Patch Notes

Patch Notes: The New Xbox, The Game Awards Winners & New Games

Welcome back to another Patch Notes, the place where I grab a few news stories that interest me, recap them and offer up some thoughts! It’s been a busy few weeks, so in this Patch Notes I’m talking about the brand new Xbox Series X, The Game Awards, new game announcements and more.

Microsoft Reveal The Xbox Series X, Their Next-gen Console

In a rather nice surprise Microsoft opted to reveal their brand new console during the Game Awards. While we’ve all known it to be Project Scarlett, Microsoft announced that the next-gen Xbox is going to be officially known as the Xbox Series X, a name which implies there will be other variations of the console, perhaps like a cheaper Series S.

As for the Series X it looks like…er, a PC tower, actually. The design kind of makes me think of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and if I’m entirely honest I…I…actually have no opinion on it. Serious, I mean it. It’s just a tower. There’s very little to say about it or anything to base an opinion off of. Above all else I’m curious to get some actual dimensions on it because the brief trailer doesn’t provide a great sense of its size.

Perhaps the best piece of news, at least to me, was that the Series X will be completely backwards compatible. “you can expect your gaming legacy, thousands of your favorite games across four generations of gaming, all your Xbox One gaming accessories, and industry-leading services like Xbox Game Pass to be available at launch.”

“Building on our compatibility promise, with Xbox Series X we’re also investing in consumer-friendly pathways to game ownership across generations. Leading the way with our first-party titles including Halo Infinite in 2020, we’re committed to ensuring that games from Xbox Game Studios support cross-generation entitlements and that your Achievements and game saves are shared across devices.”

Microsoft also took the time to flex their newly acquired developer muscle by mentioning that all fifteen of their studios are currently working on exclusive games for the new generation of Xbox. Of course, these days the term exclusive doesn’t have quite the same meaning as many of Microsoft’s titles have come to PC via Gamespass and even Steam.

One such studio is Ninja Theory who got to showcase their brand-new game, which slightly surprisingly is a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I was not expecting a follow-up to Hellblade, largely because it works so well as a standalone game, but I can’t say that I’m not curious about what Ninja Theory have come up with for the sequel which is titled Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.

Although we already knew it, Microsoft confirmed that the Series X will launch in Summer of 2020. No price was announced.

Godfall Announced for PS5

The Games Award show gave us a few glimpses of next-gen games. One of those is Godfall for the PS5. Published by Epic and developed by Counterplay it’s going to be coming to PS5 and the Epic Game Store on PC in 2020, and is a self-described “looter-slasher” that can be played alone or in co-op.

The trailer didn’t blow me away or anything, but it looks solid and I’m a fan of the absurdly overdesigned armor.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance Announced Via Insane Trailer

Well, this was certainly something. A new Dungeons & Dragons game titled Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance will launch in 2020 for PC and consoles, and will feature Drizzt Do’urden and his pals.

As for the trailer it’s something you need to experience. Featuring some death metal courtesy of In Flames it seems a lot like someone at Tuque Games only recently found out about the idea of strapping a Go-pro to people and went insane with it. The end result is a choppy trailer and a lot of stiff animation.

But fingers crossed for a solid RPG in 2020.

Gears Tactics is XCOM with Lancers

Right, I didn’t see this one coming at all, but I’m kind of excited about it. Coming on April 28th, 2020, Gears Tactics is basically what happens when you mix Gears of War with the XCOM franchise. It’s built around turn-based tactical combat with you commanding your Gears to take cover, what shots to take and more.

Its being developed by Splash Damage and apparently boasts a 40+ hour campaign and will have absolutely no microtransactions, although we’ve heard that one before.

I’m always up for a bit of XCOM strategy, and I’m a big Gears of War fan, so this one is definitely on my list of games to watch in 2020.

Game Award Winners

With console announcements and new games being shown it’s easy to forget that the Game Awards is about, well, awarding awards to games. Here’s the list of nominees and winners with the winners being highlighted.

