WARCRAFT TRAILER! Sorry, that isn’t much of an introduction but it is the most exciting thing in This Week In Gaming today. Spoiler: it looks awesome. Other than that, we have a new Microsoft wearable (maybe) and Gabe Newell talking Steam Machine console killers. Then it’s Activision in hot water over a Black Ops 3 controversy, one Gearbox game (sort of) gets canned and another gets delayed and Blizzard makes a big Overwatch announcement. All that, more videos news and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Blizzard has a reputation in the gaming community for “doing things right”. Diablo 3 took a shot at shattering that image, as did the Activision merger, but for the most part Blizzard is still a company we trust.
It’s a company that protects their IPs and doesn’t force out unfinished, cash-in tripe, and that’s exactly why I think we all have high hopes going in for the Warcraft movie. It’s taken this long, it’s Blizzard, surely this will finally be a video game movie that doesn’t suck truckloads of steaming ass?
Well this weekend at Blizzcon the first official trailer was revealed, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited. It looks really, really good. Check it out:
Microsoft is reportedly working on another wearable, this time not trying to compete with the multitude of smartwatches and fitness bands and other things that compete with that Spongebob watch your mom gave you for your 13th birthday.
This one is, according to unnamed sources and all that, called the “Clip”, which means it’ll probably be like those Bluetooth headsets or some kind of earbud design.
Probably recognising that there’s about seventeen people in the world who use a Windows Phone (all gifted by a well-intentioned grandparent), Clip won’t require Cortana.
It also works with Siri for the iPhone and for Android users who don’t require their voice assistants to be anthropomorphised software robots, Google Voice.
I’m not quite sure where I stand on wearables at the moment. Much like VR, it seems to be one of those things that everyone is making, but I’m not sure if anyone really wants it.
Steam machines are only a few days away from their official launch, and Gabe Newell stated in an interview this week that the console competitor will have machines faster than today’s consoles, at the same price point.
“So the same price point as today, except you get better performance and you’re connected to everything you like about the PC and the Internet.”
Newell explains that in spite of the sceptics, he believes PCs can find their place in the living room.
“Our perception is that customers are always going to make the best choices for what they want,” he said.
“We can knock down the barriers that keep PC gaming out of the living room, and then customers can decide what they want.”
The only console right now that really competes at the console price point is the Alienware box. While it does pack similar hardware, the question still remains whether or not it can actually provide a comparable console experience.
After all, when coding for a uniform set of hardware like the PS4, it’s easier to optimise things to get a lot of performance out of lower power hardware. I’m sure someone smart like Wesley Fick can chime in more here – if you’re reading this Fick Senior, educate us all in the comments.
Activison landed themselves in trouble this week (I know, I’m as shocked as you are) when it turned out that those who pre-ordered the game would not be getting popular map Nuketown as a bonus.
That is, unless you live in the UK and made your preorder at GAME.
Turns out a bunch of the official marketing trailers specifically advertised Nuketown as a pre-order bonus (quite a draw card, considering it’s the most popular map in Black Ops history, according to Acti) actually had a bit of small print at the bottom, right at the end of the video on that image nobody is looking at saying that it was a bonus exclusive to GAME.
Even worse, on Activision’s official support site they simply said “all players who pre-ordered” – that of course has now been altered to “participating retailers”.
Does anyone need any more proof at this point that pre-orders are doing more harm to the industry than good? We need to buying games on the merits of the game itself, not on the back of promises that are frequently and repeatedly broken by publishers.
In a surprising turn of events at Blizzcon, Blizzard has announced that Overwatch is in fact not free-to-play at all.
Instead, you’ll get three different editions – Standard, Origins and Collector’s Edition.
The standard package will run you 40 American big ones (with our current crappy exchange rate, about 600 bucks), and will come with 21 heroes.
For the Origins package you’ll get a bunch of skins and items that tie-in to other Blizzard games – pets in World of Warcraft and a card back for Hearthstone and the like. This one is 60 dollars.
Then, for those who use wads of money to get the braai going, you get the $130 Collector’s Edition which comes with a source book, soundtrack, Soldier 76 statue and everything you get in Origins.
Seems like the game will have plenty of microtransactions down the line, with skins and other heroes available. How all that works, we don’t know just yet.
In somewhat more depressing news, developer 2K China has shut down, taking 150 employees and Borderlands Online with it.
The multiplayer game based in the Gearbox universe has been determined by publisher Take Two to be unlikely “to yield a favourable return”.
Damn, job security in game development really, really sucks. That being said, Take Two did say, “We are working with affected staff to identify other opportunities within the company where possible.”
Gearbox isn’t done with Borderlands though; a new game specifically for next-gen hardware is currently in the pipeline. Also, Civilization Online is going ahead as planned, due to launch within the next six months or so – apparently they’re more optimistic about that one “yielding a favourable return”.
We’re not done with Gearbox yet, as publisher 2K Games announced that the developer’s upcoming Battleborn will be delayed three months – from February 9th to May 3rd.
This is a pretty big decision, as it pushes the release outside of Take Two’s fiscal year, meaning less impressive numbers to show investors.
What this means, really, is that they have good reason to do it – although they haven’t actually explained the delay. We can assume they simply need more time, which is fair.
What interests me in the whole thing is that Battleborn is essentially an FPS MOBA, and the comparisons with Overwatch are obvious. Is this just the new thing that everyone decided to do? Did one copy the other?
Hopefully we don’t get this genre flooded like we did with DotA clones. If we’ve learnt anything from that, however, it’s that there really isn’t room for more than a couple. If this genre goes the same way, getting in the door first might be the most important thing you can do.
I know this is a gaming round-up, but Star Wars gets a pass. This is a new international trailer with a ton of new footage.
Back to gaming with Rise of the Tomb Raider, which looks at, well, tombs.
Next up is the Legacy of the Void trailer, which is suitably epic.
More Warcraft, with the WoW Legion expansion trailer. Typically for Blizzard, the cinematics are amazing.
Best of NAG
Neo Sibeko continues his trend of reviewing things which are hard for me to type the names of, with the Adata APG SP 550 240GB SSD. Phew, got through it. Find it here.
Delano played the gaming equivalent of a zen garden this week, and he thinks you should too. It’s called Refunct, and you can find his thoughts here.
Don’t you guys love that Dane is writing again? I do. Then again I’m biased, since I have his face tattooed on my ass. Still, you should read his follow-up full review of Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide.
Round 2 from Delano, with his review of the interesting and completely different The Beginner’s Guide, from the same dude who brought you The Stanley Parable. Check that out right here.