Hello again NAGillians, and thank you for returning for another This Week In Gaming. It’s the weekend before rAge, so I’m sure all of you based in Gauteng are conserving energy and cash for the big weekend. Good choice. The big announcement this week was Valve’s new operating system and accompanying gaming systems; looking to put some real console competition into living rooms across the world. Other than that we have Quantic Dreams’ next project, Battlefield 4′s attempts to sway the world from Call of Duty, EA flinging poop at the creator of Mario, GTA Online’s in-game currency, a crop of gaming videos, Aaron Paul and a whole lot of competitions and columns. Hit the jump.
The next-gen titles so far are looking awesome, and Ubisoft executive director Alain Corre believes that the launch line-up will be of a much higher standard than we would generally expect; as there’s a reputation for games released alongside new hardware not making use of the consoles’ full potential.
According to Corre, we’re not going to be disappointed, and from what we’ve seen so far, I find that easy to believe.
Steam made a huge announcement this week with the reveal of SteamOS, a linux-based operating system designed to run all your Steam titles.
Alongside this, Valve plans to release a variety of SteamOS gaming machines in 2014. These “Steam Machines” will be built by a number of different manufacturers, varying in specifications, price and performance.
The system and the OS are designed to run on your TV; where you’ll be able to play either existing Steam titles or wirelessly stream Windows/Mac titles from another PC.
There’s been a lot of press about the ability to upgrade your current-gen console purchases to the shinier next-gen variety for a small fee.
However, one small caveat was revealed this week – you’ll leave all your single-player progress behind. While multiplayer data can be carried across due to it being server-based, single-player save files aren’t able to make the cross-platform journey. So if you want to cross over, you’re going to have to start again from scratch.
David Cage has teased a little info on Quantic Dreams’ next PS4 game, which he says will be “very different from Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls”, but “building on the same grounds”.
“People should expect to be surprised again, because this is really what we try to do with each game – not give people what they expect, [but] give them something they want maybe without knowing this is what they want.”
What we’ve seen of Beyond so far looks original and awesome, so right now I’m excited for anything Quantic Dreams is working on.
Call of Duty: Ghosts has been soaking up all the military FPS attention as usual, but let’s not forget Battlefield 4, guaranteed to sell less regardless of whether or not it’s a better game.
DICE attempted to drum up some excitement this week by detailing seven new multiplayer modes, two of which will be available in the beta. To be honest, none of them sound particularly original, revolving mostly around acquiring and planting bombs, controlling points on the map or just straight up killing each other.
If DICE wants to overthrow the FPS king, they’re going to need something a little more enticing.
There’s a debate right now on what has more earning potential – free-to-play games or the traditional boxed variety. Rockstar is going Switzerland on that one by doing both – they confirmed this week that GTA Online will utilise microtransactions, allowing players to buy in-game cash.
As is usually the case you can earn your money the hard way through completing tasks and levelling up, or if you’re rich and impatient you can turn your real money into in-game money.
Don’t stress about the game being pay-to-win, however, as Rockstar assures us that “the game and its economy have been designed and balanced for the vast majority of players who will not buy extra cash. There is no in-game paywall and nothing that should disrupt the balance of the game. You don’t have to spend real money to attain the cars, guns, clothes, flash and style of a high-roller in Los Santos, but can if you wish to get them a little quicker.”
Shigeru Miyamoto, legendary game designer and creator of Mario, made the news more than a couple of times this week, In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, Miyamoto stated that he is “no longer needed” – his various protégés are now capable of handling things on their own.
EA’s chief creative officer Richard Hilleman phrased it a little differently, saying that Miyamoto is “falling down on the job”. Ouch.
Hilleman believes that Miyamoto has been usurped by Steve Jobs, as Apple is now the biggest inspiration for young gamers. The company’s hardware innovations over the few years have trumped Nintendo’s offerings, which have generally been overshadowed by other hardware manufacturers.
Hilleman blames Nintendo’s failings on complexity of modern gaming hardware, something he feels is not in line with what customers want.
“Customers today… are generally looking for a single fabric of play. They want their game where they want it, when they want it, and at a price they can defend to other people.”
Do you agree? Is Apple inspiring the youth of today, and do you want more streamlined gaming hardware?
Speaking of Apple, there was some controversy this week when EA Labels head Frank Gibeau reportedly said in a meeting that Apple paid EA “a truckload of money” to delay the Android release of Plants vs. Zombies 2.
Apple quickly denied it, and EA has clarified their position saying that there’s been a miscommunication over a comment taken out of context.
Conspiracy theories aside, it seems like Gibeau made a joke or something and a hilarious case of broken telephone ensued.
Some companies like Rockstar like to play their cards close to the chest, revealing as little about their upcoming games as possible. Others, like Ubisoft, like to show you the whole damn game before it’s released. Here then is another Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag trailer, this time showcasing the various characters from the game.
Square Enix’s new Thief game will be coming out in February next year, and if you pre-order now you’ll get access to a special homage to Thief II, a bank heist mission. If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, see if this trailer can convince you.
Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami has stirred up a lot of buzz with his new project, The Evil Within, and what we’ve seen of it so far looks promising. This week we got our first real look at the game, with a full 12 minutes of gameplay. Enjoy.
Enough with all this gameplay nonsense. When I think trailers, I think movies, and that’s exactly what we got with the first official look at the Need for Speed movie, starring Breaking Bad badass Aaron Paul. It’s like Fast and the Furious, with more video game goodness. Check it out:
Best of NAG
You could win so much stuff this week. Really, there were like several hundred competitions, a few of which were on NAG Online. Don’t despair, it’s not too late. All you have to do is comment here if you want a Hearthstone Beta key, here if you want a shiny new graphics card, or here if you want tickets to rAge. Yes, you can enter all three, because who doesn’t want all those things?
For as long as there’ve been multiple consoles, there’ve been people who can’t afford all of them who try to convince themselves and others that the one they chose is the best. Fanboys are the front line of the console war, and Wesley Fick breaks down who exactly is beating who in the next-gen arms race here.
rAge is just around the corner (next weekend!), and I’m sure those of you going are getting excited. I sure as hell am. So excited, in fact, that I saw myself fit to give you all advice on how to best enjoy your rAge experience, despite the fact that I’ve never been. Make sense? Not really, but check it out here anyway.
Saving the best for last, a new issue of NAG magazine can now be found on a real-world shelf somewhere close to you. You will, however, have to venture outside your room, and possibly even your house. The October issue brings with it Call of Duty: Ghosts, an excursion to Gamescom in Germany, everything you need to know about the latest hardware and as many previews and reviews as could be fit between two covers. Get all the info and check out the badass cover right here.