Hello loyal NAGlings, and thanks for coming back for another week of This Week In Gaming. The Xbox One dominated our console news this week, as we all just can’t seem to let that pesky DRM business go. The Wii U also makes a cameo appearance. In gaming, it’s all controversy all the time, as it turns out Hideo Kojima is also a pervy teenager we can add to the list and rape is something we’re definitely not okay with. I’ll also shine a spotlight on some game reviews, toot my own horn and hurl videos at your face. Enjoy.
Maybe you’re tired of hearing about next-gen consoles, because you’re poor like me and you can’t afford one anyway. Good news then – Microsoft have said they’ll show us some welfare and continue to support the Xbox 360 for a generous three years after the Xbox One release. That should give us some time to scrounge some change together.
According to Microsoft, the Xbox 360 is “very profitable in the tail.” To put their money where their mouth is, they’re promising to ship over 100 new games for the Xbox 360; let’s just hope there’s a few AAA titles in there as well.
Moving on from that crappy old-gen stuff, Microsoft have confirmed that the Xbox One received a small CPU boost and is now in full production. Perhaps as a cheeky last-ditch effort to overpower the PS4 on the performance front, the CPU speed has been turbo’d from 1.6GHz to 1.75GHz.
Production has been kicked into high gear, and despite the enormous amount of pre-orders Microsoft is promising consumers they’ll be able to walk into a shop and grab one off the shelf on day one. Except here in Africa of course, where we’ve been bounced to the wrong side of the velvet rope.
Hey, remember back when the Xbox One wouldn’t let you do anything? Well Microsoft have fully embraced their slick new DRM-free approach, and are now saying that sometime in the future they’ll be introducing the loaning and trading of digitally-downloaded games.
Ironically, that plan, known as “Family Sharing”, was actually canned when they reversed the controversial DRM policies. Although Xbox director Albert Penello says it’s something they’re going to revisit after the launch is handled, as they get a ton of feedback requesting its implementation.
According to Penello, things like Family Sharing were part of their original vision with the always-online, DRM-restricted Xbox One. He says that while Microsoft expected a negative reaction over the announcement, they were surprised by how negative it was.
Penello goes on to say that he thinks their fans have come to appreciate what they were trying to do as time has passed; but it’s very easy to see the positives when the threat is no longer there. What they were trying to do, Penello says, is create a better customer experience based on an all-digital model, comparing it to platforms such as Steam. What are your thoughts? Sincere attempt at a better customer experience, or a bit of spin-doctoring after getting caught trying to maximise profits at our expense?
Penello says if he could go back in time he would change the way the idea was put forward, but personally I’m not sure any amount of sugar-coating could stop the internet’s gut-reaction to any mention of “always-online”.
Enough of this AAA stuff, everybody loves an underdog story. Nobody more than Activision, apparently, who say they’ll continue to support Nintendo’s struggling Wii U.
Activision exec Eric Hirschberg says that the industry needs to support itself, and that if they can “add to the appeal of the platform then we absolutely will.”
Activision is essentially the only big third-party publisher left that’s willing to support the crippled console; Betheda’s Pete Hines said a little while back that the “time for convincing publishers and developers has long passed”. Ouch. What say you, wise NAG readers? Is it too early to count the Wii U out?
There was a ton of controversy in the gaming world this week; developers just can’t seem to stop themselves from saying silly things and then trying to take them back. But the internet never forgets.
First up is Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, who tweeted that he’d been ordering the female character in the upcoming MGS V to be made “more erotic”, specifically for cosplayers.
This comes in a time where developers have been heavily criticised for over-sexualising female characters, particularly Japanese devs. Oh, did I mention he also included a close-up of the character’s ass? Yeah.
Of course after the predictable outcry Kojima attempted to backpedal, saying that “maybe erotic wasn’t the correct word to use”. He clarifies by saying that he wants the character to look “sexy”, but hastily adds that he also finds “mechs and weapons sexy”. He may need to talk to a professional about that.
The model and voice actress for the character Stefanie Joosten came to his defense, saying that he “has his reasons” for why the character looks the way she does. Honestly though, it’s pretty hard to justify why a sniper would need to wear ripped stockings, a thong, and an old rag tied in a knot that barely covers her chest for any other reason than to make adolescents drool.
One person who was particular upset by it all was David Ellis, former EGM journalist and content producer over at 343 Industries.
He tweeted, “Don’t care if this gets me in trouble. This character design is disgusting. Our industry should be better than this.” He also added, “Industry full of man babies. Ugh.” It’s hard not to agree with him.
One piece of news I’m a little sad about is the Hotline Miami 2 developer’s decision to remove the controversial “rape scene” from the demo.
In my column a couple of weeks back, I said that rape and other sensitive content in video games is something we need to be okay with in order for the industry to grow. I’m disappointed to see yet another developer cave to internet backlash.
Co-creator Dennis Wedin says that they may or may not include it in the full final game; it’ll depend on people’s opinions and reactions when they test it. To me, that’s a bit of a cop out. You put it in there for a reason and a purpose; by removing it to please others you’re essentially compromising your own creativity and vision for the game.
In a similar vein, David Cage of Quantic Dream revealed this week that they originally pitched Heavy Rain to Microsoft, who turned it down because they were afraid of the controversy which may be sparked by the “child kidnapping”.
I think it’s absurd that we can blow each other’s limbs off cut open throats but any depiction of sensitive content that isn’t gory violence is tip-toed around and avoided at all costs. Between this and our female characters looking like strippers, this industry really needs to do some serious growing up.
Beyond: Two Souls is an intriguing title rich in story and character development. If Quantic Dream can pull it off, and they’re certainly capable of it, it could be a really amazing game. Check out this 14 minute video which offers a good look at a mission from the game, giving you a good idea of how it’s going to play out.
Next up we have Crytek’s Xbox One launch title Ryse: Son of Rome, and a detailed look at the combat from the game. Crytek did things right, consulting Roman combat experts to make the fighting as realistic as possible.
The only thing cooler than a Roman warrior is a pirate, and Ubisoft have delivered a juicy ten minutes of gameplay from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, focusing on the various locations that can be explored in the game.
You’ll have to work a little harder to get something out of Bungie, who’ve released a short two minute thank you video for the fan community of upcoming title Destiny. It’s a mashup of footage taken from E3 and Gamescom, with a small sprinkling of brand new gameplay footage.
Best of NAG
The reviews came thick and fast on NAG this week, with a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly.
First up is Memoria, a beautiful adventure title from Daedalic Entertainment, and a sequel to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav. If you’ve never heard of the series, see if Nic Simmonds thinks Memoria is a good place to start.
Next up is a game I really wanted to be good, TMNT: Out of the Shadows. Yes, that’s TMNT of the adolescent talking turtle variety. Is it good old face-smashing fun, or a huge disappointment? Tarryn van der Byl delivers the news right here.
Finally we have Flashback, a remake of a 1992 cult classic which has a dude waking up in the jungle not knowing who he is or why he’s there. You play through the game as he pieces his memory today, something about aliens and the end of the world. Does the remake improve on its source material? Tarryn van der Byl helps you remember.
Finally, we have the most comprehensive and nuanced gaming strategy guide ever written. I know this, because I wrote it. It’s the Definitive Guide to Klapping Noobs, and it’s not just a guide, but a way of life. Become a better person today.