Hello NAGiddites, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have a cutesy card game with an out-of-control Kickstarter, Paradox talks about the merits of Goat Simulator over Call of Duty, Sony has big plans for Morpheus and Tim Schafer defends Peter Molyneux from the evil internet. Then we have the biggest CS:GO tournament ever, a brand new indie studio with some veteran talent and a certain studio hopes to breathe new life into a dying genre. Plus a whole lot of videos, highlights and other news – hit the jump.
Hey, you know The Oatmeal? That quirky webcomic with a lot of cats? The owner and creator has teamed up with a couple of other guys to make a crowd-funded card game called Exploding Kittens.
The project had a hilariously low goal of $10,000, which the internet completely disregarded, donating $2 million in the game’s first day.
It’s since gone on to hit over $9 million. The premise of the game is not unlike other multiplayer card games you would have seen, with various cards to give yourself an advantage or screw over your friends. The caveat is the Exploding Kitten card, which if drawn, immediately eliminates you from the game.
Moving on to something a little more serious, some big execs from developer Paradox had plenty to say about the state of the games industry this week at a media roundtable.
“Competition is really fierce,” said CEO Fredrik Wester. “You have to have an edge in there, and that’s why I say ‘more Goat Simulator and less Call of Duty‘ for Paradox, because we need the edge. It’s easier to get out and market, it’s easier to show what you’re doing.
“People are tired of explosions and dubstep music. We’ve seen it a million times now, like, stop doing it. No more.”
The big cheese also had something to say about the increasing ambitious studios have, setting unrealistic goals for themselves. Wester uses Tomb Raider as a pertinent example.
“One signal there is when Square Enix shipped [Tomb Raider], the latest edition of that, it’s like ‘it’s a new record for Square Enix! Shipping 5.3 million units day one!’ And it’s still 1.2 million units under their target. Then I feel like ‘okay your target is 30 percent more than you’ve ever done before ever ever ever, and that’s your target’ There’s something that’s a bit strange here.”
Heh, man’s got a point.
While Oculus VR murmurs something about a prototype now and then, Sony is going all-out with Morpheus in the next few months, beginning with a “four-hour” showcase at GDC in March.
This will include hands-on demos of the system, which presumably means they’re looking pretty damn good at the moment. I think?
As usual, this all gets a resounding meh from me. VR headsets are a stepping stone to something that’s actually practical, in my not-so-humble opinion.
We finish off the miscellaneous news this week with a few Tim Schafer tears. The legendary developer decided to defend his brother under siege, Peter Molyneux, in a YouTube video uploaded last week.
“In the last few weeks we’ve seen some extremely rough treatment of Peter on the internet and games press,” said Schafer. “I think it’s really unfortunate and unfair. Obviously, things did not go as expected with his game and because of that people are making some really nasty accusations about Peter, and I can really relate to that, believe it or not.
“I’m not saying that developers like Peter and I shouldn’t be responsible and accountable to deadlines. I’m just saying the reaction to recent events and the tone of that reaction is really way out of proportion to the seriousness of the events themselves.”
Look, this is the internet we’re talking about – it’s not exactly capable of an “appropriate” reaction to anything.
For those who don’t know the backstory, the criticism directed at Molyneux was regarding his poor treatment of the prizewinner of his preposterous Curiosity “game” – which still hasn’t materialised, and maybe never will.
I disagree with Schafer here. Molyneux needs to learn a harsh lesson in not making these insane promises he never keeps, overhyping everything and never delivering and a generally overinflated ego and estimation of his own capabilities.
The only premise, I repeat the ONLY premise of Curiosity, was the prize. There was literally nothing else to the game, whatsoever.
Molyneux’s company made plenty of money off that game, and now they don’t deliver on the prize when that was the only reason to take part in the game at all? No. Sorry, but no.
The internet may be a toxic place at times, but it’s also a great moderator and bullshit-caller, and Molyneux deserves to have his feet held to the fire here.
Counter-Strike was a bit of a late bloomer in the e-sports scene, but recently it’s seriously taken off. It was always around of course, but thanks to some high-profile cheating scandals in the last few months, it’s gotten a lot more attention.
All this cheating has ironically boosted the game’s popularity, and ESL One Cologne has now announced the biggest ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, with a prize pool of $250,000.
I’ve been bitten by the CS bug myself, so personally I can’t wait for this. Who will you be rooting for?
Moving into the indie scene, a Payday 2 game director and Battlefield exec have teamed up to launch a new indie studio called The Outsiders.
According to Payday guy David Goldfarb, the studio’s first project will be his “first real stab” at an RPG.
He elaborated, saying that he’s interested in creating a title with a dynamic story over a “set structure” – without a whole pile of cutscenes. There’s not much to see at this point, but keep your eyes on this one.
Hey, remember when music games were all anyone could talk about? Guitar Hero had taken over the world, and numerous spin-offs were attempting to cash in on the rhythm title gravy train.
Oh hey, then remember when they died a horrible, horrible death? They were just something that came and went, like Draw Something. Or smallpox.
Now it seems like studio Harmonix is trying to reignite that particular fire, with a new Rock Band game in development for PS4 and Xbox One. According to the studio, there are still “hundreds of thousands of unique users” playing Rock Band games every month. So perhaps it’s not as dead as everyone has made it out to be.
What abouts you NAG collective – anyone still tapping away at plastic guitars?
We’ll get things off to a flying start with the first gameplay footage of the new Sonic title, Sonic Runners.
Then we have Pokemon’s fighting title, Pokken Tournament. This one is apparently a “collaboration between Pokemon and Tekken“. Interesting.
Now for a good one – some actual gameplay for The Witcher 3. Nice.
After The Witcher 3 gameplay starter, get your fill with 40 minutes of Final Fantasy 15 on PS4.
Best of NAG
Mr Wesley Fick celebrated his birthday this week, and decided to write a column on what to get a PC gamer on their birthday. Seeing a clear opportunity to ride some coattails, I followed this up with my own column on what NOT to get a PC gamer on their birthday.
Then we have our first community column, an opportunity for you peasant masses to submit an article for publishing! You can see the first one from Mr Daniel Hallinan over here, along with details on how to get your own posts published.
Now it’s time for our Fick double feature, with Wesley’s second excellent post this week – his Laptop Buyer’s Guide, this one focusing on the sweet spot, the R10,000 to R19,000 range.
We finish things off with the dashingly handsome Delano’s Throwback Thursday (truthfully, every day is a throwback day for Mr Delano). This time around, he’s taking Canabalt for a spin.