Hello you fine, fine people, and welcome to the year’s last This Week In Gaming. It’ll also be the last you’ll see of me for 2013, as come this Thursday I’ll be a married man (sorry ladies). But until then I’d be remiss in my duties if not to inform you as to the week’s video game happenings. It’s been a bit of a slow week, as it always is as the year draws to a close. There was however a bit of Xbox One controversy, a retro release on Steam, some troubling news for those anticipating the DayZ alpha, the cast of the Warcraft movie is officially confirmed, Sony defends GT6‘s microtransactions and of course you’ll find the usual batch of videos and NAG highlights. So when you’re finished signing up for all the free stuff around here, hit the jump.
Sales of Sony’s new console have already passed the 2 million mark, and Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House thinks that given enough time, it’ll surpass the PS3.
“It has an opportunity to significantly exceed what we’ve been able to achieve with PS3 and there’s a couple of reasons for that,” he said.
Those reasons are a more accessible price point and a device which offers more than just gaming – the PS4 operates as a multimedia entertainment device.
The Xbox One has had a slightly more troubled week, with their restrictive policy for indie developers coming under fire once again.
The specific issue in question is that indie studios looking to publish across platforms are required to make sure to launch the game on the Xbox One at the same time as any other console.
In a lengthy interview with Joystiq, Rami Ismail of Vlambeer, the studio behind iOS title Super Crate Box, said that he’ll keep applying pressure to Microsoft to change this somewhat draconian policy.
With PS4 portraying themselves as the champion of indie devs, Microsoft doesn’t really need the bad press – and you have to admit, that clause is kind of scummy.
All that aside, Microsoft did this week release a list of developers who’ve signed up for their ID@Xbox self-publishing program.
There are some heavy hitters too, such as Crytek and Double Fine, as well as Team 17 (Worms) and Kenji Inafune’s Comcept and Bit. Hell, even Vlambeer is on the list.
Perhaps 2014 will be the year of the indie; some fresh ideas could do the industry a world of good.
Square Enix went retro this week, re-releasing their 1999 RPG classic Final Fantasy VIII on Steam. To sweeten the deal, two new features have been added – the Magic Booster and Chocobo World.
The former boosts the power of the player’s spells to help out with the game’s difficulty, whereas the latter is a virtual pet mini-game. How very Japanese of them.
The standalone DayZ game is reaching Duke Nukem Forever levels of delays, but the alpha test build of the game is set to be coming to Steam’s Early Access before the end of the year.
While this isn’t a closed test –anyone can purchase and play it, creator Dean Hall has issued a warning to early adopters that the game may be “a recipe for disappointment”.
“To enable a smooth launch, we really are targeting it at a core audience who want to get deeply involved in a very barebones experience that is a platform for future development,” Hall said.
Not the strongest of endorsements, but at least he’s honest. Still, it does seem a little risky putting such an unpolished product out there; you might just put a fair few people off.
The Warcraft film is set for a 2016 cinematic release, and this week the lead cast of the MMO adaptation was confirmed. The stars include Ben Foster, Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell and Rob Kazinsky.
Did I say stars? I meant people you’ve never heard of. While the names may be unknown, you may very well recognise the faces, considering the cast has appeared in the likes of X-Men, Mission impossible, True Blood and Pacific Rim.
Hopefully director Duncan Jones (Moon) can make something of this, I’ve seen more terrible video game adaptations than I can handle.
Sony has come under a lot of fire for Gran Turismo 6’s microtransaction system, but the publisher said this week that it has been “misinterpreted”, “completely optional” and “doesn’t affect player progression”.
They emphasise that the content can be unlocked naturally in the game, but was that in question? It’s difficult to see that the system has been misinterpreted, what do you think? Microtransactions in full retail games make me uneasy, and the scummy tactics like using an intermediate currency system and incremental purchases of that currency should be criticised, particularly in a game I’m forking out hundreds of bucks for in the first place.
While we’re talking GT6, the game officially launched yesterday. Here’s the opening cinematic – don’t worry, you don’t have to pay for it.
Want to play Assassin’s Creed, but don’t have the money or the hardware? Well you can still get a taste of the Caribbean with Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, an iOS and Android spin-off which has players piloting their ship in real-time naval conflict.
Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII will be launching in February next year outside Japan, but inside the homeland it’s been making waves (too soon?). While you wait, check out Square Enix’s newest dev diary.
Blacklight Retribution launched on PS4 last week, and you should all be excited. Why? Because it’s free, and it looks awesome. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 3, doesn’t need a Playstation Plus subscription and is a futuristic FPS with tons of character customisation. Have yourself a look:
Best of NAG
Christmas is upon us, and NAG Online has fully embraced the spirit of giving. To give a little love back to all the readers, for a full 26 days this very site will be giving away something new daily. Check back every day for a new competition, and see them all by clicking this text.
I’I’ve been in the Christmas spirit myself, which is why I used my column space this week to discuss who’s on Santa’s naughty list for 2013. Who do you think will be waking up to nothing this year? Check it out.
Price points of games is kind of a sticking point – they remain relatively static year over year, digital platforms Steam frequently sell big titles at half price or less, and free-to-play games are out there confusing everyone. So what the hell are games actually worth? Rick de Klerk talks about exactly that.
The most exciting news of the week is the launch of gaming megasite IGN’s African portal – which is being published and handled by NAG. Exciting, right? Head over here for all the details.