E3 2019 Pocket Gamer's Mobile & Handheld News Round-Up
All of the E3 news in one place
Well, that's a wrap. E3 2019 was a massive year for announcements, and we had some really promising titles for handheld platforms announced. Mobile was quiet, however the new Microsoft streaming service and Google Stadia did certainly talk the big talk throughout.
So, here we are. 51 of the biggest E3 news stories all in one place for you.
While we were away for the weekend the games industry kept churning away, and as a result we've returned to find ourselves in the fray. We'll be here this week to cover everything mobile and handheld from the E3, and E3 adjacent, events as they happen, and this'll be the place to come to find it compiled it into one handy post for your browsing pleasure. This'll be trailers, news and opinions, all straight from the minds of the world's biggest mobile and handheld website.
This is a live post, we'll be adding new pages as the news breaks or we get to it, so feel free to bookmark us or just leave us open and hit refresh every now and then. And, if there's something you feel like we've missed then let us know in the comments below.
As we're not running a weekly Switch round-up this week, we'll start off with a few pieces of pre-E3 news pieces, and get rolling from there.
I don't know about you, but I'm expecting this post to be heavily Nintendo Switch centric rather than iOS or Android mobiles. Disappointing for certain, but then that's hardly a surprise when you look at previous years and the strange relationship between the mobile, home console and PC marketplaces.
We'll be updating this sheet as we add more news to this post, so make sure to keep checking back in with us.
Remember, at the top of the post there are options to change between viewing this post as a single long post, or as a broken down list type. There are also navigation tools at the bottom and top of each page.
2: Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield to Headline Nintendo's Showfloor Lineup
3: Dystopian Platformer Ministry of Broadcast receives 2020 release date
4: Citizens of Space announced for June 18th Release
5: XSEED announce they will be bringing five Switch games to E3 Showfloor
6: Moonlighter Between Dimensions DLC announced
7: My Friend Pedro release date confirmed for June 20
8: Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair announced
9: The Division 2 confirmed for Google Stadia launch window
10: Darksiders Genesis announced for Stadia, Nintendo Switch
11: Pixel Noir heads into final stages of development as PC version moves into Early Access
12: Card-based strategy game Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars announced
13: Harry Potter: Wizards Unite intro trailer hints at release date
14: Multiplayer aRPG Minecraft Dungeons announced for 2020 release
15: Xbox and Funko Animation Studios release gameplay footage of Gears POP! via animated short
16: Cosy fishing and exploration management game Spiritfarer announced for 2020 release
17: E3 Recap on Google Stadia launch line-up
18: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga announced, includes all nine films, launching 2020
19: Elder Scrolls Blades receives major update, is confirmed as coming to Switch later this year
20: RPG Time: The Legend of Wright announced, coming to mobile in 2020
21: Commander Keen mobile game announced by Bethesda
22: The Messenger to receive new, free, holiday-themed expansion next month
23: Conan Chop Chop is a cartoon aRPG April Fools joke become real
24: Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy announced
25: Cris Tales is a time-travelling, indie love letter to classic JRPGs releasing next year
26: New trailer released for Sam Barlow's Telling Lies
27: Trials Rising Season 2: Medieval Motor Mayhem available now, features trailer released
28: The Last Remnant Remastered released for Nintendo Switch
29: Circuit Superstars announced, charming micro-racing game launching in 2020
30: Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions coming to Mobile, Switch
31: Square Enix announces release date for stylish aRPG ONINAKI for Nintendo Switch
32: Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, hero-based tactical mobile game revealed by Ubisoft
33: Castlestorm II announced for Nintendo Switch, launching later this year
34: Kalypso announce Commandos 2 HD Remastered and Praetorians HD Remastered
35: Disgaea 4 Complete+ announced for Nintendo Switch
36: Bandai Namco are remastering Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and it's coming to Switch
37: Empire of Sin is a mob strategy game releasing on Nintendo Switch next year
38: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 revealed as a Switch exclusive
39: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel is now in production
40: Collection of Mana, including Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana, released for Nintendo Switch
41: New trailer for Fire Emblem: Three Houses story trailer introduces major factions
42: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening E3 2019 trailer released
43: Nintendo release new Luigi's Mansion 3 footage
44: New trailer released for Wolfenstein: Youngblood
45: Online action RPG Dauntless revealed for Nintendo Switch
46: Animal Crossing: New Horizons confirmed for a March 2020 release date
47: The Witcher 3 Complete Edition is questing to the Nintendo Switch later this year
48: Final Fantasy VIII Remastered announced with 2019 release date
49: Resident Evil 5 and 6 announced for Nintendo Switch
50: No More Heroes 3 announced as Nintendo Switch exclusive with 2020 release
51: Alien: Isolation announced for Nintendo Switch
52: New trailer released for upcoming The Sinking City
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield to Headline Nintendo's Showfloor Lineup
While we're not sending anybody from Pocketgamer.com along to E3 this year, we are privy to some of Nintendo's show floor plans thanks to their event listing page on Nintendo.com.
Luigi's Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword and Shield will be available to play on the showfloor for most of the event, with Jun 11–13 specifically listing both as playable at those times.
In addition to these two titles, there will also be spaces set aside for other games, including The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.
Nintendo will also be presenting their Nintendo Direct, at 9AM PT / 5PM BST, which you can watch here. Nintendo Treehouse, which has a large focus on indie titles, will start immediately afterward and then run over the new few days.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield were recently heavily detailed during a specific Nintendo Direct for them. It included details of the new Dynamax system, raid systems, and how the wilds section of the game world will work. We also got a peek at several new Pokemon. We're currently working on a hub for all of the information on the games.
Dystopian Platformer Ministry of Broadcast receives 2020 release date
Ministry of Broadcast is a platforming title in the spirit of Another World and Prince of Persia. It is set in a future where a Big Brother style entity controls all of the media, and your home country is divided by a giant wall. If you want to get through to your family on the other side then you must cross the deadly expanse, all while having your efforts televised for the entertainment of the people at home.
