Destiny Launches Globally on September 9th, 2014
"We first shared the design pillars of Destiny less than one year ago. We promised to redefine what players should expect from a Bungie game. We said we wanted to change the way people play games together. We set our bar high. For us, Destiny represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Bungie’s “shared-world shooter” — the first title coming out of the studio’s gates since 2010’s Halo: Reach — has finally been dated. Destiny finds a home on both current and next-gen consoles, releasing for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4 simultaneously.
The public beta for the game begins Summer 2014, starting on Sony’s systems first.
The Father of Survival Horror Wants to Bring Scary Back
Shinji Mikami, the Japanese game designer heralded as The Father of Survival Horror since unleashing Resident Evil unto the world in 1996, says gamers are too inured against being scared these days.
"Not much has changed when it comes to instilling terror in the player," Mikami said, talking up Edge Online at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. “But people have got used to the tropes of horror and they know what’s coming next, so in that sense it is harder to make them afraid.”
Shinji and his newly constructed team at Tango Gameworks are sure as shit going to try to rattle your nerves, though. Their vessel is the promising, tensely atmospheric The Evil Within — a new survival horror game steeped in classic scares. According to Mikami, it’s not about reinventing the genre; it’s about digging up its roots and latching on to what worked in the first place.
Constant gunplay, sporadic Quick-Time-Events, mindless action — what’s become routine in modern horror games the likes of Dead Space and, sadly, current Resident Evil installments are being done away with in The Evil Within. Contrary to this generation’s teachings, survival relies on far more than a loaded gun.
"The scariest parts will be when you encounter enemies that cannot be killed with a gun," says Mikami. Instead, you’ll have to use your environment and quick thinking to trap chainsaw swinging freaks lest you’re looking to lose a few feet above your shoulders.
When Bethesda, Tango’s parent company, initially announced the horror title (under the name Zwei), Shinji stated it would be his last directorial effort. A year later and the designer, thankfully, has changed his tune.
“I don’t think I’ll ever completely stop doing creative work,” he said. “We’re a studio that makes things, and that means we need a leader who also makes things. So I don’t think I’ll be taking my hands off the wheel completely. I want to give younger staff the chance to make games – that’s something I’m very passionate about – but I’m not sick of making games or anything. I want to continue in a creative role. That will never change.”
Naughty Dog Founder Calls Nintendo “Irrelevant” in the Console Biz
Mr. Jason Rubin, co-founder of acclaimed studio Naughty Dog as well as the last CEO at the helm of THQ before its public dissolution, recently had some biting remarks for industry titan and household name Nintendo.
A frequent, and outspoken, guest of the Geoff Keighley hosted Bonus Round, conversation on a recent episode gravitated from who will be successful in the new next-gen console race (Sony or Microsoft) to how Nintendo, in Rubin’s opinion, barely qualifies as a contender.
Rubin says both Sony and Microsoft stand to do “extremely well” because “Nintendo has stumbled.” Then he landed this juicy sound byte on the Japanese publisher’s chin: “Nintendo is irrelevant as a hardware manufacturer in the console business right now.”
In a cordial showing of impromptu damage control, Rubin rained praise on the company, calling them a “worldwide treasure” and that no developer alive “will ever be Miyamoto,” as in Shigeru, the living legend responsible for creating almost every A-list first-party franchise in Nintendo’s catalog. Rubin’s singeing comments stem, no doubt, from the year old Wii U’s struggle to place itself in consumer’s living rooms. To add some perspective, IGN noted that the PlayStation 4 outpaced the Wii U’s life-to-date sales in the U.K. over the weekend.
Hearing that, it’s easy to chart the Sega course for Nintendo, in which they burn up their manufacturing business and stick strictly to software, doomed to becoming a third-party publisher in order to keep breathing. For Rubin, that may be the ideal outcome. "It is a crime that we do not play those games on the systems that we have.”
But Nintendo could hardly be called “irrelevant” when it comes to the handheld market, which they have in a damn sleeper hold. The 3DS and its various incarnations are dominating the world, time and time again topping the NPD’s hardware list. Sony’s own bid at handheld success, the PS Vita, has fought to find even remotely the same traction since its launch.
Rubin’s words may sting, but if truth hurts, they sting for a reason. The Wii U left a gaping maw of an opportunity for the competition to seize upon. For now, the console war is between two companies, and despite helping define the home console as we know it today, Nintendo is not one of them.
China’s Call of Duty Invaded by Zombie Terminators; Related: I’m Moving to China
So Chinese gamers have cultivated a market where Activision’s annual cash-in, followed up by a year of expensive DLC maps, just isn’t supported.
Instead, Acti tapped its Shanghai studio (along with series familiar Raven Software) to condense the series’ hallmark gameplay and features into a single free-to-play title incidentally named after all that anyone truly gives a shit about — Call of Duty: Online.
The game draws from a smorgasbord of maps, guns, perks, and attachments found in both the Modern Warfare and Black Ops games, making it a kind of Call of Duty Greatest Hits mix. Though lousy with micro-transactions (a lot of which are regionally tailored character customizations), that actually sounds… pretty friggin’ awesome.
