Welcome, Newshounds, to your weekly roundup of the biggest stories to take place in the gaming world over the last week. Now, before you start reading through this informative-yet-entertaining extravaganza of news, I thought I’d lay a clear disclaimer on you all that I will not – not now, not in the future – be talking about the comet in Fortnite. I value your intelligence too much to waste your time with urban legends and viral marketing – you’re welcome. It’s probably a shame I’m not because it’s been a relatively slow news week, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about, especially if you’re a Nintendo fan. It’s time to dos the news (Still working on it)!
Nintendo Has a New President
Perhaps the biggest, and most shocking, news of the week was the announcement that Tatsumi Kimishima is to step down as Nintendo President to retire in June after just two-and-a-half years in the job, and will be replaced by Shuntaro Furukawa – a board member at the Pokémon Company.
Furukawa will become only the sixth president of Nintendo in its 128 year history, with Kimishima, who stepped in temporarily following the death of Satoru Iwata, the company’s shortest-serving president. Considering his short term in office, the fact that Kimishima oversaw the launch and success of Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s foray into mobile gaming, and deals to both open Nintendo theme parks and release a Super Mario Bros. movie, he’s done pretty well I’d say.
As for Furukawa, his first statement was short and succinct:
“We will develop the company to its fullest. I will balance Nintendo’s traditions: originality and flexibility.”
Hey, if developing the company to its fullest means more F-Zeros and Metroids and less cardboard boxes, then he can go on to become emperor of Japan for all I care.
‘The Witcher’ TV Show Will Arrive in 2020
It’s only two years before we will see Geralt of Rivea drink, fuck and fight monsters in his very own Netflix show, at which point we’ll be treated to eight hour-long episodes, according to IGN. Lauren Hissrich – the show’s writer, and co-executive producer on Marvel’s Daredevil – let slip a whole bunch of information on the highly anticipated show on Twitter this week following a Netflix event in Rome.
Addressing possible fan discontentment with the small number of episodes, she claimed the reduced amount was to ensure, “episodes can be tight, action-packed, rich in character and story, without lagging in the middle of the season.” Take that, antiquated notion of the mid-season lull. To further back this statement up, Hissrich also made bold claims about the show’s budget, saying, “TV budgets are big. They are. We’ll be using the money as wisely as we can. (Monsters included – and still very much in hot discussion).”
So far, the noises coming out about the show all sound pretty sweet on these old ears. It’s moving quickly, reportedly has ‘some dream casting happening,’ has a big budget, and features series creator Andrzej Sapkowski on board as a consultant. It’s got a long way to go to be the next Game of Thrones (as practically everything does), but it seems like fans of the games are certainly being catered for.
‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ Emerges from the Shadows (Sorry)
KALI-MA! Hey, remember Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Remember when it was a Tomb Raider game? No? Well, it is now! Lara Croft is going to be killing some Thugee cultists all over Mexico and raiding a bunch of Mayan tombs. Hey, it’s not like Lara and Nathan Drake ever hid their influences all that well before.
Square Enix officially announced the latest, and possibly final, entry in the Tomb Raider origin series last month, and have now followed through on their promise of a bigger reveal on April 27th. I say bigger rather than full, because the trailer is not in-game footage. But that’s just for us mere common folk – several media outlets have had the chance to play an hour-long demo of the game, with most of them reporting it to be, shockingly, more of the same we’ve come to expect. Except this time, with even less ludo-narrative dissonance than before. Lara’s going to be killing hundreds more dudes, and she seems to start feeling worse and worse about it with each new iteration. You’d have thought she’d be less of a wuss about it by now, but this time around she apparently half-inches an artefact that could trigger the apocalypse, so maybe the time to ditch the introspective criticism hasn’t arrived yet.
Eurogamer’s impressions implied that the demo is very much that – a demo. Noting janky movement animations, dodgy hitboxes, an erratic camera and some other bugs, it seems like either the demo was an older build, or the game will need plenty of work before its now-official September 14th release.
Belgium Agrees That Loot Boxes Are Gambling
I may be from a nation that (erroneously, and not through any vote of mine) voted to leave the EU, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of giving props to my European brethren while we’re all still hanging out together. Following on from earlier this month where the Dutch – legalizers of prostitution, remember – declared that some loot boxes are gambling, the latest European good guy loot box haters are Belgium.
The waffle-loving nation’s Gaming Commission analyzed Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS:GO and, unbelievably, found that only Star Wars wasn’t in violation of the country’s gambling legislation. The reason why Star Wars isn’t an offender? Because they’ve already panicked and taken the loot boxes out of the game. Koen Geens, Belgian Minister of Justice, has said that the aforementioned games are illegal and demanded their loot boxes be removed. You tell ‘em, Koen! Apparently, if they fail to remove them, the publishers “risk a prison sentence of up to five years.” Imagine Overwatch’s Papa Jeff in a Belgian prison – they’d eat the poor bastard alive!
Belgium is most concerned about exposing young people to loot boxes, and how they need to be protected from gaming’s latest and greatest evil. FIFA 18, remember, is rated for ages 3+ by Pan European Game Information (PEGI) – the European video game content ratings board. It therefore seems a little arbitrary to just blame publishers for this, but my smile will be amongst the wryest of all if EA actually get some comeuppance for their incessant greed.
Belgium, unlike the Netherlands, hasn’t given publishers a deadline to remove their loot boxes, but at least they’re better than my homeland of the UK, where our Gambling Commission barely even know what a video game is. Look, I’m really sorry about us, ok?
Nintendo Figures It Out
As always, we’ll end on a positive note. Nintendo’s new president appears to be walking into a very profitable and promising time for the company. The company announced this week that the Nintendo Switch has sold 17.79 million units as of March 31st 2018. That, in case you needed reminding, makes it the fastest-selling Nintendo console ever, and the fastest-selling console of all time in both the USA and Japan. Add to this the fact that Breath of the Wild has become the best-selling Zelda game ever, and it’s been one hell of a year for Nintendo Switch.
As such, Nintendo seems to have grown some pretty giant balls, or at least had their balls come back out from when they shrunk into their collective stomach during the Wii U era. According to MyNintendoNews, The company now expects to sell 20 million units in the upcoming fiscal year of April 2018-March 2019, with 100 million software units predicted to sell during the same period. This may seem a little optimistic, but if the Big N can get big first-party titles like Bayonetta 3, Metroid Prime 4 and Smash Bros. Switch – alongside the impressive number of upcoming third-party and indie games – out for the Switch this year, it may not be all that mad after all.
With Nintendo’s E3 2018 Briefing announced this week to be airing on June 12th, we may well know more about what those 100 million unit sales will be comprised of in less than two months. It’s an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan (even more so if you care about playing small pianos and pretending to fish), but even more exciting is that I’ll be back next week to bring you more of the best gaming news you, and more importantly I, care about. See you then!