Hello once more NAGullins, and thanks for joining me for This Week In Gaming. This Saturday we have some Windows 10 news that’s actually good for gamers (maybe), Google takes an uncharacteristic step back and the Xbox One has something to brag about. Then Naughty Dog discusses where their focus lies (and addresses The Last of Us 2), Watch Dogs‘ creative director discusses their plans for the sequel, the 2014 sales numbers are in with a few surprises and developer of the train wreck that was The War Z speaks out for the first time. Then there’s the usual batch of videos and NAG highlights from the week. Hit the jump.
Windows 8 left everyone a bit cold, with its awkward touchscreen design and general nonsense nobody wanted.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that some of us may be looking skeptically to Windows 10 – although we should always remember the rule of 2; it’s every second Windows OS that is actually good.
In the spirit of optimism, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that Windows 10 is going to be “the best operating system [Microsoft] has ever created for gamers on PC”.
Which tells me two things – one, we can have a glimmer of hope that Windows 10 rights the wrongs of 8, and two, Microsoft still remembers the phrase “PC gamer”.
And then, of course, comes the punch to the gut, the sentence that ruins it all. “We remain committed to gaming on console, but we know that we have fans and gamers that also play on PC and phone.”
Yup, we just got lumped in with freakin’ smartphones. Here we go again.
Google has announced that they’ll no longer be selling Google Glass – in its current form, anyway. Those with a little too much disposable income could previously purchase the gadget for a steep $1500.
The internet juggernaut is maintaining that they’ll keep working on it, but it’s being moved out of its innovative Google X division and there’s no timeframe on when it might pop up again.
Could this simply be a gracious fading away into obscurity and eventual death?
More Microsoft news, makers of the green machine have been making some serious ground in the console war, with the Xbox One shifting more US units than the PS4 in both November and December.
This is no doubt due to the aggressive holiday price cuts Microsoft has been slapping on the standalone console, but it wasn’t enough to take away the 2014 crown from a smug Sony.
Even Nintendo had a decent showing, with multiple 3DS and Wii U titles selling over a million units. As per usual, Nintendo’s console is kept alive by their first-party titles, with almost all third-party developers pulling out at this point.
Naughty Dog may have had an insane hit with original IP The Last of Us, but the studio isn’t thinking about a sequel just yet. According to them, it’s “Blinder’s on, make this awesome” for Uncharted 4.
Creative director Neil Druckman said in an interview, “”I’ve said this before, so this is not news, but we have brainstormed sequel ideas for The Last of Us, and we’ve brainstormed ideas for new games, but all of that is put on ice right now while we work on Uncharted 4.”
This gives a nice bit of insight into why the developer consistently puts out polished, well-made titles – that much attention and focus is the kind of TLC our AAA titles need. Good on ya, Dog.
While we’re eavesdropping on creative director interviews, Watch Dogs’ man-in-charge Jonathan Morin has already been working on his plans for a sequel.
According to Morin, they’re keeping the core elements the same, such as procedurally-generated features like the NPC profiles, as well as having your world invaded by a rogue player looking to mess with you a bit.
Morin does however want to leave the story a little more open, saying, “We want to allow [fans] to play with a very different state of mind, not wrap up concepts for them.
“Players loved the idea of other players who create an alternate reality in their games and, knowing that, now opens up a lot of new possibilities of what online can do.”
For my money, the gameplay needs a bit of an overhaul as well. It attempted a lot of innovation but didn’t really manage to be original, and I think the general blandness of the game needs to be addressed.
The 2014 sales numbers are in and surprise, surprise, Call of Duty is king.
The evergreen franchise produced one of the best entries in a while, and it showed – Advanced Warfare beat out both Destiny and Madden NFL 15 (?) for the top spot. Second place? The freakin’ NFL game. Go figure.
Rather amusingly, Call of Duty: Ghosts bookends the top 10, illustrating the utter insanity of annualised titles (and, to be fair, their value to the publisher).
Destiny managed to crack the podium with third place, but it’s worth noting that Advanced Warfare has PC sales while Destiny doesn’t (ha, serves you right, Bungie).
Rounding out the list is GTA V in 4th place, and the ever-present Minecraft sitting comfortably in fifth. That seems unlikely to change anytime soon either – Lego never gets old, after all.
The last noteworthy mention is Super Smash Bros. occupying the number 6 slot – a much needed boost for Nintendo, even if a big chunk of those sales are down to the hardworking 3DS.
Our last bit of news is rather interesting – the man behind the offensively awful The War Z has written a candid blog post on Gamasutra about the whole debacle, tell his side of the story, so to speak.
For those who don’t remember, The War Z was an atrocious Day Z clone (which is saying something considering the current state of Day Z) that landed on Steam late 2012.
The game was a buggy, broken mess – not Assassin’s Creed Unity or Battlefield 4 broken either, it was so unplayable that Valve ended up pulling it from Steam.
The game now goes under the name Infestation: Survivor Stories, and creator Sergey Titov assembles a steaming turd sandwich in support of it.
Feel free to read the blog; but the martyr, woe-is-me victim role got a little too much for me before the halfway mark. Boo hoo, Steam didn’t have Early Access yet.
Senseless bleating aside, the really interesting point of the post was that the game has sold a staggering 2.8 million copies to date.
This means, as far as I can tell, one of two things: employing shady tactics (like posting under false accounts in competitor forums and releasing buggy, unfinished shameless ripoffs) really works and will be rewarded; or people simply bought the game out of sheer curiosity – like a crowd gathering around the wreckage of a derailed train.
I really hope for our sake it’s the latter.
So here’s something a little different – a new fighter from the Mortal Kombat studio, with the unlikely theme of putting WWE wrestlers into some kind of supernatural fantasy setting. Sound interesting? Sound terrible? You decide.
Here’s something exciting for Wii U fans – Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X, which is starting to look pretty damn good.
Advanced Warfare‘s first DLC, Havoc, will release at the end of this month – bringing the zombies mode with it. Check it out:
Microsoft have officially announced a brand new Xbox One title in development – Forza Motorsport 6. Hmm, perhaps “brand new” is the wrong phrase, but this car is sexy as hell.
Best of NAG
We’ll kick things off this week with a double dose of Delano – the first sweet spoonful being an Indie showcase. This time the resident connoisseur of games under R100 took on The Haunted: Hell’s Reach, which a game neither I or you as ever heard of. Which is exactly why you should be clicking here.
Next up is Throwback Thursday, where Mr. Del Ano takes on Descent, which happens to be one of the greatest damned games ever made. This one tickled my nostalgia bone in a way I experienced as highly pleasant. Before I head into creepy territory here, click this green text.
Next up is a single dose of yours truly, where I address the console vs PC debate and shockingly, why consoles might be the better choice.
Last up is a NAG perennial – winning free stuff! This time it’s a box of movies, and they’re all pretty sweet. Quickly go enter here.