Hello again NAGillians, and thanks for returning for your weekly weekend dose of the week’s news. Man, that was a well constructed sentence. This week was a little light on exciting news, but we did get a “new” Apple product, the low-down on next-gen performance comparisons, Call of Duty controversy, a new fighting game, someone gets sued, tons of giveaways and a crop of new gaming videos. Hey, maybe it wasn’t such a bad week after all.
This may be a bit of a stretch in the way of console news, but it’s that time of the year again when Apple releases a new i-something. This particular i-something is the brand new iPad, the iPad Air.
Air is the name reserved for the slimmer cousins of Apple products, and the trend continues with the iPad Air which will be 20 percent thinner than its predecessor.
It also sports a 9.7-inch Retina display, faster WiFi and 10 hours of battery life. Which is irrelevant since it’s exclusively used while pooping.
With the initial Xbox One and PS4 reveals, there was a lot of hoo-ha over who was packing more power under the bonnet. The PS4 seemed to narrowly edge out a victory, but according to Japanese developers Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) and Keiji Inafune (Mega Man), there’s not all that much in it.
“There’s no real difference between them,” Mikami said. “When Xbox One was first announced it had lower specs than PS4, but now they’re almost identical.”
Inafune added, “I don’t think there’s a major difference between them. If you get down to the tiny details then maybe each is better at one thing than the other, but it doesn’t really impact the way you make a game.”
He also noted that both are easy to develop for, saying, “You can make whatever you want on either one, and that should be enough for anyone.”
Nintendo is a company with a lot of aged classics, and the topic frequently comes up of HD re-releases for some of the developer’s greatest.
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said this week that while Nintendo isn’t opposed to the idea, they’d have to bring in a development partner as there just isn’t enough time. According to the veteran, Nintendo is too busy “working on making new stuff”.
Which makes sense, since the games for Wii U have been trickling out extremely slowly. You can’t imagine there’s much room for HD remakes when you’re trying to get your console’s game library to a respectable volume.
So the Call of Duty specs were released this week, and they were exactly the same as before (well, almost). Lucky for me since I called it out as a mistake a day before Activision claimed those weren’t the legit specs. Still, you have to wonder why they made such a fuss about it when they knew the real specs were almost identical, since it just makes them look bad.
Anyway, to further my point, Infinity Ward said in an interview this week that many of the people who play the series aren’t core gamers.
According to executive producer Mark Rubin, a ton of the biggest fans of the franchise sit in the “casual game space”.
“It’s kind of a weird, ironic thing to say. They aren’t hardcore gamers, or even gamers, but they play Call of Duty every night. And those guys are going to continue to play regardless of platform. So I think not only will we continue to engage with that existing player base, but we’ll take next gen and see how far we can go with it.”
This is essentially what I was getting at in my column, Call of Duty’s success hinges on the fact that it manages to straddle both casual and competitive, which makes the seriously buffed requirements all the more confusing.
On the topic of success, Irrational Games’ Ken Levine received a Lifetime Achievement award at the 2013 Golden Joysticks, held last night.
You can’t argue he doesn’t deserve it either; this is the man behind System Shock 2 and the Bioshock franchise. He even has ties to Hollywood, and is currently writing a screenplay for Warner Bros. based on the sci-fi fiction Logan’s Run. Not bad.
Capcom is set to start work on a new fighting game, as feelers were sent out for a new game designer and programmer for their Tokyo or Osaka studio.
The news came via Yoshinori Ono, executive producer on the Street Fighter series, who was broadcasting the opening through Twitter.
He wasn’t able to share any details, but did hint that it’s a next-gen game. Although at this point, it’d be pretty hard to believe that it isn’t.
World of Warcraft bot company Ceiling Fan Software has been ordered to pay Blizzard $7 million, in a suit that’s been going since 2011.
Co-founder Josh Becker said on the website, “After more than two years of legal battles with Blizzard Entertainment to both pursue our right to operate and our customer’s right to play WoW as they choose, we did not prevail in the suit and have been ordered by the United States District Court in California to cease our operations.”
The moral high ground of “play WoW how they choose” is pretty hilarious, since using third-party software to cheat and level up quickly doesn’t really seem to be playing the game at all. For me, the less of these companies that are out there, the better.
Capcom has released a new video for the highly anticipated Ultra Street Fighter IV, this time highlighting all the new mechanics which will be introduced. With names like Ultra Combo Double, how could you not be intrigued?
Super Mario World is Nintendo’s ace-in-the-hole for the Wii U; they’re no doubt hoping that their biggest gaming franchise can breathe some life into their sputtering console. We’ve seen a glimpse of gameplay so far, but now this week we get playthroughs of two full levels in co-op mode. Enjoy.
Ubisoft’s Fighter Within is a fighting game that uses your whole body, letting you kick the living daylights out of your friends in energetic Kinect battles. I can only imagine how it must look, seeing two grown men air-punching each other in the living room. Check out this new gameplay trailer and see what it’s all about.
Keeping with Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed IV is now just over the horizon, and keeping with tradition the French publisher wants to show you the entire game beforehand. If you’re the kind of person who shakes their presents the day before Christmas, check out this nine minute gameplay video.
Best of NAG
The Hearthstone competitions have been causing quite a stir around here on NAG Online, and rightfully so. The game is awesome and I haven’t slept in 17 days. Since there’s so much interest, fellow addict Miklos put out a video preview this week, showing off some of the gameplay and features of Blizzard’s online CCG. You can find that right over here.
Every year there’s a World of Warcraft even called the Running of the Gnomes, with thousands of pink-haired diminutive creatures scampering across the WoW landscape to raise awareness for breast cancer. It seems like an awesome thing to get involved in, and since it’s happening tomorrow there’s still time. You can find all the details here.
If you’re in the mood for some easy reading, check out my column this week on the five most awesome ways developers have trolled pirates. From unkillable scorpions to chicken machine guns, there’s been some creative not-quite-DRM unleashed on unsuspecting torrent junkies.
Another week, another set of free stuff you can win. First up, there’s a juicy 40 Hearthstone beta keys so you too can become an unproductive, worthless member of society as you waste away in front of the computer. Or, if you’re more of the gambling type, you can take home NAG’s box of crap; a collection of things you do want, things you don’t, and things you’ll see in your nightmares for years to come.