Each week, we get trailers. From 45-second teasers to 15-minute gameplay reveals, we view more than we really know what to do with. Some are pretty good, some are pretty strange, and the memorable ones are the best of both.
So here’s a roundup of videos that we found in our inboxes, our favorite subreddits, and from social media over the past seven days. They range from a stylish, hype-building (but untranslated) “director’s cut” trailer for Nioh 2 to a deep dive of Fallout 76 that leaves me with conflicting feelings of hope and regret.
Who: Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo.
When and Where: March 13 on PlayStation 4.
Why: Mainly because it is the final piece of hype before Nioh 2 arrives. If you turn on YouTube’s auto-generated subtitles you’ll find they’re ... probably not too accurate? But you don’t need to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy the visuals and the action. You probably should be fluent in Nioh’s lore, however, as this game’s story is a prequel to 2017’s acclaimed action RPG.
Fallout 76: Wastelanders
Who: Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks.
When and Where: April 7 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Why: Because this is Fallout 76’s official last chance. Bethesda is suing for peace with the free Wastelanders update, admitting that the no-human-NPCs stricture was probably not the best idea. This isn’t necessarily a trailer, as it is 15 minutes long, but players can see a completely remade beginning and a world that not only isn’t devoid of life, it doesn’t seem so painfully contrived. As a 76 dabbler who lapsed into other long-term live-service games over the past several months, I’ll admit this has me interested in coming back.
Neon City Riders
Who: Mecha Studios and Bromio.
When and Where: March 12 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Why: It’s the debut work of Mexico City-based indie Mecha Studios, and the action, animations, and other production values showcased in the trailer speak to a slick, modern treatment of a 30-year-old console gaming staple. So does the hero’s mask, which surely reminds more than just me of Splatterhouse. Rick is the hockey-face hero, freeing the namesake Neon City from four gangs of super-powered baddies.
Total War: Three Kingdoms - A World Betrayed
Who: Creative Assembly and Sega.
When and Where: March 19 on Windows PC.
Why: The fifth premium DLC expansion for the 2019 strategy game is a sequel campaign to Total War: Three Kingdoms’ overall story, which tasks the player with taking control of one of 12 factions during China’s Three Kingdoms era, and unifying the country. As we can see, Lu Bu and Sun Ce both have daddy issues, and it looks like they’re going to take them out on each other. Rewriting history is most of the appeal of these historical strategy games, and it always helps to have some epic cinema treatment to kick off your emergent narrative.
Who: Virtual Basement and Blue Isle Games
When and Where: Windows PC right now (Steam Early Access) with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One following at full launch.
Why: Look, this is Quidditch, OK. But unless someone patented or copyrighted the rules of that game (and Arena Football did, literally, and look where that got them) this is kosher. And speaking as a sports video gamer, it’s always interesting whenever a developer crosses its fingers and launches a console sports title with no league licensing, which is sort of what Broomstick League is doing here.
This is kind of the All-Pro Football 2K8 of Harry Potter. Which is another amusing comparison as the last licensed Quidditch game for consoles was 2003’s Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup — which was made by Electronic Arts. Broomstick League is banking on the wizard soccer game being appealing to the crowd for Rocket League, something that wasn’t in vogue around the time of the PlayStation 2 game. We’ll see how it goes, but if nothing else, it takes goblets o’ fire to publish an unlicensed ringer.
Prinny 1-2: Exploded and Reloaded
Who: Nippon Ichi Software
When and Where: This fall, Nintendo Switch.
Why: Disgaea’s blue fanny-pack enthusiast got its own game (whose title also seemed to question the wisdom of such a spinoff) for PSP in 2009. That was followed by a 2011 sequel, so of course the time is ripe for a remaster. On Nintendo Switch, lol, not the PS Vita. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness re-released on Nintendo DS in 2008 and the Switch a decade later, and Disgaea 5 was ported over for the console’s launch in 2017. Those are, so far, the only two appearances for NIS’ role-playing franchise (or its spinoffs)
Murder by Numbers
Who: Mediatonic and The Irregular Corporation
When and Where: Available now on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.
Why: Hey! You got your Phoenix Wright in my Picross! Well, you got your Picross in my Phoenix Wright! That’s the pitch meeting, folks. Murder by Numbers spools out a lighthearted whodunit starring Honor Mizrahi, who isn’t actually a detective but plays one on TV. Honor has to hone her sleuthing skills when she finds herself accused of murder most foul. Our friends at The Verge have more in their review, but “if you’re smack in the middle of the venn diagram of ‘people who love numbers’ and ‘people who want to solve fantastical anime murders’” then this trailer probably already floats your boat.
Who: Crowbar Collective (with blessings from Valve Corp).
When and Where: Available now on Windows PC.
Why: Holy smokes, they actually did it. Fourteen years after the fan developers of Crowbar Collective set out to remake 1998’s Half-Life in the Source engine, they have reached their goal. Black Mesa first published commercially as an early access title in 2015; this is the game’s true, dust-your-hands, we’re-done-here-folks, full and final launch.
Even though Valve blessed this (allowing a commercial launch, with a license, as far back as 2013), fan-developed works face a long and arduous road. Look at the Skywind mod, which has been chugging along with the tacit approval of Bethesda Softworks for 10 years but remains incomplete. If nothing else, Black Mesa’s launch is an affirmation for fandom, of Half-Life and video games at large.