Hey folks! So, where did we leave off last week? Ah, right, NEO: The World Ends with You got a new trailer! Let's check that out again to refresh our memory.
We've got a release date of July 27th, 2021. That's not too far off! The date has some significance, as July 27th is when the original TWEWY DS game launched in Japan fourteen years prior. It's looking great so far, and I'm definitely eager to play it – though I hope it doesn't become too bogged down in THE LORE the way Kingdom Hearts has, because I sure as hell don't remember 100% of everything that went down in the original.
Also, Epic Game Store, huh? It's clear that Squeenix has struck some deal with Epic for initial exclusivity of certain titles, as the recent Kingdom Hearts PC ports are also EGS-only. Yet it certainly doesn't apply to all games: SaGa Frontier Remastered launched today, and it's available to buy right now on Steam. Maybe it's just certain big releases? Well, whatever the case is, it's still leaving something of a sour taste in PC players’ mouths.
NINTENDO'S INDIE SHOWCASE REVIVES SOME FAVORITES
Nintendo had an Indie World showcase on the 14th, and it was pretty great! The Switch has proven to be a wonderful console for indie gaming, and the showcase had a few titles like There Is No Game that I've been waffling about buying on Steam for a while… but now that it's on my preferred platform, it's instant purchase! Having that extra portability to play anywhere comfortably really is fantastic.
There were plenty of significant announcements, including a new trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, but we're going to highlight the two most relevant to this column's general focus on Japanese and Japan/anime-adjacent games.
First is a new game being published by… Konami?! Whoa, what?
Well, that came out of nowhere! Getsu Fuma Den: Undying Moon is a follow-up to a cult favorite Famicom 2D action/platform game released 34 years ago… in Japan. It's never come Westward, aside from a few fan-translated ROMs for use with emulators and the like. If you do know, you probably know it due to Castlevania – Getsu Fuma Den is referenced in Harmony of Despair, and the original FC game has a real “what if Castlevania, but yokai” feel to it. So yes, obscure game that's never seen any love outside of Japan 30-odd years age… and we're getting a sequel? NOW? Friggin’ wild, man!
And goodness, does Undying Moon look gorgeous – it's going for a “what if those crazy detailed ukiyo-e prints were animated and you could play them?” style. Indeed, there are plenty of visually sumptuous elements in the trailer… and that actually has me worried. See, this is an action game with roguelike elements, meaning that you're really going to want to keep a focus on enemies and your surroundings, but it seems like that could be very difficult with how much appears to be going on onscreen. Keeping the player's attention on important things in a visually busy game with lots happening onscreen is no small feat, and while developers like Cave and Vanillaware know how to nail it, I'm not sure if indie developer Guruguru can quite yet. Still, I'm definitely interested in seeing how this one turns out. It'll be in Early Access on Steam come May 14th, but of course Nintendo doesn't want to tell you that.
Then there's the remake of Sega's arcade classic House of the Dead from developer Forever Entertainment and Megapixel Studios. We've known this was in the works for a while, but this trailer is the first footage we've seen.
So… my partner is a fiend for House of the Dead. It's one of his favorite arcade games, and every time we're traveling, if he sees a House of the Dead cabinet, we are not leaving that locale until he has put up the #1 score on that cabinet. Seriously, he has playing HotD down to a science, with every enemy spawn, jump-scare, and pattern completely memorized. And boy was he ever picking this apart. “I don't know about this, see that enemy to the right? He's attacking way too fast; you should have a lot more time to headshot him.” Yes, well… sweetie, it's still work-in-progress, y'know? Besides, we don't know how the controls for this are going to work yet, either. Could the Switch even feasibly support some sort of lightgun-style input? It's another “wait and see” case, but I'm still glad to know that progress is being made.
E3 2021 IS ALL-DIGITAL, BUT IT'S STILL LOSING PARTICIPANTS
Longtime readers of this column have seen me chronicle the Electronic Entertainment Expo's rather rapid fall from “biggest gaming event of the year” to “made almost completely irrelevant by the existence of livestreaming.” An in-person event on E3's scale -- where companies blow millions of dollars to try to get more attention and news coverage than everyone else – seems ridiculous when those companies can instead do a much cheaper announcement livestream whenever they like to earn social media goodwill. Last year's E3 was cancelled after the pandemic hit, and with in-person conventions (in America, at least) unlikely to occur through a good chunk of 2021, E3's saying “well, if we can't beat ‘em, let's join ‘em!” and making E3 2021 a livestreaming event, starting on June 12th and ending on June 15th.
