Greetings NAGilkians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. The news this week had a lot of Valve stuff, a lot of CCG stuff, and some overlap in between. A long-awaited title gets a slow start, someone’s getting sued again and No Man’s Sky is attempting to win you over with a massive patch. All that juicy gossip, some videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.

Cliff Bleszinski not worried about LawBreakers slow start

Is it bad I didn’t even realise this game was out? LawBreakers has been lurking in the back car of the hype train for quite some time now, an online FPS that promised some innovative tweaks and fast paced gameplay.

But nothing has been fast-paced about the game’s initial launch, with only 1500 people playing on Steam – not enough to even crack the top 100. Bleszinski is unperturbed, however.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’d rather be the underhyped game that slowly ramps up into something that people adore than something that comes out with way too much hype that there’s a backlash for, which is why I think the Steam reviews are so positive.

“We’re going to continue to raise awareness, continue to support the product—If you look at the phenomenon that was League of Legends, it built off a Warcraft 3 mod then slowly but surely blossomed into this immense amazing thing, and I’d rather be the game that comes up and has that hockey stick ramp with a slow burn and builds up rather than the triple-A hype machine where you have a bazillion people playing it month one and it goes down exponentially then they follow up with an annual product.”

The comparison to the biggest game in the world is pretty ambitious, but I think the need to raise awareness is strong. Most people probably know what this game is at this point, but this seems like a very low-key launch. Nothing kills an online game faster than a low player count, so they’re going to need to get people invested fast.

Valve announce DotA 2 CCG

At arguably the biggest e-sports event of the year, The International, Valve unveiled their upcoming digital CCG, Artifact.

Unlike the sea of Magic: the Gathering clones, Artifact sets itself apart by actually being a simulation of the game on which it is based. Check out this teaser:

Ha just kidding, that showed you nothing. Luckily The International host Day[9] had a fair amount to say about the game, having played it:

“If you’ve played previous trading card games, it has a lot of similarities in terms of having creatures and spells that you cast onto the board but in this game, anything you see in DotA, it’s here.

“There’s not just one board but three boards. You control five heroes, deploy them among the different lanes, creeps spawn every turn, the heroes that you play in DotA, they’re in the game. You can play as Bounty Hunter and cast Track on an enemy hero, killing it gives you extra gold, use the gold to buy item cards, equip them to your heroes. And I gotta say, it’s a really cool experience because you really feel like the commander who’s allocating the various resources amongst this entire huge battlefield, moving from lane to lane.”

It sounds pretty awesome for any DotA 2 fan, and like it does enough to distinguish itself from the glut of digital CCGs competing for an audience right now.

Borderlands dev reveals new shooter/CCG combo

Did I not just say we have a pantsload of CCGs? Hearthstone has seemingly cursed us all with a decade of card games, but Gearbox is doing something pretty crazy with their newly announced Project 1v1.

See if you can make sense of this description: “a competitive first-person shooter that combines the action of fast-paced 1v1 first-person combat with the metagame strategy of a collectible card game.”

If we’re going to talk innovating in the CCG space, making it a fast-paced FPS is a pretty damn good way of doing that. I can’t really tell if this is an FPS with CCG elements, or a CCG with FPS elements – or what the difference is, or what any of that means.

There’s no other information right now, other than that you can sign up for the beta and there’ll be a short-technical test in a couple of months.

So, yeah, your guess is as good as mine, guys.

Nintendo getting sued over their Switch design

Well we all knew that this was coming, right? Obviously the Switch is a clear rip-off of the wildly popular Android gaming tablet, the Wikipad. It’s only fair then that Wikipad asks for money, and for the Switch to be removed from sale.

In case you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, the 2014 Wikipad looks like this:

There’s quite a lot of different Wikipads, but this should give you an idea.

Note the clip on controllers. Of course all of this does ignore the fact that the Wikipad’s controllers clip on, the Switches slide in, and that the Joy-Cons are designed to be used separately as well and the fact that Nintendo has been experimenting with attaching controllers to the side of a screen since they made a Wii U prototype that did exactly that – in 2012.

I can’t imagine this goes anywhere.

Valve reveals two new DotA heroes

More reveals at TI7, this time two new DotA 2 heroes. One is an acrobatic, pangolin-inspired swordsman, and the other one is, well, a pink fairy.

The fairy seems to match what some powernerds uncovered in game files back in May, and is likely called Sylph. Two of the powers uncovered in the files are called Flash Powder and Shadow Realm, but you can see a bit of that in the video.

They’ll both drop with the Dueling Fates patch, but we don’t yet know when that’s coming. You can see the two newbies on show below.

No Man’s Sky 1.3 adds 30 hours of story, sort-of-multiplayer

The world may have given up on No Man’s Sky, but the developer is still working on it to get it close to what they promised and what their vision was for the game.

The new update includes a 30-hour story campaign instead of aimless wandering, procedurally-generated missions and a fairly lacklustre multiplayer where other players are seen as floating orbs.

The so-called “joint exploration” will allow up to 16 players to see each other as glowing orbs, and be able to communicate via VOIP when they’re in close proximity.

The developer did state that this is only the beginning, however: “While interaction with others is currently very limited, this is an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky.”

As for that story campaign, it’ll be focusing on a new interdimensional race. It includes a quest system and a branching narrative, according to Hello Games. It also includes a lot more lore and interactions that are included in the existing game.

Essentially, No Man’s Sky is now a lot more like an actual game.

Sources: PC Gamer, RockPaperShotgun, Gamespot, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, Eurogamer

Videos

RTS is an underappreciated and forgotten genre, so I was pretty stoked to see Sudden Strike 4 was released this week – a favourite franchise from my childhood.

I’m slightly less enthused with this mobile Titanfall RTS, but I love the franchise so I’m willing to give it a shot.

We talk a lot about games sucking now (or maybe that’s just me), but this video helps remind us that some things used to suck harder.

I absolutely love these short films based on games, which are frequently better than whatever crap Hollywood cobbles together. This Russian take on Papers, Please looks excellent.

 

Best of NAG

Hellblade: Sensua’s Sacrifice got a lot of buzz for somewhat brutally deleting your save file if you suck too hard. But is there more to this game than the gimmick? Matthew Vice reviews.

I absolutely love the Wolfenstein team’s marketing, and these satire Nazi-controlled-America vids are great. Thanks, Tank.

Meanwhile, I find five more things that suck about gaming in 2017 to complain about.

Finally, as always, give those beautiful brown/blue/green/grey/mutant eyes of yours a rest with the dulcet tones of the NAG Online Podcast.