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Go download the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire client so you’re ready to ink it up next weekend

15 Mar

Splatoon 2 will be Switch’s first big multiplayer title. Get ready.

splatoon_2_global_testfire

Splatoon 2 is throwing a test party, and everybody with a Switch is invited.

Although the free demo session doesn’t kick off till next weekend – check the Splatoon 2 demo opening times for more information on that – you can download the client now.

Just log onto the Switch eShop and look for Splatoon 2 Global Testfire. It’s available on both the Japanese and North American storefronts now, but if your region hasn’t posted the client yet maybe try tomorrow.

Splatoon 2 Global Testfire will be open over six short play sessions, so you’ll want to mark your calendar and set an alarm or two to make sure don’t miss out.

Splatoon 2 introduces new weapons and maps, and as part of an apparent eSports push, also supports LAN play and private spectator mode.

The first Splatoon was one of the absolute treasures of the Wii U era and while it’s something of a shame to see it replaced so quickly it’s great to see the unusual shooter get another chance at winning the large audience it deserves.

If you weren’t onboard last time, don’t let the colourful graphics fools you. Splatoon has the distinction of being one of the few shooters that’s both satisfying to play on a tactical level while also being family-friendly enough to fire up in front of (or even with) your offspring.

Steven Universe RPG coming this summer, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes game inbound from Capybara

9 Mar

Cartoon Network revealed a couple of video game projects this week.

steven_universe_save_the_light

A Steven Universe RPG is slated for release on consoles over northern summer, Cartoon Network has announced.

Called Steven Universe: Save the Light, it’s a sequel to 2015’s mobile hit Steven Universe: Attack the Light, which really bucked trends by being pretty good. It’s being developed by Grumpyface, the team responsible for Attack the Light, so with any luck it’ll be better than Cartoon Network’s previous console efforts.

We’ll learn more about Steven Universe: Save the Light after it makes its gameplay debut at PAX East this weekend, where Cartoon Network will also show off a game based on upcoming series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes.

This one’s being developed for PC and consoles by Capybara, the studio behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and the much-anticipated Below. (No word on what happened to “going dark” on Below after is delay, unfortunately.)

According to a post on Capybara’s website, the team has been working closely with Cartoon Network, to the point where it has been “helping to build K.O.’s world”.

OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes comes from some of the same creative team as Steven Universe and Adventure Time, and debted as a series of YouTube shorts before being worked up into a full series, which doesn’t have a release date. We’ll probably find that out at PAX East, too.

Pokemon Go’s big update is rolling out now, so you can get your hands on over 80 new Gen 2 ‘mon

17 Feb

Pokemon Go developer Niantic produces a heck of a lasso and ropes you right back in.

pokemon_go_gen_2

A Pokemon Go update is rolling out now on Android (0.57.2) and iOS (1.27.2), so check Google Play and the App Store to see if your region is ready to rock the new content, which includes more than 80 new Pokemon.

This is the big Pokemon Go update Niantic revealed earlier this week, and represents the first major expansion of catchable Pokemon since the app launched in July 2016.

The new Pokemon are Generation 2 beasties, first found in the Johto region. Some of them come in gender variations, so be sure to grab them all.

There are some other cool changes to Pokemon Go in this update, including increased rewards when catching evolved Pokemon and new night mode map and music.

Here are the full patch notes for the Pokemon Go Gen 2 update:

  • Over 80 additional Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region can be caught.
  • Gender-specific variations of select Pokémon can be caught.
  • Added new encounter mechanics.
  • Added Poké Ball and Berry selection carousels to the encounter screen.
  • Added two new Berries.
  • Added new avatar outfit and accessory options.
  • Added new night-mode map and encounter music.
  • Added bonus Candies for catching Evolved Pokémon.
  • Implemented Apple Watch connection stability improvement.
  • Various bug fixes.
  • Minor text fixes.

