The Bulletin

2 Link 2 Past

Nintendo is making a big-name sequel, Resident Evil’s creator is returning to survival horror, and the XCOM shooter disappears in this week’s news roundup.

By Sam Barsanti • April 22, 2013

The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.

Nintendo announces sequel to A Link To The Past

Let it never be said that Nintendo doesn’t know how to cater to its oldest, lapsed fans. You know, the people that loved their Super Nintendo but criticize the company today for wooing the “casual” audience and lazily rehashing all of its past successes. Well, Nintendo has heard their complaints and is ready to give them a totally new and original idea: a sequel to The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, one of Nintendo’s most popular games of all time.

In an online broadcast, Nintendo U.S. chief Reggie Fils-Aime announce that the upcoming title for the 3DS portable will use a design similar to the 1991 classic, and it will take place in the same world. In other words, it will be a Zelda game that is sort of like A Link To The Past, making it a lot like every Zelda game released since A Link To The Past. Of course, that game was awesome, so that’s probably a good thing. Either way, new Zelda.

Nintendo also announces some other stuff
Earthbound 1

But wait, there’s more! Apparently Nintendo was a little concerned that you weren’t paying it enough attention this week, because the publisher announced a whole bunch of other stuff for the 3DS. Like, for example, another entry in the Mario & Luigi role-playing game series. This one, titled Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, will have Mario entering his brother’s dreams. The plumber hopes to return home to his kids, James and Phillipa—wait, no, I’m getting this confused with something else. Nintendo is also working on a new Mario Party game, a new Yoshi’s Island game, and a port of the Wii’s Donkey Kong Country Returns. Basically, sequels to everything.

Also, Nintendo will finally be putting the cult hit Earthbound on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, after years of the game being constrained by music-related copyright issues. We don’t know what changes (if any) have been made to the game, but Nintendo is probably just hoping this will stop the incessant Bart and Lisa-esque pestering from fans. (“Can we have Earthbound? Can we have Earthbound? Can we have Earthbound?”)

XCOM shooter banished to the land of wind and ghosts (maybe)
Xcom 2

In 2010, when 2K Games announced a new shooter based on the battlefield strategy game series XCOM, people complained that it didn’t look anything like its supposed inspiration. So 2K appeased the XCOM purists with last year’s well-reviewed strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and everything was fine. Except, somewhere along the way, everybody forgot about the shooter.

Now, almost three years from being announced, something is happening with it. According to Digital Trends, the game’s official website has vanished, and its trailer has been removed from 2K’s YouTube page. This would seem to point toward the project being cancelled, which would make sense considering the long period of quiet, but a little bird at Kotaku suggests that, due to some recent URLs registered by 2K, the game is simply being rebranded in order to separate it from the XCOM series. Maybe we’ll find out what’s going on in another few years.

Road Rash might be coming back (sort of)
Road Redemp

A few weeks ago, I talked about how the creator of Ecco The Dolphin is using Kickstarter to fund a new underwater adventure game, and now something similar is happening with classic vehicular-murder sim Road Rash…except this time there aren’t any Road Rash people involved. As reported by Rock Paper Shotgun, The game will be called Road Redemption, and it is being developed by a group of game industry vets (and Road Rash fans) who want to “return to the challenging, skill-based gameplay that defined gaming on the Sega Genesis, 3DO, and Nintendo 64.” Yes, apparently we are now longing for the days of the N64. Time makes fools of us all. Anyway, the Kickstarter is hoping to raise $160,000 by May 12, and it has a bit of a ways to go, so you might want to get on it if you’re especially eager to bash someone’s head with a pipe while riding a motorcycle.

Bethesda announces new game from Resident Evil creator

IGN revealed last week a live-action trailer for The Evil Within, a new survival horror game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami. Before I say anything else about it, watch that trailer above. Done? All right, now tell me how in the world anyone is supposed to know that’s a trailer for a video game. Creepy hallways, gross monsters, tons of blood, and then the title. If you don’t recognize the Bethesda logo at the end as being that of a video game publisher, you might think they’re making a sequel to that Thirteen Ghosts movie with Tony Shalhoub. Either way, the aesthetic certainly does seem to skew more toward horror than the action movie shoot-’em-up that Resident Evil has become. Hopefully that feel is borne out in the actual game. All I know is that I want Tony Shalhoub to be in it.

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60 Responses to “2 Link 2 Past”

  1. PugsMalone says:

    My mother actually beat the original Link to the Past. She died something like 560 times in the process.

    Also, Nintendo has denied that music rights were the reason that Earthbound on the VC was delayed for so long.

    I think that the issue may have been that Earthbound was a major influence on the webcomic Homestuck, and who wouldn’t feel bad about helping bring that into the world?

