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Nordic Game Awards 2018 - full list of nominations

Nordic Game of the Year

A Hat in Time, developed by Gears for Breakfast, Denmark
ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios, Sweden
Nex Machina, developed by Housemarque, Finland
SteamWorld Dig 2, developed by Image & Form, Sweden
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, developed by MachineGames, Sweden

Nordic Game of the Year: Small Screen

Milkmaid of the Milky Way, developed by Machineboy, Norway
OCMO, developed by Team OCMO, Finland
Pako 2, developed by Tree men games, Finland
Returner 77, developed by Fantastic, Yes!, Denmark
SteamWorld Dig 2, developed by Image & Form, Sweden

Best Art

ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios, Sweden
Milkmaid of the Milky Way, developed by Machineboy, Norway
Nex Machina, developed by Housemarque, Finland
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, developed by MachineGames, Sweden

Best Game Design

A Hat in Time, developed by Gears for Breakfast, Denmark
ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios, Sweden
SteamWorld Dig 2, developed by Image & Form, Sweden
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, developed by MachineGames, Sweden
World to the West, developed by Rain AS, Norway

Best Technology

ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Fugl, developed by Muunluun, Norway
Sparc, developed by CCP, Iceland
Star Wars Battlefront 2, developed by EA DICE, Sweden
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, developed by MachineGames, Sweden

Best Audio

ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Figment, developed by Bedtime Digital Games, Denmark
Little Nightmares, developed by Tarsier Studios, Sweden
Nex Machina, developed by Housemarque, Finland
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, developed by MachineGames, Sweden

Best Fun for Everyone

A Hat in Time, developed by Gears for Breakfast, Denmark
Fugl, developed by Muunluun, Norway
Little Police, developed by Filimundus, Sweden
Ocmo, developed by Team OCMO, Finland
Passpartout: The Starving Artist, developed by Flamebait Games, Sweden

Best Debut

A Hat in Time, developed by Gears for Breakfast, Denmark
ECHO, developed by Ultra Ultra, Denmark
Milkmaid of the Milky Way, developed by Machineboy, Norway
Ocmo, developed by Team OCMO, Finland
Passpartout: The Starving Artist, developed by Flamebait Games, Sweden

Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers - more screens

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As a team, defend a post-apocalyptic wild west from an invasion of transforming rock monsters alongside your Mii™ character, Dillon the armadillo, and his squirrel engineer, Russ. Recruit hired gunners to back you up in battle, and then roll into fights and high-speed chases and take down waves of enemies as Dillon—the "Red Flash" himself!

Nintendo grabs trademarks in Japan for Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Paper Mario, Dr. Mario, and Punch-Out!!

Nintendo has once again filed for a series of trademarks in Japan. This time they're snatching up Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Paper Mario, Dr. Mario and Punch-Out!!. The purpose of these trademarks is listed as ‘video game program’ and ‘downloadable video game program’.

