Paper Mario: The Origami King Announced, Out in Two Months

Paper Mario: The Origami King – Announcement Trailer – Nintendo Switch – YouTube

That trailer shows all the right things. As a Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door fan from the beginning, this looks so right. Unique characters, no silly stickers or human-objects, possible partners: This looks like the Paper Mario I fell in love with. With it being out in two months (on the same day as Ghost of Tsushima), this is an exciting turnaround. My hopes have been lifted once again.

Please, please be the return to form that the series deserves. Please.

Inside the Story of The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us Part II – Inside the Story | PS4 – YouTube

Sony published a nifty little video discussing Naughty Dog’s approach to the story for The Last of Us Part II. No new footage is shown and the narrative discussion revolves around the same beats Naughty Dog has claimed from the get go. The studio does seem to be deemphasizing the “story about hate” angle and leaning more into the cycle of violence. Choices and consequences, as my aunt would say.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘Why make a sequel to The Last of Us?’ and I didn’t even hear the full pitch of the game, but just like the outline of what Neil was wanting to do with this game and I realized ‘Oh this is something we have to make,’ you know, this isn’t even an option. There’s absolutely more to do here.” – Anthony Newman

With a sequel, it’s important to try and look at the first game through the lens that there is more to the story. Back in 2013, that was not cut and dry. Seven years later, fan perception has to adapt for that fact. I talked about this when I revisited The Last of Us so many years and play-throughs later. The Last of Us Part II can’t take away from the first game, but it can add. We just have to see how much it adds and if that addition is worth exploring.

The ending is another element that is brought up constantly in regards to the sequel. Back in June 2013, people were vehemently picking one of two sides. With an official sequel ostensively done as of this writing, the ending has to be looked at under an entirely different light.

Me, “Revisiting The Last of Us”  April 18, 2020

Neil leaves off this new video talking about how he thinks this new game will be more divisive than the first. I do hope the game is divisive. It makes for far more interesting conversations and would be in line with Naughty Dog’s approach to storytelling. Whether fans or myself like it, there certainly will be a conversation surrounding this game. I am curious how much that dialogue will be influenced by the stacked deck that The Last of Us Part II has against it, especially with the vocal minority.

Meet The Newest Members Of The Kotaku Team (2020 Edition)

Meet The Newest Members Of The Kotaku Team (2020 Edition)

I introduce them at a very different time in Kotaku’s history, a time when we’ve seen an unprecedented number of staffers leave for new adventures.

After a wave of departures, Kotaku has new blood. It is great to see the site staff up.

In 2012, I wrote that “Kotaku in 2012 will inform you, entertain you, and provoke you from time to time. If we do our jobs as reporters, writers, videographers, reviewers and opinionated essayists right, we’ll also keep surprising you.”

In 2020, the goal’s the same.

Keep on keeping on Kotaku.

Unreal Engine 5 Revealed with a Real-Time Demo Running on PlayStation 5

Unreal Engine 5 Revealed! | Next-Gen Real-Time Demo Running on PlayStation 5 – YouTube

After waiting to see more on the PS5, it turns out that Epic Games would be the next company to dish out something on Sony’s next console. Sony had to pay a pretty penny for this reveal, I’d imagine. Unreal Engine 5 seems to be heavily leaning into dynamic, real-time lighting and environments with scalable art assets. As Unreal Engine becomes more used in entertainment like films and TV (see The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and The Mandalorian), incorporating tech tailored to those fields benefits games and vice versa.

The fact that the statues in this tech demo were trillions of triangles that were being rendered in real-time from the PS5’s custom I/O is astounding to see.  It is nice to see gameplay of some form. It is important to remember that Epic made this demo over some length of time, presumably months. This was a small vertical slice to showcase technology. It will take developers years to make games with Unreal Engine 5 to this scale and the engine doesn’t launch until sometime in 2021. While exciting to have a glimpse of possibilities, the next crucial step is for companies to showcase the more immediate future. We know Microsoft is showcasing their first party content in July. Hopefully Sony is soon as well.

PlayStation 5 Is Still On Schedule

Financial Statements and Consolidated Financial Results for the Fiscal Tear Ended March 31, 2020 and Outlook for the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2021

Direct download (PDF)

Regarding the launch of PlayStation®5, although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season. At this point in time major problems have not arisen in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s own first-party studios or its partners’ studios.