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Does your mom play a lot of games, or was this a rare instance?

         Either way, that’s awesome.

      • PugsMalone says:

        This was really the only game other than stuff like Tetris or Dr. Mario that she played extensively. Once I saw her playing Final Fantasy IV from my save state at Mt. Ordeals, and she clearly had no idea what was going on.

        Oh, and we also beat We <3 Katamari together when I was home on vacation from college. That was an awesome experience.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I don’t know why, but I am endlessly amused by the idea of someone’s mother playing Final Fantasy. It’s probably because the only video game I’ve ever seen my mother play is Centipede.

        • Swadian Knight says:

          I had a friend whose mother was really good at Mario games, so we’d rely on her to get past those levels that were just too difficult for a pair of clumsy six-year-olds. Naturally, this made her the coolest mom in the world back then.

          I don’t know if she really had the preternatural skill I thought she did or if it’s just nostalgia talking, but I still feel like she’s better at Super Mario World than I’ll ever be.

        • Cornell_University says:

          My father still refers to his one experience with Super Mario Bros thusly: “I died on the first mushroom”.  I’ve joked before that while he probably meant the first goomba, if anyone was capable of glitching the NES and having the super mushroom somehow kill you, it’s him.

          When I borrowed my friend’s copy of Ocarina of Time in high school I played it on the family TV, and he sat in his chair and watched me play the game over the next few weeks absolutely enraptured.

          We bought him and my mom a Wii for Christmas a few years ago, and he’s really good at bowling, but won’t touch anything else.

          He’s also really into those “find the clue at Miss Marple’s tea party” cheapo pc games now.

          I love my dad.

        • Merve says:

          @PugsMalone:disqus: That’s awesome. I’m pretty sure my mom has never played a video game in her life. I mean, she learned how to use a computer about 5 years ago.

          @Cornell_University:disqus: Dying on the first goomba, eh? This is relevant:

        • ApesMa says:

          @Cornell_University:disqus I remember my girlfriend and my big sister both liked to watch me play and especially beat Ocarina, even though they had no interest in playing it or anything else. They would often ask me to play it for them. It’s quite a compliment to the developers success in creating a compelling world.

        • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

          My mother hates videogames. She refuses to touch them. However, my father is a big RTS fan. Loved Age of Empires II, Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III. Hee’s been playing Company of Heroes almost every night for the past three years on the highest difficulty.

          He used to play Puzzle Bobble, Pole Position and did play Red Dead Redemption all the way through (skipping every cutscene because he’s not that into narrative driven games [then complaining he didn’t understand what was going on]).

      • Girard says:

        While Tetris was the “mom game” in my household, I had a friend in high school whose mom only every played Zelda I, but she played it through with some regularity. I wonder if it’s a common thing for parents (or adults of that generation) to engage in a kind of monomania with games. Just find one you like, and play it into the ground (admittedly, Tetris lends itself to that kind of engagement).

        • zebbart says:

          My mom only played Zelda 1 until we got Tetris. She was crazy about it. Once while she was picking me up from soccer practice my little sister accidentally saved over my mom’s file. When my mom realized what happened she yelled “You bitch!” at my 11 year old sister. Now that I think about it I can’t remember mom playing Zelda after that. Out of frustration or shame, I don’t know.

        • mncyguy says:

          My dad has been playing Civ 4 on Settler difficulty for 5-6 years on a near nightly basis and WILL NOT try other games despite the best efforts of my sister and myself, so I think there is some merit to this theory.

        • PugsMalone says:

          My dad was the bigger fan of Tetris. We also played a lot of NBA Jam together- he only beat me twice.

        • ApesMa says:

          I had a lot of NES, SNES and N64 games growing up, but my little sisters were only ever interested in Donkey Kong Country, which they played to bits. They were ecstatic when I brought the Wii to my mom’s house and told them I had it on the VC.

        • caspiancomic says:

           More circumstantial evidence here. My mom, while not especially technologically handicapped, has never had any interest in video games, although she sometimes watches me play something that I’m particularly engaged with just to see what the fuss is about (she recently sat in on a session of The Walking Dead, for example.)

          Sole exception: Mappy-Land, for the NES. She was obsessed with that game. More than once I would descend into the basement with snacks under one arm ready to settle into a good session of Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers or whatever only to find her already in the middle of an hour-long session of Mappy-Land. She’s never played anything since.

    • Sam_Barsanti says:

      Weird. So if it wasn’t about the music, was Nintendo just being purposefully cruel?

