Archives for posts with tag: trailers

Overwatch Heroes
The release of Overwatch is mere hours away, and to celebrate – and of course keep the hype flowing – Blizzard yesterday released Hero, the fourth in a series of animated shorts that have been running in the lead-up to launch. Following on from the recent Dragons, which served to illuminate the family feud between Hanzo and Genji, aka the Super Shimada Bros., Recall, which focused on Reaper’s attempt to steal intel from Winston, and Alive, in which Tracer faced off against the assassin Widowmaker, Hero gives us an insight into the character of Soldier 76, as he attempts to reconcile his current vigilante status with the paragon he used to be.

Yeah, there’s actually a story to Overwatch. You may well have entirely missed it if you dipped into the recent open beta just to shoot other people online, but there’s actually quite a depth of lore setting the scene for those battles. The story begins over thirty years ago, with the Omnic Crisis, as humanity’s robots rose up against them. To combat this global threat, the countries of the world banded together to create a specialised strikeforce, and Overwatch was born. All good things must come to an end however, and the organisation was acrimoniously disbanded some time later, with its members parting ways, some becoming mercenaries for hire, while others tried to continue fighting the good fight.

There’s this whole weight of history weaved in and around Overwatch, yet you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing at all of substance there. Look closely, and you’ll notice the odd easter egg hidden in the maps, or you might hear a line of dialogue that alludes to the relationships between the heroes, but it’s all too easy to miss in the heat of the moment during a game of Escort.

Of course, it’s difficult to tell a story in a multiplayer-only shooter game – Titanfall had a crack at it, and nobody talks about that game’s ‘campaign’ anymore – and what makes it a bit more difficult in Overwatch‘s case is the fact that your team can include anyone, which has the potential to confuse an overt storyline given the rivalries and enmity between some of those characters. Instead, Blizzard is focussing on fleshing out the Overwatch universe through those beautiful, action-packed CG shorts, digital comics, and in-depth character bios on the game’s official website. One wonders if the desire to be able to tell a story around a genre that affords little opportunity to do so is a holdover from the aborted Project Titan, the long-in-development MMO that was cancelled before much of the team began work on Overwatch. Many Blizzard developers regard Titan as the company’s biggest failure, so perhaps they’re trying in some way to feed a little of the grandiosity you’d expect from an MMO into Overwatch‘s multiplayer shooter framework?

With 21 heroes, there’s a lot of scope for separate stories in the Overwatch universe, and already fans are calling for spin-offs – a Metal Gear Rising-style game starring cyborg ninja Genji seems to be a popular idea at the moment, but what I really want is a mecha game with D.Va as our lead character. And the idea of spin-offs seems to be a genuine possibility; Blizzard built Overwatch‘s universe as their analogue to the big comic book multiverses, full of characters that can both come together and stand apart. Speaking to PC Gamer, creative director Chris Metzen alluded to the potential for more stories in the Overwatch world. “[T]his first game is really just the first shot in what we hope is a long, rich world journey that could be encompassed by many different products. Obviously many different fictional expressions. In many ways, we’re just getting started. So when we think about Overwatch as a big universe, as a big living idea, it’s not necessarily – as we look down the line of years – encapsulated only by this game expression.”

Widowmaker

In the same interview, senior game designer Michael Chu explained some of the thinking behind the team’s character design process, giving some insight into why there’s so much, well, character to these heroes. “I would say when we’re developing characters, we like to think about if each one of these characters could kind of stand on their own. I like to imagine, “What if each one of these characters has their own game?” And I think what Chris was talking about was that kind of shared universe comic stories. It’s like we have all these individual characters, we have these great stories, challenges, powers and stuff, and they all have their own little ecology. But then when you mix them all together, they start to have relationships. They start to tackle larger worldview problems. And I think that’s kind of where that inspiration leads.”

Where that inspiration leads, we can only wait and see – for the foreseeable future, Blizzard’s focus will of course be on supporting the Overwatch that launches in just a few short days with new heroes and maps. But where the story goes and how the universe grows over the next few years? Well, it’ll be exciting to watch and see.

Seriously though Blizzard, please can I have that D.Va mecha game I mentioned?

Drew and Thuban
Since its unveiling at E3 2014, gamers have wondered just what kind of game Platinum’s Xbox One exclusive would be. Until recently, all we had to go on was a pretty-but-cryptic CGI announcement trailer that did little to describe the kind of things we’d be doing in-game. At Gamescom last week, we finally got our answer.

