We might be on holiday break, but The GI Show goes on! We have a great episode for you this week, so we really hope that you subscribe to the audio version or tell a friend if you enjoy the show. On this episode, we’re joined in-studio by Capcom’s Tim Turi as well as Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and (via Skype) the director of A Hat In Time to talk about designing platforming games and why 2017 made the classic genre shine. After some great members from the community Skype in and ask some questions, we force Kyle Hilliard and Tim Turi to compete 1v1 in an intense round of video game music trivia that we affectionately call “Game that Tune”.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to episode 379 on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

2:20 – Dissecting 2017’s platformers with A Hat In Time’s Jonas Kærlev
42:30 – Community Skype calls
1:05:40 – Game That Tune music trivia

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima is setting a lofty goal for the Switch to hit by April 2019: doubling the current install base.

In a new Japanese interview, Kimishima believes that Nintendo’s goal for the next financial year, which runs from April 1 2018 to March 31 2019, should be to hit 20 million Switch units sold. When Kimishima originally set a forecast for ten million units for the Switch’s first year and beat that goal handily, already hitting the target install base months ahead of deadline.

As a comparison point, the PlayStation 4 hit 20 million by March 2015 after a November 2013 release, so Kimishima is aiming for roughly the same trajectory as the current market leader.

 

Our Take
The number isn’t unreasonable on paper, but Switch sales were helped by launch momentum and having two of Nintendo’s biggest games in the first year. There’s no way to redo a system launching with Zelda and closing the year with Mario again, so Nintendo needs a big anchor to sell another ten million inside of the year without strong third party support. If they’re that bullish, maybe Pokemon is coming sooner rather than later.

A development team that is well-versed in Super Smash Bros. Melee is trying to transmogrify the newest Smash Bros. for Wii U to play more like the game they love.

The team behind Super Smash Bros. Melee HD, a project designed to bring the gameplay of the 2001 Gamecube game to modern systems, has released a trailer for a mod to Smash Bros. for Wii U to play like Melee. The mod reverts all the movesets of returning characters to their Melee counterparts, adjusts the speed and hitstun to allow for combos, puts back in wavedashing and L-cancelling, and more.

You can see the trailer for the mod below. The competitive Melee community is still trying to figure out long term solutions for needing older TVs and hardware for tournaments, so modernizing the game has become a priority in the Melee development community.

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Our Take
There is probably an audience for this but it isn’t me. Hopefully the Melee community gets everything they want out of this mod.

Blizzard’s Hearthstone tends to delight and amaze fans with
new mechanics and features with each expansion that drops for the digital CCG,
offering lots of new cards to play with and an ever-shifting metagame that
sometimes gets bogged down with aggro-Shamans or Jade Druids. Outside of the
obvious player-vs-player competition, the ladder climbing, and the tavern
brawling, the single-player content has been solid – usually thinking exercises
that demand you to craft a specific deck from your collection to take down a choreographed
fight with certain mechanics or hazards to play around.

 

Kobolds and Catacombs has changed the adventure game
completely, offering a completely different play experience that requires no
collection at all – or even much experience in the art of Hearthstone (though
it doesn’t hurt!). Kobolds and Catacombs offers up the best single-player
content that the game has ever seen, and it does it at zero cost to anyone.
Seriously, I would absolutely recommend coming to try it out even if you’re not
interested in playing Hearthstone at all. Why?

While the dungeon crawl experience – one that takes you
through eight battles and an evolving deck – is much more like a classic
role-playing experience than anything else. Sure, it’s all fueled by
Hearthstone cards, but the notion of growing and evolving power, big choices
and decisions to build out your options and strengths, and potent treasure
acquisition all feel like you’re the sleepy adventurer being woken up to head
out on a one-of-a-kind journey every time, and you never know what you’re going
to run into.  

