Oi oi, saveloy! We’re officially in E3 month now! Alright, calm down. At time of writing, we are nine days away from the beginning of the big event, which means I only have to type “E3” for one, maybe two, more of these articles. Next week is likely to be an absolute extravaganza of E3 build up, so for now we’ll keep things relatively current and allow fever pitch to properly set in next week. With that, to the news we go…
Fallout Soldier Philadelphia 76… er?
There’s really nowhere else to start this week, is there? The model Vault Boy on Bethesda’s Twitch stream wasn’t the only head that was bobbling this week, as Fallout fans and people-with-nothing-better-to-do everywhere sat and watched absolutely nothing for several days before Bethesda finally announced Fallout 76 with an equally nothingy teaser trailer.
What had largely been anticipation for either a New Vegas-style spinoff or a remaster of either of the franchise’s last gen offerings quickly turned into pessimism and confusion, as rumours began to circulate – mostly from Kotaku, who had warned us beforehand – that Fallout 76 is more likely to be an online co-op survival game/MMO, rather than the single-player experience that the series is known for. It doesn’t seem like many people are that excited as far as I’ve seen.
Focusing on what we know – I’ll get to the rumours in just a second – the 76 in the game’s title refers to Vault 76, which opened in 2076 (a year before the nuclear war) and was, according to a Citadel computer in Fallout 3, one of 17 control vaults. Control vaults are basically vaults where, unlike the majority you find in a Fallout game, the residents were left to live completely normally without any of the typical nefarious experiments seen in other vaults. Vault 76 was scheduled to automatically open 20 years later in 2096, but the Pip Boy shown in the teaser trailer shows a date of 2102, which makes this game the earliest setting, timeline-wise, for any Fallout game thus far.
As for location, the Fallout 3 terminal listed information about Vault 76 under a “DC Area Vault Listings” menu, so it’s to be assumed that if Bethesda keeps this canon, the game will be set back in the DC area, most likely in West Virginia if the trailer’s song is of any significance. There’s a banner on the wall of the vault in the trailer that is celebrating “Reclamation Day,” and a voice on the TV is talking of the need to “rebuild,” and this plays into a lot of the rumours that are going around that Fallout 76 will be an online survival RPG.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier seems to be Chief Rumour-spreader, and his “sources” have reported that the game will be online, but will also feature a story and quests, as well as more base-building, alongside multiplayer and survival-based mechanics. With it being set so soon after the war, it’s definitely in the right time period for there to be very little civilization out in the wasteland akin to what we’ve seen in games like Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 – set in 2277 and 2287 respectively – so this likely corroborates the need for surviving and base-building. I’m not going to pass too much judgement until we see what Bethesda confirms and debunks at E3, but this certainly isn’t the Fallout announcement I was expecting.
Clean Up on Walmart Aisle 3 – There’s Sonic Leakage Everywhere!
Walmart are a ruddy untrustworthy nightmare. They’ve got more leaks these days than an octogenarian’s bladder, but I suppose it gives me something to write about! This week’s big leak is that of Team Sonic Racing. Posting a product listing for the game – teased back at SXSW and rumoured to be developed by Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing studio Sumo Digital – we are now privy to the following product description:
Team Sonic Racing combines the best elements of arcade and fast-paced competitive style racing as you face-off with friends in intense multiplayer racing. Race together and work together as a team by sharing power-ups and speed boosts. Take control of your racing style – Choose from 3 distinct character types and unlock game changing vehicle customization options to suit your racing style. Speed up. Gear Up Team Racing at Sonic Speed!
If you think that all sounds good, then let me piss on your trouser legs just a little bit. According to additional information in the product listing, there are “15 playable characters from across the Sonic Universe.” The aforementioned trouser piss comes from the word “Sonic” rather than the word “Sega.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not really buzzed about swapping out Vyse and Ryo Hazuki for Cream the Rabbit and Big the fucking Cat.
The listing also states that players will “use various team moves to assist [their] teammates,” which, when added to the previous info about vehicle customisation, seems to spell the end for the transforming vehicles gimmick that made the previous game feel so unique. Again, I’m trying not to judge it too harshly before we see anything concrete, but it’s difficult (and much less interesting to read) to hide my disappointment.
‘Mega Man 11’s New Trailer Makes the Game Look Totally Not Shite
My god, this looked total wang when that first trailer came out, and now I’m at least 60% turned around on it (Look, I’m a cynical prick, ok? 60% is good for me). The new trailer released by Capcom this week looks to show off some interesting boss fights and some tricky platforming sections. I was worried it would be difficult for Capcom to transition the good work they did for Mega Man 9 and 10 into a more contemporary setting, but according to GameXplain (who’ve played a 90 minute demo), those worries are unfounded.