I've actually been following Ministry of Broadcast for some time now, first getting a decent hands on with it at Sweden Games Conference late last year, where it took part in the PC Pitch. To hear that it's tight platforming is coming to the Switch is good news, I really enjoyed my time playing it, and not just due to its setting but also some of the mechanics at play in the game. Perhaps the most impressive element was that all of the HUD elements were instead designed to be environmental elements, so your health bar would be a series of lights on a wall - for instance - and graffiti would serve as the tutorial, rather than pop-ups.
Ministry of Broadcast will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in early 2020.
Citizens of Space announced for June 18th release
As I said at the start of the post I'll also be using this as a platform to get out some news which would have normally made it into the Switch round up for the week.
One such piece of news, which I definitely would have included, was news that Citizens of Earth sequel, Citizens of Space, will be releasing for the Nintendo Switch on the 18th of June.
This comes as quite a surprise to many, it's come almost completely out of the blue. The first title did especially well when it launched and felt like a fresh take on the Mother/Earthbound formula. There were some hiccups with a few of the platform releases, which manifested in save issues, however it was a clever game which gave you an especially wide party of specialists. Even with the issues it seems so strange for it to be simply drop-released like this.
Citizens of Earth was especially goofy, following . Players took on the role of a dimwitted, newly elected Vice President who collected party members by completing small quests. These party members each had wacky abilities based off of their job or role in society, and did all of the fighting for Earth's VP. Enemy encounters were triggered on the map screen but took place in first person combat similar to Earthbound or Dragon Quest.
Citizens of Space picks up as the planet Earth has gone missing, rather than the President of the first game. The game has had a full art pass, although still channels the cheesy Saturday Morning Cartoon aesthetic of the first. The biggest notable change is that the combat system has changed to be side on combat rather than from a first person view.
Citizens of Space will release on the 18th of June.
XSEED announce they will be bringing five Switch games to E3 Showfloor
XSEED have been in the news recently due to some abysmal business practices — namely not crediting people who worked on games because they left the team. While we hope they come to their senses, apologise and reinstate the worker's credits, we're here today to talk about their E3 offering.
Of the seven games which the publisher are bringing to the platform, five of them are for the Nintendo Switch. The five are as follows: Rune Factory 4 Special, Senran Kagura: Peach Ball, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, Heroland and BurgerTime Party!.
BurgerTime Party! is due out this Autumn. It's a reimaginig of Data East's 1982 arcade title and will feature a multiplayer mode for two-to-four players over 100-plus levels.
Rune Factory 4 Special is the latest entry in the fantasy Harvest Moon spin-off series. It's a subtitle of the 2013 3DS outing, and so we can expect it to be equally rooted in the fantasy world the series has built a reputation for; complete with farming, exploration and RPG combat.
Sukuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a platformer take on an ancient myth. It uses clever camera work and RPG systems to put players in the role of a banished goddess who will brawl with enemies, tend crops, and explore the wilderness in an effort to protect a community of humans.
Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is the latest entry in XSEED's long-running female-ninjas-who-don't-wear-much-clothes series. It's a take on pinball, but complete with the scantily clad group from the main series. It releases early next month.
Finally there's Heroland. It's an RPG about a theme park where guests get to experience the feeling of exploring dungeons, fighting baddies and saving the world. You don't take on the role of guests however, no, you're a tour guide for the theme park. You might recognise the concept, that's because it'll be releasing in Japan as Work x Work, some gameplay of which you can find below via Contranetwork.
Moonlighter Between Dimensions DLC announced
During the middle of last week 11 Bit Studios revealed a new DLC for Moonlighter.
It's been almost three years since Moonlighter, from Digital Sun, was successfully Kickstarted for over 300% of its target goal, and it's been a year since the team worked with 11 Bit Studios (This War of Mine, Frostpunk) to bring it to release. The hybrid roguelike & trading game sold over half a million copies and released on four platforms in that time. It also received a bounty of new updates for free throughout the year, which brings us to the new announcement.
Where the previous three major updates — More Stock Update, Adventure Update, Friends & Foes — were free updates for the game, the next pack 'Between Dimensions' is a major overhaul which will be releasing as paid DLC. While we don't have a release date for the DLC we do have a gist of what it will contain; a new dungeon, a mass of new enemies and lots of new gear and trick weapons.
Moonlighter, for those unfamiliar with the game, puts players in the role of Will, a shopkeeper who heads out after their shift finishes to explore dungeons and find new stock for his store. The dungeon-crawling was dynamic, requiring a lot of precision and timing in order to best the enemies and bosses which dwelled within the tombs, while the shopkeeping element was an interesting way to repurpose the junk you collected, and served as a brilliant counterpoint to the furious nights.
We're not sure exactly when the DLC will be arriving, but when it does it will land on the Nintendo Switch alongside other platforms.
My Friend Pedro release date confirmed for June 20
While the news of My Friend Pedro's release actually circulated late last week, it was hammered home with Devolver's latest E3 non-stage show, or in this year's case, non-direct.
My Friend Pedro, the action-packed gun-ballet shooter from Deadtoast Entertainment and Devolver, will be releasing for both PC and Nintendo Switch on the 20th of June. It's surprising that the clarification on release date has taken quite so long, the game has had a pencilled June release date for the entire year, and a fortnight's lead feels quite short.Read our thoughts on My Friend Pedro from earlier in the year right here.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair announced
Playtonic Games' 2017 Yooka-Laylee was an interesting attempt at modernising the 3D-Platformer genre, bringing all of the colour, charm, and chords of N64 era 3D platforming to modern consoles.
While it wasn't as well received as many hoped, a sequel has been announced by the series' publisher Team 17, and has already been confirmed as releasing this year for modern systems including the Nintendo Switch."Yooka-Laylee is fun at first with all of the charm of a 90s platformer, but shortly becomes rather tedious as the child-like joy wears off and leaves you with something that feels a little incomplete" Read our review of the first game here.
