Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order Trailer

Welcome to another edition of Gaming Bits, the column where I quickly present some of the hottest topics in gaming culture regarding narrative titles, property tie-ins, and other things of that nature. This installment is a little lighter than usual considering there’s been a shortage of news due to the holidays, but there are still some tantalizing tidbits to talk about, so let’s get right to it!

In this edition of Gaming Bits:

  • Star Wars gaming news
  • Resident Evil 3 Remake action concerns
  • PT/Silent Hills exploration mod
  • The Witcher released on Netflix
  • Xbox Series X update
  • And more!

Unless one has been living under a rock, you’re all aware of the release of the final entry in the Skywalker saga/sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The polarizing finale (to be fair, when is Star Wars not polarizing) brought back the string-pulling mastermind villain Emperor Palpatine with little reintroduction fanfare outside of a notice in the opening crawl. It’s a strange choice, but at least this one can be somewhat, albeit bizarrely, explained away to an extent.

Mentioned but never heard is a broadcast announcing the return of the Emperor, but you can hear it in Fortnite of all places. Or you can just listen to the message in the video above.

Most gamers would probably agree that Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order was a successful attempt at reinvigorating story-driven games within the galaxy far, far away, combining elements of Uncharted, Dark Souls, and obviously Star Wars, to create an open-world experience with plenty of exciting traversal and action. While not necessarily perfect, there seems to be enough interest and goodwill to go ahead with a sequel, presumably improving upon whatever needs improving (I haven’t played it yet, but the Metroid resembling backtracking does seem to be slightly out of control).

Fueling the speculation are three recent job openings at development team Respawn Entertainment: Senior Character Artist, Level Designer, and Senior Software Engineer, all specifically for the Star Wars team. While this does not necessarily confirm a sequel to Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order definitively, there is a quote from Brand Strategy Director Charlie Houser in an interview with GamesRadar already exploring the possibilities, saying “We’ve had an absolute blast [making Fallen Order]. For a new team, that’s come together at Respawn, it’s been a lot of learning to pull this off. Pending player reaction and feedback, and how everyone’s feeling about it, we would love to continue making awesome experiences and stories and keep telling that story in Star Wars.”

The reaction has made it one of the fastest-selling Star Wars titles of all time, so at this point, it feels like an inevitability.

The recent Game Awards saw the official review of Microsoft’s upcoming next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. It’s quite a mouthful, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and apparently will not even be the name moving forward. In an interview with Business Insider, a Microsoft representative stated: “The name we’re carrying forward to the next generation is simply Xbox, and at The Game Awards you saw that name come to life through the Xbox Series X.”

It’s also clarified that Series X is the name of the model, rather than an actual part of the title. Even though it’s kind of strange at first glance, it does make sense considering most people are just going to refer to it as Xbox anyway. This is Microsoft’s way of going back to a simpler route for naming consoles (maybe in another decade we will get Xbox 2).

the witcher characters

Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s Polish novels and the excellent trilogy of games over the past decade or so, Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher property (starring noted gamer and geek Henry Cavill) released to some mixed reviews, although Cavill has received much praise for his take on Geralt. While I have not seen the show (forgive me, I need to catch up with Watchmen before anything), it appears as if it is driven by action and energy which is concerning considering the games have some of the best fantasy writing of any entertainment medium, and surprising considering as of right now only the books are being translated to the screen.

I’m getting the impression that they wanted to adopt the gaming mechanics while treating the actual compelling storylines at surface value (the sword fighting seems to have excellent choreography and complicated long takes), which is all kinds of disappointing. It’s clear that Netflix wanted their own Games of Thrones, but from what I gather the television series is exclusively for diehards, and even they might not like what they see but they should be able to understand it better seeing as there doesn’t seem to be much handholding in regards to factions and locations. (All that said, it still seems to be better than most video game adaptations.)

In related news, Andrzej Sapkowski and CD Projekt Red have settled a dispute regarding royalties. The gist is that Andrzej Sapkowski sold his rights to the developers for a set amount of money under the impression that the gaming adaptations wouldn’t become as popular as they are today. As a result, he’s demanding more money (when he really has no right to from everything I’m reading), but CD Projekt Red has given him millions anyway. They continue to be a generous and all-around incredible gaming studio.