The background artwork is hand drawn and looks decent, and I’m coming around on the design of Mega Man himself as well. What’s most impressive, though, is that the new gameplay elements seem to already fit very nicely into a traditional Mega Man framework. For those who are unaware, I’m talking about the Double Gear system, where the Blue Bomber has additional powers that can be utilised with a tap of the shoulder buttons to either power up his Mega Buster, or slow down time for some Matrix-style slow-mo dodging.
There also appears to be a lot less fiddling around in menus, as weapons are changed with a flick of the right analog stick and Rush the dog’s abilities are now assigned to the Y or Triangle button. It all points to a genuine vindication for Capcom finally bringing us the Mega Man game on modern consoles we all probably thought we’d never see. The back-to-basics approach taken for Mega Man 9 and 10 showed that the company hadn’t given up on trying to keep the game’s legacy alive, but this is the biggest risk they’ve taken in years, and I’ll be absolutely delighted if they pull it off the way recent previews suggest.
‘Mario Tennis Aces’ Serves Up a Free Online Demo
There was a demo of Mario Tennis Aces up for download this weekend on the Nintendo eShop right in the form of the Mario Tennis Aces Pre-launch Online Tournament. Talk about chucking us all in at the deep end, right? The game is only a few weeks away from launch, and you’ll hear no complaints from me about Nintendo giving us the chance to sample it before we shell out for the game proper.
Shelling out on the game is not, however, something that I’ll likely be doing, and this is purely because it genuinely seems like the formula for Mario Tennis was taken as far as possible in its first home console iteration back on the N64 and has barely been improved upon since. Obviously, the demo isn’t going to give all the features of the full game, but for $60 I’d expect the confirmed story mode to be substantial before this game becomes worthy of investment. Swing mode, which sounds like something done by horny retirees of a weekend, is not something I tried out, because I didn’t feel like flailing like a twat by myself, but this could be fun in a party setting, even if the Wii Sports tennis phase died out about a decade ago.
Mario Tennis Aces certainly doesn’t play badly, although there did seem to be a little bit of lag in some of the matches I played (one against an utter melt who kept throwing the ball up to serve without hitting it for about a minute straight because he was losing), but I’m glad to see that the whole “stand on coloured squares on the court to do specific shots” gimmick has gone the way of references to Birdo’s transgender leanings. It’s not bad, it’s not great – it just is what it is: a rehash of an N64 game from 2000 now in its 7th iteration. Still, a free demo? I’m all over that, thankyouverymuch.
More Nintendo E3 Leaks, With ‘Fortnite’ Topping the Bill
As well as not having to type “E3” any more, I’ll be glad when the season is over so people can give the old “E3 schedule” leaks a break. Damn them and their tantalizing potential! This week, Eurogamer reported a leak that gained a modicum of legitimacy thanks to being pretty unspectacular. And that’s the secret of making up believable hoaxes, folks – make them boring and people will assume you’re probably not full of shit, because why would you waste your time lying about whatever the fuck Starlink: Battle for Atlas is?
It might not be the most exciting leak ever produced, but you try telling that to my girlfriend, who let out an audible and prolonged gasp at the mere sight of that Overcooked 2 logo. To be fair, that’s probably the most exciting thing in the picture for me too, and that’s largely because I was done with Fortnite a while ago, as I’m sure any regular readers of this column have already guessed! But yeah, apparently it’s coming to Switch. Lock your doors, folks! It must be the rapture!
Look, if they can get Fortnite to (barely) run on an iPhone, then it sure as shit better be able to run on Switch, so it really won’t be much of a surprise if this does happen. Of course, it’s a good thing Fortnite has a solo mode where you can sit quietly in a bush costume for 20 minutes, because I’m not expecting Nintendo to go all out and make a party chat system any time soon. The rest of the leak is pretty uneventful/expected, with Monster Hunter, Mario Tennis Aces and FIFA 19 already confirmed, so perhaps this one is actually legit. Only the original poster of the image knows, and he could be a catfish if my understanding of that term is accurate. Either way, as I’ve said for about three weeks now, we won’t have to wait long to find out (and I mean it this time).
Next week will be the last of these columns before E3 hits, so I’m sure there’ll be more of this to chew on one more time before the big event, but you’ll have to join me in seven days to find out, won’t you?