Unlike the first game Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair uses fixed camera systems, flipping between 2D-side on and top down views as players navigate challenges in order to save the day. It certainly still captures the style of the first game, and maybe the shift to fixed viewing angles will be enough to get those who didn't enjoy the first game to dip back into the series.
The Division 2 confirmed for Google Stadia launch window
As a result of the recent Google Stadia presentation we know that Stadia will be available for Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a2. This means that when we talk about Stadia we also talk about mobile gaming. So, The Division 2's announcement for the Google Stadia is likely the first of many peculiar looking announcements to grace the pages of Pocket Gamer over the next few days.
While Ubisoft haven't really shown many details in the way of the partnership between themselves and Google, they have confirmed that the two have been working together to deliver the next entry in the Tom Clancy franchise to Google's streaming, subscription service.
The Division 2, for anybody unaware, is a third-person shooter, RPG hybrid which takes place in the USA Capital after it falls into a post-societal state following a virus outbreak. The virus is the same one as ravaged New York, New York in the original Division. It originally entered circulation through modern society's greatest weakness: rampant capitalism and currency as an idol — that's right, it was on money on Black Friday.
Naturally The Division 2 — a game where you run around the fallen capital city of one of the world's largest countries, shooting people who have turned to banditry and raiding through the slight loosening of laws as a result of a biological disaster — draws a big line underneath the ridiculousness of many modern staples and the frailty of the concept humanity. It does this while also being a game about shooting at humans until enough numbers come off them so that you can collect currency to buy bigger guns.
The Division 2 released for Xbox One, PS4 and PC back in March of this year, it will be releasing on Google Stadia during its launch window which is currently unannounced.
Darksiders Genesis announced for Stadia, Nintendo Switch
The Darksiders series has been rattling around for almost a decade now. I remember the launch well. It launched alongside a couple of other, major third-person action titles at the same time — Bayonetta and Dante's Inferno — making for confusion equalled only by the Blur and Split/Second releases later that year. It's impressive that the Darksiders IP has survived through the years, and that we're now looking at a trailer for the next entry: Darksiders Genesis.
Even from the early days there was always a little bit of chatter about the end point for the series, how it was building up four characters with a story which drove forward through each. THQ's dissolution after releasing the second title seemed like it marked the end of it all, but Nordic Games (now THQ Nordic) acquired the IP alongside the IP bucket at the liquidation auction for the dying publisher. Let it never be said that THQ Nordic aren't tenacious. I remember talking with a marketing executive from the company two years back about the fate of the IP, he pointed out that in working with Airship Syndicate for Battlechasers they had developed a working relationship with the team who included in their number core members from the Darksiders team. We discussed what a fourth/fifth game would look like, and even how each of the four horsemen could fit snugly into a four-player experience.
Darksiders Genesis takes the previously third-person action adventure series and makes it into a one to two player co-operative aRPG. The earliest title nailed the Zelda exploration vibe, albeit with a moody, apocalyptic setting, and later titles added in different combat techniques and systems while still managing to capture the traversal and ability unlocking of the Zelda games. Even though we only get a quick look at gameplay in the new trailer, it is nice to see that the grappling traversal has been carried over to the new genre.
The new title follows the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, Strife, in events which took place before the first game and also involves the horseman War. War can be played by a second player in cooperative play, otherwise players will guide Strife throughout the game.
Darksiders Genesis will be releasing for current gen consoles, PC and for Stadia.
Pixel Noir heads into final stages of development as PC version moves into Early Access
Pixel Noir is a jRPG inspired fantasy noir game set in a moody city. It was originally funded through Kickstarter a good few years back, however signed with Badland Publishing in order to complete the journey. It's destined for consoles, including the Switch, once it is done, however it's taking a little stop over in Early Access on Steam to help with the final parts of development.
The developers, SWDTech believe that they will be spending the next 9 months in Early Access before heading to final release. I should think that this means we can safely assume we won't be seeing the Nintendo Switch version until 2020 in which case.
Card-based strategy game Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars announced
Kalypso and developer Palindrome Interactive have announced Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars for home consoles and PC. The PC version is expected to release in Fall of this year, while console version — including the Nintendo Switch — will release early 2020.
From what we can gather about Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars it is a strategy game which puts you in the role of one of three vampire clans. These clans wage war against one another while also feeding on the human world they exist within.
Gameplay changes between a tactical combat mode where you command armies against one another, to a strategic overworld map where players can improve their clan, recruit new armies and complete technology. They can also deploy cards here, these cards — for example — range from migrating villagers to consuming the entire population of a village to provide you with new resources.
It sounds as though there's going to be a preview showcase of Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars, so we should learn more about it over the coming days.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite intro trailer hints at release date
Since the first announcement of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite we've been being drip-fed small trailers on a fairly regular basis.
Wizards Unite, for the unaware, is an AR game where players move around the real-world dueling against monsters and enemies while also sealing up leaks between the muggle and wizarding world.
There was recently, May 15th, a new trailer, and that's since been broken up into smaller efforts and recycled. This new trailer, at least, offers us something new to ponder about the upcoming AR Game: the release date.
At 00:04 in the latest trailer, visible above, you can see the following numbers: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9. People have begun speculating that the 7 — which initially appears as a 1 — makes this appear as a date, namely the 23rd of June. It's extremely short notice for a release, but then again it is clear from the trailer reactions that there's enough people waiting for the game that it could well be a phenomenon by simply releasing.
It's unlikely we'll see anything more about the AR game over the coming days, but you never know.
Multiplayer aRPG Minecraft Dungeons announced for 2020 release
If you had asked most people about a new Minecraft game earlier in the year then it would have possibly set them off lamenting about Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode, that or drawn blank stares. Yet here we are in June 2019 and we're looking at two upcoming Minecraft games: Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Dungeons.