 

You face one big boss (out of five possible) if you make it
to the final battle of a run, and you always begin by battling a nasty rat,
baby dragon, or bumbling burglar – but the meat between them is always throwing
curveballs, especially when you run into unique encounters like seemingly
indifferent AF Kay, The Trap Room, or the dwarf and his incredibly lethal – but
sleepy – constructs. There are chronomancers, bards, deadly gnolls, and all
kinds of other wacky and deadly encounters to explore along the way. The
journey is similar to traditional RPG advancement and full of choice, akin to
selecting a shiny new sword, a powerful mace, or a bag of magic dust after each
battle.

Every time a foe is bested, you’re getting more health, your
deck is growing, and you’re nabbing special cards that are far too powerful and
wild for regular Hearthstone games.  There
is a considerable variance to each run and class specific foibles to think
about, but they’re handled really, really well. You won’t always be able to
replicate a certain build or template, but that’s all part of the fun. You have
to discover the best way to win with what you have on deck, and in that way it
almost feels like looting a room full of fallen orcs, spiders, and wraiths –
you never know what you’re going to get, but you have to make the most of it to
get past the next fight!

Because of the unique nature of this infinitely replayable
roguelike dungeon crawl, I have to recommend it far outside the wheelhouse of
card game and Warcraft enthusiasts. It’s something different, and it’s
something special. While I enjoy each Hearthstone expansion for its own merits
like decks and mechanics, this is such a different experience nestled elegantly
within the framework of the game that it transcends everything they’ve done
with single-player/adventure content before. The theme of the expansion is
dungeon crawling, traps, and treasure, and you’ll find plenty of that in the
Dungeon Run.

If you’ve strayed away from Hearthstone since release or have
never picked up the game before, I can’t encourage you enough to come bring
your game to come explore. Perhaps your journey will end in a dragon’s lair
full of chests, or a beholder-y laser light show. Or maybe you’ll fight your
way through a room of neverending traps, best an ornery Trogg, and show up at
the tavern with your friends to tell the tale. It’s something to experience,
and it’s not to be missed, and you don’t need to own a single Hearthstone card
to come play it. 

 

Blizzard is bringing back the Diablo 3 “Darkening of Tristram” event for the month of January.

Players can boot up Diablo 3 on January 1 through January 30 and journey through adjusted dungeons from the original Diablo. Inside the dungeons are retro loot and a filter takes over the screen to make it look a bit less clean, a bit more pixelated, and a lot more old. The event includes throwback cosmetics, as well as exclusive items like Butcher’s Cleaver and Wirt’s Leg.

The Darkening of Tristram event will be on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions of the game. You can find more details at Blizzard’s site.

The team behind Star Citizen’s single player campaign, Squadron 42, has released over an hour of footage of the long-delayed story mode.

Star Citizen’s story mode boasts a Hollywood cast, including Mark Hamill as the main character, The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson, and Gary Oldman. Hamill, sporting a beard yet again, is referred to as “Old Man” and his interactions with the player shape the story.

Squadron 42 was announced in Cloud Imperium Games’ Kickstarter for Star Citizen years ago with an intended release in October 2016. It currently has no release window. Star Citizen as a whole has exceeded $200 million crowdfunding.

You can check out the single player video below.

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The Bloodborne fan community, hacking through Bloodborne’s cut content through model viewers and poring over files, has figured out a way to access some of this missing content through chalice dungeons with codes that can be shared with anyone.

Twitter user ShadowedImage who has been using Bloodborne’s save editor on PlayStation 4 for a while tweeted out the codes and released the dungeons today. By entering these chalice dungeons, players can meet and fight some of the cut bosses that never made it into the final game, like the Great One Beast.

The first code, sikgc3sm, lets players take on what appears to be a second form of the Moon Presence that didn’t end up as the final boss. The second code, arkhv2vs, is the one for the Great One Beast. To enter the codes, players go to an empty chalice gravestone, which are along the winding path next across from and leading to the Hunter’s lodge within the dream.

