As you read this, I hope that all of you are safe and healthy. This is the debut of a new weekly feature on the website that will spotlight video gaming news for the week each Saturday. I will reference five stories that I find interesting and noteworthy while providing a bit of commentary on each one. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section as I would love to read your feedback on the topics covered. Also, keep in mind that the chosen news stories are based on my personal preferences. And as always, you can find links to various video game news sites within the links of the main menu.
PERSONA SOUNDTRACKS NOW ON SPOTIFY AND APPLE MUSIC
The soundtracks for several games from the Persona series are now available on Spotify and Apple Music. This is great news as the Persona games have some of the best and unique music that you’ll find in role-playing games. I’m more familiar with the tunes from Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5. My two favorite tracks are “Heaven” from Persona 4 and “Last Surprise” from Persona 5. Check them out on YouTube when you get an opportunity, but I am thrilled that there are other platforms for people to enjoy the music. By the way, if you are a Japanese RPG fan and you haven’t played Persona 5, what are you waiting for?
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II CELEBRATION EDITION FREE NEXT WEEK
Epic Games has been very generous over the last two years with weekly free games and also 15 consecutive days of game giveaways over the holidays. I highlighted the organization in a recent post where I was recognizing the generosity of companies that gave away free games in 2020. Epic Games was certainly at the top of the list. If you don’t have an Epic Games account and you play games on PC, sign up for one today for free HERE.
Star Wars Battlefront II Celebration Edition was the result of nearly two years of work by EA Dice to repair the reputation of the game following its highly criticized release in 2017. The main gripe with the game in its early stages was the lack of content. By 2020, EA Dice had released a multitude of free content updates that brought new planets, heroes, and even added “Instant Action” single-player modes. At present, Star Wars Battlefront II Celebration Edition is an excellent package, particularly on PC where you’ll be able to take advantage of the multitude of mods that you will find at Nexus Mods.
OFFICIAL SUPER NINTENDO WORLD WEBSITE GOES LIVE
Universal Studios Japan is planning on officially opening its Super Nintendo World portion of the theme park in February. In anticipation of the launch, the main website is now active with some information on the attractions and features of Super Nintendo World. Click the link right below the picture to go to the site. Like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was to Universal Studios in the United States, I believe Super Nintendo World will be huge for Universal Studios Japan. Polygon reported in 2017 that there are plans to bring Super Nintendo World to the Universal Studios locations in California and Florida. For gamers, this is awesome to see and it shows just how powerful of a brand that both Nintendo and the characters of the Super Mario games are.
EPIC GAMES CHOOSES SHOPPING MALL AS ITS NEXT HEADQUARTERS
It is being estimated that by 2024, Epic Games will have a new headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. The gaming company purchased the 980,000 square-foot and 87-acre commercial property that will be converted over the next three years. Epic Games has been based in Cary for 20 years. The organization’s corporate profile rose to new heights over the past few years due to the success of Fortnite, which was released in 2017. To give you an indication of just how significant Fortnite has been to Epic Games, the game has been a billion-dollar franchise for the company. Even when it was reported in decline a year ago, Fortnite still earned $1.8 billion in 2019.
It’s amazing what one highly successful game can do for a gaming company. Before Fortnite, I had known Epic Games for Gears of War and Unreal Tournament titles. Now the organization is a powerhouse in the gaming industry. The Fortnite brand is very strong and it will be interesting to see how Epic Games will continually grow and maintain it. Oh, and let’s not forget the power of micro-transactions.
MICROSOFT AND UBISOFT RUMORS BEGIN TO EMERGE
The acquisition of Bethesda and the partnership with EA Play were both major deals for Microsoft in 2020. Microsoft lost a lot of ground in the gaming console war due to the popularity of the Playstation 4 and also the emergence of the Nintendo Switch. Even now, most gamers I’ve talked to prefer the Playstation 5 to the Xbox Series X/S.
If the rumor is true regarding Microsoft and Ubisoft, then this could really help the Xbox parent company. Game Pass is the best service of its kind for the money and I’ve been a very satisfied customer over the past year. The idea of all the EA Play titles, along with the Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Tom Clancy, and Far Cry franchises on one platform is very intriguing. Speaking of EA Play, I’m looking forward to when it arrives on the PC version of Xbox Game Pass.