A new year is here, and surprise! It’s already extremely bad—just like the last one. But maybe better things lie ahead. Or, you know, at the very least, we might get ambushed by some cool video games in addition to all the bad news bears that will inevitably emerge from the shadows to batter us into whimpering submission. On the latest episode of Kotaku’s Splitscreen podcast, we discuss the year ahead.
To kick off the episode, Ash, Fahey, and I talk about our video game New Year’s resolutions, which include finishing games, not being an obnoxious backseat gamer, and not dying in games or real life. Then we move on to our most anticipated games of the year, some of which actually stand a decent chance of coming out in 2021 (Deathloop, Boyfriend Dungeon, a weird sex doll game Fahey felt compelled to show us) and others of which seem... unlikely (Bayonetta 3, which at least exists, and Vanquish 2, which probably does not). Finally, we close out by predicting every major video game news event that’s going to happen in the year ahead with 100 percent certainty. Don’t believe me? Well, just wait until the year is over. You’ll see—by which I mean you will have forgotten about this post.
Get the MP3 here, and check out an excerpt below.
Nathan: To start us off, Ash, what do you see in your crystal ball?
Ash: I don’t see anything. I’m very bad at being clairvoyant. I have a note here that just says “all-digital consoles.” We’re already, like, halfway there as is. It’s a very low-stakes, lukewarm take. It’s pretty clear that the industry is moving towards “We’re not doing physical shit anymore. We own everything, including the hardware.”
Nathan: Yeah, though I think the less lukewarm element of that prediction—one that still seems likely to come true—is more things like the Xbox Game Pass. More subscription services, more streaming services—things that fully take advantage of the all-digital format and raise more questions about, as you were saying, the ownership dilemma. Putting more ownership in the hands of a few big companies versus a whole bunch of different developers who are all making games on their own, and making them more reliant on platform holders’ ecosystems than they are.
Ash: I mean, we already have Xbox with their whole program where you can, like, lease an Xbox for two years. It’s like a cell phone plan: you pay over two years and then you own the Xbox. By the time your payment is up, you can upgrade to a new one and start making payments all over again. I don’t know that I dislike that idea, because it offers a path to access for people who might not have the capital to afford these very expensive luxury items. So I get it, but long-term, it seems like a dangerous precedent to set, because then you don’t own anything.
Nathan: Yeah, and it doesn’t look great for developers either. If you want a parallel, look at how Spotify has impacted the music industry, or how Netflix has taken over so many elements of TV and filmmaking. When you consolidate the capital and means needed to make something, then invariably, it becomes much harder to make things, and a lot more people who make them end up poor. So that blows.
Fahey: I have a prediction. It’s the easiest prediction: There’s got to be a new Switch. There’s got to be a more powerful Switch. With two new consoles coming out at the end of last year, the Switch is looking... I mean, look at Immortal Fenyx Rising. It came out on the Switch, it came out on the Xbox, it came out on PlayStation. The Switch version looks like crap.
Nathan: It really does. And the upgraded Switch has been rumored for a little bit. The Switch’s current hardware is some kind of cell phone build, right?
Fahey: It’s a Tegra processor from Nvidia—Nvidia’s Tegra X1, I think it is. So it’s like what they have in their little TV box, the Nvidia Shield.
Nathan: Yeah, so it’s kind of amazing what people have managed to squeeze out of the Switch despite that. But yeah, it’s time for something that’s at least mildly better.
Alright, time for some rapid-fire predictions, because a lot is going to happen in the next year, and we want to be right about all of it. To begin, Halo Infinite will be fine despite all its development troubles. It will be OK. You get to run through an open world as Master Chief. It will be a good time.
Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2 will not be fine. The creative director and the original Bloodlines writer left. So did another prominent writer. The original was heavily narrative-driven. This one’s gonna be rough.
Hideo Kojima will announce some kind of Silent Hill-like game, either with the license—unlikely, given how much he’s beefed with Konami—or as a spiritual follow up to P.T. That’ll be his next game.
Ash: My prediction is that Mads Mikkelsen and Norman Reedus will be back.
Fahey: And in the next game, they’ll make out.
Nathan: While drinking Monster Energy.
Ash: Oh, you know what’ll be a big surprise? Hideo Kojima will cast a Black guy.
Fahey: Does Hideo Kojima know any Black people?
Nathan: That’s kind of the problem. So this year, he’ll meet a Black person.
Ash: It will be John David Washington.
Nathan: And then next year, he’ll cast them. It’s gonna take some time, though.
More predictions: Ken Levine will finally announce a new game, and it’ll be a lot like BioShock. It won’t be called BioShock, though.
Here’s a sad one for Ash that Fahey won’t care about: Hades will not get an expansion. Hades is done.
Ash: I’m OK with it. I’m OK. A younger me would have been like “Please, give me all of the things of this thing.” But older me is like “No, things can end.” Hades has ended for me, so I’m good. I can live with that.
Nathan: Hell yeah. That’s closure. And finally, the last and saddest prediction: No Waluigi in Super Smash Bros. Ever. Ever. I say this with the heaviest of hearts, because I believe that Waluigi is a beautiful and wonderful character. But it’s just not gonna happen. I’m sorry.
Ash: They’re gonna give Sakurai a fucking aneurysm behind Waluigi and Smash. Somebody will have a heart attack and die whenever eventually that is announced.
My rapid-fire prediction is that we will find a way to incorporate taste into our controllers. We already have the other four senses engaged.
Fahey: My rapid-fire prediction is that we will find a way to integrate taste into our video games. Just basic taste. Come on, people, stop being so frigging tacky.
For all that and more, check out the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, and don’t forget to like and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Also if you feel so inclined, leave a review, and you can always drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or suggest a topic. If you want to yell at us directly, you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtra, Fahey is @UncleFahey, and Nathan is @Vahn16. See you next week!