Minecraft Dungeons is an action RPG take on the Minecraft universe and we've had our first look at the new title thanks to a trailer released at the Microsoft E3 presser.
It features up to four-player local or online co-operative play, all played out from a Diablo-adjacent top-down viewpoint. Players still play as the humanoid explorers of the Minecraft setting, and and there's plenty of familiar faces to be found in enemy mobs.
We see a lot of the combat in action, as well as getting to take a glance at the character and inventory screens. In the inventory screen we get to see that you can use certain items to summon allies, like a tasty bone to summon a wolf. There's quite a few new items shown in the inventory, and a few mobs seem to have new abilities, including the spiders casing an AOE web.
Minecraft Dungeons will release in Spring of next year for current gen consoles and PC.
Xbox and Funko Animation Studios release gameplay footage of Gears POP! via animated short
A year ago Microsoft revealed a peculiar partnership with the company behind Funko Pop. We had no idea what Gears POP! was going to be — there was no gameplay, and no details within the vague announced trailer beyond it launching on iOS and Android in 2019.
Well, we've finally had a look at Gears POP!, courtesy of the Microsoft presentation, and it turns out that it's a strategy game in the fashion of Clash Royale, with players using points to summon more troops then calling them (and attack abilities) into the fray to beat the opposition.
It's actually quite a clever adaptation of the cover-flank-cover gameplay of the series which inspired it, although I've mixed opinions of the goofy animation with the Funko Pop heads popping off after the lancer showdown at the end of the trailer.
The gameplay and in-game animation starts at 00:48. We can, presumably, expect more of these little shorts in the near future.
Cosy fishing and exploration management game Spiritfarer announced for 2020 release
Thunder Lotus Games have previously given us artistically beautiful games Jotun and Sundered, so it's always worth taking a few moments to have a look at whatever they decide to offer up next. In this case it looks to be an enigmatic management offering filled with cartoon-like animations and an amazing vibe of adventure.
Spiritfarer is a management game where you take on the role of the ferrymaster to the deceased — something which certainly might not be obvious from the bright colour palette and animal imagery which runs deep through the trailer. You're in charge of caring for your spirit friends, developing your boat and exploring the lands and seas of the afterlife.
Spiritfarer marks the first time that Thunder Lotus haven't developed a game off of the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign, with both previous titles originally funding on that platform.
Spiritfarer will release for all current gen consoles and PC in 2020.
E3 Recap on Google Stadia launch line-up
We're a little way into E3 now and the Google Stadia has appeared in a few trailers. We've also got the teased line-up from Google's own event last week.
Here's the list of games which are currently listed as coming to the platform for purchase:
-DRAGON BALL XENOVERSE 2
-Baldur's Gate 3
-FINAL FANTASY XV
-Tomb Raider Trilogy
-Tomb Raider Definitive Edition (2014 Reboot)
-Shadow of the Tomb Raider
-Football Manager 2020
-The Elder Scrolls Online
-Power Rangers Battle For The Grid
-The Crew 2
-The Division 2
-Assassin's Creed Odyssey
-Ghost Recon Breakpoint
-Farming Simulator 19
-Mortal Kombat 11
Rockstar, EA and Capcom are listed as working with Google on the library, yet haven't announced which games they will be bringing to the platform.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga announced, includes all nine films, launching 2020
Warner Brothers & Traveller's Tales' next game, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, was announced at the Microsoft E3 presentation. It'll cover all nine of the core films, and it is releasing next year.
The Lego Star Wars series will be seeing a release in its third decade now, with the first title released back in early 2005. The new entry will cover all nine of the core Star Wars movies, built from scratch. The trailer gives the impression that the development team seem to have moved away from their recent decision to include voice acting in their games, instead returning to the 'gestures and grunts' of the earlier titles, however, an IGN video released on the 11th had one of their video team state that the game will be voiced, but with other options being investigated by the developers.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is listed for release for current gen consoles and PC in 2020.
Elder Scrolls Blades receives major update, is confirmed as coming to Switch later this year
Among the many announcements on Bethesda's stage there was a couple which will be of interest to Pocket Gamer readers. Namely that there is a new, major update now live for Elder Scrolls: Blades, and that we've got a release window for the Switch version of the game.
Current players of the mobile version will find that there is a new, major update available for Blades right now. The update adds in a bunch of new features including a quest involving dragons, new town decorations, new jobs and new jewellery.
Read all about the update and Switch news here
Elder Scrolls: Blades will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch later this year and players will be able to carry over all of their progress from the mobile version.
RPG Time: The Legend of Wright announced, coming to mobile in 2020
The Microsoft presentations of the last few years have been especially heavy on games. There's always these great little montages of 20+ games which will be arriving on the system via their [email protected] program, and it's a great way to get a taste of some of the upcoming indie games. It's also always interesting to have a look at the other platforms that the games are coming to, in the case of RPG Time: The Legend of Wright it's also coming to mobile.
Desk Works' debut title is a meta RPG where you control both the RPG creator and the character within the game. It's all made in a wonderful mish-mash of different styles. Story sequences and the game world are all drawn in pencil, while UI components are littered around the desk top school book which you adventure through. It's all extremely clever, and the 'handmade' design looks like a child's humble creations while the game appears interesting to say the least.
It's only a 70 second trailer, but there's more than enough to ponder over, although its 2020 release date means that we might be waiting a while for more information.
RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is coming to Xbox One, PC, Android and iOS when it releases.
Commander Keen mobile game announced by Bethesda
Among the Bethesda E3 showcase there was a bit of a strange surprise. I've wanted a Commander Keen revival for some time, however I don't think anybody really expected what Bethesda showed.
Commander Keen, for those who weren't around when the series was, was a lively platformer made by id Software back in the 90s. There was a GBc entry made in 2001 as well, but otherwise the IP has been dormant since long before Bethesda acquired it with ID Software.
