Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. It’s a funny one this week; the biggest news is the promise of news to come, with the announcement of a PlayStation Showcase next week. Still, there’s plenty to discuss in the meantime. Let’s get into it!
PlayStation Showcase announced for 24 May
It’s been a long time since Sony held a full-on PlayStation Showcase. In fact, the last one was in September 2021, where gameplay footage for God of War Ragnarök was unveiled. That game has now been and gone, as have a fair few smaller State of Play events. But we haven’t had a PlayStation blowout for a hot minute… until now. Sony has announced that the next PlayStation Showcase will be live-streamed on Wednesday 24 May at 9pm BST.
The PlayStation Blog announcement is light on details, hinting only at a ‘wealth of new games and new IP’ for PS5 and PS VR2. Still, we can probably make some educated guesses as to what will be shown. Naughty Dog’s multiplayer The Last of Us game is almost certain to make its full debut. And with the Twisted Metal show hitting TV screens in July, it’s highly possible that we’ll get a look at the all-but-confirmed new game in the series.
But most importantly (for me, anyway), it seems all but certain that we’ll finally get a look a Spider-Man 2 gameplay. I was a huge fan of the first Spider-Man and the Miles Morales spin-off, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this game for years. Sony and developer Insomniac are still claiming that Spider-Man 2 will be released this year, so they’re running out of time to start showing this game off. I’d put serious money on Spider-Man 2 being the keystone of this event, but I don’t suspect many people would take that bet.
We’ll find out either way next Wednesday. Keep your attention locked to this very website, where Joe and I will be live-blogging throughout the Showcase. We’ll see you then!
Mortal Kombat 1 trailer unveiled
Here’s the thing: I don’t know anything about Mortal Kombat. I’ve played and enjoyed a few minutes of multiple games in the series, but I’m just not a fighting game guy. So it was with some confusion that I read the announcement that the series is being rebooted as Mortal Kombat 1. Has the story really gotten so complicated that a reboot is necessary? I guess so!
According to the game’s official website, Mortal Kombat 1 takes place in a ‘reborn Mortal Kombat Universe created by the Fire God Liu Kang’. I don’t know who that is! But I assume it means something to Mortal Kombat fans, and is presumably exciting. Some characters who I have heard of – Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage – are presented in the game, reimagined ‘like they’ve never been seen before’.
While the announcement teases a new fighting system, you won’t see it in this CGI trailer. There is, however, a whole load of the ridiculously over-the-top bloody ultraviolence that Mortal Kombat fans expect. And those fans don’t have to wait too much longer to get their fix: Mortal Kombat 1 will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC on 19 September.
Open world Zelda games are here to stay
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your current gaming obsession is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Joe and I both love this game, and we’re certainly not alone; it’s the fastest-selling game in the franchise’s history. Both Tears of the Kingdom and its predecessor Breath of the Wild are something of a departure for the Zelda series, though. Their gigantic open worlds, and the freedoms offered to the player, are unmatched by any other Zelda game. And now, you can expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future.
In an interview with Game Informer, series producer Eiji Aonuma compared Breath of the Wild to previous Zelda high watermark Ocarina of Time:
“With Ocarina of Time, I think it’s correct to say that it did kind of create a format for a number of titles in the franchise that came after it… but I think it’s also fair to say now that we’ve arrived at Breath of the Wild and the new type of more open play and freedom that it affords. Yeah, I think it’s correct to say that it has created a new kind of format for the series to proceed from.”
If you’re going to choose a game to form a new blueprint for your long-running franchise, you can make much worse picks than Breath of the Wild. I’m still awed by how Tears of the Kingdom has taken a near-perfect game and somehow drastically improved upon it. Link’s new abilities to fuse and manipulate objects around him has unleashed a tidal wave of creativity; my Twitter feed is jammed full of crazy contraptions and crucified Koroks. I’m excited to see how future Zelda games take the Breath of the Wild formula even further.