caution seaman

Hello NAGanetians (I’m still working on the appropriate noun, so I’m trying things out) and thanks once again for checking out (or scrolling past, sighing) This Week In Gaming. This week we have some details on what else the Kinect can do besides watch you sleep, Nintendo’s Fish with a Face revival, why a certain Japanese developer believes people would rather play Fruit Ninja than GTA V and some spicy NAG highlights. Fruit, sentient fish and Tomato timers; all after the jump.

Console News

With the Xbox One launch drawing closer, Microsoft have started to push the bundled Kinect really hard, trying to convince consumers that it’s something they actually want, not just something they have to have.

Speaking at last week’s Evo 2013 fighting game tournament, Microsoft showcased how Kinect integration adds to fighting game Killer Instinct.

The Kinect will glare at you, recognise you and then switch all the options to your preferences – including things such as your button layout and what kinds of characters you like to play. Pretty sweet actually.

Sony had their own piece of news this week however, stating that PS3 headsets will in fact be compatible with the PS4. This is a not-so-obvious rebuttal to the Xbox One’s incompatibility with Xbox 360 headsets, due to a different headset port being introduced with the next-gen console.

Last week we saw Sony discussing their “play as you install” and “play as you download” features of the PS4, which were pretty nifty. While Microsoft had previously said their console can do the same, most of what Microsoft said in their reveal was shouted down by cries of how crappy it was.

Thus the console maker decided to reiterate this week that yes, you can play games while they’re downloading or installing, in pretty much the exact same way as the PS4. We’ll call this one a draw then, shall we?

For now.

For now.

While the PS4 and Xbox One may be tied, the Wii U is lagging significantly behind, and it was more bad news this week for the red-haired stepchild of the next-gen consoles.

Skyrim developer Bethesda have said they currently have no games in development for the Wii U. Nothing.

Bethesda’s marketing man Pete Hines was cagey on the matter when questioned, saying:

“The truth is, it’s not something that we are currently developing for. I don’t know whether that changes down the road or not.

“It depends on the games that we are making and how we think it aligns with that console, and how the hardware aligns with the other stuff we are making. We will see.”

All of this lack of support really has to make you wonder if it’s all that difficult to port to the Wii U. It seems the issue is probably more with the console’s current user base than hardware limitations, which unfortunately makes the problem somewhat recursive. No one wants to buy a console with no games, and no one wants to make games for a console no one buys.

Of course if you speak to Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden creator Tomonobu Itagaki, all the consoles are in trouble.

In a refreshing break from the usual “PC GAMING IS DEAD” doom prophecies, Tomonobu believes that consoles need to make a drastic change if they’re going to continue to draw people’s attention away from PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Because this makes GTA V look like Big Rigs.

Because this makes GTA V look like Big Rigs.

Tomonobu believes putting a game on a television and a controller in your hands just isn’t enough anymore – what do you think? Do consoles really have to mix it up, or is the tried and trusted formula still good enough?

Personally, I feel like people like sitting on their couch with a controller in their hands. People like the ease and simplicity of console gaming, and I doubt that consoles (this generation at least) are going to have any trouble at all.

Sources: Examiner, MCVUK, Polygon, Gamespot, CVG

Gaming News

Have you ever played Seaman? It’s really, really weird. I once wasted a perfectly good afternoon watching Seaman videos on Youtube. I was deep down the rabbit hole; it’s not something I’d recommend.

In case you’d missed this cult oddity, Seaman was a Dreamcast game which featured a fish with a human face that you could communicate with through a microphone. It was an early attempt at AI, and in some ways it worked quite well.

Well, it looks like Nintendo might actually be looking to create a sequel, as the game giant registered two trademarks at the beginning of this month: Mysterious Pet: Legend Of The Fish With A Human Face, as well as Mysterious Partner: Legend Of The Fish With A Human Face. Whether this game will actually get made is still a mystery, but it certainly sounds like some kind of Seaman revival.

Call me crazy, but "Fish with a Human Face" seems to fit.

Call me crazy, but “Fish with a Human Face” seems to fit.

