Welcome to the latest issue of The Games Letter. It’s summer, and we have a goal to reach 100 email subscribers before autumn. If you enjoy reading this, please tell a friend or two to subscribe, and help us reach our goal. On to the latest news.
A Wondrous Nintendo Direct
Nintendo held a “Nintendo Direct” last week, a video press release on what the company is working on. The Direct was filled with surprises, including multiple new games. Here are the biggest announcements:
A new trailer for Pikman 4, which is set to release on July 21.
A remake of Super Mario RPG, a game originally released in 1996 on the Super Nintendo, will arrive on November 17.
Finally, a new 2D Mario game called Super Mario Bros. Wonder was announced, and will be released on October 20.
Other announcements include a Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon remake, an untitled Princess Peach game, Metal Gear Solid Collection Vol. 1 on Switch and a new Wario game, WarioWare: Move It. You can watch the entire Direct here.
Xbox vs. the FTC
Microsoft finally got its day in court to challenge the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. While Activision told its employees that the FTC claims are “factually weak and legally a stretch,” some interesting information came from the hearings.
Microsoft purchased Bethesda in part because they were worried Starfield would be a PlayStation 5 exclusive. “When we acquired [Bethesda parent company] ZeniMax one of the impetus for that is that Sony had done a deal for Deathloop and Ghostwire... to pay Bethesda to not ship those games on Xbox,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.
Meanwhile, Activision wanted a bigger revenue share to continue to put the Call of Duty games on Xbox. According to Xbox VP Sarah Bond, Activision President Bobby Kotick indicated “if we did not move beyond standard revenue share that he intended to not place Call of Duty on Xbox.”
While Xbox was worried about Call of Duty games being pulled from their platform, PlayStation executive Jim Ryan said in an email “I’m pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for many years to come,” even after the proposed merger.
When will the next generation of consoles be released? In court documents obtained by IGN, Microsoft said you can expect to see the next generation of PlayStation and Xbox in 2028.
Is the FTC case against Microsoft weak? Time will tell. You can read more about what came out of the hearings here.
Join The Games Letter
Subscribe to our email newsletter and receive this content in your inbox every Monday morning! It also helps support our website. Join today!
Pet Project: Henri’s Perquisition
Today we launch a new occasional segment, looking at animals in video games. Our first “pet” is Henri’s Perquisition, an off-hand weapon in Diablo 3 that is used by the Witch Doctor class to charm enemies. From the item’s description:
“The enchanter Yanashima hired the famous craftsman Paul of Westmarch to help create a mojo of great power. At a critical moment, Paul's cat Henri leapt into the mix, deep in pursuit of a mouse. Now an inseparable part of the mojo, Henri is said to be eternally searching for that mouse, which has never been seen since.”
We asked our in-house pet Sirius Black the cat for his thoughts on Henri’s Perquisition. Here is his response:
I’m always happy when game developers include such realistic weapons. For centuries cats have wielded immense power, but in recent years we’ve been cuddle-washed by the media. It was time for someone to challenge that narrative, and I applaud Diablo for doing exactly that. There’s a reason this game is so vastly popular, and Henri’s Perquisition is 97% why.
I’ll also just add that The Games Letter was my idea and I’m the brains behind this whole operation. Stay tuned for more awesomeness.
Side quests (more stories worth reading)
✖️ Xbox is raising the price of Game Pass. Probably to help pay all their legal fees.
📈 Electronic Arts is realigning into two organizations: EA Sports and EA Entertainment.
⚔️ Final Fantasy XVI is out, and getting great reviews. But, don’t call it a JRPG. “For us as Japanese developers, the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term.”
📺 Following xQc’s departure, Twitch streamer Amouranth announced she was leaving for Kick. Meanwhile, streamer Pokimane says she won’t make the switch to Kick, as it would “compromise [her] morals and ethics.”
🕹 A recent study suggests that 47% of gamers play on multiple platforms.
👩🏾 In a recent interview, Summer Game Fest creator and host Geoff Keighley acknowledged the lack of diversity in this year’s show.
🔫 Metal Gear Solid 4 is currently only available for the PlayStation 3, but that soon may change.
😈 Diablo IV players found a secret post-credit ending, and are trying to determine what it means. However, if they tried playing this weekend, they might have had issues logging in, as Diablo IV suffered a huge DDOS attack.
🔦 The creators of Alan Wake wanted to use a Stephen King quote to start the game. The famous writer let them use it for $1.
⚔️ Waiting for the next Elder Scrolls game? It is still at least five years away.
😈 Read the original pitch for Diablo from 1994.
New Releases this week:
6/25: The Leviathan's Fantasy (PC)
6/25: Dream Park Story (PC)
6/26: One Lonely Outpost (PC)
6/26: Raging Bytes (Xbox, Switch and PC)
6/27: Choo Choo Survivor (PC)
6/27: Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
6/29: AEW: Fight Forever (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC)
6/30: Crime O'Clock (Switch and PC)
6/30: Everybody 1-2-Switch (Switch)