If people had been expecting a character action game, perhaps they were a touch disappointed. But if there’s one thing you can say about Platinum’s output, it’s that they don’t much like repeating themselves, so it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise to discover that, with Scalebound, the Osaka-based team are treading fairly virgin soil.

In a six-minute demo at Microsoft’s Gamescom press conference, we got to see Hideki Kamiya’s new action RPG, starring some guy and a massive dragon. That guy, Drew, has somehow been transplanted to a fantasy world that bears more than a passing resemblance to Avatar‘s Pandora – all floating islands and cascading waterfalls – and finds himself bonded to an enormous dragon called Thuban. Perhaps as a consequence of this, he also has a scaly, claw-tipped arm.

The world Drew finds himself in, Draconis, is sustained by an energy source called The Pulse. Much like its inspiration, it pervades and links all living things, though hopefully there will be no sign of any midichlorians. It’s this force (sorry) that links Drew and his dragon, the last of its kind in Draconis, and one cannot survive without the other; should Thuban fall in battle, so will Drew. Thus, the player will often find themselves playing as much of a support role as an offensive one, backing up his draconic buddy with heals while Thuban goes claw-to-claw with enormous monsters, like the Gamescom demo’s titanic mantis.

This is still a Platinum game though, and there’ll still be plenty of hacking and slashing for Drew to take part in. In the first combat encounter against a group of plate-mail-armoured knights, you’d be forgiven for being reminded of Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy XV, except there’s an angry dragon beside you instead of three impeccably-coiffed bros. Combat looks to be somewhat pared back compared to the usual Platinum extravaganzas, but it still looks tight and responsive, if not massively flashy and over the top. Drew flashes into combat with wide, arcing sword swipes, stopping to defend himself with his shield, and while there is no crafting mechanic in Scalebound, there are other weapons to be found, such as a bow, a spear, and an enormous greatsword that would make Cloud Strife blush. As well as standard blades and bows, you’ll also be able to find weapons with innate elemental properties, which should further extend Drew’s utility against Draconis’ oversized menagerie. Using his scaled dragon arm, Drew can also tether himself to larger enemies, clambering aboard them to deal large amounts of damage, and maybe even sever a gigantic limb in the process. And if he feels like he’s not quite pulling his weight in battle next to Thuban, Drew can also draw upon that Pulse energy to clad himself in thick, scaled armour, dialling up his speed and damage output in the process.

Thuban will act independently for the most part, though the player can direct his attention to certain enemies and structures that might be in need of some attention from a big stompy dragon. Thuban can also be heavily personalised, from armour, horns and offensive tail-blades to the elemental effect of his breath; need to hit some ungodly, building-sized nightmare creature with a frigid blast of ice, rather than the more traditional flaming dragon-breath? No problem, you can make that happen. But in order to build up Thuban, you’ll need to gather gems from defeated enemies. These gems are only available if you land the killing blow as Drew, so while you could easily rely on Thuban to wipe out fodder enemies in one hit rather than wade into battle yourself, you’ll miss out on an opportunity to develop your dragon. Platinum really wants you to strike a fine balance between the pair, and they really want you to feel a connection to your own, personalised vision of Thuban. “The more you invest in that dragon and in your relationship with that dragon, the more that dragon becomes yours,” says Creative Director JP Kellams.

And what of the world of Draconis itself? Media have been quick to call Scalebound an open-world RPG, but it’s not a term that Platinum themselves are using, preferring to call the game ‘non-linear’, while also promising that the game-world will be vast – it’s going to have to be to accommodate Thuban and some of the larger creatures we’ve seen. While the team won’t be drawn on the openness of the game’s world, they are promising many different villages and towns across Draconis, each with their own personal look. In one of their ‘First’ articles, IGN were treated to views of a “village that stretches off into the distance.” Hopefully, if the world is big enough, we’ll be able to fly Thuban between these outposts of civilisation.

