Ah, May, it’s a great month. The weather gets better (in theory), the days get brighter, and it’s my dog’s birthday. What’s not to like? May feels like an old friend coming to visit, you haven’t seen each other in a while but the second you start talking it’s like they never left. And May, being the greatest guest ever, brings you two long bank holiday weekends to enjoy. You’re a good friend, May, a good friend.
This May brings with it some extra special gifts! Lockdown is easing (again!) Two juggernauts of gaming will be hitting the shelves. We’ll get to those in a moment but first, we should reflect on the month gone by. Sure, May is here to start the party, but April put in the groundwork, it brought chocolate and a four day weekend.
April hit the ground running with the release of Outriders straight out of the gate but then went quiet for the remaining first half. The month then sprinted to the finish line with Crazy Taxi’s spiritual successor - Taxi Chaos - hitting shelves. This was quickly followed up by NieR: Replicant, which our very own Dan Hilton previewed, he was more than a little excited about it. And then, to finish with a hat-trick, Pokemon Snap came out exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a more Nintendo flavour to your news then head on over to James Holden’s Nintendo News Round-up.
I’m currently playing Destiny 2 on PlayStation and working my way through Grandmaster Nightfalls for the elusive title of Conquerer. I’m also just over the halfway point towards getting the Anarchy exotic grenade launcher. While on Switch I’m dipping in and out of Deponia.
If you’re a regular reader you may have noticed that I’ve been looking forward to Mass Effect Legendary Edition coming out for a while. I say awhile, I mean forever, it’s been FOREVER. Way before the official announcement I was praying, meditating and sacrificing lambs hoping to hear something. Well, it’s finally here! Our good friend the month of May has pulled a blinder (I hope it’s not too soon May, but I think we should move in together). On the 14th one of the greatest sci-fi trilogies of gaming ever was released on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Backwards compatibility for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S being available too.
But that’s not all, May isn’t stopping there, no sir! On May 7th the latest instalment in one of, if not the greatest, horror series in gaming came to Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. That’s right Resident Evil (sorry Silent Hill, I know you thought I was talking about you, but you’ve been dropping the ball since The Room) is back with Resident Evil Village. To make things even sweeter, Capcom are releasing a demo for one week only, starting on May 2nd. It will allow players to try the game for a total of 60 minutes. It may not sound like enough time, especially considering there are two sections to try. But fear not, check out our feature on What to Expect in the Resident Evil Demo so you can be prepared - it also tells you where the shotgun is!
But maybe you’re not excited about Mass Effect or Resident Evil (you and I won’t get along), well how about JRPG - Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia? Does that do anything for you? Or maybe you’re the kind of gamer who enjoys games that have been stuck in development hell since 2017. I’m not going to lie, that’s a pretty specific taste you’ve got there - but no matter. May has got something for you too - Biomutant is finally being released (apparently.) May, seriously, you’re spoiling us.
E3 2021 will be a free online-only event
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has officially announced that E3 2021 will be free to watch online event. Taking place between 12th - 15th June, E3 will return as a “reimagined, all-virtual” event. This is allowing developers to showcase their latest games and news.
At the moment Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media are all backing the event with the ESA promising “more to come”. Although it’s worth noting Sony appears to once again be absent. Suggesting the company may be skipping the show for the third year in a row.
Codemasters announce F1 2021
The annual racing game launches 16th July 2021 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via Steam.
As you’d expect, the game features the teams, drivers and circuits for the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship. There’s also a brand-new story mode, and expanded career mode with a two-player option, and three new circuits: Portimão, Imola, and Jeddah.
F1 2021 is the first in Codemasters’ series to be published by EA Sports after EA bought the British game company for $1.2bn.
Here’s the official blurb: “In Braking Point, the brand-new story mode, players take on an epic journey, as they rise from the ranks of Formula 2 to a shot at stardom in the world of Formula 1. It immerses players into the glamorous world of F1, giving a taste of the lifestyle both on and off the track: the rivalries, emotion and dedication needed to compete at the highest level. It also re-introduces players to the much-maligned Devon Butler, who makes his return having debuted in F1 2019.”
Personally I’m holding out for a remaster of Fantasy World Dizzy - a man can dream.
Ubisoft launches online channel gTV in UK
Full confession, I’m a little late with this one but Ubisoft launched a new online channel in the UK on April 16th. gTV streams online via Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ubisoft’s states that the channel will “feature a wide range of original programming inspired not only by Ubisoft but by the video game industry at large. Going behind-the-scenes on how games are created and celebrating the people who make and play them. As well as the biggest events in the gaming calendar”.
Celebrities signed up to appear to include Nicola Adams, Rufus Hound and Asim Chaudhry, as well as former Eurogamer alum Ellie Gibson.
gTV has already been up and running for a year now in France and Germany, with a similar mix of programming.
Hot Wheels Unleashed gameplay has been... unleashed
The first gameplay for Hot Wheels Unleashed has been released online. It shows off what looks like a decent arcade racer starring the cars from the hugely popular toy range.
In truth, there’s not a huge amount going on here apart from the driving. But with the game being from Milestone, the Italian developer of the well-received MotoGP and Ride games, the racing looks excellent.
My two-and-a-half-year-old son loves Hot Wheels and I step on them daily. It’s not Lego levels of pain but some of them hurt. He’s going to love this game. I’ll no doubt buy it and see if it helps keep my living room floor clear of hazards.
Hot Wheels Unleashed is due out on 30th September 2021. This is for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Nintendo Switch. Expect up to 12 players online and a much welcome split-screen mode for up to two. Which means I can race circles around my son from the comfort of the sofa while drinking his tears. I should get a cup made.