Greetings NAGilozians, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. In the news this week is Ubisoft skulduggery, Crystal Dynamics gearing up for a big new IP, DICE walking back their Battlefront II exploitation, Ubisoft introduces gaming Siri, a studio fires pretty much everybody and Star Citizen makes itself more boring. All that, some videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Ubisoft ups the price on Rainbow Six Siege
The pricing for this game has always been confusing. From the beginning, there have been four different options, with varying levels of included DLC and unlockable stuff. It’s the type of pricing that makes every gamer groan; ranging from $15 to $130.
I personally don’t enjoy the research mini-game of trying to figure out how much of a game I want without having even played it yet. Ugh.
Anyways, it’s gotten worse – Ubisoft is now replacing the “Standard Edition” with the “Advanced Edition”, bumping the price from $40 to $60 in the process. This means the basic entry point has gone up $20, as I’m told the $15 Starter Edition is, for lack of a better term, a non-starter.
Of course you get some extra characters or hats or something that you may or may not care about, which makes the whole thing somewhat lose-lose. You may not want multiple pricing tiers, but then you also may not want to be paying for stuff you don’t actually want – which means keeping the “Standard Edition” tier would be a lot better.
For my money, this effectively feels like a 50% price hike on a two-year old game, which is not something I’m particularly stoked about. The change goes into effect February 13th, so if you were planning on picking this up I’d recommend doing it before then.
Crystal Dynamics brings in heavy-hitters for Avengers title
Crystal Dynamics is a studio that’s shot into public consciousness since the success of their excellent Tomb Raider games, and the dev is now working on not only a new Lara Croft adventure, but an Avengers title as well.
They’ve brought on Shaun Escayg, creative director and writer of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy to direct Avengers. Stephen Barry, 27-year veteran of EA and Visceral Games is directing production, having previously worked on the Dead Space series.
“We’re committed to delivering an incredible, completely original Avengers experience to our gamers, and that means we are always looking to add amazing developers to our existing best in class studio talent,” Crystal Dynamics co-head Scot Amos said.
Other hires haven’t been named, but we do know they’ve worked on titles like Star Wars: Battlefront and Batman: Arkham Origins. Good to know they’re putting all that sweet Tomb Raider money to good use.
According to studio co-head Ron Rosenberg, the Avengers title is making “tremendous progress” in its goal of being “something all Marvel fans will be proud of.”
“Their AAA experience adds to an already deep roster, making us well-positioned to deliver on the ambitious goals we’ve set for ourselves with The Avengers project,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a stellar addition of many people who fit incredibly well into our wheelhouse of building game experiences we all love.”
I’d be lying if I said superhero IP stuff was really my jam, but this one will definitely be on my radar.
DICE promises “revamped” progression system for Battlefront II
Oh boy. One of the most disastrous launches of 2017, Star Wars: Battlefront II has been marred by controversy from the beginning due to its controversial progression system that required players to invest an absurd amount of microtransaction money (or full-time-job-hours) in order to unlock the characters people care about.
It’s all been part of a worrying trend of full-price games loading up on microtransactions and DLC, which often means withholding content rather than adding it.
Battlefront II took the unfortunate role as the final straw, and the gamer outcry has been pretty brutal. Stocks fell, sales plummeted, men in suits put out insincere apologies.
The in-game purchasing has been switched off for a while, and DICE said this week that it is “preparing significant changes to progression that will address many of the things we’ve seen players asking for.”
They follow this up by saying that they will be “sharing more details in March”. With the fickle games industry the way it is, however, the question is whether anyone will still care by then.
Ubisoft unveils a “personal gaming assistant”
More Ubisoft press, this piece with slightly less butthurt than the last one.
Ubisoft have announced a new edition to the Ubisoft Club (the what?), something called Sam which is apparently a personal gaming assistant. So what the hell does it do?
It seems to provide personalised tips for you based on a profile – so in a specific game it might tell you about things you haven’t done yet. It also does the chatbot thing via your smartphone.
There was a video showing it in use which apparently made it look somewhat intrusive, but that video has since been removed.
David Jaffe’s studio lays off most of its staff
Jaffe is the dude behind the Twisted Metal and God of War series, and in 2013 he founded his own studio with the absurd title of the Barlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency.
It hasn’t exactly been a golden goose either, with the only release to date being the oddball PS4 release Drawn to Death, which was a third-person arena shooter that looked like it outsourced all the art assets to toddlers.
Now the studio has reportedly canned most of its staff, after an unannounced project was cancelled. I can only assume it was an RTS title where everything was built out of Lego.
Wait, actually that sounds cool as shit.
Star Citizen doesn’t allow you to keep ships you steal; disappoints everyone
The Early Access/Kickstarter/Alpha title that may never actually get a full release continues to put out updates on the progress of whatever the hell this game has now become.
I’m assuming by the end of this title’s development you’ll be able to use it to 3D print a sentient robot and live-tweet your grocery list.
What you won’t be able to do, however, is grow your fleet of ships through good old-fashioned space piracy. In a move which has angered the more sociopathic members of the fanbase, developer Cloud Imperium Games has decided that stolen ships will disappear when you log out. So you can use them for “joyriding, or sell them for scrap”.