Hello again NAGophiles, and as always thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. The last few days have been busy as everybody gears up for E3 (where the NAG Online team will be on site, working” hard). This week saw a boon for Wii U sales as the console enjoyed a much needed boost in sales, a warning by Valve that Early Access may end in disappointment and sadness, an interesting F2P shooter heads to PS4 (where I think it may be more at home), Madden 15 has something new – but not what you’d expect, various E3 shenanigans are underway as the big tease begins, lots of people get sued and there’s a nice big crop of videos and NAG highlights from the week you may want to catch up on. So, hit the jump.
So Mario Kart 8 just dropped, and the game has done wonders for the Wii U.
According to retail monitor Chart-Track, the casual racer boosted the console’s weekly sales in the UK by 666 percent.
A boost of 666 percent isn’t just impressive, it’s downright terrifying. No really, I’m scared. Why 666? Either the world is about to end or Valve is unveiling Half-Life 3 at E3. Or both will happen; wouldn’t that just be the final dose of misery for those who’ve allowed themselves hope that they’ll see Gordon Freeman again.
Anyways, I digress. The point here is that, as usual, it’s Nintendo’s first-party big franchise content that shifts their consoles. Despite the Wii U originally trying to pull in the “core gaming” developers, it looks like they’re going to have to stick with what they know for any chance at success – especially when you consider that 82 percent of Kart sales were through the console + game bundle.
Unfortunately for some Nintendo of Europe employees, that little boost isn’t going to save their jobs. In a press release the company has said that it will be cutting 130 jobs in a “restructuring” of its business.
At this point I’m struggling to think of a career with worse job security than working in the gaming industry. Thoughts?
Valve’s Early Access program has definitely had its ups and downs. While it has helped developers to test their games more comprehensively, get interest earlier on and fuel development costs throughout the process, it’s also allowed games through that are essentially buggy, unfinished messes that never really get finished.
This means there is room for opportunists to lazily code titles with appealing premises with the promise that it will be developed further, without ever intending to make good on that promise.
In light of this, Valve has added a caveat to their Early Access FAQ, stating, “You should be aware that some teams will be unable to ‘finish’ their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state.”
Personally, I hate Early Access, and I hate what it does to the industry. When you can put an incomplete game on the marketplace, the incentive to finish within a reasonable time period becomes much less.
Not only that, I feel like it sends a message that we’re happy to pay for buggy, unpolished and half-finished games as long as there’s a promise they’ll get cleaned up. Sound familiar?
Big IPs like Call of Duty and Battlefield are still working on fixes and improvements to their most recent releases, while games like Watch Dogs release with game-breaking bugs. But hey, it’s all good because it’ll get fixed. Sometime.
Loadout is a free-to-play shooter for the PC that I haven’t heard anyone talking about, but the fact that it has 3 million people playing it means I’m probably just hanging out with the wrong people.
It was announced this week that the f2p title will now be coming to PS4 – we’re not sure when yet though.
The game sports five game modes and enough customisation options to boast “literally billions” of weapon combinations.
Guess it’s time I give this one a try.
Here’s an interesting bit of news – Madden 15’s character model of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick includes the tattoos on his arm.
Which doesn’t seem weird at all, until you realise the franchise hasn’t included tattoos in their character designs for nearly a decade. Why, you may ask?
Because they were getting sued.
Yup, apparently there’ve been more than a handful of tattoo artists who have sued publisher EA for “using their art” in the game, saying that music and the like used in the game got big payouts from publisher.
So why is Kaepernick different? He got his tattoo artist to sign a waiver, something other players are being encouraged to do as well.
Honestly, this seems insanely stupid to me. Yes, tattooing is art and yes you should have some rights to your original design; but you absolutely do not have rights to something permanently marked on my skin.
Should players with unique hairstyles get licenses from their hairdressers? I really can’t stand this greedy, overly-litigious behaviour which is making copyright, patent and licensing lawsuits increasingly absurd – and holding back content production as a result.