The same article states that Drew and Thuban will have to gain new skills in order to fully traverse and explore Draconis, which perhaps brings to mind a gear- or skill-gated progression system; could Scalebound be a post-Okami Kamiya taking another crack at the Zelda formula, perhaps? From the sounds of it, rather than levelling up, Drew will gain skill points based on his actions and his performance: ““If you heal your dragon, or execute other supportive role-type actions, you’ll be able to earn skill points, ” Kamiya explains. “By motivating the player to participate in actions and behaviours that are meaningful, it will… help you progress further”. Drew can also extend his earning potential by chaining kills together, adding a bonus onto the skill points he has already gained: “If you’re successful at consecutively defeating the enemies, the longer that chain will last,” says Kamiya.

scalebound

But if all this focus on skill points, gems and customisation gives you cause to worry about the action side of things, fear not; Platinum aren’t about to let their hard-earned reputation slide. “Even though I know we’ve been emphasising that this is an action RPG, because I need to get that message across – I hope you agree that we know how to make action games,” Kamiya told IGN. “We know how the responsiveness of a move is what really differentiates our games from other action games. That’s what’s so special about our games, whether it’s Bayonetta or my previous title Devil May Cry. So one thing that’s not going to change is that how great it feels when Drew is in battle. You’re not going to feel like it’s worse than what we’ve done before. The sort of intuitiveness and the response to the action that Drew is taking? That will remain at the quality that’s always defined our action games.”

Bayonetta 2 finally has a launch date!

Late last night Platinum Games’ Yusuke Hashimoto and Akiko Kuroda announced, via the wonderful medium of the Nintendo Direct broadcast, that the Wii U exclusive will launch on October 24th, and it’ll come in three flavours for those of us in Europe.

First up, we’ll be getting the solus version, which contains Bayonetta 2 and… nothing else. Nope, it doesn’t come with a copy of the Wii U port of the first Bayonetta. If you want that, you’ll have to plump for the Special Edition, which packs both games, each in their own game cases, into a card slipcase.

But then there’s the First Print Edition. This is more like the kind of product you’d expect to carry a ‘special edition’ label, packed in an exclusive box (apparently bound in leather) shaped like the Book of Angels, the in-game tome that details the Hierarchy of Laguna. This lovely box contains both games in their own game cases, with a bonus art book contained within the packaging itself. You can see the First Print Edition below, and as an aside, it’s nice to see the cover art for the first game mirroring the original, Kamiya-approved Japanese art from the original release.

Bayonetta 2 first print edition

I’m sure it’s common knowledge by now that I am a sucker for a limited edition, so it should come as no surprise that I wanted this as soon as it was announced. It’s a shame that the art book isn’t a proper book, especially for a game like Bayonetta that has incredible artwork (seriously – hunt down a copy of The Eyes of Bayonetta if you don’t believe me), but I’ll still eagerly pore over those pages. It appears to be exclusive to Game in the UK (at least at the time of writing), costs £59.99 and is limited to 15,300 units, so if you want one you’d better jump in and secure a pre-order now. I’ve already secured mine.

Also announced in last night’s broadcast, which I’ve embedded at the bottom of this piece, was a new Nintendo-themed outfit for Bayonetta to wear. I thought the Peach, Samus and Link costumes were a little bit odd when they were announced back at E3, but this one… this is something else.

Bayonetta Starfox Fox McCloud whygodwhy

Why God, why?! What did we do to deserve this!?

Truly, I’m sorry you had to see that.

But anyway, that can happily be ignored in favour of the stunning action Bayonetta 2 will be bringing us when it launches in seven weeks. The Direct itself is a good watch, and takes time to explain a few things for those new to the series, but keep watching for the epic lengthy trailer at the end – it looks utterly mental, exactly the kind of thing I’d expect from one of my favourite games of the last five years. It looks like Platinum are throwing everything they’ve got into this game, and I can’t wait to get my mitts on it.

In the run-up to Gamescom, UK developer Ninja Theory had been teasing their new IP. The game, Hellblade, was announced on-stage at Sony’s conference via a sombre, eye-catching CGI trailer.

The first reaction many had to that teaser was that it looked like Heavenly Sword, Ninja Theory’s 2007 PS3 exclusive. It’s not hard to see the similarities – the strange, mythical world, the female warrior protagonist, even the name. Ninja Theory have since made it clear that Hellblade bears no relation to Heavenly Sword, and when we take a look at how the game is being developed, it’s clear that it’s a very different beast in some very significant ways.

To begin with, Hellblade will be a smaller-scale project – it’ll be shorter than the developer’s previous titles and forgo a physical release. That’s not to say they’re taking their collective feet off the gas when it comes to production values; we expect a great audio-visual aspect to their games, and we’re promised Hellblade won’t disappoint in that respect. But perhaps the biggest point of difference here is that Hellblade won’t be tied to a publisher; it will be Ninja Theory’s first self-published console game, and, most importantly, it will allow the team to retain their own IP.

