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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Resident Evil, Dragon’s Crown, Dishonored 2?, One Piece: Warriors 2, Grand Theft Auto Online, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Battlefield 4, Xbox One, Guardians of Middle-Earth, Humble Origin Bundle, Xbox One Delay, Diablo III.
August 18th – August 24th
Sunday, August 18th
Disney Infinity will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, WiiU, 3DS, and PC.
Monday, August 19th
Sir, You Are Being Hunted will be available for the PC.
Hate Plus: ~Mutes Golden Days~ will be available for the PC.
Tuesday, August 20th
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU and PC.
Saints Row IV will be available for the PC.
Divekick will be available for the PS3 and PS Vita.
The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series will be available for the PS Vita.
Wednesday, August 21st
Flashback will be available for the Xbox 360.
Thursday, August 22nd
Neverwinter: Fury of the Feywild will be available for the PC.
Friday, August 23rd
Disney Infinity will be available (UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, WiiU, 3DS, and PC.
Saints Row IV will be available (UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified will be available (UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
The Wonderful 101 will be available (UK) for the WiiU.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be available (UK) for the Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU and PC.
The future revealed
Confirming that Resident Evil 7 is actually in progress, Capcom has been talking about what it hopes to accomplish with the game. Michael Pattison, former Capcom marketing boss, stated that the poor feedback received from fans regarding RE6 has caused the developers to look toward returning to the game’s survival horror roots.
Pattison remarks that consumer response may have had its positives “but it was a mixed bag, as we saw from the review scores. We have to got to take that on-board, we can’t ignore that, and we have to take that onto the next game when we make the next Resident Evil. With Resident Evil 6 specifically, we probably put too much content in there, there were comments from consumers that said it felt bloated. The Leon missions went down very well, and because we did Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS, there was a cry out for us to focus our attention on survival horror, rather than be too many things to all people. You’ll find where we go next will likely be more targeted at our core fan base.”
Pattison indicates that there will be a Resident Evil 7, stating, “A lot is said about the saturation of this zombie, post-apocalyptic survival horror. But it is still alive and well. The Last of Us shows a good direction of what the consumers want. Tomb Raider as well, we spoke to R&D and they looked at that and they enjoyed that experience. I think that proves there is still a strong market for that sort of content.”
European release announced
The 2D action-RPG Dragon’s Crown will be launching on the PS3 and PS Vita on October 10th in Australia and October 11th in Europe. Additionally, some European retailers will be offering an exclusive Dragon’s Crown art book if you pre-order the game.
The side-scrolling hack ‘n’ slash game was released in North America earlier this month and has thus far received some rather favorable reviews.
Arkane Studios on next project
A new project is being teased by Arkane studios. They say that it will have similar features to Dishonored plus there is a chance that it will also have a multiplayer component.
Raphael Colantonio, Arkane’s co-director, wouldn’t confirm or deny work being done on Dishonored 2 but he did state that much of the game play would have similar aspects to Dishonored. “I can’t say exactly what we’re working on yet, but I can say that it’s definitely going to be a similar type of game. Choices, multiple objectives, branching paths, and things like that. Those are our core values and they will stay that way.”
Dishonored was one of those rare games that released purely as a single player game, no multiplayer features. Something not often done these days, sadly. It is not clear if the studio’s next game will release in the same manner. Colantonio explained, “We might be interested by multiplayer. And this would not necessarily be the traditional multiplayer approach. But primarily, we are storytellers. That’s the part we like. So as long as multiplayer does not go against that – which is unfortunately often the case with multiplayer because you have to remove any story bits because they go at odds with the strict values of multiplayer – [we're interested].
“But yes, generally we’re more into single-player. Someone playing at their own pace, which is another thing that goes against multiplayer values. In multiplayer, there’s a group, so everyone has to worry about going forward or being shot at. But we’re also keeping an eye out for ways to do multiplayer the right way.”
I would love to see a Dishonored 2, and if they can make the mulitplayer the way they want, following the Dishonored core values, then that would be fine with me too. Frankly, single player and co-op is all I really play as multiplayer can often just get too nasty for my taste.