Nintendo Switch is getting Jackbox Party Pack 3, and Snake Pass

2 Feb

Jackbox Party Pack 3, and Snake Pass are coming to the Nintendo Switch this year.

The latest entry in the Jackbox party game series, Jackbox Party Pack 3, has been confirmed for the Nintendo Switch. Party Pack 3 includes five new games, with support for up to eight players.

No release date for that was announced, other than “soon”.

Snake Pass, the puzzle platformer starring Noodle the snake, has also been confirmed for the Switch. Snake Pass is made by Little Big Planet 3 developers Sumo Digital, and features some very unique snake physics. It’s due for release in early 2017 alongside the the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions.

Pokemon Go becomes the fastest app to reach $1B in global revenue, up $500M in a single month

1 Feb

Pokemon Go cannot be stopped. Apparently it cannot even be slowed.

pokemon_meowth_money

Pokemon Go has crossed off another major milestone by totting up $1 billion in gross global revenue.

That’s according to SensorTower, which also reports that Pokemon Go has set a record for being the app the reach $1 billion in the shortest amount of time – just short of seven months since its July 2016 release. To give you some context, Clash Royale is yet to reach $1 billion, although after ten months on the market it’s pretty close to it.

Image: GeneralGibby on DeviantArt

The last time we got an update, Pokemon Go topped $950 million in revenue. That data was for launch to the end of December 2016, so Pokemon Go has generated about $50 million in one month – and a month without a major seasonal event.

The report notes that Pokemon Go revenue topped out at $18 million in launch month, but income may be as high as $2.5 million a day, especially during events and around updates. We can probably expect some pretty sharp spikes in revenue if Pokemon Go introduces Generation 2 Pokemon, something we’ve all been expecting for a while now.

Dang, Pokemon Go: leave some money for the rest of us. You can only Scrooge McDuck around in it for so long before you get bored, right?

Pokemon Sun & Moon’s third global mission has kicked off so let’s all try not to fail this time

31 Jan

Pokemon Sun & Moon offers a third global challenge even though you have let it down twice already. It’s not mad, it’s just disappointed.

pokemon_sun_moon_cheer_squad

Pokemon Sun & Moon players are invited to participate in another global mission.

Since the first and second Pokemon Sun & Moon global missions both ended in failure, the pressure’s on to perform this time.

The current challenge for Pokemon Sun & Moon players is to make 1 million trades at the Global Trade Station by 4:00pm PT February 13. You’ll need to use Game Sync to register your tally of trades for the event.

If the challenge is met, all Pokemon Sun & Moon players will receive 2,000 Festival coins, but Pokemon Global Link players will receive 4,000 Festival Coins. If the total trade tally reaches 2 million, PGL members will get a Friend Ball, too.

Since Pokemon Sun & Moon loves you, it will give everyone who participates a prize even if the challenge is failed again – 200 coins, or 400 for PGL members. PGL members who register five or more trades will also receive five Rare Candies, win or lose.

Here’s the Pokemon Company’s description of how to participate:

  1. Talk with the global mission receptionist in the Festival Plaza castle and enter the global mission.
  2. Back at the Festival Plaza, select Trade and then GTS.
  3. Trade as many Pokémon as possible at the GTS before February 14, 2017, at 00:00 UTC.
  4. Check in with the global mission receptionist in Festival Plaza before February 14, 2017, at 00:00 UTC to record your progress.

Yooka-Laylee has gone gold, so prepare to get your hands on the closest thing to a new Rare platformer we may ever see

30 Jan

Yooka-Laylee is really happening, so apart from that whole Wii U thing this crowdfunding attempt is going great guns.

yooka-laylee

Yooka-Laylee has gone gold, Playtonic has announced.

Releasing in April, Yooka-Laylee is a sort of spiritual successor to Rare’s much loved Banjo-Kazooie series; developed by a group of former Rare staffers, it has the double-barrelled name, the double protagonists, the general sense of beauty and wonder, et cetera.

