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This Week in Games – Jojo Posing? No, Jack-O Posing! (also Gamescom)

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Hey kids! Have you heard of the hot new trend sweeping the nation the world the Twitterverse? Get on the ground and put your booty in the air like you just don’t care, because we’re talking about the Jack-O Challenge!

Jack-O is the latest character to return to the roster of Guilty Gear Strive, and she just debuted along with the newest balance patch. She looks pretty darn rad! But this fact actually has very little to do with the Jack-O Challenge. The Jack-O Challenge involves posing like her goofy crouching stance, shown above. At first, it was individuals trying to replicate her pose to varying degrees of success in real-life photos, but it very quickly went viral as artists realized they could have a lot of fun by drawing their favorite characters doing the same pose. And that’s where things have gotten ridiculous…ly awesome! Check out some of my faves:

I always like when something silly like this takes off and people have fun with it. There’s plenty more on Twitter, but be careful searching the hashtag, as there are plenty of… um, not-safe-for-work variations, let’s say. Children, avert your eyes!

As for “normal” news, well, there’s plenty of it! We’re a little later than usual – circumstances made getting a column out last week extremely difficult. But Gamescom happened, and it’s brought a lot of announcements, including a new Metroid Dread trailer, which I am committed to not watching because Nintendo wants to tell us everything about that game before release and I will have none of it, thank you very much. Since we’re already (sort of) talking about fighting games, let’s start with the big King of Fighters XV news!

KING OF FIGHTERS XV: SHATTER ALL EXPECTATIONS (FOR A BIG ROSTER)

While SNK‘s been fairly frequent with their character reveal drops for King of Fighters XV, we haven’t heard all that much about actual gameplay or features. Well, good news – we finally have more details on how KoFXV actually plays, along with teases of old and new cast members!



https://youtube.com/watch?v=utssckRFBN4

Oh man, a 300-song SNK jukebox? That sounds amazing! Combo trials should provide YouTube personalities some content to get comically upset at in an entertaining fashion! And, of course, rollback netcode, which has done wonders to make Guilty Gear Strive the most talked-about fighting game of 2021.

It’s the roster that has some fans concerned, though. Only 39 characters will be in the game at launch, which is quite a reduction from KoFXIV‘s initial roster – and we can already see that some new characters are taking up those slots. Not everyone in the initial roster has been revealed yet, but fans are already speculating that some longtime favorites might be cut. A King of Fighters without Kensou? Without Daimon? Without Kim Kaphwan? King of Fighters XII got a lot of flack for its reduced roster size (remember “No Mai, no buy?”), so it’s weird to see another KoF shipping that also cuts out many longtime favorites. It’s likely some of them could be saved for DLC, as “hey here’s Kim for you” would certainly incentivize folks to open up their wallets.

Despite this, from what I’ve seen of the brand-new characters, I’m really liking them! Especially she-Shunei here:

Overall, KoFXIV looks like it’ll be a pretty solid entry in the series. Whether or not you dig the specific gameplay is up to you – my longtime Neo-Geo fan partner is pretty meh on what he’s been seeing – but it’s encouraging to see SNK really stepping things up with regards to presentation and functionality.

And boy, do some people still really hate Ash Crimson.




NINTENDO IS DOING THE THING AGAIN

What time is it? Oh, Nintendo shutting down fan projects time. You know, just the usual for Nintendo.

Nintendo first made news by sending a cease and desist to the creators of a Metroid Prime in 2D fan project. Not terribly surprising, given Nintendo‘s long track record of shutting these things down as soon as they get noticed. But then this happened:

Project+, for those unaware, is a patch for Project M, the long-running Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod, and Riptide is a very well-known set of Smash Bros tournaments. This turn of events is also not terribly surprising, as Nintendo has clashed with Smash Bros tournament organizers before about them running various unauthorized Smash Bros mods. However, that one-two punch of “taking down a fan game” and “pissing off Smash players yet again” turned into an explosion of hatred for a company seen as hostile to its fans – particularly in contrast to Sega, who turns a blind eye to things like the big yearly Sonic Amateur Games Expo.

Unfortunately for the #savesmash crowd, it’s pretty obvious by this point that Nintendo is very firm in their positions and does not want to budge. Don’t make fangames, and play Smash the way Sakurai intended – them’s the rules. This puts tournament organizers in a tough spot: fans want to play mods, but running tournaments with them will almost certainly raise Nintendo‘s ire.

Could some small-scale, grassroots efforts try to run unsponsored tournaments specifically for modded Smash? Probably, but even then, there’s the looming threat of Nintendo wanting to throw their weight around. It’s a lousy situation overall, but at this point, I think we just have to accept that this is what Nintendo does and either live with it or abandon playing their games. And I don’t know of anyone, especially in the Smash scene, who is prepared to do the latter.

