27 September, 2015

This Week In Videogames – 27/09/2015

On this week’s agenda; videogames, old and new with just a tendril of disappointment, followed by a smothering of VR, some of which is straight up depressing, for people who like REAL games anyway! Enjoy!

This Week In Videogames – 27/09/2015

Eighth Reich

Wolfenstein: The New Order anyaVoice actors are great for leaking stuff; it’s not that they’re all immoral scumbags so much as they work on a lot of projects, and remembering dates and NDAs requires so much effort. Actress Alicja Bachleda-Curus, the voice behind Anya, BJ’s love interest in 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, not so gracefully betrayed the existence of a sequel, saying, “…now we’re working on a second one…and it will take roughly two years.” Implying a release in 2017, neither publisher Bethesda nor developer MachineGames have commented on the rumour, but The New Order’s director expressed the desire to create a sequel last year.

(Via Polgyon).

Hardline Casing EA Access Vault

Visceral’s cop shooter Battlefield: Hardline will join the swelling ranks of ‘free’ games offered by EA Access sometime in October. EA Access is a subscription service, only available on the Xbox One, offering discounts on all things EA, early access to upcoming games, and the Vault; a large selection of games available to download and play in their entirety, all for $4.99 per month. Hardline enters hot on the heels of Dragon Age: Inquisition, while it may not be game of the year material, Hardline is an intriguing branch of the Battlefield series – I might argue it is the best of the modern Battlefield titles, and Matthew would call be crazy!

(Via Eurogamer).

Dawn of War steam free update temple of cyrene Decade Of War 

Speaking of free games, the Dawn of War franchise has been free to play this weekend on Steam; that’s two games and a total of five expansions – real expansions, big expansions, not like Destiny’s paltry offerings. All of course steeply discounted at 75% off, but what’s more exciting is the new (free) content; the original Dawn of War (released in 2004) has received a new multiplayer map called Temple of Cyrene, and Dawn of War II (2009) landed a selection of wargear for campaign play. Still no word on the rumoured Dawn of War III however!

2014 Was Truly The Age Of Dragons

Dragon Age: Inquisition, our 2014 Game of the Year is getting a Game of the Year Edition in little over a week. Releasing October 6th, this version will of course contain all of the additional content; including Trespasser, the recent and final piece of downloadable content. Sadly, the additional content has to be downloaded; it is not included on the disc. 

(Via PC Gamer).

Todd Howard Is Special

Fallout 4’s most recent trailer (below) shows off the character systems, it continues to employ the SPECIAL stats but the perk trees have received a significant overhaul, visually at least.  The perks are organised by the SPECIAL stat, with ten levels of different perks, each perk also has multiple ranks with different effects; equating to 275 different options. The level of perks available is determined by the character’s SPECIAL stats, meaning if you pour all your points into say Charisma, you can unlock the higher level Charisma perks early on. Perhaps most impressive is the bendy Pip Boy arm showcased at the beginning of the video.

Bait And Six

So the Rainbow Six: Siege closed beta launched on Friday and I played a few matches (we’ll have video up this week); struggled with the matchmaking, suffered host migrations, and squinted at poorly contrasted text on grungy menus, but came away feeling pretty certain I was going to pick it up. It is awkward to play, sluggish, looks downright ugly, and in many ways gives the impression it fell off the early Xbox 360 line-up – but it’s a beta, and the game isn’t slated to release until December 1st this year. However, despite trotting out the famous actress Angela Bassett in the middle of the Ubisoft E3 press conference, to talk about her role in the game, Siege does not have a single player component. Scott Mitchell, Art Director on Siege – and ironically a character from the Ghost Recon series –, had this to say on the matter at EGX 2015:

“There is no story mode per se. You go through training, where you get to experience different operators and their devices. You can play against enemy AI in co-op through all the maps. You can customise matches, so that’s what we’re offering on the single-player side of things”.