Fans have been waiting a very long time for something like this, so it’s wonderful to see everything’s set for release. Unfortunately the Wii U build of Yooka-Laylee has been cancelled; if you need to change your platform choice for this or any other reason, you can find out more about your options via a recent Kickstarter update.

Releasing two years after the studio’s formation, Yooka-Laylee has had a pretty quick turnaround – which is more than can be said for many crowdfunded projects.

“We couldn’t have reached this moment without the incredible support of our backers, fans, family and friends across the games industry,” Playtonic said.

“Thanks again for your unwavering enthusiasm for our studio. We hope you enjoy Yooka-Laylee.”

In other Playtonic news, the studio recently welcomed Viva Pinata Justin Cook to the team. It’s probably too much to hope that Playtonic’s followup project will resurrect this likewise neglected genre, isn’t it?

Switch brawler Arms doesn’t actually require motion controls, so if you’re serious about it just plug in a Pro Controller

20 Jan

Switch is supposed to be a serious strategic fighting game, a claim that’s being helped along by the revelation you don’t need to flail your paws about in the air to make it go.

Arms was announced during the Switch launch event, with Nintendo extolling its virtues as both an accessible game and something a bit deeper for fighting fans. Oh, and a vehicle for Nintendo’s next batch of first-party character mascots.

In the wake of the reveal Arekkz had a go and concluded Arms isn’t just about flailing your arms about, but now it turns out it doesn’t have to involve flapping your hands at all.

According to a recent Nintendo Treehouse presentation, you don’t even need to use motion controls at all. IGN spotted the quote, which you can hear at 52:18.

“If you’re a purist and you like button controls, you’d rather use a more traditional controller, you can of course do that as well,” Nintendo’s Morgan Ritchie said.

This presumably includes the Switch version of Nintendo’s popular Pro Controller, which many Smash Bros. players favour, but may also mean the L and R Joy Cons stuck together on the Switch body or the controller connector dock.

The presentation is worth watching if all you’ve seen of Arms so far is the flailing; it may be more interesting than you gave it credit for initially. Nintendo could be onto something here.

Arms is launching in northern spring so it won’t be available when Switch launches in March.

It’s one of a handful of new Switch exclusives which debuted last week, such as 1-2-Switch, Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Snipperclips and Splatoon 2.

Harvest Moon creator’s new concept was too big for just one game, so Birthdays: The Beginning is only the start

19 Jan

Birthdays: The Beginning is a more expansive sandbox from the creator of Harvest Moon.

Harvest Moon and Hometown Story creator Yasuhiro Wada is back with a new game – in fact, a new game series.

As Wada explains in the video above, Birthdays: The Beginning is the first entry in the series, which will hopefully continue, allowing him to add in all the elements which were too big for just one game. There’s a limited edition available for PS4 on the NIS America Store, if you’re keen.

Releasing on PC and PS4 on May 9, Birthdays: The Beginning allows players to build blocky worlds that then spontaneously produce lifeforms. The ecosystems that result are shaped by player changes to geography and temperature, as well as item use, as you nurture your lifeforms from single-celled organisms through plants, mammals, dinosaurs “and more”.

Environments range from forests to islands to mountains and beyond, and NIS America says no two worlds will ever be totally alike. Players can explore their worlds in micro mode, tracking down and documenting new species as they arise. It sounds a little bit like Populous meets No Man’s Sky.

There’s more to it than that, though. The next episode in this video series will go into detail on what comes after the creation stage.

Harvest Moon creator’s new concept was too big for just one game, so Birthdays: The Beginning is only the start

19 Jan

Birthdays: The Beginning is a more expansive sandbox from the creator of Harvest Moon.

Harvest Moon and Hometown Story creator Yasuhiro Wada is back with a new game – in fact, a new game series.

As Wada explains in the video above, Birthdays: The Beginning is the first entry in the series, which will hopefully continue, allowing him to add in all the elements which were too big for just one game. There’s a limited edition available for PS4 on the NIS America Store, if you’re keen.

