Hello once more NAGucks, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. It’s been a noisy week in the console sphere, with Sony’s big bosses flapping their gums about VR and motion controls, and Xbox seemingly adding a new feature for their loyal Gold subscribers. Then we have more resolutiongate drama, but not exactly what you’d expect, while game developers reveal who they’d like to work for more than anything else. All that along with some videos (some good ones this week), some bleak news for the Wii U, some NAG highlights, another video game movie that looks to be terrible and all other things you may have missed this week.
VR tech is all the rage at the moment, while motion-control paraphernalia like the Kinect seems to be all but forgotten, used more on the Xbox One as a way to voice-navigate menus than actually play games.
But, according to Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida, the two will go hand in hand. Yoshida believes that VR gaming will create a demand for 3D motion tracking, just as I believe that VR gaming is going to go the same way as motion-controls.
According to Yoshida, the PS Move was simply “ahead of its time”, a phrase you may recognise as one commonly used by people in denial when they make something nobody wants.
But I’ll let him explain:
“However, what we are realising ourselves is that PS Move was a bit ahead of its time – a precise and accurate 3D input device. We were very excited about the possibility of using 3D positional tracking to make games, but it’s really hard to do so with a regular 2D screen.
“So now we are realising that when we do Project Morpheus the one thing you want to do immediately is interact with an object in virtual space, and the one way to do that is that you need a 3D positioning input device, like PS Move.”
Eh, maybe I’m just a grumpy old man, but all 3D has given me is a headache, I think motion control is gimmicky and uninteresting and I can’t think of anything worse than strapping an oversized headset to my face for 2+ hours. What are your thoughts on this new wave of gaming tech?
So, according to a new report from the Game Developers Association, the #1 place video game devs want to work is Valve (praise be Gaben).
This is likely due to Valve’s reputation of having a non-traditional approach to employee management, reportedly asking employees to contribute however “they best feel they can”, rather than taking orders barked from a superior.
This is similar to the wonderful stories we hear about companies like Google, who also employ unique and creative ways of managing their company. Hell, it seems to be working.
I’m not entirely surprised that Valve tops the list, but I am surprised that in a game developer survey the company that came out tops was one that doesn’t actually develop games. Perhaps they all just want to find out the truth behind Half-Life 3.
Activision Blizzard came in third, likely due to the Russian roulette game of not knowing which half of that company you’ll be getting. Sitting in tenth place at the bottom was Bethesda, with Double Fine and Naughty Dog finishing up the bottom three.
A new leaked image put up on Reddit suggests that Microsoft may be planning on introducing a new promotion for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, dubbed “Free Play Day With Gold”.
As the title indicates, the promotion would allow subscribers 24-hour access to select games, at no additional cost.
The rumour was semi-confirmed by an Xbox Twitter account, so it looks like this may be legit. The game shown in the screenshot was Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Please restrain me, I’m not sure I can contain my excitement. *yawn*
Steve Ballmer, known lunatic and former Microsoft CEO has distanced himself from the company further by stepping off the board of directors, citing his purchase of NBA team the LA Clippers, studying and teaching as reasons.
However, he does add this: “Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing. The company will move to higher heights. I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can.”
I’m sure Microsoft will be calling on his creative input any time they decide their wallets are uncomfortably thick and shedding a few hundred million dollars would really ease the burden of wealth.
Let’s kick things off with some Call of Duty news – CoD: Kevin Spacey will not be coming to the Wii U, a decision reportedly handed down by publisher Activision.
For the console that seemed like it may have been poised to make a comeback, this is quite a blow – this will be the first time during the Wii U’s lifetime that it won’t be seeing a Call of Duty release. Of course, both Black Ops 2 and Ghosts performed pretty poorly on the platform.
This could be a big deal, however, as it could mean that the Wii U will be seeing little support from Activision in the future; considering Call of Duty is the publisher’s biggest multi-platform title.
Coupled with the fact that the U’s biggest supporter, Ubisoft, appears to be slowly moving away as well, this could be the first nail in the coffin for Nintendo’s little-console-that-couldn’t.
For those of you planning to buy Kevin Spacey on last-gen hardware, there’s some bad news for you too – Sledgehammer isn’t developing that version, High Moon Studios is.
