This Week In Gaming

gordon freeman half-life

Greetings NAGoolians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have Sony gloating over their sales, and Microsoft trying to, Disney launches a new YouTube series with the worst person in the industry and somebody is angry enough with Activision to file a lawsuit again. Then The Witcher 3 devs make a bold claim about the upcoming expansion, Half-Life is getting some new original content, Norway declares itself the coolest place to go to school on the planet and John Romero revisits Doom after 22 years. All that, some videos, highlights and a bag of potato chips, after the jump.

Console/Other News

Unsurprisingly, the PS4 has taken the top console spot for 2015. According to the monthly US NPD report, Sony enjoyed the top spot in December as well.

This is no doubt somewhat of a blow for Microsoft, who pushed out their biggest collection of exclusives yet over the holiday season, with not as much impact as they may have wanted. The new Tomb Raider, in particular, seems to have performed below expectations.

A Sony spokesperson also managed to gloat that “PS4 also had the strongest third-party software sales in 2015 in the US, according to NPD.”

Microsoft also chimed in on the report, saying that they appreciate the “continued support for the most critically-acclaimed holiday lineup of exclusives in Xbox history”, stating that December 2015 was “the best month yet for Xbox One sales in the US”.

As usual, there’s a lot of talk and nothing in the way of real numbers – Microsoft has been extremely secretive about their sales figures of late, which is assumed to be because they simply don’t look all that good stacked up against Sony’s.

Sony didn’t get specific about their US figures though, instead repeating the recent stat that they’d cracked 36 million sales globally. Bigger numbers simply sound better, I guess.

Commenters of course turned to lambasting Don Mattrick for the demise of the Xbone, wishing that Phil Spencer could have been involved. Which is of course silly, because he was, he just wasn’t the guy you saw on TV all the time.

That being said, the PR nightmare that was the Xbone’s reveal may have created a snowball effect of crappy sales, and Mattrick was almost certainly the architect of that. The widely publicised lesser power of the green machine might have been the biggest contributor of all, however, as “resolutiongate” may have put off plenty of gamers who were considering their options for the new generation.

In spite of this not looking at all legit (why is the text blurred?), this kind of narrative around the Xbox One didn't help at all.
In spite of this not looking at all legit (why is the text blurred?), this kind of narrative around the Xbox One didn’t help at all.

The Wii U was left out of the conversation, which is sad but hardly surprising.

Disney is using all that sweet, sweet Star Wars money (or some of it, anyway) to start up a new network of YouTube channels called Revelmode, which is led by none other than the insufferable PewDiePie.

Him and a bunch of other famous YouTubers will appear as cartoon figures in a new show, as well as produce new videos, community features and charity streams. As the Pie puts it, “Revelmode is me and a bunch of really awesome YouTubers coming together as a group to do awesome things.” So, a lot of “awesome” then.

I’ve tried to watch PewDiePie but every time I load up one of his videos I make it thirty seconds in before I get ebola. To say I don’t get the appeal would be an understatement, but apparently I’m a grumpy old man since the dude earns more in a year than I will in the next ten.

Still, this means if it wasn’t already, being a “YouTuber” is officially a thing. When they include a category for it in the Golden Globes I may be forced to seppuku.

Hey, remember Black Ops 2 single-player? No me neither, I never played it.

But, if you did, you might remember a certain Angolan rebel leader in the level Pyrrhic Victory, who was apparently a real dude. And, since he was kind of an asshole in the game, his family are now suing Activision.

“[He’s portrayed as] a big halfwit who wants to kill everybody,” prosecution lawyer Carole Enfert explained. In reality, she continued, Savimbi had actually been a “political leader and strategist”.

Activision disagrees, saying they portrayed him as a “good guy”. That aside, if watching every season of The Good Wife has taught me anything, it’s that these defamation-style lawsuits are basically unwinnable.

This isn’t the first time Activision has had a case like this, for the same game. Previously they were sued by an actual freaking dictator, and they got the most badass of badass attorneys and promptly kicked that lawsuit in the face. When your corporation is worth several billion dollars and you’re trying to discourage future folk from filing petty lawsuits, you bring in the big guns. I imagine this case is going to be a similar slam dunk.

If only Angolan Netflix got The Good Wife, these people wouldn’t have to waste their time.

