After it was announced that legendary voice actor Charles Martinet would no longer portray Mario in future Nintendo games (starting with October 20’s Super Mario Bros. Wonder) but would become a “Mario Ambassador,” fans were confused. What is a Mario Ambassador? Why isn’t Martinet voicing the Italian-American plumber anymore? Now, Nintendo and Martinet have tried clearing the air with a cute video, but the results are somehow more confusing.
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Read More: Not Even Charles Martinet Knows What A ‘Mario Ambassador’ Is
In a video posted to X (formerly Twitter), Martinet and game director Shigeru Miyamoto briefly talk about their past together and their friendship. We learn that Martinet used to call Miyamoto “Papa!” in his signature Mario voice, and that he also nearly banged his head walking into a Kyoto restaurant because he’s reportedly 6-foot 3-inches tall. The short video isn’t just cutesy personal anecdotes, however, as it tries to provide some clarification of just what Martinet’s new role as “Mario Ambassador” is. It still sounds vague, though.
“You traveled the world visiting events, joyfully performing the voice of Mario for fans, and putting smiles on people’s faces,” Miyamoto said of Martinet. “You always place a priority on spreading joy, and I am sure that you will be a great Mario Ambassador. For all of you watching, please know that Charles will continue to travel around the world and meet fans, performing the familiar voices at events, signing autographs, and enjoying interacting with you all.”
We still don’t know who will voice Mario going forward, as Miyamoto said to wait until October to see who’s portraying the mustachioed plumber in the upcoming platformer Wonder, or why Martinent is no longer voicing the character after almost 30 years, but will still be “performing the familiar voices” at fan events. It certainly seems like Nintendo is aware of just how iconic Martinet as Mario is, and wants to hold onto that magic in any way possible–just not by casting Martinet in future Mario games.
Read More: Longtime Mario Voice Actor Charles Martinet ‘Stepping Back’ From Role
We don’t have long to figure out who the hell is portraying Mario now, since Super Mario Bros. Wonder comes out on October 20. October is a crammed month for video games, but for Mario fans, it’ll also be one of both nostalgia and reinvention as the franchise goes in a new gameplay direction with a new voice actor at the helm, whoever that may be.
The full list of 36 games for Xbox Live Gold’s replacement, Game Pass Core, has been revealed a day ahead of its launch. And they’re…they’re really good.
Thank You, PS Plus, For Making My Backlog Even Bigger
18 years of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold comes to an end tomorrow, September 14, when it will be taken out behind the company’s Redmond, Washington headquarters and shot dead. An anachronistic hangover of the pre-Game Pass era, Gold and its Games with Gold monthly downloads have recently been limping into obscurity, and at this point it’s a kindness to let it go. In its place will arrive the bouncing new-born puppy, Game Pass Core.
Core, essentially an equivalent to Sony’s PlayStation Plus Essential service, is to be the budget incarnation of Game Pass, lacking access to the service’s full library of hundreds of games, but instead offering a curated selection of 36 titles, along with the somehow still toll-gated access to online gaming. But here’s the thing: they’re 36 really decent games.
We previously learned what 25 of the games would be, but Microsoft kept Goldmembers waiting until the last second to learn the full details of what their accounts would be converting to. Stand-out new titles include Stardew Valley, Vampire Survivors, Among Us, Firewatch,and Dead Cells. Joining the likes of AAA titles such as Dishonored 2, Doom Eternal, and Forza Horizon 4, it’s an eclectic collection that really doesn’t feel like the pile of leftovers a cynical person might have expected. (Hello.)
Core will be priced the same as Gold, at $10 a month, and current customers will be automagically converted over. It’s a confusing price-point, given the fuller version of Game Pass is just a dollar more, and includes all the same games plus literally hundreds more. However, you can also pick up a full year’s worth of Core for $60, which would halve the price, while no such discounts appear to exist for the higher tiers. And honestly, as much as I’d love to gripe, $60 for 36 properly good games is rather good. Meanwhile, Game Pass Ultimate recently upped its price a couple of bucks a month to $16.99.
The catch is, games will only be added to Core two or three times a year, rather than Gold’s system of offering two different games each month. However, as we mentioned, it’s a fine list of games. Here’s the lot:
Doom Eternal Standard Edition
Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition
Gears 5 Game of the Year Edition
Golf with your Friends
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo Wars 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Human Fall Flat
Ori & the Will of the Wisps
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition
Slay the Spire
Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
The Elder Scrolls Online
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Keen games players will likely have already picked up most of these that interest them in the last couple of years, but then this service really isn’t aimed at you. Think of Core as the version of Game Pass you get your aunt when you buy her her first console, a taster menu of the possibilities of gaming. Heck, just Powerwash Simulator and Fallout 4 would keep most people’s evenings busy for the first year.
