Greetings NAGoboloos, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. In the news this week we have Nintendo talking VR, the state of Fallout 4 mods on PS4, a prediction of a rumour of an announcement of Nintendo NX details, a classic video game studio sells off all their properties to re-enter the wild, Blizzard shakes up Hearthstone’s arena mode, Microsoft takes a dig at Sony over their console update and Overwatch has a massive dev team. All that, some videos and a ton of highlights from the week, after the jump.
Nintendo VR? Maybe, but not for Mario
Mario is jumping his way onto your mobile phone sometime soon with Super Mario Run, but that’s about as far outside of his comfort zone he’s willing to go, according to creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
“I would agree that adapting Mario to new platforms is a key to keeping him relevant,” Miyamoto said. “But we want families to play together, and virtual reality (which requires players to be closed off from the real world) doesn’t really fit well there. We also like people playing for a long time, and it’s hard to do that in VR.”
Talking about Super Mario Run, Miyamoto hilariously summed up how I feel about mobile games – “How can we make this a game that people who aren’t good at games can play the game and enjoy it?”
Don’t worry, he says it’ll be challenging for us real gamers as well.
Fallout 4 mods cancelled, Bethesda blames Sony
Ding dong, the dream is dead. After a whole lot of maybes and what-ifs, Bethesda have put the nail in the coffin on PS4 mods – for both Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition.
They don’t sound happy about it themselves, saying that the fault lies with Sony who would not “approve user mods the way they should work: where users can do anything they want for either Fallout 4 or Skyrim Special Edition”.
It sounds like this did indeed almost come to fruition, but some kind of compromise couldn’t be reached on how much freedom gamers should actually have. I think we should have a do-over, but let Samuel L. Jackson step in to handle negotiations.
Nintendo NX details – coming soon
Most of what we know about Nintendo’s upcoming flagship console is pretty much speculation and whatever is freshest off the rumour mill.
However, “analysts”, whom you may know as “crystal-ball-gazers” have said that Nintendo should be releasing details of the console by early October.
The NX is due to go on sale in March, so I imagine this crack team of analysts reached their stunning conclusions by subtracting six months from the known release date. If there are any openings, I’m available next year.
Nintendo has a lot riding on the NX, with the Wii U safe to declare at this point as an enormous flop. Hardly any games and an awkward hardware set have turned Nintendo’s bid in the next-gen race into a lemon, but big claims have been made about the NX outstripping the performance of the current big daddies. The question looming now, however, is will it land in March only to once again be outperformed by the 2.0 versions of current consoles.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has spoken a lot about learning from the mistakes of the Wii U, saying that the company “needs to do better” with producing more games and that when the time comes to launch the NX, they “need to do better” with communicating its position in the market.
That’s a lot of “need to dos” and not much “this is what we plan to do and how we plan to do it”. So I’m going to remain pessimistic for now – it’s less disappointing that way.
Interplay sells off everything
After a good many years of financial troubles and a failed Kickstarter project last year, Interplay Entertainment is selling off everything they have – a library of 70 games.
This could mean that some old-school classics get breathed new life into them by studios that are good at the whole making money-thing. There’s a lot, but really I just want to highlight the two most important – Earthworm Jim and, of course, Battlechess.
Now I know I shit on VR all the time, but VR Battlechess seems like the most terrifying experience I can imagine.
Blizzard bans a ton of Hearthstone cards (from Arena)
Hearthstone’s Arena mode is pretty great since it’s essentially a level playing field. It doesn’t matter how much money you poured into buying digital content with no secondary market, when you enter the Arena you do so as an equal.
Strategies can feel a little stale though, with veteran players generally repeating the same tried-and-trusted combos. Enter Blizzard – who are removing 40 cards. This, obviously, is an effort to shake things up and force players into new strategies.
I love it. It’s genius really, since it has no real effect on anyone other than make them sad they can’t spam Starving Buzzards until the game starts spitting gold at them.
Microsoft feeling confident in the next-next-gen
Sony announced the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro this week, the former being a smaller version of what everyone has currently and the Pro being the more powerful version that pisses off everyone who thought their PS4 would last a decade.
This is of course in direct competition to Microsoft’s Xbox One S and Project Scorpio, the latter of which is claiming to be “the most powerful console ever”.
After Sony showed off their new line, Microsoft put out this:
At Xbox, our goal is to put gamers at the centre of everything we do. The new hardware available now and next year was designed with that in mind to give gamers a choice in how they play.
“Starting at £249, Xbox One S is the only console available today with built-in 4K Blu-ray – a value price compared to 4K Blu-ray players. It also offers 4K video streaming plus HDR for video and gaming.”
After pointing out that their console can handle 4K Blu-Ray (which the PS4 Slim can’t), they followed it up by reiterating again that Project Scorpio is going to outperform the PS4 Pro (which apparently it is, with 6TFLOPS vs the Pro’s 4.2).
Overwatch development team is a full 100
Blizzard is all-in on Overwatch right now – which is a massive success for them already – and game director Jeff Kaplan this week answered a fan’s question of how big the team working on it actually is:
“The Overwatch Team (internally at Blizzard we are called ‘Team 4’) is comprised of about 100 developers at this point. The disciplines who comprise the team are Audio, Art, Engineering, Production, and Design. We also have two full-time Business Operations people and an esports director who are part of the team.”
This is up significantly from initial development, which had a team that fluctuated between 40 and 75 – no doubt the game’s success has something to do with the rapid expansion. One thing that hasn’t fluctuated or expanded is my skill – seriously, I’m the worst.
Prey arrives in 2017, but the hype has been kept fairly low – for now. Check out this latest trailer to see why you should be more excited.
Water in games is a big deal. Mostly, it looks like crap. In Sea of Thieves, it looks awesome. Here’s how.
Curious if the PS4 Pro is worth it? Check out these first impressions of the console’s capabilities.
The sequel to Endless Space, a lesser known 4X strategy game, is on the way and looking better by the day. Have a look at 32 minutes of gameplay.
Best of NAG
Whew, lots of content this week.
Let’s kick the reviews off with the Alienware 15 – the granddaddy of dedicated gaming hardware – and see if Master Dane thinks it’s got what it takes.
Time to move on to more serious journalism, with my own column for the week – a summary of my latest research results.
Now for the next review of the week – Richard Ferreira shares his thoughts on World of Warcraft: Legion.
Aaaaand another one. Our Overlord and Benevolent Dictator Michael James shares his thoughts on the Battlefield One open beta.
Finally, Wesley Fick takes a look back at Windows 10 from it’s release a year ago to today – no doubt a poor attempt to convince me it’s not awful.