Hello NAGeasants, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. Easter is gone and we’ve returned to our full-and-uncut version of this article, so inside you’ll find info on new video game movies, Microsoft’s feelings on VR, the big scoop on GTA V for PC and why it’s the best possible way to play the game, a disappointing decision from the Splatoon devs, The Witcher 3‘s utterly insane playtime and the bootleg version of Halo Online you might be playing soon. All that, more news, more videos and more highlights from the week, after the jump.
So, have any of you made the terrible mistake of watching the Need for Speed movie? Like almost all gaming movies, it was pretty damn terrible. It managed to be terrible in spite of there being six Fast and Furious movies to copy – it’s not a complex formula.
Still, EA was clearly rather chuffed with seeing one of their games on the big screen, so much so that they’re in talks with a pack of Chinese production companies trying to get the sequel made. They’d need to get the rights from Dreamworks first, however, and that’s yet to be done.
Despite being a pile of crap the original did actually make decent money though, so perhaps this isn’t that hard to believe. Still, I don’t think anyone will make the mistake of watching the sequel – including Aaron Paul.
While we’re on the subject of movie adaptations, the latest game to be picked up by a studio is the hit indie horror title Five Nights at Freddy’s. In case you’re unfamiliar, this one has you avoiding the clutches of creepy animatronic stuffed animal types as the night watchman at a pizza joint.
The production team are working with the game’s developer Scott Cawthorn, and say they hope to make a “weirdly adorable and terrifying movie”. Fair enough.
No word on the director or writer yet, so this is still very much in the pre-production stages.
Moving on to the flavour of the month, virtual reality, Phil Spencer came out and said what everyone was already thinking – that nobody “really has any VR stuff right now”.
Spencer insists he’s not “taking a shot at Sony”, but when quizzed in an interview on how Microsoft is feeling about not having a headset to compete with the big blue machine’s Project Morpheus, he points out that he doesn’t think VR is a “now thing”, adding that he’s “not saying it’s five years from now, but it’s not really a now thing”.
He also doesn’t exclude Microsoft from competing in the VR space, although the company is going their own way right now with the HoloLens.
So, is this the defensive posturing of a company left out of the VR space, or does Spencer have a point? I think he’s right in that it’ll be a while before VR is properly integrated into the gaming experience at a consumer level, and whether it manages to cement itself as more than a novelty remains to be seen. Share your thoughts in the comments.
We’ve had a couple of games disappoint us recently on one important aspect – playing time. Most notably was The Order 1886, which could be finished faster than a breakfast buffet.
Players should have no such issues with CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3. According to the developers, the fastest the studio’s own playtesters can manage to finish the game is 25 hours. That means blitzing through everything as fast as possible and skipping all the dialogue.
These are the people who arguably know the game better than anyone ever will – it’s their job to play it over and over and over, looking for bugs with mindless repetition.
If one plays the game properly and takes the time to do everything, you’re looking at 100+ hours of gametime. That’s the kind of standard we need to be setting, nice job from the Polish dev.
The ridiculously long-awaited PC version of GTA V will finally drop on April 14th (that’s Tuesday next week), worldwide.
It’s been a helluva delay behind our console counterparts, but the master race will be having the last laugh as Rockstar North has described this iteration as the “ultimate” version of GTA V. To paraphrase, the way it’s meant to be played (alright, that cheeky paraphrasing was my own).
After explaining why the PC version took so long, Rockstar said,”However, the result is a PC version that draws from a huge pool of knowledge inside the team to deliver a game of the highest possible quality in every way. We’re really excited for people to play GTA V on PC; it is the ultimate version of an amazing game.”
One of the reasons for the delay was the inclusion of the PC-exclusive Rockstar Editor, which allows players to create gameplay clips and share them online.
Other things the PC version has is support for 60fps gameplay, 4K resolution capability, population density slider and more realistic effects such as skins, reflections and depth of field (provided your rig can handle it).
Take that, console kiddies.
A bit of disappointing news this week, Nintendo’s Splatoon won’t be getting in-game voice chat, ever. Why? According to co-director Yusuke Amano, it’s because of the negativity of the online gaming experience.
Put in real world terms, a bunch of adolescents with mics are going to talk to you about their sexual escapades with your mother.
I absolutely hate this excuse, and hate this decision. In a game that requires cooperative play, integrated voice chat is a necessity – and with almost everyone having access to a mic, it’s frequently used.
Mostly I just hate the laziness of the excuse. It’s not that it’s impossible to have voice chat in a game, it’s that there’s extra work attached to managing and policing the service correctly. It’s the same excuse League of Legends uses, and it’s silly – the amount of toxicity in LoL is off the charts, no microphones required. And it’s mostly down to a system which fails to punish bad behaviour.
I play a ton of CS:GO, and the integrated voice chat works beautifully. Most games are friendly and co-operative. I can’t tell you what the secret formula there is, but honestly it’s not impossible. And taking out voice chat doesn’t solve the problem anyway. All you’re doing is punishing the good players with the bad – poor decision.
A lot has happened with Halo Online recently, so let me give you the quick rundown.
In case you’re not familiar, Halo Online is a still-in-alpha project being developed by 343 Industries, Saber Interactive and Russian publisher Innova Systems.
A lot of people were ticked off about this for two reasons – one, the presence of microtransactions which always has people feeling uncomfortable about pay-to-win potential, and more importantly two, the game is only being launched in Russia.
What happened next was this alpha build was leaked online. As you can imagine, modders immediately began picking through the code.
Now, a dedicated team of individuals is trying to do two things – strip the game of it’s microtransactions, and release it globally for everybody to enjoy. They’re like the Robin Hoods of the gaming industry.
Despite Microsoft releasing DMCA takedown notices, the modders have already made multiple redundant backups that are constantly updated.
This creates an interesting situation in which Microsoft is under threat of having their own game launch undermined if they do not bend to the will of the gaming community. However, they don’t seem too ruffled yet – a spokesperson had this to say:
“While we’re thrilled there’s so much interest outside of Russia, the beta of Halo Online is a PC experience tailored specifically for the tastes, tech and infrastructure of the Russian market and furthermore, is still in an early state.”
It will be interesting indeed to see where things go from here.
Here’s something interesting – an RTS where the matches last an average of four to five minutes. It’s called Interloper, and you can see the gameplay explained in this video.
Brand new Witcher 3 gameplay? Of course it’s going here.
Sega’s Total War spin-off, Total War Battles: Kingdoms has just hit open beta. Reviews are mixed so far, so it’s hard to say if this one is worth the effort. Check out the trailer below:
Lastly, check out nine minutes of new gameplay footage for Trine 3. It’s looking great.
Best of NAG
Let’s start off strong with Wesley Fick’s Laptop Buyer’s Guide – this week focusing on the lower end, the R2000 – R9000 range. If you’re looking for mobile gaming on a budget, this is the best place to start.
Then we have something rather interesting – the world’s smallest ever computer, and it’s powered by light. Intrigued? Check it out here.
Of course there’s my column for the week; I stuck to the Easter theme and had a look at some of the weirdest and creepiest easter eggs ever put into videogames.
Finally, another Deus Ex game has been announced, which promises to work on the issues that Human Revolution had. You can find the reveal trailer right here.