Games Inbox: If Xbox stopped day one Game Pass

The Thursday letters page worries that the number of remakes is getting out of hand, as one reader asks whatever happened to MultiVersus.

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Day 180
While I don’t agree that Microsoft is likely to leave the games industry any time soon, I do believe it’s obvious that, even after more than 20 years, they’re still having trouble gaining traction. It’s mostly down to their lack of first party games, and the lack of variety in them when they do release them. They seem to realise that but the solutions put in place to solve the problem… they’re taking a very long time.

If I was them I would be very tempted to make Starfield not a day one Game Pass game, until at least six months or so after. This would make the game a lot more high profile and it would allow Microsoft to actually make money from it. It may not be what customers want but from a business perspective it makes sense, since at the moment Microsoft is giving away all its best stuff for free.

It’s also not making a real impact for them. Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite were meant to be massive releases but while plenty of people played them, because they were free, they didn’t seem to get talked about much and clearly didn’t move the dial on overall Xbox popularity. When Microsoft asks itself why it’s not doing as well as Sony it needs to look at how they handle exclusive releases and realise that probably their approach is better, or at least more successful.

Rise of the remakes
With Resident Evil 4 coming up and Metroid Prime being loved by everyone we’re looking at the two best games of the year so far being remasters or remakes. Add in Dead Space, which I don’t know anything about but apparently outdid its copycat new title, and old games are not only getting more critical praise but they’re selling more too.

Metroid Prime Remastered was the best-selling game on multiple Amazons across the world last week and that’s crazy given Hogwarts Legacy just came out and is apparently so big. I’m not really complaining as I like these games but it stands to reason we’re going to get ever less deserving games remastered and ever more money taken away from making new games.

We already have so few new IPs being released and yet now we’re lucky to even get sequels instead of just remakes. Everything in moderation but I really worry where this is all going to end, if it even does.

Different perspective
The Metroid Prime remaster is getting glowing reviews from all sources but all the reviewers seem to be coming at it from the point of view of having played the original. As someone who has never played a Prime entry I’m a little wary of rose-tinted reviews. Is anyone else approaching this for the first time but taking the plunge and able to offer their feedback on the game? How does it actually hold up compared to modern games?

Metroid Dread is currently the only game in the Metroid series that I’ve played and I did enjoy it, but obviously it’s a very different beast to Prime.
Adam W

GC: It’s not very different, it’s the same franchise. And we did address this in our review.

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Fighting chance
I’ve heard a number of people, including GC, suggest that Nintendo make a fighting game spin-off for Fire Emblem and I’m kind of confused as to why this hasn’t happened yet. Maybe a straight fighting game might seem a bit too straightforward for them but I think if it was only based around weapon combat that would make it pretty unique, with only really Soulcalibur in that same area – and we haven’t had a new one of those in ages.

I’d like to see Arc System Works do the game, which would ensure great graphics and because I don’t think they’ve done a purely weapons-based game either. It would also be the first time that a Fire Emblem game looked state-of-the-art, as while Engage was a little bit of an improvement it still basically looks like a GameCube game and I think that’s a shame. I’ve no idea if anything like this would happen but it seems to me a good idea for ‘filler’ before the Switch 2 is released.

Free Pass
In relation to darKeR’s letter about Game Pass, another thing to consider is how many people actually pay full price for Game Pass? I personally paid £1 at the start and then using Microsoft Rewards I have never had to pay for Game Pass.

There are also plenty of sites out there were you can get discounted codes or codes from countries that don’t charge as much as the UK.

Christmas Prime
I remember having difficulty with the final boss in Metroid Prime back on the GameCube but having beaten the game yesterday I found it a lot easier. Ridley killed me but I beat the last boss in one go (although I was down to my last energy tank).

Maybe the new control scheme lends itself to making it easier. I did find dodging Ridley quite hard as Samus doesn’t dash to the side all that much.

The remaster is absolutely superb though. The only thing I’d change is an indication of where items are you’ve not yet caught. Other Metroid games show on the map if there’s something to get in that room and finishing the game with 76% completion it’d be handy for me to mop up what I’ve missed without scrutinising every room one by one.

It’s a shame 2 and 3 won’t be getting the same extensive treatment, but maybe we’ll see them out in September with 4 coming for Christmas, supplemented with some Pokémon DLC for Nintendo’s holiday line up.
Euclidian Boxes

Reverse difficulty
I’m waiting for the physical release of Metroid Prime but have been reading the recent Inbox entries discussing the difficulty of the final bosses in the series.

Bizarrely, I managed to complete Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, but never managed to finish the first. I think I got past Ridley and then could not best Metroid Prime for the life of me. I think I had not collected enough rocket upgrades or health upgrades, probably both, and just could not survive the encounter. Perhaps I then learnt my lesson and searched for most upgrades in Echoes.

Anyway, looking forward to finally beating Prime 1 next month.

Business reasons
I wonder when we’re going to hear about Mortal Kombat 12, it seems an unusually long time since the last one, or indeed from NetherRealm. I realise this probably has a boring explanation, to do with the uncertainties from the Warner Bros. merger but this is one of their biggest franchises, you’d think they wouldn’t want it to fade away like this.

Maybe they’re trying to think of new gimmicks to bring it back but normally just the fact that a long-running series is on a new generation of hardware is enough to be getting on with. Personally, I’d like to see a change to the current dial-a-combo system and maybe some kind of new tag team concept, to shake things up again.

The previous games were both good but for me they were relying a bit too much on the gore, and weird cameos, and not enough on changing up the gameplay. They were still good though and I hope 12 is announced as soon as possible.

Inbox also-rans
For all the Amiga fans like me, you can get the Alien Breed Trilogy free on GOG for the next 42 hours at time of writing (Wednesday evening).
Andrew J.

I suddenly remembered that MultiVersus is a thing that exists and went to look and see what new characters they’ve added recently and the answer was none? Not since Marvin the Martian in November. Way to kill a promising Smash Bros. killer.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader matc7884, who asks what you consider to be the best value for money in gaming?

It can simply be a good bargain you found in a sale but perhaps it’s a free-to-play game that you’ve spent dozens of hours with, or a paid-for title you’ve put even more time into?

What is your minimum requirement for good value for money, in terms of length and quality, and when have you been most let down by an otherwise good game? What’s the most surprised you’ve ever been at a game’s value and what do you think other games could learn from it?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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