Hello once again NAGirians, it’s been a hell of a week. Console news was a little slow, but we did find out the truth behind Carmack quitting id Software for good, and Sony weighs in on why Nintendo’s shortcomings may be a bad thing for everyone. There’s also one of the greatest scandals in gaming history that you absolutely have to read, because it’s so hilariously stupid. Not to mention the drama over EA’s absurd Dungeon Keeper port, read on to find out how the developer actually attempted to defend it. There’s also a highly anticipated AAA game that can reportedly be speedrun in 5 minutes (and completed by a normal person in only 2 hours). All that delicious scandal, more news, more videos and more NAG highlights you may have missed. Hit the jump.
Not much this week, honestly. I guess all the fat cat execs are off counting their money somewhere. Or in Sony’s case, firing the whole world.
While the Playstation side is doing well, Sony’s TV and PC business is dragging the ship down, and over 5000 people are expected to get the boot. Ouch.
You might think Sony is celebrating the Wii U’s demise, but over at Sony UK, Computer Entertainment MD Fergal Gara said last week that the company’s decline could have a negative impact on the games market as a whole – which affects the other console makers too.
According to Gara, the big issue is capturing the younger market, something which he believes none of the companies are doing as much as they should.
The kids are the future, man.
Well I was getting all excited about delivering you another juicy rumour, but turns out its crap (what a surprise).This time a report showed up that the Xbox One would be getting a cheaper version this year, putting it in line with PS4 pricing.
It seemed legit too, with the sources being verified by the likes of VG247, The Verge and CVG. So then no one should be surprised that Aaron Greenberg, chief of staff for devices and studios group at Microsoft, came and told us to all go home. Yup, the rumours are completely false. Again.
Speaking of rumours, we’ve all been expecting GTA V on PC for quite some time (especially poor console-less suckers like me). While it’s assumed to be coming at some point, and we’ve seen multiple rumours and “leaks” cropping up here and there, Take-Two isn’t saying a word right now.
When CEO Karl Slatoff was asked about it in a financials call on Monday, he replied, “At this point there’s really nothing for us to say about that.”
Pretty bleak news, but we did have to wait a full 7 months after console release to get GTA 4 on PC, so I have hope. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t – it seems like easy money to me.
So as you likely know John Carmack quit id to work on the Oculus Rift VR full-time, which seemed a little bit odd since when he took the position at Oculus he said it wasn’t going to interfere with his work at id. So what happened?
Well, in an interview with USA Today Carmack revealed that the reason he quit after two decades at the company was the owners not wanting him to put VR support into their games. Yeah.
“They [id’s owners, Zenimax Media] couldn’t come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate… When it became clear that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract.”
Carmack has gone completely nutso for the Oculus Rift, let’s just hope it’s better than RAGE was, amirite?
Call of Duty and its ilk have come under criticism in recent years for having rather short single-player campaigns, which end up feeling tacked-on as an obligation rather than the core of the game. Those campaigns are usually 6-7 hours, but it seems like the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes may be setting a new record with their laughably short campaign.
Two hours. That’s how long it’ll reportedly take for you to get through the game on the first play through.
The news comes via Game Informer magazine, whose writers said that two hour time was recorded playing through the “core story” and ignoring the side quests. Still, it’s pretty damned feeble for a title that isn’t exactly going to give you hours of multiplayer action.
Kojima responded to the predictable outcry, saying this:
“MGS V Ground Zeroes includes the main mission alongside 5 Side Ops.
“All missions include elements such as ‘Trial Records,’ where players can compete against each other online. This is not a linear game like the past.
“GZ offers freedom of approach and play style, which we hope players will enjoy over and over without [becoming bored]. I believe people will be satisfied with the ‘play time’ of GZ and will not stress the ‘clear time,’ which is a standard for linear games.”
Are you convinced? I have to admit, I’d be a little wary of forking out for this one.
If you’re thinking of rather just holding out for MGS V: The Phantom Pain, you could be in for a wait. Konami reportedly said at a conference in Japan on Wednesday that the release window for MGS V is anywhere from October this year to December next year, depending on how it “progresses”.
