New Nintendo Switch Controllers Surface

The UK Nintendo Store list several new wireless and wired controllers for the Switch. The wireless controllers are offically licensed by Nintendo and produced by HORI. Their rechargable internal battery will provide 15+ hours of battery life with a 10 meter range. And while they don’t support NFC, Infared or HD Rumble, they will feature motion controls and cost less than the regular Switch Pro Controllers.

Also featured are three new Nintendo Switch Mini Controllers. These wired controllers are offically licensed by Nintendo and produced by DPD. Featuring a translucent shell these small, ergonomic controllers are designed for players of all ages. They won’t support NFC, Infared, HD Rumble, or motion controls, but considering their price this was to be expected.

Source: nintendo.co.uk

Street Fighter Producer Yoshinori Ono leaving Capcom after 30 years

The Street Fighter series executive producer, Yoshinori Ono has today confirmed he is parting ways with Capcon after 30 years at the helm.

Ono, made the announcement via twitter thanking the people who he has worked with over the years and of course the Street Fighter fans all over the world. Ono said in his statment “I’ve been with the Street Fighter brand for a long time, experiencing good times, bad times, and even non-existent times. My heart is filled with appreciation to those players who’ve been giving warm and kind support on the brand especially little over the past decade or so as all the activities on the Street Fighter brand regained sunshine and grew its liveliness.”

He continues “And now, after serving almost 30 years at Capcom, I am leaving the company in this summer. This means that I will resign my position as the brand manager for Capcom’s various titles including Street Fighter.”

“Capcom staff in the new generation will continue taking care of the Street Fighter brand and leading the World Warriors,” he added.” And, I do believe that they will continue making Street Fighter extraordinary. I will look forward to seeing the new Street Fighter brand and how it’s going to be expanded, as just one of regular gamers next time.”

“trying to contact those whom I’ve gotten to work with in the past” about his resignation, but acknowledged “it’s quite difficult to reach out to all of the people I’ve associated without throughout my career for almost three decades”.

Personally, its sad news to see such iconic figure leaving a franchise that I have grown up with. From playing Street Fighter II on the megadrive all the way to current day consoles, Street Fighter V. I hope Yoshinori Ono wont be a stranger and all the best to his future endeavours.

Source: Yoshinori Ono twitter

Prehistoric Dude heading to consoles next week

Prehistoric Dude, developed by Ratalaika Games. Is heading to Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PS4 next week.

Prehistoric Dude is a metroidvania type game, explore the stone age and recover Dude’s ham.

Throughout the course of Dude’s adventure. You will be able to upgrade, fight bosses and explore different scenarios in a 8-bit style graphics.

Prehistoric Dude will be priced at $4.99 / € and £4.51 for the UK.

It will launch on:

  • PS4 America: August 11th
  • PS4 Europe: August 12th
  • Xbox One: August 12th
  • Nintendo Switch (NA & EU): August 14th

Source: Ratalaika Games press release

Street Fighter V Last Season details announced

Today, Capcom have announced the details for the very last Street Fighter V season pass via their live stream known as the summer update.

5 new characters have been announced with the last character yet to be revealed at a later update. As you can see below is the SFV Season 5 roadmap going into Fall 2021. For me personally, this is great to see and of course characters such as Dan and Oro returning!

Street Fighter league is expanding. Not just in the US, players from across the world will be participating in 3 vs 3 and become the best in the world. If you missed out watching the stream from earlier you can watch it below.

Another video for your viewing leisure is the first gameplay footage of Dan!

Source: Playstation Blog

Gaming Square Exclusive – Interview with Mattis Folkestad

We got in touch with Mattis Folkestad, developer of award-winning point-and-click adventure Milkmaid of the Milky Way, about his upcoming game Embracelet. I personally can’t wait!

ND: Hi Mattis! Thank you for speaking to me. How are you doing with this pandemic?

MF: Hi! I’m doing all right, all things considered. I have a decent setup for working at home, but I do miss being around other people and leaving work physically after a long day.

ND: Did the Coronavirus affect the development or publishing of Embracelet at all?

MF: When the pandemic started, I had to work from home while also taking care of my kids. Productivity dropped quite a bit, and I lost a bit of momentum when I was planning to finalize production. Also many festivals and conferences where I’d planned to show off Embracelet were cancelled, and the uncertainty of everything at the moment makes it a bit more scary and difficult to release a game.

ND: Could you tell us a little bit about Embracelet, and what inspired it?

