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This Week In Gaming

frank gibeau

Hello again NAGidsfns (sorry, got lazy) and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have some more VR news from Sony’s camp – specifically about the technology’s long-term sustainability, we have an interview with one of the Xbox One bosses who talks about keeping momentum and we have an interesting revelation about that white PS4 we’ve been ogling. Then there’s a classy response to criticism from one of the best developer/publishers in the world, Ubisoft’s CEO has a lot to talk about on movies and open-world games and we have a stunningly not-classy response to criticism from a publisher that just can’t seem to turn the corner on customer relations. Added to the mix is a good variety of videos ranging from the indie to the AAA, and some highlights from the week you may have missed (but shouldn’t’ve). All that, some pretty pictures and my unwanted opinion jammed in between, after the jump.

Console News

The hype train for VR technology is chugging along nicely, but there’s always the concern that it may turn out to be a passing fad.

Not for Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president (does that even fit on a business card?) Shuhei Yoshida, who had this to say in an interview:

“I don’t think [VR will lose momentum]. Only a very small number of people have tried Oculus Rift or Morpheus. We believe that unless you try it, you really don’t know what it is that can be done.

“The enormous interest we’re getting is really great, but it doesn’t matter whether they try Oculus or Morpheus – [Oculus] is making something great, and we’re also making that. We both realise that we can improve before we bring this to the market. The first impression has to be good.”

He’s right too – if Oculus or Morpheus put out a crappy product at launch, interest in VR is going to evaporate very quickly and it’d be damned hard to get it back.

I’ve said before I’m sceptical of VR really taking off in games, but I think it will almost certainly find a home elsewhere. What are your thoughts?

Wait, wait, wait. This isn't the right Morpheus is it? I'm not very good at this.

Wait, wait, wait. This isn’t the right Morpheus is it? I’m not very good at this.

Microsoft got off to somewhat of a rocky start with the Xbox One, but things have certainly improved since they reversed some of the more controversial “features” and ditched the Kinect.

In an interview this week, Xbox marketing boss Harvey Eagle discussed how Microsoft are going to handle the boost in enthusiasm.

“The change started to happen when Titanall was released in March, it’s been a hugely successful title and the start of what I believe to be is the momentum shift,” Eagle told CVG.

He doesn’t expect it to slow either, saying, “We do need to see this grow and continue over a period of time. With such a strong line-up of games coming out over the next six months, I think that’s going to increase momentum.”

Even though Microsoft makes some terribad decisions, at least they’re willing to listen to their consumers – eventually.

Remember that fancy white PS4 players who buy the Destiny console bundle will be getting?

Yeah, well turns out anyone can get that. But hey, if you buy the Destiny bundle, you can have it FIRST.

I can’t help but feel like Sony may be shooting themselves in the foot ever so slightly with this announcement; seems you’d be better off having people assume that they’d be getting something exclusive. It probably won’t have a dramatic impact on sales, so points for honesty I guess.

And if you’ve been saving for a PS4, will it be worth it to you to wait a little longer to get a white one? Hmmm? You gotta admit, it’s pretty.

So pretty.

So pretty.

Sources: GamesIndustry, CVG, Polygon

Gaming News

You know I’m a huge fan of corporate spindoctors in the gaming industry, and this week say EA come up with a real gem.

Following massive criticism from gamers on their horrific Dungeon Keeper remake for mobile devices, as well as a slap on the wrist from the UK advertising authority who hilariously decided that calling the game free-to-play was “misleading”, EA has finally responded.

Dungeon Keeper suffered from a few things,” EA Mobile boss Frank Gibeau said. “I don’t think we did a particularly good job marketing it or talking to fans about their expectations for what Dungeon Keeper was going to be or ultimately should be.

“Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren’t ready for. Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do.”

In case you can’t speak that particular brand of BS, what Frank is saying is that it’s not that a free-to-play game that lets you do basically nothing without plugging money into it is inherently bad, it’s just a little too innovative for your feeble minds.

I guess the world just isn’t ready to be wantonly exploited by a massive publisher yet. Sorry we let you down, Frank.

Just to show how sorry we are, here's a really sorry pug. D'aaaawwwww.

Just to show how sorry we are, here’s a really sorry pug. D’aaaawwwww.

