Turbo Button Podcast #4

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This very special fourth episode of the Turbo Button Podcast features a longtime friend of mine, Tyler Lytal!

In this episode, we discuss the Ataribox, Kingdom Hearts 3, the upcoming Splatoon anime, and more!

Listen on Google Play Music

Recorded: 7/17/2017

The hosts are:

Christopher De León – Game Industry Blogger
Website: retrofitoleon.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @retrofitoleon

Zachary Hart – UCI Computer Game Science Graduate
Twitter: @TheZaxxonator

Special guest:

Tyler Lytal
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/mropelepo
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrOpelepo

Turbo Button Podcast #3

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Episode three of the Turbo Button Podcast is now up!

In this episode, Zack and I discuss the Castlevania Netflix series, Jump a.ka. “Netflix for indie games”, huge Overwatch League news, and more!

Listen on Google Play Music

Recorded: 7/12/2017

The hosts are:
Christopher De León – Game Industry Blogger
Website: retrofitoleon.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @retrofitoleon

Zachary Hart – UCI Computer Game Science Graduate
Twitter: @TheZaxxonator

Turbo Button Podcast #2

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The second episode of the Turbo Button Podcast is a go!

In this episode, Zack and I discuss the OpenIV debacle, the SNES Classic Edition, and more!

Listen on Google Play Music

Recorded: 6/28/2017

The hosts are:
Christopher De León – Game Industry Blogger
Website: retrofitoleon.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @retrofitoleon

Zachary Hart – UCI Computer Game Science Graduate
Twitter: @TheZaxxonator

Introducing… the “Turbo Button Podcast”

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A podcast so new even the logo is temporary!

It seems like everyone has a podcast now and I suppose I’m no different.

The Turbo Button Podcast is pretty much what you’d expect: some good ol’ video game discussion between yours truly and my co-host, Zachary Hart. It’s currently in its very early stages and as such our format isn’t set in stone, our mistakes will likely be plenty, and our panel usually empty. For now! Zack and I are confident that as time goes on, we’ll get better at the craft of discussing and editing, and we look forward to having both friends and (hopefully) actual movers and shakers in the games industry on board at some point.

As for myself, Turbo Button is a really cool opportunity for me to get a lot of what I want to talk about out there without having to sit down and actually type out a full article. Of course, that doesn’t mean Retrofitoleon is going to become a side project, and there’s certainly content that would be much better suited here on the blog than on a podcast, but it’s just another way of being able to express myself articulately on a wider variety of topics in a different format; basically, I’m looking at this podcast as something I’m interested in, something I want to keep doing, and good practice for myself as a budding games journalist.

With all that said, feel free to listen to our first episode where we discuss the highs and lows of E3 2017, and thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen!

Listen on Google Play Music

Recorded: 6/19/2017

The hosts are:
Christopher De León – Game Industry Blogger
Website: retrofitoleon.wordpress.com/

Zachary Hart – UCI Computer Game Science Graduate
Twitter: @TheZaxxonator

E3 2017: Tuesday – Nintendo

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Nintendo has been in a lot of hit or miss situations, and I’m going to be honest here, I’m a huge Nintendo fanboy. The Big N has some pretty niche franchises that I’m personally excited for, but represent the expected norm that I criticized with Bethesda and Sony. But that doesn’t mean that this year’s Nintendo Spotlight was entirely without its surprises.

