Nintendo’s pink puffball Kirby celebrated his 25th anniversary last year, but that was merely Nintendo biding time until the actual 25th anniversary that matters, Waddle Dee.

The iconic Kirby enemy first appeared in Kirby’s Dream Land in 1992, technically making this the 26th anniversary, but also no one cares because it’s Waddle Dee and he gets to have his 25th anniversary whenever he wants. As such, Nintendo has produced a website as an offering to to the canonically strongest character in the Nintendo universe.

Along with this important milestone, Nintendo has revealed Waddle Dee Battle Royale, where Waddle Dees fight each other for supremacy in a 3D battle arena. 

We can only assume this is leading to a Waddle Dee announcement for Smash Bros. on Switch at E3 and are preparing opinion pieces of how Nintendo does not “get it” if E3 passes without one. You can find, and should definitely check out, the Waddle Dee celebratory website right here.


Our Take
I always found it weird how Waddle Dee never actually attacked you, and provides Kirby no benefit in terms of powers, but I’d bet 100% of players eat them as the first thing in the game. Waddle Dee did nothing wrong.

With season two of the HBO hit Westworld just around the corner, Warner Bros. Interactive is ready to capitalize on that hype with a Fallout Shelter-style simulation that puts the control of the park into your hands. No more blaming upper management or clandestine operations if the park fails miserably – you’re in control of host creation, pairing tourists with their ideal companions, and everything in between. 

Keeping the game in the series fiction, the Westworld mobile games operations as a Delos training simulator to find out who is well suited for park management. The timeline of your training program begins shortly after the William and Logan timeline in the show, before the park expands rapidly. As the game runs in tandem with season two, don’t expect that timeline to prevent developer Behaviour Interactive from integrating new elements of the show into the experience over time. 

Like Fallout Shelter, you have an entire base of operations running underground where you can create new hosts, improve pre-existing ones, destroy outdated motels, and even recalibrate them during “Analysis Mode” style conversation cutscenes created by show writers. This is when the game comes closest to the intrigue of the HBO series. You can even build Dr. Ford’s office, which rewards you with a daily amount of free gems, one of the game’s purchasable currencies. 

Where Westworld diverges from Fallout Shelter is how players interact with the above-ground theme park. Here you can zoom into any building on your premises to pair guests with their ideal hosts, check on the status of their interactions, and even manage the collection of aboveground resources that let you enhance your park. You start in Sweetwater, but as you improve over time you gain access to new places like Abernathy Ranch, Escalante, and Pariah. Relationships run on a timer (queue free-to-play mechanics) and all guests have apparent desires. The outcome is based on how well your host pairs with the interests of your guest. Some want to party at the brothel. Others prefer violent delights. Some even have banking fantasies. Should a tourist become displeased with their fantasy, they will shoot your host. That means they must go back to your base for costly repairs and a fresh infusion of synthetic blood – one of the many resources you must manage. Successful interactions result in rewards and XP for the host that can be used to diversity or strengthen their personalities. 

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Each time your host ranks up, you can add an extra role to their personal profile in the attribute matrix. VIP guests who have a chain of designers may also impart rare reverie abilities that significantly improve them should you fulfill all their fantasies. These reveries are upgradeable and can make your hosts much more dynamic. However, it costs a lot of money to improve a reverie, and your attempt can fail, making it a tough risk/reward decision. You have to be careful about over-using your best hosts as well, because their glitch risk increases the more they are used.

In addition to using hosts to keep tourists engaged, you can also assign them to other tasks like harvesting precious resources you can use to improve your park.

Warner Bros. says the Westworld mobile game has a subversive mystery that plays out over time, and that the story will continue to evolve along with the game. Eventually, you will be able to invite other friends to join your center so you can both work on the park together. 

The Westworld mobile game sounds promising. It gives you a lot to manage so it could get overwhelming, but as with many mobile games, how well it holds up will likely be determined by how steadfastly the game tries to get you to pony up cash to make the experience more enjoyable. If they get this balancing act right, the game could be a huge success given the amazing buzz around the second season. 

Dan Tack and I recently played an hour of Jurassic World Evolution, and then had the opportunity to interview the game’s creators. While this interview originally aired on The Game Informer Show podcast (click here to subscribe), we wanted to pull it out to ensure that Jurassic Park fans found it. We spoke with the game’s director Michael Brookes and lead designer Andrew Fletcher from Frontier Developments to talk about how the game compares to Planet Coaster and the process of bringing this fantastical park-builder to life.

Check out the video below to learn a ton of new details on Jurassic World Evolution.

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For more on the game, check out the latest episode of The GI Show to hear from the game’s writer and Jeff Goldblum himself.

Path of Exile is adding a real mode on a fake holiday, and it’s pretty good.

The new Path of Exile Royale mode does exactly what you’d think it does: Take the action-RPG gameplay meant for single and co-op grinding and turn it into a multiplayer slugfest where only one player survives.

While the mode only waits only for there to be 20 players in a lobby before starting, up to 100 players can join in on the fun. As with other Battle Royale modes, there’s a shrinking circle players must follow to avoid death between bouts with other players. If you manage to actually win one of the modes, you’ll receive a Rhoa (which is a kind of dinosaur, which is sort of a chicken?) Dinner ornament to display in your hideout.

You can start playing today once you download the latest patch. 3.2.2.

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Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a fantastic, methodical narrative trek across America, according to fellow Game Informer editor Elise Favis. Unfortunately for creator Johnnemann Nordhagen, that hasn’t translated to the commercial success he hoped for.

“Commercially, it’s a disaster,” Nordhagen said in a postmortem on the game. “I can’t discuss exact numbers, but in the first few weeks fewer people bought the game than I have Twitter followers, and I don’t have a lot of Twitter followers.” Currently, Nordhagen has a little over 4,200 followers.

Nordhagen has not made any money on the game, and has in fact lost a hefty sum on it, having paid contractors and collaborators on the game a total of $140,000. “At the end of the day it’s astounding that a game that got this much attention from the press, that won awards, that had an all-star cast of writers and performers, that had a bizarre celebrity guest appearance(!) failed this hard,” Nordhagen says in the blog post. “It scares me.”

Nordhagen also breaks down what went right and wrong with the game’s development. Nordhagen cites the diverse crew of writers he hired to write dialogue and characters for the game, compose music, make art, and voice-act (inlcuding an appearance from Sting), press attention, and the support from his publisher Good Shepherd as what went right.

As to what went wrong, he cites a lack of playtesting as a major issue. “While we had a full QA team, they were focused on finding functional problems,” Nordhagen says. “When all the systems were in place, it was very late in development, and playing through the game took 10–20 hours. If you make a 10–20 hour game, guess how long it takes to playtest? And so I only managed to do a few full playthroughs of the game near launch.”

Other issues, according to Nordhagen, include a lack of expertise at the business and structural aspects of game development, having to switch artists partway through the project, not optimizing the game for mouse and keyboard (he focused on controller support instead), a crowded and risky indie game development market, and overscoping the project from the start, despite the focus on text and still art.

Nordhaggen then goes on to debrief, stating that while the game was costly, he’ll be okay financially, though he plans to move away from the costly San Francisco and go into his next project without the expectation to make money off it. “Basically, I’m not sure that games like this one can continue to be made in the current market,” he says.

For anyone who likes peeking behind the veil of game development, Nordhaggen’s entire post is worth a read.

[Source: Johnnemann Nordhagen on Medium via PCGamer]


Our Take
While I found myself fascinated by Nordhaggen’s deconstruction of his project, reading that an experimental game didn’t sell well is always disheartening. Here’s to hoping he finds more success with his next project.