Greetings NAGuxers, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have some expert opinions on the future of the console race, a gleeful Far Cry 4 troll, and Apple makes a much-needed change to their App Store. Then we have Activision blowing smoke up our collective ass, a DayZ spin-off surfaces, Ubisoft has a new side project in the works and finally we talk sex in Dragon Age. Yup, sex! How can you not click “read more” now? What if I told you said sex discussion included a video? See you on the other side.
It’s no secret that the PS4 has been winning the console race – proving to be the more powerful piece of hardware as well as outstripping the Xbox One in sales.
But according to EA exec Blake Jorgensen, the green machine is closing the gap at a rapid pace.
“Clearly Sony has jumped out to a lead with a great console and I think a great pricing strategy, [but] Microsoft is catching up quickly.
“Pricing actions that are taking place, particularly during this Christmas season, driven by Microsoft, around reduction plus a lot of bundled software, I think will continue to pull the consumer into the new consoles.”
In terms of the hard numbers, the last month the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the US was in December last year, and as of mid-November the Xbone had shipped 10 million units to retailers, compared to the PS4’s late September 13.5 million.
So what say you, NAG collective – can the Xbox One catch up?
Hey, remember all those games that trolled pirates with very particular glitches hidden in torrented copies?
Well, they’ve done it again. Ubisoft, developer, publisher and long-time fan of PC gamers, has released a dodgy torrent of Far Cry that has messed up field of view controls, rendering the picture blurry and distorted.
Of course, the beauty of this little bit of deception is that players inevitably begin posting online, indignantly complaining about the “bug” and generally shit-talking the game – without having paid for it.
Creative director Alex Hutchinson pulled back the curtain this week, publicly outing all the complainers as pirates. Awkwaaaaaarrrrd.
A good troll, but not quite as hilarious as Serious Sam 3’s giant, unkillable pink scorpion or Game Dev Tycoon slowly bleeding your profits due to your “customers” pirating your game.
Speaking of theft, Apple has changed the labels for “freemium” games in their App store, no longer marking them simply as “Free”.
This follows what Google did with the Play Store some time ago, in the wake of the Dungeon Keeper mobile game disaster.
While generally employing shady tactics to get people to spend far more than they ever should on crappy mobile games, these freemium titles attracted a lot of negative press after various parents had their toddlers racking up enormous bills on Mommy’s iPad.
I’m curious, readers, have you ever spent money on a mobile game? How much? Be honest, we’re all friends here (personally, I haven’t, but probably would if I ever found one I actually liked).
In their typical fashion, Activision have triumphantly declared Call of Duty Advanced Warfare “the biggest entertainment launch of 2014”.
According to the publisher, the claim is based on “retail and digital sell-through, reported movie, music, and book gross sales, according to publicly-available data, retail customer sell-through information, and internal Activision estimates”.
Activision also report that week one sales are up on Ghosts – despite Ghosts apparently pre-ordering 70% better. That doesn’t necessarily surprise me, however, I think people have been burnt too much my pre-orders now with little real value in return.
What makes the whole thing a little sketchy is that, as usual, Activision haven’t released any actual sales figures. Also, that mention of “internal Activision estimates” in the quote is particularly unclear.
We have a publisher crowning their game as the “winner”, without releasing any actual proof. If it is true, however, it means that AW did better in its first week than the likes of Destiny.
I’m reserving my applause until I see some real figures though.
Alright, let’s talk about something more interesting – sex.
Bioware caused a bit of a stir this week with their release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, featuring a pretty, um, unusual sex scene.
Still, one has to admit that it was handled sublimely, showing that developers have gotten to the point where they can handle sex scenes with maturity, grace, and even humour (the intentional kind).
I don’t want to spoil too much, so check out the video below:
Far Cry 4 just launched, and so far seems to have gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Now, creative director Alex Hutchinson has announced that Ubisoft is allowing him and some developers from AC3 and AC4 to work on his own personal project.
“The challenge is to keep costs down and make something that competes at a high level, without saying ‘we need a thousand people for a new IP!” Hutchinson said.
This is part of Ubisoft’s entrepreneurial program which encourages some of their key staff to pitch ideas when between projects. One of the most notable of these was Child of Light, the critically acclaimed project from Far Cry 3’s Patrick Plourde.
Hutchinson can’t discuss too much regarding the project for now, as there’s quite a few more hoops to jump through.
So, any guesses?
Now for something a little different – Bohemia have released a free-to-play, top-down, single-player version of DayZ.
What began as a fan project has now been taken on and officially endorsed by the developer as a full-blown browser-based game.
It seems kind of strange that they’re releasing a knock-off of a game that they haven’t even finished yet but hey, that’s the joy of early access.
It’s a similar experience to the original, albeit without the multiplayer – you’ll need to collect supplies, avoid/kill zombies and generally scavenge yourself a living in shitty surroundings.
We got our first look at Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands last week, and this week we get a full-blown dev diary. I’ve got to say, this game is looking sweet.
Next up is my personal most anticipated title, Evolve, with a 13 minute commentary and gameplay video featuring the medic Caira. Nice!
Then we have something I’m a little less interested in, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris – the top-down spinoff to the third-person action adventure series. I think I’m still just salty about the next game being a console exclusive. Anyways, here’s a dev diary for you.
We’ll round things off with something everyone is excited about – the launch of Dragon Age Inquisition. Chances are a lot of you picked this up yesterday and plan on powering through it all weekend. If you’re still on the fence, see if this launch trailer can swing your vote.
Best of NAG
Let’s kick things off with Episode 16 of the NAG Online podcast! This week featured Mark Del, Wesley Fick and HQ’s Geoff Burrows, talking AC Unity, Goat Simulator and all kinds of gaming stuff. Check it out here.
While we’re on the topic of the debonair and charming Wesley Fick, allow me to link you to his System Builder’s Guide, this time the R11,000 to R16,500. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck out of a gaming PC, this is the price range you should be interested in.
Next up is my column featuring a picture of a sad cat, a discussion on why 2014 was a Terrible Year for Gaming. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
Finally, World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor dropped this week, and MMO veteran Laura Shortridge has her impressions for you.