Here’s what we saw:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • Untitled Kirby for Switch announced
    • Up to three additional NPC (and co-op, I assume) controlled enemies that can be converted to help you
    • Ability to combine current power with an ally’s power and other large, four-person combos
    • Projected for 2018
  • Pokkén Tournament DX
  • Untitled Pokémon title for Switch announced
    • Projected in “more than a year”
  • Metroid Prime 4
    • “Now in development for Nintendo Switch”
  • Untitled Yoshi game for Switch announced
    • Support for two players
    • 2D platforming with gameplay based around the ability to flip the map around so see the backside and being able to throw eggs into the background
  • Fire Emblem Warriors
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC Packs 1 & 2: “The Master Trials” and “The Champion’s Ballad”
    • Trial of the Sword
    • Hero’s Path map mode
    • New armors
    • Master Mode
  • Four new Breath of the Wild amiibo based on the Champions of the past
  • Live invitational tournaments for Splatoon 2Pokkén Tournament DX, and Arms
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
  • Rocket League coming to Switch
    • Cross-platform play
    • Exclusive hats and karts
  • Super Mario Odyssey
    • The hat has small Nintendo-esque voice lines, of course
    • Mario can drive around New Donk City
    • Some white snowy world and tropical dinosaur world I don’t think we’ve seen
    • Mario’s hat turns out to be possessed by some kind of white ghost hat that looks like the one Bowser wears
    • Mario Galaxy-style spin moves that launch the hat in a circle around Mario and hit enemies, bloom flowers, activate launch pads, break objects, transform ghost coins and collect regular coins
    • The hat allows Mario to possess NPCs, enemies, and objects
    • Two bosses shown
    • Collecting green lunas to power something up (Galaxy again?)
    • Mario can switch between different outfits at a store
    • Releases October 27, 2017

Nintendo’s dedication to supporting the Switch with first-party titles is fantastic, and Nintendo’s games are almost always great by themselves. If you’re a Nintendo fan and Switch owner like myself, this was probably a fantastic Showcase. Otherwise, you may have been left wanting, though I think I can safely say that now is the time to get your hands on a Switch if you’ve been planning to but haven’t yet done so.

Here’s my thought on each announcement. Continue reading

E3 2017: Monday – Sony

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Sony likes to sit pretty until the end of E3. “Save the best for last” has been the PlayStation’s mantra for the last few years. As the final major press conference of E3, there’s always a lot riding on Sony’s back and they usually do a great job of rising to the occasion. This time, though, it looks like the king became a bit lazy up there on the throne.

Here’s what we saw:

  • Uncharted: “The Lost Legacy”
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: “The Frozen Wilds”
  • Days Gone
    • Not a multiplayer zombie horde game, but a single player stealth shooter like The Last of Us
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Shadow of the Colossus remake
  • Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  • Star Child
    • VR 2D platformer with a more cartoon aesthetic
    • Iron Giant crossed with The Last Guardian vibes due to an apparent giant robot companion
  • The Inpatient
    • VR horror/thriller about an ominous mental institution
  • Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV
    • VR Final Fantasy XV-themed fishing game
  • Bravo Team
    • VR military shooter
    • Possibly tactical shooter or arcade-style rail shooter a la Time CrisisHouse of the Dead, etc.
  • Moss
    • VR action adventure
    • Guide a mouse swordsman as a nature spirit of some kind
  • God of War
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Destiny 2
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
    • Think Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham games in both combat and stealth but with a ton of Quick-Time Events while doing cool stuff
    • Reveal of Miles Morales’ involvement to some degree

Now if you’re a Sony kind of person, that list doesn’t seem all that terrible; you’re getting both what you wanted and expected with a good smattering of reveals on the side. But let’s think about one thing for a moment: Bethesda. Bethesda fell into the exact same trap that Sony did: uninterrupted games or expansions/DLC we’ve already known about without any kind of new, exciting aspects revealed in addition to boring reveals.

Here’s what I mean. Continue reading

E3 2017: Monday – Ubisoft

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It’s very rare that I’m so on board for a Ubisoft press conference. The company has a habit of pushing out hits or misses, so I usually take everything I see with a grain of salt. I’m certainly not invested in everything Ubisoft had to offer, but what set it apart from a show like Bethesda’s is that I felt entertained the entire time. I suppose, for better or for worse, that’s what really matters at E3.