MF: After I made Milkmaid of the Milky Way in 2017, I spent some time travelling to conferences and festivals and ported it to a lot of different systems. Summer of 2018 I felt inspired to start an even more ambitious project. I’ve long thought the north of Norway where I grew up to be a great setting for a game, and started working on some different ideas. I also started playing piano again, and some of the themes I created actually inspired the story and feel of Embracelet. I wanted to create a mellow, melancholic game about the transition into adulthood and the joys and pains of growing up. I was also inspired to make a game in an art style I’ve never done before, so when I got a grant from the Norwegian Film Insitute I was overjoyed to start working on Embracelet full time.

ND: Obviously you developed the entire thing on your own, which can’t have been easy! What sort of problems did you come up against, and did you have any support from other developers in the community?

MF: Making games is incredibly, ridiculously hard! But the challenge is also super rewarding, and since I’m fortunate to have worked on a lot of creative projects both on my own and in teams I have quite a lot of experience in a wide variety of fields. There have been many problems and technical challenges, and many funny bugs throughout the development process. But the most difficult has been to create so much content in such a short timespan. Embracelet has lots of characters and sceneries, and around 27000 words of dialogue and in-game text. It’s not a big game compared to games released by studios, but for a solo developer it’s been a lot of work.

Before the pandemic I shared offices with Hyper Games and Krillbite here in Oslo, and though they didn’t work on the game directly it was very helpful being around so many talented game developers. I’d love to have a bigger budget and a team of people one day – that would be the dream!

ND: If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to develop a game on their own, what would it be?

MF: I’d encourage them to find some unique idea or vision to follow, and not make something too big. Even a small game is a lot of work, and actually finishing a project – or at least getting it to some playable state for others to enjoy – is such a rewarding and great learning experience.

ND: Do you have any other game ideas or projects you’d like to share?

MF: Not until I’ve released Embracelet! But I’d love to plug Krillbite’s Mosaic and Hyper Games’ upcoming game Mörkredd.

ND: What sort of games do you like to play?

MF: When I’m in development I rarely get to time or have the energy to play other games. I’m quite genre-agnostic and enjoy any game with some sort of uniqueness, either in visual style, gameplay or story. I can’t wait to release Embracelet and finally get to play all those incredible games that have been released the past two years!

ND: If you could think of absolutely any game to appear on the market, what would it be and why?

MF: I’d like to see more games discussing real world issues and creating game mechanics that can teach us about ourselves. I also think there’s room for more comedy and romance in games!

ND: It’s been lovely talking to you! I can’t wait to get my hands on Embracelet, which launches on Steam and the Nintendo Eshop in September 2020. To whet our readers’ appetites, here’s the official trailer:

Skater XL Review (Xbox One)

  • Genre: Extreme Sports, Skateboarding
  • Developer|Publisher: Easy Day Studios
  • Age Rating: PEGI 3 | ESRB Everyone (Mild blood)
  • Price: UK £34.99 | US $39.99
  • Release Date: 28th July 2020

No review code was provided. This was purchased by myself, and my full opinion based on a full comprehensive playthrough.

Gameplay

Lets grind straight into it shall we. Easy Day Studios have made a solid attempt at a skateboarding game. With its intuitive controls the player can use the left stick and right stick to go in any direction to move your feet individually. Such freedom can make certain tricks look epic and real too. Ollie and want to grind the handrail and do transitions? You can. Do you want to kickflip down a 12 step set of stairs to land on a rail and finish off into manual? You can. However… As much as the controls is its main star attraction. Most times the input doesn’t exactly register and you will end up in a crumbled mess on the floor.

You can make some brillaint set pieces as you can see below from my footage I have recorded.

Graphics, sound, performance

Skater XL isn’t the prettiest game to grace the Xbox, Playstation or PC. Again, if you were expecting eye candy then this game isnt it. Saying that it isnt a bad thing either as this game doesnt need to be spectactular. The graphics/visuals is good enough for me. The game does come with a tracklist from bands I have never heard off, which is good for those indie exposure, plus EDS (Easy Day Studios) is independant studio themselves. So please dont expect the tracklist to be like Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 & 2 days.

The performance of the game can be hit and miss. The framerate drops like a sack of spuds at times and the game becomes all choppy as well. Not only some of these issues apparent, glitching underneath the map and smashing through walls and other items is rife. Shame, game performance is hindered by these issues but on the flip side the game is actually fun to play.