Bethesda's new Commander Keen doesn't really have any of the charm of the original series, nor is it even recognisable. It is instead a swipe-based platformer with ability gadgets triggered along the bottom of the screen. It has a strange pace and I can't really tell who the target audience is.
Well, I'll leave you to make your own opinions about it now, the gameplay trailer is above. Maybe I'll eat my words when launch time comes around... who knows?
The Messenger to receive new, free, holiday-themed expansion next month
Sabotage Studios' The Messenger is an extremely fun platforming jaunt through tough, supernatural locations. It's been available on PC, PS4 and Switch for a short while now, although clearly long enough to warrant an expansion.
The Messenger: Picnic Panic was announced by publisher Devolver Digital during their E3 segment. It's a bright and colourful take on the dimension-shifting core game, and it's certainly an interesting one. Not least because of the grungy, Mega Drive inspired visuals of the standard levels.
I'm especially interested in seeing how the new bosses shape up, The Messenger featured some extremely fun bosses which really used the level-transformation mechanics in very clever ways.
The Messenger: Picnic Panic will release as a free update on the 11th of July.
Conan Chop Chop is a cartoon aRPG April Fools joke become real
Back in April Funcom released a trailer for a new, four-player aRPG set in the Conan universe. Conan Chop Chop was a quirky, hand-drawn foray into the universe and, frankly, it looked very cool. Sadly though, the announcement was made on April 1st, and you know what that means?
Well, it turns out that the positive reaction to Conan Chop Chop actually seems to have spurred the project into production, and now the stick-limbed take on the adventures of Conan has a September release date.
Conan Chop Chop is a roguelike for one-to-four players. They set off on an adventure to save the world, as with most aRPGs, to be fair. Where it's different is the infinite replayability due to randomised map design, and the fun, cartoon graphic style.
It'll release on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch on the 3rd of September.
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy announced
Okay, so we've been avoiding covering 'potential' releases for Nintendo Switch and mobile, as there's a whole ton of news which qualifies as certainties — so we don't really need potentials. But, let's talk about the beautiful Unexplored 2 for a moment.
Unexplored 2 has players exploring a wild, varied world in their quest to destroy a dangerous staff which they have in their possession: The Staff of Yendor. You'll be racing against other forces as you head off to destroy the staff, and they have a lot more resources than you. You'll need to cover your tracks, making sure not to leave too much of a trail as you head off on your quest. If you talk to neutral factions, use the staff, cause a ruckus or leave signs of your passing then The Empire's trackers will be able to find you better.
The first Unexplored was a roguelike game which used extremely clever generative technologies to breathe a massive breath of fresh air into a part of the roguelike genre which has been untouched for a long time. It released on Steam back in 2017, eventually making it over to the Nintendo Switch in August of last year. As it turns out, Ludomotion seem to have been working on a sequel in the time since those releases.
Unexplored 2 was shown off during the PC Gaming show at E3, and is currently funding on FIG. Currently it is only listed for development on the PC, however they don't deny that other platforms could happen after the funding is complete.
Cris Tales is a time-travelling indie love letter to classic JRPGs releasing next year
Cris Tales, from new developers Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK, as well as publisher Modus Games, is a JRPG with a wonderful, cinematic style to it. It also has some pretty compelling ideas behind it, primarily in the protagonist existing within three slices of time, with direct repercussions for changes made in the past.
While the time travel, and its effect on the story, is no doubt going to be the most talked about point when it comes to Cris Tales, for me it is the art style and the combat UI which brings it all together. At 0:42 in the above trailer we get a look at a directional menu which branches into a fan-like sub-menu. Actions are written between upper and lower case, and we get a peek at the objects which give the game its name: Future Crystals.
We don't know much else about Cris Tales, although there is a demo available now on Steam
. On the subject of that, here's the feature list from the game page, that should give us a bit more of an insight into the game.
"A Love Letter to Classic JRPGs – Inspired by timeless JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Valkyrie Profile, and modern classics like Bravely Default and Persona 5, meet and recruit a unique cast of teammates, challenge myriad enemies, and make your way through an expansive world.
Experience the Past, Present, and Future Simultaneously – Peer into and learn from the past, decide on actions in the present, and alter the course of the future in ways that will reshape the world dynamically depending on the choices you make.
Master Strategic Turn-Based Combat – Warp your enemies into the past or future, synchronize attacks for enhanced group abilities, and master the timing of attack and defense to go beyond your party’s limits in combat.
Uncover a Fascinating Story & Characters – The Empress’ plot to destroy the world is complex and layered. Use your wits and recruit powerful allies throughout the world to uncover and undo her multi-faceted web and make your way to the True Ending of this enchanting tale. "
Discover a Beautiful World – Climb aboard an airship or boat and traverse this handcrafted, dark fairytale world. From the shining kingdom of Crystallis to the slums of Saint Clarity, discover each unique location and shape its future.
Cris Tales will be releasing on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch in 2020.
New trailer released for Sam Barlow's Telling Lies
Our interest in the next project of Sam Barlow (Her Story) is something we've made clear previously.
. However it is hard to get too excited about a project when you don't really understand the scope of the concept. Telling Lies is a story about four characters with their lives tangled up around one large lie. You browse through hacked, NSA-collated recordings to try and discover the truth.
The new trailer does release a little bit of new information on the game, as much as you might expect from a game based around watching videos to find information, namely it's how the keyword system works. While Barlow's previous game, Her Story, had you manually type in keywords to search for information it appears that Telling Lies will have you select words from the subtitling of the videos.
If this is the case then that's certainly an interesting way of innovating on word-led puzzles. Other FMV puzzle games have toyed with different ways of having the players ask questions; recently The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker had players type in full questions to try and add context, however this was a bit hit and miss at times. Telling Lies' technique of selecting words certainly seems like a clever way to restrict and direct players.
Telling Lies is coming soon for iOS and PC. It has been announced as part of the line-up for Apple Arcade, which is due to release in Fall.