Here’s what we were shown:

  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
    • Official announcement
    • Tactical RPG with cover mechanics; think XCOM.
    • Character with arm cannons rather than guns
    • Combo moves between characters help gain positional and combat advantages
    • Releases August 29, 2017
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • The Crew 2
    • Expands to four total motorsports
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole
    • Releases October 17, 2017
  • Transference
    • Star-studded VR psychological horror
    • Involves literally being in the recorded headspace of a character so you can apparently “feel what they felt”
  • Skull and Bones
    • Multiplayer pirate sim a la Blackwake via Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
    • Kraken confirmed
  • Just Dance 2018
  • South Park: Phone Destroyer
    • Card-based & lane-based combat akin to Plants vs. Zombies
    • PVP oriented
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
    • Ubisoft’s first toys-to-life game, though digital “toys” are available
    • Figures are modular space fighters that can be modified on the fly
    • Sci-fi space and land aerial combat
    • Cartoon art style
    • Coming to Switch
  • Steep: “Road to the Olympics”
  • Far Cry 5
    • Revealed four commandable partners
  • Beyond Good & Evil 2
    • Launch of the Space Monkey Program, a closed alpha/beta

There was a lot of pretty neat stuff that was shown off here and the things that we had seen already were mentioned only briefly to emphasize the new. All in all, a pretty good conference.

Here’s what I thought about each piece of the show: Continue reading

E3 2017: Sunday – Bethesda

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When Bethesda had its first E3 press conference two years ago it seemed like a new era. E3 was no longer dominated by the Big Three of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo and the potential for smaller publishers to have a bigger presence at the expo felt like a fresh and necessary change for the future. Remember that Fallout 4 announcement? That was magic. Unfortunately, Bethesda has floundered since then culminating in this year’s particularly dull display.

Here’s what was shown:

  • DOOM VFR
    • DOOM game tailored for VR. Doesn’t look like a straight VR port, but looks fun nonetheless.
  • Fallout 4 VR
    • Our first look at the VR port of the disappointing Fallout 4. We’ll see how well moving around in VR without teleporting thing works.
  • Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind
  • Bethesda Creation Club
    • A mod/add-on platform for Skyrim and Fallout 4 for content made by Bethesda and outside developers
    • There’s some kind of special market currency that you have to spend to get the content
  • The Elder Scrolls: Legends
    • New content for the Chaos Arena
    • New content for/re-announcement of the “Fall of the Dark Brotherhood” expansion
    • Upcoming in-game tournament mode
    • Announcement for iPad and Android versions
    • Announcement of new “Heroes of Skyrim” expansion
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch
    • Compatible with Zelda amiibo for Zelda tie-in content
    • Optional motion controls
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider announced
    • New playable character Billie Lurk
    • Releases September 15, 2017
  • Quake Champions
    • Wolfenstein‘s BJ Blazkowicz announced as playable character
    • Quake World Championship announced for August 26, 2017 with a prize pool of $1 million
  • The Evil Within 2
    • Releases Friday October 13, 2017
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
    • Releases October 27, 2017

Bethesda is good at making games but awful at generating hype. Everything here was either expected, underwhelming, or both.

Here’s what I think about each announcement. Continue reading

E3 2017: Sunday – Microsoft

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Microsoft has played second fiddle to Sony for the last few E3s. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened at the last few Microsoft conferences, but I can tell you that they paled in comparison to the stuff put on for PlayStation, who managed to perfect the “let’s just show off a whole slew of cool games” formula to great effect. But this time Microsoft pushed back and they pushed back hard. Not only did they finally reveal the Xbox One X (the fabled Project Scorpio, the most powerful home console on the market at the moment) they showcased 44 new games, 22 of which were Microsoft exclusives.

Here’s what we saw:

