Game News Roundup: December 2020

Welcome back to your monthly report of game news compiled as much as possible into one convenient ad-free place, so you don’t have to worry about the pesky cracks that some info tends to fall through at most major publications!

Thanks and credit for the banner image as always goes to the Avocado’s one and only Space Robot!

Some of the PS4 titled listed as incompatible with PS5 have since been patched into full functionality, namely Shadow Complex Remastered having been as of November 19th, and *ahem* the horror game Joe’s Diner as of the past weekend, January 9th.

The Capcom hack leaks largely slowed and quieted down, although the events since our last roundup did of course include multiple official announcements that tracked exactly with some of the info in the leaks, as we’ll soon see.

On December 4th, the long-anticipated first trailer for the Western release of musou game Persona 5 Strikers leaked early, announcing its release date as February 23rd, 2021. This trailer also revealed a PC port for the game whose worldwide release will coincide with the PS4 and Switch versions’ Western launch. Atlus quickly pulled the trailer and rereleased it on December 8th.

And speaking of December 8th, on that day creative director Joseph Staten posted the major news update for Halo Infinite that he and 343 had promised and have been working on since the game’s controversial July gameplay reveal. The update announced a Fall 2021 release window for the game, proceeded to showcase various visually refined screenshots of the game’s environments, weapons, and characters, including the first glimpse at some of its multiplayer maps, discuss the design of the game’s live service components, and promise more extensive updates in the new year.

The 8th offered a few more news stories, from the foreshadowing of the Disco Elysium website updating its “Later” headline to “Soon”, to Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia Sands of Time Remake delaying from January to March 18th 2021.

While we’re still in early December, I’ll make it clear now, that the slew of news surrounding and following Cyberpunk 2077‘s December 10th launch. Y’all know it all already! The seizures, the PSN delisting, the glitches. It’s all been covered extensively and expertly in the moment across the online boards, and my fellow games writers deserve the attention on the hard work they’ve already done. If anyone reading here right doesn’t already know all of this, I encourage you to check out the discussion of it by the Avocado’s own Merve and Wolfman Jew here (category #32) during the 2020 Peely’s.

And now, it’s time for December 10th and The Game Awards 2020!

During the “pre-show”, several game announcements were made and awards were given out, although mercifully the awards were all read out individually this time rather than burned off as multiples or in chyrons. The Pre-Show announcements were as follows: the reveal trailer for Loop Hero, developed by Four Quarters and published by Devolver Digital, a deckbuilding RPG coming to PC in 2021 (which was accompanied with an an appearance by Nina Struthers in a sick new haircut); the reveal of Tchia, a 3D adventure game coming to PC and Stadia about exploring the real Pacific island of New Caledonia by land, sea and sky, as a young girl who can become any animal or object on the island, and is voiced exclusively by locals of New Caledonia in their native languages; the reveal of Quantic Dream’s self-published Director’s Cut of Sea of Solitude coming only to Switch on March 4th 2021 with updates to its script, voice acting, new gyro support and photo mode, and more; the reveal trailer of shadow puzzle game Shady Part of Me, which announced that it was surprise launching that evening on PC, PS4, Xbox, and Switch; Myst VR on Oculus Quest 2; a quick gameplay trailer for Nier Replicant; whatever the fuck We Are OFK is; and lastly, the announcement trailer for a free to play game of piloting and battling dragons, Century: Age of Ashes, beginning Early Access on PC in February 2021.

After Geoff Keighley’s introduction for the official start of the show, the Game Awards peaked early with a double whammy pairing of opening cinematic trailers, one announcing iconic Final Fantasy villain Sephiroth coming in December 2020 as the next DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the other debuting the first project of brand-new Xbox first party studio The Initiative, the long-rumored new Perfect Dark game, the first entry in the series since 2005. The trailer suggests story a which seems to shift away from the original’s aliens in favor of addressing ecological crisis and the corporate role in it, and ends on quick appearances from an Egyptian setting and iconic heroine Joanna Dark. It’ll be a first-person shooter just like its two predecessors and is simply titled after its franchise in typical prestige reboot fashion. This reveal coming right at the end of the year makes it both part of the series’ 20th anniversary and a fulfillment of a promise my Xbox producers that The Initiative’s game would be seen in 2020.

