At this point, you'd think free-to-play developers like NetEase would have run out of brands to slap on top of the typical free-to-play genres we're all familiar with, and then a new disappointing announcement comes rolling in. It would appear that NetEase is working on a licensed The Lord of the Rings game, which just popped up on the Play Store for pre-registration. It's called The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, and even though neither the Play Store trailer nor the screenshots show a lick of gameplay, we already know this title will land as a typical free-to-play kingdom builder.
NetEase has just announced that it's partnered with 11 Bit Studios to bring the popular post-apocalyptic city-builder Frostpunk to Android and iOS, but thanks to today's nebulous PR, it's unclear if this is going to be a port or an offshoot mobile interpretation. Thankfully NetEase has confirmed to me that this will not be a separate title but will instead exist alongside the core game with a few changes for mobile play, much like the difference between EVE Echoes and EVE Online.
Earlier this week Diablo Immortal entered into a closed alpha test in Australia, and I've managed to gain access to this alpha and so I've recorded an hour-long gameplay video at 1080p/60FPS so everyone can see how it currently plays. This video shows off all of the selectable characters, the game's settings, and offers plenty of gameplay as the Crusader. While Blizzard is adamant that Diablo Immortal is still a work in progress, since the current alpha is limited to Australia I figured those around the rest of the world might want to see how development is moving forward.
Blizzard has announced that the latest alpha test for Diablo Immortal is underway. Much like the technical alpha that launched back in December, this new closed alpha is available primarily to those that live in Australia. Keep in mind this is a limited alpha, so only a select number of people will be able to get in. As expected, this limited alpha signals that development is continuing forward, especially now that there is some end-game content available along with new zones, dungeons, and a raised level cap.
A NetEase developer known as Dahua Studios has just announced that it's working on an upcoming racing game for mobile in conjunction with Codemasters, and it will enter into open beta this month. The game is called Racing Master. It's a real-time simulation racer that's utilizing the Unreal 4 engine as well as some proprietary Codemasters tech, who just so happens to be a developer with a slew of famous racers under its belt, such as DiRT, GRID, and F1.
Back in October (2020), NetEase caught everyone by surprise by announcing that it would bring ArtPlay's indie Metroidvania title Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to Android and iOS. In the following week, the game landed on the Play Store for pre-registration, with an iOS listing hinting at a December 4th release. Well, it would appear the game has arrived a little early, which means you can already grab Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from the Play Store for $9.99. Of course, I've taken the game for a spin to offer my thoughts, which you can read in full after the break.
In cooperation with ArtPlay Games, NetEase just announced that it will bring the popular Metroidvania title Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to Android and iOS, and the game will be released worldwide as a premium title, just like on consoles and PC. Bloodstained was created by Koji Igarashi, the producer behind some of the more popular Castlevania titles such as Harmony of Dissonance. This is why the 2019 release for Bloodstained was hotly anticipated, which is why I'm sure more than a few people will be excited to see how the game stacks up on mobile.
Marvel Super War is a newly-announced MOBA from NetEase and Marvel Entertainment that's coming to Android and iOS, and it just entered into its first closed beta. The title will feature everyone's favorite heroes and villains from the Marvel universe, and each character will offer a variety of powers that players will be able to utilize in combat.
Tom and Jerry: Chase has existed in China for over two years and proved to be an exceptionally popular title with over 100 million registered users, and so NetEase has finally released the game in more territories. Specifically, this 1v4 asymmetric mobile game is now available in Southeast Asia, which could be a sign the game will eventually make its way West. While there's no word from NetEase or Warner Brothers that Tom and Jerry: Chase will see a wider release outside of SEA, the fact the title has finally left China is a good sign both companies are interested in a broader market.
It would appear that many people are greatly anticipating the release of Eve Echoes, and even though we still haven't heard word-one about an official release date for the sandbox MMO, development is now delayed thanks to the coronavirus. As of this morning, the official Eve Echoes account on Twitter has stipulated that the COVID-19 epidemic has "hindered the developer's schedule," and while an official release date has yet to be decided, the game is expected to be launched at the end of 2020.