It looks like a couple of companies are trying to get a jump on E3. On Tuesday, Bethesda promised they had a special Fallout-related announcement. They started a livestream that was nothing but a plastic Fallout Boy. And they streamed that for 24 hours. At the end of the wait, Todd Howard came out and gave everyone a teaser trailer for Fallout 76:
As publicity stunts go, I found this to be more annoying than intriguing. But that livestream maintained between 50k and 150k viewers for those 24 hours, so I guess it was making somebody happy.
According to lore, Vault 76 is a vault that was intended to open just 20 years after the bombs fell. On one hand, I think rewinding the timeline is a very good idea. On the other hand, this trailer gave us not a clue as to the nature of the game. Mobile game? Another shooter? A sim? It’s a bit early for them to be talking about a sequel to Fallout 4. The rumor is that this is going to be an online game. Some are guessing it’s a late-to-the-party DayZ clone. I suppose for a company habitually incapable of writing, designing, animating, and scripting NPCs, the idea of just crowdsourcing the entire mess by letting players populate the world must be pretty appealing. Still, it sounds like something I’ll be avoiding.
The more interesting news is that Intellivision is making a new console and no that’s not a set-up for a joke that’s a real thing that’s happening in the real world, really.
For context, the original Intellivision came out in 1979, and I get the sense that it’s faded into obscurity over the decades. My wife was a huge fan of the machine back in the day, but I’ve barely interacted with it. I was more of an Atari kid. (Or was, until I got my first programmable computer.)
There’s no news on the machine, the games, the specs, or even what it’ll be called. The sales pitch claims they’re positioning the machine as “simple, affordable, family and fun”. That sounds like they’re trying to crash Nintendo’s party, which would be suicidal. But their spokesperson goes on to say, “I see a huge gaping hole in the market now with families in the home. We will be focused. We will not try to compete with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. That would be insane, and we would need $1 billion.”
Okay, now I’m genuinely curious what the plan is.
I think the idea that there’s an under-served market is plausible. There’s a lot of room between $5 phone games and the $300 Switch. I don’t know if it adds up to a “huge gaping hole in the market”, but I imagine there’s a lot of interesting things you can accomplish with sub-$100 hardware these days. You’re not going to get Overwatch or Doom 2016 running on that sort of machine, but if you’re looking to do family / party based games like LittleBigPlanet, Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D World, or retro arcade titles, then you can probably make that happen. (Particularly if you’re willing to dial back the visuals to 2008 and make up the difference with art style.)
Then again, that would sort of be muscling in on Nintendo’s turf. Except, Intellivision doesn’t have the vast storehouse of weaponized nostalgia properties to draw from. They don’t have a Mario, a Samus, a Link, or even a Kirby. Maybe they’re aiming for something else entirely.
In any case, I’m really looking forward to E3 now. This is promising to be a very interesting year.
And because I’m really curious: Whether you follow gaming news or not, what you you hoping to see / hear about this year?
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