      • ApesMa says:

        There’s always a reason, Nintendo just don’t like being open and honest about these things. Like how we wondered why they withheld Yoshi’s Island from the VC for so long, before finally releasing the inferior, SFX-less GBA version. Turns out they don’t seem to have the rights to use the chip anymore (which is why we haven’t seen Star Fox either).

        • ApesMa says:

          It was developed by Argonaut Games.

        • ApesMa says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus That kind of thing happens to TV shows all the time, which is why the complete Larry Sanders took so long to arrive on DVD. Beavis & Butthead might never see a proper legal release in its complete form.

          In music you have the sampling issues, Paul’s Boutique could probably not have been released now, The Avalanches had to re-record much of their album with original but inferior samples.

    • Dikachu says:

      I thought the only game your mom likes is “Hide the pickle.”


  2. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    This XCOM news pleases me, strangely enough. Can’t say I was into XCOM before Enemy Unknown, but it’s nice that a publisher is trying to avoid spurious franchising. The only issue, of course, is that unestablished IPs are facing an uphill battle.

    I wonder how close this game will be to the turn-based games; a “faithful” translation would be close to survival horror, light on the survival.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      That game looked like an interesting one, but with the aliens using black goo to take people over, it looked more like an X-Files game than X-Com.  If they rebrand it as a separate story, it’ll probably be pretty cool.

      • Yeah, they seem to have been going the “It’s got UFOs, what else do you want?” route for the X-Com shooter but it seems like X-Com EU, was more of a success than they planned and hopefully they’re retooling it to match that universe better.

  3. PaganPoet says:

    Anytime Bach’s Air on a G String is playing, you know something unpleasant is happening. I learned this lesson from Evangelion:

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      The lesson I learned from Evangelion: Yes, it IS possible to make an anime series about giant robots fighting and still make it fucking boring and incomprehensible.

    • caspiancomic says:

       See also: Se7en, kind of.

  4. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Nintendo is taking this Link to the Past theme literally.  Though I have to admit, I’m not immune to the siren song of a blatant nostalgia-grab.
       Whenever a game forum fills with complaints about Nintendo simply coasting on sentimental goodwill from (air quotes) older (/air quotes) gamers, I’m the one they’re complaining about.
       Between this and the official Western release of Bravely Default, I’m contemplating a completely unjustified purchase of a 3DS.

    • Girard says:

      I wish it looked a little nicer, though. There are some nominal graphical nods to ALttP, but overall the colors are more garish, and the models have the shiny plasticky look of a 90s Rareware game (though rendered in real time, of course) rather than a Zelda game.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

           LttP was pretty bright, but the plastic sheen isn’t awesome, that’s true.  Clouds and a few other extraneous elements have a more hand-painted quality, but the Rareware comparison is very apt.
           All I can say is it caught my attention.  And it really will have to be exemplary to compel me to drop another two-fifty on a second hand-held and game.

      • Have you watched the 3D trailer (free download from the eShop)? The natural diffusion helps a bit.

    • Dikachu says:

      Nintendo’s entire business model is built on coasting on their old triumphs… this is no surprise.

      I just recently put emulators on my Android tablet and played through the first 3 Zelda games in order, probably for the first time ever (in one go, I mean).  I remember LttP being better than it was, strangely… it’s still a great game, but the original LoZ is still as fucking amazing as it was when I was a kid.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I blame the obsessives concerned about console The Legend Of Zelda for having handheld entries lapse.  Game Boy: arguably the series’ best!  Flagship’s titles for the Game Boys Color and Advance: clever, innovative, and lovingly detailed.  DS 3-d entries: abominations before God and man.  I’m terrified to see what kind of Link-shaped homunculus emerges from Nintendo Laboratories now that the, “2-d games always looked terrible, didn’t they?” New Super Mario Brothers attitude has bled over to this series.

      I’m by no means an aesthetics-first person, but, yeesh, “the Nintendo touch” depended a bit on effort on that front.

  5. His_Space_Holiness says:

    So, a creepy hospital and a huge guy with a piece of furniture on his head?  I don’t want to tell the Resident Evil guy his job, but that’s not exactly… new territory for horror games.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Also, barbed wire and twitchy-moving women with straight black hair covering their faces…yeah, never seen THAT before.


    • Fluka says:

      Hey, it’s about time *someone* decided to make a horror game inspired by Jacob’s Ladder!

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        I actually watched Jacob’s Ladder because it always came up in reference to the Silent Hill series. Not as much horror as I had hoped! Otherwise, it was decent, but it didn’t make much of an impression, unfortunately.

  6. zebbart says:

    I just beat Earthbound on Android emulation last week. What a great game. I think I’ll buy the wii ware version just to my 8 year old can have a go at it.

    • Girard says:

      If you haven’t yet, I’d recommend giving Mother 3 a spin. It’s a very different animal, but still a great experience.

