Hello once again NAGuxians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have Xbox One’s response to the PS4 price cut, yet another bit of over-the-top marketing from Fallout 4, minimum system requirements for Overwatch and the Golden Joystick Awards. Then it’s EA’s more optimistic sales predictions for Battlefront, the results are in on Arkham Knight‘s PC performance, Halo 5 execs talk split-screen gameplay and Respawn announces another Titanfall game. All that, more news, videos, highlights and a bag of potato chips, after the jump.
Sony raised the stakes for the console Christmas battle earlier this month, cutting the price of the PS4 to match that of Microsoft’s Xbox One.
But Xbox marketing exec Aaron Greenberg isn’t worried, saying that what really matters for console sales is the game library, and Microsoft feel like they’ve got the “best lineup in history”.
The big pulls are Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Forza, apparently. Despite their confidence, Greenberg isn’t really aiming at outselling the PS4, but rather keeping things “competitive”. Which is fair – there’s no doubt at this point that the PS4 is way out in front.
As for losing the Call of Duty DLC deal to Sony for the first time, Greenberg is defensive, pointing out that the exclusivity is timed.
“We expect Black Ops III to be a really big title for us this year just like it has been in previous years.
“The fact is that there is no content in Call of Duty that we don’t get. The fact is if you want to play Call of Duty and Halo, you’re gonna want to do that on Xbox One. If you want to play Call of Duty and Halo and Tomb Raider or Forza or any of the seven big exclusives we have this holiday, you’re only going to be able to do that on our box. “
Of course, he’s not pointing out the fact that Tomb Raider is also a timed exclusive. Patient PS4 owners are going to be able to play that too.
While we’re on the subject of hype, Overwatch has entered closed beta, and I’m sure my lack of a beta key is an oversight on Blizzard’s part that will be corrected shortly.
Anyways, they’ve released the minimum and recommended specs. And, refreshingly, these are actual MINIMUM specs – literally being able to run the game at 30fps on potato graphics.
For the recommended, they’re targeting a modest 60fps with medium settings. Since no self-respecting PC gamer would ever venture near 30fps, I’ll put the recommended settings here only – if you can’t play at 60fps on medium, you probably don’t want to play at all.
Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II X3, 2.8 GHz
Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or ATI Radeon HD 7950
Memory: 2 GB VRAM, 6 GB System RAM (and 5GB of hard drive space)
Not too hectic then, considering the amount of visual effects flying across the screen. It’s not DotA, but it’s not Crysis either.
Keeping the marketing train going at alarming speed, Bethesda have moved on from Fallout beer (which I spoke about just last week) to Nuka-Cola Quantum, a bright blue beverage sold exclusively at Target.
It’s produced by some folk called Jones Soda Co., and we have no idea what it tastes like or how limited the supply will be.
It’s a cool tie-in, but will probably be just as overpriced as the beer which makes the novelty wear pretty thin, pretty fast. I imagine it will be collected by avid fans as some kind of collector’s items, and ultimately fall victim to some drunk houseguest who thinks its Powerade.
The Golden Joystick Awards just happened, which I guess is kind of like video-game Oscars – except not at all.
Anyways, the title that came away with the coveted Ultimate Game of the Year is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
For the individual platforms, it’s GTA V taking down PC, Splatoon taking down best Nintendo game, Xbox One honours, somewhat surprisingly, were given to Ori and the Blind Forest and Bloodborne walks off with best Playstation game.
Some other awards: Anders Blume, CS:GO caster, can add the eSports icon award to his mantle, CD Projekt Red gets Studio of the Year, Best Family Game goes to Splatoon, Best Gaming Platform goes to Steam and the Most Wanted Game goes to, surprise surprise, Fallout 4. Heartbreakingly, Satoru Iwata receives a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award.
CD Projekt Red was the big winner, sauntering off with best studio and best game – not bad. Talking about the studio’s amazing success, board member Michal Nowakowski had this to say after the show:
“I think the ‘secret’ to getting all these awards is partly in what these awards are for.
“Story-driven games… that’s what we wanted to do, that’s what we’ve been aiming to do. And that’s how we were thinking about The Witcher in the studio, back home.”
Nowakowski believes the secret behind their success is an intense focus on doing one thing the best it can be done – making the best possible RPG, telling the best story.
Speaking about which of the awards he’s most excited about Nowakowski was torn.
