Welcome once again to This Week In Gaming, our weekly news digest that catches you up on the things we didn’t, and some of the better ones we did. I have fought my way through a SEACOM cable cut and a 7-hour power outage last night, all for you beautiful people (and also money, but mostly your love and approval). This week we’re looking at female gaming leads, some newly announced games, a three-course meal of gaming videos, some NAG highlights and a boatload of stories that decided to fight the power and my obsessive use of subheadings.
People love/hate female gaming leads
After the success of Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot, both critically and commercially, the developer is eager to take the young archaeologist on “new adventures”. The first game served to introduce the heroine and her evolution into an ass-kicking adventurer, while subsequent games will present her with even greater challenged. The devs also noted they’ll likely be keeping the game’s non-linear feel for future releases, something which no doubt contributed to the current game’s success.
While we’re on the topic of strong female leads, creative director of Remember Me Jean-Max Morris dropped a bomb this week, telling Penny Arcade that most publishers turned him away because they hated the idea of a female protagonist. According to Morris, publishers quite simply said, “You have to have a male character.” He also said they took issue with the character’s romantic interests in the game, with Morris quoting the ultra cringe-inducing, “You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that’s going to feel awkward. “
Is this for real? I get that the target demographic is male-dominated, but do publishers really think we’re that feeble-minded? Or perhaps more concerning, are we? I pointed this question of gender at myself, and came to the honest conclusion that I just don’t care – the gender of the protagonist isn’t even something I really consider. Social media has been buzzing about this all week and we’d like to hear your opinions too – sound off in the comments.
Carmageddon might inspire a lot of nostalgia in old-school gamers, particularly those with the right mix of homicidal tendencies and lack of interest in self-preservation who enjoy maniacally laughing while they run down pedestrians and crash into things. Well it’s coming back – after a successful Kickstarter for PC last year which raised $625,000, developer Stainless Games has gotten a healthy investment of $3.5 million to launch the game on next-gen consoles as well.
While we’re on the topic of nostalgia, Capcom has announced they’re working on an HD remake of NES classic DuckTales, under the highly original title of DuckTales Remastered. It’s being developed by WayForward for XBLA, PSN and the Wii U eShop, and I even have a trailer for you. Check it out:
Meanwhile, Blizzard has confirmed that they are working on their first free-to-play game – but it’s nature may be a little surprising. Dubbed HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft, It’s not some kind of browser-based RPG – it’s an online collectable card game. Available for iPad, Mac and PC, the game will play on a virtual tabletop in a turn-based strategy style, although Blizzard says it’s “far more fluid than other CCGs out there”. The game is being developed by a team of 15, and in true Blizzard style there’s no release date yet.
Now that I’ve whet your appetite with DuckTales, it’s time to roll out some of the videos that have been making the rounds this week.
As a starter, why not nibble on this 20 second Battefield 4 teaser, Prepare 4 Battle: Land, successor to Prepare 4 Battle: Sea and likely predecessor to Prepare 4 Battle: Air. Just ‘cause you look particularly hungry, I’ll throw in the Sea video as well.
Time for your main, a delightfully medium-rare hunk of meaty military combat. Sink your teeth into this new ArmA 3 video which goes in-depth into combat tactics such as enemy engagement, stealth and assessing the environment. Bon Appétit.
Finally, lie back in your chair and enjoy an easy dessert – Irrational’s new Bioshock Infinite video detailing the creation and evolution of the character Elizabeth, who Ken Levine describes as “the emotional centre of the game”.
The news was kind of all over the place this week, stubbornly refusing to be pigeon-holed into a nice, cohesive subheading. These are all the stories that donned tie-dye t-shirts, put on some hemp pants, made a drum circle and refused to be oppressed by The Man.
GTA fans have been chomping at the bit for new information on the upcoming GTA V, after a long, continued dry spell with no new media or information. Rockstar issued the worst apology ever, essentially saying they’re going to continue to say nothing, but it’s only because they care. In their words, they want to leave back enough to make the game release full of surprises – but exactly how surprising can a new GTA game be at this point?
Here’s a handy tip: people are much more likely to do something that’s free. This was a pleasant surprise to struggling MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, a hugely-expensive game to develop that quickly began to haemorrhage subscribers and money. In a desperate attempt to salvage, a decision was made to take the game free-to-play – and it seems to be working, since the Star Wars-themed RPG has gained 2 million subscribers since doing so.
EA lost their CEO this week, after five years in the position John Riccitiello announced he was stepping down. It’s been a rough year for EA, profits have been down and in 2012 they were given the “award” of “Worst Company in America”. Ouch. Riccitiello’s resignation is said to be through “mutual agreement”, and the CEO publicly stated that he takes full responsibility for the publisher’s dipping profits. The backlash was a stream of predictable Twitter jokes (people don’t like EA all that much), which were highlighted in an article by Kotaku. Second-in-command Peter Moore hit back at the news website, accusing them of “self-smugness” and reminding them how they make their money. His voice was joined by others such as former Epic director Mike Capps in showing support for Riccitiello.
It looks like the Wii U is in pretty big trouble. Sales have basically tanked since the boom at launch, and major retailers in the UK have already started resorting to price cuts. Amazon, Asda, ShopTo and GameStop all cut the price on the Wii U by a rather hefty 50 pounds, but the console is apparently still selling poorly and retailers are starting to look at cutting their shelf space for the product. One major retailer is quoted as saying that Nintendo’s “silence on strategy is deafening” and that if they don’t do something soon “it is Gamecube all over again.” Back in January Nintendo lowered its annual sales forecast from 5.5 million to 4 million due to the lack of demand, but at the time Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said there was no possibility of a price cut.
As I’ve already explained to you, people love free stuff. Free stuff is awesome. Hell, I’ll take something I don’t even want if it’s free. You know what everybody wants? A free PS3 and God of War: Ascension. So go and check out this competition now, there’s still time.
Heart of the Swarm has racked up over a million sales in the first two days; check out if it’s buying into with NAG’s review here.
While we’re on the topic of reviews, Wesley Fick took a twenty minute powernap and then cranked out another review which will have you knowing the product so well you’ll think you already own it then feel scared and confused when you realise you don’t. Go and question your sanity with the Steelseries Siberia V2 Gaming Headset review.
PAX East is this weekend, and NAG will be covering it. Check out the coverage so far here, here and here, then keep coming back for more. Using the tag will make your life easier.