PLEASE NOTE: I apologise for the stark change of colour in the ‘What I’ve Been Playing’ section. I have no idea why it suddenly went like that and I have tried many things to get it to be in line with the rest of the post, none of which have succeeded. The images weren’t supposed to be all centered either but they were when I previewed it so I just made them that way. These things do not usually happen so please excuse the formatting problems.
Before we get down into this week’s post, I want to share some brief thoughts on last night’s opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Quite frankly, I thought it was exceptional at showcasing all things British. There are few times when I can honestly say that I am proud of this country, and it’s not hard to see why as they don’t make it easy, but last night was definitely one of those moments. All eyes were on London to pull off a ceremony to rival that of even Beijing’s technical wonder but as far as I’m concerned, we even surpassed them. Yes, a lot of it would’ve been relatively ‘wtf’ to other countries but it was tongue-in-cheek, quirky and often humorous, all of which we’re very good at. It even got me somewhat interested in watching the actual sports of the Olympics, something which I never do.
Now, getting back on track. I’m sure that you’ll notice the excessive mentioning of DLC in this post and that wasn’t intentional, believe me. I only realised whilst writing it. Still, don’t let that detract you from the rest of it.
Post-launch DLC plans for Assassin’s Creed 3 outed.
According to a letter supposedly sent to Gamestop employees earlier this week, Assassin’s Creed 3 has a dedicated team working on the game’s DLC calendar post-launch, even including a rumoured season pass for the extensive add-ons for players to enjoy post-release.
As you’ll see in the comments section in the source link posted below, some people see the words ‘DLC’ and ‘season pass’ and immediately turn away. Whilst it’s understandable that hearing that they’re already working on DLC sounds as though they’re deliberately excluding content in order to sell it later on, we’re only in July; the game releases at the end of October. I’m pretty darn sure that development on the main game has yet to conclude and won’t for some time yet.
The letter, if I’m reading it correctly, indicates that the dedicated DLC team hasn’t even been assembled yet and might not be until the game is released, or at least close to it. If that’s the case, the extra content they create would have to be released after the main game, as attempting to include it in with the rest would likely delay its release.
To sum up, people saying they’re cancelling their pre-orders over this are ludicrous. As I’ve said countless times before, DLC is entirely optional and whilst it remains that way, I don’t see a basis for so many complaints that people lodge because of it.
Left 4 Dead 2 DLC delayed a week on Xbox 360
Valve’s co-op zombie shooter Left 4 Dead 2 has had its latest – and long-awaited – DLC Cold Stream delayed by a week on the Xbox 360 platform, whilst it still managed to fulfill its release on PC and Mac on July 24th.
Cold Stream, which features a new community made map and a return of all previous campaigns from Left 4 Dead 1, had been in beta for a very, very long time on PC and its eventual release seemed like a myth that wouldn’t ever happen. Well it is happening, just not yet unfortunately.
Whilst I am looking forward to Cold Stream very much (mostly for the L4D1 campaigns as it’ll be like having two games in one), I still take issue with the fact that PC owners will get it for free while the 360 folk get stiffed yet again by having to pay for it, even if the cost is relatively small.. I understand that this is something to do with Microsoft rather than Valve themselves – who would gladly give it away – and that it’s been this way with previous Left 4 Dead DLC, but it still royally sucks. I would definitely play it on the PC if I thought that it could handle it, but unfortunately mine probably wouldn’t. Getting the short end of the stick regarding the DLC isn’t my idea of a good time, obviously, and even more so when we get it delayed as well.
Skyrim DLC fails to appear on other platforms despite exclusivity on the 360 expiring
Back when downloadable content for Skyrim was announced last year, we were told that the first two pieces of content made available would be subject to an exclusivity arrangement, making them unavailable on other platforms until at least thirty days had passed since their Xbox 360 release. Now, with that time frame having expired and Dawnguard still nowhere to be seen, many gamers are naturally asking ‘where art thou Dawnguard?’.
Bethesda’s marketing manager appeared on Twitter to say that they haven’t announced Dawnguard for any other platforms yet, which to some may sound like the DLC was never intended for anything other than the 360. However, given the game’s immense popularity on the other platforms, specifically the PC, they would be idiots not to release it there to those that would inevitably scoop it up the second it became available. I’m fairly convinced that Dawnguard will pop up at some point. It’s just a matter of when that’s in question.
Obviously the exclusively agreements that Microsoft manage to secure don’t affect me given my position as a 360 gamer, but I’m beginning to see – and understand – the frustration some people have with them. When the exclusively period has already expired and there has still been no word whatsoever on releasing it elsewhere, it just leaves an incredibly sour taste behind as opposed to an excited one.
Battlefield 3: Aftermath DLC detailed
Earlier this week, Dice unveiled details about the fourth expansion pack for Battlefield 3, titled ‘Aftermath’. Due before Christmas this year, Aftermath will feature a new game-mode and four new maps promising urban warfare with emphasis on vertical and horizontal combat, as well as new vehicles and assignments to complete.