Let’s be honest here – video game movies are bad. Crazy, insanely bad. Pretty much without exception, although some are more soul-crushing than others.

Ubisoft hopes to change that, by tightly controlling the quality of films which are based on their titles.

Which is good, since there’s already an Assassin’s Creed title (Michael Fassbender in the lead) as well as a Splinter Cell film (with Tom Hardy as Sam Fisher) currently in development.

Speaking on the Ubisoft Blog, CEO Yves Guillemot had this to say:

“The best way to [ensure a good film] is to make sure you control what is important in movie creation.

“It’s the scenario and the cast and the director. And if you are capable of negotiating with those guys in the movie production studios, making sure they are on the same page as you, that they understand the IP – what is strong, what makes it interesting for the gamers – then you can create something that will match people’s expectations.”

At the moment it looks like we’ll be getting movies based on Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, Watch Dogs and Rabbids. Which one are you looking forward to? All? None?

I’ll likely see all of them, but none of them are particularly exciting to me.

Guillemot also spoke about the publisher’s increasing focus on open-world style games, saying that they’d like to put out games that players can interact with freely, as they can in the real world.

He also notes that it makes multiplayer a lot easier as other players can step in and out of your gameplay experience without much difficulty.

It seems almost everything is moving to a more open-world setup now, but I must confess I do sometimes miss navigating narrow corridors searching for different coloured keys.

Ah, there you are, blue key. Come to Daddy.

Ah, there you are, blue key. Come to Daddy.

So let’s this thing on a positive note – a company that not only takes criticism from fans, but actually admits fault and promises change.

I’m talking about PC gamer favourite Blizzard, who this week issued an official response to a well-worded piece of criticism that the developer doesn’t diversify their game’s content very much. And hey, the guy does have a point.

President Mike Morhaime gave him the courtesy of a lengthy response, acknowledging the complaint’s validity and saying that his company will be “challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content”.

He adds, “There have been times when we’ve been seen or painted as being uninterested in hearing feedback or making changes. I want to be clear that this goes against the philosophies and core values on which Blizzard has been built and continues to operate.

“It’s likely that we will make mistakes again in the future. But we will continue to listen, learn, and grow.“

Honestly, I’m blown away. Why can’t we have this kind of response from the likes of EA and Ubisoft, instead of having the blame for their shady business practises put on us.

Sources: GamesIndustry, CVG, CVG, Gamespot

Videos

In our first video, Far Cry 4 executive producer Dan Hay discusses the game’s villain and protagonist – everything from their strange fashion choices to their respective backstories. Check it out:

Next up is a brand new gameplay video for Dragon Age: Inquisition, narrated by creative director Mike Laidlaw. Keep in mind that this is an actual part of the game, so if you’re trying to avoid parts of the story before release, you may want to give this one a skip.

For something a little different, here’s the release trailer for iOS arcade platformer Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, which will be coming to Steam on Tuesday. It’s been very well-received since its debut on the DS in 2010, so if you enjoy old-school platformers it’s definitely worth your time.

We bookend the videos section with another Ubisoft video, this one filmed at E3 back in June but released this week. It’s a video interview with The Division game director Ryan Barnard, who discusses the game’s various features. If this is a title that’s caught your eye, you definitely want to give this a look.

Best of NAG

First up we have some terrifying news from Mr Wesley Fick; a leaked rumour (from a source which has been credible in the past) that Windows 9 will be shipping with some pretty severe DRM attached to it. As usual, the paying customers will have to jump through a lot of hoops to prove they aren’t thieves. You can read all about it and how it will supposedly work here.

Then we have an interesting column from Rick de Klerk which discusses the “new order” of gaming journalism – video content. Will the likes of PewDiePie be putting the rest of us out on the street in the next ten years? Head over here and have your say.

Next of course we have my column for the week, and as usual I’ve gotten angry about something. More specifically, Ubisoft. I’ll give you five reasons why I’ll never buy a Ubisoft game, and not-so-subtly imply that you shouldn’t either. Check it out.

Lastly we have Miklós Szecsei’s look at interesting PC title Wings of Saint Nazaire. Never heard of it? Me neither, but it might just be worth your time. Go on and see for yourself.

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