Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime Retiring, to be Replaced by Bowser

“My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games.”

Reggie Fils-Aime first came into our lives fifteen years ago, and after uttering that iconic quote on Nintendo’s stage at E3 2004, became an instant favorite among gamers. Now, fifteen years later, Reggie has an important message for us all: He’s retiring.

Fils-Aime has been one of the more recognizable faces at Nintendo, appearing frequently at events and during Nintendo Direct presentations. He helped provide character and charisma to the company at a time when it felt like it was losing its way.

He’ll be stepping down on April 15 and will be succeeded by Nintendo of America’s senior VP of sales and marketing Doug Bowser. “Doug is a passionate and powerful leader, and a guy who in his youth probably spent too much time in front of a Donkey Kong arcade machine. Inside Nintendo, people already know him as a driving force, and you’ll come to see that too,” said Fils-Aime.

Doug Bowser joined Nintendo of America in 2015 and has led the sales and marketing efforts for the Nintendo Switch. Bowser was an executive at EA prior to joining Nintendo of America.

“I really appreciate everything Reggie has done for Nintendo,” said president of Nintendo Shuntaro Furukawa. “Inside and outside our company, Reggie is known as an exceptional leader. We are grateful that he is leaving the business in good shape with strong momentum. While we will miss him and we wish him the very best in his retirement, we are also pleased to have such an able successor ready to step into that role. Doug Bowser and the rest of the team will ensure a seamless transition and continued momentum for Nintendo.”

Dreams Enters Early Access on PS4 This Spring

Media Molecule announced earlier today that its game creation suite, Dreams, will be getting a paid but “strictly limited” early access release on the PlayStation Store this spring, followed by a full launch later this year. A post on the PlayStation Blog goes into more detail about the limited release.

“Early Access won’t have everything that the full version of Dreams will, but you’ll get 100% of the same Dreams tools that we have used every day at MM to make our content. As well as fun, deep interactive tutorials catering for all skill sets and levels and Mm-crafted arcade games ready to play and remix. If you joined us during the beta period and published your assets, you’ll also have your beta creations to return to. Along the way, we’ll be adding more features, tutorials, arcade levels and assets during the Early Access period as we build towards the full slate of launch content.”

Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director, Media Molecule
Image Credit: PlayStation Blog

The early access release, according to Media Molecule, is intended for “creators who want to be a part of the Dreams experience from the beginning.” Players will be able to create, play other creations, and even stream their gameplay and share their creations online unlike the beta test, which featured a strict NDA. Throughout early access, Media Molecule will be adding “refinements, bug fixes, and brand new features”, and they’ll also be launching the live service elements of Dreams “so the community can get their first look at how we’ll continue to support the game.”

Expect the content available in early access to be similar what was available in the beta, but Media Molecule will be adding more features along the way. The Dreams beta demonstrated just how far people can stretch the creative tools the game offers, and the early access period is sure to bring lots of cool new things to the table.

Dreams Early Access will only be available digitally through the PlayStation Store this spring for $30. Media Molecule stresses that Dreams Early Access is a “strictly limited release” and that you should “snag your copy as soon as you can.”

Dreams (among other games) was featured in our 30 Games to Look Out For in 2019 list, which you can check out here. Will you be participating in Dreams Early Access? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Xbox Game Pass February Update: Alien: Isolation, Batman, and More

A slew of new titles are getting added to Xbox Game Pass this week.

Three games will be available tomorrow, February 21st. Headlining this trio is Batman: Return to Arkham, a collection of the first two Batman: Arkham games remastered for current gen consoles. Alongside Return to Arkham are Adult Swim Games’s Headlander and Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. This entire trio comes to the service tomorrow.

Image Credit: Xbox Wire

That’s not all for Xbox Game Pass this month. Two additional games will be added to the service next Thursday, February 28th. The first of which is Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2, the follow up to the critically acclaimed first season (which is also available on Game Pass). Joining The Walking Dead Season 2 is Alien: Isolation, a tense survival horror experience.

Xbox Game Pass is currently available at a special price of $2 for your first two months and grants access to a library of over 100 titles, including every Microsoft first party title like Forza Horizon 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and the newly-released Crackdown 3.

