Hello again NAGetians and welcome back to This Week In Gaming. There’s a ton of consoles news this week; with that other next-gen console continuing its trend of disappointment, Xbox One’s “crazy algorithm” which will stop people insulting your mother and a former EA CEO having a lot to say about everything. Then of course there’s FishGate 2013, CliffyB’s new game and a certain game makes its bajillionth consecutive appearance in the videos section. Hit that jump.
The Wii U continues to struggle, as sales figures for the first quarter released this week show that they’ve only managed to ship an abysmal 160,000 units. Ouch.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata stands by his statement that people simply don’t understand what the Wii U has to offer. In an interview this week he reiterated his feelings that their marketing has been poor, but conceded that “understanding [the Wii U] takes time”. Iwata insists that what Nintendo really wants is to be “accepted” by the public. It sounds a little odd, but he does elaborate:
“The final goal of a product is to resonate with and be accepted by people. You can’t just force your way through. By saying ‘the point is to be accepted’ I mean, if you go to a customer with your idea and you realise they don’t understand it, it’s more important that they do and you should shift your idea.”
You have to wonder if it isn’t however an issue of marketing, and just that people just don’t like the Wii U set up. Nintendo had great success being “different” with the Wii, but it seems consumers want something a little more predictable now.
That being said, there’s still plenty of time for the Wii U to recover – the 3DS also had an extremely slow start.
Sony is also having issues moving consoles, with the PS Vita continuing to perform poorly. They’ve also seen a decline in PS3 and PSP sales, but that’s to be expected.
I have a suspicion the Playstation division may be looking a lot healthier by the end of the year, however. Call it a hunch.
EA former CEO John Riccitiello has a lot of faith in the next-gen hardware, stating this week that he believes they will outsell the current generation.
This is due to the new gen’s online communication and social experience, something John says the current consoles “barely put together”.
John elaborates, “You put a super computer under your TV, plug it in with one connection and it works. It knows who you are, it knows what your games are and it’s unbelievably simple; it’s not like PC plug and play, it’s just plug and play. The next generation of consoles are going to be a massive improvement on user interface. So I think that’s going to matter.” Hell, I’m sold.
That’s not all John had to say this week, however, the ex-CEO also weighed in on mobile gaming, something he was quite passionate about during his time at EA.
He commented that a lot of mobile developers are promising “console graphics”, which he feels is a mistake. In his words, “Prettier games cost more to make. Better games satisfy consumers.”
Personally, I’m in agreement. I’m not playing mobile games for their killer graphics (something you’d think developers would have learned from the Vita), and almost all the most downloaded games definitely got there on gameplay, not graphics. What’s your opinion? Weigh in in the comments, I’m interested to see where people stand on this.
Microsoft have outlined the new reputation system they’re implementing on the Xbox One, saying that your personal player reputation will be based on player feedback.
In-game you’ll be able to block or mute anyone who annoys you, and everytime someone does this the data is entered into a “crazy algorithm” which adjusts a user’s score. Based on that score, you’ll be classified in the red, yellow or green categories.
Microsoft was quick to insist that their algorithm is sophisticated and won’t be tricked by players ganging up on you or if you just get a few bad reports. So if you’re red just remember it’s not because you’re a victim, it’s because you’re a douche.
While Sony and Microsoft continue to pimp themselves for your consideration, id Software co-founder John Carmack says you might as well flip a coin.
Speaking at QuakeCon 2013, Carmack said that the two consoles are “essentially the same”. So there you have it fanboys; we can all pack up and go home.
The big news of the week was the cancellation of Fez 2. The creator, Phil Fish, got into a heated Twitter argument with gaming journalist and high-level troll Marcus Beer and then abruptly “quit games” forever, taking Fez 2 with him.
Now opinion on this has been pretty divided, with some painting Fish as a victim and others as someone who brought it on himself. I made my own feelings pretty clear in my column this week, as did others in the 80+ comments.
Some may be left wondering what would become of Fez 2 studio Polytron, but in an interview this week with the producer of the game, Marie-Christine Bourdua, the developer still has “other stuff on the way”.
