Hello again NAGanites, and welcome back to your weekly digest of all things gaming. As is our custom around here we’ll have a look at the latest next-gen and other console news, a few gaming scandals, an epic movie that was almost made, the regular crop of videos and some highlights from NAG you may have missed. Make some coffee, grab a bowl of cereal and start your weekend off right.
Another week, another Xbox One controversy. Microsoft can’t seem to catch a break from the internet, and this time it’s peripheral support. Basically, you can only use the official Xbox One headset with the console, at least out of the box anyway.
Microsoft have said that they are “working on a solution” for the problem, which will most likely come in the form of an adaptor. You won’t actually get a headset bundled with the console however; in-game chat support comes via Kinect. There’s no exact ETA on adaptors, but they should be available by the time the console launches in South Africa, so don’t get rid of your Xbox 360 headsets just yet.
With an adaptor in development this isn’t necessarily a big deal, but with Microsoft’s recent bad press the last thing people want to see is another restriction, as small as it may be.
Speaking of limitations, Microsoft has revealed that the new Kinect sensor will not in fact be compatible with PCs. While with the correct driver and software the old-generation connect could be hooked up to a computer, PC owners wanting to make use of the Kinect will have to buy the Kinect for Windows sensor.
The original Kinect wasn’t exactly a roaring success, so I can’t imagine much ire over this, at least until the new generation proves itself.
Despite Microsoft’s decision to reverse their controversial DRM and online requirements, Sony still has them beat on price, and Activision big cheese Eric Hirschberg says it’s up to Microsoft to prove that the extra $100 is worth it.
He elaborates, “Microsoft is going to have to win the hearts and minds and convince people that the higher price point is worth it, and that it provides really meaningful capabilities that will be meaningful to consumers. And it’s a long game, so I am sure that’s what they intend on trying to do.”
A lot of that is going to hinge on the bundled Kinect, and whether Microsoft can convince consumers that the peripheral is something they really want.
It’s not all bad for Microsoft however; SimCity creator Will Wright has praised the console maker’s decision to change their DRM policies.
“From the consumers’ point of view, I can really understand a lot of the backlash to DRM,” Wright said.
“The fact that if something’s required on the Internet that means they can’t play it on the airplane or if their internet connection goes down. It was interesting watching the Microsoft thing. I thought it was very impressive how responsive Microsoft was to that.”
Wright echoed these sentiments after the always-online requirement fiasco surrounding the latest SimCity title, openly acknowledging the legitimacy of fan complaints and admitting fault.
Moving on to Sony, multiple sources have apparently reported that the PS4 was originally priced at $499, exactly the same as the Xbox One.
This is because the PS4 originally had a bundled peripheral of its own – the PS4 Camera. However, in the months leading up to E3, Sony decided to ditch the camera and drop the price a full 20%, in an effort to undercut Microsoft.
Reports are that Sony told retailers they’d be removing the camera from the box, but said nothing of the price drop so that word didn’t get back to the people at Microsoft. Very sneaky, Sony.
You have to admit though; it was a damned good idea. The PS4 Camera probably isn’t all that high on people’s want lists, and the much lower price point is going to make it the more attractive option for people on the fence.
While everyone is getting buzzed about next-gen hardware, Sony has promised its customers that they won’t be ditching PS3 players anytime soon. According to Sony Japan president Hiroshi Kawano, the move to the PS4 is going to be a gradual one, as PS3s continue to sell and new titles are still on the way.
One thing the PS3 is not, however, is developer friendly. The console was notoriously difficult to create games for, but Sony has promised they’ve learnt their lesson. One of the system architects for the next-gen console, Mark Cerny, has claimed that the PS4 is as easy to develop for as the original Playstation.
While it would take 6-12 months to create usable graphics for the PS3, the same process on the PS4 will allegedly only take 1-2 months, which is good news for both developer and consumer.
Not wanting to miss out on pretty much anything, search engine giant Google is reportedly building a console of their own, running off their Android operating system. This is in addition to their media-playing wristwatch.
