This week is Thanksgiving here in the US. With that comes traditions and one of those happens to be sales on just about everything. So this episode we cover a little bit of the sales on systems that we’ll see in stores on Thursday and Friday. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of Xbox One offers and very few PS4 offers. Regardless, this seems like a good time to jump on the next gen train if you haven’t already. As well, it might be time to grab the OTHER system you may have been eyeing over the last few years. Although, as always, it really comes down to the games and if the system has something you want to play.
Speaking of playing, some of us are playing Battlefront and some of us have already gotten our fill after maybe about 5 hours of play or less. Matt bought the game and there’s no surprise there. But James, Nate, and myself did rentals that we’ve already returned. I don’t think any of us outright hated the game, but, for me, it’s just not my type of game. Outside of the gameplay, which, for something like this, is massively important, we praise pretty much everything else it’s doing.
Sony appears to have added PS2 emulation to the PS4, and just plum forgot to announce that fact to the world. The news was revealed by Eurogamer affiliate Digital Foundry, which found that downloadable versions of PS2 Star Wars titles included in a holiday bundle were using emulation.
Eurogamer confirmed that these old games—Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter—were being emulated, rather than brought to the PS4 in some other manner. First, when you start one of the emulated games, a system prompt appears telling you that Start and Select have been mapped to the right and left side of the DualShock's trackpad—a feature that isn't available to third-party software running on the PS4. Second, there's a system in place for managing PS2 memory cards, much like on the PS3. Third, the aforementioned PS2 logo appears every time you start a game. And fourth, in-game button prompts are still mapped to the PS2 controller. Indeed, as Eurogamer says, "nothing has been changed at all, effectively ruling out a remaster."
The emulation seems to be very well done as well, with improved resolutions and very solid framerates.
So what does this mean going forward? It's unlikely in the extreme that you'll be able to pop in your disc copy of Timesplitters and shoot some monkeys, since the PS4 drives weren't built to accommodate the PS2's DRM. It's much more likely that Sony will start selling digital copies of PS2 titles on the PS4 at some point going forward. Is there any particular PS2 game you're most looking forward to playing again?
The behemoth known as Black Friday will soon be upon us, and retailers are starting the battle early. Microsoft today announced a temporary price drop of $50 on most Xbox One bundles through the end of next weekend. Bundles (including the Gears of War Collection) will be as low as $299, with others selling between $349 (Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider) and $449 (Elite 1TB models)
Today's indie selection is Hard West, a game which mixes XCOM-like turn-based tactics and plops it in an old west populated by ghouls and spirits. The Western as a genre is generally underrepresented in games, especially with the horror bent the devs seems to be aiming for.
We're just starting to see the end of the holiday rush, and games are already starting to fall from the spring release calendar. This time it's Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex Mankind Divided, which had been set to launch in February, but is now slated for an August release. February is still pretty stacked with XCOM 2, Street Fighter V, Far Cry Primal and Mighty No 9 all set for release that month. On the other hand, August is traditionally a bit of a gaming desert, so a dose of late summer cyber dystopia may be just what the doctor ordered.
Some of us are stepping out of our vault at the following link.
I should honestly let one of the other guys write this. By that I mean Matt or ArJay. Outside of James and myself, they are the only two who’ve put in any kind of time with Fallout 4. Or say, enough time to have a better assessment of the game than I do.
Fallout 3 never got its hooks into me when it released and it still hasn’t. Fallout 4 isn’t doing it either. However, it’s taken only the first 30 minutes to an hour of the game for me to feel that way where it took a lot longer for me to realize in Fallout 3. While the game, on PC at least, doesn’t seem like it was rushed, I personally feel rushed playing it in those first 30 minutes. There is obviously some odd special connection a player makes with a character when you’re literally BORN in the game.
So back into the vault I go. Where I sit and play Destiny while waiting for the next distraction to come along. I’m not very hopeful for Battlefront, but, like anything else, I’ll give it a chance and see.
Seminal action RPG System Shock is getting a remake, courtesy of an outfit specializing in making old games work on modern computers.
Night Dive Studios, which has spent the last few years working on re-releases of PC classics, has acquired the full rights to the System Shock franchise, and they're working with original artist Robert Waters on a remake. The studio was also the driving force behind the re-release of System Shock 2 a couple years back on GOG after rights issues had kept it out of any (legal) digital storefront.