Meanwhile, it still sucks beyond comprehension that consoles are still somehow charging monthly tithes for online access. Over at PC Land, it’s all free!
Whenever Sony events roll around, there’s always a twinge of anticipation among players that we may see new footage of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Square Enix’s sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake, which itself was the first chapter of its trilogy of games that are not-so-faithfully remaking the 1997 classic. And that’s exactly what we got during today’s State of Play event stream.
Three Things We Learned From The Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Demo
The new trailer shows new footage of Cloud meeting everyone’s favorite human-sized plush cat, Cait Sith, who joined Cloud in battle alongside Sephiroth (as an ally?), as well as some choice scenes of Zack carrying a K.O.-ed Cloud, and the teensiest peak at Cloud’s red-cloaked, gun-toting companion, Vincent Valentine. Or at least his back. And what a glorious back it is. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which was initially slated to release this winter, will now be released on February 29 2024 for PlayStation 5. You can check out the trailer below.
The last time we got a crumb of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth footage was during this year’s Summer Games Event. In it, we saw pleasant scenes of Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, and Red XIII traversing Juno, visiting Cosmo Canyon, and riding some Chocobos. We also saw less pleasing sights, like Shinra TV news footage of Barret and Tifa carried into an ambulance and Tifa on her back foot in a fight with Sephiroth. Suffice it to say, FFVII Rebirth looks to continue to remixing story beats from the original game, which’ll have fans on the edge of their gamer chairs.
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A Quick FAQ About Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Now that we’ve gotten an eyeful of some new FFVIIR scenes folks are sure to be fast at crafting intricate fan theories, art, and memes, so here’s a quick recap of everything we know about Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
Final FantasyVII Rebirth takes place after the events of Remake,in which a bunch of events from the original game—like the deaths of Zack Fair and Aerith —seem to not be happening this time around. Or at least not yet, god forbid. Rebirth appears to continue to play with scenarios that deviate from the original 1997 game, chief among them being a scene where Cloud and Sephiroth are traveling through the wilderness together. Weird.
According to a series of posts answering fans’ questions on the official Final Fantasy VII Twitter account, we know that the remake’s take on the original game’s planet-spanning world will be large enough that “players will be able to journey across the wide and multifaceted world with a high degree of freedom.” A part of that odyssey will include a “chain of narrative developments” involving “each character’s destiny.” The account went so far as to claim Squeenix “made preparations” so that players won’t necessarily have to play Remaketo “fully enjoy” playing Rebirth. Given the bonkers timeline changes at the end of Remake, I reckon players should play Remake before Rebirth.
Read More:Final Fantasy VII Remake Will Be A Trilogy
Something else players can look forward to with Rebirth is that the game will feature “new comrades.” However, the official tweet saying, “new comrades will join you in battle and you can cooperate with other party members in even closer ways than before” is vague as all hell, so it remains to be seen what that all indicates.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is due out for PlayStation 5 on February 29 2024, while the third, currently unnamed entry in the FFVII Remake trilogy will be released in the future.
This week brought us a wonderful treasure trove of leaks from deep inside the highest echelons of Microsoft’s Xbox division, accidentally shared online as a result of the company’s legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission over its now-greenlit Activision acquisition. These confidential emails, slides, and images of potential new products from the Xbox manufacturer reveal the inner workings of Microsoft’s gaming division, as well as whispers of some possible new games from Bethesda.
Thank You, PS Plus, For Making My Backlog Even Bigger
Read More:Looks Like Microsoft Was Responsible For Leaking Its Own Documents
The leaks happened courtesy of Microsoft itself, as it provided these sensitive documents to the court via a publicly accessible link. Yesterday Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer reacted to the leaks, saying that it “was hard to see our team’s work shared in this way.”
Microsoft considered buying Nintendo
In the leaked emails, Phil Spencer and Microsoft personnel discussed a possible acquisition of Nintendo.
Read More:Microsoft Casually Discussed Buying Nintendo Or Valve In Leaked Email
“At some point,” Spencer wrote, “getting Nintendo would be a career moment.” He speculated that the Japanese games giant could become more open to acquisition offers in the future due to changing pressures on its board of directors. “It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to realize that their future exists off of their own hardware,” he wrote. “A long time… 🙂
The emails also reveal that Microsoft thought about purchasing Valve and Warner Bros. Games.
