It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round-up…
2020 has only just begun. It’s a new decade, and mostly everyone is trying to kick start good habits and look with new eyes to what lies ahead. If you count yourselves among them, good on you. As you may have surmised by the above, I have learned that time is in fact socially constructed, and I use that excuse to avoid improving myself on the advent of any year. However, time is important to some people, some times. Scrolling through Wikipedia this week, I learned of two women who seized the opportunity to turn the tides in an era of colonial domination.
Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị were the daughters of the prefect of a rural district in Hanoi, Viet Nam. With a privileged childhood, the girls were extremely educated, were trained in martial arts by their father, and would inherit his land and titles upon his passing. This did not mean that they were detached from the oppressive rule of the Chinese colonisers, and the Vietnamese people were facing increasing pressure to assimilate. Taking a stand, Trưng Trắc’s husband faced off against the Chinese soldiers furthering the Han dynasty into northern Viet Nam. He was publicly executed by the Chinese as a warning to the Vietnamese people, and Trưng Trắc took up arms to lead a revolt in her husband’s name.
Initially, Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị defended their village from a small army of Chinese soldiers with their own army of mostly women warriors. Then, only months later, they had conquered over 60 citadels claimed by the Chinese, and freed the kingdom of Nanyue. In gratitude, Nanyue became theirs, with the sisters taking on the title of queens regnant. With their expertise and their power, they were able to hold off Chinese military attacks on the country for over three years. There are differing accounts of the Trưng sisters’ defeat by a massive Chinese army led by the formidable Han general, Ma Yuan. One account described how the sisters jumped into the Hat Giang River in order to avoid capture by Ma Yuan. The water turned them into statues, and when they washed ashore, they were taken to the Hai Ba Trung Temple for worship.
2020 has only just begun, and, I’ve got to say, it’s off to a shaky start. But, over 2,000 years ago, the Trưng sisters took their lives into their own hands and delivered victory to their people in spite of the odds. It’s an energy, for sure. Here’s the news.
Destiny 2 Stadia population plummets by over 10,000 players since its launch
That’s a decrease of almost 60 per cent between November 2019 and January 2020. Destiny 2 was Stadia’s darling in the run-up to its release, and Cayde-6’s face was slapped on anything and everything to do with the streaming platform. Players were meant to be enjoying 4K resolutions and 60fps with Destiny 2 on Stadia, but it turned out that it’s actually an upscaled 1080p image with extra “quality of effect” tweaks. It seems that Stadia is off to a shaky start in 2020. Unless Google is able to attract players into the game and ensure its multiplayer modes are, well, multiplayer, it could be curtains for Destiny 2 only one month after its debut on the platform.
Silent Hill’s Masahiro Ito announces new game
He said it so casually. “I’m working on a title as a core member. I hope the title won’t be cancelled,” the freelance artist announced on Twitter on January 4. He is best known for his role as the art director on Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, mishmashing the macabre with almost-human bodies featuring mechanical and industrial elements. They’re the creature designs that launched a thousand nightmares, and another game with Ito in charge has gotten a lot of people exceptionally excited. We don’t know what it is or when we’ll hear more about it, but his cheeky “cancelled” comment seems to suggest it could be Silent Hill.
A Destiny TV show? “Anything is possible”, says Bungie
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, creative lead Robbie Stevens and narrative designer Nikko Stevens discussed how Shadowkeep’s seasonal content is like a conversation with the community. “We’re also thinking a lot about what players’ own stories are that they’re creating while playing,” said Robbie Stevens. “Destiny is a social game, it’s best played with other people. We try not to talk about everything, for people to own that story.” The studio’s change of tack with Destiny’s direction comes from the total ownership of the IP, letting Bungie “propel the story forward in a way that the players are directly impacting and leaving a lasting change in the world.” When asked about the possibility of a TV show or movie adaptation, Robbie Stevens was reticent. “We have the freedom to make those choices whenever we think the time is right. That’s all I can say about it,” concluded the creative lead.
