Hot Wet Leak-tastic Summer – This Week in Games

So, not long after I submitted last week’s column for editing, a huge leak of Street Fighter 6 information started making the rounds. Which, given the history of CAPCOM in general and Street Fighter in particular, isn’t terribly surprising… but I was rather annoyed that all of it started materializing just a bit too late for publication. How about we start off by taking a look at it all?

Here’s the first bit of the character roster in Street Fighter 6. Besides the classic eight World Warriors, we’ve got a mix of old faces and total newcomers, all sporting some snazzy redesigned outfits.

Cammy, Akuma and Dee Jay rejoin the scuffle, as do more recently-created returnees Juri, Rashid, and Ed.

The rest of the cast is entirely new faces: besides the already-revealed Luke and Jamie, we see the massively buff Italian MMA fighter Marisa, French judoka Mimi, Native Mexican warrior Lilly, mysterious dandy-man JP, African-American battler Kimberly (who we saw briefly in the initial trailer), and Chinese assassin A.K.I. Not a bad mix of new and old designs, but I gotta wonder: if we’re in Metro City, how come there isn’t any Final Fight representation? Seems like a missed opportunity to me. Some gameplay footage of Cammy and Ken has also emerged, though CAPCOM‘s been DMCA’ing the hell out of it whenever it crops up, so I’m not going to risk posting it here.

My favorite thing to come from the leaks, though, is the collective fan canon that’s emerged around Ken’s new design. Fans have come to a consensus, based on concept art and leaked screens, that Ken Masters of Street Fighter 6 is a depressed, divorced dad whose fortune was wiped out in bad cryptocurrency investments and having all of his high-value ape NFTs stolen. I don’t care what the official CAPCOM bio says, we have all agreed now that this is the truth.

Anyway, it’s time for the start of not-E3! The Electronic Entertainment Expo might be gone, but in its place has risen… well, it’s basically another trailer showcase like The Game Awards, just without the pretense of being an award show. And it’s just as much of a slog to watch.

SUMMER GAME FEST HAS STARTED: I HOPE YOU LIKE CALL OF DUTY AND SPACE RUINS

If you missed the Summer Game Fest presentation on Thursday, I highly recommend not watching it and instead just looking up trailers for stuff you’re interested in, because you are going to be forced to sit through an interminably long Call of Duty gameplay segment, a really awkward bit of Dwayne Johnson shilling Black Adam and energy drinks, Neil Druckmann rambling about The Last of Us for far too long before showing the most concept-y concept art for Naughty Dog’s to-be-announced multiplayer games, and so many games about space ruins.

Seriously, who decided we needed to devote 12 minutes of this two-hour showcase to Modern Warfare 2? I think even the most fervent CoD fans would think that it’s a little much. .

I do, however, recommend watching the Devolver Digital showcase. Devolver has been doing these bizarre, avant-garde live-action presentations skewering game industry trends and marketing buzzwords for years now, and this one’s their best yet. I mean, Suda51 channeling Max Headroom in a giant mech is already great, but holy crap, that ending. I would have never expected it, but it’s beautiful. Also, Skate World and The Plucky Squire look awesome.


Anyhow, let’s look at some of the new trailers! To save myself some headaches trying to differentiate between all of the games shown that were set in futuristic space ruins—a fact even Geoff Keighley himself couldn’t help but quip about during the program—I’m going to narrow the focus down to stuff I think the ANN readership is going to be most interested in. Starting with… WHOA! Guile is in Street Fighter 6! Wow, who could have expected that!


I’ve noticed that a lot of the returning male characters in SF6 are looking decidedly beardier. Is Harry’s sponsoring this tournament, or what?


Hey, we’ve got a new Aliens game! The developer, French studio Tindalos Interactive, has mostly made RTS games up to this point, and Aliens: Dark Descent is their first attempt at an action title—with a beloved license, no less. The last time a developer with a mostly strategy-game background did a game based on the Alien franchise, we got Creative Assembly’s fantastic Alien: Isolation, so hopefully we’ll be equally blessed this time around.


If you owned a Genesis/MegaDrive back in 1992, you probably spent some time with Delphine Software’s Flashback, an action/adventure game that wowed with stunning visuals, animation, and storytelling. It’s now 30 years later, and here’s Flashback 2! There isn’t all that much to go on in this trailer, but I’m not confident a sequel in this day and age can have the same impact as the ahead-of-its-time original.


I’m not sure how indie games are selected to be shown on the main Summer Game Fest or Game Awards presentations, but it’s certainly a big deal to get picked, because getting in front of that many eyeballs can determine your game’s success right then and there. There were some interesting picks this year, including Highwater (shown above) and the “Truman Show, but more murder-y” puzzle platformer American Arcadia (shown below).


And then there’s the trailer for screw-around-with-physics-and-stuff-sandbox Goat Simulator 3, which is a deliberate fake-out, spoofing a trailer for the eternally-delayed Dead Island 2.


So hey, who wants comic book games? Because we’ve got trailers on both the Marvel and DC side of things. First is Marvel’s Midnight Suns, which is a turn-based strategy game from Firaxis, the folks behind the beloved XCOM series. Marvel and turn-based strategy are two concepts not often spliced together, so it’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.