Trials Rising Season 2: Medieval Motor Mayhem available now, features trailer released
Ubisoft have released a new trailer for Trials RIsing, this time focussing on the content of the imminently released Season 2 of content. The new season takes on a slightly medieval setting, albeit at the usual stretch that the Trials series runs with.
The new content pack includes a shopping cart ride, a track pack and a whole bunch of new customisation items. It's available now for Nintendo Switch.
The Last Remnant Remastered released for Nintendo Switch
Square Enix have remastered and released their 2008 JRPG onto the Nintendo Switch. It's available now.
I remember The Last Remnant well, it was a clever twist on the party system of traditional JRPGs, with each party member instead replaced by a group of characters. This meant that you spent a lot of the sweeping story hiring and focusing mercenaries to ensure that your battle roster of over a dozen units were organised into effective battle groups. In addition to the cool new battle system it also featured a decent story revolving around the main character's search for their sibling — however was plagued with long loading times on original release.
Circuit Superstars announced, charming micro-racing game launching in 2020.
The next game to come from the Square Enix Collective is Original Fire Games' Circuit Superstars.
It's a top-down racing title, similar to the old track racers from days of yore. However, it's got a wonderful, bold-outlined art design, and looks to have had a lot of attention paid to handling. There's also the requirement to hit the pits, so I'm wondering if damage, wear or fuel are taken into consideration during the racing.
Here's the feature's list for the game, straight from the developers:
"Circuit Superstars captures the thrills and intensity of motorsport in a charming format that will appeal to racing enthusiasts and new players alike.
The game features a dynamic driving system that’s simple to learn, yet deep and rewarding. That means you can focus on the most exciting aspects of the sport: mastering new tracks, battling wheel-to-wheel for the chequered flag, managing wear and tear, and building your pit strategy.
We're driving hard to make Circuit Superstars into something truly special. We can't reveal all the features yet (there's a very long, very secret list), but here’s a glimpse into what you can expect:
A range of series and styles: From 60s-inspired single-seaters, to souped-up GT specials, Circuit Superstars features vehicles and tracks from every motorsport era. A purist approach to motorsport: This isn’t your average racing game - the team developing the game have more than 15 years of real motor racing experience. They’re bringing every bit of that expertise and passion to this project - and you can tell!"
Circuit Superstars will be releasing for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch next year.
Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions coming to Mobile, Switch.
Square Enix have announced that two titles from the SaGa series are heading to western shores soon.
Both Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions were announced, via E3, to be heading to a variety of platforms over the next while. Scarlet Grace Ambitions will release for iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC, while Romancing SaGa 3 will release for the same and also Xbox One, PSVita and the Microsoft Store.
Neither of these games have been available in English previously, so for many it will be the first time they experience the games. Scarlet Grace is an enhanced version of the 2016 release, while 1995's Romancing SaGa 3 is a full HD remaster which includes some additional content.
Square Enix announces release date for stylish aRPG ONINAKI for Nintendo Switch
Square Enix's next title, aRPG ONINAKI, has now got a release date. The title, which will see you severing the ties between the fallen dead and the world they now haunt, will release on the 22nd of August for the PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
It's a beautiful looking aRPG, however there's not really much in the way of information on the game. The developer, Tokyo RPG Factory, have been behind great projects like Lost Sphere and I am Setsuna, so they deserve the benefit of the doubt, however it is always strange when details are so light.
Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, hero-based tactical mobile game revealed by Ubisoft
As it turns out, Ubisoft Owlient have been busy working on a new mobile title set in the Tom Clancey extended universe. It's a hero-based tactical strategy game, where players move characters from The Division, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and presumably more around a small combat zone. Placement appears key, with the example shown in the trailer showing Montagne serving as additional cover for other units. The footage isn't confirmed to be real time gameplay, however it does give us a good glance of the planned, tactical manner which will be found within. It will be interesting to see how it is monetised and supported after release — love them or hate them, Ubisoft's post release Rainbow Six content has been thorough. Maybe we'll see Rayman added in.
Tom Clancy's Elite Squad is listed as coming soon for iOS and Android.
Castlestorm II announced for Nintendo Switch, launching later this year
Castle combat title Castlestorm is getting a sequel this year. It'll be launching on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and will be exclusive to the Epic Store on PC. Readers might remember that a free-to-play version of the first game — Castlestorm - Free to Siege — was released for mobile devices, so there is a chance that we'll see a mobile version in future.
The biggest visible change is the addition of a hex-based overworld. But, I'll leave developers Zen Studios to explain:
"Each of six distinct campaign modes are represented by delightfully memorable heroic characters, as you strive to conquer an overworld map through a mix of turn-based strategy and skill in an upgraded take on traditional CastleStorm combat. You’ll build castles and fortresses – and eventually an entire empire – through gameplay structured to engage the hardcore strategy fan inside you, while also remaining accessible. And as the castles get bigger, they fall much, much harder – the destruction powered by the Unreal 4 engine enhances the visceral action."
Kalypso announce Commandos 2 HD Remastered and Praetorians HD Remastered
The late 1990s and early 2000s were formative for the strategy and tactics genres, they started to twist and change rather than simply trying to echo the success of Dune II and Command and Conquer. One way in which they were innovated upon was the density and purpose of units. In the Commandos series this manifested as a limited amount of units, each with a single life and completely unique skills, meanwhile in Praetorians army composition and tactics played a greater role than pure unit type.
Well, Kalypso Media, who now owns the IP for both of these, has announced HD Remasters of both titles, with intent to release both in the last quarter of this year.
Pretorians HD Remastered will not be releasing on anything relevant to us, for now, instead releasing on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Commandos 2 HD Remastered will be releasing on those platforms, but also on Nintendo Switch, iPad and Android Tablets.
Disgaea 4 Complete+ announced for Nintendo Switch
Among NIS America's announcements at E3 was news that an updated version of Disgaea 4 would be releasing on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch in Autumn of this year.