Releasing on PC and PS4 on May 9, Birthdays: The Beginning allows players to build blocky worlds that then spontaneously produce lifeforms. The ecosystems that result are shaped by player changes to geography and temperature, as well as item use, as you nurture your lifeforms from single-celled organisms through plants, mammals, dinosaurs “and more”.

Environments range from forests to islands to mountains and beyond, and NIS America says no two worlds will ever be totally alike. Players can explore their worlds in micro mode, tracking down and documenting new species as they arise. It sounds a little bit like Populous meets No Man’s Sky.

There’s more to it than that, though. The next episode in this video series will go into detail on what comes after the creation stage.

Super Mario Run Android pre-registration is open, looks to be releasing in March

19 Jan

Super Mario Run is plodding towards one of the biggest mobile platforms at a pace more like Average Mario Plod.

super_mario_run

Super Mario Run will release on Android in March, apparently.

We say “apparently” because the news comes from Nintendo of Japan on Twitter, via Gematsu, and it’s not unheard of for mobile games to release one region at a time to avoid knocking App Stores on their ass with demand.

Super Mario Run released on iOS in December and received pretty good reviews, going on to achieve more day-one downloads than Pokemon Go and 37 million downloads in release week.

Nevertheless investors weren’t impressed, possibly because at $10 the full version of Super Mario Run is way expensive than most popular apps. Still, 3 million people has purchased it as of early January, so it certainly made some cash for Nintendo.

Android owners are understandably anxious to have a go and see what the fuss is about. Expect Nintendo of America and Europe to chime in with news on Super Mario Run at some stage, although goodness knows when it will find the time now that it’s all system go on Switch.

Pokemon Go update improves GPS tracking and makes some fixes, but no new features or content this time

18 Jan

Pokemon Go has been updated, but it’s pretty boring.

pokemon go

Pokemon Go has been updated on all platforms, bringing it to version 0.53.1 on Android and 1.23.1 on iOS.

The update is, unfortunately, not very exciting – no new Pokemon Go features or event content. The biggest change is an improvement to GPS tracking, which now accounts for drift.

Oh, and there’s a handy fix for those of you using your Apple Watch to play Pokemon Go, which must be someone, right?

Here’s are the latest, pretty boring Pokemon Go patch notes:

  • Updated Apple Watch to display Eggs obtained from PokéStops
  • Changed distance tracking to better account for GPS drift
  • Minor text fixes.

See Splatoon 2’s new dual pistols weapon and special abilities in 7 minutes of Switch gameplay

16 Jan

Splatoon 2 adds some new tools to the mix.

Splatoon 2 was on show at the Switch debut, and Arekkz managed to get his hands on it and record some footage for you.

The footage above was captured with the Switch in docked mode, using a Pro Controller. It was also playable in portable mode also, and reportedly looks very nice indeed.

One of the things you’ll see in the video are the Splat Duellies, a pair of pistols introduced in Splatoon 2. With these weapons equipped you can consume ink to perform a sideways dash by pushing the jump button.

There are several other new weapons and abilities in Splatoon 2, and you’ll also see the dual pistol build make use of a new special ability allowing the player to launch into the sky to rain some justice down from above, hem hem.

The second match uses a different loadout, showing off yet another new ability in Splatoon 2 – a sort of mortar strike.

Splatoon 2 releases in northern summer for Switch. It doesn’t seem to be coming to Wii U, so if you want to keep up with the ink kids you’ll have to upgrade, I guess.

Splatoon 2 wasn’t given a huge amount of time in the spotlight last week but keep your eyes peeled for more information as we approach its release; Nintendo is pretty keen on this one.

Pokemon Go won’t be releasing in China until authorities can evaluate potential security, safety risks

10 Jan

Pokemon Go and other augmented reality apps have been blocked from release in China.

pokemon go

Pokemon fans in China will be waiting quite a while for mobile sensation Pokemon Go.

