"IF WE hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.”
That quote is from Zapp Brannigan, one of the less intelligent characters from the largely excellent American comedy Futurama. And while Zapp gets his metaphors a little confused there, he is right about one thing — if you play your cards right, success can follow.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in mobile gaming (no, mobile gaming doesn’t mean you leave the couch for a beer). If a developer hits the right mark on smartphones, lands on that bullseye Zapp alludes to, then money is the resulting jackpot. Fox Digital Entertainment, we think you’ve hit that mark. Dominos felled. Checkmate.
At least, they’ve certainly played their cards right. Fox and Kongregate have announced Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards, a trading card game for mobile that combines the universes of Family Guy, Futurama and King of the Hill into one package.
We’ve seen crossover episodes between Fox animation shows before, but nothing on the scale of The Quest for Cards.
It’s something of a first for gaming to provide such service to TV fans — we’ve seen TV shows turned into games in the past, but very few have provided something on the scale of three universes colliding.
No gameplay details have been announced for The Quest for Cards (which likely takes its name from the Family Guy game The Quest for Stuff) but expect Hearthstone and Gwent to be touchstones for the trading system, rather than something as elaborate as Magic the Gathering. That means you’ll be compiling decks of characters from the three Fox shows and facing off against AI (and likely human) opponents in order to win new cards, but you probably won’t be concocting deep systems of gameplay to manage those cards.
That might sound like a fairly boring premise, but anyone who’s ever played an RPG card game or knows an eight-year-old will tell you how addictive card collection can become. (For many people, Final Fantasy VIII was just an excuse to play Triple Triad.) So a mobile game where all the characters from Family Guy, King of the Hill and Futurama can be collected, won and lost? Futurama character Fry has become meme-famous for saying it: “Shut up and take my money!”
Money for nothing? Nope, that’s what happens when players pay for costumes and meaningless accessories in a game. Which is exactly what this writer did when he paid €20 for ‘loot boxes’ in Overwatch, just so his favourite character could look marginally cooler.
Well, if your favourite character is Torbjorn, the Scandinavian mechanic, then prepare for some disappointment — he’s being ‘nerfed’.
Nerf is the term used to describe when a developer modifies a character’s abilities to make the game more balanced.
In this case, Torbjorn’s turrets are getting a whopping 30% decrease in attack damage. This follows nerfs to Widowmaker and McRee, both of whom also had damage modified. These tweaks should make a difference by the time Overwatch launches its ranked competitive mode on consoles late next month.
Meanwhile, if you just fancy printing money instead, then release an Elder Scrolls game. Skyrim is being remastered for current-gen consoles and it’s amazing to think that a game from 2011 will probably make more money as a remaster than many of 2016’s games.
Still, to be fair, there are some reasons to be optimistic about this re-release. For a start, it will allow players to install mods, changing the game fundamentally. There will also be a slew of technical changes.
“The basic idea is we’re trying to improve it in all the ways possible and make it as next-gen and appropriate for these consoles as possible,” Bethesda’s Pete Hines said, while firing up the money printer with no regard for financial markets.
“Performance, effects, or whatever we can do to make the game look and feel better, we’re going to give it a go.”
When asked about, you know, developing a brand new Elder Scrolls game instead, Hines only said:
“We aren’t working on TES6 at the moment”, while deleting desperate text messages from the World Bank.
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