Hello once again NAGayans, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. It’s been a busy week on the console side, with plenty of news on the enigmatic Oculus Rift, some actual good news (maybe) for Nintendo and one of gaming history’s biggest failed companies plans their triumphant return. On the gaming side we have some bad news for GTA V fans, some good news for Dead Space fans and some potentially good news for anyone who liked the God of War series. Then we have Call of Duty developer Sledgehammer spinning a yarn we’ve all seen before, albeit with a little more sincerity. Finally, as always, you’ll find some gaming videos and some NAG highlights from the week.
Ubisoft was one of the last hanger-ons when it came to third-party support for the Wii U, but even they eventually went a little lukewarm on developing for a console that just didn’t have the numbers to support it.
CEO Yves Guillemot spoke on the subject this week, saying that Nintendo have potential to ship more units – but a price cut may be in order.
“With Mario Kart, Wii U made one step and we expect with Smash Bros. it will also do more. If Nintendo put the right price on the machine then they will probably have a chance to do further.”
Guillemot goes on to say that a yet unannounced title won’t be coming to Wii U as “that game is waiting for more machines to be available”. They did throw them a bone with Watch Dogs, though (see what I did there?).
Oculus VR continues to bring on gaming dev talent to supplement their team, this time they’ve hired indie programmer Christopher Jurney, who has worked on titles such as Costume Quest and Bastion. He’ll be rubbing shoulders with ex-employees of the likes of Valve, EA and Google; not bad.
Speaking of the Rift, Nintendo’s legendary Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto isn’t much of a fan. According to him, it just doesn’t fit with what they’re trying to do with the Wii U.
“We want the Wii U to be a game system that brings video gamers into the living room. As I explained last night, it’s intended to be fun not only for the person who’s playing, but also for the people who are watching.
“When you think about what virtual reality is, which is one person putting on some goggles and playing by themselves kind of over in a corner, or maybe they go into a separate room and they spend all their time alone playing in that virtual reality, that’s in direct contrast with what it is we’re trying to achieve with Wii U. And so I have a little bit of uneasiness with whether or not that’s the best way for people to play.”
He echoes my own concerns somewhat; of the closed off nature of the Rift experience and what it means for social, comfortable and relaxed gaming.
The Rift is certainly intriguing, and I’m very curious to see whether it actually manages to become a gaming staple, or just a passing fad before finding its place in a different market.
Hey, remember Atari? Thanks to a little documentary, the once-legendary gaming company is now known by the new generation mostly for its crappy ET game that filled a giant hole in New Mexico.
However, the-not-so-little-engine-that-couldn’t is planning their comeback, officially revealing their “Corporate Comeback Strategy”.
It’s literally a comeback too – no new games here, they’re relaunching “classic brands” like Pong and Asteroids on PCs, iOS, Android and online.
Eh… I can’t help but wonder if they’re not cashing in a little too hard on Nostalgia here. Surely some pretty good re-imaginings of the likes of Pong and Asteroids are available on mobile already – how long can we play stuff like that just for the novelty before moving on to things with actual gameplay?
I’m a big nostalgia guy, and even I think this is a pretty tough sell.
Soooooooo, Rockstar. About ‘dem heists in GTA V. And also the PC version. We know you like taking your time, but really?
Well, they’re not coming any time soon, but at least they’ve said sorry.
“We are very sorry for the delay, and are working hard to bring them to you as soon as we can. Please know that we are focused as always on making the best possible content for you to play and we are thankful to all of you for your patience, understanding and support.
“Stay tuned for more information on that as well as lots of other ongoing content updates, enhancements and additions to the world of GTA Online that are on the way.”
So, basically, they’re really sorry and they’re coming – eventually. No, they can’t tell you when. They’re sorry about that too.
The Call of Duty franchise has been criticised by many (myself included) as being stale and unoriginal.
Well with this year’s release, Call of Duty: Kevin Spacey, Sledgehammer says they’re going to bring in a whole lot of of new things.