Will you be playing anything on Game Pass this month? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Google to Reveal Gaming Project at GDC 2019

A new giant may soon be entering the gaming industry.

Google is planning to reveal details about its unannounced gaming project at the Game Developers Conference next month in San Francisco. Invitations were sent to members of the media this morning, inviting them to “gather around” for a keynote in which “all will be revealed”. The cryptic invite also features a GIF of a hallway with an explosion of light that fades into a date: March 19th.

Image Credit: Google

Not much else is known for sure about what Google is planning to unveil next month, but rumors of Google breaking into the gaming industry with either a streaming service or brand new hardware have been floating around for the better part of a year now. A report from The Information last year states that Google’s “Yeti” project is a streaming service that would work on either Chromecast or a Google console. A report from Kotaku followed, stating that Google was working on a streaming service paired with some sort of hardware, alongside efforts to attract developers to the platform, either through “aggressive recruiting or even major acquisitions”.

In October of last year, Google unveiled Project Stream, a service that allows streaming of new AAA titles through the company’s own Chrome browser. They partnered with Ubisoft to test the service with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and our experience with the service was better than we expected. If Project Stream is what Google is showing off at GDC, then it would be in competition with Microsoft’s Project xCloud, set to launch this year.

GDC 2019 will run from March 18-22, and Google’s Keynote will be on March 19th at 10AM PT/ 1PM ET.

What do you think Google will show at GDC? Are streaming services going to be the next big thing this upcoming generation? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Destiny 2’s Trials of the Nine Will Not Be Returning Anytime Soon

If you’ve been waiting for the return of Destiny’s notorious PvP mode, prepare to wait a lot longer.

Bungie, the developers of the franchise, announced that the Trials of the Nine crucible mode will be taking an extended vacation until further notice. Admitting to the dissatisfaction of the game mode in the second iteration, Bungie has decided the best course of action is to further delay its return:

“With the introduction of Trials of the Nine in Destiny 2, we made a few changes to the formula which never really hit the same mark…Until we have a solid prototype for a pinnacle PvP endgame activity, Trials is staying on hiatus indefinitely and will not return over the course of the next few seasons. When we have those new plans ready, we’ll be sure to share them with you.”

This news came as both a shock and unwelcomed surprise as players anxiously waited for Trials to return. While no set date was ever given by Bungie, many anticipated a return of the PvP mode sooner than later. Prior to the launch of Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie made a series of announcements detailing their plan to rework some of the systems and features the game currently offered, with Trials being the most noteworthy. With the fate of Trials remaining to be seen, long time fans and players of the title have taken to social media to voice their displeasure.

Leading up to its launch in May 2015, Bungie introduced Trials of Osiris as a new PvP experience and changed the franchise for the better. Placing guardians in a unique 3v3 elimination mode, players went head to head in hopes of achieving the ultimate victory: securing 9 consecutive wins to visit the elusive Lighthouse. Additionally, players were able to obtain unique gear and weapons that doubled as trophies to symbolize their achievements. This format was changed during the launch of Destiny 2, which renamed the game mode to Trials of the Nine, among other changes that were initially accepted but later rejected by the community.

One infamous change was the inclusion of a short cut scene that highlighted the teams and their loadouts prior to the start of the match. While these introductions were initially accepted as they removed the need to navigate through menus to see what your opponents were equipped with, they were later rejected by the community as time went on. Although still helpful, the absence of a “skip” option brought frustration to players, especially to those that were that were being matched with the same rivals and found the clip to be repetitive and unnecessary.

Another change that affected the game mode was a change in the process of obtaining the elusive Trials gear and weapons. As an effort to double down on their plan to integrate more clan features within the game, Bungie allowed players to essentially obtain Trials gear without having to ever play a match. By joining a clan, members that were skillful enough to win 7 matches without obtaining 3 losses allowed for the whole clan to receive a “Trials Engram”, which would contain either an armor piece or a weapon. Due to excessive feedback, Bungie affirmed to the Destiny community that Trials gear should only be obtained by participating in the game mode and rolled back this feature.