GAME OF THE YEAR

Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software / Activision)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Sora / Bandai Namco / Nintendo)
The Outer Worlds (Obsidian / Private Division)

ACTION GAME

Apex Legends (Respawn / EA)
Astral Chain (Platinum Games / Nintendo)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward / Activision)
Devil May Cry 5 (Capcom)
Gears 5 (The Coalition / Xbox Game Studios)
Metro Exodus (4A Games / Deep Silver)

ACTION / ADVENTURE GAME

Borderlands 3 (Gearbox / 2K)
Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Grezzo / Nintendo)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software / Activision)

ART DIRECTION 

Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
GRIS (Nomada Studio / Devolver Digital)
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Simogo / Annapurna)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software / Activision)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Grezzo / Nintendo)

AUDIO DESIGN

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward / Activision)
Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Gears 5 (The Coalition / Xbox Game Studios)
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software / Activision)

FAMILY GAME

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Next Level Games / Nintendo)
Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Super Mario Maker 2 (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Sora / Bandai Namco / Nintendo)
Yoshi’s Crafted World (Good-Feel / Nintendo)

FIGHTING GAME

Dead or Alive 6 (Team Ninja / Koei Tecmo)
Jump Force (Spike Chunsoft / Bandai Namco)
Mortal Kombat 11 (Netherrealm / WBIE)
Samurai Shodown (SNK / Athlon)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Sora / Bandai Namco / Nintendo)

FRESH INDIE GAME

ZA/UM (For Disco Elysium)
Nomada Studio (For GRIS)
Deadtoast Entertainment (For My Friend Pedro)
Mobius Digital (For Outer Wilds)
Mega Crit (For Slay the Spire)
House House (For Untitled Goose Game)

GAME DIRECTION

Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software / Activision)
Outer Wilds (Mobius Digital / Annapurna)

GAMES FOR IMPACT

Concrete Genie (Pixelopus / SIE)
GRIS (Nomada Studio / Devolver Digital)
Kind Words (Popcannibal)
Life is Strange 2 (Dontnod / Square Enix)
Sea of Solitude (Jo-Mei Games / EA)

INDEPENDENT GAME

Baba is You (Hempuli)
Disco Elysium (ZA/UM)
Katana Zero (Askiisoft / Devolver Digital)
Outer Wilds (Mobius Digital / Annapurna)
Untitled Goose Game (House House / Panic)

MOBILE GAME

Call of Duty: Mobile (Timi Studios / Activision)
Grindstone (Capybara Games)
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Simogo / Annapurna)
Sky: Children of the Light (ThatGameCompany)
What the Golf? (Triband)

MULTIPLAYER GAME

Apex Legends (Respawn / EA)
Borderlands 3 (Gearbox / 2K)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward/ Activision)
Tetris 99 (Arika / Nintendo)
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (Massive Entertainment / Ubisoft)

NARRATIVE

A Plague Tale: Innocence (Asobo / Focus Home)
Control (Remedy / 505 Games)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Disco Elysium (ZA/UM)
The Outer Worlds (Obsidian / Private Division)

ONGOING GAME

Apex Legends (Respawn / EA)
Destiny 2 (Bungie)
Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix)
Fortnite (Epic Games)
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

PERFORMANCE

Ashly Burch as Parvati Holcomb (The Outer Worlds)
Courtney Hope as Jesse Faden (Control)
Laura Bailey as Kait Diaz (Gears 5)
Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff (Death Stranding)
Matthew Porretta as Dr. Casper Darling (Control)
Norman Reedus as Sam Porter Bridges (Death Stranding)

ROLE-PLAYING GAME

Disco Elysium (ZA/UM)
Final Fantasy XIV (Square Enix)
Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix)
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne (Capcom)
The Outer Worlds (Obsidian / Private Division)

SCORE & MUSIC

Cadence of Hyrule (Brace Yourself Games / Nintendo)
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions / SIE)
Devil May Cry 5 (Capcom)
Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix)
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Simogo / Annapurna)

SPORTS/RACING GAME

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (Beenox / Activision)
Dirt Rally 2.0 (Codemasters / Deep Silver)
eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PES Productions / Konami)
F1 2019 (Codemasters / Deep Silver)
FIFA 20 (EA Sports)