Don't let the crappy name dissuade you - it's a badass show.
Don’t let the crappy name dissuade you – it’s a badass show.

Sources: Gamespot, Eurogamer, Eurogamer

Gaming News

Let’s start off with a bang – according to one of The Witcher 3 developers, the upcoming expansion Blood and Wine is “better than the main game”.

This expansion will be finishing off Geralt’s story arc, as apparently this is his last stint as the primary protagonist. According to senior writer Jakub Szamalek, the experience in making the original game and all the feedback they’ve received has helped them to make something even better.

For a game that’s damned near flawless, that’s pretty impressive. But Szamalek is quite willing to get reflective about The Witcher 3’s issues, saying that the game lacked a charismatic enemy – something they’ve fixed in Blood and Wine with an original and memorable villain. This villain is at the heart of a complex story which promises to impress.

Just when Miklos thought he was done with this game, they suck him right back in. Nice.

Now for some news that is floating my boat about as hard as it’s ever been floated, an indie developer is releasing a Half-Life 2 spinoff, which aims to continue the story of Opposing Force from Half-Life 1.

It might not be HL3, but if Black Mesa has taught me anything it’s that fan-made content can be almost as good as the real thing. Working its way through the Greenlight system, it’s a standalone title called Prospekt.

The game has Mr Freeman corned in Nova Prospekt, with a bunch of soldiers closing in. Lucky for Gordon, some friendly vortigaunts have teleported in US Marine Adrian Shepard (that’s you) to help him out.

The game has 13 levels, and is roughly the same length as Episode 1. It also revisits Xen, which is sweet. For the low price of ten dollars, I’d say this one is totally worth it. It comes out February 11, and I can’t wait. In the meantime, check out the trailer:

E-sports is becoming more and more legitimate every year, and the pipedream of having it on televisions is now reality. So what’s next, I can take DotA 2 as my winter sport?

Well actually, yeah. A school in Norway with an unpronounceable name will be introducing esports into the curriculum for 2016. They haven’t decided on which game yet, but the big multiplayer titles are on the shortlist.

The subject will include five hours of study per week, and will include physical training to help “focus on enhancing the student’s ability to stay focused over a long period of time whilst performing their sport,” according to the science teacher.

This isn’t a mill to try churn out pro players either, the school believes there is genuine value here. ur focus is not only on the mechanics of the game, but also on how a team works, theory regarding motivation as a professional gamer and, last but not least, teamwork.”

Which makes sense, really, schools don’t have other sports for the sole person of making pros. Somebody has to fill up the C team after all.

The best part about all this is that you get a sweet rig, equipped with a GTX 980Ti. It may be a whole however till this catches on in SA, since we currently struggle to get textbooks and paper.

Here’s a serious blast from the past – John Romero has released a Doom level. This puts it at a 22 year gap between his last Doom level and this one – that’s longer than the gaps in the Game of Thrones novels.

It’s his redesign of level E1M8, Phobos Anomaly, the final level of the original Doom’s first episode. Apparently, he did it over two weeks in his spare time. I just love how this game continues to maintain an audience through mods and level packs, and to see Romero jump in on it is amazingly cool. You can download the level here, but you’ll need to use ZDoom or the like to play it – Google will throw up a ton of tutorials if you haven’t done this before.

Sources: Gamespot, PC Gamer, PC Gamer, Gamespot


Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak looks like it has a meaty story, and they continue releasing story trailers this week. Me likey.

This next vid is pretty interesting, an interview with the guy who designed LoL‘s newest champion. It’s pretty cool to hear what goes into the process, whether you play the game or not.

Do you know you can now play as the Xenomorph from Alien in Mortal Kombat X? Did you know they’ve already added Predator? That’s right folks, the dream is real.

We finish off with a bit of movie stuff. The guy who directed a Portal fan film has been given the reigns for an out-of-the-blue sequel to Cloverfield. And to be honest, it looks sweet. Check out the trailer:

Best of NAG

Dane Remendes played Rogue Legacy this week and wrote about it. You should read that.

Matthew Fick also played a game this week – a mobile one. Check out his review of Badland.

It’s a Fick double-feature, as Wesley tries to tackle a budget system build with our sinking rand.

Last, and most certainly least, there’s my column this week. This time around I’ve opted to describe the masturbation habits of each console user. You did in fact read that correctly.