The new hardware projects are reportedly being done to compete directly with Apple, who are working on similar hardware themselves. With Apple and Google both potentially entering the console market, this next-gen battle could get out of hand.
This week news started circulating that Hideo Kojima was shopping for a studio to remake Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2 on the FOX Engine. He later stated that this was actually due to a mistranslation, but added that it’s still something he’d be interested in.
British developer Just Add Water wrote a passionate letter asking if they could be the ones to do it, saying they have both the expertise and the love for the game to do it justice. No word from the man himself just yet, however.
Assassin’s Creed creative director Patrice Desilets was unceremoniously booted from Ubisoft earlier this year, suspending his current project, 1616: Amsterdam, in the process.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, he stated that he’s fighting to gain ownership of the title and finish it, adding, “I’m sorry guys, it was amazing. And it still is amazing, and I hope to get it back and finish it for you – and for me.”
It would be rather sad indeed if the game never sees the light of day.
On a lighter note, Naughty Dog accidentally put sex hotline numbers in The Last of Us, appearing on some environment posters for “Pest Control”. Creative director Neil Druckmann has called it “an honest mistake”, saying that the artists thought they could invalidate the numbers by changing the area code – a trick which apparently doesn’t work for 800 numbers. Oops.
Speaking of Naughty Dog, Hollywood bigshots Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg have said that the studio has approached them multiple times about writing a script for an Uncharted movie.
The movie has been in limbo since 2010, with two directors quitting the job and multiple script re-writes. According to Goldberg, they don’t want to touch the project as they’re concerned it’s “just going to be Indiana Jones”.
Microsoft took a Twitter tongue-lashing this week from Fez creator Phil Fish, who went on a rage-filled tirade over the poor job the company did when Fish took them on as a publisher for Fez on the Xbox 360.
Fish accuses the company of essentially doing nothing at all to promote or market the game, as well as messing up the launch on Xbox Live as well. It’s a lot of vitriol and expletives and it gets really ugly really fast; it seems Fish has been holding back a lot of anger for quite some time. It’s uncertain what caused him to finally go public, and in such an uncontrolled manner.
One game I’m quite excited for is the Wolfenstein: The New Order, which Bethesda VP Pete Hines said this week will be more than just “a straight-up shooter”.
Hines compares the game to Uncharted, saying that while there’ll be plenty of action, there’ll also be “more going on”, with a greater emphasis on characters and story.
Splinter Cell Blacklist releases so many videos, I don’t think I’m going to actually need to play the game when it comes out. That being said, they’re all pretty entertaining, so check out this new one showcasing Spies vs. Mercs.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown was received rather well by consumers and critics, and fans of the series may be interested in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, a squad-based shooter spin-off. See if it’s something you might be interested in with this trailer:
For something a little less, er, conventional, here’s a video of Hollywood ass-kicker Jason Statham talking games. Seriously.
Deadpool has been pretty much non-stop ridiculous, and has continued this pattern right into it’s release. In that spirit then, check out the zany launch trailer:
Best of NAG
Hardware Overlord and resident Daywalker Wesley Fick has completed the system builder’s guide for those with deep pockets, this week showcasing some of the snazzy rigs you can put together with a budget ranging from R18-R30K. If you’ve recently acquired a sugardaddy or are waiting for that Nigerian prince’s cheque to clear, see what the best your money can buy right here.
Without much fanfare, State of Decay scuttled onto the Xbox to a favourable critic reception. Despite zombie titles being the flavour of the week, State of Decay promises something a little different, and Tarryn van der Byl dove headfirst into the apocalypse to test the waters. Read her full review here.
I know you really only click these links for the videos, so if you’ve read this far I’m going to reward you with this link. Yonder that green text lies four Dark Souls 2 gameplay videos. You’re welcome.
Month-end approaches, which means you’re all getting paid – which also means you have no excuse not to grab the latest issue of NAG. You’ll find a full breakdown on what lies beneath the shiny covers of the next-gen consoles as well as all the reviews, previews and hardware tests you’d expect. For more details and a look at the cover(s), head right over here.