Bethesda might be working on an Oblivion remaster
Because I decided to flip my Xbox 360 from vertical to horizontal while it was running Oblivion, my adventuring in Tamriel was cut short via a huge circular scratch on the disc that no amount of toothpaste could remedy. Maybe I’ll get another chance; while it’s still up in the air, the 2006 Elder Scrolls adventure might get a fancy new remaster in which I could make up for those lost years.
Read More:Bethesda Road Map Leaks, Includes Oblivion Remaster And Dishonored 3
Bethesda’s roadmap was among the many recently released Xbox documents. It includes a sequel to Ghostwire: Tokyo, a Dishonored 3, and remasters of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Also, don’t expect The Elder Scrolls VI for quite a while.
Spencer: AAA game publishers lost their mojo
Phil Spencer stated that “AAA publishers were slow to react to [the disruption]” of digital storefronts like Steam and the shops built into Xbox and PlayStation.
In a leaked email, Spencer wrote that third-party publishers were unable to replicate the “dominance” they established back in the days of video game retail. After losing their advantage of highly exclusive access to consumers in brick and mortar stores, they “have not found a way to effectively cross promote, they have not found a way to build publisher brands that drive consumer affinity (the way Disney has in video).”
He noted that instead they’ve adopted a strategy of making huge bets on highly expensive prestige projects, relying on those risky, all-in bets to establish and maintain publisher brands. He concluded that “the role of a AAA publisher has changed and become less important in today’s gaming industry.”
Microsoft expected a Red Dead Redemption 2 next-gen refresh
Microsoft seemed to have anticipated an Xbox Series X/S port of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2022. This, of course, didn’t happen.
Read More:Xbox Expected A Red Dead Redemption 2 Next-Gen Update, Wanted It On Game Pass
Three-quarters of Xbox gamers had a Series S
The Xbox Series X and Series S consoles hit the market in 2020. Since then, the lower-powered, disc-less Series S actually makes up the majority of units sold. As of April 2022, 74.8 percent of Xbox Series owners were gaming on a Series S, suggesting just a quarter of the base left gaming on the more-powerful Xbox Series X unit.
Microsoft dramatically underestimated Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a super good time. But Microsoft didn’t seem to think the D&D RPG would amount to much. In leaked comments, Microsoft estimated a $5 million expense to get the game on Game Pass, justifying the low monetary amount by describing Baldur’s Gate 3 as a “second-run Stadia PC RPG.”
Read More:Xbox Leak Estimates Cost Of Bringing Blockbusters To Game Pass
Reacting to this statement, Larian’s director of publishing noted that Microsoft was far from alone in underestimating the appeal of Baldur’s Gate 3.
Phil Spencer wasn’t impressed by PS5 reveal
In an email to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Phil Spencer described the Xbox Series X/S line as a “better product than [what] Sony has, not just on hardware but equally important on the software platform and services.” He continued, “we have the ingredients of a winning plan […] today was a good day for us.”
Microsoft accidentally got an ‘exclusive’ Sega game
As the next-gen consoles launched in 2020 fans of Sega’s long-running Yakuza series were surprised that its latest entry, the RPG Like a Dragon, was available on Xbox Series X/S but not PlayStation 5. The Yakuza series had long been associated with PlayStation; what was up?
Read More:The Silly Story Behind The Weirdest Xbox Exclusive
Yesterday’s leak revealed that Microsoft was just as surprised, and it turns out the reason for Like a Dragon landing on Xbox first was due to two competing regional exclusivity agreements Sega made essentially short-circuited each other. The result? Xbox players ate well while PlayStation fans wept into their DualSenses.
The Xbox Series X might go all-digital in 2024
We didn’t just get scans of emails from very serious people, we also got some images and details of possible forthcoming hardware, including a cylindrical-shaped Xbox Series X that won’t include a disc drive.
Read More:All-Digital Xbox Leak Reignites Game Preservation Fears
Code named “Brooklin,” the leaked data indicates that the possible hardware refresh will include “more internal storage, faster Wi-Fi, reduced power” and a “more immersive controller.”
If this thing does see the light of day I’ll happily refer to it as trash can Xbox, in honor of the similarly shaped 2013 Mac Pro refresh.
The Xbox could get a fancy new controller
The potential 2024 hardware refresh might also see a new Xbox gamepad hit the market. The image of a controller codenamed “Sebile” shows a two-tone color design and promises modular thumbsticks and features that many a PlayStation fan have known for a few years now: “lift to wake,” “precision haptic feedback,” and an accelerometer.
Read More:Xbox Series X/S Redesign And New Controller Coming In 2024, According To Leaked Plans
Despite how the controller may look in this image, the copy indicates that it will feature the “same ergonomics” as the current Xbox Series X/S controller (codenamed “Merlin”).
