Nintendo is bringing one of its cult favorites to the Switch, the Gears of War series has a tactics-based spin-off coming to PC, and more of the X-Men are coming as DLC for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
These are a few of the big Pacific Northwest announcements from the Game Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, broadcast Thursday night from the Microsoft Theater. It was the convention’s fifth year, and as usual, it was the “Super Bowl” of gaming… in the sense that the major reason to watch it is to see the commercials. It was a big night for video game news, including several announcements from Wizards of the Coast, and right off the bat, the live debut of the Xbox Series X.
Nintendo had a lot going for it, however. While the rumors of a new fighter announcement for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate turned out to be unfounded (we still don’t know who the fifth and last DLC character in the current Fighter Pack will be), Nintendo did announce the surprise debut of a new Bravely Default game on the Switch.
The Bravely Default series is developed by the Japanese megastudio Square Enix. It’s technically a Final Fantasy spin-off, having evolved from plans to make a sequel to an older DS game called 4 Heroes of Light.
The newest entry, Bravely Default II, is the third game in the series despite its name, following 2012’s Bravely Second on the Nintendo 3DS. The last two games were throwback Japanese RPGs, featuring an elaborate “job” system that let you change your characters’ classes on the fly, plenty of old-school dungeon grinding, and fantasy stories full of political intrigue.
Bravely Default II is a collaboration between the team that developed the original game and the team behind last year’s JRPG Octopath Traveler. Beyond that, we don’t know much about it yet, though it’s ostensibly due out next year.
Nintendo also took home prizes for Best Family Game (Luigi’s Mansion 3), Best Fighting Game (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), Best Strategy Game (Fire Emblem: Three Houses), and “Player’s Voice” (an award that was strictly determined by fan votes, also given to Three Houses).
Another big Nintendo debut was a new, extended trailer for Grasshopper Manufacture’s No More Heroes 3, a new entry in Goichi “Suda51” Suda’s notoriously strange open-world action games.
The original two No More Heroes games initially debuted on the Wii, where they rapidly attracted a cult following. In the new game, which looks like a Hayao Miyazaki movie from the mirror universe, the series’s antiheroic protagonist Travis Touchdown has to contend with a new breed of alien assassins.
No More Heroes 3 is planned to come out at some point in 2020.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 has a new downloadable-content pack coming, this one starring several more characters from the X-Men franchise. Cable, Gambit, Iceman, and Phoenix will all be playable in the new DLC, alongside a new player-vs-player training mode set in the X-Men’s famous Danger Room.
MUA3 came out this past July to middling reviews, but was one of the best-selling games in both July and August. It’s brought out several more content packs in the intervening five months, including a free download that makes Cyclops and Colossus playable characters, and paid unlocks that bring the Punisher, Moon Knight, Blade, and Morbius into the game’s already enormous roster.
In non-Nintendo news out of the Game Awards, the Vancouver, BC-based studio The Coalition, fresh off the successful debut of Gears 5 in September, announced its next project: a spin-off from the main Gears of War series called Gears Tactics.
Rather than being an action game, Gears Tactics is an isometric-view tactical game in the spirit of something like Wasteland or X-Com. You guide a squad of soldiers through the environment, using cover and range to your advantage, while engaging in turn-based combat against your alien opponents. The game is set well before the events of the original Gears of War, relatively early in humanity’s fight against the Locust hordes.
Tactics is being made in conjunction with the British studio Splash Damage, a work-for-hire developer that’s also contributed to the Wolfenstein and Doom franchises, as well as the multiplayer modes for both Gears of War 4 and 5. Gears Tactics is ostensibly planned to debut in April of 2020.
Gears 5 also collected nominations for Best Audio Design, Best Performance (by Laura Bailey as Kait Diaz), and Best Action Game.
Riot Games, the publisher behind the popular online game League of Legends, has made several announcements this year that revolved around moving the League cast and setting into new genres. We knew there were six projects in total as of mid-October, but two of them were still mysteries.
Both of those unannounced titles made their debut at the Game Awards. The former “Project F” turned out to be Ruined King, a single-player RPG under development at the Austin, Texas-based studio Airship Syndicate (Battle Chasers: Nightwar).
The other game is called Conv/rgence, a single-player platform game starring League character Ekko.
Despite all the announcements, awards, and hype, however, one thing that most people can agree on this weekend is that the real winner of the Game Awards’ 2019 broadcast was none other than a very, very mean goose.