The Splatoon Amiibo We’ve Been Waiting For

The Splatoon Amiibo We've Been Waiting For

Unlocking new in-game challenges is nice and all, but where are the Amiibo that unlock new musical numbers? They’re Callie and Marie, Splatoon’s Squid Sisters, and they’ll be hitting stores on July 8.

They’re in-game TV personalities. They’re virtual idols. They’re delicious-looking food. The Squid Sisters are the best thing to come out of Splatoon besides actual Splatoon, and they’ve earned the two-pack of toys they’re getting on July 8.

The Squid Sisters Amiibo, available in a two pack for $24.99, unlock a series of songs that the two will perform in game. It’s song and dance downloadable content, which I’d probably be angry about if I weren’t so utterly delighted.

The Squid Sisters will be joined on shelves July 8 by recolors of the Inkling Boy and Girl figures (two of my favorites), available individually or in a three pack with an orange version of the Inkling Squid. I’d never gotten the Squid, having bought the Boy and Girl figures individually, so now’s my chance to have it without having to rebuy two of the exact same things to get a third new one.

This Week In The Business: Lowered NX-pectations

This Week In The Business: Lowered NX-pectations

QUOTE | “The challenge is that the roadmap for a successful Nintendo console is unclear.”—EEDAR analyst Patrick Walker, suggesting that Mario, Zelda and the like won’t be enough of a unique selling point to move the NX on their own.

Elsewhere in the business of gaming this week...

STAT | 800,000 - The number of Wii U systems Nintendo expects to sell this fiscal year. With next year’s Zelda the only Wii U game expected at E3, this holiday season looks to be a lean one for the console.

STAT | 17.7 million - The number of PS4s Sony sold in its last fiscal year, slightly less than the 18 million Xbox Ones reportedly sold between the system’s November 2013 launch and January of this year.

QUOTE | “Speaking personally, I feel like the [barrier to entry] trend is going too low right now. I say that because as a user, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to identify what I want to buy without having to rely on other people—or just the herd—to direct me to it.” - Drinkbox co-founder Chris Harvey suggests that it’s not in gamers’ best interests for developers to have so few hurdles in getting on digital storefronts.

QUOTE | “Don’t think about scale in terms of us doing 20 projects; no, we’ll focus, we’ll focus on certain things... We don’t want to be a 10 project studio. The Rockstar model is nice.” - CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski lays out the Witcher developer’s ambitions to grow the studio’s success without watering down its output.

QUOTE | “The Future Is Now.” - SNK’s new company tagline, which is also its old company tagline, thus making it accurate when first used, but merely confusing today.

STAT | 38% - The percentage of frequent gamers surveyed who follow eSports through streamed coverage. That’s smaller than the 40 percent who keep track of eSports through cable TV.

STAT | 54% - The proportion of free-to-play “whales” who never spend more than $50 on a single purchase, according to DeltaDNA. The average transaction for a whale was $20.

QUOTE | “In the console industry, there were 3000 developers that probably went to three or 30. Only three, really: Activision, EA, Take-Two. Mobile I think has 30,000 game developers and that’s going to go down by 99 per cent as well. I think that’s going to do down to 300.” - Glu Mobile’s Niccolo De Masi predicts a massive wave of consolidation to hit the mobile market.

QUOTE | “We don’t have 50 years of comic books that we have to adhere to in order to meet the fans’ expectations because of this or that. We actually have a brand that we can create as we go along, which is very unique in many respects.” - Rovio’s Justin Chacona looks on the bright side of making movies based on Angry Birds instead of Marvel or DC Comics.

QUOTE | “I think the reasons that we did it were so sound and exactly what we want to see in the industry - that if a game isn’t finding that fun factor and isn’t going to live up to expectations, it’s not just in our best interest as Daybreak, but it’s in the players’ best interests for us not to release that game.” - Daybreak’s chief publishing officer Laura Naviaux Sturr defends the “heartbreaking” decision to cancel EverQuest Next after years of development.