Reuters reports China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has elected not to license Pokemon Go and its AR peers until it has evaluated the risks.

Child panel the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association said Pokemon Go could potentially present a threat “to geographical information security” and “to transport and the personal safety of consumers”.

Pokemon Go has come under scrutiny as Chinese developers have begun creating similar AR games, which triggered the organisation’s “high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property” as it contemplates whether to extend licenses to these products.

Whether Chinese authorities eventually decide AR games are safe for public consumption or not, Chinese release seems unlikely for Pokemon Go – it pulls from Google Maps, which is blocked in China.

Of course Pokemon Go was the most downloaded release on the App Store last year, but Super Mario Run is on its heels

5 Jan

Pokemon Go was all that and a bag of chips in a year when Apple had so many potato snacks it swam in them Scrooge McDuck style.

pokemon_go_wonder

Pokemon Go was the most-downloaded app on Apple’s App Store in 2016, the company announced to absolutely nobody’s surprise.

Apple didn’t give any solid numbers with this info, unfortunately, but Pokemon Go hit 75 million downloads in its launch month of July despite a distinct lack of fanfare over its release, and dominated revenue and download charts for months.

Super Mario Run, which out-performed Pokemon Go at launch, came in at 10th place on the App Store’s 2016 charts, even though it only released in December.

Apple said Super Mario Run, which was promoted by Nintendo and Apple with mainstream TV appearances among other marketing, broke all App Store launch records with 40 million downloads in just four days after its release, and was the most downloaded app globally on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

If Super Mario Run can continue that level of performance it will easily overtake Pokemon Go, although I don’t know if the runner has the same viral appeal of Niantic’s phenomenon. Investors don’t seem very impressed with the game, unfortunately, but Super Mario Run has generated 3 million full sales from its 90 million downloads, which is “only” a 3% conversion rate but accounts for $30 million in revenue.

Anyway: we don’t know how wide the gap is between Pokemon Go at number one and Super Mario Run in tenth spot, but since Pokemon Go hit 100 million downloads in August and we haven’t had an update since then, it might not be especially wide (or it might be enormous, who even knows). It’s also worth noting that Super Mario Run is not on Android yet, and when it hits Google’s platform we can probably expect a huge surge.

Apple did not provide a full top ten chart for most downloaded apps on the App Store but did namedrop Prisma, Reigns, Procreate, Lumino City, Sweat With Kayla and djay Pro as being “among the most successful apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and Mac, respectively”.

There are now 2.2 million apps on the App Store, up 20% on last year, and Apple had a record-breaking holiday season with $3 billion in App Store purchases in December 2016 alone.

Developer earnings for the year total rose 40% year-on-year from 2015 to over $20 billion, a third of the platform’s lifetime total of $60 billion.

The App Store then had its busiest single day ever on New Year’s Day with $240 million in purchases, so 2017 is looking bright.

Pokemon Go update turns off extra vibrations, does not add the extra holiday event that one guy predicted

20 Dec

Pokemon Go has been updated and it is not in any way exciting. Sorry.

pokemon go celebration event

A Pokemon Go update rolled out on Android and iOS today, with some welcome bug fixes.

As you’ll see in the patch notes below, Pokemon Go version 0.51.0 for Android and 1.21.0 for iOS fixes that annoying extra vibration notification thing and adjusts the day-night cycle.

What it does not do is add a stack more holiday content to supplement the existing, somewhat underwhelming Pokemon Go holiday event.

Did we really expect it to? Not really. But over on the Pokemon Go Reddit someone now being hailed as a false prophet suggested that, judging by the timing of previous holiday events and updates, we ought to have had a major announcement today ahead of a Christmas content drop.

Nothing has materialised and I don’t expect it to, really. Niantic has its hands unexpectedly full with Pokemon Go, and we’re probably in for a very slow drip of new features and updates over the coming months.

