A Week in Gaming

A Week in Gaming – Dawn of the Day Z

As the sun shines brightly this weekend in the UK, and the London 2012 Olympics comes to a close tomorrow evening, it’s time for another instalment in A Week in Gaming. As was the case last week, I will not be talking about the games I’ve been playing this week as I don’t have anything to talk about nor is there anything interesting to warrant discussion. Instead, we’ll take a look at some snippets of news from this week and my own thoughts concerning said subjects.

 

News Round-Up

Mafia 3 rumoured to be in development for next-gen

It’s been reported by sources close to eurogamer.cz that development on Mafia 3 is ongoing and due for release towards the end of 2013. The interesting part, however, is that the game will supposedly launch on next-gen consoles, possibly indicating an appearance of new hardware next year.

Eurogamer’s sources claim that development on the sequel was originally ongoing on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms before the switch to next-gen occurred last summer. The report is unsubstantiated but the claims only add fuel to the ever-growing rumours of new gaming hardware being unveiled next year.Whilst I do believe that the current gaming consoles still have something to offer in terms of games and experiences, I still think that it can’t be too long before we’re shown new hardware. The Xbox 360 has been available for over six years and that’s an extremely long shelf life for something of its nature. With games increasing in size, scale and resources required, there’ll eventually come a time when the current hardware just won’t cut it anymore and hopefully something new will arrive to fulfil the gap. It’s not like we can say that it’s not been long enough because six years is a long time and more than long enough to have a sizeable game catalogue built up in that period.

As for Mafia 3, I’m sort of looking forward to it and then I’m also not. Mafia 2 was a flawed game from beginning to end. Its story was told well and was somewhat interesting, and the open-world city was also well done, but it was too short and lacking on extra content outside of the main narrative, such as side-missions, and while the city was designed well, it felt like they didn’t use it as good as they could have. It had potential but didn’t make the most of it, in my opinion. I would most likely buy a third game in the series but it would be with some trepidation.

Source: CVG

Zombie mod Day Z to be released as a standalone title

Get ready to continue distrusting all human interactions and mowing down fields of the undead as Day Z, the excellent zombie mod for Arma 2, is being developed and released as a standalone game, it has been confirmed.

Originally released as a mod for the popular PC title Arma 2, Day Z grew to carry a substantial user-base of its own, which recently surpassed the one million mark. The developers of Arma 2 – Bohemia Interactive – are funding the development of the project with Dan Hall, the creator of the mod, taking the position of project lead.

The game will feature a ‘Minecraft-style’ development system, with players being able to purchase the title at a discounted price in its Alpha stage with updates arriving at frequent intervals up until the game’s proper release and beyond.

I’ve been a fan of Day Z for a long time now and this is irrespective of the fact that I’ve never played it myself. I’ve only seen videos of it online and it just looks totally immersive, atmospheric and mesmerizing. The player having to scavenge through supplies to collect essentials, as well as having to mistrust all human contact and fend off the attacking undead looks like a fantastic experience when combined. It’s unfortunate that the game it currently requires to play – Arma 2 – looks like it’s absolutely riddled with bugs and dodgy net-code. With the game getting its own release in the future, these issues will likely be nothing to worry about. In the future.

As I mentioned before, I have never played Day Z and you have no idea how unhappy that makes me. I would have put countless hours into the game if I had a PC capable of playing it smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately I do not and the only way I can play Arma 2 is with the settings as minimal as possible, and even then it’s still choppy. While the news of Day Z getting its own release is good, I still highly doubt I’ll ever be able to play it with my current hardware. If there is a hell built specifically for gamers, I’m convinced that I’m in it.

Source: Destructoid

UK video-games market experiences worst week since records began

For the week ending July 28th 2012, the UK games market reportedly experienced its weakest week since records began, pulling in a cumulative total of £8.4 million, according to MCV. Only Sega’s two London 2012 titles – Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games and the official London 2012 game – were successes in the aforementioned dismal week.

Early chart data suggests that the sales for the weeks proceeding July 28th 2012 were an improvement on the record-breaking low but still show an indication that the month of August will struggle to achieve anything significant, though it will benefit from large-ish releases such as New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Sleeping Dogs – both eagerly anticipated titles.