But is it too late? Despite the all-digital shift, several big publishers like Sony, Activision-Blizzard, and Electronic Arts – who dropped E3 in prior years -- are likely still skipping the online festivities. As of right now, the current list of digital participants is Nintendo, Microsoft, CAPCOM, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media with “more to come” (read: whoever E3 successfully begs to come back). Ubisoft has already confirmed an “Ubisoft Forward” presentation during the event, so we know they're all-in… but besides the three big absentees already mentioned, not seeing the likes of Sega/Atlus, Bandai-Namco, Tecmo-KOEI, or Squeenix on that list of participants is certainly concerning. There's a chance they might join up later, but it seems like a lot of publishers just want to move on from the whole E3 concept.
Also, if the digital event goes well, will the physical E3 ever return? I have my doubts – it's expensive, annoying to attend (any Anime Expo goers know how miserable the hotel and transit situation is near the LACC, where E3 is also held), and doesn't get the results you can get from a good announcement livestream. If the E3 organizers try to bring back the actual convention for 2022, I think they're going to have a lot of headaches, but there's a chance that a digital event done well could continue. Hell, maybe they could win back all those companies who bailed. We'll see.
MORE RESIDENT EVIL ANNOUNCEMENTS MEANS LADY DIMITRESCU'S TRENDING ON TWITTER AGAIN
There was another Resident Evil Showcase stream on Thursday, and the Internet acted predictably.
Anyway, here's the new Resident Evil VIII trailer.
Come May 1st (May 2nd in Japan/Europe/Asia/Australia), you'll be able to get a timed, one-hour demo of Resident Evil VIII! You'll have 24 hours to download and eight hours to start playing this one-hour-lon demo on Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4, PS5, Steam, and Stadia, so hopefully your servers of choice don't completely crap out during that time. Unless, however, you're on PS4 or PS5 – you can download the 30-minute “Village” part of the demo on April 18th/19th, and the 30-minute Castle part of the demo on April 24th/25th. Wow, way to make this stupidly confusing, guys! In any case, you're gonna be playing some RE8 in about two weeks no matter what, so that's worth being happy about.
Also: Mercenaries Mode is confirmed for RE8!
Meanwhile, over in a different game entirely, something wicked is coming…
Dead by Daylight is one of those “I know this is extremely popular in certain circles, but it's rather far removed from my orbit so that's really all I know” kind of games, so unfortunately, I'm not the person to look to for a reaction – I'm sure there's already a couple hundred YouTube reaction videos with a thumbnail of someone making a goofy surprised face with LADY DIMITRESCU IN DEAD BY DAYLIGHT??! In big Impact font you can check for that. I mean, yeah, if Dead by Daylight is your thing, then I'm happy you're getting cool content for it, but it's all totally over my head.
And finally, there's a Resident Evil 4 remake! No, not that one that's been heavily rumored for next-gen platforms, but for… Oculus Quest 2! VR Leon Kennedy roleplay, here we come!
In case you're wondering if anyone would buy an Oculus Quest 2 solely for a new version of RE4, I can already confirm that the answer is “yes.”
Anyhow – Resident Evil VIII! Are people getting themselves too hyped, or does the mere presence of Lady Dimitrescu ensure that a certain subset of players will leave the village satisfied? We shall learn… soon!
FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: “THIS IS HOW I WANT TO DIE” – A NAMELESS FRIEND'S PINNED TWEET FEATURING AN IMAGE OF A SHERMIE SUPLEX
It's King of Fighters XV reveal time again! How do you top Mai, a fanservice-y favorite who's been a staple of King of Fighters since the beginning? If you're SNK, you reveal a lady who's been dead in the lore for over two decades, give her a saucy new look, and cut together a trailer where she sandwiches opponents between her thighs many times over.
Shermie seemed like a sure thing once Yashiro was announced, and immediately upon this trailer's release there were a gazillion tweets saying some variant of “God I wish that were me on the receiving end of Shermie's attacks.” People are extremely stoked for this character's return, though the fervor does seem to be driven by thirst to a degree.
Meanwhile, over in in the Granblue Versus sector of the fighting game community, we have a far more in-depth look at upcoming DLC challenger Eustace. He drops on April 20th on both PS4 and Steam, so you'll be able to pick him up quite soon!
Alright! Are we done? I think we're done. There can't be any more big surprise news coming at the last min- aww hell naw :(
Well, guess that'll be a discussion topic for next week… if anything comes of it. Just Because! people are interested doesn't mean it'll happen. Anyway! What news from this week has caught your attention? Will you be watching E3 2021? Are you a Dimitrescu Devotee or a Shermie Simp? Discuss the latest happenings below in the forum with fellow ANN users! We'll be back again next week with more fresh takes. Thanks for reading!