Microsoft sees its next Xbox as a cloud ‘hybrid’ machine
Slides projecting the future of the Xbox platform indicate that Microsoft is very much looking to the cloud (where have I heard that before?) to help power its post Xbox Series X/S console, for which it’s looking at a 2028 release.
Read More:Microsoft Aiming To Release Next Xbox By 2028
Microsoft describes such a machine as a “next-generation hybrid game platform capable of leveraging the combined power of the client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of game experiences.” Cool?
So while we might get some sequels to beloved games like Dishonored and a fancy new controller for Xbox and PC, the leaked Microsoft materials also portend another nail in the coffin for physical game media . But hey, maybe Mario and Master Chief will get to go on a little adventure together at some point.
Rick and Morty’s seventh season is out next month and ahead of the show’s return, Adult Swim has released a trailer featuring all of the series’ familiar characters. But Rick and his sidekick Morty sound a bit…different.
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There’s usually a lot of excitement and hype surrounding the release of a new Rick and Morty trailer. But this time, with the release of the animated show’s season seven trailer, even non-fans are curious to check out the new teaser as it provides the first example of what Rick and Morty will sound like after series creator and lead voice actor Justin Roiland’s departure following since-dropped domestic violence charges.
On September 25, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim premiered the season seven trailer and in it, we hear both Rick and Morty talking a lot.
While they sound similar to how they sounded in past seasons, it’s clear someone new is voicing the two leads. Who that is, we still don’t know. The identity of the new actor(s) likely won’t be revealed until after the show airs.
In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, Cartoon Network said it wants the “show to speak for itself” and that it believed in new voices but wanted to “preserve” the “viewing experience for fans.” This sounds like a lot of gibberish and what it should likely say is that it isn’t revealing names yet in order to protect the new actors from internet abuse and harassment for just a little longer.
Why Justin Roiland was replaced on Rick and Morty
The reason for the swap is due to series creator and original Rick and Morty voice actor Justin Roiland being charged with domestic violence at the start of 2023.NBC News originally reported on January 12 that a criminal complaint had been filed against Roiland in May 2020 for “one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit.” He was reportedly arrested on these charges and then pleaded not guilty to two counts in October 2020. As a result, he was placed under a protective order and forced to surrender any guns he owned.
After the lawsuit became public in January, Roiland left the studio that created the hit Game Pass FPS High on Life, Hulu cut ties with him and recast him in another animated show, and Adult Swim dropped him from Rick and Morty. He was also cut from the upcoming High On Life expansion.
In March, the Orange County District Attorney’s office dismissed the case, telling Kotaku it did so due to a “lack of sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt as a result of additional information that came to light in the investigation.”
After the suit was dropped, Roiland tweeted that it was based entirely on “the word of an embittered ex trying to bypass due process and get me canceled.” He said he was “determined to move forward” with his life and career, adding: “I have always known that these claims were false and I never had any doubt that this day would come.”
On September 13, NBC News reported nearly a dozen people came forward with new accusations of impropriety and even sexual assault against Roiland. They claimed the famous creator used his “Rick and Morty fame” to pursue young fans, as seen in hundreds of text messages obtained by the outlet. Roiland has yet to publicly address these latest accusations.
Bowser is attracted to Princess Peach. We didn’t need Jack Black singing about it in the massively successful Mario movie to figure that out. However, according to official Nintendo marketing materials, it seems Bowser prefers his Princesses bigger and thicker.
What You Should Know About Mario Strikers’ Big Free Update
Super Mario Bros. Wonder launches later this month, adding to what might be one of the busiest months in video games in years. The upcoming Nintendo platformer looks fantastic, featuring a fresh 2D art style, wild powerups, and even a new voice actor for Mario. One of the new features in Wonder that caught the internet’s attention was the ability for Mario, Luigi, and other characters to become elephants. It’s weird, wild, and also, apparently, a big turn-on for Mario’s eternal enemy, Bowser.
Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Look, I’m not making this up or basing this on some random conspiracies connecting deleted sprites, random voice lines, or easter eggs together into some fanciful, hard-to-buy “theory” that is ultimately just fan-fueled, non-canonical nonsense. No. The fact that Bowser is a man who prefers his lovers thicc was revealed by Nintendo itself via the company’s official Twitter account.
In the short video posted on October 11, we see Princess Peach hanging out in a white void, alone. Suddenly Bowser shows up with a tiny flower, looking to make his move. But then, a new powerup from Super Mario Bros. Wonder—the Elephant Fruit—hops across the screen and turns Peach into her plump elephant form. Bowser is shocked by the transformation and for a moment, it almost seems like the iconic villain is preparing to leave as he yanks away the flower he previously offered.
