This Week in Gaming: Bayonetta 3, Kirby in 3D, and a strange Mario cast
Halfway through Thursday, I was prepared to write the most boring This Week in Gaming ever — and then the Nintendo Direct happened, and my week got a whole lot more interesting. Most of the news this week comes from that show, but I think it’s important that we address the new developments in the Activision-Blizzard case.
An update on the Activision-Blizzard situation
— ABetterABK (@ABetterABK) September 20, 2021
Last we heard from the Activision-Blizzard case, Blizzard had let go of some key staff members and was going to rename an Overwatch character. Oh, and they were being sued again by the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees for unfair labor practices. Well, the situation has deteriorated, if you can believe that. The company is now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has subpoenaed several of the company’s records. Allegedly it’s investigating whether ActiBlizz disclosed information about the harassment claims to their investors.
As if that wasn’t enough, the publisher continues to bleed staff. The latest people to leave are especially bad for the company: Chacko Sonny, the development head for Overwatch 2, presumably one of Blizzard’s big tentpole releases; and Claire Hart, Blizzard’s chief legal officer. Given what the company is going through right now, I’ll hazard a guess that the company’s lawyer is probably the last person they can afford to lose right now. Keep an eye on the situation and see how far the investigations go.
Bayonetta 3 is finally back after almost four years of waiting
To be a little real with all of you: I’m a huge Bayonetta fan. The first game is my favorite game ever, and I have been waiting for the third installment with dogged loyalty ever since it was first teased at the Game Awards nearly four years ago. And now we finally have her! Bayonetta is back in a stunning new gameplay trailer that shows off her new look, new moves, and new flair. If this is the last This Week in Gaming I ever write, then this series dies a happy death.
Bayonetta has apparently refreshed her look for this game, having a new set of guns and some new demons at her command. The new wrinkle to the action gameplay is that Bayonetta can now control the demons she summons, meaning the player can puppeteer what are effectively kaiju battles between her demon summons and the angels they’re opposing. Platinum thought it was cute to fake us out by briefly having Lappy, the mascot of Astral Chain, make a cameo appearance, which I both did and did not appreciate.
We’re getting a new Kirby game on Switch
The second major reveal at the show — which was, admittedly, packed with small-to-medium-sized reveals — was a new Kirby game. Kirby and the Forgotten Land sends the little candy-colored puffball into the titular forgotten land, though to what purpose we don’t know. I’ve heard a rumor that the Japanese title translated is something like “Discovery of the Stars,” which might give us a clue as to what Kirby will get up to in the game, but honestly, beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Unlike previous, two-dimensional entries in the series, Forgotten Land puts Kirby into a 3D open world. From what we can see in the trailer, Kirby will be exploring a post-apocalyptic world filled with the ruins of what looks like our civilization, so we now know that Kirby will outlive the human race. In the trailer, he appears to battle several different enemy types. The game bears a resemblance to Super Mario Odyssey, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Chris Pratt is voicing Mario, for some reason
Now we come to what is, by far, the weirdest news of the week. Shigeru Miyamoto appeared during the Direct to remind everyone that an animated Mario movie has been in the works with Illumination for quite some time, and he also revealed the voice cast for this game. The cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, and Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, among others. It’s a really odd duck of a cast list, for sure — I never, in my dizziest trips, would have thought of Keegan-Michael Key as Toad — but we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
Mario is going to be voiced by none other than Hollywood’s latest Golden Boy, Chris Pratt. The Internet has… not reacted terribly well to this news. Pratt certainly has his defenders, as he’s turned in reasonably good voice-over performances before. But there are several people who don’t like this particular bit of news. Some think Pratt is over-exposed (which I agree with), and others would prefer someone who’s actually Italian and can reasonably imitate the accent (which doesn’t concern me as much). One regret that everyone seems to share is that Mario’s longtime voice actor, Charles Martinet, will only be tangentially involved. Oh, and one other sad casualty of this is the mentions of this Internet prophet. Rest in Peace, Twitter Cassandra.