Hello once more NAGutherans, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. It’s been a heavy news week with E3, but in an effort to not step on any toes I’ve tried not to cover things here that have already been covered. So expect news that’s either not out of E3 or news that’s a reaction to something that came out of E3. We cool? Right, so this past week we had Sony talking backwards compatibility, Microsoft’s most in-demand titles for the compatibility treatment, and Bethesda talks why Fallout 4 may not have the greatest graphics you’ve ever seen. Then it’s a Guild Wars 2 expansion everyone is pissed about, CD Projekt talks about their switch from medieval to sci-fi, Beyond Good & Evil 2 speculation starts up again and Halo 5 has a feature everyone is unhappy about. All that news, more videos and highlights from last week, after the jump.
No doubt plenty of jaws hit the floor when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would be getting backwards compatibility – including Sony’s.
When asked for his reaction, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida said, “Surprising.”
“I didn’t think it was possible. There must be lots of engineering effort. They talked about 100 games, but what kind of games will be included? Is it smaller games or big games? We don’t know.”
You can almost hear the note of panic coming through the text. So is Sony planning on copying Microsoft’s game plan? Probably not.
“PS3 is such a unique architecture, and some games made use of SPUs very well,” Yoshida replied when quizzed by Eurogamer.
“It’s going to be super challenging to do so. I never say never, but we have no plans.”
That sounds confusing, but essentially Yoshida is explaining how differently the PS3 architecture is to that of the PS4. So despite the increased capabilities of the PS4, compatibility would require, as Yoshida mentoned, “lots of engineering effort”. That it sounds like Sony isn’t willing to make right now.
While we’re on the topic of backwards compatibility, Microsoft has asked gamers to vote on which 360 games they’d most likely to see on their Xbones.
Right now, the number one slot belongs to Red Dead Redemption, followed closely by Black Ops 2, Skyrim, Halo: Reach and Modern Warfare 2.
Honestly, I’m surprised. Two Call of Duty titles? Really? I would hope that our community would be a little more original than that; what’s the point in playing the old stuff anyway when a new one releases every year.
For shame, Xbox owners.
Fallout 4 looks good, but Bethesda is warning gamers not to expect it to be the ultimate showcase of graphical magnificence.
According to exec Pete Hines, the complexity and interactive nature of the Fallout 4 environment necessitates slightly less pretty trees.
“Everything that we do is a balance. We could make the best looking game possible, but we dial some of that back in order to allow for all of these other things.”
Hines thinks it’s worth it too, he explains how the game gives you the maximum possible freedom:
“If you want to pick flowers and make potions all day, then that’s what you’re role-playing. If you want to go shoot everybody in the head with a laser-musket, then that’s what you’re role-playing.”
I think I’ll probably opt for the laser-musket adventure.
Guild Wars 2 is getting its first expansion, Heart of Thorns, but long-time fans are unhappy with a lot of it.
The expansion is getting released in three controversial tiers, at different prices, ranging from about R500 to over R1000.
The drama starts at the first tier, where the game itself is bundled with the expansion. Long time players feel like this rewards new adopters while punishing the veterans – after all, the vets had to buy the original game for the same amount. And there’s no option to buy only the expansion for cheaper.
The next tiers don’t really help – they unlock various micro-transactiony things like character slots and tiny statues, and some of the in-game currency.
There’s been a response on the official forum, which says not very much at all – a vague promise that the concerns will be shared with the team.
We got our first look at CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 a whopping two years ago, in a brief teaser trailer.
According to studio joint-CEO Marcin Iwinski, it wasn’t just a trailer – it was a tryout.
“We released the Cyberpunk teaser trailer because we wanted to see how gamers felt about it. “We were super excited about the project internally, but what if it wasn’t the right thing [for us]? But the response has been incredible. Now it’s just up to us to deliver. We’re hard at work on it.”
We didn’t see anything at E3, but that’s not surprising – we’ve already been told we won’t see a damned thing until 2017.
It seems like a helluva wait but I can’t complain, at least you know it’s being done right. According to Iwinski, the devs will just be glad to craft something that isn’t a sword after 12 years of Witcher games.
A long-awaited sequel to Beyond Good & Evil was teased back in 2008, but not much has been heard about it since then.
What we did hear is that creator Michel Ancel needed to wait for the next-gen of consoles to realise his ambitious plans, but thinks got a but murky after he left Ubisoft to start his own studio last year.
At the time, Ubi was insisting that the show would go on (with Ancel still leading the project), but a lack of any news at E3 has fans fearing the worst.
Things got really hairy when IGN published an article saying that Ancel had left the project, but that was later pulled.
The latest word from Ubisoft is that Ancel is still working with them on “several exciting projects”, and that the IGN story is “untrue”.
So whether or not we’ll actually ever see this game is unknown at this point. But hey, we’re living in a world where Duke Nukem Forever made it onto shelves and The Last Guardian has an E3 gameplay trailer, so anything can happen.
Nothing gets gamers more riled up than microtransactions in premium paid titles, and the news that Halo 5’s multiplayer would include them was not received well.
Players earn points in matches, which can be used to buy weapons, armours, skins etc. But, of course, those points can be simply bought “as a matter of convenience”, which is a nice way of saying “as a matter of us making a profit”.
Halo 5’s development chief Josh Holmes stepped in to allay concerns, saying that in the Arena mode, only cosmetic items can be used.
They’re very focused on keeping things balanced, they say, but one can’t help but wonder if they’ve already poisoned the waterhole. Once gamers hear microtransactions, they tend to stop listening after that.
But whatever, this is Halo we’re talking about, they’ve got some room to work with.
It’s been all about E3 this past week (mostly), but I’ve tried to select some videos you might not have seen already.
We’ll kick things off with IGN’s exclusive look at XCOM 2 Gameplay, which shows off quite a lot.
For something not E3, it’s yet another Overwatch video. This time featuring Winston, the all-business, ass-kicking ape.
Then we have the Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. I’ve never really given GW2 a try, but this looks pretty epic if you can get your mates involved. Plus, it rewards the latecomers, remember?
We’ll round things off with a sexy 11 minutes of Just Cause 3 gameplay. Nice.
Bonus: I had to feature this Ashen trailer, an Xbox One RPG that looks pretty different from your standard fare
Best of NAG
NAG had E3 extremely well-covered, but it can get a little overwhelming. To get everything E3 in one place or if you have nothing else to do and want to do a catch-up, just click here.
While we’re on E3, check out my column on five things we can learn from this year’s E3.
Just what the hell is Bethesda.net, anyway? Let NAG Online’s own Morgan Freeman, Wesley Fick, explain.
We’ll end strong – NAG Online’s hands-on with Arkham Knight, complete with appropriate London venue.