Games Inbox: Activision Blizzard has turned Microsoft and Sony insane

The Friday letters page congratulates Capcom on having a Resident Evil 4 demo, as one reader is very impressed by the Mario Kart 8 DLC.

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Doing the maths
After reading the story about Xbox pretending that it’s going to enable 150 million more people to play Call Of Duty I seriously have given up. I’d heard that number before but I didn’t realise it was literally just the number of Switches plus GeForce Now. Who is going to believe such nonsense? Except maybe monopoly investigators who probably don’t know much about the games industry.

The average Call Of Duty game sells 30 million tops, split between three formats. I’m sure the split isn’t equal but let’s just say 10 million is the ceiling. Does anyone really think 10 million Switch owners are going to go out and buy the next game, let alone 125 million? Never mind that, does anyone seriously think a modern Call Of Duty game is going to work on the Switch?

I really do feel that this acquisition business has turned all companies involved insane. First Sony starts making up wild theories about Microsoft secretly bobby-trapping the PlayStation version of their games and now Microsoft is taking out full page newspaper ads that spout absolute nonsense.

I can’t help but think about what a saner, calmer games industry we would’ve had if Microsoft had decided, five years ago, that the best way to conquer the world was to just sit down and make a bunch of really great games. Obviously, that never happened and now their pay to win approach has distracted both them and Sony so much that we’ve got even less games than ever coming out from the pair of them.

Rip off the plaster
With this talk of Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League being delayed again I have to ask, as we have for many a recent controversy, what were the expecting? The game looked absolutely terrible in almost every way, from the generic action to the garish graphics, the silly ‘shoot the flashing weak point’ gameplay, and the fact that it completely wastes all the DC characters.

And that’s even before you get to all the creepy microtransactions and live service stuff. I just can’t see any positive in the game at all, except I guess co-op is always usually fun.

I don’t see what they’re going to change of substance in six months though. Better to just get it out now, accept the failure, and just move on. If this grinds on for too long then Rocksteady is going to end up the scapegoat for all this, when I bet it was really Warner execs interfering. The alarm bells were ringing when all the lead developers left and it’s now very obvious why.

Get on with it
Please, for the love of capitalism, put us all out of misery and let Microsoft buy Activision, so I can stop hearing about it. I know it’s wrong, and I wish it wasn’t happening, but they’re going to get their way so let’s just give them the okay and make the final concession that they just shut up for a couple of years and just concentrate on making games.

This 150 million extra players nonsense is just embarrassing and if I have to listen to Phil Spencer going on about that at E3 I swear I’m going to sell my Xbox and just take up gardening or something.

Yes, Sony would do exactly the same in their position, but that’s not the reality we live in. It’s Microsoft throwing their money around and being obnoxious and I just wish they’d stop. Or spending a 0.01% of that $69 billion on fixing Halo Infinite.

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Pixel Fantasy
I don’t know what Yoshi-P is smoking, saying that the next Final Fantasy could be turn-based and feature pixel graphics. I mean, I’d love that but it has absolutely zero chance of happening, especially for a game actually called Final Fantasy 17.

We’ve got Octopath Traveler and indie games like Sea Of Stars though, which are basically old school Final Fantasy in all but name. What difference would it make if Octopath Traveler were called Final Fantasy 17? Nothing, it is exactly what you’d expect from a neo-retro Japanese role-player.

The only thing that could make it more authentic is if they got some veteran talent behind the games, maybe Hironobu Sakaguchi to work on one as a gimmick, but I’m not even sure that would make a difference. Nostalgic games are great but the future of Final Fantasy must be looking forward, not backward.

Up to three
Happy MAR10 Day everyone! I am hoping they will restock with Mario amiibo on the Nintendo UK Store today, as they apparently were going to restock in the USA for MAR10 Day. I missed the Mario amiibos when they first came out before, I want to get one or two (or three) various designs of Mario for my shelf.

