Welcome to the new-and-hopefully-improved Replay, WIRED’s twice monthly column where we round up some of the more interesting news unfolding in the world of video games. This time around, we have details about Nintendo’s face-off with a TikTok creator, Epic Games’ battle with Apple, and one modder’s quest to release a 60-fps version of Bloodborne. Let’s get started.
Judge Says No to Putting Fortnite Back on Apple's App Store During Epic's Lawsuit
As reported by our friends at Ars Technica, a federal judge has denied a request from Epic Games that would’ve ordered Apple to allow Fortnite to return to the iOS App Store while the two companies await the outcome of their lawsuit. It’s the latest in a large legal battle between the two companies hinged on Epic’s Direct Payments in-app purchase system for the game, and it essentially means that Epic will not be able to offer Fortnite on any of Apple’s platforms for the time being. In her ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers said that any damages incurred by Epic during this time period are its own fault, because "this predicament is of its own making." The ruling, however, does allow products related to the Unreal Engine to stay on the App Store, as Gonzales argues that removing them would do significant damage to the health of the development ecosystem and marketplace on the iOS platform.
The conflict between Apple and Epic began when Epic unveiled its direct payment option in the iOS version of Fortnite, a move in violation of the App Store's standards for vendors. When Apple removed the game because of the violation, Epic sued, arguing that Apple's control of the iOS market was “unreasonable and unlawful.” The case ongoing, and Rogers said in her ruling that it was too early to pass any significant judgment on Epic's arguments regarding possible antitrust violations.
In an apparent response to the ruling, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted out sad lyrics from the Eagles song "Hotel California." The move, pulled straight out of a teenager's instant-messaging playbook, proves, once and for all, that video games are not for adults.
Nintendo Sues TikTok Creator Over Pokémon References
In other legal news, we now turn our attention to a story that might sound familiar to longtime readers: Nintendo being litigious when confronted with the work of a small creator. This time, as reported by Kotaku, the creator is TikTok influencer Digitalprincxss, known until recently as Pokeprincxss. Due to her use of Pokémon imagery in her merchandise and content, Nintendo recently sent Digitalprincxss a cease-and-desist order, requiring her to change her name and pay back revenue to Nintendo for the use of its intellectual property.
Notably, Digitalprincxss also creates adult content on an OnlyFans account, a move that she believes is closely tied to Nintendo's decision to pursue legal action against her. "Nintendo doesn’t want people to think that I’m in any way, shape, or form affiliated with them, or that I have a partnership with them, and it all comes back to me being an adult entertainer," she said in a recent video. And while it’s hard to guess at Nintendo's motives, the company is certainly careful when it comes to its image, so this doesn’t seem completely impossible.
Bloodborne Modder Vows to Release 60-fps Mod if Sony Doesn't Do It First
Lance McDonald, prolific modder of FromSoftware games, like that one villain with the nice jawline in that one Marvel movie, has looked deep within his heart, found a need there, and decided to take care of it himself. In this case, the need is to play Bloodborne, the PlayStation 4 FromSoft exclusive, a bit better. For months now, McDonald has been working on and showcasing a mod that allows the game to run on PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles at 60 frames per second, a meaningful improvement from the game's standard 30 fps and a modification that, on the Pro at least, runs remarkably well for an unintended feature.
Now, as reported by Kotaku, McDonald has said that he will release his mod unless Sony beats him to the punch. "I’ll be releasing this patch publicly once the PlayStation 5 has released and Sony have made it clear whether or not Bloodborne will be enhanced on that system in any way," he wrote in the comments of a recent video. "Out of respect for PlayStation, I want them to have the first chance to put 60 fps Bloodborne into the hands of players."
While no such official functionality has been announced, it isn't outside the realm of possibility. But if Sony wants to keep a bunch of intrepid Bloodborne players from trying to crack their PlayStation 4s to install this mod, the company had better get cracking.
Recommendation of the Week: Super Mario Sunshine, as part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars Collection for the Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Sunshine has a reputation among the 3D Super Mario games. The only one released on the Nintendo GameCube, it is generally considered … bad. I would like to submit to you that this is nonsense. I will concede that it's not as smooth to play as, say, Super Mario Odyssey, and it can be at times very difficult. But these hurdles obscure what a special, fascinating package Sunshine is. This game is weird, and I mean that in the best way. This is a game where Mario, on a tropical vacation, gets arrested and is forced to clean up magical toxic waste, with the help of a sentient water hose, as a form of community service. It's one where most of the cast has voice acting, and where one of your main forms of transportation is to use that water hose as a jetpack like you're cosplaying a tech bro on vacay.
Super Mario Sunshine is unlike anything else out there, is what I'm saying, though it has had a clear stylistic influence on one of Nintendo's more modern hits: Splatoon. Just look at those ink puddles. Also, the game has something most Mario games lack, which is a clear, focused sense of atmosphere. Every moment of this game, at least when you're not frustrated by dying too many times, feels like a beguiling dream of an island getaway. Wait 'til it gets cold outside, then pop this in. You might be glad you did.