Greetings NAGgallians, and thanks for joining me for my very special 29th edition of This Week In Gaming. Why is the 29th special? Well, it isn’t, but maybe you shouldn’t be so nosy. This week was Gamescom, so for once the console-makers announcements of rounded buttons and rubber feet could be set aside for some actual sweet gaming news. Real announcements, teasers, new details, new videos and other stuff you’ll actually care about are all after the jump.
Long time Nintendo development loyal n-Space has said that for the first time in ten years, the company has no titles in development for Nintendo.
Last generation n-Space was one of the leading third-party developers for the Nintendo DS, handling the Call of Duty series and multiple others.
But according to CEO Dan O’Leary, the handheld market just isn’t where it’s at any more. Putting it bluntly, O’Leary says, “There’s just very low demand right now for their work through the publisher side.”
That being said, the 3DS continues to beat everything else in sheer hardware sales. But if that particular handheld is nearing the end of its life as consumers move more into gaming on their smartphones and tablets, Nintendo doesn’t have a big console to fall back on, as the Wii U continues to underwhelm.
Things are looking a little better for the other Japanese hardware maker, as Sony say they are looking at a “sell-out situation” for the PS4.
According to Playstation UK big cheese Fergal Gara, the company is struggling to satisfy pre-orders, saying that the number is “higher than we’ve ever seen in 20 years”.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as many analysts believe that both next-gen consoles will be selling out at launch. In fact, one analyst stated a while back that Xbox One would win at launch, just on account of having more supply than its Asian competitor.
Unfortunately for Sony, they still have the dead weight of the PS Vita, which continues to sell poorly. They’ve taken the last ditch effort of slashing the price in the Us and Europe, something which worked very well for Nintendo’s 3DS.
In spite of that, SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida remains optimistic, saying that he believes the Vita won’t be Sony’s last handheld.
Yoshida says, “We still like PS Vita and we know people who buy it really like it.”
I’m not convinced. I think if you make the terrible mistake of actually buying a PS Vita, you HAVE to like it, because the alternative is a crippling case of buyer’s remorse.
It’s no secret that Xbox One is pushing exclusives hard, but what got tongues wagging this week is the news that EA’s big new title Titanfall will be an Xbox One exclusive while pre-orders in Europe will come bundled with FIFA 14 for free.
This could look a lot like EA and Xbox One are shacking up and doing the nasty, but EA Labels president Frank Gibeau insists that EA is “platform agnostic” and still has a very good relationship with Sony.
Gamescom week just happened, and if you’ve been keeping up you would have seen that NAG has had you covered on all the juiciest of announcements.
As is the case every year, the newest Call of Duty title is dominating headlines, and Activision have released a ton of new information on the game’s multiplayer.
To sum up: 35 different perks, multiple different strike packages (including guard dogs, seriously everyone hates guard dogs what the hell Activision) and a cool seven new game modes, including “Cranked”, no doubt named after the terrible movie franchise.
In Cranked, players will be provided with new abilities after every kill, but will have a countdown timer to self-explosion that can only be reset by killing more people. I hate to say it, but it sounds kind of fun. Damnit.
Hey, remember The Last Guardian? There was that giant bird dog thing, remember that? Well anyway, it’s apparently still in development. The PS3 exclusive likely won’t be seeing a release until after the PS4 has hit shelves, which is awkward.
You’d think that they’d just move it over to PS4 as well, but apparently this is something which “hasn’t been discussed yet”.
What exactly is getting discussed regarding the title which was now announced more than four years ago is uncertain at this point. But yeah, if you were still looking forward to this, apparently it’s coming. Sometime. Eventually. Maybe.
One big piece of gaming news that isn’t actually a game is the release of the new CryEngine. Despite being the 4th iteration, it’s simply dubbed “CryEngine”, as Crytek have decided to drop the numbering system to show off the fact that the platform is being “frequently updated”.
This is great news for next-gen developers, and I’m excited to see how much they can get out of it. In the meantime, check out this tech demo:
One game I’m kind of intrigued by which we got a first look at this week is Dead Island: Epidemic, the MOBA set in the franchise’s zombie environment.
With the success of DotA 2 and League of Legends, a lot of developers are now exploring the MOBA space. I originally thought this was a terrible idea, but it seems that new design space in the genre is being explored, which may give it a little more legs than I had anticipated.
In Epidemic, there will be up to three teams instead two, and the game will be more about controlling points than taking out each other’s bases. And, of course, there will be zombies; ranging from your standard slow shamblers to “freakish super bosses”. I’ll be honest, I’m curious to this one a try. While we wait, here’s a screenshot:
I was complaining this week that game’s need more mature content in order to grow, and I’m thus thrilled to tell you that Grand Theft Auto 5 will feature plenty of weed smoking and mature sexual content.
This includes “implied” fellatio, masturbation and even necrophilia (Wut.).
Rockstar have always been one to push boundaries, and I approve. It simply adds another layer of realism to the world in which these characters are set.
Let’s all just have a moment of silence for our friends in Australia that won’t be able to play this game.
Finally, Microsoft’s Phil Harrison says that he believes the Xbox One 23-game launch line-up is “the best in the history of consoles”.
You have to admit, it’s a pretty impressive list. Despite all pre-ordered Europe consoles getting FIFA 14 for free, games available at launch will include Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer instinct, Battlefield 4 and Watch Dogs.
Looking at that, Harrison’s claim may not be all that far-fetched.
Gamescom brings with it a ton of new and exciting videos, so finding ones to highlight this week wasn’t all that much of a challenge.
First up is this 15 minute gameplay video for the upcoming Killzone: Mercenary, and it looks sweet.
Next we have some more official media for the highly anticipated next instalment in the Assassin’s Creed series, Black Flag, where you get to be a frikken pirate. But it’s not all chirpy parrots and clunky peg legs; pirates can be stealthy too. Check it out:
An often under-appreciated strategy series, the next instalment in the Total War games is Total War: Rome 2, coming out on September 3rd. In this video you can see two of the team members duking it out in the multiplayer, with commentary.
One of the most exciting upcoming titles is Titanfall, the first game we’re going to see out of Respawn Entertainment, the studio set up by the Modern Warfare guys when they split from Activision. Here’s a 4 minute look at some actual gameplay:
Best of NAG
We were all about Gamescom this week, as you may have noticed all the tagged banner images taking up the front page.
If you’re still playing catch-up, everything Gamescom has been tagged as such for your convenience, so you can see absolutely everything Gamescom in one place just by clicking here.
If that’s a little too much reading for you, I get it. Sometimes you just want to stare slack-jawed at a screen while your eyes glaze over, and for that this enormous video compilation is perfect. Between the videos above and this collection, you’ll have Gamescom covered, lazy-style.
Okay, okay. You’re a little Gamescom’d out. It’s all a little too mainstream for you, and you’d rather sew buttons on your fedora and listen to that band I’ve probably never heard of.
Scroll past all that Gamescom stuff then and check out Miklós Szecsei’s review of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. This is a game that’s been stuck in development hell for years – did 2K manage to finish strong? Find out here.
Finally we have my weekly column self-plug, and this time I tackled the somewhat sensitive topic of rape and sexual violence in video games. Is it something that should be left on the cutting room floor? Find out what I think and voice your own opinion right here.