So you MGS fans might just end up caving and picking up Ground Zeroes after all.
Now it’s time for the big scandal of the week, and oh man is it a good one. So the Resident Evil guys have had the same Japanese composer write the music for all their games, for more than ten years. The same guy has also done music for multiple other big Japanese titles.
The most baffling thing about him is that he’s deaf; known as the Japanese Beethoven, he claims to “feel the music”. Well, a bomb was dropped this week when it was revealed that this guy has actually had a ghostwriter composing his stuff for him the whole time. That’s right, none of his music has actually been his.
This guy has been passing himself off as the “sole composer” of the work for over a decade, and collecting the money too. One why it took the ghostwriter so long to speak up, considering he was paid a paltry $70,000 for 20 works over a period of 18 years. That’s quite a crappy deal.
But wait, it gets better. A couple of days after this was uncovered, the ghostwriter came forward and claimed that the “Japanese Beethoven” isn’t even deaf. When questioned by reporters about his employer’s hearing impairment, the ghostwriter seemed genuinely confused, stating matter-of-factly: “He listened to a tape I recorded and gave me instructions accordingly.”
Honestly, I don’t know whether this is a tragedy or just plain damned hilarious. Considering the banana grin on my face as I write this, I’m going to go with the latter.
So, you probably saw the Dungeon Keeper shitstorm erupting all over the internet as well as NAG Online this week. Graham was weeping, Miklos was flipping tables and I was comfort-eating my way through a 5L tub of ice-cream. It was a mess.
The controversy comes over the totally ridiculous monetisation scheme, which essentially makes the game unplayable by anyone who isn’t collecting pension or on mind-altering hallucinogenics.
In addition to that, it features the dodgiest rating system ever, offering the option of “5 stars” or “1-4 stars”, with only one of those actually taking you to the star ranking area. You can guess which one.
The developer has responded to fan criticisms over the draconian monetisation strategy, saying this load of crap (note my unbiased journalistic integrity):
“It’s important to emphasize that we designed a game that is built around the typical mobile play patterns. This means Dungeon Keeper is meant to be played on the go multiple times a day with a few minutes here or there. This way of playing allows fans to naturally progress as a free player.”
Yeah, whatever. If a company is going to unapologetically exploit the free-to-play model, I wish they’d at least be honest about it. Pretending it’s something it’s not just makes it worse really.
I’m pretty excited for Ubisoft’s turn-based RPG platformer Child of Light, which will be officially releasing on April 30th. The release date announcement came along with this new “Features” trailer.
Titanfall is set to be one of the biggest releases of this year, and this new mini-documentary on the game goes behind-the-scenes questioning developers and showing off new gameplay footage. It’s pretty cool, take a look.
Square Enix is big on trotting out a parade of trailers before release, and their online multiplayer title Nosgoth has been getting the same treatment. This new gameplay video is the first of a series which will be showcasing Nosgoth’s PvP gameplay, complete with commentary.
Yeah, I wasn’t kidding about Square Enix. This week also brought us a brand new Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy VII dev diary. It’s lengthy, it’s informative, and it’s rather interesting for anyone with a keen eye on this game. Check it out:
Best of NAG
This week I dedicated my column space to my own personal laundry list of shame – the games I’ve never played, that I really should’ve. Rick de Klerk decided to continue the fun with his own shameful list – the weird, bad and downright creepy titles he HAS played. If you haven’t check them out, go on and join the discussion in the comments too.
For something a little more serious, check out Wesley Fick’s interesting discussion on day one review scores for games, and a broader discussion on the quality of the games themselves. He raises a lot of great points we should be thinking about, check it out and have your say.
Ben Myres attended the Global Game Jam a couple of weeks ago, where he and a roomful of other awesome nerds spent 48 hours coding the best game they could in that time limit. You can read his first-hand account of the experience right here, and see what he made!
Finally, Rick de Klerk writes a preview on the intriguing Secrets of Raetikon, in all its indie, exploratory, vector-graphic’d glory. This game isn’t exactly industry standard, and I highly recommend checking out the preview.