This week's episode of New Releases kicks off the month of March, which brings plenty of sequels and console exclusives, like the much-anticipated Sea of Thieves, which is finally leaving port after a few delays. Nintendo Switch gets an adventure all its own with Kirby Star Allies, while RPG fans can dive into Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom on PS4 and PC. You can also work together to escape prison in the EA Original title A Way Out, or shoot your way to freedom in Far Cry 5.
Kirby Star Allies -- March 16
Available on: Nintendo Switch
The pink puffball's latest adventure is all about working together, even if you're playing alone. That means four-player co-op is included, but you can also use the new heart mechanic to bring enemies over to your side if you don't have a full party. Of course, the real treat here is seeing an insanely buff King Dedede.
- Nintendo Switch Exclusive Kirby Game Features A Weirdly Buff King Dedede
- All The New Switch Games Shown During The Nintendo Direct January 2018
Sea of Thieves -- March 20
Available on: Xbox One, PC
If I tell you that Sea of Thieves is all about gathering a pirate crew with your friends, you can probably figure the rest out: you can explore a massive ocean, run a tight ship, battle other crews, search for buried treasure, and so much more. You might even run into a kraken or two.
- Sea Of Thieves For Xbox One And PC: 10 Reasons We’re Excited
- PC's Sea Of Thieves Requirements, Recommended Specs Announced
A Way Out -- March 23
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
A Way Out is a forced co-op game--one player controls Leo, the other controls Vincent--where your goal is to escape prison. In practice, this means one of you can be stuck in a cut scene while the other explores or take on a sticky situation from multiple angles.
- EA's Co-Op Prison Escape Game A Way Out Crosses A Big Milestone
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Available on: PS4, PC
This RPG sequel had its own set of delays, but it'll soon be time to help King Evan restore his stolen throne. New to the game are the Pikmin-like Higgledies, which can be commanded in battle. And you'll definitely be having plenty of those across the game's open world.
- Check Out A New Boss Fight From PS4/PC's Beautiful RPG Ni No Kuni 2
- New Ni No Kuni 2 Footage Shows Off Real-Time Army Battles And Another Boss
Far Cry 5 -- March 27
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Even Far Cry 5 had its share of delays, but it's still looking to make a bang this month. The latest entry in the shooter series eschews the typical exotic locale for a home-grown conflict in the American midwest. You'll be fighting to liberate an entire county from a gun-toting cult.
- How Far Cry 5 Balances Philosophical Introspection And Hunting Bears With Bazookas
Monster Hunter Worldhas been throwing haymakers left and right for Capcom, regularly overcoming sales milestones for the developer. Consider the most important milestone of all conquered as of today, as Monster Hunter World becomes the best-selling Capcom game of all time.
Eurogamerreports that Monster Hunter World current sits at 7.5 million copies shipped since its launch in January and this is well before the PC version releases this fall. The game has already earned the label of “fasting selling” for Capcom and, even with a significant drop-off after three months, the overall sales of the game are going to receive a major shot in the arm when it launches on PC. Another developer would like to bring it to another platform as well.
IGNcaught wind of a tweet showing that Iron Galaxy, the studio responsible for somehow porting Bethesda’s massive Skyrim to the Nintendo Switch,is interested inan opportunity to bring Capcom's big hit to the hybrid console.
Dear @monsterhunter team at Capcom - we understand that porting the game to Nintendo Switch is challenging (https://t.co/0JrAIQgcft) but this is exactly what @IToTheG does. Give us a shot & we won’t let you down ;)— Adam Boyes (@amboyes) March 3, 2018
The Monster Hunter franchise is no stranger to Nintendo platforms, having made appearances on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, so this potential outcome isn’t far-fetched at all. With Monster Hunter World performing so admirably for the company, maybe we’ll get a response sooner rather than later and add to the Switch’s solid library. We’ll report as more information is made available. No matter where you play the game, keep ourMonster Hunter World Guide and Walkthrough bookmarked.
It all started as a predawn tweet:
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 21, 2018
But after the U.S. men’s Olympic curling team won gold in Pyeongchang, we knew it had to become reality. So, on Friday, despite bad weather in the Northeast — which left Nate calling in from an airport tarmac after his flight was diverted — I was joined in the FiveThirtyEight podcast studio by Olympic champion curlers John Shuster, Tyler George and Matt Hamilton.
We talked about curling analytics, the team’s new celebrity fans and where the sport goes from here. You can listen to it on your phone by subscribing to our NBA podcast, “The Lab,”1 or by clicking the play button below.
Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
On advice for first-time curlers:
Hamilton: “My best advice would be, don’t fall. In my first game at the Olympics, I fell. So don’t go down — it’s still hard ice. But in seriousness, if you go in with an open mind and are really curious about the sport itself — not just the throwing aspects, but actually immersing yourself in what curling is about — you’ll find all these people who are so willing to help and teach and get you into the strategy, which is really the draw. … Making shots is great, and it felt good when you made your first couple of shots in curling when you tried it, but when you finally learn why you’re throwing that shot, why making that shot set you up later in the game to win, it’s just a remarkable feeling. It really is like chess on ice, just that mental game mixed with a finesse game, mixed with the brute force of sweeping. It has all the aspects of a really fun game.”
On preparing with analytics guru Gerry Geurts of CurlingZone.com:
Hamilton: “He sat us down at our summer camp and explained to us where we sat [among] elite players at certain things, like with the hammer/without the hammer, up by one with the hammer/down by one with the hammer … and it went on for all of the potential scoring scenarios. And he gave us feedback [on] which positions we could be better at, which ones we’re really good at, where we need to keep doing what we’re doing. Then he gave us some info on other teams in those same kind of numbers. … I’d be lying if I said that didn’t come into play at all.”
On the flaws of using curling percentage to judge players and teams:
George: “It’s incredibly subjective because it depends on what types of shots you’re playing. And the way that they do stats for the television events [is] really simplistic because they’re only going on make/miss or how close you were to making the shot [but] not factoring in the difficulty of the shot. … So for the viewer at home, looking at our percentages, they probably thought that we weren’t playing nearly as well as our record would imply. … But a lot of that is because we’re playing with a lot more rocks in play. We’re making a lot more difficult shots, but the viewers are not seeing that.”
On the role analytics might have in the game in the future:
George: “There’s a major change coming up next season where they’re literally changing the rules in the game, where stats are going to have to be applied to figure out what the best strategies are … (Editor’s note: The change involves being able to add one extra protected stone to the area in front of the house.) It doesn’t seem like much — it’s only one more rock that you can’t take out to play — but it completely changes the strategy of how you start ends out, and they’ve been using it in Grand Slam events so far. So you see it maybe six or seven times a year, and teams are still kind of tinkering with strategy on how to defend, especially [because] it’s a way more offensive game. … Stats are going to be huge in figuring out the best ways to go about defending with this new strategy because we just haven’t done it that much.”
On whether curling will be able to capitalize on its newfound popularity:
Shuster: “I think you’re going to see it because [of] the ratings that we were getting during the Olympics and the ratings we’ve been getting with “Curling Night in America” the last couple of years. What happens is, we haven’t had national television coverage between Olympic cycles, and then every Olympics we get more and more coverage and the ratings get better and better. And then all of a sudden, NBC Sports Network ran “Curling Night in America,” so we had a weekly show going on. After we won the gold, they’re going to show one live game every single day during the world [championships] that are coming up in Vegas. … I think curling right now could be on [the same] trajectory as something like poker was 10 years ago. If the world championships are high-quality, entertaining TV this year, people are going to demand it more, and we’re going to start seeing it on more of a regular basis moving forward.”