further exploring NFC toys presents an equally worrisome possibility: what if they make a Skylanders-style Pokemon game that's more successful than Pokemon Rumble?
They'd have to start with a limited portion of the Pokedex at first, sure. But what if the series achieved enough financial success to support 719 different Pokemon-shaped hunks of plastic? It'd be like the trading card boom all over again, except accumulated masses of figurines wouldn't be something we could hide away in a binder. No, they'd claim boxes of space, slowly consuming our garages until we finally discarded the full box of Goldeens that we know we'll never be able to trick someone into trading for. And if those Goldeens aren't properly recycled, they'll just accumulate into an oceanic clump, a mass with lifeless eyes staring down at the sea floor, at a life it will never truly know.
Pretty bleak future, huh? Don't worry, there's so much to help block out these worrisome thoughts after the break. We've got financial news from Nintendo, Activision and EA, reviews for Sportsfriends and Outlast's "Whistleblower" DLC, and a feature where the Joystiq Staff's mothers share their perspective on our childhood gaming habits and our current professions. Dive in after the break - just mind the floating graveyard of Goldeens.
- Tomodachi Life is a weird game full of bizarre scenarios and scrambled dialogue. As quirky as the sort-of life simulator is, it doesn't allow same-sex couples to join in marriage or produce babies (beyond an initial glitch). Nintendo of America explained that it "never intended to make any form of social commentary" with Tomodachi Life, which was about as effective for quelling outrage as pouring jet fuel on a bonfire is at stifling flames. Nintendo has since apologized to fans disappointed in Tomodachi Life's lack of diversity, promising "strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive" if they make another Tomodachi game.
- Nintendo drastically adjusted its Wii U sales forecast last January, but the console and game creator is still having a bit of trouble clearing its new goals. A $229 million net loss has been announced for the fiscal year, a figure Nintendo attributes to hardware and Wii U software falling below expected targets, as well as increased spending on research and development. Beyond a slew of sales data for individual titles, Nintendo paired the financial news with a recommitment to proving the Wii U GamePad as "the most important differentiator" for the console going forward.
- Pokemon sounds like a pretty good answer for boosting revenue, and Nintendo seems well aware of that considering this week's announcement of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby. The games were described by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata as "full remakes" of the 3rd generation of Pokemon. We're still waiting on further information and (fleetingly) hoping for Pokewalker support, but considering this is the installment that originally introduced Zigzagoon and Mudkip, do we really need to know anything else?
- Speaking of making money, it looks like Nintendo has noticed Activision and Disney's success with tying in NFC-supplemented toys with video games. Nintendo has shared a concept for its own brand of NFC toys, due for the first half of 2015. The presentation included an image of a Mario toy interacting with multiple Wii U games, as well as a separate NFC-reading platform that can communicate with the 3DS. Iwata explained that Nintendo is "aiming to develop more software titles compatible with the figurines" and referenced Nintendo's "well-known" characters across its different series as potential source material for the toys.
- Activision Blizzard had a stronger-than-expected start to its fiscal year, raking in a net revenue of $1.11 billion rather than its expected $885 million. CEO Bobby Kotick name-checked the World of Warcraft, Diablo, Skylanders and Call of Duty franchises as the biggest contributors, as well as newcomer Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
- PlayStation fans have known since November that they've got dibs on Destiny's beta, but a recent earnings call from publisher Activision revealed that PS3 and PS4 owners will get that first taste sometime in July. Participants will have to pre-order to gain early access, but given that Activision's $500 million bet on the sci-fi shooter is bound to include hefty advertising, there should be enough interest to populate the beta servers.
- Unreal Tournament is making a comeback, but developer Epic Games isn't keen on doing it without the help of the series' fan base. Anyone with an account on the Unreal Engine forums will be able to offer input on the game's development, which will eventually reach PC, Mac and Linux. What's to thank players for their contributions and general creative genius? Epic says the game will be completely free, with plans to implement an in-game marketplace to allow players to sell modded creations. A slice of revenue in those sales will be pocketed by Epic as a means of recouping development costs for the project.
- EA shared data for the end of its fiscal year this week, earning a net revenue of $3.58 billion in 2014 in comparison to $3.8 billion in 2013. Gross profit for the year was also down, with this year's $33 million falling below 2013's $121 million. Sales of Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall also surfaced, with 925,000 players calling down Titans to their Xbox Ones and PCs during the most recent quarter.
- It seems like plenty of people were happy to take up arms to brave Dark Souls 2's challenges - 1.2 million people in three weeks, to be approximate. That figure doesn't include the PC version's release, but with the original Dark Souls harvesting 1.5 million
soulssales in its first month, Dark Souls 2 seems to be on track to perform comparably to its predecessor.
