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Welcome to another edition of Gaming Bits, an infrequent feature by Playing Critic columnist Joel Leizer, where he shares a few of the latest gaming announcements to hit his inbox.

Switching to a new console

French production studio Microids announced Thursday that all of the "Syberia" games to date will be re-released on the Nintendo Switch.

"Syberia," which introduced players to young New York attorney Kate Walker back in 2004, is coming in the third quarter of this year. "Syberia 2" will follow in the fourth quarter. And the recently released "Syberia 3" is slated to hit the Switch early in 2018.

Also coming from Microids:

"Gear.Club," Switch, Q4 2017: A racing simulator that promises "30 legendary cars from 20 existing world-renowned car manufacturers;" more than 400 races, with 200 different tracks; a split-screen mode for local play, and online racing. Cars will supposedly by customizable to some degree.


acksad," Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC/Mac, Q4 2018: A 3-D adventure-mystery game based on the graphic novel of the same name. It stars a private detective, John Blacksad, investigating a murder and disappearance in the world of boxing. Also, he just happens to be an anthropomorphic black cat.

"Flashback - Remastered Edition," Switch, Q4 2017: A classic puzzle-platformer originally released in 1992. It was a great game in its day; I'm not sure it needs another re-release though.

A return to Ivalice

Square Enix has released a new trailer for "Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age," meant to showcase the upcoming re-release's upgraded visuals.

Judge for yourself, but I'm not too terribly impressed.

Still, I loved the original game. It's actually my favorite "Final Fantasy," which I realize is heresy to many. (The story is a bit ridiculous, as are some of the characters, but the gameplay is far more interesting to me than in most of the rest of the series.)

This version will incorporate a character-progression system that previously was exclusive to the Japanese release. There will also be a remastered soundtrack, 7.1 audio support, speed mode, an auto-save, faster loading and other upgrades.

It's coming to the PlayStation 4 on July 11.

Fertile pasture for developers

Techland Publishing announced Thursday that "Pure Farming 2018," a new agricultural simulator for PC, PS4 and Xbox, is slated for release early next year.

Developed by Ice Flames, the game will feature "realistic models of licensed and crop-specialized machines" and the ability to farm regional crops in simulated locations around the globe.

You may be surprised to know that farming games are nothing new. Focus Home Interactive this week released "Farming Simulator 18" on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

Coming soon

"Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2" from Telltale Games and Mojang will arrive on July 11 for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, iOS and Android — at least for download. Retail discs likely won't ship until the fall.

Split over five parts, Season 2 will continue the character Jesse's saga from the first season. If you played Season 1, choose to continue on the same platform and preserved your save data, you'll be able to play a game where your previous choices will carry over, affecting the new story.

Joel Leizer is The News-Gazette's Playing Critic. Contact him at Or follow the Playing Critic page on Facebook. Maybe if he gets enough "likes" there, he'll start giveaway contests for free game codes. (If it happens, those will mostly be for indie titles.)

News Editor

Joel Leizer is news editor at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@Playing_Critic).