Greetings NAGunillians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. On the menu tonight is Pokemon GO, Overwatch, Battlefield and Starcraft (the first one!). Then the chef’s special for the evening includes a mystery Rockstar game, the little Overwatch clone that couldn’t (yet) and some dude called Dr Butthole. Stuff your face with the seven-course meal and then cleanse your palate with some videos and highlights from the week. Your table is ready, after the jump.
Pokemon GO rocks $160 million in microtransactions
It’s only been a month, and the global Pokemon phenomenon (sick rhymes amirite) has managed to sucker people into spending $160 million of their hopefully-not-hard-earned cash into Pokeballs and lures and whatever else it is you kids are spending money on these days.
In addition, the app is still boasting a daily usage time higher than Facebook, which is really no surprise since apparently Facebook is for old people now. If only someone could help me figure out Snapchat, perhaps I could recapture my youth.
With all the money coming in I have little doubt the development team behind it has been ramped up – which should mean new content, more bug fixes and better servers. Since people have already started to “catch all of them” (how triggered are you from that slogan butchering) we will probably be seeing new Pokemon, too – maybe even legendaries.
Heh, look at me saying “we” like I have an idea what any of this is about. Go fetch grampa a beer, kiddo.
Overwatch hits 15 million players and gets a World Cup
Blizzard doesn’t really make flops, and Overwatch is no exception. The MOBA-style shooter is admittedly a bloody brilliant game, and with the release of the game’s competitive modes have come a sudden spike in interest in sending it down the path of e-sports.
Now in the wake of the E-League announcement, Blizzard have revealed their own tournament – an Overwatch World Cup which will be held, of course, at Blizzcon 2016 in November.
In a somewhat questionable recruitment system teams will be formed according to fan vote, with each country getting their own roster which will compete in BO3, single-elimination qualifiers in September.
From there the Top 16 will duke it out at Blizzcon for… pride, apparently, since there’s no prize pool. Whomp whomp. Teams will get “an appearance bonus” and “a free trip”. Really, Blizzard? This seems like a massive fail to me; it didn’t need to be a million dollars but they could have put up a bit of cash to keep things interesting.
Granted the E-League tournament is a much more prolonged affair, but that one carries a far more impressive $300,000 purse.
Battlefield 1 Collector’s Edition… Without Battlefield 1
Well, this is new. Amazon is selling an “exclusive Collector’s Edition” of Battlefield 1 for $130 that is so exclusive it excluded the game. Bold strategy there, Cotton.
I suppose if you get the game elsewhere and you like it so much that you decide you just really want a figurine and some cards and whatever else comes in this giant, gameless box then Amazon has you covered. You can also pay an extra $60 for the version that actually comes with the game.
I’ve never bought a Collector’s Edition of anything, they always just seem so crappy. As much as this doesn’t seem like the absolute worst idea in the world to a lot of people, you know there are going to be people who buy it not knowing it doesn’t include the game.
Starcraft HD Remaster in the works
Finally, an HD remaster I actually care about – the original Starcraft.
This isn’t some group of jobless fans either, this is an official Blizzard thing, which means it’s actually going to be pretty damn awesome. They’ll be upgrading the graphics and improving the UI, but keeping the original gameplay intact.
A tricky line to walk will be whether or not they choose to change the gameplay at all. There are plenty of limitations in the old game (like not being able to select multiple buildings) that would be a great quality of life change for the average gamer, but may (read: will) upset purists of the original.
I love the original, but never played it competitively like I did SC2 – I’d honestly be happy for them to tweak the gameplay a little bit for the 21st century. Still, you can bet I’m keen as hell to play this.
Right now we don’t know much – will there be Brood War stuff? Is this going to include the campaign? Multiplayer support? We’ll find out more in September, apparently.
Rockstar is working on [something]
GTA Online is Rockstar’s golden goose right now, as the developer continues to add content and continues to enjoy a fervent, dedicated player base that shows no signs of disappearing.
It’s not the only thing happening over at the studio, however, as according to a financial report from parent company Take-Two Rockstar is also “hard at work on some exciting future projects that will be revealed soon”.
We don’t know what that is, yet, but the smart money is still on Red Dead 2.
Battleborn is down, but not dead
While we’re on the topic of Take-Two, their CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick was out to bat this week for the unfortunate Battleborn, which has been thoroughly trounced by a simultaneous Overwatch release that saw fans flocking to the game with better marketing, better public awareness and, to be frank, better gameplay.
In spite of conceding the “MOBA-esque FPS” crown to the deserved king, Zelnick still feels like Battleborn can feed on the scraps.
“We think there remains an opportunity to grow the audience for this unique experience over time, and 2K will continue to drive engagement and recurrent consumer spending on the title through add-on content and virtual currency,” he said.
It’s an awkward spot to be in, as most people (myself included) don’t really feel the need to play both Battleborn and Overwatch, it’s easier just to pick one, and Overwatch wins every time. How the underdog chooses to adapt from here could be very interesting indeed.
Telltale gets slammed for shoddy PC port
There’s something about Batman on PC that just doesn’t seem to go all that well. Maybe Bruce Wayne is an Apple guy.
Regardless, it’s yet another disastrous Batman launch for the master race as Telltale’s latest episodic yarn is reportedly buggy and awful on PC. The main complaints are the standard fare of crappy framerates and a boatload of general “glitches”.
The source article for this has a bunch of quotes from the internet, and can I just say we live in a glorious age indeed when I can see this in a legitimate news article:
“Even after taking 15 minutes to figure out how to make the game 1080p and fullscreen, I couldn’t start the game, as my mouse was stuck in a box in the upper left of the screen, making it impossible to hit the continue button on the brightness slider.” -Dr. Butthole
Dr. Butthole can’t hit continue, guys. DOCTOR BUTTHOLE. What a time to be alive.
Anyways, Telltale reckons they’ve fixed things now, blaming the game running on integrated graphics rather than dedicated as being a big part of the problem. Mmm Hmm.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here, but I feel like RTS games are making a comeback. The often underappreciated Sudden Strike series kicked ass in the 90s, and now out of nowhere the 4th instalment has been announced. Check out the teaser:
We then go full blockbuster with this look at the weapons of Battlefield 1.
And from the competition, a look at the “captains” of Infinite Warfare. Yawn.
Oh look, another digital CCG. I was criticised for saying Gwent was the beginning of the Hearthstone clone army, BUT LOOK WHERE WE ARE NOW. ARE YOU HAPPY? Here’s Elder Scrolls’ own take.
Best of NAG
NAG’s wannabe politician Rick de Klerk flexes his peasant-management skills with Democracy 3: Electioneering, and lets you know if he thinks it’s any good.
Then resident hardware guru and arch-nemesis of Wesley Fick Neo Sibeko gives his enormous rig a break to test out the second best Geforce card, the GTX 1070.
Worn out from all that review-reading? Give your eyes a rest with the 8th episode of the NAG podcast.
Finally, I owe Id Software an apology. I thought Quake Champions looked like a godawful Overwatch clone, and I was wrong – it looks amazing.