Triumph through adversity. Such has always been the way of Final Fantasy, which seems to exist in its own perpetual struggle. Indeed, it thrives off it - the series name famously originated from creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, working out of a then-beleaguered Square on what he believed at the time to be his last project. Later projects, such as Final Fantasy 12 - a high point for the series, in my own opinion - came from tumultuous development, and of course most recently Final Fantasy 15 marked the end of a very long, winding and often torturous road.
Compare and contrast the lead-up to the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 with developer Monolith Soft's last two Nintendo outings (or indeed its last effort, given how it lent a hand with Breath of the Wild) and you can't help but feel it's all been a little muted. Perhaps it's just circumstance; this is coming at the tail-end of a spectacularly busy year for the Switch, hot on the heels of a mainline Mario. But when the first Xenoblade Chronicles launched on the Wii it was the culmination of a long journey for creator Tetsuya Takahashi, and perhaps the first game capable of matching his grand ambition, and when spiritual successor Xenoblade Chronicles X arrived some five years later there wasn't much else for Wii U owners to cheer for.
Gran Turismo Sport is getting its first major update since its release last month, with a sizeable and more traditional single player campaign coming alongside a suite of new cars in December.
Let's take a second to salute Driveclub, the PlayStation 4 launch title that missed the launch, and then stalled upon its final release thanks to a number of technical gremlins and design oversights. Despite that drama, it flourished into something quite remarkable - a muscular racer with a touch of Project Gotham Racing's flair to its handling and some of Gran Turismo's polish in its impeccable looks. Against the odds, it became what's set to be one of this generation's finest driving games.
Nintendo has just released details of a series of major updates coming to Splatoon 2, with new modes, maps and music all inbound.
Arms - Nintendo's best game of 2017 and I won't hear otherwise, thank you very much - is getting another significant update tomorrow, with version 4.0 introducing an all-new character, a new stage, a new element and a new mode. All gratis, of course.
Let's get straight to the burning issue, shall we? Towards the tail-end of Star Wars Battlefront's release, EA made noises that it was thinking about doing away with the traditional season pass that accompanied its big ticket console games, a model its multiplayer shooters had been stuck with for some time - with numerous associated problems. The base games often felt a little lacking, and more painfully the player base was split - an issue that had an impact on long-term players as numbers dwindled and were spread too thin.
After a day of outcry, upset and what's shaping up to be reddit's most downvoted comment ever, EA has responded to the fallout from Star Wars Battlefront 2's progression system, slashing hero costs so players can get their hands on characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker much, much quicker.
Recent years have seen the rise of one particularly positive story; that of the gamer turned professional racing driver, as personified by Lucas Ordˇ˝ez, Jann Mardenborough or the eventual winner of McLaren's world's fastest gamer competition that's been running through the year. This one, though, is entirely new to me - it's about a bona fide racing driver turned game developer.
I've got my own particular tale about a hamster and a vacuum cleaner, but it's probably for the best I don't share it here (I was eight years old, me and my friend were very stupid and it's not something I'd ever do again. The hamster lived, though). This tale's a bit more savoury, and it's about Monster Hunter World's best new beast.
Where exactly to start with Need for Speed Payback, Ghost Games' third take on EA's long-running arcade racer series? Let's go with Tyler Morgan, the figurehead of the three-strong crew you take control of in your attempt to win back the streets of Fortune City, an expansive caricature of Las Vegas that stretches from a city that bustles with casinos out to the dusty wilds. This is Tyler - or 'Ty', to his friends.
Nintendo's just wrapped up its Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Direct presentation, revealing a handful of new details for the imminent JRPG from Monolith Soft.
Monster Hunter, in case you didn't already know, is great. A series of boisterous action games that charge you with tracking down and felling preposterous, wonderfully realised beasts before skinning them so that you might make a new pair of trousers from their hide then go and hunt some more. It's an intoxicating loop honed over generations, though not without inheriting a few of its own little quirks along the way.
Just when you think you know someone near and dear, they go and surprise you all over again. It's been some 12 years since Shadow of the Colossus' original release, and one remaster and a fresh new remake later it's lost absolutely none of its ability to awe. This is a game whose power hasn't diminished one iota in all that time, and in Bluepoint's exquisite remake it's a game with the capacity to spring a surprise or two, no matter how familiar you are with the original.
David Cage is no stranger to controversy. Through the 20 years of Quantic Dream's existence - an anniversary celebrated after last night's PlayStation showcase that kicked off Paris Games Week - the French studio has always made games that push at various boundaries. The trailer for Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream's forthcoming PlayStation 4 game that explores the moral implications of the rise of artificial intelligence, was perhaps the developer's most controversial yet - a short, often brutal look at a chapter of protagonist Kara's story in which scenes of domestic abuse and child abuse feature heavily.