“Our multiplayer has what I’m going to call the biggest set of new, as you call it, cool gear that you’ve seen in a long time.
“It’s a big step forward, from three years in development we’ve been able to innovate across the game. Everything [you’ve seen]… imagine what that’s going to mean for multiplayer. You’re going to find that new is what it’s all about.”
I dunno. I feel like I’ve seen a whole lot of the same so far, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Sledgehammer’s definition of “innovation” is. I really hope it doesn’t mean a new gunscope and a hovercraft.
Speaking of innovation, Respawn is a studio that did exactly that with the flawed-but-excellent Titanfall, a new spin on the military warfare FPS that included giant, hulking mechs and parkour. Sweet.
Now it seems that the company may be working on a new… third-person action title?
The small studio has been making some high-profile pick-ups as of late, including God of War 3 game director Stig Asmussen. This brings the number of employees who’ve worked on the God of War series now working at Respawn up to eight.
To add to the rumour, some job positions have been advertised requesting people with experience with “3rd persion action/exploration games”.
Ugh, I can’t say I’m thrilled. I’ve never been a huge fan of third-person stuff and honestly I like seeing these guys in their FPS comfort zone – a genre that needs all the innovation it can get right now.
Anyways, let’s talk Dead Space. According to some dude at EA (okay, okay, so it’s executive VP Patrick Söderlund, whatever), the publisher plans on getting around to the Dead Space franchise – as soon as they’re done with Hardline and Star Wars, of course.
“Do I think that we will create a Dead Space game again? Yes, I think so. But when we do so, we have to think about what made the previous ones successful and how we go about envisioning Dead Space for a new generation.
“Now, I’m not announcing a Dead Space game,” Söderlund added. “We’re not building one just to be very clear, but I’m saying is there an opportunity or possibility to do one in the future? Absolutely.”
Quietly slipping under the radar this week is the launch trailer for an expansion pack for Company of Heroes 2, entitled Western Front Armies. Yeah, not very original but it does add US and German Oberkommando West troops to multiplayer. So if you haven’t played in a while, perhaps a reason to dust off the disc? The content drops June 24.
A little less under the radar is this Phantom Pain gameplay demo, featuring a meaty 30 minutes of PS4 gameplay. It’s particularly impressive when you remember this is a game that doesn’t even have a release date yet. Keep in mind, there’s a whole lot of other crap in this video you may or may not want to skip through.
Something with an absolute release date (hell, same time every year, like clockwork) is the next Call of Duty title, this one with 100% more Kevin Spacey. Speaking of which, this video looks at the oft-neglected element of Call of Duty titles – the story.
Techland, the studio behind the Dead Island series and upcoming survival horror Dying Light has been somewhat quietly working on another title, Hellraid, which it describes as “a unique mixture of melee, magic and ranged combat that can be played both in single-player and 2-4 player co-op”. Sound good? Then check out this gameplay video.
Best of NAG
We’ll start things off with resident cyborg Wesley Fick, who once again has created some beautiful PCs, saving us lesser humans the trouble of doing all that research ourselves. This week is the one that’ll likely appeal to gamers the most – the ever-so-sweet R11,000 to R16,500 range.
Next up we have Matthew Vice’s review of the elegant Sir, You Are Being Hunted. A quirky little indie title that has aristocratic British gentlemen trying to murder you before tea. Hit or miss? Find out over here.
Then we have my column for the week, a pleasant mixture of blind rage and overpowering grief as I discuss the recent news that the PC version of Watch Dogs was substantially less than it could have been. Go for the rage, but stay for the comments as a great discussion can be found there.
Last but not least, we have Miklós Szecsei’s impressions of Destiny, as a certain lucky few were granted access to the Alpha for the first time. Spoilers: I think he likes it. Head over here for a full description of the game thus far, but just remember hitting F5 a hundred times only reveals the mystery prize on my column.