It’s a proposition that co-founder Tameem Antoniades calls “Independent AAA”. In a sense, Antoniades sees this as reclaiming the middle ground that we’ve lost over the last generation; as triple-A development costs rise, publishers seek to mitigate risk and more often than not this leads to homogenisation – if something’s a massive hit, other publishers will seek to emulate that success. Everyone wants a Call of Duty. Everyone wants a GTA.

This leads to less diversity in the market, which isn’t great for gamers, but it can also be destructive to the people that make those games. Most studios can’t compete with the funding enjoyed by the likes of Infinity Ward or Rockstar North, and attempting to respond to those mega-franchises carries its own risks – risks that can often be fatal. We’ve seen plenty of development houses close down over the last generation, even long-standing ones like Bizarre Creations or Sony Liverpool; even a mildly successful title in a genre that may have shrunk to a niche can kill a studio.

Being an independent developer, Antoniades knows his team can’t compete on a level playing field with the likes of Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted. But equally, he’s not about to let his studio join the list of casualties that has resulted from what he calls the “go big or go home” world of AAA console development. So he’s making a play for that abandoned middle ground. “It’s about self-publishing AAA-quality games that are narrower in focus, selling them for a fair price and connecting to your fans in a meaningful way,” he says. “It’s a place for developers like us who don’t fit comfortably in the mega-budget AAA space but who are not true indie developers.”

Looking back through NT’s history, it’s clear to see why this approach appeals to them. Hellblade will be the first of their games that they retain ownership of, which means that they have full control over where it goes and how it evolves. Over the years, fans have asked for sequels to Heavenly Sword or Enslaved, and though Ninja Theory would love to revisit these franchises, these characters, these worlds that they created, they can’t. Because to get those games made, they had to hand over ownership of them.

ntgen7

They’ve also had to fight to keep their team together on a number of occasions, whether that be down to parent companies imploding, publishing deals going south or simply being unwilling to scale down the team after production, something that is an inherent part of AAA production. Ninja Theory have re-mortgaged houses, sought investment, and even walked away from precious IP to keep their team together as, in Antoniades’ words, “[w]e knew that the value of a creative company comes from the team-work, experience and talent of the people in it.” Testament to this, he says, is the fact that Enslaved, with only two-thirds the budget, had double the game content of Heavenly Sword, adding “[m]assively improved efficiency is the real value of keeping a team together.”

But it’s that ownership of their creative output that will no doubt appeal to Ninja Theory the most, giving them not only the freedom to decide their own future but also the freedom to actually green-light and create the games they want to make in the first place. Antoniades recounts reactions to his team’s pitches, saying that “[w]e’ve variously been told point blank that single-player story games are dead, that any art style other than realism is not commercial, and that melee games do not sell.” For a developer whose main focus is third-person story-driven melee action games, that’s obviously not what they want to hear.

Ownership of IP is only going to become more important for developers looking to safeguard their futures. In the world of AAA, we’ve recently seen some of the bigger independent studios manage to retain ownership of their projects – gamers may have been dismayed to see Bungie team up with Activision for Destiny, for instance, but crucially the Bellevue studio owns that franchise. It’s theirs. Likewise, when shopping around Sunset Overdrive, Insomniac went with the deal that allowed them to keep the IP, as their usual partner Sony had previously requested ownership.

But smaller developers don’t really have the clout to demand the same, not if they want funding to get their projects made. So smaller scale projects and digital distribution is an important direction for them, making the ability to self-publish that Sony and Microsoft have brought to their new consoles an enormous boon. At the very least, it means not having to worry about the costs of manufacturing discs and packaging, or the traditional distribution costs that come with physical product. Money saved elsewhere can be fed back into development of the important part of the project – the game itself.

As a fan of their previous releases, I’m both looking forward to getting my hands on Hellblade and hopeful that this “Independent AAA” focus works out for Ninja Theory. Perhaps if other smaller developers see them having success there they will also be inspired to give it a try, like Just Add Water (whose Lorne Lanning Antoniades cites as an inspiration for his company’s direction), who released Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! just last month to rave reviews, proving that there is a space there for developers to target. This should hopefully mean more developers making the games they want to make, rather than the games they have to make, enriching game development for all of us.

If you’re interested in the development of Hellblade, the history of Ninja Theory, or an insight into AAA development, it’s worth checking out the Hellblade development blog.

