Video game headlines: New releases, GBA emulators, Nintendo labor complaints

Sega announces release date, DLC for ‘Sonic Origins’

Developer Sega announced that “Sonic Origins” will be released on June 23. The game was in early development in July 2021, and the game’s trailer was released on April 20. “Sonic Origins” will be released as part of the 30th anniversary for Sonic the Hedgehog and features four digitally remastered Sonic games: “Sonic the Hedgehog 1,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” “Sonic 3 & Knuckles,” and “Sonic CD.” “Sonic Origins” will launch on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and will be available on the Epic Games Store and Steam for PC.

“Sonic Origins” features many new options that the originals didn’t. While players can experience the games in their original 4:3 format in “Classic Mode,” there will also be an “Anniversary Mode” that has a full screen 16:9 display and an infinite number of lives. “Story Mode” allows players to control Sonic and experience scenes from different “Sonic the Hedgehog” titles and includes new animated cutscenes. “Mirror Mode” is available after players complete Classic Mode, Anniversary Mode, or Story Mode. Mirror Mode will flip the level, meaning players complete levels in the opposite direction.

Alongside the game’s release date announcement was one regarding downloadable content. The “Start Dash Pack” is for those pre-ordering the same and includes 100 bonus Coins (the game’s currency), Mirror Mode being unlocked, and a Sega Mega Drive Letterbox background. The “Premium Fun Pack” serves as a “Digital Deluxe” edition for $3.99, offering players additional hard missions, character animations on the main menu, and tracks from other “Sonic” titles. A “Premium & Classic Sound Pack” will be available for $3.99 with music tracks from Mega Drive “Sonic” titles.

‘Rimworld’ unbanned in Australia

"Rimworld" was given an “R 18+” classification in Australia following an appeal from developer Ludeon Studios. The studio appealed a “Refused Classification” status in March despite launching its 1.0 version without issue in 2018. When a game is given a “Refused Classification” status, it cannot be sold in Australia. With the shift to its “R 18+” rating, it now has a consumer advisory of “high impact themes and drug use.”

The reason for its original classification change was due to drug use presented in the game. “Rimworld” is a colony management game that features drug use, prisoners, and organ harvesting, though players don't have to use all of these. Following the appeal, the Australian Classification board stated, “The game includes fantasy drug use, but in the Review Board’s opinion, the game mechanic ultimately provides disincentives related to drug-taking behavior, to the point where regular drug use leads to negative consequences such as overdose, addiction, and withdrawal.”

Potential GBA emulator for Switch?

Dataminers have found hints of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance emulators for the Nintendo Switch. According to a Twitter user who accessed the leaked files, both emulators seem to be functional, but are still buggy. The emulators are developed by Nintendo Europe Research and Development; the Game Boy emulator is called “Hioyo” and the Game Boy Advance emulator is “Sloop”.

A list of the games tested on the emulators also surfaced from these leaks. Games on this list include “The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap,” “Golden Sun” and “Golden Sun: The Lost Age,” and “Kirby and the Amazing Mirror".

‘Xenoblade Chronicles 3,’ ‘Splatoon 3’ receive release dates

Two major Nintendo-developed games announced release dates this week — “Xenoblade Chronicles 3” slated for July 29 and “Splatoon 3” for Sept. 9. “Xenoblade Chronicles 3” was originally announced in February for a release in Sept., and “Splatoon 3” was originally announced in Feb. 2021 with more details announced in September 2021.

“Xenoblade Chronicles 3” is an open world action role-playing game that takes place following the events of the first games in the series. The game is developed by the Nintendo-owned studio Monolith Soft, known for “Xenoblade Chronicles,” which provides support to other Nintendo development studios. Unlike the previous entries that limited the party system to three characters, this game allows up to seven characters to participate in combat. A new “Interlink system” utilizes pairs of party members and allows more powerful moves.

“Splatoon 3” is a third-person shooter with competitive online multiplayer alongside a story-driven single player mode. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic future where most life has been replaced with “Inklings” and “Octarians.” The most recent trailer confirmed the inclusion of “Turf War,” one of the main battle systems. An earlier announcement confirmed the return of the "Salmon Run" mode, and the story mode will focus around the return of mammals to the world.

New ‘Tales from the Borderlands’ to arrive this year

Gearbox Software, the studio responsible for the “Borderlands” franchise, announced on April 21 at PAX East that a new “Tales from the Borderlands” game will be releasing later this year. “Tales from the Borderlands” is an adventure spinoff of the main franchise, and the first installment in the series was developed by TellTale Games before they closed in 2018. According to the interview, the game will be fully revealed sometime this summer.

National Labor Relations Board complaint filed against Nintendo

Following an unnamed worker’s complaint against Nintendo and Aston Carter, the National Labor Relations Board will begin to investigate the video game giant. The allegations state that Nintendo of America and Aston Carter, a firm that they use for hiring contractors, engaged in “concerted activities” and made “coercive actions” against a worker. The worker believed this interfered with the worker’s right to organize and as such, filed a complaint.

This is one example of growing unionization efforts in the video game industry. Quality Assurance workers at Raven Software have recently been engaging in a labor dispute, which could lead to the first union in the industry.