Next month the latest of the One Piece series, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, will be a digital exclusive in North America for the PS3. The game was released in Japan last March for both the PS3 and the PS Vita, however, Namco Bandai recently announced that its western release would only be for the PS3. The reason for this change has to do with the struggling sales of the PS Vita.
You can expect to see the game in the PlayStation Store starting on September 3rd for about $50. Like its predecessor, game play will be similar to that found in Dynasty Warriors. The press release confirms that, “In One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 players will be able to immerse themselves into the ‘New World’ and dive into huge power clashes that can only be seen in game. With a very expansive cast of Pirates and Marines to choose from, players will be able to harness the incredible powers and stylish techniques of all their favorite characters and take down hordes of enemies that will flood the screen in exciting Dynasty Warriors style.”
Rockstar has recently announced “a dynamic and persistent online world for 16 players” in their new Grand Theft Auto Online game. They explained that this mode will be tied to Grand Theft Auto V at first, the intent is for the online game to grow into its own separate game which will incorporate other locations.
Rockstar explained, “Grand Theft Auto Online is a dynamic and persistent online world for 16 players that begins by sharing gameplay features, geography and mechanics with Grand Theft Auto V, but will continue to expand and evolve after its launch with new content created by Rockstar Games and the Grand Theft Auto community. Grand Theft Auto Online takes the fundamental Grand Theft Auto concepts of freedom, ambient activity and mission-based gameplay and makes them available to multiple players in an incredibly detailed and responsive online world.”
The beauty of Grand Theft Auto Online, according to Rockstar, is that “players have the freedom to explore alone or with friends, work cooperatively to complete missions, band together to participate in activities and ambient events, or compete in traditional game modes with the entire community, all with the personality and refined mechanics of Grand Theft Auto V.”
You will be able to invest in your character, customize appearance, improve stats, purchase personal property, customize vehicles, and get involved in missions either alone or with others. The jobs and activities you participate in will earn you reputation and cash, which will open up some new opportunities for you to rise within the criminal ranks.
Rockstar says that “The world of Grand Theft Auto Online will constantly grow and change as new content is added, creating the first ever persistent and dynamic Grand Theft Auto game world. Access to Grand Theft Auto Online is free with every retail copy of Grand Theft Auto V and launches on October 1st.”
Leslie Benzies, president of Rockstar North, gave a few more details, explaining that it is “a different entity, a separate thing, and it’ll grow on its own. It’ll be GTA Online; it’s not part of GTA V. Obviously it’s set in the GTA V engine, but it’s going to grow and evolve into its own thing.”
You will be able to access GTA Online about two weeks following the launch of GTA V. It will be an extra character on the “Switch Wheel” and will require a code rather than a sizable download.
Out now for iOS
As of August 15th, EA and PopCap Games have launched Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time on iOS through the Apple App Store.
Featuring three new worlds, new plants and zombie types, and over 60 levels, the free-to-play model was supposed to come out this last spring, but was delayed. Allen Murray, PopCap’s senior producer reported that the delay was because they wanted to test the game through several servers.
We haven’t yet received any news about the game’s release for consoles or PC.
Stats transfer to next-gen
DICE states “We got your back” as they announced that all of your stats from Battlefield 4 will carry over to the next gen consoles. DICE made the announcement on the same day that Activision announced all of your Call of Duty: Ghosts stats and downloadable content would transfer between current gen and next gen consoles.
DICE has also announced that they will offer Premium subscription for Battlefield 4 which you will be able to get digital expansion packs plus weekly content and personalization options. Battlefield 4 Premium subscription will also be transferable between current and next gen consoles. While there was no price given for the subscription, the Battlefield 3 Premium subscription cost $50.
This week, August 20th, Electronic Arts, owner of DICE, will offer a first glimpse of Battlefield 4 Premium content during their Gamescom briefing. They will also be presenting Need for Speed Rivals, FIFA 14, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, The Sims 4, EA Sports UFC, and Command and Conquer.
While the Xbox One and PS4 versions of Battlefield 4 don’t yet have a release date yet, the game will launch on October 29th for the Xbox 360, PS4 and PC.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president, believes that the Xbox One “changes everything.” He states that the console changes entertainment so deeply that it is difficult to describe. ”I have my Xbox One at home now, so I’m getting to use it. It’s hard to talk about all of the ways that this console impacts my entertainment experiences.”
