Hello, Howdy and Howzit and welcome back to another rundown of what happened This Week In Gaming. It’s the calm before the storm as everyone battens down the hatches and checks their supplies for next week’s E3, where we’ll have more big reveals in one week than the rest of the year combined. Some companies just couldn’t wait however, so this week you’ll find a little bit more (and a lot less) clarity from Microsoft on the Xbox One, a few predictions from people smarter than myself, a few pre-E3 announcements and reveals, a whole heap of new videos and some highlights from the week you may have missed. Strap in and hit the jump.
We’re starting this week, as it feels like we do every week, with the Xbox One. Some more information about the console has been revealed, this time a little more definite than the confused and contradicting reports of the last couple of weeks.
Firstly, the rumours are true, and the Xbox One will require an internet connection. More specifically, you’ll have to dial in at least once every 24 hours just to let Microsoft know you aren’t a criminal. This means that temporary interruptions in access won’t spoil your fun, but if you don’t have a dedicated internet line this isn’t the console for you.
The other pressing issue, that of fees for second-hand games, is a little less clear. While Microsoft themselves have said they won’t be charging any fees for transferring games, they did say that “game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers”. Essentially it looks like they’re passing the buck along to the publishers, so they can take the heat for barring second-hand sales.
Microsoft go on to say you can give games to your friends – provided they’ve been on your friend list for at least 30 days, and you can only give a game once.
So what the hell does all of this mean? Honestly, it’s hard to know. While on the one hand it seems like it could be good news, on the other it seems like an awful lot of restrictions and hoops to jump through. It sounds complicated and messy, and it kind of puts me off.
It also lands us, once again, in unclear territory on the used games front. Microsoft have handed off responsibility to the publishers, so we still actually have no idea whether or not we’re going to be able to do that. One thing that is clear is that renting or loaning games isn’t really going to be an option at launch.
As for the publishers, they’re keeping mum for now. CVG asked all the major publishers to comment, of which Activision, Ubisoft, Bethesda and Capcom all declined, while others such as Square Enix and Take Two haven’t said anything at all. All this really means is that once again, there’s no clarity on the issue. You can bet however that if there is a way publishers can get away with shutting down second-hand sales, they will.
As for Sony, we know that they won’t be charging any fees for second-hand purchases, what we do not know however is whether they’ll be offering publishers the same option.
Some good news for Xbox One that surfaced this week is that all games you buy at retail will be available digitally as well, on the day of their retail release. You’ll also be able to access your entire Xbox One library from any Xbox One console, which is nice.
Microsoft also revealed some new details about their controller. Most of it is fairly minor changes, like “revamped thumbsticks” and slightly tweaked triggers and buttons. One new feature is a new low power state which the controller will enter when not being used.
Video game crystal ball gazer Michael Pachter, analyst over at Wedbush Morgan, has weighed in on the yet-to-be-revealed next-gen console prices, saying that he believes the PS4 and Xbox will be costed at $349 and $399 respectively. Would the extra R500 or so make you more likely to go with Sony’s console?
Moving on to the Wii U, it’s more bad news as major US retailer GameStop will be pulling the Wii U Basic from its shelves as of June 18. No official reason has been given, but it’s believed to be due to poor sales. Nintendo released a statement assuring consumers that the manufacture of the Basic model has not been discontinued.
According to CVG’s sources, Nintendo plans to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the Wii U in the second half of 2013, in an effort to recover from the console’s poor sales since launch. This will include several high profile releases, expected to be shown off at E3.
Another year, another Call of Duty game. Activision will be properly showing off some gameplay of Call of Duty: Ghosts for the first time tomorrow. The reveal will happen during a live, dedicated webcast, because apparently that’s the thing to do these days – just look how well it worked out for Microsoft.
Honestly I’m not that interested myself, as I find it unlikely that they’ll produce anything truly original or surprising. So colour me cynical.
Moving on to a game you can play right now, Company of Heroes 2’s open beta launched this week, allowing you free access to the game’s multiplayer mode. You’ll be able to play co-operative and competitive gameplay on six different maps.
