Super Mario Maker 2 Out This June & More in the Latest Nintendo Direct

Nintendo announced Super Mario Maker 2 for the Nintendo Switch during today’s Nintendo Direct, coming out this June. I’ve been hoping for this one. It’ll have (quoting the press release) “…access to even more tools, items and features.”

Also announced:

  • More details for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, exclusive to the Switch, out this summer.
  • Box Boy + Box Girl announced for Switch, 270 stages, April 26th, 2019. It’s a beloved puzzle game from everyone I know who has played it, this version will have co-op.
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate 3.0 Update and new Amiibos. No details on the update yet.
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is getting new levels for the Switch version and two-player co-op. Out today. New paid DLC out now as well. More on March 14th.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is out this summer. This was just a video clip telling us about the Miriam character.
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 will have co-op and first-person mode when it comes out on July 12th. It’ll also be on the PlayStation 4.
  • Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age: Definitive Edition: S: out this Fall. I fell asleep briefly during this trailer.
  • Disney Tsum Tsum Festival: I will never understand the tsum tsum thing. It looks a little like Mario Party, but probably worse and with weirdly long, rectangular, characters in the tsum tsum style. No specific release date for this, just “2019.”
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas gets an exclusive Switch spring update with new Star Fox missions. April.
  • Rune Factory 4 Special “Battle along townsfolk and before long you may become more than just friends” out “later this year.”
  • Rune Factory 5 is announced, no info, just a logo.
  • Square’s got a new action RPG called ONINAKI. Out this summer.
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World. March 29th. Free demo out today.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses is anime as heck. There’s two editions out on the new delayed date of July 26th. This trailer just talked about plot details until I fell asleep again. Where is Advance Wars?
  • Tetris® 99: It’s an online Tetris battle royale. It’s “free-to-download” today.
  • Dead by Daylight’s Switch port looks like a PSP port of a PS2 game. It’ll be out this Fall.
  • Deltarune: Chapter 1 is out on the Switch for free this month, February 28th. I think it’s an Undertale sequel, but I didn’t get far in that game. The trailer reminds us that further chapters won’t be free.
  • Daemon X Machina gets a free, limited-time to download, “prototype missions” demo today. If you play it you might get an e-mail survey where you get to act as a focus tester for the game. Who doesn’t like doing work for for-profit businesses for free? The game is supposed to be out this summer.
  • GRID Autosport is coming to the Switch. The framerate looks real bad during certain parts of this trailer, ouch. Summer 2019.
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is getting a Switch port this Spring.
  • Mortal Kombat 11 is out this April 23rd on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and now we know it’ll have a Switch port at launch.
  • Unravel two is getting a Switch port on March 22nd.
  • Assassin’s Creed III Remastered also has a Switch port out on May 21st. It’s out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC’s on March 29th. “In addition to the full game, Assassin’s Creed III Remastered also includes all of its original post-launch content” […] “Also included is Assassin’s Creed III Liberation Remastered, an enhanced version of Aveline de Grandpre’s battle for freedom in 18th-century New Orleans.” I liked AC3 when I played through it on Windows, but I also got it for “free” by selling all my Team Fortress 2 items.
  • Final Fantasy VII out on March 26th
  • Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy! on March 20th
  • Final Fantasy IX is on the Switch today. Wes Fenlon reminds us that modders are making better upscaling work on Windows.
  • Astral Chain is a new Platinum action game from the people who brought you Nier: Automata and Bayonetta. Exclusively on the Switch, August 30th. Nice.
  • The Legend of Zelda™: Link’s Awakening:  gets remade and anime as heck in the intro. It looks like a tilt-shifted 3D world in-game with side-scrolling as well. Very cool. Out later this year.

Full video direct:

Crowdfunding Goals

Katie Chironis on what the massively successful crowdfunding campaign for Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night means for smaller developers also using crowdfunding:

Bloodstained isn’t a story of the little guy triumphing over big publishers, it’s the story of a campaign that had millions of dollars of funding before the Kickstarter began and the help of multiple companies handling the logistics of the campaign. They asked for $500,000 to prove a point, not fund a game. The issue is that campaigns like that cause members of the community to believe that $500,000 is all you need to create large-scale experiences.

When you ask for half a million when you really need $5 million it becomes impossible for games with realistic budgets to survive. It’s not that people don’t understand what a game costs, it’s more that Kickstarter is actively distorting people’s understanding of a sane budget. The ecosystem is being poisoned for projects that need to raise their actual, workable budget for a game.

There are two kinds of project operators on Kickstarter and other similar crowdfunding services.

The first, and what I believe to be the majority of projects, is everyone who actually is in their theoretical or actual basement toiling away. It’s here that you find the projects to mock that will never successfully achieve their funding goal alongside game developers who actually need the funding in order to start and complete their project.

The problem group is the minority. They’re so successful at crowdfunding they blow past their initial goals and quadruple them in hours. They have already started the work and have invested significant resources into producing a compelling pitch video with supporting concept art to demonstrate their potential for success. They can summon significant external financial backing at the conclusion of a crowdfunding campaign which existed only as a representative measure of the potential market to sell the finished product into. If it fails to generate enough funding or fails during production, who cares? They’ll walk away relatively unscathed and might even finish the project with the external investment they already had lined up or move on to another.

Both kinds of crowdfunding projects have succeeded and failed beyond everyone’s wildest expectations and this has lead some people to declare crowdfunding as a whole either an enormous success or terrible failure. All of the declarations ignore the continued successes and failures of both kinds of project that occur after the declaration has been made. Even this article isn’t immune to sudden declaration syndrome. The opener is:

We all know the Kickstarter bubble is bursting.

The difference between Katie Chironis’ declaration and the others is that she is right. The majority of projects can’t compare with crowdfunding goals as low as Bloodstained‘s $500,000.

Why would anyone running a project who is otherwise wealthy or has external financial backing do the right thing and set their goals appropriately when the wrong thing is working out so well for them?

There are enough fans of Castlevania out there that the Kickstarter project for Bloodstained is at about $2.5 million. Of which Kickstarter is already set to make $125,000 at their 5% fee. The payment processor will get about the same cut of that $2.5 million if the funding level doesn’t change by the time the campaign ends.

Why would Kickstarter’s crowdfunding change when they made $1,016,900 for hosting another project webpage, the Pebble Time, with an unrealistic goal, external funding, and an already complete project ready to go to market?

If Kickstarter’s bubble doesn’t burst for truly independent project operators, it will be because Kickstarter changes to properly support them by focusing on those who aren’t succeeding at finding funding and shipping complete projects instead of passing the blame entirely onto project operators.

If that happens, Kickstarter might actually earn some of their cut.