Spencer explains that the console is truly multi-purpose, allowing you to move from game to live content with just the press of a button. “And then I think about games as really showing up as a first-class form of entertainment for everybody. Because before, I was really either on my Xbox 360 or I was probably on my Comcast TV box. And those two things…never the twain shall meet. There was no overlap.”
According to Spencer, Microsoft has used the lessons they learned from social gaming on the Xbox 360 and applied them to every form of entertainment found on the Xbox One. The console launches in November at a price of $500.
Coming to PC
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment recently announced that on August 29th, Lord of the Rings MOBA Guardians of Middle-Earth will launch for the PC.
Zombie Studios is developing the PC version rather than Monolith Productions who created the original console versions. The PC version will be available through Steam, allowing leaderboards, Big Picture mode, matchmaking, and controller support. All of the console version’s DLC will be included in the PC version of the game. This means all the map skins, all 36 Guardians, and the Survival gameplay mode will be included.
Here is the really good news, if you have purchased Guardians of Middle-Earth for the Xbox 360 or the PS3, you will be able to download the PC version free, although Warner Bros. hasn’t yet provided details on how this promotion will work.
Alternate skin options for the Guardians will be exclusive to the PC version of the game, for example, Gandalf will have a White and a Grey version. The standard game will be available for $20, and there will also be a variety of bundles available for purchase as well.
Pay what you want
EA is offering six games in their latest Humble Origin Bundle which you will be able to pay what you want to get. The minimum of $1 will get you Dead Space 3, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Crysis 2: Maximum Edition, Medal of Honor, and Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box. If you pay the average price of $4.81 (at the time of this writing) you can also get Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3: Starter Pack, which contains The Sims 3 and expansions Late Night Expansion Pack, and High-End Loft Stuff.
All but Battlefield 3, Dead Space 3, and The Sims 3 can be downloaded on Origin, otherwise they can be received from Steam. All of the proceeds that EA receives from the Humble Origin Bundle will be going to charity. You get to choose which charity you want your donation to go to. Choose between Human Rights Campaign, Watsi, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, American Cancer Society, and American Red Cross.
This promotion will be available until August 28th and all of the games will run on PC, however The Sims 3 will also run on MAC.
Release delayed in several countries
Xbox One was expected to launch in November in 21 market regions, however, Microsoft recently reveled that only 12 of those 21 previously announced regions will get the console on time.
The delayed regions include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland where the Xbox One won’t be launching until early 2014. Microsoft explained that they needed more time to localize the system’s interface, adding more voices and languages, as well as “build partnerships to bring apps and meaningful local content to each country.”
The good news, I guess, is that pre-orders made in those regions will now come with a free game, although we don’t yet know which game that will be.
The unaffected regions where launch is expected to be on time include Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, U.K., U.S., and New Zealand.
And in related news, the Kinect will no longer need to be plugged in for the Xbox One to function, as was previously the case. Marc Whitten, chief product officer for Xbox, recently revealed that recent policy change. “Games use Kinect in a variety of amazing ways from adding voice to control your squad mates to adding lean and other simple controls beyond the controller to full immersive gameplay. That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.”
Whitten did explain that the Kinect sensor can be completely disabled in the Xbox One’s settings and any game that will be using Kinect will prompt the user to re-enable the sensor. So these ongoing policy changes sure do make the console look a lot different than the one we were originally introduced to last May. Which pleases me and causes me to give the Xbox One another look.
Teasing ‘Reaper of Souls’
“Death, at last, shall spread its wings over all.” That is a quote from Diablo sourcebook, Book of Tyrael, which appears on Blizzard’s Battlenet site. It appears that it may be a tease for Diablo III regarding something called Reaper of Souls which is expected to be revealed at Gamescom this week.
It has been speculated that Reaper of Souls will be the first expansion pack for the game. Last November Mike Morhaime, the studio’s president, had told investors, “The most important thing for us always comes down to the quality of the expansion and the gameplay, and so that will be a big factor in terms of driving our schedule.”
We hope to have much more information for you following Gamescom. In the mean time, do be aware that Diablo III is expected to launch on September 3rd for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, as well as launching next year for the PS4.