Players then “Search for Chalice Glyph” and then use one of the two codes above. Once you join the dungeon, walk away from the gravestone, turn around, return to it, and press X next to it. Press X again to straight to the boss room. Keep in mind, these are not completed dungeons, and you can end up stuck. The second code for the Great One Beast, requiring you to talk backward into the void you spawned in and wait to get hit by the boss to die and respawn.

There is some footage below of youtuber Nightfall Alicorn streaming the cut bosses earlier, if you just want to watch instead of risking getting stuck yourself.

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This has been a long year, but at the same time, I can’t believe we’ll be rolling into 2018 in just a few days. Around this time, I like to look back on the year and reminisce about my fond RPG memories. I devote so much time to these games, so it only feels fitting to give them one last kudos before I embark on more RPG adventures in the new year.  Without further ado, these are the RPG moments that helped define 2017 for me.

Finally Playing Persona 5
To say we waited a long time for Persona 5 is an understatement. The last main entry launched in 2008, and while we had numerous spin-offs to keep us at bay in the meantime, Persona 5’s numerous delays hit hard.  Needless to say, I was more than ready for a new cast and adventure when the game finally launched this past April. Persona 5 delivered with an intriguing story and fun combat alongside some memorable characters. I loved immersing myself in that world, living the life of a regular high school study by day and being a slick Phantom Thief killing baddies by night. Side note: Makoto is best girl, especially for how she grows during the journey. Come fight me. For more on Persona 5, you can find me singing its praises here.   

Kingdom Hearts III’s Toy Story Reveal
If you’ve watched any podcasts and replays in regards to Kingdom Hearts, you know by now that it makes me feel like a giddy kid. I had been waiting for Pixar to finally make its way to the series, and nothing made me happier than seeing Sora and company walk out in their toy forms chatting it up with Buzz and Woody at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. A bonus was getting a release window for next year, which I hope with every fiber of my being it hits. It was such an adrenaline rush, especially getting to chat with the famed Tetsuya Nomura about it all

P.S. Really hoping that Monsters Inc. rumor is true!

Nier: Automata’s Finale
I will be kind and avoid spoilers here, but if you haven’t made it through all the main endings, do so now! Those of you who have know exactly what I’m talking about with this moment. Everything comes together wonderfully, culminating into a big decision about sacrifice. The ending is unique and satisfying, showing Yoko Taro’s true strengths as a creator. This is something that can only be felt after having gone through the blood, sweat, and tears of finishing all the main arcs. Watching a YouTube video will not do it justice. 

Creating My Own Final Fantasy XV Character In Comrades
Look, I’ve been a diehard Final Fantasy fan for years, so being able to transport my own avatar into that world was just amazing. With the Comrades multiplayer expansion, I had more fun than I thought I would teaming up with friends and others from around the world to take down iconic Final Fantasy monsters. The expansion has its rough spots, but I took delight in documenting every portion of my journey and feeling a part of the Final Fantasy XV story. 

Taking Down My First Corrupter In Horizon Zero Dawn
This adrenaline-filled moment comes right after the emotionally charged Proving, where Aloy gets to see both triumph and tragedy. Now strong and with plenty to fight for, Aloy takes on her first Corruptor and shows her natural skill in battle. The fight may be challenging, but engaging this fearsome beast is also incredibly satisfying. Your reward is the ability to hack the robots that roam the land, introducing a new gameplay mechanic that helps to set up Aloy’s journey. From here, the stakes get higher and the bosses are even crazier.

Velvet and Laphicet’s Bond In Tales of Berseria
Berseria features one of the stronger casts the series has had in recent years. Part of what makes the experience such a delight is Velvet and Laphicet’s bond. They have a sister/brother relationship that’s truly fun to watch. The pair both go through their trying moments and help each other come out in a better place. 

