14 February, 2016

This Week In Videogames – 14/02/2016

There’s plenty of videogame love to go around this weekend, we’ve got stories from the degenerate streets of New York, the besieged Gothic Sector, Inabayama Castle, and more!

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016

Oh Yeah, Multiplayer

Star Wars: The Old Republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire’s new Chapter, Anarchy in Paradise dropped this week, alongside a HK-55 oriented side mission and some welcome news about non-story content updates, PvPlayers rejoice – I’ll fetch the rope myself for that one.

Knights of the Fallen Empire is about as divisive an expansion as I could imagine, for players like myself, who revel in Bioware’s Star Wars storytelling, it’s fantastic. But its solo focus has naturally left the more social players, those there for the MMO side of the equation, in the cold until now. On the latest developer livestream, Bioware announced a new PVP arena map coming to Rishi, and a new Warzone map set on Odessa.

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 swtor rishi pvp arena

Both maps are due to arrive on the public test server in two-three weeks, though there’s no full release date set for the Rishi arena. The Odessan Warzone map is scheduled to launch in April alongside Chapter XII, this map will feature cross-faction teams and be narrated by Lana Beniko. The Warzone is a king of the hill-style affair, with two-five capture points spawning on the map at any time.

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 swtor odessa pvp warzone

They also confirmed that Chapter XI: Disavowed will launch on March 10th, on the 8th with subscriber early access. By the sounds of it you’ll be joining up Major Jorgan and Havoc Squad, of the Republic Trooper storyline, to strike deep into enemy territory. Subscribers as of March 1st will also get a HK-55-styled helmet. Upcoming quality of life improvements and the Eternal Championship were also discussed, if you’re interest, you can find both and an archive of the livestream by following the link below.

(Via Dulfy). 

Conversations Are Happening

A few weeks ago Capcom filed a trademark for Onimusha, a long slumbering series that reigned undead and triumphant on the PlayStation 2. In an interview with the Daily Star, linked below, producer Yoshinori Ono revealed that discussions were happening as to the future of the series.
“Conversations are happening at high levels 
This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 onimusha warlords yoshinori ono
"I've spoken internally with people who made Onimusha with me originally and talked about maybe how interesting it would be to revisit that series.  
"But fans should know that we’re not further down that road than the discussion phase. 
"We [Capcom] realise the need for different series to maybe come back into the forefront and although there’s nothing to talk about right now, I’m sure in the future there will be news on variety of series that will keep the fans happy. 
"[Fan's] favourites are going to come back."
Yoshinori Ono is executive producer of the upcoming Street Fighter V, and worked on the original Onimusha: Warlords.

Onimusha: Warlords was a hugely influential game for me, now years later I’m beginning to see all the huge ways small parts of it have changed the way I play games, what I expect from them, and more broadly, the themes and styles I gravitate towards in other art forms. More than any other, Onimusha is the game I want to see revived, or even just remastered – as Capcom is one to do. But hell, ‘we’ve milked our current franchised, time to revive the dead ones’ sounds terribly depressing.

(Via Daily Star).

More Fridges You Say?

The rumours were true, Tom Clancy’s The Division is getting another beta, an open one this time that is set to start next week. Xbox One players can get in on February 18th, PlayStation 4 and PC on the 19th, the beta can be preloaded from the 16th. Here’s the latest trailer, showing of the enemy factions old and new:

The open beta will feature all of the closed beta content, in addition to a new mission ‘Subway Morgue’, introducing the new ‘Cleaners’ faction and engineer Paul Rhodes, which will unlock the first upgrades for the tech wing. The Dark Zone has also received some tweaks, as shown below.

(Click to enlarge).

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 the division open beta notes 1

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 the division open beta notes 2
This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 the division open beta notes 3This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 the division open beta notes 4

Intriguingly The Division will, on the consoles, allow players to customise their graphical experience, in a manner similar to all reasonable PC ports. Consoles players can adjust the severity of chromatic aberration, in addition to image sharpness through anti-aliasing, all in service of putting the ‘performance versus quality’ choice in the hands of the player – for what’s it’s worth the closed beta performance was consistently good without any tweaks. 

(Via Gamespot [1] [2], Reddit). 

Schreier’s Crystal Ball

Ubisoft is threatening to release all manner of titles within their next fiscal year, from April 1st 2016, to March 31, 2017. With For Honor, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Watch Dogs 2 all slated, as well as ‘a brand new franchise’ with a “strong digital live service offer”. Given how badly The Division and Watch Dogs one repeatedly slipped their windows, I seriously doubt all of the above will make it, but we’ll see.