At this point there are no firm plans for a sequel, as a job of that scale would be impossible for a small outfit like Night Dive, but I think this article is an invitation for developers to pitch themselves for the job.
Also of interest are the games Night Dive has failed to bring back into the world. They made attempts to score re-issues of No One Lives Forever and HR Geiger's Dark Seed, but rights issues stymied those efforts.
No timetable for the System Shock remake has been announced.
Today sees the launch of (among other big titles) Bethesda's Fallout 4.
I often link Bethesda and Bioware in my head, not just because they're close to one another on my mental rolodex, but also because their creative arcs seem to similar. Each have spent the last decade plus owning one particular genre of gaming: Bethesda with the big, open world RPG, Bioware with the narrative-driven, action RPG. Each are so associated with those genres as to almost define them. I also think of Leslie Nielsen.
Yes, the star of the Police Squad!/The Naked Gun, one of the key supporting cast of the Airplane films, and a man pretty much synonymous with goofball comedies of the 80s and 90s. But until his star turn in Airplane, Nielsen was a veteran dramatic actor. He was the Brian Cox or JK Simmons of his day, a very good actor who rarely got his name on the marquee, but was an important part of a lot of successful dramas. Until one day he was cast in a deadpan role in a screwball comedy, and people realized just how funny he could be. It shows that sometimes a talented person who has walked the same path for a long time can be great doing something else. Unfortunately more and more in gaming, we don't see that late-in-life switch.
Studios make a hit game, and they often find themselves stuck doing the same game - or even the same franchise - over and over again. I mentioned Bioware and Bethesda, but the same could be said for a dozen well known studios. DICE with large scale shooters. Rocksteady with Batman. The late, lamented Kojima Productions with Metal Gear. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Some days I sit back and wonder what Bethesda could do on a competitive eSport title, or how good a JRPG from Rocksteady would be. Maybe a true horror game from Bioware, or space opera from Ubisoft Montreal.
So, what mash-ups of developer and genre/franchise would you like to see?
If you like the audio version, the book is much better at the following link.
I remember a time when I never thought we’d ever get good movies based on comic books. Then we did. Then I remember when we thought we’d never get a good movie based on a really classic comic book story - then that started happening as well. It...kinda feels like we might be approaching that point with good movies based on video games. And maybe even television too, given some recent news.
The Warcraft film doesn’t have to get it right, it just has to get it close enough that people will go see it. If it can make the money, the studios won’t be so hesitant on going to the well again for another movie idea. But it can’t just be Warcraft that does this. There needs to be a good string of successful video game based films to really get that ball rolling. And we might just be getting there with this plus Assassin’s Creed on the way next year.
Microsoft has released the initial list of backwards compatible titles for the Xbox One, and it's a bit on the disappointing side. There are a few big names on the list - Borderlands, Mass Effect, all of the Gears of War titles, South Park - but they're dwarfed by the number of 'classic' re-releases and old XBLA games. Another wave of games will be added next month - including Halo Reach and the Bioshocks - with more added on a regular basis afterwards. But the list is a bit slim for anyone looking to totally ditch their 360 in the near future.
You can see the full list of 104 games by hitting the 'more' button.
A Kingdom for Keflings
A World of Keflings
Alien Hominid HD
Assassin’s Creed II
Asteroids & Deluxe
Banjo Kazooie: N n B
Bellator: MMA Onslaught
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Blood of the Werewolf
Call of Juarez Gunslinger
Centipede & Millipede
Deadliest Warrior: Legends
Discs of Tron
Dungeon Siege III
Earthworm Jim HD
Feeding Frenzy 2
Gears of War
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3
Gears of War: Judgment
Halo: Spartan Assault
Joy Ride Turbo
Just Cause 2
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
LEGO Star Wars: TCS
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug XX
Might & Magic Clash of Heroes
Monday Night Combat
Monkey Island 2: SE
Monkey Island: SE
Ms. Splosion Man
Mutant Blobs Attack
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
NiGHTS into dreams…
OF: Dragon Rising
PAC-MAN CE DX+
Perfect Dark Zero
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
Plants vs. Zombies
Prince of Persia
Rayman 3 HD
Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.
Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe
Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog 3
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Super Meat Boy
Supreme Commander 2
Tom Clancy’s RainbowSix Vegas
Tom Clancy’s RainbowSix Vegas 2
Toy Soldiers: Cold War
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
Viva Piñata: TIP
It's Blizzcon weekend, and I'll get more into the gaming stuff this weekend, but let's kick off with the flashiest googaw of the show: the trailer for the upcoming Warcraft feature film.
Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and starring Travis Fimmel (Vikings) among others, it's one of the more ambitious blends of live action and CGI. I'm not well versed in the lore of the franchise, but I'm surprised to see the Orcs portrayed as anything but slavering enemies for the good guys to slaughter. Big flashy action movies - especially ones more computer than man - don't often do nuanced antagonists.
Bethesda has dropped what seems to be the final pre-launch trailer for Fallout 4. Rather than the pithy, cinematic short set to 'The Wanderer', this video goes in-depth on multiple levels. You get a healthy dose of gameplay, and a deeper look at the story than in any previous trailer.
The companion Pip-Boy app has also be released on Google Play and the iOS App Store. The Pip-Boy app connects with your game (once you have it) and lets you use it as a second screen, or check in on your wandered while you're away from your game machine.
Activision Blizzard today announced plans to acquire Candy Crush Saga publisher King in a deal valued at $5.9B. The deal will require the assent of both boards, and the approval of Irish regulators, but both are seen as nearly certain, and the deal will likely be finalized this spring. King owns 3 of the top 10 grossing games on the Google App store, and Candy Crush alone has 500M active users. Activision Blizzard owns three of the most valuable properties in traditional gaming - Call of Duty, Starcraft and Warcraft - among other assets.
Just as a comparison for how much money this deal includes, Disney paid $4B each for Marvel (2009) and Lucasarts (2012), so this values King at 3/4 the combined value of those two entities. This would likely be the second richest deal in gaming history, behind only the Activision-Blizzard merger, which went for $18B back in 2008.
So what makes King worth anything near that amount? In a word: growth. According to Reuters, the traditional retail game market is expected to grow at about 7% a year, while the mobile game market's growth is pegged at about 21% annually. That's a huge gap between two industries which are so closely related. But King is only the latest in a succession of mobile game champs, with previous titleholders Zynga and Rovio unable to recreate the success of their mega hits. Activision Blizzard has spent the past 15 years doing just that with Call of Duty and Starcraft/Warcraft. Activision Blizzard is betting that they can continue the success of Candy Crush going forward better than any purely mobile publisher could.
We’re still broken after 9 years at the following link.
First things first, the audio for this episode is kinda screwed up. Not sure what’s going on but we’ll see about getting it fixed over the week in time for our next episode. It sounds fine on our end when we’re doing the show but playback and the reports from those in the chat room tell a different story. We apologize.
Batman Arkham Knight is finally released once again to the public but it’s still broke. WB is trying to make things right by offering folks who buy the game all the other Batman Arkham games they have on Steam, but that isn’t really much of an incentive. Most of us already own the ones we want - they’ve been out for years now. Nice try. Also, they are now offering refunds on the game through the end of the year. Even specifically stating there are apparently problems they can’t fix.
Whatever. This has turned into a joke, at this point, if it wasn’t one already. Buy it cheap (very, very cheap) or just go get the non-broken console version of the game. You’ll be better off. Hell, better yet, buy TWO copies of Fallout 4 and give one to a friend who bought this piece of crap back when it was first on sale (that’s actually just wishful thinking on my part - do whatever you want).
A new Star Trek TV series in the in the works, and it will be coming to an unexpected outlet.
The new series - produced by Alex Kurtzman - will debut on CBS in January 2017, but subsequent episodes will air on the CBS All Access digital platform. So far that's all we know about it. Will it be in the same timeline as the JJ Abrams films? One of the classic series'? Or something altogether new? Also, what sort of budget will it have if it's destined to be on an almost unheard of streaming service? Lots of questions still to be answered.
[Update] - More info from Star Trek.com. CBS All Access will cost $5.99/month, which is surprising. I was expecting something more akin to FXNow, where you get access free with a confirmed cable/satellite subscription. I'm not sure how many people will pay $6/month for a Trek show, plus streaming of CBS shows and local programming.
They also confirmed a bit about it's setting.
The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.
Swedish publisher Paradox Interactive has announced the purchase of White Wolf Publishing and all of it's IP from CCP (makers of EVE Online). The full details of the deal have not been revealed, but Venture Beat reports that White Wolf will continue to run as a separate business.