      Edit: Yeah, the WiiU’s VC is totally separate from the Wii’s as I understand it. So despite the fact that the Wii could obviously play Earthbound, your only hope of playing it on that system is through emulation.

    • ClassicGamer89

      Oh we got a “badass” right here.. Shut up douche, nobody is impressed that you steal games. People got something they have been waiting for patiently, without stealing. Go back in your corner, and keep thinking that anybody is happy for you. lol

  7. Listen, I love Road Rash, and I love Nostalgia, but I’ve only got so much room in my heart for Kickstarters that’s sole selling point is “We’re like this old game that never got a sequel!”

    Knowing me I’ll probably support that Kickstarter anyway because I effin’ loved spending my afternoons at my friend Scott’s house playing Road Rash on his brand spanking new Sega CD (you jealous?).  The game was seriously awesome after all, but how much of that spark can these guys really capture?

    Also, if you guys would like to support my Kickstarter to bring back Vector Man as Dot-PNG Man and revive “All the skill that Vector Man represented” please support it here:

  8. Fluka says:

    So I followed the Kotaku link above to get the XCOM rebranding story, but I totally got distracted by the first half of the story, which was Ubisoft filing a hilariously wide-reaching set of trademarks for Ghost Recon.  You know what?  I’m just going to copy and paste this list in its entirety:
    “Biscuits; bread; breakfast cereal; bubble gum; cake decorations made of candy; candies; chewing gum; chocolate; coffee; confectionery chips for baking; cookies; corn chips; crackers; frozen confections; licorice; muffins; pancakes; pastry; popcorn; pretzels; puddings; ready to eat cereal derived food bars; tea; waffles; cocoa; sugar; rice; flour; ices; ice; honey; sauces; spices; pizza; frozen meals consisting primarily of pasta or rice; condiments, namely, mustard, ketchup; afghans; barbecue mitts; bath linen; bed blankets; bed canopies; bed linen; children’s blankets; cloth pennants; crib bumpers; curtains; fabrics for textile use; fabric flags; felt pennants; handkerchiefs; household linen; kitchen linen; receiving blankets; silk blankets; throws; table linen; towels; textile fabrics for home interiors; woollen blankets; clothing, headgear; Beachwear; belts; bottoms; cloaks; cloth bibs; coats; chaps; costumes for use in role-playing games; beach cover-ups; dresses; ear muffs; footwear; gloves; Halloween costumes; headwear; hosiery; infantwear; jackets; leotards; lingerie; loungewear; mittens; overalls; pants; ponchos; rainwear; scarves; shirts; shorts; sleepwear; socks; sweaters; sweatshirts; swimwear; suits; ties; tops; underwear; wrist bands; hats; caps; scarves; beverageware; beverage glassware; bowls; brooms; cake pans; cake molds; cake servers; candle holders not of precious metal; candle snuffers; candlesticks; canteens; coasters not of paper and not being table linen; cookie jars; cookie cutters; cork screws; cups; decorating bags for confectioners; decorative crystal prisms; decorative glass not for building; decorative plates; dinnerware; dishes; figurines made of ceramic, china, crystal, earthenware, glass, or porcelain; hair brushes; hair combs; heat-insulated vessels; household containers for food and beverages; insulating sleeve holders for beverage containers; lunch boxes; mugs; napkin holders; napkin rings not of precious metals; paper cups; paper plates; pie pans; pie servers; plastic cups; plates; sports bottles sold empty; soap dishes; tea kettles; tea sets; thermal insulated containers for food or beverage; toothbrushes; trays not of precious metal; trivets; vacuum bottles; waste baskets”

    I for one would like to purchase a Ghost Recon (TM) Candle Snuffer.  Or a Ghost Recon (TM) Frozen Meal Consisting Primarily of Pasta or Rice.

    • duwease says:

      I guess it’s time to shut down the old “Ghost Recon Coasters Not Of Paper And Not Being Table Linen” eBay store…

      *sheds single tear*

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Grandma will almost certainly be ‘Camping’ outside Marshal’s this Tuesday when we receive our first shipment of official Ghost Recon trivets!
         Now she’ll be able to safely rest her pot of English Breakfast on the stamped likeness of Captain “Ghost Lead” Ferguson, safe in the knowledge he’s the final, necessary line of defense against damage to her tabletop.
         But watch out!  If you get the last one before Grandma, you just might get pwned!

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       This is probably standard protocol for any company’s IP, but it’s still nice to peer into the weird world of corporate trademark shenanigans.  I particularly like the specificity of some of these entries.  “Decorative glass not for building”?  You can’t tell me what to do with my decorative glass!