NextGen #26: February 1997

We’re almost caught back up with where we’re at in Nintendo Power Retrospectives.

Cover: Unreal is on the cover, and with it, the ride of Id’s rival in Engine tech. It also says that Unreal is coming to N64.

Disk Highlights: This is the first issue of NextGen which has a demo disk with it – at least the first one I’ve recapped where they’ve provided information on the contents in the magazine. The ISOs for the full array of disks are available at Archive.org in bulk, but are not available individually.

Industry Interview: We have a post-launch interview with Shigeru Miyamoto. The interview was from Shoshinkai, so there is probably a PR rep sitting over his shoulder keeping him focused on the N64 base hardware. There’s some discussion of the reactions towards the N64 sticking with cartridges, along with the reactions to the controller design.

Honestly, I wonder if Gunpei Yokoi being sidelined and ultimately leaving is partly why Miyamoto is very carefully staying on message – if someone who had been with Nintendo for that long, and had contributed so much to the company’s successes wasn’t safe in the company, then neither would Miyamoto.

News: The specs for the M2 have leaked. Interestingly, the M2 does not have backward compatibility with the 3DO, because the drive for the M2 is too fast. That seems like an odd stumbling block – as even if 3DO software was designed to be dependent on a specific drive speed, the ability to run the drive more slowly feels like something that was built into the CD standard.

We also had the Shoshinkai expo, which was mainly focused on getting people hands-on time with the N64. The news section also gives us some early screenshots of Street Fighter 3.

Video Games Myths: We have commentary on various urban legends related to video games – some of which have been very extensively researched and explained in subsequent years, like the saga of the rights to Tetris, the Atari Landfill, and so on.

3D Accelerators: We have a bunch of upcoming 3D accelerator cards, and with them come reviews. In short, as mentioned in the earlier article on DirectX – DirectX has changed everything. No longer do games have to be optimized for specific GPUs to such a degree that they just won’t work or will be missing core features on other GPUs. Also, even if you (as a hardware developer) don’t use the Direct3D API, its success will also step open Gl development into high gear. There’s also discussion of the AGP bus standard, which is currently in development and will become the video card bus standard until the introduction of the PCI-Express bus.

Alphas (Previews): We start off with a preview of Unreal. This includes a discussion of plans for the N64 version, which is designed for the N64DD instead of a cartridge (which means you can imagine what happened to that version). Similarly, there is a preview of Doom 64, which brings up how that game has completely original levels across the board, instead of being a straight port, and the levels aren’t designed by Id.

On the third-party standpoint, Konami is working on a Legend of the Mystical Ninja game for the N64. There’s also a preview of Shadow Warrior, which doesn’t mention the game’s significant racial issues.

We also have a bunch of screen shots and concept art for the 10th Planet, a space sim from Bethesda & Dean Devlin, which unfortunately got cancelled.

Finals (Reviews): We have reviews of Crusin’ USA, Killer Instinct Gold, and Shadows of the Empire, and they’re not impressed with any of them. I think they’re a little overly harsh on Shadows and Crusin USA, as I thought those titles were generally fine.

On the PlayStation Side, we have Dark Forces getting a console port (which takes a graphical hit from the PC version). More significantly in hindsight, Kings Field 2 from From Software is getting a US release which they think is fine.

The Saturn’s only title this issue is Virtual On, but I’d argue that game is a doozy.

On the PC, there’s Terminator: SkyNET from Bethesda (which is some lost gaming history – unless Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda would allow for that game to get a re-release).

Letters: We have a lot of commentary on PlayStation’s “Enos Lives” ad campaign.

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