From there, a variety of games vied for attention. A back to back pair of debut trailers for Turtle Rock’s Back 4 Blood, their and Warner Brothers’ spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead games they made for Valve, showing an increased emphasis on the characters and their banter as well as direct gameplay footage, and ending on the notes that the game will release June 22nd 2021 for PC, PS4 and PS5, and all Xbox platforms, and a closed alpha would start on December 17th begin the firsthand experiences with the game. Next, a trailer announcing the next beta for free-to-play survival shooter Scavengers. Then, a gameplay trailer for Hood Outlaws and Legends, following from its Sony State of Play reveal back in August, which announced the game’s release as May 10th 2021, but with it unlocking three days early for pre-orderers. Forza Horizon 4 announced its new promotional Cyberpunk car, a very minor but nonetheless amusingly timed choice given everything that came around and after. A cinematic announcement trailer debuted The Callisto Protocol, a new next-gen hardware focused sci-fi survival horror game coming in 2022 directed by co-creator of Dead Space Glen Schofield at his new studio. As part of owner and publisher Krafton’s (formerly PUBG Inc.) brand expansion, the game is inexplicably a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds spinoff. After its previous July Xbox presentation appearance, Warhammer 40K Darktide got another new, more gameplay focused trailer. Fullbright, developers of Gone Home and Tacoma, revealed their new narrative game Open Roads, a road trip mystery published by Annapurna Interactive starring Keri Russel and Kaitlyn Dever and coming in 2021 for PS4, PS5, all Xbox platforms, and PC.

Following from its tease earlier in the week as I discussed, a trailer played for Disco Elysium: Final Cut, an updated edition of the highly acclaimed surprise CRPG hit featuring new story quests and new full voice acting. Final Cut will be a free upgrade for all existing owners on PC and will also serve as the game’s console port, coming to PS4, PS5, all Xbox platforms, and Switch in 2021. The Sony platform versions will launch in March 2021 and the others in Summer 2021, with a physical collector’s edition by iam8bit will be coming in the summer as well. Then, the first of two Bioware trailers arrived, a new trailer for the next Dragon Age game playing, still with no official title but featuring narration by fan favorite companion Varrick and an appearance by fan favorite villain Solas. Endless Dungeon premiered next, a new topdown action roguelike entry in Sega and Amplitude’s Endless series which is “Coming Soon” to PC, PS4, PS5, all Xbox platforms, and Switch in 2021, and which is not Dungeon of the Endless, the series’ previous game. After that was a gameplay trailer that truly might have been endless, just running way too damn long, for Crimson Desert, the open world fantasy action spinoff to Black Desert Online coming Winter 2021 to next-gen consoles. The Muppets’ Swedish Chef appeared to announce his role as a new free guest character exclusive to the All You Can Eat next-gen edition of the Overcooked series. Trailers announced both some new items for Warframe and the first season of Black Ops Cold War content for the Call of Duty battle royale Warzone, I think? Do those warrant inclusion here? Christ. Anyway.

After a London philharmonic orchestra performance of a Mario musical medley, the PS5 console exclusive 3D adventure game Season debuted, about a young black scholar traveling as she studies and records disappearing cultures. In a quintessentially Game Awards moment, that was followed by an extended cinematic reveal trailer for a sequel to Ark Survival Evolved, Ark 2, now starring Vin Diesel as a prehistoric man, apparently. It is sighs part of a larger Ark franchise brand expansion that also includes an upcoming animated series. And from there, the announcement trailer for Fall Guys Season 3 coming December 15th with a seasonally apt winter theme, a trailer for the apparently quite substantial Odyssey expansion for Elite Dangerous, coming in 2021, and a trailer with the now out of date release date for the upcoming shooter Outriders. And then the reveal trailer for a sidescrolling gritty furry action game called F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch, coming to PS4, PS5, and PC in April 2021. You play as a bunny rabbit with a big metal fist. At least it helped keep my attention. Evil Dead: The Game was announced, a multiplayer action game of both co-op and PvP featuring not only the original silky voice of Bruce Campbell himself as Ash, but the return of his co-lead in the recently ended TV series, Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly. The game arrives in 2021 on PC, Switch, PS4 and 5, and all Xbox platforms. Capcom revealed 32-game arcade compilation Capcom Arcade Stadium and Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection, both coming to Switch in February 2021 (the 18th and 25th respectively) as timed exclusives. Resurrection is a brand new reboot of the cult classic sidescroller, featuring a distinct new artstyle based on medieval stained glass and a greater variety of difficulty options to remain faithful to the series’ difficulty while expanding its accessibility. The new viral hit Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 had its next-gen exclusive console version announced as coming in Summer 2021.

