Telltale Games is taking a different approach to its new Batman game by casting players more as Bruce Wayne than as Batman. I wrote last month about how much I was looking forward to this idea and now that the first episode of the game, "Realm of Shadows", has been released, you can watch me guide Bruce through his first adventures as he throws a fundraising party for Harvey Dent's mayoral campaign and works with Selina Kyle to solve the mystery behind mobster Carmine Falcone's criminal empire. I'll have more on Batman this week including a review of this installment of the game and a Power Button podcast episode in which Blake Grundman and I talk in-depth about this new Batman adventure.
For as long as I can remember, the primary focus of the Batman franchise has been, well, Batman (with a side order of Joker), but lately there's been a renewed push on exploring the man under the mask. Batman comics took a jaunt into showing us Bruce Wayne unburdened by the Bat legacy, TV's Gotham has given mixed results showing us Gotham City in a pre-Batman world, and now Telltale Games has a new episodic Batman game coming August 2 for many platforms including the Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, and mobile that, judging by today's new trailer, gives us plenty of Bruce Wayne action as well.
I've been a Batman fan since I was first exposed to Batman: The Animated Series in 1993 as a preteen, and it wasn't until later that I backtracked to the Tim Burton films for a larger picture of what the character was all about outside of the comics. His iconic rogues gallery always steals the spotlight and Batman himself is always good for some daring action scenes, but Bruce Wayne is often the more interesting character. I think that's because (as has been so often cited) Batman is the man and Bruce Wayne is actually the mask. Consider how Kevin Conroy portrays Batman's voice in The Animated Series, for instance. His Batman voice is deeper and more intense (not as far as Christian Bale's guttural growl from The Dark Knight trilogy) befitting a costumed vigilante and his Bruce Wayne voice is casual, friendly, and general lighter. When Conroy's Bruce is with people in his inner Bat circle, he speaks in his Batman voice. They know who he is. There's no need to hide it. Batman is who he really is.
It's been a big week for Nintendo fans who like excitement thanks to the arrival of the Pokémon Go mobile sensation and the announcement of a new small classic Nintendo Entertainment System packed with HDMI output and thirty of the best games that the NES era had to offer. We're talk about both of these on this week's Power Button, so join us for a conversation that spans from Pikachu to Punch-Out!!, Meowth to Metroid, and Zubat to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.
I missed Pokémon when it enjoyed its original spotlight moment. The original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue released in 1998 in the United States, and by then I was driving a car for the first time and focusing on finishing high school (with breaks for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my Nintendo 64). Since most of my Game Boy time had been spent in the backseat of my parents' car as an underage passenger, once I was able to hit the road on my own and pal around with friends on our own terms, my interest in Game Boy games began to wane (I even missed out on Wario Land 2 and the twin Zelda games Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, all experience gaps I rectified as an adult). Combine all of that with societal peer pressure that older teens like myself should not partake of the "gotta catch 'em all" sensation that was gripping our collective elementary school siblings and cousins, my social circle never had to choose between Charmander and Squirtle. Having missed that original window into Pokémon, I never really bothered to pursue it later in life. That's all a long way to start to explain why when it comes to the new mobile augmented reality sensation Pokémon Go, I'm on the outside looking in. I'll never have the connection to it that my friends do, but that's OK.
Blake Grundman has a problem. He's invested a lot of time and money into collecting Disney Infinity figurines and video games and now Disney has canceled the entire product line. He needs some time to air his grievances and openly weep, so on this week's episode of Power Button we hold a farewell for the biggest Toys To Life product that somehow didn't make enough money. Also, knowing that Disney is going back to licensing its properties to other publishers again, we pitch some ideas for Disney-owned properties we'd like to see become new games. A dream is a wish your heart makes (unless you fail to turn a profit). Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.