ACTIVISION-BLIZZARD SHITSTORM UPDATE: OOPS WE “ACCIDENTALLY” DESTROYED RECORDS, BUT HEY, WE RENAMED THE COWBOY

Didn’t Activision publish that one Platinumgames Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that everyone agrees was really disappointing? Well, it might be delisted from storefronts now, but Activision kept one part of it around – the Shredder! Ha ha haaaaaaaaa

Folks, this is what we call “gallows humor.”

Yes, once again, Activision-Blizzard has upped their “let’s be big ol’ shitbags” game. According to an amended complaint filed by the State of California – whose lawsuit brought the many allegations of abuse and power harassment at the conglomerate to light – Activision-Blizzard has worked to destroy damning evidence, and has also been extremely hostile to many of its contract-work staff as well. Some have speculated as to why they might be doing this:

But hey, what’s that? Hey! Look over there! It’s a cowboy! A newly-nameless Overwatch cowboy!

I noted a few weeks ago how Overwatch League casters were deliberately avoiding saying McCree’s name during commentary, but it looks like it’s official: cowboy named after employee accused of terrible abusive practices is getting a new moniker. How very convenient that this decision came out right after the news about documents getting trashed, huh? Almost as if they want quick and easy praise for “doing the right thing” after doing some very, very wrong things.

Seriously, screw these guys. I don’t want to play another Activision-Blizzard game again in my life.

GAMESCOM + BITSUMMIT ANNOUNCEMENTS AND OTHER NEWSBITS

  • April O’ Neil is a playable fighter in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Return of the Shredder, which is looking better and better every time it’s shown.




    She’s also been announced as a character in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, along with Catdog. 2021 is really turning into a good year for our plucky yellow-suited reporter, huh?

  • Tales of Luminaria, an all-new Tales mobile game, was announced at Gamescom with a trailer. This appears to be the first mobile Tales game to be 100% original, as it appears that the cast will consist entirely of new characters. Many previous mobile Tales offerings have relied heavily on bringing back characters from previous games in order to encourage gacha purchases, so it’ll be interesting to see how things work out for this.
    Actually, I wonder if it might not even be a gacha game? I mean, Fantasian’s been getting a lot of good press lately, and that’s not gacha-based at all. Hmmm. In any case, I’m interested in seeing where Bandai-Namco takes this one.



  • One of my favorite small developers, Onion Games, has opened Steam pages for two of their games: moon (which released on Switch) and the bizarre Flappy Bird-like Mon Amour. moon especially is one of those games I think everyone should play and form an opinion on, so please, do check it out when it debuts.
  • Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is slowly but surely turning into some sort of bizarre Sega and Atlus All-Stars thing. First Sonic, then Kiryu, and now Persona 5’s Morgana are joining the fruit-fetching fiesta!




    But wait, there’s more! Upcoming DLC includes everyone’s favorite feline who has no mouth and cannot scream, Hello Kitty!




    Okay, that’s an addition that was kind of out of left field, but it looks like that’s still not the end of the DLC. The next character is… Suezo? From Monster Rancher? I… what? How did this happen




    I am so confused as to why Monkey Ball of all things is turning into a giant crossover. Given recent rumors that Toshihiro Nagoshi might be departing Sega, perhaps he’s trying to go out with a bang.

  • I’ve had a Cave-on-consoles kind of feeling lately. First off: ESPgaluda II on Switch has a trailer, and it will be out soon worldwide!



  • Secondly, the long-in-the-works Deathsmiles I+II compilation is nearing release! This set includes Deathsmiles, Deathsmiles Mega Death Label, Deathsmiles II, and Deathsmiles IIX. Even better, the package will contain an English text option out of the box for all of the games!
    Also, there’s a big DLC package in the works (included with the premium editions of the game) featuring the five heroines from my favorite Japanese-only gacha score-attack fest, Gothic wa Mahou Otome, which is set in the Deathsmiles universe. I’m sure nobody cares except for me, but dammit, I’m really hyped! (It would have been better if the DLC was the five demons instead, but still.)




  • Speaking of shooters, PlatinumGames’s Sol Cresta is releasing on December 9th! It’s currently being shown off at Japan’s indie-centric Bitsummit event. There will also be DLC featuring a narrated, fully voice-acted story written by Hideki Kamiya himself. No word on an English dub, though I doubt it’ll happen – this game is crazy niche and probably not worth the expense.



  • Also announced at Bitsummit: Luminous Avenger iX 2, the latest game in the Azure Striker Gunvolt universe. In addition Gunvolt 3 is due out in summer 2022. Man, I really have to get around to playing all of these someday…



Phew! Damn, that’s a lot of news stuff. I’m exhausted. Maybe I should play a game to wind down. Oh hey, No More Heroes 3 is out! I’ve been playing it, it’s super-fun and very much a Suda51 game. I’m doing some guides over at Gamespot, so if you’re interested in some ProTips from yours truly, take a peek over there over the next several days.

Anyway, you know the drill by this point. You got thoughts on the gaming news? You go to the forum below and type away. Yes! See you again soon, take it easy, and enjoy games!

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