CCP has owned White Wolf since 2006, but nothing of substance came from the union. The planned World of Darkness MMO was canceled in 2014 after years of often troubled development. Paradox generally develops and publishes fairly hardcore strategy games - including Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings and Cities: Skylines - but also goes for odd games like Magicka. I presume that this deal is the first step towards getting a Vampire: The Masquerade or larger World of Darkness title into development, but they're understandably mum on details at this early date.
Nintendo has announced the first mobile game they're developing on concert with DeNA, and it's not what you were expecting. It's not a match 3 game with Koopa shells, or a Kirby tower defense. No, it's...a Mii maker, dubbed Miitomo. The base app will be free to play, with cosmetic microtransactions. As for what it does, here's Polygon's description.
Miitomo will reportedly use Nintendo's Mii characters to communicate with other players, apparently in an attempt to foster communication and sharing with people in real life. According to Nintendo's presentation slides, Miitomo users will answer questions from their Mii which will then interact with friends via the "safe and secure" communication app. Nintendo hopes Miitomo will enable connections between friends who might be reluctant to contact each other and further deepen friendships.
In a lot of ways it's classic Nintendo: zigging when other companies are zagging, but still leaving the consumer with a lot of questions. I really don't know what to make of it. Miitomo sounds like something that should be a fairly basic and unremarkable part of the upcoming NX platform, not the first fruit of the Nintendo-DeNA partnership. I'm glad that they're not going with a super exploitative mobile game right out of the gate, but this feels very strange.
Miitomo is set to launch in early 2016 on major mobile platforms. A total of 5 smartphone games are expected by 2017 from Nintendo and DeNA.
Earlier today, Nintendo of Japan held their "Corporate Management Policy Briefing/Semi-Annual Financial Results Briefing"*(Fiscal Year Ending March 2016-October 29, 2015). Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo of Japan, touched upon topics of 3DS/WiiU software and hardware sales, Nintendo eShop digital sales, and the first of their mobile titles (Miitomo) being delayed to March 2016.
Another topic that Kimishima discussed (and I'd like to focus on) is Nintendo of Japan's plan of expanding their IP by entering the realm of mobile gaming/applications. Despite this move, dedicated gaming hardware will continue to be Nintendo of Japan's primary focus.
The first step towards going into the mobile gaming arena, will be with a brand new membership in place of the discontinued Club Nintendo (R.I.P., Sept 30, 2015), which is revealed as "My Nintendo". Learning from their experience with Club Nintendo, the name of the game is "ease-of-use"; in addition to using you Nintendo Network ID to log in, you can also use your e-mail address, or social networking services such as Twitter/Facebook/Google+, etc., allowing users a variety of methods to access My Nintendo, and the process of creating an account has been streamlined for a hopefully smoother user experience. This will be the first step in making a bridge between consoles and mobile devices.
On the website itself, users will be able to purchase 3DS/WiiU software from a PC or mobile device. After viewing articles or videos for a particular title, users can then purchase and immediately download the content to their 3DS/WiiU systems. After purchasing, Nintendo will look at a user's profile, purchase records and play records to send them notices and gifts based on the games that they've played.
My Nintendo will utilize a brand new point program, which includes game systems and mobile devices. Back then, Club Nintendo worked in that users earned points for registering a game and taking an included survey. My Nintendo works in that not only will you earn points for purchasing a game, you can also earn points for playing them. Points accumulated from console or mobile games can then go towards digital add-on content, original merchandise, or coupons for discounts towards new software.
My Nintendo users will be able to connect with one another by establishing "Friend" relationships. This also extends to console/mobile devices. Befriending users works the same as Wii/DS friend Codes, Nintendo Network ID: both parties must both agree in order for it to go through.
Kimishima mentions that going forward, My Nintendo will eventually gain a cloud save feature, allowing users to store their game saves and character data, and that Nintendo is working to provide membership benefits in real-life facilities such as theme parks, movie theaters and retail outlets.
Both My Nintendo and the delayed Miitomo, which was originally destined for late 2015, will both be available come March 2016.
If you've ever played Rocket League and wondered "you know, this would be better if the ball was 10 times it's normal size", then the free November update is your jam. This update adds mutators, which let you alter things like the size and shape of the ball (cube mode), gravity (moon ball), respawn time, car speed and more. Psyonix will also be adding a Mutator Mashup playlist which rotates through a selection of the more popular mutators.
Then, in December, they add ice hockey mode, which is apparently a highly requested feature. And both updates will be free to players on both platforms.