Anyway, here are the latest Pokemon Go update notes, such as they are.

  • The bug that caused incorrect vibration notifications has been fixed.
  • Day and night modes have changed to more accurately reflect the Trainer’s current time of day.
  • Minor text fixes.

Pokemon Sun & Moon combined outsold Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in November NPD

16 Dec

Call of Duty outsold in its launch month. Get the president on the phone.

pokemon_sun_&_moon

November NPD 2016 at a glance

Total spend down 24% with drops in hardware, software and accessories.

Pokemon Sun & Moon combined top software chart.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare tops individual SKUs software chart.

PS4 back on top of Xbox One thanks to PS4 Pro, Black Friday.

Compare month-on-month: October 2016

Compare year-on-year: November 2015

Pokemon Sun & Moon dominated new game sales in the US in November, according to the NPD Group’s latest monthly report.

Even though the NPD was not provided with digital sales data for Pokemon Sun & Moon, it confirmed that the two SKUs combined outsold everything else on the software chart this month.

Whether you think it’s fair to count Pokemon Sun & Moon as one game when plotting the software chart, there’s no denying it was a huge launch. The NPD’s Sam Naji said Pokemon Sun & Moon had the “strongest launch in the history of the franchise” with 8% more unit sales than Pokemon Black & White, the previous record holder, even though it was on sale for 19 fewer days in the charting period.

As a result, “Nintendo 3DS experienced its highest monthly physical software spending in the history of the platform”, at 1% higher than the December 2014 record.

Here’s the full November 2016 NPD software top ten chart, looking at individual SKUs:

NPD November 2016 top ten software chart

  1. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  2. Battlefield 1
  3. Pokémon Sun (no digital sales included)
  4. Pokémon Moon (no digital sales included)
  5. Titanfall 2
  6. NBA 2K17
  7. Madden NFL 17
  8. Watch Dogs 2
  9. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim (no digital sales included)
  10. FIFA 17

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare came in first for individual SKUs despite a nasty drop-off in retail sales from Black Ops 3, and you’ll notice Battlefield 1 is still right up there having topped the October NPD charts. That’s some solid sales from the big shooters, but it was’t enough to prevent a 19% year-on-year decline in software sales compared to November 2015.

“The decline can be fully attributed to the top three selling games which, combined, sold 43% less than the top three games from last November,” Naji said.

“Combined spending across all other titles grew 12% in November compared with a year ago.”

So blockbusters down, everything else up. To be fair, November 2015’s top three titles were Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront 2015 – a pretty tough line up.

“The year-on-year software revenue decline was driven by the strong comparison to last November’s top 3 titles – Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Fallout 4, and Star Wars: Battlefront, which were all full-priced console new releases,” Naji said.

“This month’s top three games were Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and Pokemon Sun. Battlefield 1 launched in October, and Pokemon: Sun launched at a lower [price] than last November’s console games. As all titles outside of the top three grew a combined 12% vs year ago, it is the top three title grouping that drove the year-on-year decline.”

Disappointingly for Ubisoft Watch Dogs 2 limped in at seventh, putting it well behind Titanfall 2, which is now in its second month and looking to have a decent sales tail.

ps4_pro_vs_xbox_one_s

PS4 back on top in NPD November hardware data

As previously reported, PS4 outsold Xbox One, breaking its four month streak.

Like Xbox One S, PS4 Pro is partially responsible for new interest in the platform – but actually, it was the PS4 Slim System 500GB Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Bundle that sold best of all hardware SKUs, accounting for a whopping 30% of all hardware units sold in December.

Unit sales of 3DS grew 59% year-on-year, giving it six consecutive months of year-on-year growth – an amazing performance. The NES Classic Edition also sold 196,000 units in its debut month.

Overall, hardware sales fell 35% year-on-year despite growth in portable sales – mostly because the PS4 and Xbox One are cheaper now.

NPD November 2016 general

Overall, total new industry spend in the US in the month of November 2016 clocked in at $1.97 billion, a 24% year-on-year decline from $2.6 billion..