Difficulty

There is no difficulty. The only thing I can say about the ‘potential’ difficulty is the player. Constant playing and getting use to the controls is the best advice I can give on such a game. With both sticks being able to be used freely does create the possibility of great tricks like I have said previously, plus those great set pieces.

Conclusion

I would say overall Skater XL isnt a bad game. Rough around the edges, huge canvas to improve and add to the game. You can customize you’re character to the liking. The game does have licensed clothing from DC, Independant, Etnies, ES, Element and skateboards such as Blind (classic reaper, brings back memories when I use to skate awful lot in my youth) and even spitfire wheels. Yes, you can customize your skateboard with the griptape, trucks, wheels and the vinyl of the board itself. EDS has hit the customization to a T. With the above issues of performance, controls and the emptiness each map provides plus missed opportunties. Skater XL falls short, but, it has huge potential to be great when these improvements and more added content hits the game.

Verdict
Don’t forget to wear your helmet, elbow pads and kneepads as you will be falling off quite a bit. Skater XL is a nice fill with the lack of skateboarding games as of late, though less we speak about Tony Hawks Pro Skater 5 the better. Maybe wait until the game goes on sale in prep for the remaster of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 & 2 and of course Skate 4.
5/10

Tekken 7 Season 4 announced

Bandai Namco has revealed Season 4 is heading to Tekken 7 this autumn on Playstation 4, Xbox and PC.

As you can see below, Bandai Namco revealed season 4 via a trailer. Season 4 will come with a complete new balance and tweaking to characters such as new moves and a new online ranking system called Tekken Prowess.

Characters such as Paul will receive a new shoulder charge whilst Hwoarang has a new hop kick to his arsenal. A new improved online experience has been shared too, which allow players to see if the opponent has wifi connection and their disconnect rate before accepting the challenge.

You can also see a silhouette at the end of the trailer, new character confirmed it seems!

Source: Bandai Namco

Gaming Square Exclusive – Jon St John Interview

We got in contact with the legend Jon St John, who is the voice of Duke Nukem, Big The Cat from Sonic The Hedgehog and several other voicing acting credits behind his name.

SWThanks for agreeing to doing the interview with us. How are you keeping in these unprecedented times?

JSJ – I’m doing alright. Having worked from a home recording studio for many years, I am well accustomed to being at home a lot, so I’ve been producing a Jazz Album for a local band known as Velvet Sushi, I’ve done some home remodeling, I have created a Duke Puppet which is making a bit of a splash on social media…so yeah, I’m kind of keeping busy! 

SW – So, how did the puppet Duke Nukem come about? I, for one have found it hilarious and a welcome break, plus its Duke Nukem of course.

JSJAbout six weeks ago I saw something about the Muppets while channel surfing towards news headlines, and it just hit me. How ridiculous would a Duke Nukem puppet be? I call it a Duppet, so as not to conjure up legal troubles with the Jim Henson company. Immediately I began thinking up ways to get him on camera, and my Daily Duke Quotes was a quick and easy way to get started. I’m hoping to get more exposure and another outlet for him soon.


SWSpeaking of Duke Nukem, how do you feel about the character? I know its the role that you are renowned with in the videogame world and of course Big The Cat from Sonic the Hedgehog! Do you feel Duke deserves more love? 

JSJMaybe from developers, but certainly not from fans and gamers! I am so pleased with the number of followers who can’t get enough Duke in ’em! I think this iconic character is more than deserving of a hot, new game. But as a voice actor, oddly enough, I have no voice when it comes to creating and publishing a new game. That’s a job for the big boys making the big bucks, not me.

SWBig The Cat, how did that role come about?

JSJIt was forced upon me by one Lani Minella! (jk) Lani called me one day and asked if I would like a role in the new Sonic Adventures game which she was casting. Of course I said yes…I didn’t see any artwork or know anything about the character prior to the session date. When I arrived at the studio, many of the other voice actors in the game…Ryan Drummond, Jennifer Doullard, etc. were hanging out waiting to go into the booth when Lani steps out and hands me a picture and said “…He’s a cat. A big. Stupid. Cat.”  When my turn in the booth came up, I spoke in the dumbest voice I’ve ever done…and they loved it.

SW – How many lines did you improve for Duke or did they come naturally? As we all know, Duke has some brilliant one liners.

JSJThey were all written for me. In DNF all of those risque lines were written by two women. The only extra thing I contributed was changing the expression DoucheBag, to Douche Nozzel…because as my son explained at the time…”that’s the dirtier part of the douche system.”  Today I’m actually quite proud of that young man.