- Harmonix took center stage in pop culture years ago with the initial Guitar Hero games and the Rock Band series, but the studio's earlier projects have always retained a cult following. Amplitude is one of those projects, and Harmonix launched a Kickstarter for a new one this week to finally let fans put their money where their mouth is. Want a sequel? Get to funding the Kickstarter - at the time of this writing, the project has collected less than $200,000 of its $775,000 goal.
- Too creeped out by Don't Starve to try and survive its unsettling stretch of wilderness on your own? We certainly don't blame you. There's hope, though - developer Klei Entertainment plans to add a multiplayer-supplemented expansion in the later part of this summer called "Don't Starve Together," which should include "most (if not all) the normal features in Don't Starve," along with "potentially" new features. Yeah, death by spiders is still gonna be shudder-inducing, but at least you'll be able to cling to your equally-doomed friend this time until the tremors subside.
- In her original review of Outlast, Senior Reporter Jess Conditt noted that the quality of a horror game can be judged by how many times you want to stop playing it. Apparently that doesn't apply to DLC for horror games, or Jess has some seriously masochistic tendencies – she played through Outlast's Whistleblower DLC and was scared silly all over again. Whistleblower bumps up the violence and ick factor across all gruesome segments, and she says it's "beautifully done." Beautiful, beautiful gore.
- The warming weather is making outdoor sports a lot more comfortable to play. Unless you hate the heat, of course - if that's the case, Sportsfriends might have some good alternatives for you. Weekend Editor Sam Prell formed teams in the sports-focused four-pack of BaraBariBall, Super Pole Riders, Hokra and Johann Sebastian Joust. While the first three titles focus on scoring goals and points against opponents with traditional controllers, Joust is a real-world activity that has players shoving others to knock them out of a match. Joust is unconventional, but it's a an experience that Sam says "simply, purely epitomizes the word 'play.'"
- When a game launches across two console generations, you generally expect a boost in visuals to appear on the more modern platform. Contributing Editor Mike Suszek found that to be the case with MLB 14: The Show, spotting extra details in its ballparks, athlete models and the "almost human" crowds. Despite finding that loading times drag a little more on the PS4 and online matches remain laggy and inconsistent, Mike found the graphical upgrade to be a welcome addition to what he says is "already a solid baseball sim."
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 offers a jarring recreation of Manhattan, one that seemingly can't be bothered with enthusiasm as it moves through its own paces. Editor-in-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann donned a Spidey suit to sling web high above the city streets, but between disarming bombs that nearby citizens never ran away from and returning an in-game Stan Lee to his comic book store, shattering any sense of immersion, the game never reaches heights like its protagonist. Ludwig sees Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a less than rewarding experience, unless you can gain satisfaction from saving Spider-Man from a "repetitive nightmare that has morphed into licensed game parody."
- With 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil serving as an extra dose of soccer between annual FIFA games, you don't have to wait for the actual World Cup to start celebrating the event. Mike cautions that while World Cup Brazil's attention to detail celebrates its hosting locales in a "magnificent matter," its Road to Rio de Janeiro and Online FIFA World Cup modes feel like "dressed-up excuses to play others online." Mike thinks the flavor added by personalities on EA Sports Talk Radio works as a "major plus," but the comprehensive experience doesn't feel "particularly worthwhile," especially with another major FIFA game due within the year.
- Madden video games have been used to predict Super Bowl winners for years, so Mike decided to bring it full circle and see how NFL Madden 25 would handle predicting the 2014 NFL Draft. The results are, well ... maybe we'll just stick to the Super Bowl simulations from now on. With only two athletes placed on the correct teams, the simulation carried an accuracy of six percent.
- Our mothers could probably bond over shared battles, particularly those involving prying their kids away from TVs, handhelds and arcade cabinets. Team Joystiq might not have always gone outside willingly, but now that we've found a way to turn our passion into a profession, we quizzed our moms on their memories of our childhood gaming habits and what they think we actually do for a living. We also dug up baby pictures, because why not!
- There's no shortage of shooters that take themselves seriously, but Sunset Overdrive might be a refreshing detour from that mentality. Ludwig spent some time in the colorful Sunset City, ascending buildings and power lines at an agile pace. Even a player's death is treated lightheartedly, with Ludwig describing comical respawn animations that quickly throw players back into the action, a touch that helps Sunset Overdrive treat death as a "funny stumble more than a fall."
- Well, it happened. Members of the Joystiq staff ventured toward Hearthstone's black hole, and now some of us don't even know what a "normal sleep schedule" is. News Content Director Alexander Sliwinski explains how hard he has fallen in this week's Super Joystiq Podcast, bending the ear of Ludwig, Mike and Contributing Editor Sinan Kubba. The crew also chats about E3, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Sony's indie push, but let's be honest, the main point is: we're here for you, Alexander. Step away from the virtual cards, maybe read one of those business books you love so much. It'll be okay.