Software took the blame for the drop-off – console software sales fell 18% year-on-year to $955.2 million, while PC software fell 28% year-on-year to $27.5 million. Declines in the top three bestsellers were responsible, as discussed above.

Hardware fell 35% to $723.8 million, while accessories fell 6% year-on-year to $259.8 million. The NPD said lower hardware pricing is the reason for the drop-off there, while accessories have been gutted by the collapse of the toys-to-life category.

Pokemon Go: Generation 2 baby Pokemon hatching from eggs, limited time Christmas Pikachu in the wild

12 Dec

Pokemon Go has switched into holiday mode, and everyone’s getting a present.

Pokemon Go developer Niantic promised new Pokemon were coming, and it has delivered – in eggs.

The Pokemon Go app suggests Pichu, Togepi, Cleffa, Magby, Igglybuff, Tyrogue, Elekid and Smoochum have been added since Niantic flipped the switch, but they haven’t all been spotted yet.

Niantic has confirmed Pichu and Togepi are definitely available, and Reddit users have hatched Igglybuff and Cleffa.

These baby-class Pokemon can grow up and evolve, which means Togetic has also joined the ranks of Pokemon Go creatures. No word yet on Hitmontop.

There have been no reports of Generation 2 Pokemon available to catch in the wild in Pokemon Go, but there is a limited time Christmas Pikachu. “Santachu” wears a little Christmas hat, which it keeps even if it evolves to Raichu, and will only be available till 1:00pm ET December 29.

Comparing Crash Bandicoot PS1 side-by-side with the N Sane Trilogy on PS4 shows just how faithful the new version is

9 Dec

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy next to the original material is pretty amazing.

Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is three generations removed from the original, but as you’ll see in Digital Foundry‘s side-by-side comparison footage above, it’s very faithful.

It’s not a pure 1:1 recreation but in most shots it’s eerily similar and captures the feel of the original. For example, the animation that plays when Crash wakes up is much more complex than the PS1 allowed, but the developers have resisted the temptation to elaborate, sticking to the same gesture and feeling.

It looks like Vicarious Visions has tried really hard to stick to the spirit of the original wherever possible. No wonder Sony keeps calling these remasters rather than remakes.

The other thing I noticed watching this is just how good a job Naughty Dog did within the limitations of the original PlayStation. You have to remember how very recently games had been sprite-based to appreciate what a huge step forward Crash Bandicoot represented.

This week’s Pokemon Go update seems to include the start of a breeding system

8 Dec

Pokemon Go data miners have found some very interesting information in the latest patch.

pokemon_baby

Pokemon Go seems more likely than ever to eventually implement a breeding system.

The reliable data miners at Silph Road have been scouring this week’s Pokemon Go update, which made transfers more efficient, and have turned up a couple of key points.

For starters, it appears Pokemon Go now quietly tracks the gender of your Pokemon. This isn’t visible anywhere in the app, but the attribute exists whereas it did not before.

Additionally, the Buddy Pokemon system has been updated. Whereas the pre-patch code allowed for Buddy Pokemon to be displayed at your feet, on your shoulder or in the air by your Pokemon Go trainer, there’s a new position the code refers to as “baby”.

There’s nothing else in Pokemon Go’s code to back up the possibility of a breeding system, so even if we’re correct in our interpretation of these changes, it’s likely a long, long way off yet.

Elsewhere in the Pokemon Go update the data miners found more trainer avatar customisation options, and holiday costumes – can we expect a December event?

Backing up earlier data mines, the update also includes yet more evidence that Generation 2 will come to Pokemon Go soon (keep an eye out next week, as Niantic is teasing a big Pokemon Go announce) and that the “shiny” system is coming to Pokemon Go.

Niantic seems committed to supporting Pokemon Go indefinitely and has mentioned an interest in bringing over more systems from the core Pokemon games, so stay tuned for updates.