Hello again NAGirians and thanks for coming back for This Week in Gaming. E3 just happened, which means we’re not exactly short on news this week, despite a full week of coverage. So then, this week I’ve attempted to fill in the gaps with more announcements, reveals, videos and news than you can shake a Wiimote at. Personally, I’m still recovering from losing my worldly wealth in R15 increments in the Good Old Games sale, which you should absolutely check out by the way. Once you’re done destroying your credit card, hit the jump.
Last week I talked about how Mario Kart 8’s release had triggered a massive boost of Wii U sales in the UK, and now it seems that the Kart-Effect has extended across the pond to the United States.
Specifically, sales have boosted 4.1 times week over week, with the title performing pretty damned well at 1.2 million units in its first week. Which isn’t bad at all for a game that’s only available on a console not many people are using right now.
I said it last week but it bears repeating – Nintendo is only going to dig their flagship console out of its hole with solid first-party content; same as they’ve done in the past.
As for the PS4, which doesn’t seem to need a whole lot of help, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan thinks that Destiny’s release will be the biggest boon to the console’s sales.
“We’re partnered up with Activision on [Destiny]. The intensity and depth that the two organisations are working at is something I’ve never seen before. Both really want to make this work in a really serious way.
“The game is obviously multi-format so it will be out on Xbox One and 360, as it will be on PS3. But I think, certainly in our eyes, the main prize is the PS4 version of the game. We want to make that absolutely enormous.”
Sony is certainly going all-out, bundling Destiny with an exclusive white PS4 system at the game’s launch.
As for the green machine, Microsoft’s big move was removing a component and dropping the price. Did it work?
Actually… yes. Ditching the Kinect has seen the leaner, cheaper hardware flying off the shelves, according to GameStop’s senior VP of merchandising Bob Puzon.
Microsoft is in need of a boost, trailing the PS4 by 2 million units as of early April, according to sales figures from both manufacturers (5 million to 7 million).
Facebook’s buyout of Oculus had the internet up in arms, but according to the company’s CEO, Brendan Iribe, the buyout will mean cheaper VR for everyone.
“I think [the buyout] is going to allow us to deliver consumer V1 at a lower cost, because we’re not trying to drive a high margin on this,” Iribe said. “[Facebook CEO] Mark [Zuckerberg], especially, wants to bring the cost down, him more than me [...] Mark is much more in the mindset of ‘Let’s get this to scale with the best quality product at the lowest cost possible.'”
“As that kind of comes together, we have the hardware in place for consumer V1, and there’s a lot of content, and there’s a platform and an ecosystem for people to be able to monetize, that will all come together for a consumer V1,” Iribe said. “There’s a lot of rich content being made, but we need a lot more of it.”
Iribe also said they’re targeting 2015 for a first release, and expect around a million units to be sold. Eh, I’d say that’s not entirely unreasonable.
You may recall that back when GTA V came out, a very impressed Hideo Kojima called it “the future of video games”.
So then, when The Phantom Pain emerged as a giant open world experience, you may have put on your suspicious hat and googled “plagiarism”.
But, you’ll be pleased to hear that Kojima has said that “Rockstar is going in a very different direction” to him.
“When we say we’re an open world game it makes it sound like it’s trying to be the same as what those guys are creating. But this is very different – I’m trying to do a free infiltration game.
“This is a game that is not necessarily what you would call sandbox where you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want, like in GTA. This is not the way this game works. For our game, you get in, you accomplish a mission and you get out. These missions are very simple; destroying something, arresting someone, killing someone, recovering something… it is really simple in that regard.
“Now, players have all the freedom in the world to think about what method, or what route, what time of the day will they choose to get in and accomplish their mission. During these missions there’s a story that’s developing. But certainly there’s a limit to what the player can do when away from this mission because it is clear when there’s a mission to complete.
“In that regard it’s completely different to GTA in which you can do whatever you want. In MGS V, you have missions and I try to provide players with as much fun as possible in the freedom they have for how to complete their mission.”
Sheesh, he sure likes to talk, doesn’t he?
One of the big excitements of E3 was Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4, but according to Nathan Drake’s voice Nolan North, this will probably be the last one.
“It’s bittersweet but at a certain point you want to go out on top,” North said. “If this is the last one indeed, and I believe it’s the last one – nothing’s confirmed, but I believe it’s the last one Naughty Dog wants to do, in which case I hope somebody else doesn’t pick up the mantle because they’ve done it so well for so long – but yeah, it’s one of those things where you just have to cross that bridge when you get to it.
