Category: Features

Third Party Conferences at E3, What Will We See?

There are 3 third-party conferences this year as well as the PC Gamer conference, EA and Bethesda on Sunday with PC Gamer and Ubisoft on Monday, these are 1 hour-long showcases (except PCG) of their upcoming games to show off their line-up for 2016, 2017 and even beyond. I didn’t write about the PC Gamer Show because I didn’t know what to write but presumably Half Life 3 will be there or something.

Electronic Arts:

ea-logo-grey-723x250EA have moved out of the convention centre and their regular Monday time-slot into a new event held over the weekend called EA Play with a conference, here is their announced upcoming line-up:

  • Madden 17 (August)
  • Fifa 17 (September)
  • NHL 17 (September)
  • Battlefield 1 (October)
  • Titanfall 2 (likely November)
  • Mass Effect Andromeda (Q1 2017)
  • NBA Live 17 (Early 2017)

Unquestionably we’ll see all the first 6 titles, it would be a big surprise if we didn’t, I’m not sure what they will do about NBA Live 17 or if anyone even wants to see it.

They also have a bunch of other projects that are sort of announced or known to be coming:

  • Criterion are making a Go-Pro style stunt racing game which was originally shown at E3 2013 in a dev diary
  • Visceral are making a Star Wars game and have a second team I think
  • DICE, apart from Battlefield 1 are making Battlefront 2 (unlikely to be there I’d say, will presumably launch in Holiday 2017), the Battlefront PSVR experience which could be shown at the Sony conference instead
  • Motive, the new studio from Jade Raymond are making a new Star Wars game as well as helping with Visceral’s and a new IP but I suspect it will be a long time before we see any of their work
  • Respawn are making Star Wars games as well as Titanfall 2 but the former is incredibly unlikely to be there
  • Bioware are making a new IP and more in the Dragon Age franchise, its more likely we’ll see the new IP than a 4th Dragon Age game at this point I think, also a new expansion for The Old Republic isn’t impossible alongside Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Popcap recently launched Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2, whether they have any projects in the pipeline for consoles or mobile is unclear
  • Ghost Games are making a new Need For Speed but as a 2017 launch I doubt we’ll see it this E3

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Sony E3 2016 Conference, What Do They Have?

 

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Sony’s E3 2016 conference represents a chance for them to continue to appeal to their 40m user base of core and casual gamers alike as well as to VR enthusiasts who want in on the new technology with the PSVR headset.

Probably the biggest question for Sony is, will we see the Neo? Or will they want until later? I’m thinking that if it launches this year they might just show it at E3, but given they have a trifecta of events between September and December (TGS, Paris Games Week, PSX) there is ample opportunity for them to wait until later, which they might do even if it is 2016.

Sony have a variety of internal studios some of which are due an unveiling of their next project, whilst some others have just shipped:

  • Sucker Punch Productions released Infamous Second Son in March 2014, with the standalone First Light expansion releasing in August 2014
  • Sony Bend haven’t launched a new game since 2011’s Uncharted Golden Abyss and 2012’s downloadable strategy card game Fight for Fortune, both on PSVita. Their game is rumoured to be called Dead Don’t Ride for PS4.
  • Sony Santa Monica had an ambitious new IP cancelled in 2014, they are now expected to be making God of War 4
  • Japan Studio recently made Knack for PS4 launch, assisted with some partner studio games including Bloodborne and The Last Guardian, Knack 2 has been rumoured
  • Pixel Opus who released Entwined at E3 2014 could be due to unveil their game soon
  • New studio in the UK called “North West Studio” who are working on PSVR, its unclear how far along they are with anything.

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Microsoft E3 2016 Conference, What Do They Have?

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Microsoft’s E3 2016 Conference will be an interesting show to watch not least because they’ve done an admirable job of keeping leaks at a minimum, even if some pipes have started to burst around their hardware plans in the last few days.

They’re also in an interesting spot particular because changes to their first-party structure – with Twisted Pixel leaving and Lionhead & Press Play being closed mean they have very few internal studios:

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  • 343 make Halo and Halo 5 just launched, they’re partnered with Creative Assembly on Halo Wars 2, presumably Halo 6 is due in holiday 2018
  • The Coalition are making Gears of War 4 for release this October
  • Turn10 just launched Forza Motorsport 6 and as well as releasing DLC for that are presumably partnering with Playground Games for Forza Horizon 3 this holiday with Forza Motorsport 7 due in 2017
  • Rare are making Sea of Thieves which is due for release in 2016
  • Mojang make Minecraft and that isn’t even exclusive to Xbox

Microsoft have a long list of partner studios (more here) but unless they have some internal studios that they havent announced and have kept incredibly well under wraps they’re going to need new partnerships or to keep going with current long-term partners, I think this is an interesting strategy although curiously its at odds with what a lot of publishers are doing – Ubisoft, Electronic Arts for example are primarily moving development internally, we’ll have to see who Microsoft have managed to get as partners. (more…)

Most Wanted Backwards Compatible Games on Xbox One

Microsoft’s Backwards Compatibility program on Xbox One has already had some great games released on it with more coming each week, in my experience the games generally run well although some aren’t without fault.

