Bonus Round: Let’s-A-Go!

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. If there’s a theme this week, it’s cross-media projects. Whether it’s movies based on games or games inspired by movies, the worlds of Hollywood and video games have never been closer. Let’s get into it.

Mario movie trailer released

Nintendo and Illumination released the first teaser trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Thursday. I actually… quite like it! The animation looks beautiful, and Jack Black in particular seems to be on fine form as Bowser. It looks like the movie will be an origin story of sorts for Mario; in one of the scenes in the trailer, we see the famous plumber arrive in the Mushroom Kingdom for the ver first time.

Chris Pratt previously teased that his voice as Mario would be ‘unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before’. However, he kinda just seems to be doing a vaguely New York working class type voice. That’s probably the right approach, lest he incur the wrath of the American Italian Anti-Defamation League.

I think there’s great reason to be optimistic about this film. The cast alone is great, with Charlie Day as Luigi, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach. I’ve not seen any of Illumination’s Despicable Me or Minions films, but by all accounts they’re perfectly fine family movies.

If nothing else, this looks to be dramatically less weird than the 1993 live action film starring Bob Hoskins and Jon Leguizamo. We’ll see whether or not that’s a good thing when The Super Mario Bros. Movie releases on 7 April 2023.

New Cyberpunk and Witcher games announced

Are you ready for a lot more Witcher and Cyberpunk? CD Projekt Red sure hopes you areCD Project Red announced not one, not three, but six new upcoming games on Tuesday. GamesRadar+ has a full rundown of the projects and the development teams behind them, but you can look forward to a whole new The Witcher trilogy, two Witcher spin-offs, and a full sequel to Cyberpunk 2077. That’s in addition to the stuff we already knew was coming, like a PS5/Xbox Series port of The Witcher 3 and an expansion for the first Cyberpunk.

It’s unusual for a publisher to announce this many games this far out. The games industry is usually secretive to a fault, with companies often refusing to confirm what they’re working on for years. Announcing a large slate of upcoming projects is usually reserved for film studios like Marvel. Between this and Ubisoft’s recent Assassin’s Creed blowout, this is the start of an interesting new trend.

Cyberpunk 2077 obviously had an, uh, unenviable launch, and tarnished CD Project Red’s reputation. But the Netflix anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is highly acclaimed, and has catapulted the game to new heights of popularity. Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher is also hugely popular, and is getting its own spin-off show Blood Origin in December. These cross-media efforts seem to have earned back a lot of the goodwill that CD Projekt Red lost with Cyberpunk.

Is Horizon Zero Dawn being remastered?

Remember Horizon Zero Dawn? You might be too young to remember, but back in the ancient days of 2017, it was a well-reviewed game for a primitive piece of technology called a ‘PlayStation 4’. At long last, though, it seems like this cave painting of a game might be getting updated for modern hardware.

As reported by MP1ST and corroborated by VGC, Sony is working on a PS5 revamp of Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s unclear whether this is a full blown remake like The Last of Us Part 1, or a more modest remaster like Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut. But the project is said to feature ‘new character models, lighting and animations’, as well as new graphics modes and accessibility options.

I don’t have too much to say about this, other than that I think it’s completely needless. Horizon Zero Dawn only come out in 2017! In discussions on the necessity (or lack thereof) of the PS5 remake of The Last Of Us, I saw a few people point out that with an HBO adaptation of the game on the way, Sony might want a polished new product to sell to new fans. A Horizon series is in the works at Netflix, so perhaps there’s a similar thought process here. But once again, Zero Dawn only came out in 2017. 2017! I’m all for increased accessibility options, but could they not be patched into the original game?

Horizon Zero Dawn already got a 60fps patch for PS5, and still looks gorgeous. Could it look more gorgeous? Sure! But that’s the nature of technology. The cutting edge games of today might look a bit dated in ten years, and that’s okay. We shouldn’t spend so much time and energy updating the games of the past that we don’t pay enough attention to the games of the future.