Rumours are circulating that Nintendo may be announcing an interesting little game at E3 called Mario Maker.
The game looks like it will allow players to create their own 8-bit Mario levels, which presumably you’d then be able to play.
There’s no word on what platforms this will be for yet, but leaked marketing material shows a stylus which would likely indicate a portable device.
Nintendo will be broadcasting four “digital events” during E3, with the main presentation for new game announcements happening on Tuesday. So I guess we’ll be seeing then what comes of this strange-looking title.
One thing I am rather excited for at E3 a promised reveal of Crystal Dynamics’ next game, the studio behind the quite excellent Tomb Raider reboot.
We’re apparently getting some footage, and we also know that the studio is working on a Tomb Raider sequel and another new title. Which one we’ll be seeing at the expo remains to be seen.
Battlefield Hardline, the newest entry into the franchise which adopts an urban cops and robbers feel instead of the typical global war stuff, has gotten a release date.
Hitting the US on October 21st, Visceral Games’ foray into the long-standing IP will get the jump on main rival Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, arriving on shelves a couple of weeks ahead of the Activision shooter’s November 4th release date.
In the meantime, EA has embraced the game’s premature reveal and have given us this new trailer to get us just the right amount of excited for E3.
Finally, Halo and Destiny composer Martin O’Donnel is suing Bungie, claiming that the developer has not paid him for his leave days and other benefits after he was “dismissed without cause or explanation”.
Bungie president Harold Ryan predictably denied the allegations, except of course that he did indeed fire O’Donnell.
Honestly it seems like a somewhat drastic course of action for a bit of paid leave, and I can’t help but wonder if someone isn’t just a little sour over their dismissal. Still, if you can afford to drop half a billion on a mediocre-looking FPS (there, I said it), you can probably afford to pay the dude for his damned leave.
Capcom’s 3DS exclusive Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate got its E3 trailer this week, and it actually looks pretty impressive. I’m not much of a handheld guy myself, but I do this job for the people, man.
Curious Kickstarted-indie Night in the Woods will be bringing its character Mae the cat to the Playstation 4. The PS4 is seeming more and more to be a champion of indie developers, and it’s pretty awesome to see. If you’re not familiar with the small town of Possum Springs and its odd inhabitants, check out this PS4 announce trailer.
This week we got our first look at intriguing new IP The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, a first-person mystery/exploration title from Polish studio The Astronauts. In the game you’ll take the role of a detective with the ability to visualise the scenes of people’s deaths. The graphics are created through a process using real photographs, which makes the violence rather unsettling. Check it out.
Konami will be showing off a lot of The Phantom Pain at E3 next week, but in the meantime they’ve dropped some gameplay footage, along with a scale of how much bigger the map is than in previous entries in the series. I can’t help but feel they’re trying to emphasise that the game won’t be about as long as a James Cameron movie after the outrage over Ground Zeroes.
Best of NAG
Hey, you like trailers? Sure you do, it’s why you “read” this article. I know you all just skip through the wall of text and click the videos. After all, nobody really buys Playboy for the articles. In that spirit, here’s a bunch of E3 trailers, just behind this green text.
For an opinion that, thankfully, isn’t mine, why not check out Wesley Fick’s look at the subtle implications behind Watch Dogs. It has a nice, unsettling conspiracy-theory feel to it, and who doesn’t like a little tinfoil-hat stuff now and then? Except, actually, this one is pretty convincing. Check it out.
Now for an opinion that is mine, if you somehow aren’t already sick of reading it not so subtly embedded throughout this “news” article, you can take a look at my standard reflective questioning of the flaws of both our subculture, and myself as part of it. Basically, I think we’re all a bunch of selfish assholes.
Reviews! So good, I had to include two. So, this week indie-man Delano took the unsettling Among the Sleep for a spin, walking around a spooky house in toddler pants. After that, Matthew Vice had a look at the somewhat more expensive Watch Dogs, and triggered a pretty awesome debate on car physics in the comments. You should read them both.