The official PS5 logo is here: wooo!
It looks just like the PS4 logo. Hang on, that’s not true, I misspoke. It’s got a “5” in place of the “4.” Stunning stuff. I suppose the logo isn’t a deal-breaker for the success of the next generation console, it’s what is under the hood that has everyone in a tizzy. The custom-built AMD chipset with Navi GPU lets the console take graphics to the next level, with ray tracing and support for 8K resolutions. Looks aren’t everything, and Sony is promising a new “gold standard” of audio using a new engine that will create 3D immersive audio. The PlayStation 5 controller was leaked earlier this week, and it is a hefty hunk of plastic. The controller is confirmed to possess adaptive triggers that change their resistance based on what’s happening in the game. For example, pulling on a bow string will feel different to pressing on a pistol trigger. Neato.
Kentucky Route Zero comes to an end on January 28
Split into five episodes, Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist point and click game that follows the story of a downtrodden truck driver who is hired by an antiques company to make a delivery to 5 Dogwood Drive. Travelling the lonely Route Zero to complete his task, the character meets strange people and witnesses impossible phenomena, which merges and muddies as the player swaps between these characters and chooses determinant dialogue. Heavily influenced by theatre conventions and the works of Gabriel García Márquez, Flannery O’Connor and David Lynch, the fourth episode was released in 2016, and developer Cardboard Computer had been quiet since then. Now, the fifth and final episode comes to PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on January 28. The TV Edition releases on that same day which brings the entire collection to consoles for the first time.
Assassin’s Creed Ragnarok appears on multiple retailers with “Mjolnir” and “Valhalla” editions
In Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, there is a poster of a medieval-looking chap dressed in red and white. He’s holding a golden globe, and the title above him reads, “Valhalla”. Lots of people believe this to be an easter egg for the new Assassin’s Creed, set when Vikings had invaded most of Europe. Ubisoft neither confirmed nor denied the rumours, but with these mysterious listings appearing then disappearing, it might very well be the case. An Assassin’s Creed Ragnarok popped up on Amazon Germany and the Italian GameStop websites. They were taken down, but Reddit users snapped screenshots as evidence of their existence. They said that the game would be released for PlayStation4 and Xbox One, and that there are multiple editions. One’s called “Mjolnir” and one’s called “Valhalla.” This isn’t an outright confirmation that these listings are real, but the multiple editions do seem convincing. Ubisoft is maintaining its silence on the Ragnarok debacle, but once we know more, we’ll update the story.
Pokémon Sword & Shield adds over 200 previous gen Pokémon in upcoming DLC
Buckle in. There’s a lot to talk about here. When Pokémon Sword & Shield was revealed, developer Game Freak explained that not every single Pokémon from the previous entries would feature in the new game. This made a portion of the Pokémon fanbase unhappy, and they began trends like #BringBackTheNationalDex to voice their criticisms. With the two new expansion passes “The Isle of Armor” and “The Crown Tundra”, Game Freak promises that over 200 Pokémon from previous entries will make an appearance. This is a big departure from the developer’s formula, and shows that the Pokémon series is entering a new era.
The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra are priced at $29.99 each, with the former releasing in June 2020 and the latter arriving in fall 2020. The Isle of Armor introduces a new Legendary, Urshifu, in a new dojo questline that introduces a new rival dependent on Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield. The Crown Tundra is all about exploration, and will take players underground into the dens that are only briefly shown in Max Raid battles. In these caverns, Legendaries from past Pokémon entries can be found, and even Galarian versions of Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos. In the tundra, there is another new Legendary hiding from humans, the Psychic and Grass type Calyrex. Game Freak stated there are strange mysteries here, like a temple which may house new Regi forms.
If that all sounds awful, never fear! There will be free updates for all players that coincide with the release of The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These will let those who choose not to purchase the expansions to receive the new Pokémon through trades. In fact, Galarian Slowpoke dropped into Pokémon Sword & Shield yesterday. I named him Sesame.