Hello everybody and welcome yet again to your weekly update on everything you missed while you were out doing whatever the hell normal people do when they leave the house. This week was all about the Xbox One, so I’ll make sure you’re up to date with all the rumour, speculation and “gaming is ruined” laments running uncontrollably around the internet, as well as a bit of gaming news, a big crop of new videos and a few other things in between. Dive in after the jump.
Obviously, the biggest news of the week was the unveiling of the Xbox One (not Infinity, thank you Microsoft for sparing us 6 years of that. The results are in from the judge, jury and executioner of all new product launches (the Internet) and they have decided that the Xbox One sucks.
Yup, pack up your things and go home everyone, we’re all buying Playstations and that’s that. GamesIndustry called the reveal “boring and confused”, and many others echoed the sentiment. So what was the problem then? Well, it was a gaming console reveal with very little talk about games. Microsoft is clearly trying to turn their console into an all-in-one (ah, it all makes sense now) home entertainment device, and dedicated a lot of the press event to talking about US-centric television streaming and other such nonsense. As GamesIndustry put it, “Here is a company which is so arrogantly confident in its dominance of the core gaming space that it believes it no longer has anything to prove.”
Needless to say, the gaming audience was angered – and they’re a rowdy bunch. Disgust swept across the internet like herpes in a brothel, and Microsoft has been scrambling to reassure their core user base.
Xbox UK marketing director Harvey Eagle promised that the Xbox One showcase at E3 will be “all about the games, including tonnes of exclusives and world premieres.” In case you have some kind of intellectual impairment, he goes on to say that “E3 is gaming, gaming, gaming.” Okay Harvey, we get it. Gaming.
Unfortunately, that’s not all gamers are upset about. One particular bone of contention is Microsoft’s approach to second-hand games, which nobody actually knows anything about. First we were told that if you want to borrow a friend’s game then “you’ll have to pay for it”, which was then denied by the Xbox Twitter account. There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the whole thing, but Microsoft has clarifying throughout the week. At the moment, what it looks like, is that second-hand games will have a paygate which prevents you from playing them. According to Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison, customers will likely to have to pay the same price to activate the pre-owned content as the original buyer. It’s still very much up in the air at the moment, but honestly it doesn’t sound good. For a full look at what we know so far, check out the NAG overview here.
The always-online drama is another sore issue. While it was confirmed that the Xbox One would not require a permanent internet connection, after the reveal there was a pervasive rumour that you would actually have to connect at least once per day. This sent everyone running for their torches and pitchforks again, and things only got worse when Phil Harrison confirmed this to be true as well.
Despite the spotlight being on next-gen for this year’s E3, Microsoft Game Studios exec Phil Spencer has said that the old-hat Xbox 360 will also be getting a “huge announcement”. He also said that he thinks the aging console still has a lot of life left in it.
Sony checked another box in the win column when talk of Xbox One’s hardware began to indicate that perhaps Microsoft wasn’t offering quite as much as the Japanese tech giant.
Chief technical officer at Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios was asked to compare the two consoles, to with he said, “The specs on paper would favour the PS4 over the Xbox One in terms of raw power,” going on to add that “there are many other factors involved so we’ll just have to wait and see a bit longer before making that judgment.”
One thing we do know is that the hardware is “a generation ahead” of current high-end PCs. Wait, what?
This was the claim made by chief technology guy over at EA, Rajat Teneja. Now we have to give him the benefit of the doubt here since it’s hard to know exactly what he means. The assumption is that he is referring to raw power, which is an obviously laughable claim. He may be talking about the architecture of the console itself, however, which I am not qualified to talk about. However, if you’re going to make these kinds of statements in the public space, you’d really be better off clarifying your position.
Gaming news was a little sparse this week, with more focus being placed on the disappointing lack of game reveals rather than anything else. However, there’s more to the industry than Microsoft, and there were a few things we can talk about.
Need for Speed Rivals was announced this week, set for release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on November 19th this year, and Xbox One and PS4 sometime after that. You may notice the absence of the Wii U – this is an EA game, and is thus using the Frostbite 3 engine, which EA have confirmed will not be getting Wii U support.
In true Hot Pursuit fashion, you get to be either a scumbag racer or a law-abiding police officer – each with its own unique set of challenges. We’ve all played NFS games before and there’s nothing truly groundbreaking here – if you like the series, you’ll probably like this one.
In another bit of console vs PC drama, executive producer of the game Marcus Nilsson says the PC version will look “easily as good as next-gen”. Take that, Rajat.
See if EA can win you over with the teaser trailer:
The as yet officially confirmed Mirror’s Edge 2 may be getting an E3 reveal, after a listing for the game was posted on Germany’s Amazon.com.
While there was nothing concrete like official art or a release date, it wouldn’t be the first time the retailer had unwittingly outed a new title ahead of an announcement. With E3 around the corner, it could be the perfect time for EA to finally unveil a sequel.
Techland, the studio behind survival horror game Dead Island, is currently working on a “brand new first person action title” called Dying Light, and yeah it’s also a survival horror game. Zzz.
According to the announcement, it’s going make use of a “game-changing day-night cycle”. Which will apparently work like this:
“During the day, players will traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population.
“At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light.”
Is anyone else getting annoyed with this flavour of the week crap? Call of Duty makes a Modern Warfare title that takes off, and immediately everyone ditches the World War genre and the market is flooded with futuristic war games. Now it seems like every other week we get a new zombie game. I like zombies, zombies are cool, but seriously can we get something a little more original?
Much of the gaming videos for the week came from the Xbox One reveal, so let’s dive into those first.
Firstly, for you racing enthusiasts, we have a very pretty Forza 5 trailer. Mmm, shiny.
Second, we have something a little more original with Remedy’s new title, Quantum Break. The creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne are delivering something very different with this, a game that seemingly mixes gameplay with live-action scenes. The last time developers tried this was with those awful FMV games we’d all rather forget about, so let’s hope Remedy can pull it off. Still, it’s good to see game makers taking more risks – this could be something really incredible. Check it out:
Lastly from Xbox we have a tech comparison video, showcasing the advances of the new engine by comparing Call of Duty: Ghosts and Modern Warfare 3. It’s pretty interesting to see what we can get ouf of the next generation, even if you’re a CoD hater. Give it a look:
Moving away from that console no one is going to buy anyway, Sega released a new Company of Heroes 2 trailer this week, this one focusing on the story, as seen through the eyes of a Russian soldier.
Best of NAG
The Xbox One reveal was obviously all over our pages this week, and we kept you well covered on what’s happening with the worst console since the Wii U.
If you haven’t been keeping up, start things off with Tarryn’s overview of everything you need to know, keeping in mind that some of the information is already a little outdated, due to Microsoft’s sublime talent for confusing PR.
If you want to have all your bases covered, then Wesley Fick aka The Man That Never Sleeps will take care of that with his full description of the press event itself, overcoming a dodgy internet connection and livestream rage to do so.
Finally, make sure you know exactly what’s happening with the used game situation with this excellent breakdown by Miklós Szecsei.
Once you’ve had your fill of all things Microsoft, take a load off with my column for the week on the best and most badass of video game heroes.