The list in no particular order of games I’d like to see enter the program:

Vanquish (Platinum Games/SEGA)

vanquish-box-artShinji Miami’s third-person shooter made with Platinum Games has always intrigued me and has many fans, being a faster pace game than some of the other similar-ish shooters on the market sets its apart quite well.

It’s a game on my backlog and one that hopefully will get the BC treatment from SEGA, Platinum have created some great games of a nice variety and more people getting to try them is no bad thing.

Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway (Gearbox/Ubisoft)

game-banner-pictureIm not really clamouring for more World War II games but I was talking to someone about Hell’s Highway the other day and they made it seem pretty good. Truth be told ive never really played a Gearbox in any real capacity, I have tried the beginning of the first Borderlands a few times and Duke Nukem Forever but that’s about it.

Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games)

Red_Dead_Redemption_PicI own it digitally but have never actually gone through and played it. When the game leaked on Backwards Compatibility I played the beginning and it seemed to run well, if I’m honest I feel like Rockstar’s games (GTA in particular) feel awful to play with wooden character movements but this is regarded as such as a classic – and the game that killed my beloved Alan Wake at retail, that I really want to finally give it a chance to see if I like it. The western setting is a cool one as well, I enjoyed Gun by Neversoft but this is held in a much higher regard

Bully (Rockstar Games)

BullyAnother Rockstar Game this was ported to Xbox 360 early on in the generation and one I recently purchased on the Xbox Store. Released to some controversy on the PS2 (and renamed in Europe) it seems like a fun game and one that isn’t exactly a typical setting playing as a student in a school, it doesn’t really fit Rockstar’s current style either so that might be of benefit to it too.

Crysis 2 (Crytek/Electronic Arts)

crysis-2-News-Image-656x369No console is worth its sales tag until it can play Crysis, in this case I enjoyed the original on Xbox 360’s Games on Demand and havent got around to sinking my teeth into the sequel. Whilst fans of the franchise didn’t really seem to like the direction it went in after Crysis and Crysis Warhead, Crysis 2 seems like a decent middle point between the original and 3.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon/Far Cry Classic (Ubisoft)

FC3BDFar Cry Classic (another Crytek game) was one I enjoyed at a very low resolution and frame-rate on PC when it originally released, I enjoyed the way the trident were introduced and the more sci-fi elements of the game, unfortunately the last level was too tough for me a decade ago and I never finished it.

Blood Dragon was a pretty cool downloadable game which was built on retro over the top foundations and seemed like a fun side project after Far Cry 3. I’d be interested in playing both Ubisoft

Hitman HD Trilogy (IO Interactive/Square Enix)

Hitman-HD-TrilogyI mention the Trilogy because that is technically the game, the HD remaster of Silent Assassin and Contracts along with a bundled copy of Hitman Blood Money released in early 2013, unfortunately the very original “Agent 47” wasnt included but ive not played that or Hitman Contracts so hopefully IO will give me the chance to play Contract on Xbox One whilst I wait for them to finish the new “Hitman”.

Resident Evil 4 (Capcom)

steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_246714099_previewThis one is probably unlikely now it is coming natively to Xbox One and PS4 (along with Resident Evil 5 and 6) but I bought it quite recently in hope that it would be made Backwards Compatible at some point.

The game is considered a classic, my record for Resident Evil games is quite spotty, ive played Resident Evil Remastered, Revelations 2 and Resident Evil 5, I intend to play Zero and 4 at some point, hopefully the remaster/remake of Resident Evil 2 is good and they follow that up with RE3, then im getting close to a set! Great games though and a franchise I should have played more of.

Exit (Taito/Square Enix)

Exit-video-gameA fairly niche puzzle game by Taito originally for the PSP the original and its sequel were released on XBLA, it’s a very fun game with some tough puzzles but it was still very enjoyable. On Xbox it did feel a bit clunky but not enough to dampen the experience, I don’t think the Xbox version’s sold all that well though and they also had some content held back as DLC which I think annoyed some consumers too.

I’d welcome the chance to play the game again with the better d-pad on the Elite controller for sure.