While the absence of a Trials game mode will continue to be felt, the effects of Bungie’s decision to further delay its return will soon been revealed in the coming months. Since its introduction, the game mode has helped the Destiny franchise in times of content drought and provided players with a recurring challenge every week. With future content coming on March 5 during the “Season of the Drifter”, we’ll have to see if that content will bring a similar challenge and engagement to the game as Trials once did.

Do you miss Trials? Does Destiny need a mode like this to maintain its playerbase? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

PlayStation All-Stars 2 Coming in Dreams

Years ago I told a friend of mine how much I’d love a sequel to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. “In your dreams,” he told me.

He was partly right.

Originally unveiled alongside the PS4 itself way back in 2013, Media Molecule’s Dreams will finally see the light of day sometime this year. The game’s beta just came to an end, and people have been eagerly sharing their creations now that the NDA has lifted. From recreating Super Mario 64 to designing wholly original first person shooters, players quickly learned the extensive creation suite and got to work on their projects. Some projects, however, are more ambitious than others.

Atomic Productions is a group of creators that plans on working with Dreams when it’s released. Rather than just creating levels or small demos, they’re buying into Media Molecule’s idea of creating entire games within Dreams. They currently have two projects planned: an entirely new Infamous game and a fully fledged follow up to PlayStation All-Stars.

Featuring fan favorites like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and of course, Knack, it seems like this project is among the most ambitious projects announced for Dreams as of yet. The starting roster features 15 returning fighters from the original and 19 newcomers, totaling a whopping 34 total characters. Even new characters like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn and 2B from Nier: Automata made it in. They even have Kiryu from the Yakuza series, a personal favorite.

The more Dreams gets shown, the more extensive the creation tools seem to get. Media Molecule promises that players will be able to make entire games, songs, and even movies within Dreams, and based on what’s been shared from the beta, it looks like that might actually be true. Dreams will be interesting to follow after its release because fans like these will surely continue to attempt to revive dormant franchises through fan games, only now they’ll have a pretty substantial platform on which to share them.

And these won’t be held together by scotch tape like the more elaborate LittleBigPlanet levels were. Instead of having to work around the toolset to do cool things, the cool things are supported from the get go this time around. Someone even recreated P.T. in Dreams, and it’s pretty amazing how close it actually is to the original. And while that may be incredible on its own, someone recreated Dead Space in Dreams, and just look at it. Media Molecule remade their own game, LittleBigPlanet, in Dreams, so we’ve already come full circle. All of this just in the beta, imagine a year after launch when people get really comfortable with the tools. Dreams is going to be a game changer, and you can mark my words on that.

Dream was featured in our 30 Games to Look Out for in 2019 list, and you can check that out here. Are you looking forward to Dreams? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Xbox Live Coming to Switch and Mobile

Xbox Live is about to get a whole lot bigger.

Spotted by Windows Central, the GDC scheduling website shows a reveal event planned for next month’s conference.

“Xbox Live is one of the largest, most engaged gaming communities on the planet with decades of experience providing managed game services to developers that save you time and unlock all of the social and engagement features that players love.

Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK.

Get a first look at the SDK to enable game developers to connect players between iOS, Android, and Switch in addition to Xbox and any game in the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs.”

Xbox Live logins on non-Xbox platforms are nothing new. Players can play Minecraft on their Switch with their Xbox Live account right now if they wanted. However, this marks the first time Xbox Live services, like achievements, game history, friends lists, and clubs will be available on other platforms. The integration goes beyond first party Microsoft titles too. Playing a game like Warframe on Switch would allow you to earn Xbox achievements, for example.

This falls in line with Microsoft’s recent strategy of making the Xbox less of a single console and more of a service platform that reaches a wide range of devices. Game Pass, the expansion of Xbox Live, cross play, and the upcoming Project xCloud are making Microsoft the poster child for service-based gaming, and the effects of this will certainly be felt throughout the industry in the coming years, especially with the next generation of consoles nearly upon us.

GDC 2019 begins on March 18 and runs until March 22. Expect big news from Microsoft there.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s recent services? Will other companies follow suit with a larger focus on cross play and streaming platforms? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.