This Week in Games - The Not Very Epic Conclusion


Hey folks! By the time you read this, the internet will be on the cusp of going completely bonkers over Deltarune Chapter 2. It was announced on creator Toby Fox's Undertale 6th anniversary stream that the game will be dropping at 8 PM EST today, so if you don't want spoilers, you should probably know when to enact a personal social media blackout. It's only on PC and Mac for now, but I'm sure other platforms will happen at some point.

So, what's in the news this week? Well, we've got a resolution to the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit, a bunch of out-of-left-field retro remakes, some fighting game stuff, and a bit of a preview of this year's Tokyo Game Show. Let's dive right in!

EPIC VERSUS APPLE CONCLUDES, MANY LS WERE HELD

The gaming lawsuit that could determine the fate of gaming platforms is over. Kind of. So, who won? Well… it's kinda weird, but ultimately, it's the best outcome I could have hoped for. Basically, both Apple and Epic got the business end of the judge's hammer, and the ultimate winner is likely to be consumers, who will now have the ability to bypass Apple's app store for payments if they so choose.

But it's a bit more complicated than that. Apple actually won on nine of the ten counts, with the judge declaring that they're not a monopoly in the strictest definition. However, it's that count they ruled for in Epic's favor that's the big one. Despite being declared not a monopoly, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers found that Apple was still engaging in anti-competitive behavior for not allowing developers to offer their own payment options, chaining them to App Store payments and their 30% cut.

In the judge's words: “The Court does not find that Apple is an antitrust monopolist in the submarket for mobile gaming transactions… However, it does find that Apple's conduct in enforcing anti-steering restrictions is anticompetitive.”

The court also found Epic at fault for breach of contract, since they pulled their little stunt to try and bypass App Store payments. So, despite giving Apple a good smacking over their App Store rules, the court said that Epic still owes Apple 30% of the money they made while they had their alternative VBucks purchase system running. Also, Epic's developer account is still frozen and Fortnite isn't coming back to the App Store until Apple says so (probably not anytime soon).

The responses are about what you'd expect: Apple is being smug about not being declared a monopoly while trying to avoid mentioning that they lost on perhaps the most important count, while Epic vows to appeal the lawsuit and CEO Tim Sweeney acts like a petulant child on Twitter.

As someone with no love lost for either of these companies, this ruling pleases me. Apple (and likely other similar storefronts like Google Play) can no longer tie developers to their payment systems and exorbitant fees, while Epic's obnoxious theatrics about being the poor, abused dev who dared to take on big bad Apple were comically shot down. It's hard to say if this is the end of everything – as I mentioned above, an appeal is practically guaranteed – but it's nice to feel like both of these big companies got some of the punishment they deserve.

NIGHT SLASHERS RISES FROM THE GRAVE OF OBSCURITY

So this one's waaaaaaay outta left field. Who here besides me is familiar with Data East's arcade beat-em-up Night Slashers? Okay, a couple of you. So, for those unfamiliar, Night Slashers is a 1993 arcade-only brawler with some of the coolest designs and atmosphere the genre has ever seen. Think Alien vs. Predator but with classic horror monsters. Want to beat the crap out of legions of the monstrous undead with an American cyborg, a dandy British vampire hunter, and a female Chinese martial artist? Then Night Slashers is the game for you. The premise, memorable visual style, and general “just throw everything in and see if it works” attitude of developer Data East has won the game a cult following, though the quality of the actual gameplay is rather hotly debated among beat-em-up nerds.

Anyhow, love it or hate it, we're about to get more Night Slashers, as a remake was just announced by… Forever Entertainment? Those guys again? Holy crap, just how many projects do they have going on right now? There's this, the House of the Dead remakes, the Panzer Dragoon Zwei remake, a new Magical Drop game, some unannounced stuff for Square Enix… yeah, I'm a little concerned that they're biting off more than they can chew, here. They did get some investment from Nintendo recently, so who knows, maybe they're going to go on a big expansion and hiring spree.

Anyhow. Night Slashers is getting a remake! We know almost no details – though it's probably safe to assume it's headed for the Switch – and we'll have to wait until Forever Entertainment releases more details… like with basically everything else they've announced. If you're curious, you could certainly give the original a whirl while we wait for further news. Who knows, you might really dig it!

TWO NEW TAITO GAMES ARE COMING… FROM MICROIDS

Oh boy, Taito's in the news! I get to talk about one of my favorite subjects: Taito games!

Taito's been making a push to get back into the console/PC game market over the past few years, and it's been going pretty well for them overall, thanks to a mix of internal and outsourced development. We have just received details of another of those outsourcing endeavors, as today the company announced that they have inked a deal with French publisher Microids to create two games based on existing Taito IP.

Now, as a dedicated Taitologist, I'm always a bit concerned when I hear that somebody else is handling their creations, especially if I haven't heard of them before. I didn't recognize Microids' name, which alarmed me, so I did some research – and honestly, I feel a lot more confident that they'll make something worthwhile after doing so. Microids is based out of France, and has actually been around since the mid-80s, going through a slew of name changes and owners over the years but still managing to keep a steady pace of releases. They're most known for adventure games, particularly the Syberia and Oddworld series, but in recent times have expanded their offerings to publish casual, indie, and arcade-y experiences. The latter is what I'm most concerned about with regards to handling Taito IP. Looking at their catalog, they're the ones that managed to get the long-in-development-hell Toki remake out. That's certainly encouraging!

Anyhow, since the games themselves haven't been announced, I'll go out on a limb and guess that the game licenses Microids will be working with will be stuff that's traditionally done well in Europe, like The NewZealand Story and Rastan Saga, rather than obscurities like Puchi Charat or Crime City. (If the licensed game got a bunch of conversions to microcomputers in the late 80s and early 90s, then you've already got a lead on that European nostalgia market.)

FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: OH NO, HE'S BACK

Oh no, did we really need Kukri back in King of Fighters XV? Reminder: This guy canonically set up all of  SNK Heroines for the sole purpose of being a creeper.

Also of note: Phantom Breaker Omnia has been delayed into 2022. Definitely the right call, seeing as how the segment of fighting game players who would be the most interested in Phantom Breaker are currently focusing their attention on the impending Melty Blood Type Lumina release. 2021 has been a big year for fighting games, so why risk being overshadowed?

NEWSBITS

  • Sega is teasing a new RPG announcement for TGS 2021. No word on if it's a new IP or something classic dug up from the vaults, but man, could you imagine how many people will totally lose it if something Skies of Arcadia-related emerged?
  • Atelier Sophie 2 got leaked via the Australian ratings board. Some folks might be disappointed that we're not getting more of Ryza and her thunder thighs, but jeez, give the girl some time to relax!
  • Former Gundam VS developer Byking announced that they're reviving their original Magician's Dead arcade IP as a PS4 game titled Magician's Dead: Force of the Soul. A bit of odd timing for a new installment, seeing as how the original arcade game has been offline for almost three years now… still, I'm keen to see how it turns out.

And that, as they say, is a wrap for this week! How's gaming going for all of you folks? Tales of Arise still keeping you busy, or are you more into Deathloop? Hard to believe that we're already halfway through the month, and there's still so much left to play! Looking to talk about your favorite games, announcements, and lawsuit results? We've got forums for that, so click on that handy link below to begin your journey into peer-to-peer interaction with your fellow ANN readers! Thanks as always for reading, and I'll see you again next week!