Japanese software/hardware sales - April 16th to 22nd, 2018

01./00. [NSW] Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit (Nintendo) {2018.04.20} (¥6.980) - 90.410 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] God of War # (Sony Interactive Entertainment) {2018.04.20} (¥6.900) - 46.091 / NEW
03./00. [NSW] Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 02: Robot Kit (Nintendo) {2018.04.20} (¥7.980) - 28.629 / NEW
04./02. [NSW] Kirby Star Allies (Nintendo) {2018.03.16} (¥5.980) - 17.381 / 433.488 (-27%)
05./03. [NSW] Splatoon 2 # (Nintendo) {2017.07.21} (¥5.980) - 16.617 / 2.248.923 (-11%)
06./01. [NSW] The Snack World: TreJarers Gold (Level 5) {2018.04.12} (¥5.980) - 15.847 / 51.502 (-56%)
07./00. [PS4] Metal Max Xeno # (Kadokawa Games) {2018.04.19} (¥6.980) - 15.044 / NEW
08./06. [NSW] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo) {2017.04.28} (¥5.980) - 11.393 / 1.484.644 (-8%)
09./00. [PSV] Metal Max Xeno # (Kadokawa Games) {2018.04.19} (¥6.980) - 8.355 / NEW
10./08. [NSW] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild # (Nintendo) {2017.03.03} (¥6.980) - 6.895 / 961.427 (-1%)
11./09. [NSW] Super Mario Odyssey # (Nintendo) {2017.10.27} (¥5.980) - 6.491 / 1.697.522 (-6%)
12./05. [PS4] Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft) {2018.03.29} (¥8.400) - 6.280 / 122.958 (-57%)
13./07. [PS4] Cities: Skylines - PlayStation 4 Edition (Spike Chunsoft) {2018.04.12} (¥5.400) - 5.750 / 17.116 (-49%)
14./13. [3DS] Pokemon Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon (Pokemon Co.) {2017.11.17} (¥4.980) - 3.569 / 1.618.478 (-9%)
15./04. [PS4] Death end re;Quest # (Compile Heart) {2018.04.12} (¥7.200) - 3.348 / 18.651 (-78%)
16./00. [NSW] Portal Knights (Spike Chunsoft) {2018.04.19} (¥3.300) - 3.226 / NEW
17./00. [NSW] Neo Atlas 1469 # (Artdink) {2018.04.19} (¥5.980) - 3.176 / NEW
18./16. [PS4] Monster Hunter: World # (Capcom) {2018.01.26} (¥8.980) - 3.103 / 2.006.158 (-15%)
19./15. [PS4] Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege - Advanced Edition (Ubisoft) {2018.03.01} (¥6.000) - 2.896 / 41.872 (-22%)
20./14. [3DS] Detective Pikachu (Pokemon Co.) {2018.03.23} (¥4.980) - 2.817 / 71.209 (-27%)

Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon - Yveltal and Xerneas distribution kicks off May 4th, 2018 in U.S.

Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon distribution of Yveltal and Xerneas

- go to Gamestop stores from May 4th through May 27th
- receive Yveltal in Sun & Ultra Sun and Xerneas in Moon & Ultra Moon

Ballads of Hyrule Offers Majestic Spin on The Legend of Zelda

SEATTLE - April 25, 2018 - Materia Collective is thrilled to announce Ballads of Hyrule, a collection of orchestral arrangements from The Legend of Zelda series, envisioned as an adventurous night walk across the lands of Hyrule. Ballads of Hyrule makes for a perfect companion to 2017's smash-hit Sins of Hyrule album, which provided an epic retelling the mythology of The Legend of Zelda. Ballads of Hyrule is licensed and available for pre-order ahead of the May 1, 2018 release in digital and CD formats as well as limited edition vinyl:

Ballads of Hyrule Pre-Order on Bandcamp

Ballads of Hyrule includes several fan-favorite tracks from across the series, such as "Song of Storms" and "Zelda's Lullaby" from Ocarina of Time, "Ballad of the Windfish" from Link's Awakening, "Outset Island" and "Dragon Roost Island" from Wind Waker, and "Kass's Theme" from Breath of the Wild." The full track list for Ballads of Hyrule is as follows:

01. Fairy's Tears
02. Ballad of the Windfish
03. Lost in the Wind
04. Sheik's Devotion
05. Kass's Theme
06. Moonlit Stroll on Dragoon Roost Island
07. Zora's Domain
08. Serenade of Water
09. Kakariko Village
10. Stables ~ Epona
11. Come Visit From Time to Time
12. Song of Storms
13. Nayru's Love
14. Din's Fire
15. Farore's Wind

"Ballads of Hyrule is the spiritual antithesis to Sins of Hyrule," explains arranger Rozen. "The goal is to draw you into the more contemplative side of the lands of Hyrule; a nocturnal walk that feeds on the gifts left by the three goddesses: Nayru, Farore and Din, captured in nature."

