Hello once more NAGykees, and thanks for coming back for this Easter special This Week In Gaming. Why is it an Easter special? Because today’s Friday, not Saturday. Yeah, that’s it basically. Also there’s an Easter bunny up there, so I suppose there’s that. Anyway, this week we have some exciting news for people who like to take extended “bathroom” breaks at work, some internal gossip on Titanfall dev Respawn Entertainment, some facts on Steam that will make you feel less lonely, and Microsoft is making a new game. Maybe. There’s other stuff too, but it’s a long weekend and this summary is long enough to not look too suspicious to the editors – at a glance, anyway. So, stuff your face with chocolate and hit the jump.
Hearthstone has exploded since its beta period, and Blizzard’s free-to-play card strategy game has reached levels of success I’m pretty sure have surprised even its developers.
Now the game is set to ensure new levels of unproductivity, as it released worldwide this week on iPad. This is literally the only time I’ve ever been sad to not own a tablet. I’m sure it’ll pass soon.
Anyways, if you haven’t yet checked out this game and own an iPad I would absolutely recommend giving it a shot. It’s free, it’s addictive, it’s fun as hell and to be honest, it’s probably best played on an iPad anyway.
Speaking of success, as of 6th April Sony had shipped over 7 million PS4s. This is a fair deal over their expectations for this point, so I bet Kaz Hirai is treating himself to a nice new island or two.
I imagine Satoru Iwata will be spending his Easter in a caravan.
A new book-in-app-form by games reporter Geoff Keighley, the Final Hours of Titanfall, reveals that developer Respawn was almost torn apart by a prolonged legal battle between EA, Activision and studio co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.
Many of you will likely remember the legal fallout after the pair abruptly left Activision, saying they’d been fired and hadn’t been paid millions of dollars’ worth of royalties owed to them.
According to Keighley, new studio Respawn Entertainment was a company divided into two distinct groups – those who were involved in the lawsuit, and those who weren’t.
“On certain days almost half the company would crowd into the conference room for multi-hour meetings with lawyers,” Keighley writes. “Often those discussions would spill over into the afternoon with debates about the latest legal maneuver. The rest of the company was supposed to be heads-down working on the game, but one Google Alert about the lawsuit sent development into a tailspin for the rest of the afternoon.”
“Employee after employee complained about the rushed way the lawsuit had been settled. Many attacked West directly and complained that he hadn’t properly balanced his time between the lawsuit and the game, which he had largely ignored for the better part of a year.”
West left Respawn without warning in early 2013, with many speculating the reason to be conflict between him and Zampella. This new report lends some credibility to that speculation.
We’ve seen other games turn out extremely poorly when in such challenging environments; it seems somewhat of a miracle that Titanfall is as good as it is.
Do you lie awake at night, tossing and turning, racked with guilt over your disgusting backlog of Steam games you’ve never played?
Well fear not, you are not alone. A new study shows that more than a third of games installed across all Steam accounts haven’t been opened – not even once.
The research, done by Ars Technica, shows that more than 780 million games have been installed since the platform launch in 2004, with 37 percent never seeing so much as a double click while a further 17 percent haven’t even made an hour of playtime. Ouch.
As for the games installed, the free-to-play kings DotA 2 and Team Fortress 2 unsurprisingly top the list by a fair margin, while Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Counter-Strike: Source and HL2: Deathmatch lag along a few steps behind.
The Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction fiasco continues this week, as a new website has popped up with another countdown. This site URL has changed to nogumneeded.com, which seems to suggest publisher Interceptor Entertainment may just be removing all things Duke from the game.
If it really is that simple to remove all the Duke references, you have to imagine it was a pretty cheeky attempt to cash in on the name from the get-go.
Is anyone actually expecting this game to be any good?
Microsoft has filed a trademark application for “an online computer game” called Screamride.
GameSpot enquired, and were given the rather generic response that the company “often acquires various trademarks, but beyond that we have no comment”.
So basically, no comment. The software giant has also filed trademarks for “Snap Attack” and “Secrets and Treasure”, which to be honest sound to me like crappy mobile/Facebook games.
We’ll end on some actual good news – gaming supervillain King.com has withdrawn its trademark lawsuits against both Stoic’s The Banner Saga as well as Candy Swipe, the game King allegedly cloned.
Both parties have managed to reach an agreement with the Facebook game giant, so lawsuits from all sides have been dropped.
It’s videos like this that just make me love the internet. Without the internet, hilariously stupid and unnecessary crap like this just wouldn’t exist. But it does. So then, enjoy this home-made GTA V-powered recreation of the E3 Phantom Pain trailer. Credit to Japanese YouTuber niconico for having far too much time on his hands.
Alien Isolation continues to capture my attention (and thus, yours, since I exert my NAG Online omnipotence to serve my own interests) with more juicy videos for me to feast on. This latest dev diary shows how the game is remembering its roots and staying faithful to the film. Check it out:
While we’re doing the dev diary thing, here’s one for Trials Fusion – which coincidentally released just this week. It’s a digital download, it’s cheap, and it’s enormous amounts of fun – and remember, there’s a 63% chance you’ll even play it!
Last up we have a double feature; two new Ultra Street Fighter 4 videos from Capcom. I could type out a brief summary, but I linked two videos instead of one so really I feel like that should be enough. You people are so ungrateful sometimes.
Best of NAG
More things to watch you say? How about this Bioshock Infinite video and image collection which shows the marked transformations Elizabeth underwent throughout the development process.
Or maybe this, fresh gameplay of Kickstarter favourite Star Citizen straight out of PAX. There’s also some new info there too, so definitely check that out if you’ve been following the game.
MORE? Okay, check out my column this week on five of the best gaming documentaries that are guaranteed to entertain. Hell, they might even move you. All of these are worth your time, so check ‘em out.
Okay, I’m fresh out of videos. Instead, check out the always-excellent System Builders’ Guide from Sir Wesley Fick, this one targeting the pricier R11,500 to R16,500 range.