“I like the idea of going out on top so we better do a hell of a job with this one… and it’s already looking pretty good.”
Something else that’s looking good is Respawn Entertainment, whose first foray into the market was the quite-excellent Titanfall, provided you don’t expect silly features like single-player in your games.
Now the studio has picked up some new talent in Stig Asmussen, game director of God of War 3.
Asmussen says he’s not working on Titanfall… but is he working on Titanfall 2? Rumours are scurrying about that the developer is already working on a multi-platform sequel, bringing PS4 owners in on the fun.
Titanfall sales have been slow and steady, with EA COO Peter Moore saying it’s the best-selling Xbox One title to date.
Speaking of Titanfall, the game is getting a beefy update later this month, with new burn cards, titan voiceovers and most importantly, two new game modes. These are:
Marked for Death – a 6v6 mode where one player on each team is marked. Your job is to defend that player whilst simultaneously trying to kill the other marked player. The mark changes pilots as they’re killed, of course.
Wingman LTS – Same as your standard Last Titan Standing, but reduced to 2v2. So bring a friend that you like to swear at.
A last little tidbit of news for those waiting, waiting for Sony to finally deliver The Last Guardian. It’s been a rough week for fans, with a rumour emerging just before E3 that the game had finally been cancelled, seven years after development began.
Well Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida says that that’s not true, and the team is still “working hard” on the game. According to Yoshida, if they do cancel the game, they’ll tell you about it.
What do you think – will we ever actually see this thing come to life?
Crystal Dynamics has revealed a new Tomb Raider game for their next title, which suits me up and down because I love what they’ve done with the reboot. In addition to that, they also revealed another Tomb Raider game, a co-op isometric puzzle title which serves as a sequel to 2010’s Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. For that, we have some actual gameplay.
Long-awaited sequel Dragon Age: Inquisition got some much-needed screen time at E3 this year, with one of the highlights being the Twitch stream which showed off tons of gameplay plus commentary from the game’s creative director and executive producer. You can see a 20-minute capture of that screen below.
Ninja Gaiden creator Tomonobu Itagaki has had a bumpy ride for his new IP Devil’s Third, which was due to be released in 2013 on PS3 and Xbox 360 before development costs caused now-defunct publisher THQ to drop it. Happily, the game has found new life as a Wii U exclusive, and you can see plenty of multiplayer gameplay action in this video.
Finally, we have a look at The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, an open-world post-apocalyptic title which is all about exploration. Discovery and exploration was also the theme of The Chinese Room’s critically-acclaimed Dear Esther, and you can expect something original and a little different once again with this new title.
Best of NAG
I’ve joked before that Wesley Fick is a optimally-engineered column-writing cyborg sent from the future to school all of us in hardware. No one can make me feel like I know less about computer hardware than Mr. Fick, but who would know more about machines than an actual machine? “He” has really outdone himself this time, however, with this absolutely excellent guide on when and how to upgrade your rig. Is it time you upgraded? Find out here.
Did I mention that he never sleeps? This week also saw the plebs edition of the always-amazing System Builder’s Guide; specifically the R3000 to R9000 range for those of us who still believe the band is going to make it. Once you’ve realised you need to upgrade from the previous column, and subsequently have no money to do it, you can go check out the cheaper options here.
I’m loathe to link you to Miklos’ column on E3’s biggest controversy after he snarkily Tweeted me to let me know how much he’s crushing me in the “Popular Stuff!” sidebar on NAG Online, but what good is a competition if you don’t fight fair? On a completely unrelated note, it’s a terrible column and you shouldn’t read it. But here’s the link, if you must.
For a totally excellent E3 column that is guaranteed to make you believe that popularity is in no way correlated to quality, check out MY piece on the 5 announcements at E3 that I really wanted to see, but sadly didn’t. On another completely unrelated note, esteemed NAG Online columnist and close personal friend Miklós Szecsei Tweeted that this column was in fact “the funniest bollocks he’d read all day”. Granted it was early in the day, but that hardly seems the point. You can find that over here, and remember to hit F5 100 times once you get there to unlock a mystery prize!
There was so much E3 goodness up on NAG Online this week that I couldn’t talk about all of it, but if you need to catch up on all the goodness not covered in this article, hit this link here for all of our E3 coverage from the week.