Two days ago, the developers of the various console editions of Minecraft posted a photo of a plush Wolf toy on their official Twitter account, which as they’ve done in photos of other plush Minecraft toys, served as a notice to fans that an update of sorts would be on the way.
Despite the photo being low-res, there was some speculation from followers that it would either be one that contained mini-games, or some sort of battle mode. Now we know.
A few hours ago, 4J began to tease at something with a countdown from 3 down to their announcement. Want to know which it is? Turns out it’s both.
A series of minigames will be heading to Minecraft console edition, with the first Battle minigame being added to the game this June, as part of a free update. Battle will let players (either sitting on the couch together or playing online) square off across three initial maps in a fight to the death.
This sort of gameplay will be familiar to anyone that follows the more prolific Minecraft youtubers, whether they play on PC or on consoles, where it’s more commonly referred to as the Hunger Games. Much like the series that inspired the name, players begin in a map, race to the centre to collect their weapons, and then the hunt begins.
Hunger Games maps have been a major phenomenon in Minecraft since before the current console generation, and despite modding being frowned upon, were very much a part of life on the last generation of consoles. That hasn’t been as accessible on the newer generation, and this first minigame will change that.
Battle does have unmistakeable similarities with the Hunger Games maps you might be familiar with, though an early gameplay preview that was shared on youtube and linked to by 4J Studios talks about some of the features that separate the mode in the coming update from those maps.
There will be a streamlined inventory to make the fights more strategic, changes to items such as boosted range on splash potions, and a number of UI changes that’ll make it easier to know who’s still alive and where they’re attacking you from. As well as a lobby and a round wrapup, you’ll be able to fly around as a bat and annoy whoever got the killing blow.
Beyond the first three maps, there are plans to release additional maps for Battle that’ll capitalise on the style of different texture packs, and again, this is just the first planned minigame – it’s said that more are on the way. We’ll be sure to report more as it becomes known.