Greetings NAGscallions, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming, back in its complete, voluptuous form. This week we have Xbox boss talking Nintendo Switch, Wolfenstein‘s voice actor tries to be coy about a sequel (and fails), Blizzard is shaking things up with Overwatch, Nintendo is staying silent on a potential feature, a game you never thought would be done actually is, a game that will probably never actually be done is free till the end of the month and the industry’s voice talent declare a strike. All that, videos and highlights from the week, after ye olde jump.
Xbox big cheese talks Nintendo Switch
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer was asked on Twitter what he thought of the Nintendo Switch, and this was his response: “I’m always impressed with their ability to state a bold vision and build a product that delivers on that vision.”
Always the diplomat, Spencer, who’s never had any problems killing Sony with kindness as he heaps praise on the PS4 and now seems to be giving Nintendo the same tactful treatment. The cynic in me kind of thinks that “bold vision” equates to “not our competition”, but maybe I’ve just developed a bleaker outlook in my old age.
That said, I doubt Microsoft is all that worried. The Switch’s Nvidia processor is rumoured to be not up to par with the vanilla Xbox One and PS4, and with the Scorpio coming out Microsoft no doubt has its eye on meatier things than Zelda.
No price yet, but the console has been confirmed for a March 2017 release.
Wolfenstein’s voice guy unofficially confirms sequel
You may remember at E3 this year that Bethesda’s show included a sneaky DOS graphic that listed New_Order, Old_Blood and New_Colossus. The first two were known quantities with release dates beside them, but the mysterious “New_Colossus” had an empty space for a date.
It did, however, look a helluva lot like an as-yet-unannounced sequel to the totally excellent Wolfenstein: The New Order. In an interview this week Brian Bloom, the voice of BJ Blazkowicz, gave a “safe answer” to a question on sequels that was about as safe as juggling grenades with your feet. See for yourself:
“I’ll be safe with this answer. If you look at Bethesda’s E3 2016 lineup there was a title hinted at in a cool way. It sparked a bit of wildfire. That subtle, very simple DOS language, going through the titles. Perhaps we’re working on that as we speak.”
Good job, BJ. You nailed it bro.
Next Overwatch patch brings tons of changes
Overwatch, like other Blizzard games, uses a “PTR server”, a means of testing game changes on a separate server before they get carried over to the main game.
Blizzard is changing their approach, however. Previously, they used the PTR to test out standard balance changes. Now they plan on using their not-for-keeps playground to make some drastic changes to different heroes.
As principal designer Geoff Goodman puts it, “We want to try a bunch of things and see what’s fun and working and iterate more quickly from there. In this way, we get to have you guys involved earlier in the process.”
Sounds sweet to me, I’m always on board for games like this to experiment with big changes and shake things up.
Does Nintendo Switch have a touchscreen? Nintendo’s not telling
Nintendo’s Switch reveal set the internet ablaze, but while everyone was fiddling with those gorky (not a word, but should be) looking controllers nobody made any effort to touch that big old phablet screen.
Nintendo has however been all aboard the touch train (sorry, that sounds a little like a swinger’s club), so one might expect the Switch is getting the same treatment. Eurogamer asked, and were treated with this response:
“We have nothing to announce on this topic. We will make additional announcements about the Nintendo Switch hardware later, before the launch of the product”.
Is that a no? Kind of feels like a no.
Video game voice actors declare a strike
The union that represents voice talent for gaming and motion capture have declared a strike after being unable to settle on acceptable terms with major publishers for a new contract.
The negotiations have been going for nearly two years without success, and the issues are focused on transparency and secondary compensation. Here’s a quote from the union:
“While the companies are willing to disclose potentially objectionable material that may be involved in the role, they refuse to tell the performer’s agent what game the actor will be working on. This keeps the performer from being able to make an educated decision about whether to take job. This is unheard of in any of our other contracts.
“Regarding secondary compensation, employers have offered to give actors an upfront bonus based on number of sessions worked, starting at the second session worked. The negotiating team is willing to agree to their proposal, as long as secondary compensation is an option. In other words, an employer would have the option to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or, if they prefer, they would have the option to pay a bonus after the game releases, if the game happens to sell more than 2 million units. The employers have refused to consider this option, excluding games from union talent if they are unable to afford the upfront bonus structure.”
I must say, those terms seem pretty reasonable from where I’m standing. Well, sitting. Slouching, really. Regardless, the video game industry seems to consistently be an awful, awful place to work.
The Last Guardian goes gold
Well it’s been nearly a decade but The Last Guardian has finally gone gold, coming ever so closer to convincing people this whole release isn’t an elaborate prank to troll loyal fans.
The news comes in the form of a tweet from one of the producers, who since deleted it. So yeah, I guess it’s all a big troll.
Just kidding guys, I’m just as sure it’s legit as I am sure you’ll need to download an enormous Day 0 patch.
Star Citizen free for the rest of the month
Kickstarter behemoth Star Citizen is going free-to-play – for about a week. Cloud Imperium Games has announced that until October 30, Star Citizen will be giving it away for free.
You’ll need to create an account and use promo code FALL2016, and then you’ll also get access to something called an F7C-M Super Hornet, one of the gazillion ships in this game that you probably won’t be able to get the importance of in eight days of playing.
Still if you wanted to see what all the fuss is about, now seems like a good time.