News! It happens a lot during the week, sometimes in overwhelming quantity. After looking back on the last seven days, I cherry picked the stories that made me do the biggest double-takes and give my two-cents on each.

Star Wars Battlefront II Darth Maul

Battlefront II Is A PR Dumpster Fire

Star Wars Battlefront II launched officially, for everyone, this past Friday. But the non-stop barrage of rage-flavored news surrounding the game this week has made it feel like it’s been around for months. Between the monetization controversy, the Reddit AMA mess, and even Disney itself reportedly intervening to help extinguish the fire, Battlefront II might be one of the biggest PR disasters of the year.

I think plenty has already been said about this whole fiasco, and I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been expressed ad nauseam; free-to-play designs in a $60 game is muy mal. I haven’t played Battlefront II yet outside of its open beta, so I can’t speak about how the micro-transactions affect me first-hand. From what I’ve seen and read, through, any desire I had to pick up the game has been severely diminished.  With Battlefront II rubbing people all the wrong ways and Visceral’s take on Star Wars biting the dust, it’d be nice to get excited for a video game space opera again.

Marvel Heroes Omega Art

Disney Abruptly Shuts Down Marvel Heroes

This past week Disney severed its relationship with developer Gazillion. The result of this? The Diablo-esque MMO Marvel Heroes goes kaput in December. That’s too bad, as I’ve always heard Marvel Heroes had vastly improved since its 2013 launch. Plus it’s not like a new Ultimate Alliance is coming anytime soon (for some reason), so this game, to a degree, helped scratch that itch.

The ugly part of this is that the console port, Marvel Heroes Omega, launched just earlier this year. That means PS4/Xbox One players who sunk a considerable amount of money into the free-to-play game are about to lose their investment less than year in. Unsurprisingly, they’re not happy, with refunds being demanded for in-game purchases. Though the game’s Terms of Service includes events such as instant shutdowns, it’s still a crappy situation and another cautionary tale about the darker realities of digital, free-to-play games.

Tekken 7 Noctis

Noctis Brings Royalty To Tekken 7

Final Fantasy XV is everywhere. You can find it on consoles and mobile devices in various shapes and forms. It got a feature length film and anime series. There was even a dedicated fashion line. It wouldn’t surprise me Square Enix etch Noctis’ face on the surface of the moon. What’s next for Prince of Lucis? Beating the tar out of the Tekken crew, obviously. 

File this under: “sure, why not?” I’ve heard people say Noctis appears better suited for Soul Calibur. I can see why based on his dazzling swordplay. For me, this doesn’t top TMNT crashing Injustice 2, but I’m a sucker for fighting game guest characters so this is admittedly cool to see. It also helps that Noctis’ design fits quite nicely within Tekken’s aesthetic.  

Gunship Simulator Special Ops Squadron 1

Russia Turns To Video Games To “Prove” U.S. Collusion With ISIS

It can be both amusing and scary when video games find strange ways to permeate politics. Case in point, Russian officials using a screenshot from mobile game Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron to provide “evidence” that the United States and ISIS are in cahoots.

It didn’t take long for the supposed satellite imagery of ISIS forces leaving with U.S. provided supplies to be proven fake. Once the truth came to light, the photo was deleted from social media platforms. Though far from the first time something like this has happened, it’s always crazy to think that video games could be used to push grand global agendas.

Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo And Universal Making An Animated Mario Flick?

Remember the Super Mario Bros. movie? Boy, what an unmitigated and glorious disaster that was. After 20+ years, the scars have apparently faded enough to give it another go. Reports surfaced that Nintendo and Universal have begun work on an animated Mario movie. Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind Despicable Me, Minions, and Sing, is supposedly helming the project.

Years of cinematic garbage has taught me to become wary of video game adaptations (and that’s if they even make it to theaters), but this, on paper, could work. Animation is the right way to go with Mario and Illumination boasts a solid portfolio. I mean, could this turn out any worse than the crap we’re used to getting with video game films (I’m knocking on wood as I write this). Law of averages dictates that one of the movies has to be amazing eventually; maybe this will be the one. Maybe. Hopefully.

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