Sony followed Microsoft, as a new trailer for Sony and Housemarque’s Returnal announced that the game will be releasing exclusively for PS5 on March 19th 2021, thus marking the last of the awards show’s major announcements from the three hardware producers. And the hits kept rolling in as the long-anticipated Super Meat Boy Forever popped in out of nowhere to announce a December 23rd 2020 release date for PC, right on my brother’s birthday! The creators of Valiant Hearts premiered a procedurally generated road trip first-person action game, Road 96, coming to PC in 2021. Josef Fares appeared in his motion capture suit to show off the full trailer for his third game, It Takes Two, following from its announcement by EA over the summer. The trailer presents the story of his latest co-op adventure, following a married couple as they try to work together to escape the fantasy world they’re trapped in, and announces its March 26th 2021 release date for both PlayStation platforms, all Xbox platforms, and PC. The next Elder Scrolls Online expansion was unveiled, the first news for the series since the announcement of Zenimax’s pending purchase by Microsoft. It’s coming in 2021 and is Oblivion themed. The latest Star Wars VR title, theme park tie-in Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, was announced as being available that day. The latest trailer for what remains one of my most anticipated upcoming games, Oddworld Soulstorm, played next, showcasing the sidescrolling action, platforming, and puzzle gameplay updated from the original Abe’s ExOddus, and announcing a Spring 2021 release window for PS4, PS5, and PC. Monster Hunter Rise‘s new trailer showed off various monsters while announcing cosmetic DLC, a demo coming soon, crossover bonuses with Monster Hunter Stories 2, and three new amiibo of the Palico, the Palamute, and the game’s signature monster Magnamalo.

Shadow Warrior developer Flying Wild Hog announced its next game after SW3, Evil West, a Wild West first-person horror shooter coming in 2021 to PC, all PlayStations, and all Xboxes. Bandai Namco’s Action JRPG Scarlet Nexus returned from the May Xbox Showcase to announced a new Summer 2021 release window. A quick trailer from viral hit Among Us featured charming amateur voice acting from the game’s devs as they teased the game’s upcoming new map, the steampunk Airship, coming sometime in Early 2021. Fortnite reared its head once more following from the stunt Epic pulled back in August to kick off its feud with Apple and Google, and Kratos’ addition to the game, announcing not only Master Chief as a playable skin, but Daryl and Michonne of The Walking Dead, and as announced by a surprise Red vs. Blue appearance, the Halo classic Blood Gulch map was added to Fortnite’s Creative mode. A trailer for Xbox Game Pass announced that Skyrim: Special Edition was coming to the service on December 15th as its next Bethesda representative, and showed off recent additions like Control, Dragon Quest 11S, and Doom Eternal, but most importantly to me, the woman playing Yakuza 7 as we speak, it announced that the entire Yakuza Remastered Collection, the third, fourth and fifth mainline entries, and Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, have all been ported to Xbox and PC and are coming to Game Pass on January 28th for the PS3 remasters and March 25th for the conclusion of the Kiryu saga. To round out the show, a Just Cause mobile game was announced as Coming Soon, Fallout 76‘s new expansion The Scribe of Avalon was shown off and launched, the League of Legends “story mode” RPG entry, Ruined King, showd off some art and footage, Sega’s Civ competitor Humankind announced its April 22nd 2021 release date, and the Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond VR game from Respawn was announced as releasing the next day, December 11th.

And as the final climactic Game Awards event, a cinematic teaser trailer for the next entry in the Mass Effect action RPG series played, building on the statement Bioware offered during their N7 Day announcement of the trilogy remaster that they were still working on a new game for the series. While the trailer features some subtle acknowledgments of the previously planned Andromeda subseries of games, its climactic reveal of Liara scaling the husk of a destroyed Reaper and finding the N7 symbol suggests a direct continuation of the original trilogy. This new Mass Effect is expected to release some time after the upcoming Dragon Age.

On Tuesday December 15th, Nintendo aired their final Indie World and final overall third party presentation for the year, after announcing it the previous day. Opening with trailers for Derek Yu and Mossmouth’s Spelunky and Spelunky 2, both coming in Summer 2021, the presentation proceeded to reveal a slew of upcoming titles, feline fighter Fistifluffs and timed exclusive co-op party game Very Very Valet coming in Early 2021, the announcement of the multiplatform launch date for Yacht Club Games-published Ninja Gaiden homage Cyber Shadow (January 26th 2021), and same day as reveal releases like Calico, Grindstone, and When the Past Was Around. Other major reveals include the Kickstarter project Peruvian hand-drawn 2D brawler Tunche, coming to Switch in March 2021 featuring A Hat in Time‘s Hat Kid as a guest character, the 3D open-world island adventure game Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which will come to all consoles at the same time in Spring 2021, and Czech 2D point and click horror Happy Game coming console exclusive in Spring 2021.

