Hello again NAGyxians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. I’m leaving the place of gold this weekend, but I’ve scheduled your weekly news roundup so you don’t have to have your Saturday ruined by confusion and misery. So, future you, this week you can read about some Oculus Rift scepticism from big names in the industry, Logitech’s new “fastest mouse in the world” and Sony’s pleasant PS4 news. On the gaming side there’s a new indie studio with an exciting head, Gearbox defends a lawsuit, fresh IP to be announced by a promising developer, an update from Hideo Kojima regarding MGS V and an all-new sandbox title from a talented team. All that, some other news, a bunch of videos and some highlights from this week. Hit the jump.
There’s plenty of people who are mighty excited about the incoming Oculus Rift, but not everyone in the gaming industry is convinced the new hardware is going to revolutionise the market.
One such person is EA founder Trip Hawkins, who said in an interview this week that the idea of strapping a device to your face just doesn’t work for him.
“Personally, I’m not really a big fan of goggles. I don’t really think that it’s necessary,” Hawkins said. “Having to put on glasses is kind of annoying and alienating. If I’m in my home, playing games, I don’t want to knock my beer over, I don’t want to not be able to find my phone if it rings; I don’t want to not be able to make eye contact with other people in the room, you know?
“You see in the movie industry, every decade or two they try to cram 3D into the movie theater and nobody really cares,” he said.
These sentiments were echoed by Take Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick back in May, who said he believes it is “anti-social”.
Now I don’t want to make things awkward for these two high-powered CEOs, but I kind of already said all of this before both of them, back in April. Who knew they were NAG Online readers? I expect my job offer is in the mail.
So Logitech have revealed what they’re calling “the world’s fastest gaming mouse”. They’re making this bold claim on the back of the mouse’s ability to track over 500 inches per second, which the internet tells me is a lot.
It also has “unrivaled accuracy”, apparently. Basically, this is a mouse for super-fast FPS players who need the mouse to move as fast as they can. Clearly, this isn’t a problem for me.
It sounds cool in concept, but I can’t help but feel like this is only really going to affect the highest-level of players, so I wouldn’t shell out the $60 in the hopes of improving my game.
Sony has increased its income forecast for their gaming division by 25 percent, thanks to reduced manufacturing costs on the PS4.
This usually occurs after a console has been out for a while – but not to this extent. So, does this mean we’ll be seeing a PS4 price cut? Unlikely.
Unfortunately, even with the reduced costs there’s still a good chance Sony is actually making a loss on every PS4 they sell. The real money is in the games – once they’ve gotten you to buy into the console, they can make their profits off the software sales.
This is why console prices can be subsidised to the point that they offer better value for gamers than PC hardware – despite using mostly the same architecture. With PS4s still flying off the shelves, I don’t think Sony will be in any rush to increase that loss margin.
You may remember the trainwreck of a game that was released last year, Aliens: Colonial Marines. The game was so bad, in fact, that a class action lawsuit was filed against Gearbox and Sega for false advertising – largely due to the impressive demo shown off at E3. The final release, of course, wasn’t exactly impressive.
Gearbox have now filed a motion to be removed from the lawsuit entirely, saying that they supplemented Sega’s development of the game with millions of dollars of their own money, “none of which was ever repaid”. Ouch.
The motion goes on to say that Gearbox didn’t receive any sales royalties from Sega, and sales of the game were so low in fact that they received no bonuses whatsoever.
Finally, the publisher denies the claim that a different engine was used for the E3 demo – they maintain that Epic’s Unreal Engine was the only one ever used throughout the development process.
This game seems to be a bad dream that Gearbox can’t wake up from; even without the lawsuit it seems to have been an awful investment.
Time for some actual good news – creator of Rayman Michel Ancel is forming a new indie studio. He’ll still be working at Ubisoft, but it seems his focus will be somewhat divided.
Going under the moniker Wild Sheep Studio, there’s no word yet on what the studio’s first game will be.
Personally, I’d like to see what he can come up with without Ubisoft looking over his shoulder.