But it gets awesomer! Robotic zombies. They were robots that became zombies. Or, wait, are they zombies that were turned machines? Something to puzzle over as you (you being China) mow them down in the new, legally trying “Dead Rising” Mode which sees the original Zombies map, Nacht der Untoten, reconstructed into the modern wasteland re-christened “Natch.”
"Dead Rising" and its unerring fight against the steely dead is coming to CoD: Online sometime later this year. If justice is a tangible thing and if something is smiling at us from above the sky, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to battle the robotic undead.
Is Game of Thrones Receiving the Telltale Treatment?
In the last few years Telltale Games has made a name for itself by accomplishing the impossible: Creating worthwhile licensed games.
Plowing through a rough start — Back to the Future: The Game was an enjoyable if hollow experience while their adaptation of Jurassic Park tried its very best to make you fucking hate Jurassic Park — Telltale has nailed their formula down to a science, churning out catch-you-off-guard critical hits such as The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season One.
If IGN’s sources are on the money, it now seems the Californian studio wants to travel to Westeros, adapting George R.R. Martin’s eloquently scribed, punishingly brutal high fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, into a new adventure game (more than probably, anyway).
Well, they might be. Or they might be adapting the inescapably popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, into an adventure game. At this stage, and without an official title, it’s unclear how much influence the new game will draw from the television series, if at all. If The Walking Dead is any indicator, Game of Thrones: The Game (my stupid tentative title for it) may present a wholly new story set in the universe of the original fiction — in this case, George R.R. Martin’s vision of Westeros, including the hulking super throne illustrated above.
Telltale’s official statement on the matter is that it has no official statement on the matter. It’s not like their plate isn’t full as is, either. Currently, their team is headlong into development for both The Wolf Among Us - Episode Two and the second, majorly awaited season of The Walking Dead: The Game. Still, the notion of marrying Martin’s engaging character and too-good-to-pull-away storytelling work with Telltale’s immersive, panic inducing “Choose Or Die” gameplay has me seriously anxious.
But if Winter is truly coming, given Telltale’s schedule, we’ve got a while before first snow.
Doom Co-Creator Leaves id Software for Good
John Carmack, one of the original fab four that founded id Software, has resigned from the company after clocking in 22 years of service.
An outspoken supporter of the Oculus Rift — do a Google image search for “John Carmack” to view hundreds of pictures of the man shoving the virtual reality headset in people’s faces, his own included — it was previously announced Carmack would assume the role of chief technical officer at Oculus VR. Bethesda Softworks, id’s parent company since 2009, was quick to assure the public that Johnny Boy would still remain on board as a technical adviser.
Given the headline, that obviously fell through. Taking to the internet’s megaphone, Twitter, Carmack explained in earnest that “it just didn’t work out.”
"Probably for the best," he wrote, "as the divided focus was challenging."
Alongside industry personality John Romero, Carmack created Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake. In other words, some of the most influential video games to ever hit the market, and instrumental in forming the FPS genre as we know it today (sans all the recent military games; unless the military is downplaying the amount of demons, nazis, and nazi-demons it fights on a routine basis).
Presently, John is exiting the studio he founded amid development on the long gestating Doom 4 — a title first announced in 2008. Production on the sequel is said to have run into several hang-up’s, not least of which was a forced rebuild of the entire game and concept once the original build was deemed wholly unsatisfactory (while leaked assets for the game looked promising as hell, apropos to Hell finally being unleashed on Earth, internal sources say the game just wasn’t very Doom).
In a statement from id Software, the studio reports that Carmack’s exit will not negatively affect current projects, his work on the id Tech 5 engine and related technology already having been completed. “We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”
EA and Disney’s Star Wars Deal a Decade Long Dynasty
The partnership between video game publisher Electronic Arts and entertainment empire Disney to produce games based in the Star Wars universe is reportedly a ten year deal.
Despite an early scare in which Disney, having freshly plucked the rights to the multi-million dollar franchise from Lucasfilm, stated intentions to move Star Wars away from big budget console titles in favor of the mobile market, EA reinstilled our faith in the force at E3 by announcing it’d be bringing the Battlefront series back to life under DICE’s tutelage. The news was a welcome departure from the grim future Disney preemptively foretold.
Beyond Battlefront, EA’s financial officer Blake Jorgensen said fans should look forward to a wide breadth of games based not just in J.J. Abrams’ new trilogy but titles featuring the whole of the extended Star Wars universe. “The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is it’s so broad and so deep you don’t have to do a movie game,” said Jorgensen, speaking at the UBS Global Tech Conference. “You can do a game that’s very focused on the world that’s been created around Star Wars.”
That’s not to say this new slew of games won’t mine Episode VII and its sequels for inspiration. Future games will indeed use assets introduced in the new trilogy, though Jorgensen was careful to note EA doesn’t plan on rushing movie tie-in games to hit any one film’s theatrical release. "We’ll try to align [new titles] with that marketing power that Disney has, but it won’t necessarily be aligned with the movies."
