Welcome to Replay, WIRED’s rundown of the week’s biggest videogame news. Quite a bit happened in the industry this week—and a big chunk of it involved coronavirus. Let’s get started.
Many Companies Are Pulling Out of GDC Over Coronavirus Concerns
Last week, we reported that a few companies, notably Sony and Facebook, were pulling out of this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco out of an abundance of caution over coronavirus. Now, as the virus has had its first “community spread” case in northern California and San Francisco has declared a state of emergency to help handle further developments with the virus, a lot more companies are taking a pass on this year’s GDC.
By “a lot” we mean that this list of companies might be outdated by the time you read this story. As of now, though, the list includes Epic, Amazon, Unity, EA, Kojima Productions, Blizzard, Microsoft, Iron Galaxy Studios, and Activision. As reported by The Verge, GDC’s organizers are, for now, standing by a statement released yesterday that indicated the event will be moving forward as planned. “If our assessment of the situation changes,” the statement reads, “based on new and evolving developments or updated information, we will promptly update the statement regarding the status of GDC 2020 accordingly.” If GDC does happen, it will be a very different show than it’s ever been before. (After this post published, the organizers of GDC announced the event has been postponed.)
Oh, and Eve Fanfest Is Being Outright Canceled
The toll taken by Covid-19 and the fear of its spread goes far beyond the United States, however. As Rock Paper Shotgun reports, organizers have canceled the massively popular Eve Fanfest, a convention dedicated to the massively multiplayer online space empire simulator Eve Online. The event, typically held annually in Reykjavik, Iceland, is run directly by CCP, the game’s developer and publisher. It’s still possible the new coronavirus will not spread as widely as some fear, but whether it does or not, it seems likely 2020 will be an unusually quiet year in games as companies prepare for the worst.
In Other News, the Monster Hunter Movie Looks Kind of Amazing
Depending on what kind of videogame fan you are, you might have one of two distinct feelings about Paul W.S. Anderson. Either he’s the mad auteur who makes schlocky nonsense movie adaptations of videogames, or he’s the mad auteur who makes schlocky nonsense movie adaptations of videogames that you really love. We tend to be in the latter camp, and if you are too then get ready to be excited about Monster Hunter, which stars Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa as two people in a fantasy land who … hunt giant monsters. OK, yeah, sorry. That was all clear from the title. Anyway.
Courtesy of io9, we have two posters for the film, and they look low-key incredible? Like, what’s stunning about this is how well they reproduce the rugged aesthetics of the games, where everything you wear and wield is built from the bodies of monsters. It’s a very particular look, and to see Jovovich and Jaa rocking it, complete with giant ridiculous swords, is extremely satisfying on a level that’s hard to articulate. Look for Monster Hunter, courtesy of Sony, this September.
Recommendation of the Week: Monster Hunter World on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4
Speaking of, did you play Monster Hunter World? The most fun and most approachable game in the famously dense series, it’s also the most advanced in terms of graphics and tech. Explore a whole massive island of monsters to hunt, and hunt some more, and hunt again until you can craft the greatsword of your dreams. The fights are thrilling, a recent expansion added a massive frozen section to the game world, and you have a cat companion who follows you around and helps you with your various tasks. You get to customize the cat. It gets its own cute armor sets. Need we say more?
Updated 2-28-20, 7:35 pm EST: This story was updated with the news that the organizers of GDC have postponed the event.
More Great WIRED Stories