Gamestat tracks new additions to the PlayStation Network server (not the actual store itself), and recently one of the titles that popped up was a demo for the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake. There is no word on any official release, but a demo does exist and is specified for North America, Europe, Japan, and Asia.

Death Stranding Awarded GOTY By Famitsu

Death Stranding has won Game of the Year from Famitsu. No, I am not going to be reporting on what every single outlet awards the coveted honor of Game of the Year, but Famitsu is an exception because the voting body is made up of prominent Japanese developers and celebrities. It’s also surprising that Death Stranding came away victorious, as the game received a mixed critical reception. Chalk it up to love for Hideo Kojima if you want, but it is also a bold and ambitious piece of art that deserves any and all accolades it receives.

Below is a full list of results (there are some titles prior to 2019 as gaming is a highly time-consuming entertainment medium, meaning developers can’t get to everything in a given year):

  1. Death Stranding
  2. Dragon Quest Walk
  3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  4. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  5. Ring Fit Adventure
  6. Pokemon Sword & Shield
  7. Days Gone
  8. Monster Hunter: World Iceborne
  9. Dragon Quest Builders 2
  10. Apex Legends
  11. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  12. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  13. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  14. Judgment
  15. Persona 5 Royal
  16. Resident Evil 2
  17. Kingdom Hearts III
  18. Astral Chain
  19. Borderlands 3
  20. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
  21. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  22. Tetris 99
  23. Archer Densetsu
  24. Fate/Grand Order
  25. Splatoon 2
  26. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
  27. Samurai Shodown
  28. Detroit: Become Human
  29. moon
  30. GRIS

As an aside, I would like to encourage everyone to check out Judgment, an underrated Yakuza style title.

I think I speak for all gamers (at least the majority) when I reiterate the sadness felt at the canceling of Silent Hills, the joint Hideo Kojima/Guillermo del Toro project starring Norman Reedus intended to revive a dead franchise. We all know Kojima went on to form his own studio and release Death Stranding, but let’s take things back to the first look at Silent Hills, PT.

Playable Teaser has long been explored and analyzed (both within the game and on the hacking front) for years now, and reasonably so. The demo was already extremely cryptic and pretty much demanded a walkthrough to finish (I think one of the most unfortunate things about the cancellation of the game would be how sadistic Kojima would undoubtedly get with the hardest difficulty setting for puzzles), and also serves as a gift that keeps on giving.

People were and still are passionate about this, so check out the work from YouTuber Lance McDonald, as he has cracked into the coding of the game and found a way to explore (with a mounted camera, not an actual character) the open-world town of Silent Hills.

CD Projekt Red and McFarlane Toys have entered into a three-year contract that will see some action figures in the near future, and Keanu Reeves will be not just one, but two of them. The white-hot actor riding a wave of seemingly unlimited momentum can apparently do no wrong, as he is set to star in the studio’s hotly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 as Johnny Silverhand. The reported pricing point is $40.

The fact that the Resident Evil 3 remake is supposed to be more action focused than the original is actually a topic that was touched on in the first edition of Gaming Bits, but has earned another round of discussion considering the Internet is seemingly unsure of what to make about the news. And that’s strange as the info pretty much came and went following The Game Awards, so I can only presume that someone took the snippet from the developer interview and blew it out of proportion.

The bottom line is that Resident Evil 3 was always heavier on action compared to its predecessors. As I’ve mentioned before, while still limited to hardware restrictions, the game is not confined to a mansion or police station, but rather the outskirts of Raccoon City. There is also the franchise’s interpretation of a Terminator stalking Jill nonstop throughout the experience, giving the player the frequent option of fight or flight (naturally, the rewards are great anytime the player is able to take down Nemesis).

So relax: Resident Evil 3 Remake is likely undergoing necessary modifications to translate it from the 90s to modern-day gaming. We know there are also going to be first-person chase sequences, and assuming those are limited to Nemesis encounters, all it does is serve as another way to break up the gameplay formula and provide something different. If it starts looking like another Michael Bay wannabe Resident Evil 6 fiasco then we can worry, but given the recent course correction of Capcom, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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