The Disgaea series, for those unaware, is a turn-based, grid-based strategy series set in hell. Players talk on the role of a prince who must summon underlings and minions in order to build a fighting force formidable enough to become the lord of hell. There's normally an angelic foil who has been involved in some case of mistaken identity, and they normally end up working together.
Combat is normally excessive, full of proximity based combos, obscene numbers and terrain effects. The games are also nigh infinite in content due to interesting mechanics like the ability to fight through dungeons based on items, those dungeons being places where you can find items which you can then fight within, and so on.
Here's the blurb for the upcoming title: "When the ruling powers of Hades are revealed to be corrupt, Valvatorez must spark a rebellion to bring them down! Armed to the teeth with dynamic, over-the-top gameplay and a horde of special features, this is the ultimate Disgaea!
Disgaea 4 Complete+ revisits this strategy RPG classic with all the additional scenario, characters and DLC ever released for the title and adds brand new tweaks and functionality to make it THE ULTIMATE Disgaea experience. Launching this fall for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch."
Bandai Namco are remastering Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and it's coming to Switch
Level 5's Ni No Kuni: Legend of the White Witch was an unexpected delight when it was released for the PS3 back in 2011. It combined Level 5's approachable, cartoon style with Studio Ghibli's craftsmanship.
It followed the story of Oliver, a boy who journeyed into a mysterious world in an effort to save his mother. What starts off feeling like a classic RPG quickly changes into a deep experience; receiving a dense quest system, innovative magic system and a familiar taming system.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered will release for PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch on the 20th of September this year.
Empire of Sin is a mob strategy game releasing on Nintendo Switch next year
Romero Games and Paradox Interactive have announced Empire of Sin, a strategy game set in the 1920's prohibition-era.
Empire of Sin challenges you to build a business in the mob-run back-streets of prohibition Chicago. It appears that players have the choice to focus on a racket, including speakeasies, protection or casinos, and can then expand out across the city while also hiring new muscle in to secure your territory.
Information on the game is quite light at the moment, however the combat instances are turn-based and there seems to be some RPG elements involving crew dynamics.
Empire of Sin will release on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in Spring of 2020.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 revealed as a Switch exclusive
Sega have announced the next entry in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series, it'll be released to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and it will be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.
The latest trailer gives us a peek at a few of the new events which will be added to the game to coincide with their addition to the Olympics: Skateboarding, Karate, Surfing and Sport Climbing. There's also a hint at a retro mode, as well as confirmation of the return of football, equestrian challenges and more.
We should know more about the game nearer to its release date in November.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel is now in production
During Nintendo's press event for E3 they announced, with a short teaser, that they were working on the next entry in the Zelda series. It appears, from what has been said, that it will be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild and will take place within the same world and timeline as the previous title.Our own Dave has shared his thoughts on the second title retreating the same Hyrule, read it here.
Collection of Mana, including Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana, released for Nintendo Switch
Square Enix presentations have been synonymous with Kingdom Heart 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake delays for some time, so it's extremely nice that alongside the previously discussed release of The Last Remenant, they also used this year as an opportunity to release the Collection of Mana collection onto Nintendo Switch.
The first three entries in the series, which began back in 1991 and spanned from Gameboy to SNES, are now available as a single download on the Nintendo console. The collection marks the first time that Trials of Mana has been available outside of Japan, and comes with the news that the game will also be being fully remade for a 2020 release date.
New trailer for Fire Emblem: Three Houses story trailer introduces major factions
Among NIntendo's E3-Adjacent events they took some time to reveal a new trailer for the next Fire Emblem title, Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
The new trailer focuses on the conflict between three former classmates who now lead rival factions. The titular three houses are the three countries which have divided the land of Fodlan. You meet major players from each of the nations and also from a fourth faction, the Church of Seiros, which exercises a lot of control over the land. A few major changes to the normal Fire Emblem formula have been confirmed including that units now control formations of troops who serve under and support the unit. It also appears that players can directly control the character at some points, walking around as them to learn new information and interact with other characters.
Fire Emblem: Three Heroes will release on the 26th of July for Nintendo Switch
Nintendo treehouse featured 30 minutes of gameplay, so here's some footage for you to take a look at:
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening E3 2019 trailer released
Nintendo released a quick look at the next The Legend of Zelda title, Link's Awakening, during their E3 presentations.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is another entry in the Zelda series which hearkens back to the SNES era Link to the Past. It's a beautiful looking title which does a lot of interesting things with the camera angles, and if you look at moments like 00:53 in the trailer you can see a focus-pulled visual effect which blurs the foreground. It all emulates looking down onto a diorama — something reinforced by the toy-style character design.
The biggest new feature that Link's Awakening brings to the series is the ability to collect rooms and build your own challenge dungeons.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening releases on Nintendo Switch on the 20th of September.
Nintendo release new Luigi's Mansion 3 footage
Luigi's Mansion 3 will be releasing later this year for the Nintendo Switch, but even though it's definitely going to be a poster child for Nintendo's holiday line-up we've not seen much about the game.
Well, that changes with the latest trailer, it gives us a re-introduction to the core of the series as well as showing off some of the new abilities you'll be able to use to de-ghost the titular mansion. Abilities like a knock-back burst and a co-op, ectoplasm Luigi, look to massively change up the way that the game plays.
There's also a new multiplayer mode called ScareScraper Mode, this is demonstrated in the trailer with a fantastic scene which includes eight characters being controlled on screen at once.
New trailer released for Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Bethesda have released a new trailer for Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the next entry in the series.
Youngblood sees you taking control of Jess or Soph Blazkowicz, the twin daughters of series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz. The entire experience can be played through in cooperative, and the owners of the deluxe versions receive a buddy pass which allows another player to join in cooperative play without owning their own copy. It follows the twins as they work with the French Resistance to try to free the country from the Nazis while also trying to find their father.