  • Xbox One X
    • Six teraflop GPU @ 1.172 Ghz, 12 GB GDDRS memory, 32 GB/s memory bandwidth (no clue here)
    • “True 4K”, HDR, Premium Dolby Atmos, 4K Bluray playback
    • Fully compatable with Xbox One hardware
    • Enhances your old Xbox One games and supersamples your games (whatever that means) even if you aren’t playing at 4K
    • Smallest Xbox ever produced
    • Retails at $499 on November 7, 2017
  • Forza Motorsport 7
  • Metro Exodus
    • Third installment in the Metro franchise, including Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light
    • Seems to have more open areas, possibly entirely open world?
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
    • Our first official look at the newest Assassin’s Creed (before Ubisoft!)
    • Play as Bayek, an Egyptian sheriff, with an avian companion
    • Showed off a mission in the town of Siwa
    • Releases October 27, 2017
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is coming to Xbox One
  • Steam Early Access title Deep Rock Galactic is coming to Xbox One
    • First person co-op open world space mining/crafting adventure
  • State of Decay 2
  • The Darwin Project
    • Competetive survival game a la PUBG
  • Minecraft
    • Cross-platform play
    • Public servers, texture packs integrated into base game
    • Free 4K update to all platforms including advanced graphics and lighting system integration
    • High resolution “Super Duper Graphics Pack”
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z
    • 2D Dragon Ball frantic fighting game a la Marvel vs. Capcom
    • 3v3 fights
    • Eight (or so) confirmed characters
  • Black Desert Online is coming to Xbox One
  • The Last Night
    • Indie cyberpunk (think Blade Runner) pixellated 2.5D scrolling action adventure game a la Another World and Flashback
  • The Artful Escape
    • Indie 2D platformer with some emphasis on guitar/musical powers, possibly rhythm based
  • Code Vein
    • New game from Bandai Namco by the makers of  the God Eater serie. Touted as “anime Dark Souls“.
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Tacoma
    • Indie space narrative adventure game by the makers of Gone Home
  • Super Lucky’s Tale
    • Cute indie mascot platformer with 2D and 3D segments
  • Cuphead
    • Release date finally set for September 29
  • Crackdown 3
  • A non-exclusive indie montage
  • Ashen
    • Low-poly Dark Souls-like with “passive multiplayer”
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
    • Showed off “Domination” mechanic for amassing your own orc army
    • Setup for a full-on assault on a keep
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
    • Sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Backwards compatability for original Xbox games coming soon to Xbox One
    • Xbox One X will also enhance OG Xbox games
  • Anthem
    • More on BioWare’s new IP
    • BioWare’s version of Destiny
    • Third-person open world, first person hub world
    • Freedom to run, fly, swim
    • Random world events
    • Loot boxes
    • Squads made up of your friends

Now that’s a lot of games. To say that I’m impressed with Microsoft for playing trailer after trailer for two hours would be a huge understatement. My expectations were blown out of the water and, I gotta admit, I cheered a couple times.

It’s going to take a bit to get my thoughts down on every game that was shown off before Bethesda’s conference, but here are all the trailers that were shown at the very least. I’ll be updating as I go.

Edit 7/14/17: Never got back to this and probably never will. Oh well. Continue reading

E3 2017: Saturday – Electronic Arts

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I’m not a big fan of EA, and I know I’m not alone on that, but E3 is a time of goodwill in games. People and corporations that you wouldn’t normally give your attention to all have our ear and we’re eager to hear what they’re going to be bringing to the table. Here’s what we learned during Electronic Arts’ press conference:

  • Madden NFL 18
    • “Longshot” campaign a la “The Journey” from FIFA 17
  • Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar
    • Six new maps
    • Playable Russian army
    • 11 new weapons and a new stationary weapon
    • New vehicles
    • New “Supply Drop” gamemode
    • New Operations and Challenges
    • Improved cavalry
  • FIFA 18
    • The upcoming FIFA championship is going to be the largest yet
    • “The Journey: Hunter Returns” mode, sequel to last year’s “The Journey”
  • Need for Speed Payback
    • Three character motor-based crime action story mode akin to Fast and Furious
    • Las Vegas-inspired open world, largest for the franchise
    • Deepest customization yet, including new “Relics” system where you can rebuild abandoned classic cars
  • A Way Out
    • EA Originals title from the developers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
    • Character-based prison escape story
    • Designed for split screen co-op
  • Anthem
    • BioWare’s new IP
    • Post-apocalyptic(?) future or alternate universe setting
    • Destiny-like armor suits
    • A large walled city surrounded by wilderness and huge dinosaur-like beasts
  • NBA Live 18
    • “The One” campaign mode featuring reputation both professionally and on the streets
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
    • Big emphasis on the story mode set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens
    • Three times the content of the original (on launch?)
    • More of everything: heroes, vehicles, planets, space battles, progression, customization
    • Content from all three film eras
    • Big emphasis on the inclusion of “gamechangers” during development – top players brought to DICE to give feedback

There’s some big stuff in there and some areas where details were surprisingly sparse. Here’s my thoughts on the conference as a whole. Continue reading