Nintendo Direct Announces Marx for Kirby Star Allies

Kirby fans and comrades alike will be pleased to know that revolutionary German philosopher Karl Marx was announced as a playable character in Kirby Star Allies during tonight’s Nintendo Direct.

The colourful platforming adventure game promises the return of many classic Kirby characters playable in up to four-player co-op on the Nintendo Switch, including Blade Knight, Sir Kibble, and father of modern Communist theory, Karl Marx.

The game’s story mode will take Kirby to Dream Land, where he absorbs a Dark Heart and is granted the ability throw printed segments of Socialist theory at his friends to recruit them as comrades for the Planet PopStar Revolution.

Blazkowicz’s Conversation with a Marxist in Wolfenstein II

Horton and B.J.’s political debate leaves me hopeful for The New Colossus‘s portrayal of Marxism.

Yesterday, Polygon released a 30-minute gameplay video of the upcoming Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, wherein we had the opportunity to see the dialogue cutscene found in the trailers between main protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz, and Horton Boone, the leader of a Marxist resistance movement in New Orleans. Horton is recruited into the Kreisau Circle, but not before he and B.J. get drunk and have a philosophical debate.

Horton talks about his band of revolutionaries, holed up in a battered Orleans building, describing them  as “the outcast, the poor… well, everyone apart from the American God-damn Bourgeois,” the first indication that MachineGames know their Marxist terminology. He introduces B.J. to his friend Paris Jack, “a true believer in Anarchism and a hell of a clarinet player.” Is this left unity in action? One can assume.

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Then, out comes the ‘Horton Special,’ a moonshine whiskey, and the two men discuss the resistance and get pretty heated about their respective political beliefs. Horton is weary and jaded, having planned for a revolution long before the Nazi occupation. He along with many carried the banner of the civil rights movement, campaigned for equality, and protested the US draft, to which Blazkowicz garners anger, arguing that Horton and his ilk should have fought in the war instead of “passing out Bolshevik propaganda and opposing the draft on every street corner.”

This triggers the now well-known revolutionary rant from Horton, in which he talks about standing up against the “imperial war machine of the United States of America and the greedy money men of wall street who was itching to send the children of the proletariat off to die in foreign lands so that they could be filling their coffers.” That, seeing through America’s  exploitation of its people, decided not to co-operate and protest in the way that he did.

It looks like it’s going to be a very faithful portrayal of Marxist and other left-leaning revolutionaries. And with other small details littered throughout the scene, like a hammer and sickle flag in the background of one shot and a propaganda poster asking its readers to “become the hammer,” MachineGames really aren’t shying away from the explicit leftist thought and imagery, and what’s even more interesting to see is that these characters and their ideals are positioned on the side of the protagonists of the game.

Communists have always typically combatted the ideals and actions of Nazism of course, but it’s very uncommon that they’re portrayed as the good guys in film, TV, and video games. Often when they are, it’s to set up a shock twist wherein they betray the protagonists in order to seek their own goals.

But this cutscene has left me feeling optimistic about Wolfenstein II’s resident lefties, and alongside the diverse cast of the Kreisau Circle and the aggressive anti-Nazi messaging in all of the game’s promotional material, perhaps this’ll be the games industry’s first really great triple-A portrayal of the far-left.

Crash Force Announces April 2017 Release, Early Access Jan 20th

Crash Force, a multiplayer arena shooter with RPG elements in which players pilot tank-like hovercrafts and battle, has announced it’s release in April 2017, with availability through Early Access tomorrow.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of multiplayer arenas. The only ones that have any real appeal to me tend to be either quite niche, story-driven, or they just… feel fun to play. They’re also more often than not first-person shooters. Overwatch, Hawken, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (though far less frequently do I find myself playing that) are to name a few. Crash Force isn’t my typical cup of tea, so to speak. But Cyprus-based developers Ascanio Entertainment have made a game that I certainly wouldn’t mind trying out.

Players are given a selection of hovercraft models to choose from, each tied to three distinct factions with their own attributes. These models then each have their own unique abilities, and can be upgraded through attack, defence, and utility buffs. The Early Access launch will include four hovercrafts to choose from, while nine will be available in the full release. George Tziazas, co-founder of Ascanio Entertainment, said: “Players will immerse themselves in expansive customization options, tailoring their design and abilities to perfectly suit their play style.”

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There’ll be four basic game modes that look to be pretty standard for this genre: Team Showdown (Resembling Team Deathmatch modes in other games), Capture the Flag, Control the Nest (likely a take on objective control or King of the Hill) and One Man Wolfpack (which is assumed to be a standard Deathmatch mode). The first three will have 3v3, 4v4, 5v5, and 6v6 variants, with One Man Wolfpack allowing between 6 and 12 players.

The full release will be available on PC and Xbox One, and the Early Access version will be (funnily enough) exclusive to PC, with a $29.99 price tag. If you want to check the game out, there’s more information on the official website.

