Hello again NAGans, and thanks for coming back for another This Week In Gaming. This week saw some new hardware reveals in the form of an iPhone, the PS Vita TV and another games console no bigger than a USB stick. Find out why Sony welcomes all the competition and what you can expect from the console that fits into its own controller. In gaming we’ve got Rockstar’s ambitious plans for GTA Online, how Dead Rising 3 is a bigger game than both its predecessors combined and take a look at Ubisoft’s new platformer. Then of course there’s the usual crop of videos of the week and some things on NAG you might have missed, but shouldn’t've. What would you do without me?
The big hardware news of the week was the announcement of the new iPhone, the “twice as powerful” as its predecessor iPhone 5S, as well as its cheaper plastic cousin the 5C.
It has a bunch of new features like fingerprint readers and a motion processor, but I’m not really interested in all that. What I am interested in is its mobile gaming capabilities.
According to Infinity Blade dev Donald Mustard, the new iPhone’s graphical ability is “shocking” – in a good way. Just listen to Donald gush:
“We turned on anti-aliasing – fullscreen anti-aliasing. It worked. It worked super-fast.
“Then we turned on bloom and we turned on depth of field and we turned on – we had that dragon flying in. It was blowing flames on the screen. That dragon had four times the poly count of any console character we’ve ever done in Gears of War or Shadow Complex or anything like that. It had four times the texture detail, the normal map detail.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
If this thing really is half as good as Mr. Mustard says it is, we could be moving into a whole new direction with smartphone games, and Sony should start feeling very worried about ever managing to get rid of all that Vita stock.
Speaking of Sony, PS America boss Jack Tretton said this week that the upcoming console war will bring new life to a struggling industry.
While the big AAA titles continue to perform well, the industry has been on a decline in the last couple of years, with multiple studios shutting their doors while physical game retailers struggle to stay afloat.
With our current generation of consoles being somewhat long in the tooth with a seven-year lifespan, Tretton believes that the new hardware will reinvigorate people’s interest in gaming; particularly of the traditional packaged model.
It’s not just the big hardware makers where the competition is heating up either; a new rival for the Ouya console has emerged, the Android-based GameStick, about the same size as a standard USB drive.
Designed for portability, the GameStick actually slots inside its controller, to be carried around and plugged into any TV that’ll take it. It comes with a modest 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of Flash memory. It’ll be releasing next month, on October 29th.
It’s uncertain right now if these kinds of consoles will be successful, but that hasn’t stopped almost everyone from jumping on board. We have the Ouya, the GameStick, Sony’s upcoming PS Vita TV and even Android is rumoured to be making an Android console. If these fail, they’re going to fail spectacularly.
It’s obvious at this point that Rockstar has big plans for Grand Theft Auto Online, but this week Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies gave some indication to just how big.
“[We intend] to create an entire Grand Theft Auto world that consists of everything we’ve done or are going to do then let the player freely move between them.”
According to Benzies, the initial online world is only the beginning, and is an idea that’s been in the making for more than 11 years.
“We’ve always wanted to create a world with the complexity of a single-player Grand Theft Auto game with the addition of real players. We wanted a world where people could spend years without getting bored of playing the same content over and over.
“I think we’ve managed to achieve something very close to our dream. The only limitation is the size of the disc and how much memory we’ve got.”
This could be the next World of Warcraft – which is something gamers need since the actual WoW has dropped revenues by 54 percent in 7 months.
Activision is trying to stop the bleeding with the introduction of microtransactions, something they say is working rather well. Of course, it’s won’t be enough to reach the enormous revenue stream they were enjoying around 2011-2012.
Since we’re discussing large-scale sandbox titles, it seems a perfect opportunity to segway into Dead Rising 3, which Capcom say they’re aiming to make a “truly open-world game”.
Said executive producer Josh Bridge, “No more load screens, with the biggest world that we’ve been able to make with loads of zombies.
“And in doing this, we needed to hold on to the brand pillars of Dead Rising: everything and anything is a weapon, as well as the ability to play the way you want.”