Sounds like the PS5 is still on schedule. I wish they would come out and share more details on the hardware. It feels like they are trying to focus on pushing out these last two major PS4 titles. Between the State of Play stream exclusively about Ghost of Tsushima and the impending launch of The Last of Us Part II, Sony seems to be all in for getting these games out. Although, the rumor mill is churning out the idea that a PlayStation exclusive could be revealed this morning as a part of the Summer Game Fest.

PlayStation Studios brand will launch alongside PS5 – GamesIndustry.biz

PlayStation Studios brand will launch alongside PS5 by Christopher Dring for GamesIndustry.biz

“We’ve never had any problem getting people to play these games. They’re usually critically acclaimed, award-winning franchises that are games of the year, but for the average consumer it’s not always clear what games come directly from our Worldwide Studios.” – Eric Lempel, senior vice president and head of global marketing at Sony Interactive Entertainment

This is a smart move for Sony. Just take the naming scheme from Xbox and elevate the new brand to the status symbol of Nintendo’s Seal of Quality. Sony really has multiple smash exclusives for the PS4 generation, mostly leaning into open world, single-player games. While these games weren’t made by the same developers, they did have the backing of the same publisher and are (for now) exclusive to the PlayStation ecosystem. If the quality can remain high like it has for the PS4, the name “PlayStation Studios” will have an easier time being associated with quality.

The opening animation clearly gives off a Marvel Studios vibes. I find the tone at the end reminiscent of the PS2 boot sounds. People will try to read into the characters that Sony decided to show off in the animation, but I say they just chose their strongest IP for the reveal. This can easily change over time to accommodate newer releases. I imagine Spider-Man was not included due to Marvel and Disney. This also makes me wonder what PS5 game boxes will look like in general. You have to imagine that at least one game will launch as a PlayStation Studios title. Since the brand launches alongside the PS5, I hope it will be a good one to be a sort of cornerstone.

Sony is trickling out the PS5 news though. Now that both The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima have imminent releases, I assume that the PS5 conversation will begin in earnest shortly. The State of Play dedicated to Ghost of Tsushima is encouraging and exciting. Sony may be doing this to not draw attention away from what is ostensively the PS4’s finale. Microsoft really doesn’t have an upcoming Xbox One finale due to the cross-generational compatibility with Series X, especially with their own brand titan, Halo Infinite. That has allowed Microsoft to feed the next generation hype and control the early conversation. Sony’s lack of presence regarding the PS5 is frustrating. While this new branding is exciting, it also reminds fans of how little they really now about the PS5. Hopefully, Sony will become more forthcoming soon.

Thursday’s State of Play is All About Ghost of Tsushima – PlayStation.Blog

Thursday’s State of Play is All About Ghost of Tsushima – PlayStation.Blog

The episode will be focused entirely on Ghost of Tsushima, coming to PS4 July 17. You’ll get an extended look at new gameplay footage, including exploration, combat and more. The current cut is clocking in around 18 minutes, give or take.

Absolutely pumped to see the game in action outside of a snazzy trailer. I want to see the game’s systems. What is similar to previous Sucker Punch games? Where has the studio broken new ground? Will PS4 console melt when all the petals are fluttering? Hope we can learn the answers to some of these questions on Thursday.

Prince of Persia Redemption Leaked Eight Years Ago and No One Noticed

Prince of Persia Redemption – YouTube

Apparently a new Prince of Persia game leaked on YouTube eight years ago and it only got picked up today. Cool story that a leak like this slipped through the cracks. I’ve never played a Prince of Persia game, but this leak footage strikes me as God of War-inspired. I actually started reading The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993 this week due to some buzz surrounding its most recent release. Seems like a rare insight into the development of a game from start to finish that ended up turning into a big franchise.

How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad – TechCrunch

How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad by Matthew Panzarino for Techcrunch

In order to dive a bit deeper on the brand new cursor and its interaction models, I spoke to Apple SVP Craig Federighi about its development and some of the choices by the teams at Apple that made it. First, let’s talk about some of the things that make the cursor so different from what came before…and yet strangely familiar.

Great read about the development and design behind the new iPad cursor with an interview with Craig Federighi. Apple TV seems to be more important to other platforms than one may assume.

The Spice of Life – Adding a Spice Orange GameCube to my Collection

My birthday came early this year. Abby has had a rather gracious track record of letting me buy what I want before my birthday. Usually because I find something I’ve wanted for years on eBay that adds some sort of time crunch. If I could only wait until June…

Anyway, my present showed up last week all the way from Japan. I finally have my own Spice Orange GameCube! I have always wanted this variant of my favorite Nintendo home console. It is so slick and just pops! Totally catches your eye. I bought the set-up piece meal, instead of all-in-one order. I got the GameCube and controller together, while I ordered the Game Boy Player separately. Abby even let me buy a matching Spice Orange Game Boy Advance, which is currently on a boat (I think).