Bourdua went on to say that they knew nothing about the game being cancelled, and found out the same way everyone else did – through Fish’s angry Tweet. She did also say that Fish’s decision was “totally fair” and that “he has his reasons”.
Bourdua added that Fish’s former studio is working with Sony, and that announcements of new titles are “going to come really, really soon”.
I’m certainly pleased that there are other projects being worked on, and that the studio may continue despite Fish leaving.
Speaking of bullies (see what I did there?), Take-Two has filed a new trademark for Bully, the 2006 action adventure title that had you running around your boarding school assaulting people. Fans have been clamouring for a sequel to the Rockstar title for some time, and it’s starting to look more promising.
Back in November Rockstar VP Dan Houser hinted the Vancouver studio could be doing a sequel after finishing up Max Payne 3, which has been in the wild since May last year. There’s nothing concrete yet, but with a little luck we may get an announcement in the next year sometime.
While Rockstar game releases are somewhat of an unknown quantity, one thing you can rely on every year is a Call of Duty game in November.
This year’s title, Call of Duty: Ghosts will be getting its “highly anticipated” multiplayer reveal on August 14th. Highly anticipated? Here are some spoilers: there will be automatic weapons, kill streak rewards, customisable perks, a zombie map and plenty of DLC. You’re welcome.
While Call of Duty is Activision’s golden goose, the publisher believes they may have another billion dollar franchise with Bungie’s Destiny.
This came from publishing boss Eric Hirshberg, who said, “We strongly believe we are on pace to set the all-time pre-order record for a new IP.”
“Based on what we’ve seen we believe that Destiny has the potential to become the third active billion dollar franchise in the Activision Publishing portfolio.”
That’s a pretty insane prediction, and points obviously to Activision looking to squeeze the life out of this IP like they do with every other. Could we be seeing a new Destiny game every year?
Meanwhile, Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski is working on an new game, teaming up with a former Naughty Dog concept artist.
He tweeted a “sneak peek” at what he’s working on this week, in the form of this picture:
It’s a little “meh” to me, in that it could basically be anything, and looks kind of generic. I’m a little underwhelmed for now, what are your thoughts?
Volition has released a “behind the scenes” developer diary for Saints Row 4, where you can see some of the senior people on the title discussing the importance of player feedback.
The third Lost Planet game has had a couple of delays, but Capcom’s latest entry in the franchise will finally be coming at the end of this month. This new trailer sets up the story for the new game, which will function as a prequel for the first two titles.
Sony’s Infamous Second Son looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun to play, and this new trailer only makes me want it even more. Appropriately titles Smoke and Mirrors, the developers discuss the smoke powers which are being introduced into the game.
Ha, you thought I’d forgotten about Splinter Cell Blacklist didn’t you? I know I consistently joke about not needing to play this game when it comes out due to all the content Ubisoft has thrown at us, but this week they’ve taken it to a whole new level. The latest video is just straight-up the first fifteen minutes of the game. Maybe they’ll release one of these every week, and my prophecy will come true.
Best of NAG
Eador: Masters of the Broken World is a long name. It’s a complex name. It’s a complicated game. It’s a deep, detailed and intimidating RPG that only the bravest would attempt to dissect for a review. Luckily, NAG had access to the brass-balled Rogan Louwrens to do just that for you – after washing the dishes of course.
Gaming is expensive. The hardware is expensive, the games are expensive, and our need for broadband internet is expensive. NAG’s own hopelessly addicted hardware addict Wesley Fick led an interesting discussion this week on just how much we’re willing to spend. Check it out, and lend your thoughts in the comments.
Have you seen these cinematic pieces done in the Source Filmmaker? There are a lot of really crappy ones, but the ones made by the guy who does the videos for frikken Bioware aren’t. You should check them out.
I opened Pandora’s Box this week when I chose to use my weekly column to bid farewell and good riddance to Fez developer Phil Fish. It seems to be an extremely polarising topic, and you can see both sides of the story in the 80+ comments. Check it out and see where you stand on the issue.