The beta will run until the 18th of June, and will officially launch on the 25th. If strategic RTS is your thing you should definitely check it out, it’s a pretty awesome game.
Horror title Daylight, originally announced for PC, has been revealed as coming to the PS4 as well. In a new spin on the genre, the game will play out differently every time you go through it. Listen to this:
“Daylight introduces gamers to a procedurally generated world that replicates the horrifying nature of Daylight over and over again, but creates a different environment for each new game.
“Each time the player begins a new game, they experience a new world with new content and encounters; from the layout of the building and the things they seek to the events they encounter, it is never the same experience twice.”
Pretty neat, huh? Check out the trailer:
E3 is an annual treat for gamers, and we can expect a ton of exciting news and reveals to come out of this one. EA have teased a little of their reveal, saying that they’ll be unveiling Battlefield 4’s multiplayer during the event, as the game’s initial reveal was focused almost entirely on the single-player campaign.
Aside from the “world premiere of Battlefield 4 all-out multiplayer warfare” they’re also promising “other surprises”. The game itself will actually be playable at E3, although it’s not clear yet on which platforms.
Another publisher offering surprises is Capcom, who have said that they’ll be bringing a “big surprise for the show”, but not giving anything away on what that might be. If anyone has an educated guess, or an uneducated one for that matter, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
Lastly, Halo 4 developer 343 Industries is on the lookout for a Multiplayer Designer, posting a job listing for someone who can “help develop revolutionary new multiplayer experiences on an upcoming Halo title”. We’ll probably hear more about Microsoft’s plans at E3, as it is their flagship exclusive and right now people need reminding as to why they want an Xbox One.
Let’s kick things off with a little male nudity, shall we? A new trailer for Saints Row IV has emerged, which mostly involves the President of the US running around starkers carrying large weapons. It’s the usual dose of hilarity and madness you’ve probably come to expect from Saints Row, so if you’re a fan this video probably won’t disappoint you:
Techland have released a new CGI trailer for their zombie survival horror game, Dying Light, and I have to admit it looks pretty badass. That being said, I’m reserving judgment till I see some gameplay, the original Dead Island trailer was one of the best I’ve ever seen and the game, well, not quite as much. See if it’s something you want to keep an eye on at E3:
Next up is a rather lengthy pre-E3 video for Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2, with commentary from members of the development team. The storyline is described as “cruel” and “dark” for this sequel, and fans of the original will find plenty to sink their teeth into. Haha, see what I did there? Dracula? Sink teeth? Sigh, nevermind. Here’s the video:
This week we had an announcement for a new Deus Ex game – for mobile devices only. The internet, of course, promptly threw their toys at this injustice, but that’s hardly new. It’s a tricky thing to take such a well-loved IP and put it on a tablet, have a look at the announcement video and see if you think they’ve gotten it right:
Best of NAG
The new Wolfenstein game is on the horizon, and it’s looking sick. Warren Spector got himself into trouble for saying no one is interested in another rehashed franchise title, but this is the guy who made Epic Mickey 2 so what the hell does he know. Head over here now and check out the trailer, because it is awesome.
Speaking of FPS’s, we reviewed a pretty odd one this week. My dad has always referred to them as “those walking gun games” and new indie title Receiver makes me think he wasn’t that far off from the truth. It’s hyper-realistic, it’s a floating gun and it’s kind of an awesome game. Check out Matthew Vice’s review here.
Another sweet indie surfacing this week, although decidedly not realistic, is Nitronic Rush, a bonkers racing game that looks like all kinds of fun. Delano breaks it down in a showcase for you here.
Did you know the new voice of snake is going to be Kiefer Sutherland? Yeah, that dude from 24 who always looks a little too old to be not sleeping. I wonder how much Kojima had to shell out for that one. The original voice actor who was canned after the last game, David Hayter, didn’t take the news quite so well. Check out his passive aggressive Tweeting and Kiefer’s peroxide mullet here.
You’re probably a little weary by now if you’ve stuck with me to the end, so why not sit back, relax, and let me tell you a few tales around the fire. Take a load off and click this green text right here.