Steam Link || $29.99 (Other Region Prices TBC)

Constructor Confirmed for Nintendo Switch Day One Launch

Constructor, a construction and management sim with humorous undertones originally released in 1997 for MS-DOS, has been confirmed as a day one launch title for the Nintendo Switch, with a UK release date of 3rd March.

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The announcement marks the 20th anniversary of the game, which is also set for re-release on PS4, Xbox One and Steam on 28th February. In a press release from Decibel PR, CEO of System 3 Mark Cale said: “The drive and ambition to bring products to the world’s most dynamic gaming systems has stood System 3 in good stead over it’s 35-year existence. The Nintendo Switch is the latest example of hardware allowing us to bring our unique vision to the market.”

With it’s Switch release, Constructor will support wireless play, with up to four players able to compete against each other in various challenges. System 3 highlight the Switch’s portability as a major element of the re-release: “Caught short and need to lay some pipe during Constructor? Undock your Nintendo Switch™, take your place on the porcelain throne, and continue building your empire in uninterrupted comfort. Just remember to flush.”

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Constructor is one of a few third-party announcements for the Switch that leaves us hopeful for quite an extensive library for the upcoming console. Such games include Triple-A games like Sonic ManiaThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, as well as some popular indies including Yooka-LayleeThe Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, and Shovel Knight.

It’s nice to see some veterans of the games development keeping up to date with where the industry is today. I’ve never had the chance to try out Constructor, but this new release on current platforms gives me all the more reason to try it out.

Neopolis – Concept Art Released for New Cyberpunk RTS

Yesterday, Omni Systems released some really funky concept art for Neopolis, an upcoming Cyberpunk RTS scheduled for release on Playstation 4 and PC in 2017.

The concept art looks colourful, gaudy, and exciting, with cited inspirations from old hip-hop crews, Ghost in the ShellAkiraBlade Runner, and the gangs from The Warriors. This aesthetic will aid in the telling of a story in which gangs and crews wage battle in a globally-televised game of e-combat.

Omni Systems claim “a non-traditional approach to strategy gameplay,” taking elements like tech tree exploration, base-building, unit construction and resource gathering, stating that they will pre-integrate the features into the neon city in which the game is set.

Rudolf Kremers, the director of Omni Systems, has had quite a prolific background, working on Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyDeadlight, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as receiving a BAFTA nomination for Eufloria, his first release as an independent developer.

Prior to seeing this unveiled concept art, I hadn’t actually heard of Neopolis, but I’m definitely keeping a close eye on the game now, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything else with such a distinct and funky aesthetic.

Frozen Synapse 2 Unveils New Units, Game Mode, and 2017 Delay

Mode 7 Games have released a trailer for their upcoming tactical turn-based strategy game, Frozen Synapse 2, that unveils a handful of additional units and a new game mode called ‘One Turn.’

The reveal comes along with an announcement that the game will be delayed until 2017 in order to make improvements.

‘One Turn,’ the newly-announced game mode, allows two players pitted against each other one turn in their combat. These single turns can then be taken and tried against the turns of every other player that has also engaged in ‘One Turn’ mode. This, along with every multiplayer mode in the first Frozen Synapse will be in the sequel, with more to come.

The sequel is quite a significant evolution, taking place in a procedurally-generated mega-city, Tactical encounters, that which comprised the bulk of the first Frozen Synapse, can occur in any building and any location in the game.

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Another newly added mechanic is the ability to customize your squads with different units, of which those unveiled are but a few, each with unique abilities and characteristics.

I was quite a fan of the first Frozen Synapse, and have spoken with Managing Director of Mode 7, Paul Kilduff-Taylor, in an interview that briefly discussed his and co-Director Ian Hardingham’s hopes for the sequel, so I’ll definitely be sharing my thoughts upon the official release.

Leaked Reveal of Uncharted 4 DLC at Playstation Experience

According to an insider source at Sony, a standalone DLC for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will be revealed and playable at Playstation Experience this December.

The DLC will revolve around the adventures of Samuel, the brother of Uncharted series protagonist Nathan Drake, and Sully, a long-time cast member of the franchise. The reveal will consist of a gameplay segment, followed by a medley of cutscene footage, and concluding with the name of the DLC.

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The DLC is standalone, and as such is playable without needing to own the original game, and will tell a self-contained story, with Nathan Drake himself present to hand the reigns of adventuring over to his sibling. It has also been disclosed that Nathan’s daughter will not be present in the DL.

Both Nolan North and Troy Baker are reprising their roles for the standalone, which is reportedly longer than The Last of Us‘ critically-acclaimed DLC Left Behind, and it is internally projected for release in the first quarter of 2017.

The plan was to also talk about Uncharted 4: Survival here, but Sony seemingly wanted to get out ahead of us on that one. Might be because we tweeted we were planning to leak DLC today? Who knows.

UPDATE: It seems that sources were incorrect, and that the DLC, while standalone and single-player, it rather follows main character Chloe and Nadine after the events of Uncharted 4.