SWWhat would be the first thing Duke would say to Trump if he found him sitting in his chair?

JSJ“I’m about to rip off your head and shit down your neck….or maybe…your face, your ass…what’s the difference?

SWAnd finally, is there anything you know which you can share about the latest with Duke Nukem?  

JSJOnly that my Duppet Duke is available on Cameo via my profile: https://v.cameo.com/44orGzsSz8 …he will also be appearing on my Tequila Tuesday weekly zoom meetups: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/547993165  (we do these at 7PM Eastern US time zone/4PM Pacific every Tuesday)…and if you want to cruise with the King, my fan convention KingCon Cruise is next March 1-5, 2021 from Orlando, Florida to the Bahamas for 4 nights of adventures with voice actor guests: Richard Epcar, Wes Johnson, Ellyn Stern, DC Douglas, and more. Check us out at: www.kingconcruise.com 

I would like to personally thank Jon St John for allowing us to contact him, much appreciated Jon!

We hope you enjoyed reading the interview with Jon St John! Stay tuned for more features in the future.

DISCLAIMER
It has come to our attention that the respondent in this interview has recently made a highly controversial statement. While this published article was provided as an informational service, it does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the respondent’s expressed views by the Gaming-Square staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Earth Defense Force World Brothers Heading to Switch and PS4 Early 2021

D3 has announced a new EDF game for The Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4, coming early 2021.

This isn’t going to be the EDF game that we have become accustomed too. Instead, the developers have opted for a voxel world. Players will have to save the day and restore the voxel earth to one peace.

Players can build their own EDF unit. By rescuing and gathering other characters, you can build your own EDF team. Each mission is tackled by 4 members that players can mix and match, maximizing each of their abilities. Players who has played previous games will see returning character classes. With returning character classes, you will also see returning enemies from past games too. Best get that EDF! chant going!

Source: D3 publisher

Rune Factory 4 Special Review (Nintendo Switch)

  • Genre: RPG, Action, Simulation
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer | Publisher: Marvelous Inc/Neverland/Hakama Inc | Marvelous Europe/XSEED
  • Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB T (Teen)
  • Price: UK £32.99 | US $39.99
  • Release Date: 28th February 2020

No review code was provided, and any opinions contained below are my own. I actually went all out and bought the Archival Edition – I couldn’t help myself!

Rune Factory is a series that sits near and dear to my heart. As the first series to really get me into gaming, and one that I’ve followed religiously (the handheld variants, anyway) for many years, I was delighted when Rune Factory 4 got a fresh coat of paint for the Switch, but did it live up to my lofty expectations?

Story/Characters

If you haven’t played a Rune factory game before, they generally have the same premise; the protagonist rolls into town with no memory of who they are, where they’re from, or why they’re here, and with the assistance of the pushy but kind-hearted townspeople end up with a home and a very overgrown farm. After a short time of peace, something goes wrong that causes you to investigate one of the dungeons that lie nearby, and so begins your quest to fix whatever calamity has occurred and therefore save the town you’ve come to love. It’s a very basic premise that allows for a lot of variation, and differentiates Rune Factory from it’s combat-free sister series Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons.

The characters you’ll encounter along the way give the game much of it’s charm; from the wonderfully reliable Volkanon to the exuberant Procoline, each townsperson has a very distinct personality and background that really emphasises the fact that you’ve just been dropped into the middle of these people’s lives. As your relationships improve with various people you’ll learn more about their pasts, and gain insight into their current problems. Selphia really does feel like an organic town, and provides a wonderful escape from the outside world. 

Gameplay

Anyone familiar with the Harvest Moon series will be familiar with the majority of the mechanics in Rune Factory, but they’re nice and simple. You have one active equipment slot on B for weapons or tools (such as swords, hoes, and seeds), four ability slots (X, Y, R+X, and R+Y) for spells and rune abilities, left control stick to move, and A to interact. + is your bag, level tracking, and settings, while – is your quest list – if there’s a limit on how many quests you can have active at once, I haven’t encountered it yet. You collect quests from either talking to villagers or picking them up from Eliza the talking request box.

Combat is hack-n-slash, using both your equipped B weapon and rune abilities/spells. The higher you level in the associated skill, the lower the RP cost will be, but the higher your weapon level the higher the RP cost e.g. you could forge a Lvl 10 amazing short sword at Lvl 99, but if your Short Sword skill is only level 20 you won’t get many swings out of it before your RP is gone. Monsters each have an associated strength/weakness from the following; physical, fire, water, earth, wind, light, dark, and love. Figuring out these weaknesses is key to defeating higher-level bosses, as with the right equipment loadout you can make all damage nullified or even heal you for a small amount.