Perhaps most notable were the announcements that Super Meat Boy Forever will be a timed console exclusive on Switch, launching the same day as its aforementioned PC release, December 23rd, and that the highly acclaimed Japan exclusive late PS Vita title, GNOSIA, an RPG visual novel take on Mafia/Werewolf, is coming West in Early 2021 exclusively on Switch. The closing sizzle reel featured When the Past Was Around, timed exclusive Kosmokrats coming March 2021, Hoa coming April 2021, Hazel Sky coming March 2021, Trash Sailors, and Finding Paradise, both coming Spring 2021. Finally, a surprise Switch port of Among Us leapt out from the vent as a same day release. Some people used to the indie hit’s free-with-ads mobile version found themselves surprised and upset to learn the game costs a whole five dollars on Switch, same as its PC version.

That same week, dedicated presentations for Sephiroth in Smash and the Super Nintendo World theme park aired, on the 17th and 18th respectively. Long-shot fan-favorite Geno from Super Mario RPG returned as the same Mii costume from Smash For, thus finally and firmly deconfirming him for another generation of the series. Sephiroth’s official release date was December 22nd, but he was available to unlock early by defeating him in a special boss fight match. The Sephiroth pack was also used as an opportunity to address and improve upon the previous paucity of Final Fantasy music and character art in Ultimate.

On January 5th, Nintendo announced that it is fully purchasing Next Level Games, the Canadian studio which developed the most recent Punch-Out game and the last two Luigi’s Mansion games, and which has been in a contract to develop exclusively for Nintendo since 2013. Next Level’s stockholders (exclusively its own directors and employees) had begun looking for buyers and Nintendo moved quickly to ensure their partnership would not be affected by sharing the company with a new owner. Next Level will now be a full first-party subsidiary with increased stability and production resources, befitting Luigi’s Mansion 3‘s status as their all time bestselling title. This event marks Nintendo’s first acquisition since Xenoblade‘s Monolith Soft in 2007, and their emulator developers, NERD, formerly Mobiclip in 2011. The acquisition is expected to close on March 1st 2021, per Nintendo.

On the same day, Frogwares’ The Sinking City began its formal return to digital storefronts after more than four months of a legal battle with publisher Nacon. The dispute is currently still pending in French courts, but on October 28th, the Paris Court of Appeal ruled Frogwares’ abrupt termination of contract as unlawful, and thus it must revert to abiding by the contract until further rulings are reached.

The same week, Nintendo launched their dedicated website for Super Mario 3D World +, leading many to expect that a standalone trailer or Direct featuring the promised further details on its Bowser’s Fury expansion is currently imminent. Update: the same day I published this article, Nintendo announced via Twitter that the game’s second trailer will be released on the morning of Tuesday January 12th.

On January 6th, developer People Can Fly announced that their Square Enix published multiplayer live service shooter Outriders was being delayed again, from February to April 1st 2021, but its demo will release before February is over.

On January 7th, a Monster Hunter Rise Digital Event livestream premiered, announcing that the aforementioned January demo would be releasing later that day and available only until January 31st. The presentation also showed off monsters to hunt and a new wyvern riding mechanic. The demo’s launch went on to be the latest event to crash the Switch eShop due to too many trying to download it at the same time, a tradition that’s been going on since at least the launch of Persona 5‘s Joker in Smash Bros Ultimate almost two years ago.

On Friday January 8th, Riot Games announced that the open beta of its mobile and console version of flagship title League of Legends, (LoL: Wild Rift) would be expanding into North America starting in March 2021, after reaching Europe and the Middle east in December and Southeast Asia in October. This beta has so far exclusively been for the mobile port, with no explicit disclosure from Riot but the popular assumption being that the console versions will launch alongside the overall 1.0 release sometime this year. Wild Rift’s console platforms have also still not been explicitly disclosed, but Switch, PS4 and Xbox One at minimum are very likely.

And also on January 8th, Limited Run Games announced that they were releasing three different physical editions of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition, a basic and two different collector’s editions, with pre-orders for the PS4 and Switch physical editions opening on January 15th while the game’s Xbox One physical release will begin at a future date as part of a larger update and expansion to the company’s Xbox physical games.

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