Hello again NAGorfins, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll probably be ten tequila shots deep (it’s my bachelor party today), but I did manage to maintain sobriety long enough to fill you in on the week’s happenings. Happenings such as the Xbox One launch, a man mad enough at Nintendo to kill, more exclusive MGS V content, a video game legend resigns, news that Xbox’s days may be numbered (at least at Microsoft), nearly an hour of gameplay footage and a ton of juicy NAG stuff you may have missed. Hit the jump. Do it. Doooo it.
The Xbox One launched yesterday, and as is the case with every launch ever, it was plagued with issues.
The console’s online services couldn’t handle the day one load, and experienced periodic outages. Fortunately the problems were resolved rather quickly, but Microsoft has promised they are “investigating the root cause”.
I have a theory, however. A crapton of people trying to connect to the same thing at the same time. You’re welcome, Microsoft, e-mail me for bank details.
The console certainly isn’t struggling, however, corporate VP Phil Harrison has said Microsoft is struggling to meet demand. It’s easily their biggest launch ever, with “unprecedented preorders” meaning that come Christmas, consumers aren’t likely to find one too easily.
Impressions of the console have been trickling out, with many praising the oft-maligned Kinect as being one of the consoles best features. Who’da thunk it?
All that being said, potential Microsoft CEO replacement Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO, may be interested in selling off Xbox as he believes it isn’t profitable.
Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has defended his company’s console business however, saying that it is “a reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision”.
He continued, “This is really a signature moment in the transformation of the company. Microsoft is uniquely positioned to drive and define the next big thing.”
Ballmer also wants to hang onto Bing though, the failed search engine that has lost the company $3 billion in the last two years alone. So perhaps he isn’t quite suited to talk about “the next big thing”, considering his other loss-generating acquisitions of Skype and online advertising agency aQuantive.
Despite all that, the Xbox One launch has been a great success. We saw Sony manage to move over a million consoles in the first 24 hours, and now Microsoft have matched that, reportedly shipping more than a million on day one themselves.
“Xbox One is now sold out at most retailers,” said Microsoft. “We are working to replenish stock as fast as possible to meet the unprecedented demand from our customers.”
Sony’s Playstation Twitter account showed some love by congratulating the Microsoft team on the launch, as did Sony Worldwide Studios Boss Shuhei Yoshida.
Just last week we saw Microsoft extend the same pleasantries, but it’s all helluva boring if you ask me. I’d much prefer some not-so-subtle jabs and a bit of light corporate espionage, just to keep things fresh.
Moving onto someone a little more honest about their feelings, a Japanese man has been arrested after making several death threats to Nintendo, specifically naming two executives.
Not the brightest of criminals, the man reportedly used the “Contact Us” form on Nintendo’s Japanese website. Still, it may simply be a matter of time before unmanageable buyer’s remorse drives more Wii U owners to insanity.
Recently I wrote about my picks for next-gen games worthy of our attention, and those not. On that list, in the less desirable section, was Crytek’s Xbox One launch title Ryse: Son of Rome, which I said will be pretty to look at, but lacking substance.
The reviews have been trickling in, and so far they’re not great. All of them attest to the sheer beauty of the graphics, but complain of repetitive combat and lack of any depth. Eurogamer writes, “There’s no brains, no muscle, no fibre beneath Ryse’s extravagantly engineered good looks – this game rings loud but hollow.”
Now I just need Watch Dogs to suck too, and I’ll find myself a nice spot on a mountain and become a visionary.
Telltale Games, the creators of episodic titles The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, are rumoured to be working on a Game of Thrones title for their next project.
Telltale isn’t giving away much, saying, “We get these sorts of rumors about what we could be working on next cropping up all the time. Officially we have no comment.”
Considering the quality of their other titles, I think a Game of Thrones title could be pretty amazing. Especially since the only other adaptation we got was, well, kind of terrible.
The Xbox One has been released with a ton of launch titles, but the 360 also had a solid line-up on day one, followed by a major drought immediately after.
Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer has promised that won’t be an issue with the One, saying, “The depth of the portfolio next year is pretty incredible I look at the next 18 to 24 months, and really on a month by month basis, you’re going to have something you can go out and play.”
The next-gen consoles are big business, and there are going to be plenty of publishers in line happy to take your money.
A couple of weeks ago we heard that the PS4 version of Metal Gear Solid V would be getting an exclusive extra, in the way of a “déjà vu mission”.
Now it appears that the Xbox One will also be getting its own exclusive content. The news comes via Geoff Keighley of Spike TV, but no word yet on what that content actually is. I just hope it instigates a fanboy war over who got the better deal.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls was on show at Blizzcon 2013, and this week Blizzard announced that the expansion will be entering closed beta by the end of this year.
Invitations will reportedly be “extremely limited”, but those lucky enough to get access will be able to experience the whole game, except the final boss battle. Of course, everything will still be very much a work in progress.
Our last bit of news is that John Carmack, veteran developer and founder of id Software has left the studio to dedicate all his time to his position as chief technology officer at Oculus VR.
While at the time he was first appointed to the job the studio assured fans that his work at id Software would not be affected, things apparently haven’t quite panned out that way.
Director Tim Willits promises that all current projects will not be impacted by his departure, and Carmack’s work on id Tech 5 is finished.
It’s sad to see the creator of Doom retire from game development, and I can’t help but wish he hadn’t ended his legacy with the mediocre Rage.
Fighting game fans rejoice, Capcom has released the first look at the four new characters appearing in Ultra Street Fighter IV, showing off some sweet combo action.
The Battlefield 4: Second Assault DLC dropped for Xbox One, and CVG has released 22 minutes of gameplay footage for it. Nice!
I’ve been pretty mean about Crytek’s Xbox One launch title Ryse: Son of Rome, telling all of you you shouldn’t give it a second look. Well, in response to my comments [proof pending], CVG have released gameplay of that too – a full run-through of the opening mission.
For something a little more Japanese, Square Enix have unleased 11 more minutes of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII gameplay. It’s all blue eyes, straight blonde hair and electric swords and stuff. Enjoy.
Best of NAG
It was a busy week at NAG Online the last few days, many games were played and reluctantly written about.
Early this week Delano showcased Ethan: Meteor Hunter, a pretty indie that looks like a combination of Indiana Jones and Mouse Trap. Then Rogan Louwrens went corporate mainstream with The Stanley Parable, a review (and game) you absolutely have to check out. Finally, I wrote a lengthy breakdown of Hearthstone, Blizzard’s new online CCG. If you haven’t got a chance to play the beta but are curious about the game, you’ll find everything you might want to know there.
Then we had a couple of opinions. The first was written by yours truly, where I unapologetically and arrogantly laid out the next-gen titles you should and shouldn’t care about.
Next up was arch-nemesis Miklós Szecsei, who wrote a thought-provoking piece on the pervasive negativity and cynicism amongst video game journalists. It’s an interesting criticism of and insight into the industry; you should definitely click this text.