Next is Gotham Knights from WB Games’ Montreal studio. If you’re a Nightwing fan, you will be quite pleased, because he’s featured quite prominently here.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is out very soon, and guess what: it’s got a new playable character in Casey Jones and six-player, on/offline co-op! But I really hope there’s an option to turn off that screen-shaking because I was getting annoyed by it just watching this trailer. Please, developers, if you have screen-shake in your games, let us turn it off.


Of course, we’ve got an obligatory block of “here you go, weebs” titles. We got new trailers for two of Genshin Impact developer HoYoverse’s upcoming titles: turn-based interstellar sci-fi saga Honkai Star Rail and the stylish, action-driven Zenless Zone Zero, which we talked about a bit a couple of weeks ago.



Then we’ve got One Piece Odyssey, a new RPG set in the One Piece universe featuring a new, original story and characters. The developer is ILCA, the folks behind the recent Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes. That’s about all we have to go on thus far—the visuals are nice enough, but there’s scant little gameplay information to go on here. Which is par for the course for most of these trailers, but considering the tepid reception those remakes got, I can understand folks feeling a bit wary until they see more.


We’ve also got a very, very brief Soul Hackers 2 trailer featuring some of the English voice cast. Atlus Japan has been cranking out tons of trailers and info reveals for this, so it’s rather disappointing that this is all we get, but I guess that if it ran any longer, we’d have too much anime in Summer Game Fest for “normal folks” to handle.


Next up… a horror game. But not the one you’re thinking of.


Well, I guess we can put those Silent Hill rumors to rest for a bit, can’t we? Word on the street was that love-them-or-hate-them horror game developer Bloober Team was working on a Silent Hill 2 reboot, but it turns out what they were actually working on was a remake/compilation of their early Layers of Fear psychological horror games. That doesn’t necessarily exclude them from getting their hands on Silent Hill in the future, but for right now, that seems to be off the table.

The event wrapped up with the rumored-then-leaked-then-revealed announcement of a Last Of Us Part 1 remake, which manages to rank significantly higher than even Resident Evil 4 on the “this game really, really does not need a remake” scale. Also, we’re being promised that Summer Game Fest will have a physical presence in summer of 2023… while E3’s management is swearing up and down that their show is returning in 2023 as well. As much as it pains me, I’ll put my money on Geoff Keighley to actually put on an event in a year’s time.

Overall, my expectations for Summer Game Fest were low, and they were unfortunately met. Rumors are circulating about a Nintendo Direct emerging in the next couple weeks, and I sure hope that’s true, because this sure was a snoozefest.

WELL, AT LEAST SEGA ANNOUNCED SOMETHING GOOD

Last Friday was a pretty great day for me and other old Sega nerds across the globe, because we got the news that we’re getting a MegaDrive Mini 2! It’s modeled after the square-shaped Genesis/Megadrive 2 and contains a whole new set of 16-bit classics… including, most importantly, CD games!


Hot damn! The Sega CD might have been widely derided as a system filled with gameplay-devoid grainy FMV experiences, but there were a lot of gems that got significantly less attention, some of which you can see in the announcement trailer above: Shining Force CD, Popful Mail, Mansion of Hidden Souls, and Silpheed. More cart games are coming, too, including the hardware-enhanced Virtua Racing port, charming dungeon-crawler Shining in the Darkness, and perfectly pleasant licensed platformer (and early GAME FREAK title) Magical Taluluto-kun.

The announcement stream also hinted at more “surprises” akin to the Tetris and Darius ports we saw on the original MegaDrive Mini—as in, games that were either unreleased or have been newly ported to the MegaDrive hardware. One of these games was announced: Fantasy Zone, an all-new port of the classic cutesy free-roaming arcade shooter. (The original MD Mini did have Super Fantasy Zone, an all-original sequel title developed by Sunsoft, but this is meant as a more faithful arcade port.) The person handling Fantasy Zone is hidecade, the hobbyist programmer whose Darius MD port was so damn good that Sega worked out a deal to put it on the first MD Mini, so I suspect this version will be of similar quality.

The Japanese release date for the MD Mini 2 is October 27. There hasn’t been an announcement of an overseas release yet. I’m pretty sure it will happen, but the question is: how many of the Japanese edition’s games will make the cut for the US? Stuff like Popful Mail and Shining Force CD have existing English translations, and since they now go for hundreds of dollars on the collector market, having them packed in would be very appealing… but the sheer notoriety of something like Night Trap would have more general appeal. I certainly want to see how the international versions will look, but in the meantime, I’ve already preordered my Japanese edition complete with the all-new cosmetic Mega-CD 2 add-on and Virtua Racing cart. Because that’s how I roll.

So then, what was your reaction to the first big day of Summer Game Fest? (I keep mistakenly typing “The Game Awards” instead of “Summer Game Fest,” can you blame me?) Did any of the trailers I didn’t mention catch your eye, or did you all fall asleep during the Call of Duty segment? How about those Street Fighter 6 leaks—are you hyped to try out any of the new or returning characters? Or maybe you’ve got some games you’re hoping to see on the MegaDrive Mini 2? Take your thoughts down over to the forums (link below) for some insightful conversations with your fellow ANN-reading peers. Have a great weekend, stay safe, enjoy gaming, and screw Activision forever!