Samurai! Cars! Domestic abuse! Women being hit with hammers! It's your Sony conference. All the action as it happened.
They don't make them like they used to. Except, of course, when they do - such as with Inti Creates' lovingly crafted homages to 8-bit classics. Or, indeed, to some of the games that are embedded deep within this developer's blood; this is a studio, after all, formed from a team of Capcom veterans some 20 years ago, and that went on to make its name with the Mega Man Zero games at the turn of the century.
Well, isn't this quite the problem to be having. It really doesn't seem that long ago there were righteous complaints about the dearth of decent Nintendo titles, understandable given a fairly miserable 2016 which saw the Wii U shuffle off this mortal coil with little in the way of love or support. The assumption was, of course, that Nintendo was busying itself for what was set to be an important 2017 - but even then, I doubt anyone could have predicted what was to come.
It's only natural that a game set in the heavens would feel like something that's landed from a distant planet. Super Mario Galaxy, Tokyo EAD's dizzying spin on the Nintendo mascot's mainline series, is renowned for many things: for being a highlight of the Wii's catalogue, the follow-up to Super Mario 64 that particular trailblazer deserved and for being the very best of its generation. Yet, coming up to a whole ten years since it first launched, the whole thing still feels like a dream.
Way, way back in January at the final reveal event for Nintendo's Switch, we got news of a Shin Megami Tensei project coming to the hybrid console. And now, over ten months later, we know what that project will be.
There was a Sonic the Hedgehog game that came out a short while ago, you might have noticed. It was also a mighty fine Sonic the Hedgehog game, too, restoring a little swagger and glory to the series thanks to the efforts of Christian Whitehead and his team with the outstanding Sonic Mania.
You asked for it, and here it is. A campaign was, for many, the missing piece from 2015's Star Wars Battlefront, and the one key ingredient that could make its sequel worthwhile. Having played a slim handful of missions, it's certainly not been left wanting when it comes to budget, production values or sheer spectacle. This is as visually grandiose as Star Wars single player games have been to date.
Something had to give. After Gran Turismo 6, a wild, vast and maddeningly uneven game that whisked players from West Sussex to the moon and back in its eccentric hymn to the automobile, developer Polyphony Digital had to try a different tack. The result, a typically belated debut on Sony hardware from a studio renowned and often reviled for taking its sweet time over things, will likely prove as divisive as any Gran Turismo before it.
Editor's note: With the release of a new Gran Turismo due next week - some four years in after the last entry - we thought it'd be a good time to revisit our profile of the series' creator Kazunori Yamauchi, first published upon the release of Gran Turismo 6 back in 2013.
Lewis Hamilton, three-times Formula 1 world champion (and in all likelihood a four-times world champion, unless there's a miracle for Sebastien Vettel in the tail-end of this year's campaign), is to play a starring role in Gran Turismo Sport.
'The real driving simulator', runs Gran Turismo's long-serving tagline, a point of pride as well as something of a distinction - whether made consciously or not - between itself and its competitors. Gran Turismo has has always done a great job of the driving. It has not, historically, really delivered when it comes to the racing side of things, though.
It's coming up to a year since Final Fantasy 15 released, but it's not as if work has stopped on Square Enix's epic RPG. Updates keep rolling out, a PC version is in the works - as well as a Switch version, which is still in the very early planning stages - while we're still a chapter away from seeing the expansions, each centred around a member of the game's main cast, being released. It seems the transformation that this game went from, from Final Fantasy Versus 13 to Final Fantasy 15, wasn't the only one it'd see - over the past year, it's shifted from a boxed game with a handful of expansions to a constantly evolving game-as-service.
Heading into the release of Gran Turismo Sport - which is next week! - I was a little concerned that some of the series' trademark eccentricity might be lost as part of Polyphony Digital's new streamlined approach. How very wrong I was.
Is there any series as misunderstood as the mighty Warriors games? Unfairly written off by many as mindless hack and slash adventures, for me these grandiose brawlers are more about mindfulness. There's a wonderful rhythm to be found out on the battlefield, when you realise the theatrics of launching a hundred soldiers in the air with an overstated sweep of a sword are simply the flashy frame through which the real game happens. It's about reading the map, and methodically cleaning it of enemy troops; of tidying up a battlefield until everything's in order, and everything's in your possession. It's a gloriously relaxing game.
Arms, Nintendo's wonderful brawler which I'll keep mentioning until everyone's given it a fair shot, is getting another big new update, with a trailer that dropped during the weekend's Nintendo World Championships giving us a look at some fresh new features.