Failing to definitively conquer the video game console publishing market, Disney Interactive is exiting the business and taking its Toys To Life game platform Disney Infinity with it. The game will shut down in June following the release of the final two character packs (based on Alice Through The Looking Glass and Finding Dory) and the studio behind it all, Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios, the Just Cause folks), is now out of business. It's a grim day for Infinity fans as despite performing what any other company would consider to be successful in this business, it's not enough for Disney. USgamer has the report.
Disney Infinity probably made a good deal of money, but for Disney, the licensed Star Wars Battlefront represented the future moving forward. Pachter estimated that Disney Infinity made $200 million in revenue last year, while Star Wars Battlefront earned $660 million. The $200 million estimate put Disney Infinity ahead of Lego Dimensions and Skylanders, but Disney is a huge company and its perspective on 'successful' is vastly different.
By licensing the Star Wars brand to Electronic Arts, Disney doesn't have to have developers on hand to make titles. It reaps the rewards and the risks are all Electronic Arts. At some point, management looked that the gulf between Infinity and Battlefront and wondered why it was publishing games in-house. You can probably expect to see more licensing of Disney properties, but most of that will probably lean on the mobile side.
If you're still interested in the Infinity figures, watch for clearance sales at your favorite retailer over the summer. It's disappointing to see Disney exit the business, but now that the company is switching gears back to a licensing model, perhaps we'll see some creative ideas based on Disney properties from other companies. Yes, there will always be a place for Star Wars games, but where are the Arkham Asylum-like Avengers game, Darkwing Duck Remastered, and of course my biggest, most wanted pipe dream of them all...
Now that Disney is licensing its properties, can I just suggest... @telltalegames Presents Agent Carter.— Matthew Green (@PressTheButtons) May 10, 2016
It's a shame that being merely successful at a business like this isn't enough for Disney which has an "engulf and devour" mindset in the video game industry as it engages in a repeated cycle of buying established studios, pushing them to deliver, closing them when they fail to quickly produce top selling sensations right out of the gate, and then withdrawing from the business altogether before trying again a few years later. I don't understand why anyone would spend so much time and money to build a platform that is successful by standard metrics and then throw it away just became it makes only some money and not all money.
Zen Studios continues to acquire some amazing licenses for use in its pinball tables. Following on from FOX's Family Guy and American Dad comes a trio of tables based on the Alien franchise. Relive the excitement of Aliens, run in fear from Alien Isolation, and get caught in the crossfire of Aliens vs Predator. Combined as the Aliens vs Pinball pack, the new tables arrive for Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, PS Vita, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire on April 26. In the meantime, you can check out the Alien pinball action in this video in which I run through the three tables and explore them. These aren't amazing scores as I'm only just learning the ins and outs of the tables, but it'll show you a little of what to expect. Thanks to Zen Studios for providing early access to the tables.
Nintendo's first mobile app, Miitomo, is among us now on your iOS or Android device of choice, so on this episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss our experience with the interrogative social app and ponder which Nintendo franchises lend themselves well to the mobile gaming experience. You're not going to see Pokémon Red for $1 on the App Store, but maybe you'll find games starring King Dedede, Captain Olimar, or Little Mac someday. Join us for an hour of playing with mobile power. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.
Nintendo's anticipated Miitomo app for iOS and Android has launched, bringing the fun of question and answers, costumes, and pachinko mini-games to your social network of choice. Also included is the ability to take those lovable Mii avatars and insert them into photos with a variety of poses and expressions. Naturally, I've been having fun with this feature by inserting my Mii into favorite video games, movies, and television. It's good silly fun and more enjoyable than I'd expected. So, in the interest of sharing, I'm happy to show off some of my favorites.
I've always preferred traditional console and handheld video games rather than the shallow experience that mobile games provide, but that hasn't stopped me from playing a few games on my iPhone in spare moments. On this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman tells me why I'm playing the wrong mobile games as I discuss my experiences with Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, and Star Trek: Timelines. Join us for an hour of hearing all that I'm apparently doing wrong. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.