STRATEGY GAME

Age of Wonders: Planetfall (Triumph Studios / Paradox)
ANNO 1800 (Blue Byte / Ubisoft)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Intelligent Systems / Koei Tecmo / Nintendo)
Total War: Three Kingdoms (Creative Assembly / SEGA)
Tropico 6 (Limbic Entertainment / Kalypso Media)
Wargroove (Chucklefish)

VR/AR GAME

Asgard’s Wrath (Sanzaru Games / Oculus Studios)
Blood & Truth (SIE London Studio / SIE)
Beat Saber (Beat Games)
No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)
Trover Saves the Universe (Squanch Games)

I’m disappointed that Control didn’t take Game of the Year, which is probably a spoiler for own Game of the Year list. But I’m sure Sekiro is a deserving winner, though I’ve still not had a chance to play it. Aside from that, there were no real surprises. Nintendo completely dominated the Family Category with all five games being Nintendo titles, and Luigi’s Mansion 3 was a deserving winner. Beat Saber taking the best VR game is perfectly understandable, even though I’d personally argue that Asgard’s Wrath was a bigger step for VR as a whole. Finally, while the audio design in Modern Warfare was pretty good I don’t think it was all that exceptional.

And does anyone else find the differences between the Action category and the Action/Adventure category a tad strange? Borderlands 3 got placed into Action/Adventure, while Modern Warfare was in Action beside Devil May Cry 5. I think the Game Awards need to rethink those categories, and perhaps introduce a new category for Shooters or something.

New BioShock Game Is Coming

It’s official, we are getting a new BioShock game! In a few years! Wait, what?

You see, 2K Games have announced the formation of a new studio named Cloud Chamber which is composed of two teams working out of Montreal and San Francisco. Along with the announcement it was revealed that Cloud Chamber are starting work on a new BioShock game.

“As we continue growing our product portfolio, we remain inspired by opportunities to invest further in our valuable IP, great people and their collective, long-term potential,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “BioShockis one of the most beloved, critically praised and highest-rated franchises of the last console generation*. We can’t wait to see where its powerful narrative and iconic, first-person shooter gameplay head in the future with our new studio team at Cloud Chamber leading the charge.”

The new studio is being headed by Kelley Gilmore, who had this to say: “We founded Cloud Chamber to create yet-to-be-discovered worlds – and their stories within – that push the boundaries of what is possible in the video game medium.Our team believes in the beauty and strength of diversity, in both the makeup of the studio and the nature of its thinking. We are a deeply experienced group of game makers, including many responsible for BioShock’s principal creation, advancement and longstanding notoriety, and honored to be part of the 2K family as stewards of this iconic franchise.”

The bad news is that according to 2K the new BioShock is going to be in development for the next few years. That’s fine because obviously we all want a brilliant sequel and it shouldn’t be rushed, but I admit to being baffled as to why you would announce a new BioShock when its years away from release. I’ve never been a fan of revealing games long before they’ll be ready to go or even before you have anything to actually show. I’d much rather see a new BioShock announced when the developers can actually give us a glimpse of what to expect.

Still, I love the BioShock games, so it’s nice to know another one is coming. I’m very interested to see where they take the series now. While I adore the underwater locale of Rapture and the clouds of Infinite, I don’t want to see the franchise going back to either of those. Like Infinite I’m hoping for a new narrative that manages to hold on to that special BioShock spark but in a whole new setting. Space, perhaps? Sounds crazy, but space and other planets are perhaps the next place that a crazy society could develop.

Bayonetta & Vanquish Remasters Are Incoming

Following what seems to have been an accidental listing on the Microsoft store the folks over at Platinum Games have officially announced remastered versions of both Bayonetta and Vanquish. They’ll be launching as a 10th anniversary package on February 18th, 2020, although presumably you’ll be able to buy them separately, too.

At this point its unclear exactly how remastered these remasters will actually be, but Sega have confirmed that both games will run at 4k and 60FPS. You can currently get both games on Steam, so it’ll be interesting to see if these will just be basic ports and therefore no better than the PC version, or if both games are getting a much more thorough remaster treatment.

Either way, Bayonetta and Vanquish are both terrific action games and it’s awesome to see them getting re-released for a new generation. Although the fact that it has been ten years makes me feel ooooooooooold as shit.

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