QUOTE | “Jory Prum touched many lives with his talent & kindness. LucasArts to Broken Age & Grim Remastered, we couldn’t have done it without him.” Double Fine founder Tim Schafer pays tribute to the award-winning audio engineer, who passed away last week as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

It’s Cool When A Multiplayer Game Breaks A Language Barrier 

One of the great things about multiplayer games is how effectively you can communicate with people, even when you don’t speak each other’s language. You can race over sand dunes together in Journey. You can clear bounties in Destiny. Or take the moment the clip above.

In that short video, you’ve got me, an American, playing PS4 co-op shooter Alienation with some Germans, or at least I assume they were Germans based on the flags I saw after the match. During a pause in the action and right before they rushed into another firefight, I realized I could heal them. I pressed one of the buttons on my PS4 controller that is used to send simple messages in the game. I asked them to wait. They responded in kind.

If video games bring nothing else for the world, at least they bring us together like this. Hooray!

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

It’s going to be interesting to see what transpires when Batman finds out the identity of this particular teen vigilante. This unauthorized Robin will be lucky if getting fired is the only thing that happens to him.

Ever since it launched last summer, DC Comics’ We Are Robin series has been concerned with picking up fractured legacies. Written by Lee Bermejo and drawn by a rotating cast of artists, the book revolves around a crew of teenage newbie crimefighters who started trying to protect Gotham when Bruce Wayne was unable to. Since then, the new Robins tangled with their predecessors in the Robin War crossover, which illustrated the differences between the partners officially trained and sanctioned by the Dark Knight and the youth movement that followed them. The new kids haven’t had real mentorship, and they scramble together resources at the last minute and have to figure out the best ways to mete out justice without crossing the line.

Spoilers follow.

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

This week’s We Are Robin #11 continues the storyline that pits the street Robins against a gang of Jokers led by a kid who’s the same age as them. Johnny Bender’s army of clown-faced criminals has seized Middletown High School and are threatening to kill folks. Robin crew members Duke Thomas and Riko Sheridan are at the school and send text messages asking for help from their partners. One of them is the mohawked mechanic with the first name of Dax. His last name is where things get interesting.

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

Issue #11 opens up with Dax talking to his mom, who comes upon some crimefighting gear he’s been building.

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

Beyond obvious concerns about having weapons just lying around the house, there’s an important reason that his mom is freaked out about Dax being near guns...

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

... it’s because Dax is Joe Chill’s son. That’s right, one of the new crop of Robins is the son of the man who who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne’s parents.

Sadly, this reveal got screwed up a few months ago. When We Are Robin #4 came out last year, the team bios showed Dax’s last name. Sure, he could’ve been just some random kid with a last name weighed down with bad juju in Batman’s hometown. But the redaction of his parents’ names was clearly meant to hide his connection to Bruce Wayne.

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

Then his surname was redacted in the just-released collected edition of the series’ first issues, as it likely was intended to be in the first place.

Better Hope Batman Doesn’t Find Out Who Your Dad Is, Kid

Screw-up aside, this is the kind of plot contrivance that happens in superhero comics all the time, where sudden revelations make the backstories of major players dramatically entangled. In fact, in the Batman: Full Circle story of previous continuity, Chill was shown to have a son who blamed Batman for his father’s death and tried to get revenge against The Dark Knight. Usually, some kind of reckoning happens that pits the characters against each other and some mild change to the status quo happens. But that might not come to pass here.

We Are Robin will be ending soon to clear the way for DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative, and it’s not clear where the core group of Robins will be winding up. Dax’s parentage could just be a dangling plot thread that gets ignored as new creative teams come onto the Bat-books and tell all-new stories. It’d be a shame if that happened, though. Dax’s teammate Duke Thomas figured out Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person and it’s not hard to imagine that information landing in Dax’s lap. I’d like to see what Bermejo or some other writer does with a “whoa, my dad murdered Batman’s parents” plot beat. Given that Dax is trying to help the city where his dad killed people, it’d likely be something more interesting than a turn to the dark side for the teenager. But the state of the DC Universe is in flux, and the fumbled reveal in a second-tier book might just be an unanswered footnote stomped on by the march of yet another editorial reset.