Hello once again NAGurras and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have a dev making big claims about the state of PC gaming, a Canadian troll gets jailtime and Ubisoft execs semi-explain why digital games are more expensive than physical. Then Call of Duty gets a pretty original Collector’s Edition, some exciting news arrives for those planning on playing The Witcher 3 till 2017, Star Wars Battlefront reinvents the wheel and Fallout 4‘s director clarifies where the story will take place. All that, videos, more news from the week, after ze jump.
Well PC gamers, we’re not dead yet.
I thought you may be all feeling a little glum with the Arkham Knight fiasco (showing once again where PC players rank on the development totem pole, more often than not), so I thought I’d cheer you up with this:
XCOM 2 creative director Jake Solomon has explained why the game is a PC exclusive, saying that “PC Gaming is in a golden age”.
“It’s the tip of the spear in terms of innovation, in types of gameplay being explored, in relationships between developers and their audience, and for Firaxis, it’s our home. It’s where we want to be.”
Solomon plans on using the platform’s potential too, with an emphasis on modding. “Modding is one of those elements that brings people together in the community through their own creative expression of the franchise and this and helps our game live on over time.”
Golden age of PC gaming? In terms of numbers, maybe, but if respect is a metric, PC surely isn’t getting enough of it.
You’ve probably read about all the recent Lizard Squad drama, and were probably surprised that being convicted of 50,000+ charges doesn’t get you jailtime in Finland.
What does get jailtime, at least in Canada, is being a professional troll.
Another teenager associated with Lizard Squad has had a bad day in court, this time being sentenced to 16 months jailtime after consistently harassing several female League of Legends players.
He would call in fake threats to the police to have their locations “SWAT’ed”, post their personal info online and phone them late at night. He was eventually caught after livestreaming himself SWAT’ing people for 8+ hours, with somebody tipping off the authorities.
His mother is also disappointed, apparently.
Gamers have long since lamented digital sales being rather expensive in comparison to boxed titles – after all, shouldn’t it be cheaper?
And while boxed games go on sale quickly, the official listings for digital games tend to get stuck with a static price that doesn’t move for quite some time. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained this week why that is the case.
“Digital is more reactive than what we put in stores, but at the same time, it doesn’t react as fast on consoles than it does on PC. What we can say is that when games are older than one year, digital is a lot more dynamic on console because there are less units in stores. It’s a new business, a new trend, and we think all this will get more in line with time, but for sure, at the moment you see all sorts of prices depending on who is doing a promotion for that specific week.”
Sorry, did I say explained? I meant rambled incoherently. He also admits that they more aggressively drop digital prices with PC games, because digital is “very, very strong” on the PC.
Then, there’s this: “Also, one thing to consider is related to stocks; if we have stock in stores, we tend to make sure we decrease the quantity of units in stores before going digital with lower prices.”
Keep in mind, earlier in the interview they parroted on about how Gamestop/Amazon drop prices on their own, faster, which is why physical gets a cut first. And now, in this next bit, they’re saying they do it themselves to decrease stock. When they just said they have no control over prices in other stores.
I didn’t write this segment intending to flame Ubisoft, but wow they are seriously bad at anything to do with PR, whatsoever.
Collector’s Editions of games have come with some pretty weird stuff in the past, but Black Ops 3 just might have topped them all with a special, fully-functioning mini-fridge.
It’s stylized to look like one of those super old-school vending machines, with “Jugger-Nog” emblazoned across the top. As far as CEs go, I have to admit its pretty original.
You also get a season pass, a book, a map, “personalisation packs” which are basically skins for your guns and you can get the game’s soundtrack as DLC.
It all feels very commercial to be honest, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it really makes clear what an enormous, corporate, money-making machine the CoD franchise has become. But here’s the real kicker – it’s already sold out.
I don’t think anyone ever played The Witcher 2 and didn’t feel like they got their money’s worth – that was a long-ass game.
The Witcher 3 also offers a crapton of gametime, especially with all the free DLC that’s been coming with it. But it’s about to get more – much, much more. Witcher 2 amounts of more, to be exact. Read this from game director Konrad Tomaszkiewucz (now say it three times, fast):
“The first expansion will be around 10 hours and the second expansion will be around 20 hours… and I think it’s possible that they will be bigger, because it’s always like this (that when we plan some time or hours, it’s twice or something like this), but I’m not promising anything right now. And even now, if you sum up this 10 to 20 hours and you compare it to The Witcher 2, it’s almost the size of The Witcher 2.”
I’ll be honest, I’m impressed. That is an awesome amount of content, and is setting the bar really high for future releases.
Speaking of setting the bar high, Star Wars Battlefront is looking pretty amazing right now, but DICE has said they’re not playing it safe on this one – they’re changing the core FPS mechanics we’re so used to seeing.
Instead of classes dictating loadouts as in the likes of Battlefield, Battlefront will make use of Star Cards, which represent distinct abilities and can be combined as a player chooses to form their loadout. This can be anything from a jetpack to a shield, and adds an element of strategy to the game.
There will also be power ups that are collected during the game, which can be anything from a powerful weapon to a kind of “perk”, like the ability to call in a vehicle or an air-strike.
It’s interesting to see DICE step outside the comfort zone of what everyone is used to and try for some actual innovation. Many have complained that the military FPS franchises have become somewhat stale by using the same retreaded core mechanics year after year, so I’m excited to see EA allow a few risks to be taken.
Fallout 4 trailers show a pre-nuclear opening, which had fans questioning the timeline of the game. But according to Bethesda’s Todd Howard, that is just a prologue, whose purpose it is to add “dramatic heft” to the experience.
He wants you to feel a sense of loss, but confirms that the game will take place, for the most part, after Fallout 3.
He also discusses the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, the turn-based combat style mechanic that was present in the original games.
It’s been changed up to be “more dynamic”, essentially making use of slow-motion instead of freezing the game to make timing important as well.
This very well may be the biggest game of the year (sorry Call of Duty), and it’s coming out well in time for the holiday season – November 10.
Is there any limit to how many characters Blizzard is going to put in Overwatch? Here’s 10 minutes of the latest, Soldier: 76.
Then we have Black Ops 3 Zombies mode getting a proper trailer. This is the sole reason some people will buy this game.
This isn’t new, but it’s back in the news this week – a real-life Mirror’s Edge re-enactment using a GoPro. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth your four minutes.
Trackmania Turbo gets a gameplay walkthrough this week, and it looks every bit as awesome as this franchise always does.
Best of NAG
Delano, king of indies and Early Access alike, takes a look at Shark Attack Deathmatch 2 this week – which sounds right up his alley.
Next up is Fick Snr’s System Builder’s Guide, running down the options for those strapped for cash – the R4,000 to R10,000 range.
After that, check out my column for this week – a slightly more academic article than the norm that looks at a cognitive bias that’s ruining gaming for you.
Finally, check out 18 minutes of gameplay of indie darling No Man’s Sky.