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 tom clancys ghost recon wildlands

As you no doubt noted, there’s no Assassin’s Creed title in that list, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier was right yet again. In a post on the UbiBlog, Ubisoft announced the off-year, not confirming its rumoured ancient Egyptian setting, but I know where my money’s at.
“This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.”
No Assassin’s Creed games, aside from the two Chronicles games they quietly plopped out, and this month’s Assassin’s Creed Identity on mobile… They’re not games obviously.

(Via Gamespot, UbiBlog).

Broken Promises

Schreier was also right about the shakeup of the Destiny schedule, developer Bungie announced that a “full sequel” is in the works for a 2017 release, it was originally slated for 2016. Sometime in Spring an update will “feature a significant Light increase, a bunch of new gear to earn and equip, and new challenges for PvE players seeking some more fun experiences and replayability”, with a larger expansion hitting later in the year.

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 destiny

If you’re at all interested in Destiny, or Bungie, or stories of tragedy in general, look no further than Schreier’s coverage.

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 halo 5 torque concept art sparth(Via Kotaku, Bungie).

Fiesta, Forever

While Bungie continues to flail ineffectually at scheduling and post-release support, their old child the Halo franchise has never been better nourished. Continuing in their monthly free content drops, 343 Industries released a preview of Hammer Storm.

The game modes Assault, Grifball, and Slayer Fiesta well be added, alongside a new map called Torque; all that was shown was a cropped version of the concept art to the right, I pulled the full version from Sparth’s Tumblr.

Of course, there will be another hefty drop of REQ cards. Of the few they’ve revealed we know the Brute Gravity Hammer will be making a return. Less costly are the changed coming to the armour and emblem colouring systems; the 32 colours are swelling to 60, with what sounds like a real black being added. Emblem ‘harmonies’ (colour palettes) are being removed in favour of individual colour selection.

(Via Halo Waypoint, Tumblr).  

The Whisperings Of The Trailer God

Now let’s get back to the games that matter; the Warhammer ones. Battlefleet Gothic Armada dropped another trailer, this time showcasing the Chaos fleet and its demonic progression, narrated of course by my favourite disembodied Focus Home Interactive voice talent. 

A New Breed Of Conquest

I have no shame admitting the scepticism I held over Creative Assembly’s announcement of Total War: Warhammer, despite how it may seem from the outside, the pull of Warhammer is not the same as that of Total War. Of the battles I had no concerns, but until this week, campaign dynamics were bothering me more than I care to admit.

There are two developer blogs I would direct interested parties towards, both linked below. The first discusses perhaps the most radical change to the Total War formula to date; not all regions can be occupied by a given faction. For example; the humans of the Empire cannot settle into Greenskin mountain holds. It iss lore friendly, and I hope long-term gameplay friendly too; there’s a point in every other Total War when my faction grows too big to be threatened, thus killing my interest. Total War: Attila appealed so much because as the Western Roman Empire, I was caught in a storm of attrition and loss that lasted for dozens of hours, and I don’t believe I ever truly grew to an invulnerable size.  My worry now is that without that conceptual goal of domination, the campaign may lose its purpose.

The second post details the minor factions, their role in the campaign along with a map of all initial starting locations. It tells of a campaign with the potential to be wondrously complex.

(Click to enlarge).

This Week In Videogames 14/02/2016 total war warhammer map minor factions

And finally, a short walkthrough of the campaign was released, following the Empire. Narrated by Al Bickham, it gives a good look at the some of the new campaign mechanics, including those unique to the Empire, and the ability to rename your officers – hurray! 

(Via Total War Wiki [1] [2]).

German Sausage

In the event that you haven’t had enough of Warhammer, Total War, or strategy games in general, Sega have launched another ‘Make War Not Love’ event. Now three years in the running, the event sees Creative Assembly and Relic Entertainment, studios owned by Sega, beseeching their fans to play their games. This year a third challenger has entered the mix; Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II.

In essence it’s whichever game logs the most wins by players in game, factored into some nebulous weighting system. In 48 hours cycles old Sega titles will be free to download for the leading community, with a game-specific DLC made free for the overall winner. In the case of Total War: Attila, it will be the upcoming Slavic Nations culture pack. 

A Company of Heroes 2 win will see the British Forces standalone multiplayer expansion made free, while Dawn of War 2 offers the Tau Commander for Retribution’s Last Stand mode.

A side effect of this, is that the Relic and Creative Assembly Twitter accounts ramp up into a slagging match over the course of the competition, with gems such as this:

The competition rules are explained on the official site website linked below, but perhaps more clearly on the Total War Wiki.

(Via Sega, Total War Wiki).

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