Farming is also primarily done using the B button, in combination with A. B uses the equipped tool, for example a hoe or watering can, and A is used to pick something up. Depending on the seed, each type of plant may only grow in a certain season, or take a very long time to grow (dungeon fields are a saviour in this case) so think strategically when planting! Rune Points are also used when doing farming tasks, so during the early game you won’t be able to do a huge amount during a day – interactions don’t cost RP though, which is nice!

Crafting is broken down into 4 sub-categories; cooking, chemistry, forging and crafting. Each has its own set of tools, for example cooking is performed on a selection of tools such as the knife, steamer, pot, oven etc, and a chemistry set, forge, and crafting table are available relatively early in the game. Each recipe has 6 ingredient slots, though I haven’t yet found a recipe that uses all 6, and recipes can be learned by eating recipe bread obtained from either the restaurant or winning festivals. If you know a recipe but haven’t got a high enough level in that skill, or have a high enough level but don’t know the recipe, then an item will cost more RP to make, whereas if you’re both too low a level and don’t know a recipe, then you’ll just fail. These skills are very important when you prepare for combat.

Relationships are the final cornerstone of Rune Factory. There are three primary types; friendships with townspeople, romantic relations with townspeople, and monster friendships. Not all townspeople are marriageable, so some will have a friendship meter while others will have a love meter (essentially the same thing, but a love meter indicates a character with whom you can begin a romantic relationship if desired). These levels can be raised by speaking to people daily and giving them gifts – if you want a quick guide on what to get whom, and when their birthdays are, there are loads of websites that list it all nice and neatly! Monster friendships work in a similar way. Once you’ve built a barn, and tamed a monster (usually by throwing lots of stuff at it and brushing whenever it isn’t trying to attack you) it’ll move in. You can then take it as a companion on adventures, receive things like wool and milk, or set it to work on the farm once your friendship is high enough.

Both monsters and townspeople can join you in exploring the nearby dungeons. For characters their relationship level must be high enough though; you then start a conversation and press either L or R. Once the conversation is over, you’ll have a few extra options – this is also how you confess your feelings to an eligible bachelor or bachelorette, so it’s a handy one to remember! No matter who accompanies you out in the field, they’ll gain combat experience and level up accordingly. Gifting equipment to humans will make them equip it, so be sure to load them up before [ in the item description) will increase their base stats. 

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

This game looks beautiful, especially when placed alongside its 3DS predecessor. The graphics are still rather simple, but the game oozes charm with the uncomplicated animations and vivid colour scheme. Each character feels truly unique, with completely individual designs and voices (with a choice between English and Japanese!) and are easily identified on the zoomable mini-map. Whether in handheld or docked or Lite, the graphics retain their nice clean edges and everything is easy to see.

The music has had a slight upgrade from the 3DS version, having been cleaned up and made smoother, but the only major change is the intro song. Personally I preferred the original, but the new one is a good fit for this relaxing yet challenging game and really seems to fit the town you’re in.

Also – no performance issues in any mode, win!

Difficulty

Difficulty options galore! Along with the traditional Easy, Medium, and Hard, Rune Factory 4 Special gained an additional difficulty; Hell mode. I haven’t tried it personally, because I love to play on easy and just enjoy the game, but my friend plays on Hell and she’s found it a major headache – it’s called Hell mode for a reason! Even on easy, it isn’t the easiest game; I breezed through the first ⅔ until the final major dungeon absolutely destroyed me, not to mention the challenge maze you can unlock! It’s definitely a grind-y game, but enjoyable enough that the grind doesn’t feel like a huge problem.

Conclusion

Rune Factory 4 Special had big shoes to fill. I’m delighted to admit that it filled them and then some; it was a thing that I didn’t know needed to happen until it did, and I’m so glad that we’ve got a Rune Factory 5 confirmed, even if we don’t have a timescale yet. The classic story has been updated with some adorable married life content, the graphics and soundtrack got a beautiful overhaul without losing the charm of the original game, and the Another Episode DLC is a very cute little add-on, but I may be biased as I got it for free during the launch promotional period.

Verdict
A must-try for any farming sim/RPG fan, Rune Factory 4 Special is a worthy successor to the DS and Wii titles. It may be nostalgia speaking, but it’s my favourite game at the moment and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
10/10