Mark of the Ninja (Klei/Microsoft Studios)

NinjaKlei have made some great games including Don’t Starve and Invisible Inc, in 2012 they released Mark of the Ninja on XBLA (and Steam) which has a 91 metacritic and almost 1.5m owners on Steam. It’s a 2D side-scrolling stealth game with lots of options as you act like a ninja. The art style is a stylish as you’d expect from Klei, it seemed really good from what I have played and im hoping it ends up on Xbox One so I can finally go through it properly.

Project Gotham Racing 4 (Bizarre Creations/Microsoft Studios)

PGR4Bizarre’s PGR swan song before their ill-fated Activision buyout was a great game that still looks good and is very fun to play. With Microsoft focusing on the Forza franchise I think I’m ready to get back into a racer that feels and plays quite different, as much as I enjoy the Forza games I have fatigued a bit on them and having PGR4 more easily accessible would be great to play because its nice and different and we aren’t going to get another one any time soon either.

Blue Dragon (Mistwalker/Artoon/Microsoft Studios)

BDBlue Dragon isn’t really what I would consider the typical sort of game I would play, I got it free when I bought my Xbox 360 Elite console in September 2007 (I tried to swap it for a copy of Stranglehold but the store said no), when I finally got round to playing it I found a really great JRPG with a lovely art style, fun gameplay and good story. I played it for 35 hours getting to the third disc (if I remember correctly) before I played other things. It’s a well likely JRPG and it would be good to give more people a chance to play it.

Lost Odyssey (Mistwalker/FeelPlus/Microsoft Studios)

Lost-OdysseyThe last game in the deal between Mistwalker and Microsoft for JRPGs was the Unreal Engine 3 game Lost Odyssey, it’s on 4 discs to get all the content and is very well-regarded by those who played it. Unfortunately (as with Blue Dragon) multi-disc games of a certain nature aren’t yet supported by the backwards compatibility or Xbox 360 store, hopefully when Microsoft figure that out, we will get these two games on there.

Microsoft/Xbox at GDC (March 2016)

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In March the yearly Game Developers Conference will come around again in San Francisco, the event attracts over 26,000 attendees where professionals of all job descriptions come and attend or present over 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on a variety of game development topics (more here).

I want to take a look here at some of the sessions Microsoft and Xbox will be participating in or running themselves, in previous years Gears of War 2 was announced back at GDC 2008 and last year Phil Spencer announced their partnership with Motiga on Gigantic, it is not a big show for new game announcements and the like but it is an event that could have some interesting news for gamers at home about various things on the horizon.

This event is not to be confused with the Media Event for Xbox and Windows 10 on February 25th which is a completely different type of event (previews for press to play their Spring 2016 line-up)

Here are the most notable talks I found:

  • Speaker:  Max McMullen (Microsoft)
  • Format: Sponsored Session
  • Track: Programming
“DirectX12 can unlock incredible performance in your games and help you build your content pipelines for the future of gaming (including 4K), which we will demonstrate using real-world examples. We will cover the key concepts to get your existing DirectX Game ported to DirectX 12 and looking great and up and running as quickly as possible.”

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News surfaced today first via WinBeta.org that Microsoft are planning a media event in San Francisco for their Xbox and Windows 10 titles with hands-on previews available for members of the press for their line-up launching this Spring.

Here are the games they have down for release in that period:

  • Killer Instinct: Season 3 (Xbox One & Windows 10) – March 2016
  • Quantum Break (Xbox One) – April 5, 2016
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Xbox One & Windows 10) – Spring 2016
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Windows 10) – Spring 2016
  • Fable Legends Open Beta (Xbox One & Windows 10) – Spring 2016
  • Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) – Multiplayer Beta in Spring 2016

OriDE (more…)

Steverulez.com Game of the Year Awards 2015 (Part 2)

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Part 2 of my Game of the Year Awards with a bunch of new categories and my overall GOTY.

Part 1

Best Early Access Game

Early Access games are still in development working towards full release and so with that in mind I’ve given it a pass on launching this year, as it happens two entered Early Access this year and another two fully launched this calendar year too.

  • Mad Games Tycoon
  • Sheltered
  • Prison Architect
  • Invisible Inc

Winner: Mad Games Tycoon

MGT (more…)

Steverulez.com Game of the Year Awards 2015 (Part 1)

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The end of the year brings awards for games of all shapes and sizes, here is the first part (of two) detailing my favourite games in each category. All my awards are based on games that i’ve played at the very least extensively if not completed the story and played any multiplayer modes.