One of the surprise inclusions at Sony’s Gamescom stage show was a bizarre trailer for a new horror IP called P.T. Announced via a teaser showing gameplay footage interspersed with audience reactions, the game was apparently being developed by an unheard-of team called 7780s studio. A playable teaser (oh, I see what they did there…) was then put up on the PlayStation store for people to try for themselves.

Making it to the end of the demo revealed that it was actually a teaser for Silent Hills, a new game in the much-loved franchise brought to us by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, starring Norman Reedus. It’s not the first time that Kojima has used a fake game and developer to announce one of his titles – everyone remembers Moby Dick Studio’s The Phantom Pain – but this announcement took things even further; it’s actually a pretty genius piece of viral marketing – the demo was put on the store for all to download with the game announcement stuck on at the end, meaning that the first person to finish P.T. effectively got to announce a new game. That honour fell to the UK’s SoapyWarpig over on Twitch. Below, you’ll find the full teaser for Silent Hills.

But let’s talk about the teaser, as it bodes well for the direction of the full game. I’m superficially reminded of two games, the first of which is Silent Hill 4: The Room. Now, bear with me – I know SH4 wasn’t the most beloved of the series, but it does appear to take some cues from that. The demo essentially takes place in two rooms and an apartment corridor, and is in first-person like Silent Hill 4‘s apartment sequences. For me, those were the best parts of SH4, penning you into a small environment and making you watch through your character Henry’s eyes as strange occurrences and hauntings began to take over his home. P.T. achieves a similar tone here, though in far, far more unsettling ways.

Setting you loose in first-person in confined spaces really ratchets up the feeling of claustrophobia, and like Silent Hill 4 we also hear strange, disembodied snatches of audio (think along the lines of “Remember – I’m always watching you,” and you’ll have some idea). Then there’s the horrible scratchy, croaky breathing that will make you spin around, time after time, to try and see where it’s coming from. Sometimes you’ll even see what’s making the noise, and then wish you hadn’t; there’s a malevolent spirit stalking you in this place, and it seems to have something to do with the skinned horror in the bathroom…

This feeling of being enclosed is amplified by a minimal approach to interaction that brings to mind something like Slender: The Eight Pages – like that game, P.T. simply drops you into an area with no explanation and expects you to figure things out for yourself. You’ll walk that corridor many, many times, solving some kind of idiosyncratic puzzle to unlock the door at the end, often without even knowing what you’re supposed to be doing until you stumble upon it. The only thing you can really do is walk around and ‘zoom in’ to look closer at things, and the fact that you can’t really affect the world around you works in tandem with the claustrophobic, smothering atmosphere. For a video game – which so often are about power fantasies and wish fulfilment – it makes you feel uniquely powerless. All you can do is stare at things in the hope that you discern some clue, and who knows what’s happening behind you while your attention is locked on that curious photo on the wall.

It’s certainly an immersive experience, and it’s not just the first-person perspective that achieves that. The game features no HUD, no battery indicator for your flashlight – no screen furniture at all. You’re simply in a creepy place with an evil spirit, forced to look at everything through your characters eyes. It puts you right into the game, and some typically-Kojima tricks like messing with what you’re seeing through some visual effects (visual distortions, intentional screen tear – I even had the game white-screen on me once, and I genuinely wondered if it had crashed) really gets under your skin. It’s reminiscent of that classic Psycho Mantis battle from Metal Gear Solid, but it works so much better in a horror game, especially when you’re seeing through the eyes of the protagonist. You’ll be surprised how something as simple as changing the colour of the lighting can be quite so unsettling – just as you feel like you’re getting used to the environment, something in the way you perceive it shifts and it takes on a new kind of malevolence.

But how does this all tie into the greater Silent Hill franchise? Is it a reboot or a sequel? We’ll have to wait and see, though I did notice something during the demo – a message appears above the ‘safe’ door that reads, “Forgive me Lisa, there’s a monster inside of me.” This could be a reference to Lisa Garland, a character from the original Silent Hill who nursed Alessa Gillespie. I haven’t yet noticed anything else that would tie this game to events of the rest of the series, but I haven’t finished the demo yet so who knows what else I’ll see. I did manage to record some of my time with P.T. however, so if you don’t have access to it you can get a good feel for what’s going on by watching my video below. Be sure to use headphones.