In addition to Battlefront aiming its blasters for a Summer 2015 launch, EA confirmed that DICE — you may already be enjoying their work on Battlefield 4 as we speak… which is rude, since you’re only half paying attention to this article — has already laid the early foundations for a number of Star Wars titles, all of which are implied to dip into various genres.
I’d call this a verifiable Star Wars renaissance not seen since Episode I opened the floodgates back in ‘99. Rest assured, even if the new films are as eye-gougingly bad, like then, at least we’re bound to receive a few memorable games.
Naughty Dog Lowdown - Uncharted PS4 + The Last of Us Story DLC
The famed Santa Monica based developer came at us last night with updates on two of its most coveted, Sony exclusive IP’s. Let’s dig into the less enigmatic of the two announcements:
Undoubtedly my favorite title of the year, the third-person apocalyptic heartbreak simulator, The Last of Us, has had story DLC quietly in the works over the last several months. Now we finally know the name: Left Behind.
A prequel to Joel and Ellie’s giraffe filled adventure, Left Behind focuses on Ellie and Riley (first depicted in the comic American Dreams), a rebellious teen whom Ellie befriends within the military operated boarding school she attends. Spoiler alert: Expect your emotions to be damaged.
Priced at $14.99, Left Behind will hit PSN early 2014. Watch the teaser trailer hereabouts (light on the “trailer,” thick on the “teaser”).
And now for something cryptic. Naughty Dog announced a new Uncharted game! Annnnd… That’s it. ND swears there’s revealing hints to be found in this trailer, but it takes a better fan than I to be able to spot the bastards.
What’s certain is that it’s setting course exclusively for the PlayStation 4. What’s uncertain is everything else: Is Nathan Drake back? What’s the official title? When does it take place? Is the love of my virtual life Elena back?
Nothing official has been plotted, though rumors are already suggesting Sir Francis Drake may be the protagonist, making this Uncharted a period piece. More on this diddy as it develops, folks.
PlayStation 4 Will Support CD and MP3 Playback… Someday
Following fan outcry over the PS4’s inability to play MP3’s and CD’s as well as its lack of support for DLNA, Sony’s Worldwide figurehead Shuhei Yoshida confirmed the features will be worked into the system post-launch.
Gabbing it up on Giant Bomb’s Interview Dumptruck, Yoshida admits his entire team was surprised to hear such vehement feedback over a feature that, apparently, nobody really talks about.
"It’s not like we actively decided ‘let’s not do this feature so people will have to subscribe to Music Unlimited,’" said Shuhei. "The focus has been more on the game features. Some of the features we wanted but we couldn’t get in on day one."
Yoshida goes on to say “the system guys” in Japan are already figuring out when to incorporate the omitted feature.
Sifting through IGN's comments section on the issue, there seems to be some confusion as to why MP3 and CD playback, in particular, is a big deal; one user even quips that Sony was correct in thinking nobody cared about the feature, that they simply saw the other guys had it and demanded their fanboy informed console decision house the feature, too.
Let me clarify why MP3/CD playback is important to me: motherfuckin’ custom tracks, son. That’s it. I love jamming to my own tunes while I game. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not like I’m masking Jack Wall’s score on Mass Effect or overlaying Stone Temple Pilots where Nobuo Uematsu should be. If I’m kicking on music, it’s usually to spice up the humdrum military anthems that accompany online sessions of Call of Duty or circumvent the head-on collisions caused when Skrillex splits my ear canal in Need for Speed.
Music Unlimited’s ability to play tunes during every game session leads me to believe that gone are the days of the PS3’s brutally selective custom track feature. Thanks for listening, Shuhei. Now knock your team’s heads together until the patch goes live.
Lord of the Rings Saga Gets Itself a Video Game Prequel
Thanks to its Game Informer cover debut the world is now privy to a new installment in the Tolkein birthed universe of orcs, hobbits, and pipe-weed toking wizards.
Introducing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a third-person action-adventure title tucked between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, developed by Monolith (F.E.A.R. and, more fittingly, Guardians of Middle-earth).
Journeying to both current and next-gen consoles, Shadow of Mordor sees you control Talion, a ranger newly recovering from a bout of being dead as hell. Upon resurrection, Talion learns he’s returned to the mortal coil with more than a few Wraith-y abilities, which come well in handy on his quest to the very heart of Mordor.
One key gameplay feature Monolith is confidently bringing to the table is the “Nemesis System.” Promoting every enemy you encounter up from “screaming practice dummy,” foes are given proper names and personalities. Say you tangle with an orc, who we’ll call “Yancy.” If Yancy survives your engagement, he’ll run off and continue to live, grow, and hone his skills just as you would with Talion until, inevitably, you cross swords with Yancy again.
Except, in this second duel, you’ll find Yancy is much stronger and even remembers your moves from your last dance, letting him counter and anticipate what you’ve got cooking. Every enemy in the game has this capacity to learn. The gameplay potential is mildly horrifying and bitchingly cool at once.
Coming to the PC, PS3, PS4, 360, and Xbox One, a full blown information lowdown can be found in Game Informer’s December issue.