But nope! Instead, Bowser pulls out a larger, more impressive bouquet of flowers, pumps his scaly fist, and makes a noise I can only refer to as “horny growling.” The video ends there, likely because this is a family-friendly game from Nintendo and the wild sex that happened next is not something the company wants to advertise online.
As you can probably guess by now, fans reacted with a lot of memes and replies that boiled down to people cheering Bowser on and celebrating his love of bigger women. Some also warned Nintendo that the company had no idea what it had just unleashed onto the web.
Those people are being silly. A quick Google search will reveal that fans had already been making art featuring Bowser and elephant Peach getting it on months before this ad was released. The internet doesn’t need help coming up with this stuff, but I bet many are thankful Nintendo stepped in anyway to confirm their nastiest fantasies.
Anyway, Super Mario Bros. Wonder launches on October 20 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. I know some of you will really, really enjoy it…
Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
EA’s next soccer game is going to be a bit different than most of its countless sports releases. That’s because, unlike FIFA or Madden, its upcoming FC Tactical is a turn-based RPG-like soccer game featuring magical-seeming special moves. Weird, but intriguing!
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Announced on October 11,EA Sports’s FC Tactical is a free-to-play soccer game for mobile devices launching in 2024. But to be clear: This new game isn’t replacing FC Mobile 24 Soccer, the pre-existing EA soccer game on phones that plays like the console version. Instead, FC Tactical is something very different, described by EA in a press release as a turn-based game that will contain over 5,000 authentic players across 10 leagues, including Premier and Ligue 1.
According to EA, matches are “simulated, with turn-based opportunities” where players will choose to defend, attack, pull off “skill moves,” or take shots at scoring a goal. Screenshots reveal an interface that looks a lot like other turn-based strategy games, just instead of tanks or fantasy warriors, there are soccer players in sports arenas.
EA says FC Tactical will feature a variety of modes including online friend matches, ranked play, leagues, and guilds. Folks will have to “train players” to “master high-skill moves” or unlock specific traits. That sounds a lot like this is some weird soccer RPG, and things only get weirder when you look at some of the screenshots featured on the game’s website and Google Play Store page.
Some of the images show soccer players pulling off what I would describe as special attacks, complete with magical-looking visual effects like flames and energy pulses. I don’t expect any of these players are going to be summoning massive monsters to help them score a goal, but who knows?
EA Sport’s FC Tactical launches next year. Players can pre-register via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Overwatch 2 has been taking a page out of Fortnite’s book lately, increasingly making cross-cultural, in-game collaborations part of its repertoire. We’ve already seen crossovers with the popular Shonen Jump anime One Punch Man, WWE superstar John Cena, and a Blizzard in-house collaboration with Diablo IV. Now, the free-to-play hero shooter is setting its sights on a music collaboration with the popular K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM.
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On October 18, Blizzard announced Overwatch 2’s first music collaboration, which will see a custom game mode and hero skins inspired by K-pop stars LE SSERAFIM appear in the shooter on November 1. LE SSERAFIM is the five-member girl group behind popular songs like “FEARLESS” and “ANTIFRAGILE.” The collab will see a LE SSERAFIM-inspired custom game mode and items like hero skins coming to Overwatch 2 on November 1. But Blizzard isn’t just sprinkling some LE SSERAFIM into OW2’s in-game store; the hero shooter will also be featured in the music video of LE SSERAFIM’s upcoming single “Perfect Night” which debuts on October 26 at 9 pm PDT. You can see one of the members (don’t ask me who) wearing D.Va’s headphones in their “Perfect Night” concept trailer video so we can at least take pride in knowing that they have good taste in heroes.
LE SSERAFIM / HYBE LABELS
Why would Overwatch 2 collaborate with LE SSERAFIM, you might ask? Well, when they formed in 2022—the same year as OW2—the girl group boldly proclaimed that they would stand at the pinnacle of their musical genre, and their name is an anagram for “I’m fearless,” so their spirit matches the game’s whole competitive drive. Plus, the group has 8.9 million listeners on Spotify and over 6.5 million followers on Instagram. The prospect of reaching all those people probably has something to do with why Blizzard would like to have the group for its first in-game music collaboration.
“We’re extremely excited to be working with LE SSERAFIM for our game’s first musical artist collaboration,” Overwatch general manager Walter Kong wrote in a press release. “Like the heroes of Overwatch, the LE SSERAFIM members are amazing as individuals, but unstoppable when they come together.”
LE SSERAFIM will also perform at BlizzCon on November 4, playing their new single, “Perfect Night,” and other tunes.