As Silent Hills goes quiet, Banjo-Kazooie's 'spiritual successor' eases my aching heart

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Week in Gaming

Metal Gear and Silent Hill are not series known for the clarity and simplicity of their narrative. More for paranoia, uncertainty and impenetrable fog. So no surprise then that after MGS creator Kojima became attached to a Silent Hill project (called Silent Hills), it's all ended it in mystery and confusion.

Is Kojima in trouble? Will he ever make games again? What about the sausage tweets? Won't somebody think of the sausage tweets!

It certainly seems that Koj is no longer on the team for Metal Gear, and Silent Hills is no more. The sequel, which was to be a collaboration with Guillermo Del Toro and Walking Dead star Norman Reedus, has been pulled. Even more disappointingly, the Playable Teaser (PT) has disappeared from the PlayStation Store.

PT was a nice bit of PR for Silent Hills, as well as a lovely game in its own right – though perhaps "lovely" isn't the word. On completing the horror game, which led players through a loop of increasingly terrifying corridors, players were rewarded with a confirmation of Silent Hills' development. Not any more! Anyone who already owns it can keep it, but that's little consolation. Bad times.

In chirpier news, Playtonic Studios, comprised mostly of ex-Rare developers, has just revealed its first game: Yooka-Laylee. Originally titled "Project Ukelele" – see what they did there? – the game has been hailed by almost everyone as a spiritual successor to Rare's retro masterpiece, Banjo-Kazooie. Adorable, brightly-coloured worlds? Cartoony graphics? Two main characters, one of them sitting on the other? Not sure I can see the resemblance, to be honest. Yooka is a chameleon, and Laylee is a purple bat, but people don't seem too sure on their genders yet, with Playtonic themselves saying "guess."

Speaking of which, Minecraft has added a rather exciting, if overdue, feature this week: default female characters. On the Mojang website, Owen Hill noted that "jolly old Steve doesn't really represent the diversity of our playerbase." Dang right, Owen! I've played a fair bit of Minecraft, and I don't own any blue shirts. The new skins, known collectively as "Alex," feature "thinner arms, redder hair, and a ponytail" as well as other variants with dark skin, different hair or even a Scottish costume. Not so sure about that one.

The change comes after 12-year-old girl and badass Madeline Messer wrote an article about the inexcusable lack of default female characters in games, from mobile to console. Many games make female characters a purchasable extra, and others offer you dudes and nothing more. So it's about time, Minecraft.

One alpha male who isn't fading in the face of this onslaught of diversity is Watch Dogs' Aiden Pearce, The "gruff," "iconic" protagonist is making his way back into our lives, now that the existence of Watch Dogs 2 has apparently been leaked by a Ubisoft employee on his LinkedIn page. It's not a huge surprise that Ubi is making a sequel to its interesting yet flawed game, especially as the developer is only making about 20 games already, which is about 1000 fewer than normal.

Lastly, something to inject a bit of humour into your Saturday. Some people think that GTA has become a bit po-faced and lost the anarchic wit that once made it great. One enterprising modder has fixed that for GTA V on PC by letting you ragdoll at any point – including cutscenes. HILARITY ENSUES.

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