be single-player and story-focused. One half of the dev team, Andrew, has gone on record multiple times saying that he’s “very partial to story modes.” This also players into one of their strengths; though there was a great time to be had with Golf Story’s golf, it was all elevated by the game’s ridiculous-yet-lovable characters and wacky situational humor.

Since the team has already deconfirmed a sequel as their next project, there’s really not much to go on. While I’d personally love them to tackle something Mario Tennis-inspired next, there’s a good chance they’ll avoid sports altogether. As long as the wit found in Golf Story is alive and well, though, their core audience is sure to be interested.


Despite being incredibly simple from a visual standpoint, the deceivingly charming Slime-San is still one of the best platformers to come out in recent memory. The game’s striking three-color art style isn’t just unique, but it’s also ingrained into the platforming mechanics in inventive ways. Beyond having a look all its own and a stiff challenge for players who wanted it, however, Fabraz went the extra mile to build a fun cast of characters and even a hub world to explore outside of the main game. It was a pleasant surprise from a relatively unknown developer at the time.

Fabraz has been anything but complacent since Slime-san’s launch. The studio released two free content expansions, ported the game to other consoles, and even got into the publishing business. No matter their other ventures, however, the team has made sure to tease their next project every so often since the start of 2019.

What Can We Expect?

Fabraz speculated that their new game was already roughly 60% complete at the start of October. Since it only began production in December of 2018, it’s safe to assume that the next game will be relatively small in scope. It’s also likely that Fabraz’s next outing won’t be “Slime-san 2,” since the original game received such heavy content additions months after release (including an expansion literally titled “Sheeple’s Sequel.” The team certainly knows how to make magic from very limited resources, so it’ll be interesting to see what they can do with a bit more of a budget, a new art style, and tons more experience.

Game Atelier/FDG Entertainment

It feels like Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom came out of nowhere. The team at FDG Entertainment had published indie darling Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King just the year prior and the console port of Oceanhorn before that, but there wasn’t much talk about FDG’s capabilities as a developer. As it turns out, however, Game Atelier’s choice to bring them on as a co-developer was the best thing that could’ve possibly happened to Monster Boy. Five long years of development later and fans were treated to one of the best platformers in recent memory.

Though it launched on all consoles, Monster Boy famously sold eight times more on Switch than PS4 and Xbox One combined, reminiscent of the sales of Blossom Tales on Switch. Needless to say, FDG’s next title will be targeted squarely as the Nintendo community. But what could that next project be?

What Can We Expect?

A Monster Boy sequel. FDG recently celebrated their collaboration with Game Atelier on Twitter and announced that they’re collaborating once more. The commercial and critical success of Monster Boy can only lead one to believe they’re hard at work on a follow-up together. Thankfully, with such a solid base to work off of now, this one shouldn’t take nearly as long to release.


Chucklefish has garnered a great deal of respect in the indie community as both a developer (Starbound, WarGroove) and frequent publisher (Stardew Valley, Timespinner, the upcoming Eastward, and others). Their eagerness to bring so many of their top-notch titles to Switch has made them one of–if not the–most lauded indie studios on the platform. If it’s coming from Chucklefish, there’s a good chance it’ll be of the highest quality.

What Can We Expect?

Witchbrook! Chucklefish announced the game way back in 2017 and instantly had both Harry Potter and Little Witch Academia fans foaming at the mouth. It’s a magical school simulation/RPG where players will attend class, learn spells, make friends, date, and work towards graduation. The company’s CEO and lead designer, Finn, has been incredibly open about the game’s development from the beginning. In fact, he made the ever-changing Witchbrook design document public in August of 2019 to give some insight into the game design and planning process.

Since there’s already so much we know about where the game’s going, this is going to be used as more of a “Hopes for Witchbrook” section. To keep it short, let’s focus on two of the game’s most make-or-break elements: dating and world-building.


One of the things many RPGs struggle with is making dating feel meaningful after the relationship starts. People love romancing in Stardew Valley, but the experience itself is really rather shallow; bring characters their favorite items, talk to them daily, experience a few touching cutscenes and voila! All that’s left is to put a ring on it and have a baby.

My hope is that in Witchbrook, the real fun starts after the relationship begins. Being able to have lunch together, go to festivals, celebrate anniversaries, plan outings, and even introduce them to the player’s in-game friends would go a long way in making the relationship feel more than a ribbon to be crossed.


When someone asks the seminal question “What fictional world would you love to live in?” the world of Harry Potter almost always tops to list (right next to Pokémon, that is). It isn’t just because of magic itself or the emotional ties people have to the cast, but more so because of the immense amounts of personality and lore J.K. Rowling infused into the world. From the dark history of Hogwarts to the vast array of magical beasts to the establishment of Quidditch, there is a whole movie and video game series that has been created based on mere slices of the Harry Potter universe.

Naturally, it’d be silly to expect Chucklefish to achieve as much depth in an indie project as one of the most successful authors of all time did over the course of seven books, but there’s still plenty of potential. Since the game will primarily take place at the school, exploring why the school was created and how it’s changed over the years could be quite interesting. Then there’s how different populations of the world at large feel about magic, how various magical species play a part, the favorite magic-imbued pastimes of students in the world of Witchbrook, and so on. The key will be to infuse magic into every element of the world (and gameplay) as naturally as possible. And after reading through the extensive design doc, I’ve no doubt Chucklefish will be able to pull it off.

The indie scene on the Switch is thriving more than ever. New talented developers are making the platform their home every day, and those who’ve already proved themselves are hard at work on their next premium experience. The next wave of releases from these studios can’t come soon enough.

Continue Reading