You may naturally be wondering why they’re already talking about an expansion pack due for release in December when the pack scheduled for September has still yet to surface. It’s quite simple – to attract purchases of Battlefield Premium. There will inevitably be players interested in it but are hesitant due to not knowing the specifics of what they’ll be getting. Now that they have some idea of what they’ll be buying, it might entice them off the fence.
Judging from how Dice are going about revealing details about their upcoming expansions well in advance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see details about pack five, titled ‘End Game’, appearing in the coming months, even though it’s only due to appear in March 2013. I like the way they’re doing things as it makes for less people making blind purchases of Premium without knowing what they’re getting. I’ve said before that I consider the service a nice deal for those who enjoy the game, but it would obviously be better if you knew what you were getting.
OnLive partners with Ouya for cloud gaming
Cloud gaming service OnLive announced earlier this week that it had inked a deal with Ouya, the Android console that came into existence via a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. The deal means that OnLive’s catalog of games and demos will be available to be streamed on the miniature console when it’s eventually released.
For those of you who are unaware of Ouya and what it is, it’s a tiny Android console that will eventually launch with a $99 price tag, which equates to roughly £75 in the UK. The project received its funding via a Kickstarter campaign that received far more donations than what it was aiming for by interested parties who wanted to see the project become a reality.
Personally, whilst I don’t have an interest in Ouya, I can see the device finding a small corner of the market to make its own. It’s clearly not going to compete with the big boys but it’s not trying to. Ouya will be open for developers to create their own games how they see fit ;hackers are encouraged to tinker with the device and there seems to be an emphasis on creative, yet cheap titles to enjoy. Clearly people are interested or the campaign wouldn’t have exceeded its own expectations.
However, if Ouya offers streaming access to sites like YouTube, Netflix etc. (which seems likely) on the TV, and all for a low price compared to other devices, it would be a handy invention that could enjoy much success. Given that the console is based off Android, any developer can make their apps available on it, from games to anything else.
As I said, I personally don’t have an interest in Ouya and it took me a while to understand just what purpose its existence could have, but the more I hear of it the more I appreciate what it’s trying to achieve. It might, just might, not be a dismal failure.
What I’ve Been Playing
My gaming activity this week has been divided mostly between Black Ops, Minecraft and a return to Halo Reach, which I hadn’t touched since March 2011. Before I talk about Halo Reach, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new series surrounding Minecraft. I was thinking of creating a new world and detailing my adventures in said world, from exploration to creating structures and what not. I would also post images directly from the game. It’s just an idea but considering how I seem to spend so much of my time playing it, I figured that I could get some creative use out of it at the same time.
Anyway, moving back to the topic at hand. I made a return to the world of Halo Reach this week and boy how I have missed that game. The multiplayer still feels as robust and interesting as it did back when I last played it. Plus, the plethora of game-modes available to play make it so that no two consecutive matches feel the same. When I play a game like Black Ops, which suffers from a huge list of balancing issues, and then pop in a game like Reach, the sense of equality and fair-play between the players is extremely noticeable. Plus I don’t lag nearly as much on Reach as I do on Black Ops, which I lag on even with a four bar connection (anybody that can explain this to me would be hugely appreciated).
Considering this post seems to be heavily focused on DLC, I’ll mention the offerings available for Halo Reach. For some reason, despite playing the heck out of the content that Halo 3 had available post-launch, I was never even remotely interested in Reach’s content and I’m still not today. The maps they had in them just never looked intriguing to me and certainly not interesting enough to spend money on. I think the fact that the Forge mode in Reach that offered the potential to create completely unique maps within a familiar setting probably contributed to my total disinterest in the DLC. I’d be curious to know if anybody else felt the same way regarding Halo Reach’s add-ons.
Finally, to bring things to a conclusion this week, I’ll talk briefly about future posts and my plans. Firstly, when the TV season returns in September, I will most likely continue writing these weekly gaming posts but without the ‘What I’ve Been Playing’ sections. It strikes me that the news round-ups are probably the best parts of these posts so I will likely just focus on that aspect. They’re certainly my favourite parts anyway. Also, my TV Season Overview series still has two parts to go, with part five due next week, and that should be concluded in roughly mid-August. I’ve been trying to continue that series on a fortnightly basis and so far I’ve succeeded in keeping to that time frame.
Also, keeping with the TV theme, I want to discuss the television that I have been watching through the Summer hiatus. I plan to do that around the end of August before the new season begins and due to the fact I have a lot of things to cover, it may become a two or three part series that will extend into the beginnings of September.
Anyway, those are just a few plans of mine for near-future content. As for this week’s post, your opinions are, as always, encouraged and welcome, whether they be on the topics covered in this post or other things you want to talk about. That’s what the comment box exists for so feel free to use it!