Hello once more NAGirrians, and thanks for coming back. I trust the lack of last week’s This Week In Gaming has only exploded about 50% of my readers brains out of their earholes, so for the less enthusiastic half of you, I appreciate your continued lackluster support. This week we have some good news for Wii U owners, a bit of Nintendo scandal, another Notch is an awesome guy story, exciting Titanfall news and more evidence that gamers can’t have nice things. Plus a big old batch of videos and some highlights of things you may have missed. Click on through.
Unsurprisingly, Nintendo has had a bad financial year, largely due to disastrous sales of the Wii U.
The company plans on picking up sales by developing software that makes better use of the console’s GamePad, the one feature that sets it apart from its competitors.
Unfortunately, the burden once again rests on Nintendo to make their console appealing – as with the original Wii, the hardware is heavily dependent on first-party software. Considering the steadily increasing lack of interest from outside developers, games which utilise the Wii U’s unique features are going to have to come from Nintendo themselves.
While we’re on the Nintendo train, the console maker has gotten itself in hot water with its upcoming title Tomodachi Life, which allows characters to navigate their Mii avatars through daily life, Sims style.
This includes being able to marry other Miis – provided they’re of the opposite gender. Yup, homosexual relationships are not on the cards in Tomodachi Life.
Now LGBT rights group GLAAD has spoken out, pointing out that The Sims franchise has allowed same sex marriages for over a decade and Nintendo is sending a hurtful message to their fans by limiting relationship options.
Nintendo of America commented on the scandal earlier this week, saying that they had no intention to make any form of social commentary, and that Tomodachi Life is a “whimsical and quirky” game not aiming to be a “real-life simulation”.
I find this excuse a little weak, since it can’t be that hard to alter the game to include this functionality. Although I don’t see anyone exactly rushing or even promising to do that.
After the successful launch of hit shooter Titanfall, EA has said it will be continuing its partnership with Respawn Entertainment, working on “new Titanfall experiences”.
There are no details as of yet on specific details or platforms, but back in March it was reported by multiple sources that a Titanfall sequel would be developed under EA. Considering it’s an easily franchisable new IP, that’s not hard to believe.
As for platforms, studio head Vince Zampella has said previously that Respawn would make games for PS4 and it’s likely a sequel would drop the Xbox exclusivity deal.
Online “game” Eve Online is serious business – you may have seen that a real-life monument for the popular MMO was recently unveiled in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Titled Worlds Within A World, the monument lists the names of all active players and even has a time capsule buried underneath it – a laptop containing videos and messages from both developers and players.
Of course, it didn’t take long for a group of angry Eve players to vandalise it. Attendees of the annual FanFest event scratched out the name of one of the players, Xenuria, who is apparently not exactly well liked in the community.
Players didn’t respond too kindly, however, and neither did developer CCP who reacted aggressively and swiftly. Four players were found to be behind it, and all of them have received a lifetime ban from FanFest events and, more drastically, three of them have been permanently banned from Eve Online. Ouch.
“It’s an insult to the entire community and is clearly the work a person who believes that behaviour in a virtual world is a valid reason to make a real life personal attack on someone, and deface public property,” wrote CCP Falcon, Eve community manager.
“We will not tolerate this.”
Credit to CCP for taking names and kicking ass; it’s high-time this kind of immaturity was dealt with appropriately.
More Titanfall news, the game will be getting its first DLC soon, a fairly basic map pack with three new maps. One such map, an alien technology themed affair with a jungle environment named Swampland, has received a special “making of” video.
It’s a pretty cool look at the process of map design, from the earliest stages to the final visual effects. Check it out:
So apparently, Minecraft’s Notch has a 10-year plan for his employees at Mojang. The 10-year plan only goes into effect if he doesn’t come up with another money-maker after Minecraft.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the developer said, “Hopefully, we are going to keep making money at Mojang, but if we don’t, that’s fine. We just have 10 fun years, and then, the last year, we’d say to our employees, ‘If we don’t make any money this year, Mojang is going to be dead. So you might want to look for new jobs.’”
Some people misinterpreted this to mean a clock had been put on Mojang, but Notch subsequently clarified the statement on Twitter. What he meant was, they have enough money put away to last ten years without making a damned cent. So, they’d have fun coming up with ideas that never make any money, and then shut down.
Considering the instability of employment in the video game industry, I’d say that’s some pretty damned good job security.
The Bungie hype machine is in full swing as we all eagerly wait to see if Destiny is The Next Big Thing. Meanwhile, Sony is keeping the engine running with various teasers, trailers and other videos – like this one, showing off the game’s weapons, loot and armour; complete with developer commentary.
On the other end of the spectrum is Risen 3: Titan Lords, a game that has received little to no hype at all. Deep Silver’s RPG series hasn’t quite achieved Elder Scrolls status yet, but the games are solid and worthy of a genre fan’s attention. Check out this trailer:
Sniper Elite V2 wasn’t the greatest game, mostly due to its crappy environments. The newest iteration aims to fix that by shifting things to Africa, and the trailer actually looks promising. Have a look:
Hotline Miami was good. Violent, gory and controversial – but good. The sequel looks like it just might be even better, if this new footage is anything to go by.
Best of NAG
Local is lekker, especially when it comes to our fledgling game development industry. South African indie devs have shown themselves capable of producing some great stuff, and the same would appear to be true of new mobile game Blazin’ Aces. For a full breakdown of all the dogfighting action, check out Delano’s review here.
Another indie worthy of your attention is Swedish offering 20,000 Leagues Above the Clouds, an interesting new project from 2-man operation That Brain. Miklos had a good look under the hood, and you can see his thoughts here.
As for my thoughts, this week I decided to have a mini-rant about the state of the Call of Duty franchise. More specifically, I gave my opinion on what the upcoming iteration, Advanced Warfare, needs in order to recapture a fan base that is starting to lose hope. Throwing Kevin Spacey into another cycle of rehashed ideas and stale gameplay isn’t gonna cut it, Activision.
Finally, we have a moving opinion piece from Wesley Fick regarding Wednesday’s vote. It has nothing to do with games, but has everything to do with being a South African. As the results should be just about wrapped up by the time you see this, I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t already.