In case you’d forgotten, Dead Rising 3 will be one of the Xbox One launch titles. So for us then, that means we’ll get it in a couple of years or so.
Ubisoft has a new game they’ve announced that week, a side-scrolling 2D platformer called “Child of Light“.
This isn’t some throwaway iOS game either – it’s for PC and consoles and the man in charge is Far Cry 3 creative director Patrick Piourde, a veteran of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
The game is apparently styled after Japanese RPGs, with turn-based combat and a skill tree like that found in Far Cry 3. It’s your job to explore a strange land looking for missing light sources, and killing a villain called the Black Queen. You’ve got a little ball of light companion to help you, which can be controlled by a second player. Sound good? Then check out the trailer:
For a gaming fix a little more immediate, the 9th Humble Indie Bundle is now on sale for the next week or so, and it’s not a shabby one.
Pay whatever you want for Trine 2, Mark of the Ninja, Brutal Legend and Eets Munchies Beta. I can tell you I’ve played two of those games and they were awesome. (spoiler: one is not Eet Munchies Beta, but that sure does sound awesome).
If you’re not a cheapskate (it is for charity after all) and can spare the necessary R50 or so to pay above the average, you’ll also get FTL: Faster than Light and Fez. Don’t be the guy who pays R2.
At a press conference in Japan this week, Sony revealed that the upcoming survival horror title, The Evil Within, will be getting a different name over in Asia – Psycho Break. Wow. I’m not sure what braindead moron came up with that not-quite-English gem, but it’s terrible. At least we got this video out of it:
GTA V is almost upon us, and excitement is mounting. In true Rockstar style, they’ve been playing their cards close to the chest on this one, with most of what we know about the game coming from unofficial leaks. True to form, a teaser released this week is in the shape of a spoof commercial, advertising all the wonderful things you can do in Blaine County. It’s got that distinct Rockstar humour, but it also gives you a little bit more insight into the scope of this enormous game.
After what seems like forever, Arma 3 is finally out of beta and available on Steam for $60. Unfortunately, that won’t get you any single-player – not yet, anyway. Not convinced? See if this video can change your mind.
Whenever I’ve played Call of Duty style games, 99% of the reason is for the multiplayer. The solo campaigns are kind of just there, entertaining enough but not the reason I forked over my money. I’m pretty excited then for Titanfall, a game which is entirely multiplayer, from the same guys who brought us the original (and best) Modern Warfare. In this video, producer Drew McCoy discusses how the game tells a story within a multiplayer environment.
Best of NAG
Have you played Saints Row IV yet? You may already know that it’s bizarre, insane, and tons of fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously. What you may not know, is if it’s any damned good. To help you out, NAG has released two reviews this week so you can make an informed decision. The kicker is, the two opinions are pretty different. Read Wiehahn’s review here, then Tarryn’s review here, and decide whose camp you want to be in.
I’m a big fan of Trading Card Games, so one thing I’m pretty excited about is Heartstone, Blizzard’s online TCG that appears to be highly addictive. It’s in a closed beta right now, and finding an invite is a bit like finding gold in your backyard. If you’re interested however, you can try your luck in the NAG Online competition, where we’ll be giving out ten keys every week. All you have to do is comment in this article here, but keep in mind it’s approaching 500 comments at the moment. Yowzers.
One of my favourite gaming franchises of all time is the Diablo series; at least until Diablo 3 came out. The point of these games, at the heart of it, is loot. It’s all about finding that sweet, sweet loot, and the Auction House ruined all of that. I could find any item I want, ten times better than what I had, for hardly any gold at all. It sucked. The console version, however, has dropped the Auction House, which I think could be the game’s saving grace. Find out what Tarryn thinks of the game here.
While we’re on the topic of franchises, this week I chose to write about 5 franchises that I’d really like to see make a comeback. See if your favourites are on the list, or join the commenters in letting me know exactly what I foolishly missed out on. Share your opinion here.