While we’re on the topic of new IP, UK studio Ninja Theory has said this week that they’ll be revealing a new IP “soon”. This will be a “new-gen” (I see we’ve dropped “next-gen”?) title, with the reveal happening at GDC Europe.
The last thing we saw out of the studio is the DmC Devil May Cry game they developed for Capcom, which I haven’t played but critics say is pretty damned good. So, any speculation on what we might be seeing?
Oh look, another seamless transition. SPEAKING OF MICHEL ANCEL, Ubisoft confirmed this week that they are currently working on a Beyond Good & Evil sequel (see it works because Ancel created the original, and is working on the sequel).
The developer/publisher does say that it’s too early to give any real details about the new game, they do give this little bit of marketing rhetoric: “[Ancel and Ubisoft are] developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game. The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we’ll have more to share later, as it progresses.”
Hey, remember Metal Gear Solid 5? I’m starting to wonder if this game is really coming out, or if it’s just some hallucinogenic fever-dream of Hideo Kojima that he talks about at any given opportunity.
One such opportunity is Gamescom (August 13th), where Kojima will hold a special event for the next entry into the franchise.
And, just to remind us all this is something that actually exists, we’ll be seeing gameplay of the game in the hour-long streamed event, hosted by Geoff Keighley.
Kojima also promises a Q & A session that will have “a few surprises”, which makes me wonder if the developer is a crystal-ball-gazing sorcerer or just plans on asking himself the right questions. What do you want to ask Mr Kojima?
UK studio Wonderstruck, consisting of veterans from both EA and Lionhead, has announced their new game – Oort Online.
It’s an ambitious project, promising a sandbox world where players can live out the fantasy of their choice, travelling between planets and following whatever path appeals to them.
You can be an explorer, a trader or an asshole – it’s really up to you. The studio describes the game as a “second home” for players, which seems to be an attempt to ramp up the addictiveness to WoW levels.
They’ve released an announcement trailer and hope to crowdfund the game’s development; sidestepping the likes of Kickstarter entirely by running the funding campaign on their own website, using a similar tiered reward model.
Check out the trailer, and let me know what you think of the concept in the comments.
FIFA 15 is coming soon, which is a big deal to those who are interested in those sorts of things. I became interested in soccer for two weeks during the world cup (much like everybody else), but have since gone back to default position of not giving a toss. Anyway, here’s a new trailer showing off “agility and control”.
Well, this is awkward. I may have been a little rude about The Sims 4 this week, but I know there’s a fair few people who like it (I’m looking at you, Miklos), so here’s a new trailer which shows the emotional range of your digital minions.
For something a little more “core”, next up is a gameplay video for Dragon Age: Inquisition which focuses on combat. This next instalment in the franchise will be coming to us on November 21.
Finally, we go full mainstream with Call of Duty: Kevin Spacey, with a new video from Activision focused on the game’s campaign story. Not exactly why you buy a CoD title, but usually worth it for some mindless fun. Check it out:
Best of NAG
We start things off with Rick de Klerk’s totally-not-Harry-Potter-fanfiction column this week, where he takes a look at five features gamers think they want. It’s original, entertaining and makes some good points – it’s everything my columns aren’t in other words, so go check it out.
Next up is Delano’s sporadic feature Throwback Thursday, where he dips into the video game vault to find an interesting gem from the past. This week is M.C. Kids, and yes it’s exactly what you think it is. Unless you think it has no relation to a fast food company, because then it’s not at all what you think it is.
Then we have my column for the week, a look at some of the hottest news from the week with a discussion on how I don’t give a crap about it. Sound awful? It is! Go read it here.
Mr Fick wrote another comprehensive and excellent Laptop Buyer’s Guide this week, this time focusing on the upper range – R20K to R30K. Check it out, even if it’s just for a little window shopping.
A final shoutout this week to the NAG Online podcast, featuring myself, Wesley Fick, Rick de Klerk and Delano. It’s just got underway (this week was Episode 2), so get in on the ground floor so when we overtake Oprah’s ratings you can say you listened before it was cool.