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SYFY WIRE The Week in Gaming

The Week in Gaming: Resident Evil continues to terrorize, New Pokémon Snap, & retro shreddin’ with TMNT

By Benjamin Bullard

Welcome to The Week in Gaming, the place where we pause each week to take a look at the video game news beats both big and small that you might be missing — while also taking a peek around the corner at what's ahead. Check in each Friday for news (and occasionally even views) on everything from sprawling RPGs to Metroidvania platformers to the latest in VR and free-to-play. We'll even throw in a good old-fashioned board game every now and then!

There aren't many gaming moments to compare with being approached by a demented, ice-white 9-foot tall woman — and watching helplessly as she indulges her sadistic sweet tooth on your arm blood. But Resident Evil Village isn't shaping up to be like most games… perhaps not even like other Resident Evil games.

Lady Dimitrescu isn't like other game antagonists, and Capcom's rollout for RE Village, coming in the franchise's 25th anniversary year, has been as exceptionally oversized as her towering, unhinged presence within the twisted manor she calls home. Capcom held the second of its Resident Evil digital showcases to promote Village (and tons of other RE goodies) this week, and even more than with its first event, dropped a trove of new information not only about the upcoming 8th installment in the main RE series, but about other games and screen projects as well.

We've summarized the screen stuff here, but who're we kidding — most players were there for the Village news. Capcom didn't disappoint on that front, revealing a freaky new trailer alongside word that a second RE Village demo is coming our way next week. On top of that, game director Morimasa Sato announced "an additional challenge" called The Mercenaries, a "bonus mode" included with the main game that harkens back to the Mercenaries DNA first introduced in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis — with a few new twists.

Unlike January's Maiden demo, the new demo will be time-limited to a one-hour playthrough (within an 8-hour window), multi-platform, and staggered between consoles. The main demo will release for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia on May 1. PlayStation players, though, will get early access via a special timed event that producer Tsuyoshi Kanda called "8 hours in Village" — though the catch is that it comes in two installments, each a week apart, and players will have to divvy up their full demo hour between two 30-minute jaunts in both the village area (coming April 17) and the castle area (landing a week later on April 24.)

That's a lot to wrap your head around, we know — and Capcom's demo landing page doesn't make the job of sorting it all out any easier. Keep an eye on it anyway as the updates come rolling along, as well as to secure your demo pre-order, which went live for PlayStation owners as soon as the April 15 showcase ended.

What about The Mercenaries? It's free bonus content that comes with Village, and it folds in characters and themes from across the RE franchise for an arcade-style set of speed challenges that evolve the Mercenaries concept that longtime fans already are familiar with. This time out, players will be able to tweak their weapons and gear in between missions by visiting The Duke's emporium (he's the too-jolly shopkeeper you'll also encounter curing your main RE Village playthrough).

Sato possibly hinted, without saying outright, that The Mercenaries may hide treats that could be useful beyond a single playthrough, describing the add-on as "a rich gameplay experience full of surprises, with special rewards for those who persevere." Whether the loot you collect can carry over into Village itself or no, The Mercenaries comes with a new Abilities feature; one that brings new strategic elements like deciding whether to increase your weapons damage, your guard protection, or your movement speed.

The Mercenaries is strictly a free bonus mode that sweetens the deal for anyone who buys a copy of the main game, and all of it's coming our way — preceded by Lady D's long shadow — when Resident Evil Village releases on May 7.

The best of the rest

Resident Evil 4 stalks to VR

Resident Evil 4 gameplay

Thought we were done with Resident Evil? Too bad, because Resident Evil definitely isn't done with us. Capcom gave fans so much RE news this week that it's hard to cram it all into a single tidy spot — including word that the franchise is making its first fully-committed foray into the world of virtual reality.

Oculus is holding its first-ever VR gaming showcase on April 21, and Capcom is bringing the scares in a big way with this week's new announcement that a VR version of Resident Evil 4 will be coming exclusively to the Oculus Quest 2. It's (almost) the first full VR experience for a Resident Evil game: Resident Evil 7 did release for PlayStation VR back in 2017, though it was largely unchanged from the base game's 1st-person point of view.

RE4, though, is getting the full VR makeover treatment via a collaboration between Facebook-owned Oculus, Capcom, and Armature Studio (founded by former members of the Metroid Prime development team). Capcom said its revered 2005 title will come complete with a VR-appropriate shift to a 1st-person perspective — which will definitely shake up the way you remember playing from RE4's classic 3rd-person shooter point of view.

Capcom left additional details for Oculus to share during its upcoming VR showcase, and it's only a short wait before we learn more: the showcase goes live on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook at 6 p.m. ET on April 21.

Oh Snap! Switch revives Pokémon's N64 glory days

Snap to attention, Pokémon fans, because a sequel more than 20 years in the making is heading to the Nintendo Switch this month. Bandai Namco and The Pokémon Company are prepping New Pokémon Snap for an April 30 release, and to get the larger Pokémon ecosystem involved, there's a New Pokémon Snap event set to kick off within Pokémon GO a day before Snap makes its Switch debut.

The New Pokémon Snap celebration will be a weekend-long event that gives GO players a first taste of the new game's Lental region (featured in the clip above), as well as some of the Pokémon who'll be taking point in Snap. Over four days, players also will have the chance "to complete event-exclusive photography-themed research tasks and encounter Pokémon featured in New Pokémon Snap, such as Venusaur, Dodrio, and Skarmory," the Pokémon Company teases.

And because someone mentioned pictures, it's only natural that Smeargle will also be right in the middle of things: "Since Smeargle loves popping up in Trainers' snapshots, the Painter Pokémon will be making several appearances throughout the New Pokémon Snap Celebration. If you're lucky, you might even encounter a Shiny Smeargle during the event."

Pokémon Snap debuted way back in 1999 on the Nintendo 64, bringing the franchise some of its earliest 3D-rendered console action as an on-rails sim that had players doing Poké-research to achieve the best possible photos. New Pokémon Snap is set to hit the Switch beginning April 30. Check out the New Pokémon Snap celebration website for all the Pokémon GO crossover details.

Grab a pizza! TMNT has a new retro fighter

Switch players will also be getting a chance to do some old-school brawlin' on the half shell later this year when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge brings retro-inspired side-scrolling melee action to Nintendo's hybrid console. Nintendo and developer DotEmu revealed the 1980s-themed turtle fighter with a throwback trailer that celebrates its pixellated art-style vibe, complete with Super NES-worthy tag-team strike animations:

Nintendo doesn't have to pitch this one too hard (they had us at "retro-inspired beat 'em up action"), but nevertheless teases "groundbreaking gameplay rooted in timeless classic brawling mechanics," plus a fight quest that will find the "Turtles battling across a righteous range of timeless TMNT locations. From Manhattan and Coney Island, to city rooftops and dank sewers, help the fearsome foursome trounce Foot Soldiers, Triceraton Warriors, and Rock Troops all the way to Dimension X!"

There's no firm release date, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is set to slice and dice its way onto the Switch sometime this year.