Greetings NAGherkins and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming, your weekly roundup of gaming news interspersed with opinions no one asked for. This week we have some more fuel for the fanboy fight, Sony patents some horrifying hardware, a bit of salacious social network scandal, a problematic Prince of Persia post, a SWAT siege turns sour and more mysterious and mortifying news. Then of course there’s the usual crop of clips and historic highlights. Enjoy.
Alright, let’s get this out of the way first – the Xbox One’s hardware is inferior to the PS4. There, are you happy, fanboys? Is this what you wanted?
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
More of this resolution nonsense surfaced this week, and I am duty-bound to stoke the fire of console competition by reporting it. Not really, but it’s more entertaining to write about than Peter Molyneux’s next game that’s going to blow all our minds out of our ear canals and change the world as we know it today. Or just be the worst version of Minecraft ever created, but for Molyneux that’s synonymous.
Anyway, Lords of the Fallen producer and possible Lord of the Rings character Tomasz Gop said that while their priority was keeping everything at 30fps, keeping the resolution equal across platforms was proving to be a challenge (spoiler: for the Xbox).
As an aside, is 30fps really the new standard for console games? I’m a PC player granted, but 30fps runs like crap for me. I’d much rather take a hit on graphics – but Gop disagrees.
“I think if we have to choose between resolution and framerate, we’ll probably choose to go full HD 1080p and have a stable, rock-solid 30fps, rather than try to lower the resolution and push it to 60fps because we believe this game looks pretty good, so we’d rather have a decent resolution to show it off.”
Personally, I don’t think 30fps is the right way to show off anything, but I’ve made my position on the current graphics obsession clear in the past so I’ll try not go off on a tangent here (too late).
Gop goes on to say that they’ve “nailed” the resolution target on the PS4, but on the Xbox One it’s “slightly tougher”. This is the umpteenth time we’ve heard this, can we consider this settled? Probably not.
While we’re on the subject of Sony’s plans for world domination, the hardware maker has recently patented a sensor which will measure and analyse changes in your saliva. Seriously.
This not-at-all-terrifying peripheral would fit BEHIND YOUR FRONT TEETH and detect changes in the hormones and enzymes in your saliva, which apparently indicates your emotional state.
That’s not all either – there’s also a ring that measures your heart rate/blood pressure, some kind of headgear which measures your brain activity and sensors buried in the PS4 controller itself.
If you ask me (which I realise you aren’t), this immersion thing has gone a few steps too far. I just want to sit on my couch in my underwear without getting inception’d by my own console.
Mark Zuckerberg, the crafty devil, asked Sony for a tech demo of their Project Morpheus VR hardware one week before announcing plans to acquire their competition, Oculus. Sony, those gullible suckers, showed it to him.
The news comes form Playstation marketing exec Guy Longworth, who you would think wouldn’t want to boast that Zuckerberg wasn’t all that impressed with their offering.
In spite of that, Longworth says everyone working on the project are feeling upbeat and optimistic.
“If you think about VR, not just in terms of gaming, I think wearable technology is a huge trend that’s going to continue,” he said.
I’m glad to see that Sony is thinking outside of gaming as well – the area where I believe VR will eventually find it’s home.
Somewhat less promisingly, head of product planning for Xbox Albert Penello said VR “is great”, then ruined that by comparing his experiences with it to his first experiences with Kinect.
No doubt we’ll see some kind of white and green VR model soon enough.
A Ubisoft employee had his Twitter access taken away (and was presumably sent to his room to think about what he’d done) this week for allegedly blowing the lid on a new Prince of Persia game.
Drew James, of Ubisoft Reflections, posted a tweet saying “What next for Prince of Persia?” and cleverly added all the Ubisoft Twitter accounts to the tweet.
A short time later the tweet was deleted – along with the poor guy’s Twitter account. Perhaps @UbiDrew is going to need to drop that prefix.
The tweet comes amid rumours that Ubisoft Montpellier is working on a new 2D entry to the franchise, which will be built with the impressive UbiArt Framework engine behind the beautiful Child of Light.
A spokesperson for Ubisoft “declined to comment”. Surprise surprise.
EVE Online has, for me, the claim of creating the best stories to come out of gaming. Which is surprising since it’s also probably the most boring game ever made.
If you haven’t played it, Eve Online is primarily for people who like to come home from work to more work. Why should work only be something you get paid for? Not that you can’t make money off of Eve; you may recall the 7500+ player battle which resulted in $300,000 of digital damage. Wait, that’s the opposite of making money.
Anyway, journalist Andrew Groen is planning to write a book covering “the politics, warfare, betrayal and culture that shaped the first decade of Eve Online“, titled A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online.
He’s done six months of work so far, but is now attempting to generate $12,500 on Kickstarter to complete the book.