Time will tell whether the Lisa mentioned here is the same one that Harry Mason stumbles across in Alchemilla Hospital, or whether there’s anything connecting this new entry to any of the older games. We can also hope that Akira Yamaoka will be returning to handle the soundtrack – the little teaser at the end of the trailer seems to suggest as much. But one thing’s for certain; Silent Hills is definitely in the right hands. Kojima knows how to mess with our minds, and that’s in full effect in P.T.

Nintendo and Tecmo Koei have announced the next instalment in the Project Zero series via a lengthy, creepy trailer.

Titled Zero: Nuregarasu no Miko (The Raven-haired Shrine Maiden), it will be released on September 27th in Japan (possibly in an effort to tie into the upcoming Zero film). As Nintendo co-owns the rights to future titles in the series, the game will of course be an exclusive for the Wii U.

The game stars protagonist Yuri Kozukata, who appears to have the ability to see those that are trapped in the land of the dead and return them to reality. As a result of this ability, she is asked to track someone down in Hikamiyami, a sacred mountain with a huge lake at its summit.

The game will apparently be the largest instalment yet in the series, and it seems from the trailer that water will play a large role, with the rain pouring down on Yuri certainly adding to the atmosphere as she wades through shallow pools and winds her way around dark, twisting mountain paths with only a torch to light her way. The series trademark camera obscura returns, and it seems that the Wii U’s gamepad will be used both for this mechanic as well as to show what the world looks like through Yuri’s eyes.

With Nintendo struggling to sell consoles and a number of third parties pushing releases back (or abandoning the platform altogether), it’s good to see a developer keeping the faith and announcing new projects. What’s even better is that their game will be using the GamePad for something other than simple off-screen play – though it’s to be expected, given Project Zero’s central camera gimmick; Tecmo Koei would be crazy not to leverage the second screen of the GamePad for the camera obscura view, and it’ll be interesting to see how they can keep players on their toes by dividing attention between the two screens.

cameraobscura

What’s surprising is how close to release Nuregarasu no Miko is. How often do we see a game being formally unveiled only two months before release? It’s worth remembering that Tecmo Koei also has Omega Force and Team Ninja working on fellow Wii U exclusive Hyrule Warriors, which will also see release in September.

Of course, what those of us outside of Japan have to worry about is whether the game will reach our shores at all. Nintendo decided not to release the last title in the series, 2008’s Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen, outside of their home territory at all, prompting a fan translation effort.

However, with over 100 million Wiis sold in the last generation of consoles, Nintendo could afford to ignore worldwide releases for the odd exclusive (indeed, the US branch originally had no plans to localise the Operation Rainfall titles for the North American region). But with the Wii U finding difficulty in the market, Nintendo will surely want to do everything they can to improve the image of the console among gamers. They had a fantastic E3, and opinions around the Wii U appear to be slowly changing. If they want to keep up the momentum, coming out and announcing a worldwide release for a new Project Zero would be a great way to do it.

Cross-posted on 16bitkings

hwfi_editedA few days ago, a whole host of Hyrule Warriors screens emerged showing off plenty of Skyward Sword content for the upcoming Zelda/Warriors hybrid. In the screens, which you can see here, we were treated to views of stages based on Link and Zelda’s peaceful home of Skyloft, the verdant Faron Woods, and what appears to be a flattened-out recreation of the Sealed Grounds. As far as characters go, we got glimpses of antagonists Ghirahim and The Imprisoned, as well as Link’s helper throughout Skyward Sword, Fi, who appeared to be a playable character.

Now, via a new trailer, we have confirmation that Fi is indeed playable, joining the cast alongside Zelda, Link, Impa, Midna, Twilight Princess‘ bug princess Agitha and new character Lana. In the trailer, we can see Fi’s balletic fighting style as she skips and skates her way through massed ranks of bokoblins, reminiscent of the way she dances in Skyward Sword. As the spirit of the Goddess Sword, Fi can also transform into the sacred blade to attack her enemies.

Hyrule Warriors seems to be shaping up to be the ultimate Zelda fanservice project (you can even hookshot Termina’s moon out of the sky, for goodness’ sake!), and going by the almost entirely female cast of playable characters revealed thus far, one certainly couldn’t accuse Nintendo and Tecmo Koei of not being inclusive.

I’ve never really had an interest in the Warriors games – they’ve just never particularly appealed to me. But taking the Warriors template and turning it into a celebration of one of my favourite franchises is a great way to draw me into the series.

Hyrule Warriors launches for Wii U on September 19th.