Growing My Base In Ys VIII
Outside of localization issues, Ys VIII was one of my favorite RPGs this year. I could pick one of the big boss battles for this moment, but that’d be too easy and predictable. What I actually loved the most was locating castaways and bringing them back to my base. Watching each person find their own special role in the village, from medic to blacksmith, was exciting. 

The Mythra Reveal  In Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Before the game’s launch, Nintendo teased about Rex being able to swap between Pyra and the mysterious Mythra, but we didn’t have any details as to why or how he does so. Seeing Mythra in action during the third chapter’s climax was nothing short of thrilling, and the whole scene plays out like an action-packed anime episode. Mythra reveals the true power of the Aegis and why everyone is trying to get their hands on Pyra. It does a great job at giving answers and raising questions all at once.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole’s Big Choice Between Your Parents 
The Fractured But Whole has no shortage of over-the-top moments, but one takes it pretty far when it comes to your parents. The moment has both parents vying for your attention to do as they wish, forcing you to make a choice right in front of them. In many ways, this is every kid’s worst nightmare. Do you really want to pick between two loved ones and show your favoritism? Either way, the dark humor takes things to a new level in a moment that’s hard to forget.   

Pyre’s Sophie’s Choice
I wrote in depth about this in a previous column, but Pyre captivated me in an interesting way by letting me pick which characters to free from a hazardous wasteland. It pits your affection for characters against your gameplay goals to great effect. Do you sacrifice your best party member because they deserve freedom, or selfishly keep them to make the battles easier? Even when you lose, your opponent gets their freedom, which may be just as deserved or intriguing for what they do with it. This sense of choice kept me engaged not just with the story, but with the cast as well. In a way, you’re almost playing God, deciding who gets another shot at a decent life or who will stay trudging along in this hellish locale. With great power comes great responsibility, so I agonized and really cared about every character I let go to a better place.

What are your favorite RPG moments of the year? I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below.

Nintendo is not ready to roll out 64GB Switch carts until 2019, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

At the moment, Switch cards have capacities up to 32GB with 8GB and 16GB being more commonly used. Nintendo originally planned to introduce 64GB cards in the latter half of 2018, but WSJ is reporting a delay due to technical issues that are preventing Nintendo from mass producing larger carts.

The Switch, due to its design, requires carts for physical games unlike the high-capacity discs on stationary consoles. Discs also have the benefit of being far, far cheaper to produce than the Switch’s cart, which Nintendo handles the production of. When a third party developer wants to publish a Switch game, they contract Nintendo to produce the actual carts, which controls the costs of production.

This has lead to issues where third parties need larger carts than make financial sense. Take Two’s NBA 2K18, despite needing a 25GB download, and thus an SD Card, ships on a 16GB cart even though 32GB is available. Resident Evil Revelations Collection requires the second game be downloaded. Even the Nintendo-published Bayonetta Collection only has the second game on the cartridge.

While Nintendo’s own developed games tend to stay small, a 64GB cart could have been a welcome relief to developers who need it. They will have to wait until 2019, if this report is true, before they can consider it.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

 

Our Take
The thinner margins on Switch games due to their cost, the infamous “Switch Tax” for games on the system, and the need to download large swaths of the game even with a physical cart are all downfalls of the way the Switch interfaces with physical games. While Nintendo is fine with their usually sub-10GB games, even some of their games like Bayonetta are causing them issues, when they don’t want to use larger cards for the thinner margins. Even if they got 64GB carts off the ground, until they sort out better prices, it might not matter at all.

In a developer diary for Soulcalibur VI, producer Motohiro Okubo explains what makes this reboot version of Sophitia so special.

Okubo kind of frames Sophitia as Soulcalibur’s Ryu, making her a good character for novices who fights with an orthodox style. Okubo noted that Sophitia and Mitsurugi were the first characters made for the game and every other character was built around their style and visuals.

Check out the developer diary below. Soulcalibur VI is scheduled for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.

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