Nintendo announced a collaboration with Sanrio (the company behind Hello Kitty and other cute characters) for Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch today. This means there will be new residents to unlock and new themed items will be available.
In the video above, Nintendo showed off items from Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll, My Melody, Keroppi, and said these new items would be available in a pack of 6 NFC-enabled amiibo cards for Animal Crossing: New Horizons starting on March 26th and a software update will be available on March 18th to support the new stuff. The card pack is exclusive to Target in the US.
Collecting The Lost Vikings, Rock N Roll Racing, and Blackthorne the Blizzard Arcade Collection is out now for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One with only backwards compatibility bringing the pack to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
These games are still available as free downloads from Blizzard’s site, and have been for a long time, so it is a little surprising to see Blizzard charging $20 for them now, but you also get them bundled with assorted other add-ons for Overwatch, Diablo 3, and other games, and a few upgrades like widescreen support, the ability to rewind over mistakes, save-anywhere support, and co-op. Blackthorne also got a weird interactive let’s play kind of thing that Blizzard calls “watch mode” where you can drop in at any time and control the game. Neat.
Blizzard doesn’t have a great track record on remasters right now, their Warcraft III remaster was very poorly received, but this is their announcement trailer for a re-make of Diablo 2 and the Lord of Destruction expansion pack for $40 coming to Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X & S consoles later this year. Sadly, I don’t see any mention of a macOS release, giving up on decades of support by Blizzard.
Blizzard says that Diablo 2’s 2D graphics are revamped with “…full 3D physically-based rendering, dynamic lighting, revamped animations and spell effects…”, they’ve re-shot the cutscenes, and added surround sound for the game’s audio and soundtrack. Like many recent remasters, Blizzard says you can swap between the new and old Diablo 2 graphics quickly.
Vicarious Visions and Blizzard are co-developing the re-master and say that progress is supposed to be portable across platforms for characters and their inventories.
Diablo 3’s console port was awesome, I loved playing it with direct control on a gamepad instead of the sort of indirect control you had on computers with a mouse and keyboard. Hopefully this is an easy slam-dunk for Diablo 2. There’s an “technical test” of Diablo 2 coming soon for Windows players who opt-in and are chosen by Blizzard at their Diablo 2 site. Who loves to get exploited by one of the richest companies in video gaming to test their products without compensation? I guess I do, because I signed up for the test and if it comes without any NDA I’ll write about the experience.
When io interactive released this year’s HITMAN (2016) sequel they also signed up for an exclusivity deal that locked the Windows version into the Epic Games Store. That’s fine, but unfortunately it also meant that HITMAN (2016) 3 (2021) players didn’t have an easy way to import their purchases of the previous games in the series from Steam into the new game. Finally, that’s been solved. Click this link to find out more.
Unfortunately the complete version of HITMAN (2016) 2 (2018) remains a completely ridiculous $100 purchase if you don’t own it already:
It’s a fantastic series, I loved HITMAN (2016) 2 (2018) but it ends up approaching being a very expensive series of games to own if you don’t own any on Windows already. The HITMAN (2016)Access Pass for HITMAN (2016) 3 (2020) is slightly more reasonable at $30 and has been free for Epic Game Store customers in the past. All told you could end up spending $190 on having the base $60 version of the third game, the complete $100 version of 2 (2018), and the gold $30 version of 1 (2016) if you own none of the games and missed getting HITMAN (2016) on sale.
HITMAN (2016) 2 (2018) was on sale for a discounted price for the first two weeks after HITMAN (2016) 3 (2021) was released, so I don’t doubt that some people felt pushed to buy that pass after the confusing launch when:
io interactive initially said that players would not need to re-buy the games:
..we are pleased to confirm that PC players will be able to carryover their current progression and unlocks from HITMAN 2 on Steam into HITMAN 3 on Epic Games Store. It will also be possible for PC players to import locations from the previous two games into HITMAN 3 on Epic Games Store. We want to make it a seamless process for our PC players to enjoy HITMAN 3 on a different PC platform and continue to enjoy the benefits of our World of Assassination.
Closer to the launch of HITMAN (2016) 3 (2021) io interactive said they had no way to make the old games available in 3 for Windows players who had bought them on Steam and instead announced various discounts and other schemes in their Pre-Launch Guide
We’ve done everything possible to make this process smooth and player-friendly. However, due to various circumstances out of our control, we want to acknowledge that the process is different to our initial plans for PC players. We also want to share some of the initiatives we’ve set-up to make sure that PC players the chance to keep enjoying the benefits of the World of Assassination.
HITMAN (2016) 3 (2021) launched three days after that tweet, on January 20th, with those discounts ticking down and no clear path in sight for no-doubt confused players on Windows.
This new import process should give automatic refunds to players who bought HITMAN (2016) 2 (2018) content on the Epic Games Store before the import process was available, but at this time it does not.
I have sent a request to io interactive to ask if customers who bought those editions and owned the games on Steam will be refunded during the import process.
The developers behind a previous Hello keyboard that went wrong for various reasons are working on a new iteration in the same spirit. This is the Hello, again inspired by the classic Apple M0110 keyboard layout.
Find out more about their project at this link. It’s currently in “interest check” status where people who are interested can submit feedback before Hello, again goes into the group buy phase.