Netflix announced this week that it’s next foray into gaming will be with Minecraft: Story Mode by Telltale Games. Minecraft experimented with “choose your own adventure” style gaming earlier this year with a game based upon the Shrek spin-off series Puss In Boots. Minecraft: Story Mode will be similar, playable by any viewer with a remote that has directional buttons and a selecting button–or by those who watch Netflix via consoles or computer. The game is a point and click adventure released in 2015 by Telltale Games, a studio that focuses on adapting properties to their choice-based narrative engine, whose simple controls are a natural fit to this unorthodox gaming platform. Netflix also announced they will be releasing a Stranger Things game, but no additional details beyond that.
Fortnite is the latest crossplay title for consoles, joining Minecraft and Rocket League, so long as those consoles are Switch and Xbox. Sony has once again stated that they will not allow crossplay between their platform and any other, even if that title is the dominant free-to-play title Fortnite. Users became angry this week when they discovered that, if their profile was created on PS4, they could not use it on the Switch. Sony has shown no signs of capitulating this point, but they did take a stock market hit after the news, so perhaps Wall Street will get Sony to listen to their userbase and open up crossplay.
Lots of news from E3, but the top story from the conference has to be Xbox’s acquisition of five new gaming studios. Ninja Theory, The Initiative, Undead Labs, Playground Games, and Compulsion Games now join 343, The Coalition, Minecraft, Rare, and Turn 10 as first party studios for the Microsoft platform. This should go a long way to addressing a common complaint highlighted by this year’s E3, that Xbox is lacking in the kind of proprietary titles that Switch and PlayStation have plenty of. Some acquisitions, such as Ninja Theory, seem like no-brainers, while others, like We Happy Few developers Compulsion Games seem out of left field, even if the game did first show on the XBox stage two years ago. Finally, The Initiative is not a new acquisition but a new studio altogether, formed by Xbox to create a new property. This was a bold move by XBox, and only time– and the next E3– will tell if it pays off.
There is so much news from E3 it is hard to talk about it all. Highlights include Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the anticipated Switch entry in the long-running franchise, which will have every fighter from all previous versions
, plus some new characters. Nintendo’s conference could have just been this game and still come out on top. Ubisoft showered some Skull & Bones gameplay
, showing that it’s not a Sea of Thieves competitor despite being a gorgeous pirate simulator. Ubisoft also debuted Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
, their latest AC title set in Ancient Greece, which will feature heavy RPG elements and let players play as a man or a woman. XBox teased a new Halo
, while Bethesda teased a sequel
to their main Elder Scrolls series, a new sci-fi game
, and announced Skyrim for Alexa
. Finally, EA showed off BioWare’s Anthem
, their foray into the MMO market with Destiny vibes, and made a point to mention that they will not have lootboxes or pay-to-win mechanics.