The trailer shows us that the alt-history 1980s looks very different to the world we know. The victorious Nazis continued doing dumb, bad stuff and ruining everybody else's fun and freedoms.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases on the 26th of July.
Online action RPG Dauntless revealed for Nintendo Switch
Dauntless, a multiplayer action RPG all about completing deadly hunts, has been confirmed as coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year. It sees players hunting down gigantic, dangerous beasts which are trying to destroy the Shattered Isles, the floating islands where the game takes place.
You take on the role of a Slayer, one of a group of up to four who set out to slay the behemoths tearing the land up. Once they are defeated you can, in a fashion similar to Monster Hunter, carve up the parts of their body and make armour and weapons from it. You can almost fight dyes, cells and stones which allow you to customise your character's appearance.
Dauntless will arrive for Nintendo Switch later this year, it's free to play.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons confirmed for a March 2020 release date
Animal Crossing: New Horizon was confirmed for the Nintendo Switch at last year's E3, so both gameplay and a release date have been a long time coming. Well, we've now got a release date: 20th March 2020.
Nine months is certainly a long time to wait, however we did get a quick peek at some of the New Horizons experience through its new trailer. It looks as though you'll be arriving via a boat rather than a train, there's a lot more of a focus on scavenging and crafting, and pathmaking and refined planting appears to be in too. It appears that, at least at the start of it all, bridges are out and vaulting poles are in.
We do get a peek at a few other villagers at the end, possibly hinting at a multiplayer experience, however, we'll have to wait for more details.
The Witcher 3 Complete Edition is questing to the Nintendo Switch later this year
Probably one of the biggest pieces of news out of E3 was the news that CD Projekt Red's The Witcher 3 was confirmed as being ported to the Switch. It's something which has been discussed and rumoured for quite some time now, and both begged and answered a lot of questions with its announcement.
The Witcher 3's resolution on the Switch will be 540p in handheld mode, and 720p dynamic resolution while played in docked mode. The Complete Edition will launch with all of the content released on other platforms, and it'll all be one one 32gb cartridge. This marks the first time a cartridge of that size has been used for a Nintendo Switch game in the West.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered announced with 2019 release date
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VIII's release. To commemorate the anniversary Square Enix have announced a remake for the classic, Playstation One era jRPG.
You'll be able to experience Squall's journey with "a new visual refresh" featuring "overhauled visuals" when it releases later this year. The announcement came with a new trailer, as visible above, and although the FMVs feel almost exactly the same, the in-game overhaul is very, very visible. I recently tried to play the original release on PC and, well, even though we know that attempts to create realistic graphics tend to fall hardest, I was quite surprised at how badly the visuals had aged.
When Final Fantasy VIII Remastered releases it will do so for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Resident Evil 5 and 6 announced for Nintendo Switch
Capcom's mission to deliver the entire Resident Evil collection to the Nintendo Switch is clearly going full steam ahead this year. Only earlier this year they released Resident Evil 0, 1 and 4 to stand alongside Revelations 1 & 2. Well, at E3 they confirmed that those five will be joined by 2009's Resident Evil 5 and 2012's Resident Evil 6.
Resident Evil 5 was notorious for sticking with the Resident Evil 4 style of second-person/over-the-shoulder gameplay, while 6 featured a three-pronged narrative which each shifted pace to match different eras of the long-running series. Six also saw Mercenaries mode added, which was a wave defense title, and Agent Hunt which allowed players to take on the role of enemies in other character's online games.
The two games will be releasing in Autumn of this year.
No More Heroes 3 announced as Nintendo Switch exclusive with 2020 release
No More Heroes III will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive, Grasshopper Manufacture revealed during E3.
The third entry in the series will be set ten years after the events of the first game, however the location has had a slight change up. Rather than taking place in Santa Destroy it will revolve around a metropolis floating in the nearby ocean, as well as an odd object which floats above the city itself.
You can find out a little more about the game through the trailer above, but most notably it mostly consists of a lot of mech suits.
Alien: Isolation announced for Nintendo Switch
Sega and Creative Assembly's survival horror entry in the Alien series, Alien: Isolation, was a phenomenon when it launched back in 2014. Previous attempts at adapting the series to video games have been wildly varied, with the last (widely accepted as) successful attempt being AvP2 back in 2001.
Alien: Isolation slowed the pace massively from other attempts, quite literally putting the 'survival' back into survival horror. Players spend a lot of their time sneaking away from, and hiding from, the titular xenomorph, versus the normal run-and-gun of previous outings. It managed to nail the tension and atmosphere of the early entries in the movie series.
Previously it has only been available for PC, Playstation and Microsoft platforms, however Sega have announced that they'll be working with proven porters Feral Interactive to bring the game to the Nintendo Switch later this year.
New trailer released for upcoming The Sinking City
Frogwares and their publisher Bigben Interactive used their time at E3 to release a new promotional trailer for The Sinking City, their upcoming mystery horror game.
The Sinking City casts you in the role of a private investigator in the 1920s who has found themselves in a city which is suffering from supernatural floods. Strange monsters wander the streets and the residents who remained have been changed mentally or physically. It's a Lovecraft inspired effort, featuring fish-people, strange eldritch beings and lots of squishy horrors which can be killed by any tenacious soul with a shotgun.
Here's the official description of the game: "The Sinking City is an adventure and investigation game set in an open world inspired by the universe of H.P. Lovecraft, the master of Horror. The half-submerged city of Oakmont is gripped by supernatural forces. You're a private investigator, and you have to uncover the truth of what has possessed the city… and the minds of its inhabitants.
- An oppressive atmosphere and story inspired by the universe of H.P. Lovecraft. - A vast open world that can be explored on foot, by boat, in a diving suit… - High replay value thanks to an open investigation system: each case can be solved in a number of ways, with different possible endings depending on your actions. - An arsenal of weapons from the 1920s with which to take on nightmarish creatures. - Manage your mental health to untangle the truth behind the madness."
The Sinking City releases on the 27th of June for Nintendo Switch.