The game will launch (at full retail price) with 11 maps, with more being released after the fact as free downloadable content.

 (Via WhatCulture).

“Those Damn Millennials!” – Sierra 117

When Fireteam Osiris goes to war, they go loud and creative, they rev the anime into the red and looked awesome doing it. Blue Team on the other hand display no such sense of style, though Master Chief does make his complete disregard for UNSC property plain to see; shooting out view ports and abandoning a transport in the middle of a teeming asteroid field. Halo 5: Guardians got another trailer this week, this time the Blue Team opening cinematic, check it out below. 

All Call No Duty

As disappointing as I imagine this news could be to a certain audience of people, I can’t say I’m terribly surprised; this year’s Call of Duty will not feature a ‘single player’ campaign on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Weapon Paint Shop and eSports features will also be absent from the older generation of hardware.  Black Ops III debuts a new style of Call of Duty campaign with greater scope than ever before, offering four player co-op that Activision says, “…could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware.” The old generation version will only contain the competitive multiplayer and zombies game modes, at a discounted price of $49.99.

call of duty  Black Ops III no campaign on old generation

(Via Destructoid). 

Hoping On The VR Train

Virtual Reality’s been in the news oh for months nay years now, but I’m still not convinced it’s anything but a boondoogle – like most of the CES show floor. It doesn’t matter how well Polygon’s Ben Kuchera details the sense of presence and adrenaline the best VR demos evoke, I simply have not seen nor read about a videogame experience I need that only VR can provide. The closest would be space sims like Elite: Dangerous or EVE: Valkyrie, but Elite at least exists perfectly well on a flat screen already. First-person is understandably the focus of VR, and of course guns and violence is a language the videogame industry is fluent in, so Epic’s Bullet Train demo (running on the Oculus) should be a natural fit right? Take a look for yourself below.

Kuchera admits that the demo isn’t fun to watch, and that the enemies are as blundering and ineffectual as they appear, offering no sense of danger, but that the sense of death-dealing is powerful. Over at PC Gamer Wes Fenlon described it as silly rather than edgy, though did point out that Epic made the demo in just 10 weeks.

(Via Polygon, PC Gamer). 

samsung gear vr $99On the Samsung side of things, the Gear VR headset which launches in November this year, will cost only $99. That’s cheap, real cheap, not including the Samsung phone necessary to power it however, but even so it’s less costly than a gaming PC. The low price point will theoretically make it appealing to mass market, though it does leave me wondering if this market actually exists. My doubts aside, Gear VR could be the key to main stream acceptance, assuming the experience of strapping your smart phone to your face and watching the battery drain at an alarming rate is a positive experience. It clearly isn’t as ‘sexy’ as the more powerful VR headsets, but it could prove vital to the long term success of the technology.

(Via Gamasutra). 

To wrap up this week’s news helping and our VR musings, I bring you the words from Oculus’ Chief Technology Officer and videogame icon, John Carmack. These words may fill you with hope for the future, or as was the case with me, compound the belief that VR is a stillborn infant we have to accept isn’t getting up any time soon.

john carmack oculus gear vrAt Oculus Connect Carmack discussed the importance of Minecraft  on VR saying, “It was my holy grail,” and that he thinks “…it’s the single most important application for VR…”. According to Carmack the deal was difficult to close because of Microsoft’s ownership of Minecraft developer Mojang, but he’s clearly a believer stating, “I definitely played more hours of Minecraft VR than all other Gear VR games combined.” 

Granted he was referring to Gear VR, not the more power Rift, but I can think of no statements concerning VR development that would have disappointed me more than those. Especially coming from the man heralded – whether rightly or not – as a visionary of videogame technology. It’s not that I don’t want to play Minecraft in VR, I quite like Minecraft and I’m sure that sense of being in huge construct of your own design would be exhilarating. But it’s a known quantity, it isn’t new nor exciting.

(Via Gamasutra). 

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