You may remember High Moon Studios as the people behind the kind-of-awful Deadpool game and the kind-of-mediocre Transformers Cybertron titles. Veteran Call of Duty studio Sledgehammer has reportedly put all of their energy into the new-gen version.
As would be expected, Sledgehammer insists the game will be “just as great” (ahem) on the old-gen hardware, but for my money I’d hold off the pre-order and wait and see for myself. Call of Duty releases are bugged on release at the best of times, so I’m not sure what to make of a version from the guys that made Deadpool.
Well, well, now this is interesting. According to Diablo 3 production director John Hight, Microsoft insisted that they get Diablo 3 running at 1080p on the Xbox One, reportedly saying that 900p was “unacceptable”. Hight explains:
“When you get four witch doctors in a room full of demons, that’s probably the worst case scenario for us because we have effects going off everywhere. We want to make sure that it still feels very glassy, very responsive, and that’s why we dropped resolution down on it.
“We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p. That’s why we made the decision to drop to 900. That’s what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’
“So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.”
I find this pretty hilarious considering just a week or two ago we heard Microsoft talking about how there really wasn’t any noticeable difference between the two resolutions and they’re far more concerned with gameplay. Seems this “resolutiongate” business was getting to them a little more than they let on?
So they’re making a Dead Rising movie, and like all video game movies, this one is also going to be terrible.
“Now now, Chris, don’t be so cynical!” you might be heard saying, perhaps shaking your head sadly. What if I told you it’s going to be directed by the same guy who directed Leprechaun: Origins?
Let me guess, you haven’t seen it? Right, neither did anyone else. RottenTomatoes.com has an expansive 0 critic reviews, but the 72 unfortunate laypeople who did do permanent psychological damage to themselves gave it a great aggregate score of 0%. Nice.
I’m not even sure why anyone would consider putting a movie whose main star calls himself “Hornswaggle” on their resume’ (he’s an import from the WWE, a real melting pot of acting talent) in the first place. It’s like me applying for a job in advanced mathematics and mentioning that I once completed a game of Minesweeper on medium.
It’s also the production company’s first movie, and won’t even get a cinematic release. So yeah, it’s going to blow. Let’s hope The Last of Us movie can do a little better.
Fortnite has been in the works for a long time now, and Epic seem to be throwing their full weight behind this free-to-play novelty. This week we have a new video which shows off the PvE defense mode, probably the most we’ve seen of the game to date.
Next up we have Halo 2 Anniversary; a full hour of multiplayer action. Remember this title forms part of the Halo Master Chief Collection, which releases November 11 on the Xbox One. Check it out:
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an intriguing new title from The Astronauts, a Polish studio formed by a group of devs from People Can Fly. It’s a “first-person exploration game” which has players take on the role of a detection that can visualise people’s death scenes. It’s story-driven, mysterious and original. Me likey. This new thirteen minute gameplay video is the most we’ve seen of it so far. The game is due to release on the 25th of September.
Lastly we have the Destiny launch trailer, arriving a full two weeks before the game’s release on September 9th. But, you know, gotta keep that hype train choo-choo’ing all the way to the bank. Check it out:
Best of NAG
First up this week, why not check out an old classic reimagined with resident playboy and indie guru, the husky-voiced Delano (he paid me to say all that). The lover of all things not-mainstream took the insanely difficult, remade adventure title Shadowgate for a spin, click here to find out if you should too.
Then we have my next paid endorsement for the week, the latest instalment of the System Builder’s Guide from the suave, astute, sexual dynamo by the name of Sir Wesley Fick. This one is the sweet spot for gaming builds, the R11,000 to R16,500 range. If you want to build a sweet gaming rig that has the best price-performance ratio, this is the place to look.
Then of course we have my column for the week, a rundown of 5 gaming podcasts you should be listening to. As usual it’s a masterclass in writing perfection, with a sharp wit and uncanny attention to detail that has me fielding e-mails daily from adoring fans and naked women alike.
Of course, due to personal bias and all that, I couldn’t include the NAG Online podcast in the list since that wouldn’t be journalistically ethical. I’ve since remembered that integrity has never really been my strong suit, and thus I feel comfortable recommending this week that you check out Episode 5 of the NAG Online podcast. Featuring myself, Delano, Spider-man, Fick-Squared and surprise guest Katy Perry.