While we’re on the subject of games which may or may not get made, David Jaffe (creator of Twisted Metal) has launched a Kickstarter for his new project, MotorGun. It’s a post-apocalyptic car combat title for which he is hoping to raise $650,000.

According to the Kickstarter, you can expect “real world car physics and a diverse set of realistic cars to a set of amazing weapons systems of all kinds. It puts you in control of a deep set of customization elements – from paint to payload, it’s all up to you.”

It’ll have a heavy multiplayer component, where players can choose a faction and fight side by side, with every victory allowing players to further customise and upgrade their vehicles.

GTA V caused quite a stir with its recent gameplay reveal, and with the cat out of the bag Rockstar is starting to dish out more and more info on the highly anticipated title. One thing we can expect, according to developer Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies, is a much faster pace than was seen in GTA V’s predecessors.

According to Benzies, the action will come thick and fast right from the beginning, with the intensity of the missions ratcheted up a few notches from what fans might expect. This is facilitated by the story, which involves three characters already living in the area; they aren’t newcomers from the outside as has been the case with previous GTA titles. This means they are already involved in that world, with various contacts and illegal things to do.

So while you may have thought you’d be spending some time arguing with your wife and working on your golf game, Rockstar is promising a much wilder ride.

A few of you may recall that I recently went on a rant about every game basically just being franchised to the point that original IP was like some kind of gaming unicorn.

I call this the "CoD Effect".

I call this the “CoD Effect”.

Well Ubisoft only added fuel to my fire this week, as senior marketing VP Tony Key said in an interview that the publisher isn’t interested in any new game that can’t be turned into a franchise.

Speaking candidly about Ubisoft’s intention to turn Watch Dogs into a franchise, Key said, “that’s what all our games are about; we won’t even start if we don’t think we can build a franchise out of it.”

Again I’m going to reiterate that I can certainly understand this kind of business practice, but I definitely don’t like it.

Finally, while we’re still on Ubisoft, the publisher has pushed back the release of an “unannounced franchise” from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015. Yup, they’ve pushed back the release of a game that hasn’t even been announced yet. What we do know is that it will (of course) be a franchise.

Sources: CVG, Eurogamer, OXM, IGN, CVG

Videos

With mobile games getting better and better, developers have started to revive old classics on the small screen. One such title is Prince of Persia 2, for which Ubisoft have released this developer diary showcasing how the 1993 title will be updated for the mobile market.

If you’re a Twitter user you probably would have seen all the buzz on San Diego Comic-Con, which every damned person I follow seems to be at. Anyway, Warner Bros. have revealed a new Batman: Arkham Origins trailer at the event showcasing a new character: Copperhead.

For something a little more next-gen, check out this developer diary for Infamous Second Son, where the creators discuss all the benefits of the powerful next-gen hardware. I’ve gotta say, it looks pretty awesome.

RPG fans are foaming at the mouth for the Elder Scrolls Online, an MMO based on the popular franchise. In a new interview with lead gameplay designer Nick Konkle, he goes over the game’s controls and discusses Zenimax Online’s decision to bring the game to next-gen consoles.

Best of NAG

The talented Geoff Burrows is making a game for NAG, and that’s pretty exciting. The only thing better than an awesome indie game is one that’s locally produced, so check out the project here – it’s silly, it’s fun and it’s a work in progress, so lend your support by heading over to the page and seeing what it’s all about.

NAG’s own Miktar made news this week by warping the fabric of the space-time continuum – using only a 20 Rand Tomato Timer. Let the time management master show you how to make all the space you’ll ever need for your gaming, and probably improve your quality of life in general. Seriously it’s worth a read, check it out.

Since I’m a masochist, one of my favourite games of all time is Police Quest. It’s one of the most insanely difficult and unforgiving games I’ve ever played, but it was challenging and awesome and mocked you sarcastically when you messed up. Well the guy behind the original is looking to create a Police Quest for the modern age. He’s set up a Kickstarter, and I’ll admit I’m intrigued. Head over here for more details.

Finally, my column for this week was on how I think GTA V is going to raise the bar on our expectations of games, and the ripple effect it could potentially create – for better or worse. We had a good discussion/debate in the comments, so mosey on over and have a look.

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