Groen calls Eve “one of humanity’s first true virtual worlds”, and he’s right. Love or hate the game, it has a truly fascinating history and I’d love to read this book. Some final food for thought from Groen:
“Eve is over 10 years old, and it’s more popular now than it has ever been. What if it lives to be 20? Or 50? What if it outlives the people who remember these stories first-hand?”
We know all about Epic’s ambitious Fortnite, and we’ve heard them mention a mobile game, but this week founder Tim Sweeney let on that they also have a AAA, high-end title in development which will “push next-generation graphics as you’d always expect Epic to do”.
The news comes in response to rumblings that Epic is neglecting game development in favour of their Unreal Engine, but Sweeney insists the two go hand in hand, with company resources divided equally between the two. However, Sweeney believes the industry is in a state of flux.
“The industry’s changing – this generation it seems like there are about a third of the number of triple-A titles in development across the industry as there was last time around – and each one seems to have about three times the budget of the previous generation. I think we’re heading towards a future where triple-A is the minority.”
Considering how lucrative mobile games such as Angry Birds and indies like Minecraft have proven to be, coupled with the recent trend of big publishers pushing out high-profile digital and mobile titles, he may be right.
More ammunition for the games-are-destroying-the-moral-fabric-of-society brigade was gathered this week when a frustrated gamer (yet to be identified) decided the best way to deal with his frustration after losing a Call of Duty match was to make a hoax phone call to the police – sending a SWAT team to the house of his opponent, 17-year-old Rafael Castillo of Long Island, New York.
The unknown caller pretended to be Castillo, telling police he’d killed his brother and mother and planned on killing more people.
While Castillo obliviously played video games in his room with headphones on, the police laid a two hour siege on his house involving more than 60 officers, helicopters and special ops.
Eventually, Castillo’s brother came in and told him the police were looking for him. Castillo, having seen similar pranks in the news before, says he knew right away what it was about.
I bet somewhere out there, there’s a 14-year old kid hiding under his bed in terror of the police finding out who made that call.
A final piece of news, Square Enix registered a domain for Just Cause 3 this week, setting off rumours that we may be seeing a reveal at E3.
Back in February 2013, developer Avalanche’s CEO’s LinkedIn profile suggested two next-fen titles were in the works, one of which has been revealed to be Mad Max.
It seems likely that the next one is going to be a Just Cause sequel, but as of yet there’s nothing official to go on.
The new, somewhat strange Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC has dropped for Xbox Live, featuring new personalisation packs and a voice pack which has Snoop Dogg commentating your game. Is this the greatest thing ever, or just proof that Activision has completely run out of f**ks to give? You decide.
I’ve become quite intrigued with Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock’s next title, Evolve. If you’re unfamiliar, four players of different classes attempt to take down a fifth, who’s controlling an enormous, hulking monster. Sound awesome? It is. Check out this new gameplay video narrated by Turtle Rock founder and design director, Chris Ashton. Oh, did I mention it’s almost an hour long? Enjoy.
The Elder Scrolls Online will be getting it’s first post-launch content later this month, and developer ZeniMax Online has released a new video to show off the flagship feature – 12-man trials. These trials will apparently provide a significant challenge to “even the toughest veterans”. Check it out.
Fresh3D’s Outcast HD remake is clawing it’s way towards a Kickstarter goal of $600,000; currently on around $250,000 with 13 days left. To try and get you all to open your wallets, they’ve released a gameplay trailer – albeit using a “very early prototype” which still makes use of some of the old game’s assets.
Best of NAG
Well, well, well, what do we have here? It’s a new weekly column called Throwback Thursday, where we’ll be opening the gaming vault and wiping the dust off of a piece of gaming history. For the inaugural column Delano takes on Bad Mojo, a 90s oddball that had you taking on the form of a cockroach.
Next up is the comprehensive and extensively-researched, always excellent System Builder’s Guide from Mr Wesley Fick. This instalment takes on those whose pockets are jingling with Krugerrands, the R19,500 – R30,000 range. If you have any interest in upgrading or building a new PC, you’d be doing yourself an enormous disservice by not consulting these guides first.
Then we have my column for the week, which I’m assuming nobody read. Sitting at an impressive 0 comments, a personal best, I spent my column space this week discussing five awesome things which came out of PAX this year. Which apparently no one cares about, so maybe don’t read that. I think for my next column I’ll get angry about something instead.
Last, but furthest from least, we have the brand new issue of NAG Magazine which should be on a shelf close enough to your house for you not to have an excuse. This issue features a hands-on with Watch Dogs, as well as 16 reviews of big releases such as South Park, Infamous and Dark Souls 2. Head over here for the cover, contents and the nerdiest discussion to ever grace our comments section.