EP Daily Rundown for November 2, 2016

In a special edition of The Rundown brought to you from the beautiful San Francisco Bay, we have good news about Project Scorpio, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Nintendo’s mobile game Super Mario Run, the latest project from the makers of Journey, and finally, intel on when to expect the next Star Wars: Battlefront game!

It won’t just be fancy new 4K games that you’ll be able to play on the next Xbox. The upcoming system, codenamed Project Scorpio, will support the same Xbox 360 backwards compatibility as the existing Xbox One models. This is something that many gamers were already expecting, and now Microsoft engineer Mike Ybarra has confirmed that it will of course be the case. They launched their Xbox 360 backwards compatibility program for the Xbox One last year, and it’s been a huge success, with the list of compatible titles growing every month. Gamers can use their classic 360 disks to download and emulate their games on the new console, and if you don’t have a disk, you can also buy a digital version of the same game and play it for the first time. The fact that the program will continue with Project Scorpio will help drive interest in the new system when it launches in late 2017, because gamers love backwards compatibility. We hope you’re listening, Sony.

Nintendo is bringing new features to one of their older games. This morning during a Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo revealed that the 3DS game Animal Crossing: New Leaf is getting amiibo support. The game was released in 2012, well before the launch of the amiibo figures, so Nintendo is making them compatible thanks to a free software update that’s available today. Not only will the existing Animal Crossing figures work, but figures based on other franchises like Splatoon and Zelda will unlock new content within the game as well. Nintendo is also working on all-new amiibo cards for the game, which will be available starting December 2. The 3DS continues to be a big seller for the company, and they recently vowed to continue supporting it, and its games, well into the future.

Super Mario Run is shaking up Nintendo in more ways than one. The new iOS game, which will mark the iconic Nintendo character’s first time on a mobile device, is being made with the Unity game engine. It’s unusual for Nintendo to use a third-party engine, they usually work with their own in-house engines, so this is a surprising shift for the company. Using a new engine might not sound like such a big deal, but it further signals a new willingness on Nintendo’s part to work more closely with other game makers, and embrace new technology. We suspected that Nintendo was moving in this direction last year when they announced that they would finally start making mobile games. Super Mario Run will launch on iOS devices in December. Their new system, called the Nintendo Switch, is expected to have more third-party games than the last few Nintendo consoles, and it will even be able to run the Unreal 4 engine. It launches in March.

After more than four years, the makers of Journey are about to take players on a new adventure. Thatgamecompany, the studio behind Flow, Flower, and Journey, has begun teasing their next project. They haven’t said exactly what it will be, but they have released a handful of cool images on their official Twitter account, confirming that the images are from their next game. It looks like it will have the familiar tone and feel that we’ve come to expect from Thatgamecompany. They’ve also confirmed that the new game, whatever it is, will be composed by their audio director Vincent Diamante, who composed Flower but not Journey. We’ll have more on Thatgamecompany’s mysterious new project just as soon as it’s announced.

It won’t be long before Star Wars Battlefront strikes back. With the new game set to deliver its fourth and final batch of DLC next month, it looks like Electronic Arts and developer DICE are getting ready for the next game in the series. During a recent investor call, EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said that a new Battlefront game is coming “a year from now,” which means it will launch during the busy Holiday 2017 season. This isn’t the first time EA has dropped intel about the next Battlefront game. They’ve previously hinted that the sequel will incorporate more of the Star Wars universe than just the original trilogy, offering maps, characters, and vehicles based on the new movies, the animated shows, and maybe even the prequels. Finger crossed for Jar Jar to be a playable character, because then you’d get to kill him. We’ll have more on Battlefront, and EA’s other upcoming Star Wars games, as new details develop.

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