Hello NAGingers, how are you doing this fine weekend? Good, but could be better? Terrible, and looking for signs of hope? Allow me to offer some small improvement by catching you up on the week’s gaming news. Unless of course you’re a big Wii U fan, in which case you probably want to turn back now. For the rest of you, you’ll also find Microsoft’s sneaky sabotage of Playstation owners, what exactly is happening to that brand new Microsoft IP we were promised, a couple of new-look Xbox Ones, a crop of new videos including an oddball from Square Enix, some NAG highlights you definitely shouldn’t miss (and worthy of a re-read if you didn’t) and the usual sprinkling of sarcasm and opinion you didn’t ask for. That’s my sales pitch, hit the jump. Please?
We kick the week off with everyone’s favourite sinking ship, the Wii U. Now you may recall that Nintendo’s 3DS also got off to an incredibly rocky start, and has since gone on to be insanely successful, still selling by the thousands today.
You may remember the turning point for the 3DS was a massive price cut, so it would seem that that should be something Nintendo could consider with the Wii U in light of the drastically reduced sales forecasts.
However, this week CEO Satoru Iwata said the following: “Under the current situation where the company has to report an operating loss, simply executing a price reduction as a way to defuse the situation is not an option,” he stated. “In the short-term, Nintendo will focus on thoroughly enriching the value of the most significant feature of Wii U, the Wii U GamePad.”
To do this he plans on having his company put a lot more effort into clearly marketing the product, and producing some enticing first party content. Iwata says that the company’s “top priority task this year is to offer software titles that are made possible because of the GamePad.”
All this would have been really nice about a year ago, but it does show there’s still some hope for fans of the company’s console and games.
In response to Nintendo’s financial turmoil, the company’s board of executives will all be taking some big salary cuts. Iwata will be taking the brunt of it with 50%, directors Miyamoto and Takeda will be pruning 30 percent and the seven other members 20 percent. Something tells me they won’t exactly be struggling regardless.
Iwata also cut his pay back when the 3DS wasn’t moving, so perhaps he’s on to something.
Microsoft has put into action a clandestine ploy to get Sony fanboys to cross over – right now in North America they’re asking console owners to “ditch their PS3s” for a $100 credit towards an Xbox One.
It’s a mystery as to what Microsoft is actually going to do with all these old PS3s, but I’m guessing their main motivation is getting people to turn their back on Sony. Very, very sneaky, Microsoft. I wonder if we’ll be seeing any kind of counter-offer from across the Pacific?
Our other bit of Xbox news is that there’s going to be a white one, apparently. An anonymous NeoGAF forumite has leaked “insider” information of a white Xbox One console coming in October, as well as an image of a special edition Titanfall-themed console to be released in March.
Of course we have actually seen white Xbox Ones already, the only catch being that they were exclusively available to Microsoft employees involved in the console’s development. Still ,it does lend a little more credibility to the “leak”.
We learnt this week that Microsoft has acquired the Gears of War IP from Epic, and developer Black Tusk Studios will be handling the new game.
Fans of the franchise may have some time to wait, as Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer has said the team has only been working on the title for a week.
So it’s probably best to shelve any excitement for another couple of years.
Black Tusk Studios is the reinvention of Microsoft Vancouver, started in late 2012 with the promise of working on Microsoft’s “next big franchise”.
So with them handling Gears now, what does that mean for the “all-original new IP”?
According to official Twitter account @XboxJobs, no one really knows. “@BlackTuskStudio has been working on an all original IP since its inception, we’ve just brought the GOW franchise into our portfolio and have not yet determined the future of the new IP at this point.”
However, in an interview with GamesIndustry, Phil Spencer had this to say:
“I wouldn’t say things have been shelved. Obviously, [Gears] will become a big focus of the studio and something that will be critical to them driving forward. There’s not really something that was on the road map that all of a sudden goes away.
“This obviously isn’t something that started yesterday in terms of our discussions with Epic. Hanno [Lemke, Black Tusk boss] has been involved for quite a while, so he’s known that this is something we could land. And the leadership team there obviously knew as they started to build their road map for what they would be focused on.”
That says a whole lot without saying much. There can be little doubt the new IP, whatever it is, will be taking a backseat to the proven franchise. Which is disappointing; I’m far more interested in brand new IP than another Gears game, but I’m probably in the minority on that one.
I’m afraid it’s more bad news for Nintendo, as Warner Bros have scrapped development of DLC for the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham Origins.
Reason for the cancellation has been cited as “low demand”. PS3 and Xbox 360 owners haven’t heard anything, which means that demand probably isn’t too low on those consoles.
Now I can’t really tell you truthfully that flight combat simulators are really my thing – hell, I still can’t fly the helicopter in Battlefield. That being said, Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat Infinity actually looks pretty damn cool – and will be entering open beta on the 11th. Check it out.
Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us will be getting its second instalment any day now, with the studio saying they’re aiming to release in the first week of February. To tide you over until then, they’ve released this new teaser trailer. Enjoy.
Square Enix has way too much time on their hands. It seems like every week there’s a new Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII video, but this week it’s a little different – a Super Nintendo style 16-bit retrospective catching you up on the story in preparation for the game’s release. It’s… rather different.
Lastly this week we have some InFamous Second Son gameplay footage. It’s not superb quality as it’s a recording of a screen taken at a press event in China, but it does have five minutes of gameplay that hasn’t been seen before, and is definitely worth a look. The game will release March 21 this year.
Best of NAG
Recently, game developers and enthusiasts gathered in various venues the world over for the Global Game Jam, an event which tasks its competitors with creating the best game they can in 48 hours. South Africa hosted a few venues too, with more than 126 participants. Ben Myres highlights five of the best local puzzlers to come out of the event, and you can find links to play all of them right here.
Have you played Guild Wars 2? Well, maybe you should. This underrated MMO might be just the kind of RPG you’ve been looking for. Allow Miktar to persuade you with six reasons you should be playing this game, right now.
Tim Schafer broke Kickstarter. He put the crowd-funding site on the map for game developers when he soared past his goal and racked up dollars by the hundreds of thousands. That game, Broken Age, is finally upon us, and Rick de Klerk takes the game for a spin – in two parts. Here’s part one.
Last, and certainly least, I continued my current trend of providing informative, invaluable advice and information in my weekly column. This week I had the Wii U in my sights, and handed out some indispensable tips on what to do with the Wii U you bought, but don’t want. You’re welcome.