facepalm picard

Hello fellow NAGians (NAGites?) and welcome back once again to your weekly dose of my opinion masquerading as objective journalism. This week was a bit slow, but I’ve got more news of the Wii U’s demise, a rant on Sony’s awful marketing team, the videos you actually clicked through for and your usual mix of whatever it is I felt like talking about.

Console News

Okay, so I know I keep hating on the Wii U. But it’s not just me – it’s developers as well. In another blow to Nintendo’s flailing next-gen console, EA have said that they have no games in development for the Wii U. None.

This comes in the wake of EA’s announce that there will be no Frostbite 3 support for the Wii U. What’s really surprising here, however, is that the publisher is seemingly ditching the console for its sports titles as well, having already stated that the next Madden game won’t be making an appearance on the device.

No word yet on FIFA 14, but the Wii U has been confirmed to not be getting NHL 14 nor Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14. Spokesperson Jeff Brown said EA aren’t ruling out developing games on the console in the future, but honestly right now it’s not looking good.

EA dropped support for the Dreamcast too. And we all know how that turned out.

EA dropped support for the Dreamcast too. And we all know how that turned out.

While we’re Wii U bashing, industry analyst and crystal ball-gazer Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities has released estimated sales for the Wii U – which show that it’s still being outsold by it’s predecessor.

In the month of April, Wii U sales are down 19 percent month-over-month, selling just 55,000 units. It gets a little awkward when compared with sales of the original Wii, which managed to scrape 75,000 sales in the same period.

The 3DS continues to perform extremely well however, Pachter estimates sales of 185,000 units, an increase of 46 percent.

On a slightly more cheerful note, Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price has said that even while their new game Fuse wasn’t developed for the Wii U, they still haven’t ruled anything out.

Price said, “We had to focus on delivering a great game on multiple platforms, but there’s a point where we had to make hard choices, and for us we needed to limit the number of platforms for Fuse.”

This is starting to feel like that tired conundrum of needing experience to get a job, but being unable to get experience without a job. Developers are dropping the Wii U due to lack of consumer support, but with no one developing for the console it’s impossible to get consumers to buy in. Nintendo can still bounce back with a few stellar first-party releases, as they have in the past.

Speaking of failures, Sony has trademarked “Greatness Awaits”, rumoured to be a new marketing catchphrase for the PS4. Greatness Awaits? Really? It sounds like the tagline for some B-grade Gladiator knock-off on the bottom shelf of the DVD store.

“Greatness Awaits!”

Can you imagine how much money Sony paid a team of people to come up with that? How did that meeting even go? “Gentlemen, we want something generic, unexciting and completely unoriginal. We also need to submit it within the next 7 minutes.”  Ugh, I’d want to buy an Xbox now if that didn’t sound so terrible as well.

I’m not just talking about the rumours about always online requirements and generic controllers either – how about the name itself? If “Greatness Awaits” walked me onto the ledge, “Xbox Infinity” will be what sends me over the edge. Who the hell is signing these people’s cheques? The Xbox Infinity? I swear I’m not going to be surprised if the PS4 is unveiled as the “Playstation Xtreme”. With no “E”, because it’s the hardest of core.

Some other people that aren’t too happy with Sony and Nintendo are hacker group Lulzsec, who you may remember as wreaking havoc across back in 2011 with “50 days of lulz”. Through some pretty monumental DDOS attacks and a lot of information theft, Lulzsec consistently made the news for taking down some major companies.

However, [cyber]crime doesn’t pay (unless you really could download a car), and three of the members have been sentenced to two to three years in prison, while a fourth managed to scrape through with a suspended sentence, likely because he’s a teenager.

To end off on a positive note, Microsoft is reportedly scrapping “MS Points”, their ridiculous and entirely unnecessary currency system used to purchase things on the Xbox.  People will actually be able to use real money now, which makes so much sense you can’t help but wonder why the points system existed in the first place.

Sources: Kotaku, CVG, DigitallyDownloaded, Siliconera, Mashable, NAG

Gaming News

You know what no one has said, ever? “I wish there were more MOBA games.” That’s not what EA heard however, and are reportedly publishing a new one called Dawngate, which is being developed by the lesser-known Waypoint Games.

According to the new website for the game, Dawngate is “built from the ground up to look and feel familiar while offering a whole new way to experience MOBA gameplay.”

Well, they have nailed the "look familiar" part.

Well, they have nailed the “look familiar” part.

Here’s the thing – I play a LOT of DotA 2. More than I’d care to admit (okay, fine, 703 hours played according to Steam) and I’m not sure that it can become some kind of genre of which there are many. It’s a limited space. You don’t play MOBA games like you play FPSs, generally you’ll find one you like and stick to it (seriously, 700 hours? What the hell am I doing with my life?).

