Weekly News Wrap-Up: February 20th Edition

Credit: Remedy Entertainment
Even though it was released in 2019, Control is a key reason why Remedy Entertainment had a record 2020.

Hello everyone and I hope you are all having a relaxing and peaceful weekend. Here we are again at the end of another week and time is moving so fast that each week is like a blur. It’s time to get into some notable headlines of the week. I’ve decided that anything related to CD Projekt Red is off the table in today’s post as the company’s misfortunes have been already been discussed on this site at length. There are other things in gaming that are more exciting to discuss. This week’s subjects include the latest Nintendo Direct, Valheim‘s continued success, and DOTA getting an anime series. Let’s get to it.

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LATEST NINTENDO DIRECT REVEALS UPCOMING GAMES

The first Nintendo Direct since 2019 took place on Wednesday as Nintendo highlighted a series of upcoming games and downloadable content that would be available this year. The stream kicked off by introducing its newest character additions to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate–Pyra and Mytha from the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Games announced that have already been released on other platforms but are making their Nintendo Switch debut are Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Tales From the Borderlands, and Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. There were also several new games introduced such as No More Heroes III, DC Superhero Girls: Teen Power, Neon White, and Project Triangle Strategy (developed by the same team who worked on Octopath Traveler). There was much more showcased in the stream that you can view in its entirety in the video above.

While an HD remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was revealed on Wednesday’s stream, The Legend of Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma hinted that there could be announcement regarding a new Zelda game later in the year. He recognized that many gamers were anticipating a major announcement, but conceded that there was no present news to share. Released last November, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the most recent game that takes place in The Legend of Zelda universe.

What a difference a system makes. I remember the Nintendo Direct streams during the days of the Wii U as Nintendo struggled to attract interest in that system. Now, Nintendo has the top-selling and most preferred video game system in the industry. Out of all the games mentioned in the stream, Project Triangle Strategy seemed the most interesting. I played the demo and after all the story cutscenes, the actual battles reminded me of Fire Emblem Three Houses and Final Fantasy Tactics. By the way, I still need to pass Fire Emblem.

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NETFLIX REVEALS NEW DOTA ANIME

What began as a modification for the original Warcraft III in the early 2000s now will become the newest video game based anime series on Netflix. The streaming service juggernaut announced that DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) will make its debut on the platform next month on March 25th. Its title will be DOTA: Dragon’s Blood and consist of 8 episodes, similar to the structure of the Castlevania series. This IGN.com article provides more information about the show, including the characters the anime will center around and the production team.

DOTA is one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) brands in gaming history. As a mod, DOTA gained so much popularity that Valve purchased the rights to it in 2009. Valve went on to release DOTA 2 in 2013, a Steam exclusive that still maintains a strong player base. According to Statista, the game had more than 10 million players during January.

I have very limited experience with DOTA 2 and with MOBA games in general, but it is a genre that I want to get into much more in 2021. The little I’ve played I’ve found to be fun and there is a bit of a learning curve to understanding when to attack, when to pull back, and what abilities are most useful for the present situation. If you have Steam, I recommend that you give it a try. If you don’t want to engage in multiplayer, DOTA 2 also gives you the ability to play matches against bots with bot teammates. Better yet, the game is free. CLICK HERE to visit DOTA 2’s official page.

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WITH THREE MILLION UNITS SOLD, VALHEIM REMAINS STEAM TOP SELLER

I love it when small indie game developers and publishers can achieve big things. In last week’s edition of the Weekly News Wrap-Up, one of the topics was about the early success of a new indie survival game based in a Norse/Viking-influenced world called Valheim. At the time, the game had sold over a million units. In less than three weeks, the Iron Gate Studio developed title has now crossed over the three million mark. What an accomplishment by a development team that consisted of just five members. The publisher is Coffee Stain Publishing.

The biggest reason for the game’s success…players are enjoying it immensely. On the game’s Steam Page, the reviews are “Overwhelmingly Positive” with more than 50,000 review submissions. PC Gamer has been praising the game and publishing Valheim related articles on almost a daily basis. What’s even more amazing is that the game is in Early Access and many users already have hundreds of hours of playtime. The game is getting some good exposure.

Being that Valheim is an indie game was receiving so much press, I had been pondering whether the purchase the game for myself or not. I’m not much into survival games that focus on crafting and building. But what changed my mind was when I found that the game had console commands that even included a god mode. Suddenly the game became a must-buy for me because the console commands would allow for more flexibility as I learned the game. So I purchased it on Tuesday and plan to give some impressions in a post next month. The game costs $19.99.

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REMEDY HAS RECORD YEAR WITH NO GAME RELEASES

Credit: Remedy Entertainment

Remedy Entertainment had no game releases in 2020. That still didn’t stop the gaming studio from having its best financial year in company history, according to IGN. Earnings were up 30 percent compared to 2019 as Remedy reported $41.1 million in revenue. The official financial statement release can be read by CLICKING HERE.

The highly-regarded action title, Control, is credited with being the catalyst for Remedy’s 2020 success. Although the game was released in 2019, sales were still strong in 2020 and the Ultimate Edition of the game only served to boost purchases. Control features a female protagonist named Jesse Faden, who is selected as the new director of a secret agency named The Federal Bureau of Control. The game explores paranormal themes and Faden herself possesses some Jean Grey-like powers. It was selected by many publications as their Game of the Year in 2019.

I’ve had the privilege of playing this fantastic game and it makes perfect sense as to why Control has been a huge earner for Remedy. The company has a great track record when it comes to creative titles. Remedy was behind the first two Max Payne games, as well as the Alan Wake series, and Quantum Break. They are all top-notch games. Quantum Break was especially a brilliant science fiction experience involving time travel.

If you have Playstation Plus, go to the Playstation Store and claim Control Ultimate Edition by the end of the month for free on your Playstation 4 or Playstation 5 as part of your monthly subscription. You will not be disappointed.

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HAWKEYE, MAESTRO JOIN MARVEL’S AVENGERS IN MARCH

Credit: Square Enix
Nearly several months after release, Marvel’s Avengers will finally receive character DLC next month.

Marvel’s Avengers was released last fall with high expectations from the gaming community that expected to play with a cast of their favorite superheroes. While the main campaign was well received and many gamers delighted in the action-oriented gameplay of the game, a myriad of bugs and lack of content have soured some users on the game. Keep in mind that the initial playable roster was also very thin. As a result, the game eventually lost most of its player base by the end of 2020.

Finally, after months of no announced dates for new content, Square Enix put out a press release that officially announced that Hawkeye will be playable starting on March 18th. Maestro, a villainous version of Bruce Banner and The Hulk, will be the newest antagonist. New story content is also part of the upcoming DLC. Operation: Hawkeye – Future Imperfect is the official title of the update, which will be free.

It’s about time something new was released for this game. I believe down the road that this game could be something special but it is very lacking in the present. There should have been more playable characters included from the start and a lot more thought put into the post-campaign content. I did a whole post last September about why I can’t justify purchasing the game in its current state and even pointed out better Marvel gaming alternatives. Even as a huge Marvel fan, Marvel’s Avengers still has a long way to go to become a game worthy of my purchase.

-TVGA
admin@videogamersadvocate.com

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