When I took the GameCube out of its packaging, it was in great shape. It was wrapped in its own sleeve of bubble wrap. The outer shell looked great and even the front plate hadn’t suffered terrible yellowing over the years. Then I pressed the “Open” button. My newly acquired birthday present had a gummy “Open” button. Thankfully, I had watched a few tear down videos while waiting for the shipment. I was considering swapping the guts of a US console with the Japanese guts inside this Spice Orange console (but have since decided against it) and I wanted to be educated. It only took two types of screwdrivers, both of which I had.

Gummy, gunk-filled “Open” buttons is a semi-typical issue with GameCube consoles. Thankfully, all I needed to do was remove the screws on the bottom of the console and the outer shell slid right off. The “Open” button is right there and i was able to pop it out and remove the build-up of gunk. But while the GameCube was open, I noticed all the dust and hair the had collected inside. I already had it open, might as well clean it all.

All that is required to lift the main guts off and over the heat sink and motherboard is removing 18~ Phillips head screws. Some are tucked underneath the fan and there a four longer, skinner ones behind the memory card slots, but all things considered, it is an easy tear down. I used cotton swaps with isopropyl alcohol to clean off areas with caked on dirt and grime. I wanted that spice orange color to shine. Once I removed all the screws I was able to use my trusty can of air to blow off all the dust to make sure it didn’t too toasty inside my new GameCube.

I took it back inside and hooked it up to my small TV with the EON GCHD-MKII and my US power supply. People online claim it is cool to use the Japanese power supply, but I didn’t feel like that was the safest thing. Currently, the monitor is in my closet (a story for another time), so the set-up was a bit awkward. I grabbed my Japanese copy of Wind Waker and booted it up. The game looked absolutely gorgeous, both inside the GameCube and on the screen. No Action Replay required to play a region-locked disc on a US system. That’s why I decided against swapping the internals. I could play my small Japanese collection with no fuss and my US system still works perfectly. Speaking of which, I decided to see how dusty my childhood GameCube was.

Yikes. I was already in the “disassemble GameCube and clean it” mindset. So I took it apart as well and really cleaned it out well. That dust has been built up over almost 20 years.

Later in the day, the Game Boy Player arrived as well. Unlike the main console, the Game Boy Player is not region-locked, likely due to the fact that the Game Boy itself was not. The unit had some gunk stuck to the side near the ejection trigger, so I scrubbed that off with a wipe and then some cotton swaps. I attached it to the bottom of the Spice Orange GameCube and it looked perfect. Childhood Max’s dream come true.

The next day, I wanted to make sure that the Game Boy Player actually worked though. So I swapped it to the bottom of my US Game Cube where I could use either the official software or the Game Boy Interface to test it out. The first game I tried was Minish Cap and it did not boot properly. Not a good sign. I then tried Link’s Awakening, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Super Mario Bros. 3: They all worked correctly. I also tried a Game Boy game—Super Mario Land 2—and it did not load. So I grabbed my Game Boy Micro to test Minish Cap. It didn’t work, so I knew that the game was the problem there. I cleaned the contacts and it worked in the Micro, but it still would not load in the Game Boy Player. The eject trigger was also not removing the cartridges all the way with that satisfying launch. I was worried that maybe the external gunk and gotten inside and was messing with the eject mechanism and possibly the cartridge slot itself. So I decided to take it apart as well.

This was a bit more frustrating. Not due to the ease of access, still had the required screwdrivers, but just my lack of paying attention to screw placement. Plus, I hadn’t had the best breakfast and was on the phone while trying to do this. My bad. There was no gunk inside the unit or anything visible that would interfere with the cartridges. The only possible area that could have any issue now is the actual cartridge slot and I don’t have the tools for cleaning that yet. I put it all back together and place it back underneath the new GameCube.

In the end, I am super happy with the present. It is exactly what I wanted! I now have two perfectly working DOL-001 GameCubes in the colors I like the most for the system. I have a much simpler way to play the few Japanese games I own and I have a great condition GameCube controller, which is the best controller ever. I am super happy with it all. I can’t wait to get the Spice Orange Game Boy Advance to complete the set! Thanks Abby! 26 has never looked so spicy (or orange).