I’m just not sure there’s that much room for variety, and I think it’s a ridiculously hard market to break into; dedicated League of Legends or DotA 2 players are almost certainly not going to switch games very easily.

As if one wasn’t enough, there is speculation that EA is behind yet another MOBA game, called Battledrome. I don’t know where the ceiling is on how many of these games can be successful at one time, but this does not feel like a good idea to me.

Lionhead is reportedly looking to make a new IP, putting out feelers for developers who have “leading industry experience on AAA titles, including large scale RPG, Action Adventure and RTS genres.”

The studio is well known for some more out of the box ideas, so hopefully they’ve got something original and exciting. I just really hope it’s not a freakin’ MOBA (seriously, 703 hours is a full month of non-stop playing, I just looked it up).

Other games we’re not going to be seeing anytime soon include the most anticipated game of all time bar Half-Life 3, GTA V. Publisher Take-Two has confirmed  that we won’t be getting any GTA V goodness, as Rockstar and 2K games won’t have a booth this year.

The publisher said, “Both Rockstar Games and 2K have instead decided to focus their marketing and PR efforts on a series of events throughout the spring and summer. Our team, however, will be present at the show, and we look forward to seeing many of you-“ Zzzz. Don’t count on it.

"That sounds really interesting, please tell me more."

“That sounds really interesting, please tell me more.”

Now I know I promised I wouldn’t, but let’s talk about piracy. A new, very comprehensive study has claimed that piracy isn’t nearly as much of a problem as the industry makes it out to be.

Academics from three different universities gathered three months of data, and while they found that piracy was pretty widespread, they also said it’s not as bad as we’ve been led to believe.

One of the authors, Anders Drachen, had this to say: “First and foremost, P2P game piracy is extraordinarily prevalent and geographically distributed.

“However, the numbers in our investigation suggest that previously reported magnitudes in game piracy are too high. It also appears that some common myths are wrong, eg that it is only shooters that get pirated, as we see a lot of activity for children’s and family games on BitTorrent for the period we investigated.”

Sources: TheEscapist, CVG, OXM, Wired

Metro: Last Light studio is a sweat shop

Okay, that title may be somewhat sensational. Still, according to former THQ president Jason Rubin, the game was developed on a tiny budget with less than stellar working conditions.

“The budget of Last Light is less than some of its competitors spend on cut scenes, a mere ten per cent of the budget of its biggest competitors,” Rubin wrote.

He goes on to talk about dev kits and PCs having to be smuggled into the Ukraine where the studio is, out of worry that corrupt customs officials would nick their stuff.

They drew straws to see who had to "smuggle" the controller.

They drew straws to see who had to “smuggle” the controller.

Sounds pretty rough, and Rubin himself speculates that the game could have been amazing if they’d had a better budget to work with and less hardships, especially since they had to suddenly switch publishers as well.

Creative director Andrew Prokhorov responded to the report, acknowledging that the conditions are significantly worse than the US and Europe, but also saying that they “don’t want to be all dramatic that.” Good for them.

Sources: GamesIndustry, GamesIndustry

Videos

Here’s everyone’s favourite section, requiring the bare minimum of cognitive process. If you scrolled straight to here, shame on you. That’s bad and you should feel bad.

Anyway, we’re kicking things off this week with a very lengthy Last of Us gameplay video, a game I think looks freakin’ awesome.

With PS4 around the corner, one game console players may be looking forward to is Diablo III, which for the first time you’ll be able to play with an analogue stick. Check out this discussion with the developers, where they go over what you can expect from the next-gen release.

Okay that was all a bit long and I’m sure you’re exhausted, so here’s something a little more digestible: a 40 second teaser for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins.

Now for something a little weirder, a rather odd Norwegian Kickstarter project has reached its goal, and will be finishing their game that lets you take control of a toddler exploring a possessed house. Check out the teaser and tell me what you think.

Best of NAG

Do you like free stuff? Of course you do, that’s a stupid question. If you throw a T-shirt into a crowd of people, someone is going to get stabbed. People really like free stuff. So head over here and do the least amount of effort and submit a comment, you could win some fancy Razer swag.

Gran Turismo had a super sick reveal event, and the hardest working man in gaming journalism, Wesley Fick, has covered it for you here. Go check it out; he worked really hard on it. Shame man.

For the opposite of working hard, go and check out my column for the week, where I go over some of the coolest/uncoolest villains we’ve ever seen in games. There’s only five, because I’m not Wesley Fick (contrary to popular belief).

Oh and what’s this? Wesley Fick is working again. Dammit man, get some sleep. Moving straight from the GT6 reveal, the mighty Fick scurried over to the Google I/O event, and yup, he’s covered that too. Go look at it. Go now.