Welcome to This Week @ Shack, our regular roundup of news, commentary, video, and guides.
One of the stranger phenomenons of game development bifurcating into casual mobile games and PC or console "hardcore" games has been the degree of crossover inspiration that regularly happens between the two of them. Those loot boxes you find in every game from Gears of War 4 to Overwatch can be traced directly back to the free-to-play mobile market. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the auto-play element common in many mobile games is starting to migrate as well.
The most notable recent example of this is Injustice 2, which adds AI load-outs for your characters that can be used in battles. It didn't take long for players to realize this was an easy way to grind for experience and loot. An endless playlist keeps your character grinding with only the occasional need to hit a button to continue. (Or, if you get tricksy enough, no button-pushing required at all.)
It's a convenience feature built for those of us without the time or skill to go the more traditional route, and I'm not going to act as if it's some kind of scourge on the gaming landscape. It's a shortcut for progression systems, and doesn't really take away from the pleasure of playing the game itself. It just makes the loot and leveling on a somewhat even playing field. I do think we can all agree that it is slightly weird, though, these games that play themselves so you don't have to. I imagine this would be a hard thing to explain to a non-gamer.
Then again, while writing this my Harley Quinn has gone up three levels, so it can't be all bad.
News of the World:
- Lawbreakers is coming to console as well as PC, Boss Key announced this week.
- The week of Far Cry teasers started with a vague image, then showed off its villain. Finally, it had its full and proper reveal with several trailers.
- Red Dead Redemption 2 was officially delayed, but we also got more screens for the first time in... decades? We've lost count, it just seems like a really long time.
- More Overwatch goodies this week with the kickoff of its anniversary event.
- It sure looks like Mario + Rabbids is a real thing. A real weird thing.
- This concept video of a Rocket-League-like on Hololens shows off the potential for tabletop goodness.
- Superhot goes where it was always meant to be: Vive.
- Microsoft's Twitch competitor changed its name and got some snazzy new features this week.
- You know the old saying, a rising Switch lifts all boats.
- Speaking of a rising Switch, the announcement of Monster Hunter gave the company's stock a significant boost overnight.
- This week's highlights include Friday the 13th, which somehow didn't launch on a Friday the 13th.
- Ozzie got some time with Shadow of War, including its new fort assaults, and thus rekindled my anticipation.
- I talked with the PC lead for Destiny 2 about how they're handling the transition and using Battlenet as its online backbone.
- I was skeptical of the need for another Lego Marvel Super Heroes, but then they busted out Spider-Gwen so yeah okay.
- Mario + Rabbids may have broken David's brain.
- Ultra Street Fighter 2 for Switch sounds fine enough as a port, but Ozzie was unimpressed by its additions and price tag.
- I talked with the creative director of Far Cry 5 about the tone and setting, which is definitely poking a bear. "French Company Attacks Heartland!"
- Ozzie also got a look at Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which looks... not... bad? We're as surprised as anybody.
- Ubisoft seems uneasy about acknowledging the political implications of its own game, but they're there.
Guides to Life:
- Recruit all the Characters in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
- Injustice 2 Guides
- Friday the 13th Guides