I don’t think it’s difficult to understand why the shockingly low sales figure occurred. Put simply – the summer release calendar is truly dreadful. The only games to see a release, if any, are usually forgettable experiences that will be played for a short while and then promptly ignored. There aren’t any games releasing any time soon and such an empty release schedule, coupled with warmer weather and the Olympics currently occuring, is bound to cause a few problems for the market with people not buying anything because it’s not there.

Occasionally a title will launch during the summer period that achieves success in the sales and critical reception, such as Deux Ex: Human Revolution last year, and it makes you wonder why publishers choose to ignore this part of the year for releasing their games. Sure, the bigger titles – Black Ops 2, Halo 4 etc – are better suited to the Fall period but for titles that would probably be devoured by the stronger competition, such as Far Cry 3, releasing them at a time when there literally is nothing to compete with wouldn’t be a bad idea. Obviously the above are just examples as Far Cry 3 isn’t even finished yet but the same applies regardless. Plus it would solve the problem of the Fall period being notoriously saturated with new releases that some people’s wallets just cannot keep up with.

It just seems silly to have three months of the year deliberately ignored and then having dismal sales figures like this emerge as a result. There is no competition to be experienced in this period. To me, that would sound like an opportunity to make use of but clearly not to the publishers of the industry, unfortunately.

Source: MCV

Black Ops 2 multilayer reveal unveiled

Ahead of the game’s massively hyped launch later this year in November, a multiplayer reveal for Black Ops 2 went live earlier this week, either to praise or dismay depending on those that watched it.

The reveal itself confirmed quite a lot of details. For instance, dolphin diving is back, there’s a weird e-sports mode in there, the futuristic setting is quite apparent with the gadgets on offer and vice versa. Those that were expecting/hoping for a radical change to the Call of Duty formula will be disappointed as not much appears to be different in that department. That being said, it does look like Treyarch are at least branching out from the repetitive dross of the last few titles and that can only be a good thing, at least in my eyes.

It’s no secret that Call of Duty has been getting progressively stale as the years have gone by. The franchise has been stuck in a rinse and repeat cycle and the unwillingness of the developers in charge to move away from that has stagnated any progression the series could have benefited from. Treyarch have promised changes and while I easily see them as the more competent developers of the series, I’m still sceptical that much will be different. The multiplayer reveal looks nifty and all but it didn’t instil the impression on me that any true significant changes have occurred other than the futuristic setting.

I will definitely buy Black Ops 2 when it launches but I really hope it’s not an unbalanced calamity like MW3 was. Another year of that and I don’t think I’d be able to continue with the series without feeling like I was contributing to something that didn’t deserve it. Black Ops 2 needs to be above the rest of the series. It needs to be different, stronger and I still have some confidence that Treyarch can pull it off.

You can watch the trailer either by clicking the source link below or from the embedded video at the end of this post.

Source: Digital Spy

Wii U box art confirmed

Nintendo’s latest home console – the Wii U – launches in a few months and yet we know nothing about it except for its specifications and its game catalogue. Well, while we still await the confirmation of what it’ll actually cost and the specifics on when it’ll launch and where, we at least know what the box art will look like, as confirmed earlier this week by gametrailers.com, who received word from an Ubisoft PR rep that the art was authentic.

Retailer Amazon initially posted pictures of the images and speculation surrounding the artwork possibly being real began at that point. A PR rep for Ubisoft, whose games were the subject of the images Amazon published, confirmed that the images were real and thus the box art for Wii U titles has been unveiled as a result.

Sporting a minimalist blue design with an orange ‘Nintendo Network’ logo at the side, the design doesn’t look too bad. It’s also nothing particularly special but sometimes the less there is, the more there is, so to speak. The smaller header also seems to allow more of the actual game artwork to be shown off rather than be cluttered up. It’s simple, recognisable and also kind of typical Nintendo. Now all we need is a price, launch date confirmation, titles releasing at launch etc. Better get moving lads. 

Source: Gametrailers

And now we come to the end of this week’s post. Any thoughts concerning the above? Anybody else cursing their inability to play Day Z like I am? Excited for Black Ops 2 or totally uninterested in it? Any thoughts regarding the way publishers ignore the summer period for releasing games? Hit the comment box below. It’s all yours! I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and if not, well, that sucks. 

Also, here is the multiplayer reveal for Black Ops 2 for the lazy folk who didn’t click the source link above. Just kidding, of course!

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