The album will also ship on a 4-panel digipak CD and limited edition vinyl. The vinyl will sport beautiful artwork and a sleek white record that will be limited to only 500 units that will ship Q3 2018.

Sanrio Characters Picross - more screens

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I'm guessing this is going to make it over to Europe in the future. You've seen all the Hello Kitty 3DS skins that they release over there! Surely they can't leave all these Sanrio characters to just the Japanese fans!

Yo-Kai Watch Busters 2 - Version 1.5.0 update available

Version 1.5.0

- five star coin
- easier to play the story of Banbaraya after completing the main story
- bug fixes

Persona series website shifts Persona Q2's platform from 3DS to TBD

Well, this could be a bit of bad news for the 3DS. The official Japanese website for the Persona series has made a slight change that fans are taking notice of. Persona Q2, which was announced for 3DS quite some time ago, has now had its platform changed to TBD. This is going to be a big deal in Japan, as Persona Q2 has been topping Famitsu's most wanted list for a number of months. If anything, we can hope that the title has been shifted over to Switch.

Nintendo on always trying new things and surprising players, how they hire new staff, teams working together, and embracing unique ideas

Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi

“People always ask us whether we take risks on purpose. But to us, we don’t really take risks – we just keep trying new things. The thinking that guides us is: what can we do to pleasantly surprise players? It’s not that we’re consciously trying to innovate; we’re trying to find ways to make people happy. The result is that we come up with things other people have not done.

In many cases, we begin by assigning a small group to a project; not necessarily senior staff, but developers, to try and come up with ideas. Those lead to the end product. Super Mario Odyssey is a good example to explain this: we actually had several small groups and as a result we had many different ideas, which we then put together to make a single product. Naturally during the course of early development, we find the right mission for each project. I believe every game has a different mission. With [Nintendo Switch launch game] 1-2 Switch, for example, the mission was to make a party game where players would not have to look at the screen – where people would face each other.”

Nintendo's unique approach also bleeds into how they hire new employees, which Takahashi detailed.

“The Japanese hiring system is different from western companies. Typically in Japan, we hire people straight out of college. We have many candidates applying to Nintendo, and in many cases, the ones we hire are the ones who really understand what they have accomplished through their college years. If we see an artist who was very focused and determined about creating a single large-scale project, and they accomplished this over many years, or if we see a person who worked on a single movie from the beginning to the end of their course – that type of person needs a lot of determination and knowledge to accomplish such a thing. That’s what we’re looking for.

The bottom line is, the quality of the end product that those students created doesn’t really matter to me. How they kept their focus, what they thought throughout those years … that’s what important to me. We like our staff members to be as creative as possible – and creative people should not just listen to their bosses saying ‘Yes sir’, or ‘Yes ma’am’. I want them to always ask themselves, ‘Is this direction correct?’”

One of the keys to Nintendo's success is the cooperation between the hardware and software teams. Their close-knit nature is crucial for fostering new ideas.

“We have the software team and the hardware team working very closely together. From the hardware perspective, they will sometimes come to the software group and say, ‘We have this particular chipset that we’re thinking about using in our next system, can you take advantage of this?’ But sometimes, the software team goes to hardware team and says, ‘We’re working with this theme, can you look into the technical possibilities, and see if you can come up with hardware features to accommodate it?’

This is the advantage we have at Nintendo as a software/hardware integrated organisation – when we do research for our new hardware systems, our software developers, our artists, our programmers and our hardware engineers all get together and decide what we should aim for. We’ve been doing that for many years.”

Sometimes those teams are looking at the latest industry tech, and other times they come up with an idea like Nintendo Labo. Takahashi discussed how Nintendo's approach leads them to both new and old tech.

“We want to make new and surprising things, so we always keep an eye on new technology. That said, in order for us to create surprising things, we also look at older technologies to see if we can leverage them in new ways. New technologies tend to be a bit too advanced – we try to find ways to make technology more approachable.”