“To me, it’s between best studio of the year and best game of the year. On the one hand, we got voted ahead of really, really super established studios … and on the other hand, being the best game of the year in the eyes of so many people is a great honor. Probably the greatest we could have. I don’t know. If I had to choose, I’d probably flip a coin.”
For my money, you just can’t top game of the year. What an awesome feeling that must be.
EA is feeling pretty good about Star Wars Battlefront – so good, in fact, that they’ve adjusted their sales prediction from a modest 10 million to a more baller 13 million.
This is no doubt due to the 9 million people who participated in the beta, smashing EA’s previous record, and also more importantly due to the absolutely insane fever pitch that Star Wars hype is at right now.
People are so damn ready for Star Wars that they will devour anything to do with the franchise; EA couldn’t have picked a better time to put out a title like this.
Hell, even the world’s most overpriced season pass can’t dampen spirits.
EA isn’t struggling regardless, with its various sports franchises bringing in mountains of cash and making it in the number one console publisher in the West.
Earlier this week we saw that fans weren’t too happy with Arkham Knight’s compensation for PC players with the game’s 5-months-later re-launch, but it seems a misguided consolation prize is the least of the worries.
According to Eurogamer’s comprehensive performance analysis, the game still runs like a donkey’s ass, with more than capable hardware unable to maintain decent frame rates.
Stuttering, glitches and a GTX 980 with an i7 unable to deliver a decent experience. Without a buttload of VRAM, Eurogamer says it’s basically a no-go.
With the right specs you can reportedly get a “console-level” experience, but as Eurogamer themselves point out, with the lack of respect that’s gone into this PC version the question remains whether this publisher deserves your support at all.
They may be diplomatic, but I’m not – a poorly optimised, shoddy port that is the result of months of post-release tweaking is far from disrespectful, it’s despicable. Before you call me a PC fanboi, remember I also campaigned vehemently against locked 30fps on consoles too.
Gamers, regardless of platform, deserve better than this treatment. What you play your games on is irrelevant, we all are gamers and far too many of us repeatedly eat shit sandwiches and then smile and ask for seconds.
Speaking of platforms, split-screen hasn’t been a thing on PC for quite some time, but console enthusiasts who enjoy sitting around the TV with friends have slated Halo dev 343 industries for omitting the feature from the latest entry into the franchise (and who can blame them, split screen is awesome).
Throwing a proper internet tantrum, the issue has given rise to everything from online petitions to forum threads overflowing with vitriol.
Did they work? According to franchise director Frank O’Connor, not at all.
“Realistically, for Halo 5, it’s not something we can just throw in a patch,” O’Connor said. “It’s just not feasible with the way the engine works.”
Don’t despair just yet however – O’Connor insists that they are listening, nothing that the outcry was “huge”.
“Splitscreen is fun for me too. It’s not something that I object to, and we would’ve loved to put it in,” O’Connor said. “We’ll talk about it for the next game, and we’ll talk about it for the future.”
Here’s some exciting news, Respawn have announced a new Titanfall game.
For mobiles. Yup, Vince Zampella’s mobile studio, Particle City, will be bringing the frantic mech FPS to cellphones, somehow.
I’m a huge Titanfall fan and am actually kind of curious to see how this thing pans out, but I feel like it’s going to be good – I have faith in Zampella.
With this coming in 2016 and the success of Titanfall, we will very likely be seeing a legitimate sequel announced next year.
Just Cause 3 is coming, and in this new PC footage you can see a base being, um, “liberated”.
Does anyone else feel like Hitman has been “upcoming” forever? Apparently it only launches in March. Anyway, here’s a new trailer so long.
Survival horror has been very much in vogue the last few years, and Early Access title Noct hopes to convince you you need another one of these titles.
Let’s finish AAA style with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, with a trailer looking at the Spetsnaz unit.
Best of NAG
Critics seem to unanimously agree that Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is “not as bad as we thought”. Dane Remendes agrees too.
Next up, Miklos writes an absolutely epic Assassin’s Creed primer, detailing the entire series entry by entry – even a hater like me enjoyed it.
Speaking of being a hater, this week saw my somewhat-monthly News I don’t care about column, where I talk about all the news items from the month that shouldn’t be news at all.
It wouldn’t feel right not to have a Delano indie experience in this section, and he delivers with a showcase of Blood of the Werewolf.
Finally, Neo Sibeko takes the Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming through its paces.