Happy Friday, folks. Stephen here with a newsletter partially written from the waiting room while my car was in the shop (radio wouldn't play).

Today's edition is 1,148 words, a 4½ -minute read.

1 big thing: Coming in way too hot

"GTA Trilogy" as it meant to look. Screenshot: Rockstar Games

EA’s advance release of “Battlefield 2042” and Take Two’s “Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy” have both stumbled out to release this week, replete with technical problems, outages and some signs fixes are coming.

Why it matters: These are two more examples of how modern games often release rough, with players expected to wait for patches to make them run better.

The “Battlefield” details: “Battlefield,” which doesn’t officially release at a standard price until Nov. 19, is launching without voice chat — a crucial element for any modern multiplayer game — and with a cascade of technical issues.

The “GTA” details: Take Two and Rockstar’s “Trilogy” is a day old and already the stuff of memes, as players mock odd-looking characters and glitchy rain.

  • “Trilogy” is a remake of three PlayStation 2-era “GTA” games, but updating them was clearly no easy feat.
  • Rockstar pulled the PC version of “Trilogy” yesterday and has deactivated its Rockstar Games Launcher, which is used to start its PC games.

The big picture: “2042” and “Trilogy” will probably run better in the weeks and months ahead.

  • At least, that’s what usually happens, as publishers and developers consistently use the weeks before and after release to prepare downloadable patches that improve their games.
  • But such improvements are never guaranteed.
  • On its support page, EA notes that “we will be working throughout to ensure that we continue to resolve” the game’s issues. (Voice chat is planned for release by day 25, EA told the Post.)

Flashback: In December 2020, CD Projekt Red launched “Cyberpunk 2077” in such miserable shape that it had to offer refunds and was delisted from the PlayStation’s digital store for half of 2021.

  • The game had been delayed multiple times, but it still wasn’t ready for launch.
  • That debacle was expected to embolden publishers to miss can’t-miss release dates for the sake of releasing games in better condition.
  • Rockstar had seemingly gotten the message, at least for another release: “Trilogy” was a replacement for a new edition of “GTA V,” which was recently pushed to March to give it more time.

2. Nintendo tries to show strength

Image: Nintendo

Nintendo sold 711,000 Switches in the U.S. in October, nearly half of them the new OLED model, according to a new report in The Verge.

Why it matters: Nintendo is reminding people (again) not to count it out.

  • It rarely releases specific sales figures but did so today.
  • It even announced that its big October release, “Metroid Dread,” sold 854,000 copies in the U.S., the best start for a "Metroid" game in the series' 25-year history.
  • Nintendo's Switch sales put it back ahead of the PS5 in terms of consoles sold. In September, the PS5 had broken the Switch’s 33-month winning streak, according to the NPD Group.

The big picture: For all its success, Nintendo is perennially dismissed as an also-ran and has seen its stock prices do nothing but drop for most of 2021.

  • That price is hovering at $55, down from $80 at the start of the year and nearly back to where it was pre-pandemic.
  • This is despite chart-topping hardware sales and a flow of well-received, strong-selling games — none of it good enough, it seems, for investors who were excited by 2020’s “Animal Crossing” Switch boom.
  • Nintendo did recently lower its annual forecast for Switch shipments by 1.5 million units, citing supply chain issues.
  • And in a rare public sign of vulnerability, Nintendo recently confirmed the closing of two of its regional offices in North America, saying the move was focused on consolidation.

What’s next: Nintendo has a series of major “Pokémon” releases coming in November and January and some other big games expected beyond that.

3. The week ahead

"Far Cry 6" image courtesy of Ubisoft

Here's the weekly look at events and notable releases.

Saturday, Nov. 13 & Sunday, Nov. 14

Monday, Nov. 15

  • "Outriders: New Horizon" event (noon ET) — the first big post-release showcase for a Square Enix game that launched big in the spring, then faded
  • Xbox Anniversary event a Microsoft celebration of 20 years of Xbox, with expectations of any game reveals downplayed

Tuesday, Nov. 16

Wednesday, Nov. 17

  • Embracer Group to report Q2 earnings

Thursday, Nov. 18

  • Nothing of note

Friday, Nov. 19

4. Need to know

⚠️ Activision is apologizing for including desecrated pages from the Quran scattered on the floor of a level in its new "Call of Duty: Vanguard."

  • The publisher is removing that imagery from the game and told Polygon it is taking steps internally to avoid a similar offense in the future.

↪️"Far Cry" executive producer Dan Hay has left Ubisoft, as first reported by VGC, while longtime "Assassin's Creed" narrative director Darby McDevitt, who left the company in March, is returning to work on "AC" again.

⬇️ Ubisoft's upcoming "Rainbow Six Extraction" will cost $40 when it launches Jan. 20, not $60. That's a rare pre-release price drop.

⬆️ Mystical martial arts battle royale game "Naraka: Bladepoint" is one of the least-covered hot sellers on Steam. Its developers just announced that they've sold 6 million copies.

🟨 The Playdate gaming handheld (the low-fi yellow one with the crank) has been delayed until 2022, with its creators citing issues they're addressing involving the system's battery.

💰 Zynga's hypercasual subsidiary Rollic is acquiring three more studios — ByteTyper, Creasaur Entertainment and ZeroSum. Rollic's string of mobile free game chart-toppers includes "High Heels," "Hair Challenge," and, more recently, "Arrow Fest" and "Text or Die."

5. Worthy of your attention

"Doom’s" Creator Goes After 'Doomscroll' [Cecilia D'Anastasio, Wired]

Right now, the fate of Doomscroll is in the hands of Id Software and the Patent Office. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is processing the Doom developer's opposition. A hefty trial schedule was sent out mid-October, which stretches deep into 2023. It may not be that Id Software even wants the Doomscroll trademark; it might just not want [Dustin] Mitchell to form a progressive thrash metal band that, maybe, someone will confuse with the storied game series.

6. Don’t feel bad

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company/Nintendo

In advance of my recent interview with The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith, I asked my Twitter followers if they had questions.

  • One person wanted to know if they should feel guilty capturing Pokémon in the series’ tiny, signature Pokéballs.
  • Answer: "They should not feel guilty. The Pokémon are very comfortable in there. And they love it."
  • Conscience cleared.

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🐦 Find us on Twitter: @megan_nicolett / @stephentotilo.

Honestly surprised they haven't tried to bring "Wii Sports" back.