I am also hoping there will be news on a release date for Super Mario Galaxy 2 today, so I don’t have to buy it on the Wii U Store before that closes down on March 27th.
Andrew J.
PS: For 400 Nintendo Points and £1.99 postage you can get a Kirby mousemat on the Nintendo Store now.

DLC of the forever
I’d just like to say how fantastic the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC has been thus far. I’ve just downloaded the new wave of the booster pass DLC this morning and played it through joyously. I’m starting to think this could be the best quality and value DLC of any game ever! Taking the Deluxe version of the Switch game from 48 to 96 courses by the end of 2023.

The Mario Kart Tour circuits from other waves have been decent enough but the ones included in this latest batch are just at another level for me. The courses not only changing each lap now, but also the variety of ways the courses branch out giving multiple pathways consistently as you drive each lap. The Amsterdam one being a particular favourite but the Bangkok and Singapore circuits also of a high quality.

I need to mention the Yoshi’s Island circuit too, just for pure gaming nostalgia reasons. The circuit plucking aspects from that SNES game. including visuals and sounds like they did with the Hyrule castle course and the F-Zero designs is just great. It makes me wish they’d dip into the whole Nintendo back catalogue of their biggest hits and use them in circuits. Anyone for a Metroid course in the next wave or a solely Pokémon one using this formula?

Also, there’s an array of new character spots now visible on the character select screen. Who could this be? With only two waves left until the end of the year we are sure to find out pretty soon.
Nick The Greek

Increasing expectation
Good on Capcom for having a Resident Evil 4 demo. I feel they’re the only ones that really believe in them nowadays, especially as this would have to be a proper single-player demo and not a beta.

I know research found that people were less likely to buy a game after playing a demo but I feel that finding must be flawed or that it’s different for certain games. I mean, I’ll report back if the Resi one suddenly puts me off buying the game but I’m pretty confident it’s just going to make me even more desperate to play the full thing.

Wild oddballs
I have to disagree with freeway 77, that Breath Of The Wild has no good characters. It’s not my absolute favourite Zelda either, that’s still Ocarina of Time, but I was consistently chuckling at the collection of oddballs scattered all over Hyrule.

You have Brigo the ‘We’re doomed. I mean, don’t panic!’ bridge guard who then tries to talk you down from jumping off the bridge. There’s the terrible cook Moza, who is surrounded by piles of her rotting food. There’s Risa in the Gerudo relationship class on how to woe a Voe, who always seems to get it wrong (or perhaps very right!). Then there’s the entire Tarrey Town quest which is rewarded with a lovely character event rather than a weapon or item.

That’s not to the mention the non-speaking characters, of which your horse is the most important. My horse was called Whisper and he had more character than a lot of human characters in other games I can think of. Even the enemies were full of character, with the rolling eye of the Hinoxes or the spider-like appendages of The Guardians stalking you across the landscape.

The big improvements I’m looking for in the new game are better traditional dungeons, much better bosses, and a more involved main story. There’s already good signs on the story front with the darker Majora’s Mask style tone looking very appealing to me. I’ve got a feeling the two other points will be addressed too. Of course, Nintendo have an almost impossible task in trying to satisfy everyone including me. They’re a victim of their own success. If anyone can do it though it’s Nintendo. Roll on May 12th!
Ryan O’D

Inbox also-rans
If Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is a flop I really worry about the future of Rocksteady. With some of their main guys already having left, this really could be the end of them after all this time and money spent.

Not only is The Mandalorian structured like a role-playing game but this last episode looked like something straight out of Dark Souls or Elden Ring. I didn’t realise this was the way.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Xane, who asks what famous game or franchise have you never played?

Many video games may be considered all-time classics but which ones have never played yourself? Did you avoid the game on purpose or is it just something you never got round to – or were unable to play because it was on a format you didn’t own?

Do you make an effort to play critically acclaimed games even if they don’t seem quite your sort of thing? Have you ever been surprised by a classic game because it was something different to what you assumed?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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