Happy Friday everyone! In this week's roundup we've got more Xbox celebrations, Game Awards nominations, potential new videogame TV series, game delays and Italian accents (or lack thereof). Enjoy 😄
The Game Awards comes around every December and as well as being a chance to preview and get excited about new games, gives the industry time to reflect on the biggest titles of the year gone by.
Last week, the nominees were announced and there were some notable absences from the Game of the Year category, including Forza Horizon 5. This week, host Geoff Keighley took to the podcast airwaves with Tina Amini, Jeff Gerstmann and Keza MacDonald to talk about what got nominated and why, and I really appreciated getting more insight into the process.
As for me, I've been playing a fair bit of Halo: Infinite. The reward for all my hours of effort is that I've reached the heady heights of... Level 3 😂 While the gameplay is fantastic, the progression system, supposedly designed to keep players engaged, is clearly a point of contention. It's confusing, slow, and arguably unfair in terms of how XP is earned. This week 343 confirmed they were receiving the feedback "loud and clear". How they adapt remains to be seen, but at least for now it's still pretty fun to crush someone's entire body with the gravity hammer.
This week we saw reports of Amazon Studios allegedly working on a deal to develop a series based on the Mass Effect universe. As a huge BioWare and a Mass Effect fan, I've joined the scores of fans excited by the prospect.
The Mass Effect games hold a special place in many hearts, thanks to a deep and believable science fiction world, lovable characters, an original cosmic horror plot, and of course the one and only Shepard, a protagonist that grows and develops with you across three games.
I think it's fair to say that we're all looking forward to what a Mass Effect show might look like. However, as very rightly pointed out by David Gaider, a former writer on the trilogy, how the show is done will have a big impact on it's success. In a Twitter thread, Gaider mentions how following the core Mass Effect storyline is likely to alienate large swathes of fans for whom specific characters, choices and Shepard's are incredibly important. The problem with creating a static piece of media from an interactive one chock-full of player agency and choice is that automatically, fan choices are split into "canon" and not. Would the show Shepard be portrayed by a male, female or non-binary actor? Are they going to behave as a paragon or renegade? Who will they be friends with and romance? Who do they save, and who do they doom?
I'm relieved to see that the Mass Effect/Amazon deal is for a potential TV series and not a movie. Even so, the possibility (and likewise for Dragon Age) makes me cringe just a little, unlike many fans who appear... excited?— David Gaider (@davidgaider) November 25, 2021
Let me explain. (Thread)
It's a big question without a clear answer. Personally, any media set in the Mass Effect universe will make me happy - especially if it an show us a place or story in the Galaxy we have not yet seen. The First Contact War? The Krogan Rebellion? The Geth Revolution? All potential storylines that would be amazing to see.
I guess we'll have to see what Amazon cooks up for us!
This week I checked out the new online Xbox Museum - a fantastic example of the kinds of experiences that are possible on the web if you're prepared to push boundaries. Joined by live visitors from around the world you can walk the 3D halls of Xbox history, looking at articles and media about the console and some of it's most beloved games.
Big Ant Studios has made a difficult but rightful decision to delay Cricket 22 due to having to swap out a player that features on the cover due to factors outside of their control. In their statement they were empathetic with fans eagerly awaiting their greatest title yet. They explained it was a difficult decision as it's the first time they've ever had to delay a game release, but it's important to ensure the game is as full and authentic a cricket experience as is possible. The game is thankfully only delayed a week and comes out a week before the Ashes kicks off, which is obviously key for enticing cricket fans who enjoy gaming. Cricket games always remind me of countless hours playing Brian Lara Cricket on the PlayStation, such good fun!
When it was announced a few months ago that a Mario movie was coming, and Chris Pratt was to be the voice of Mario, it left many of us scratching our heads. How is Chris Pratt going to be Mario? Well, we now know that he won't be sounding like the Mario we are used to. The movies director has confirmed that Pratt will not be doing an Italian accent for the film. I think that is probably for the best, however it's going to be odd hearing Mario speak in, I assume, an American accent after decades of being an Italian plumber. If anything this is likely going to throw up even more questions about the casting for the movie amongst fans. It's not that I want to hear Chris Pratt do a Mario impression, I think that would be pretty bad, I just would like to hear Mario sound like Mario. But it remains to be seen how well it works when the movie eventually comes out. I'm sure we'll be giving it a watch and a review!
Where else to find us
If you're looking for more great stuff (if we do say so ourselves) from the Etch Play team, come and hang out with us in the following places:
- LinkedIn - where we share all our latest content and things that generally catch our attention
- Twitch - every Thursday at 4pm we have our weekly live show where we chat the latest games news, have discussion about the wider industry, play some games and have a lot of fun
- YouTube - we've got loads of interviews with industry experts, tips for your games marketing, gameplay, and an archive of every live show we've ever done
- Twitter - we hang out here to talk about anything games related
Before you go, why not check out yesterday's live show, where we were talking about viral games on Twitter 👇