Part 2

Best Remaster/Collection

Lots of remasters and collections, I played a lot and enjoyed a lot of them, this was a hard one as there were some great games here:

  • Gears of War Ultimate Edition
  • Dishonoured Definitive Edition
  • Rare Replay
  • Resident Evil Remastered;
  • State of Decay Year One Survival Edition
  • Zombi

Winner: Gears of War Ultimate Edition (more…)

2016 Most Wanted

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Human Revolution was a huge surprise hit for me, I loved the stealth RPG style which worked really well and being a prequel to the original two games it meant I needed next to no knowledge of the franchise already. Eidos Montreal certainly earned my trust (I even quite liked Thief…) so August can’t come soon enough

  • Release date: 23rd August 2016
  • Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
  • Website

Quantum Break (more…)

16 more: New Backwards Compatibility list on Xbox One

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Microsoft came through on their promise to add more games to the backwards compatibility list this month with another 16 games just before Christmas, here is the list:

  • Braid
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution
  • Doritos Crash Course
  • Fable III
  • Halo: Reach
  • Hydro Thunder
  • Iron Brigade
  • Kane & Lynch 2
  • Motocross Madness
  • MS.PAC-MAN
  • Peggle
  • Portal: Still Alive
  • Spelunky
  • Splosion Man
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Zuma’s Revenge!

For me it’s a good list, I think there is some genuinely good games which people will be happy about in general, getting a lot of highly rated XBLA titles on Xbox One is important too as they are the digital back catalogues which a lot of people will have. (more…)

Kojima and Sony: A Natural Fit

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Last night Kojima and Andrew House announced the new studio from the Metal Gear Solid creator as well as a partnership with Playstation for the title – a new IP to come to Playstation 4 first followed by PC later on.

For me as a Kojima fan I’m really happy that he is getting stuck straight back in as a game developer and creator, no break (outside of the holiday Konami generously gave him…) but right back into the fold and is making something brand new, not MGS or Silent Hill or anything. Choosing the right partner was also important he in Sony he knows well and I think they will give him plenty of freedom and time to make what he wants, I’m sure he has an idea for the sort of thing he is interested in making and Sony will be aware of that but it shows a lot of faith from Sony to sign it when there is nothing tangible to show yet.

The other thing I’m pleased about is that for now at least they are an independent studio with a partnership, they have a good backer in Sony who don’t need this title now and by that I mean with the success of the Playstation 4 they aren’t relying on specific tent pole releases to kick them into gear and get the platform going, they have shown a willingness to delay titles like The Order 1886 and Uncharted 4 out of the holidays as they needed more time, this is good for Kojima and his new team. (more…)

Gears of War 4: Hopes and Improvements

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Stat and achievement tracking

Despite Gears of War 2 having the first proper achievement stats which end up becoming an OS feature in Xbox One and having a detailed War Journal of stats, Ultimate Edition is weirdly thin on this, they should have an incredibly detailed section on each achievement so you can see your progress.

There are multiple achievements for winning matches on every map, game mode etc yet they make it quite difficult to see which ones you have left to get, maps in particular is a bit of a nightmare and disappointing.

Also it shows you your progress via and a pop-up for some achievements in-game but doesn’t track them via the achievements app which seems silly to me. I love stats and they’re also very useful so hopefully they improve a bit with that for Gears of War 4.

Horde Mode 3.0 (more…)

Sony PSX Conference Hopes and Expectations

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With Sony’s PSX conference in about 3 and a half hours I thought I would give my hopes and expectations for it.

A more tightly produced show

At Paris Games Week Sony had a decent amount of content to show but did it in a largely waffly way, the presentation was lacking and there was a lot of what seemed like filler going on. Let the content speak for itself, show it off, give real details on what is being shown and then move on, if that means having a shorter show but is more tightly produced and come across better then people will like that.

Also waiting for applause is a big no for me too.

Sony Bend’s new IP

I liked Uncharted Golden Abyss on PSVita at launch, it’s probably my favourite Uncharted game as well although that could be due to my Vita goggles, but they are allegedly working on something new and its been a long time, I would really like to get a tease for what that project is. New IP is king for me so anything you show will be greatly appreciated, I will also take a new Syphon Filter. (more…)

The Game Awards 2015 World Premieres & Award Predictions

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For me the big thing about the show is the world premieres, with announcements like Skyrim, The Last of Us and Dark Souls II at previous “Video Game Awards” also produced by Geoff Keighley I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for tonight.

Here are the games that we know will definitely be at the show:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider DLC (confirmed for pre-show)
  • Goat Simulator special announcement (Pre-show)
  • Far Cry Primal
  • Quantum Break
  • Mortal Kombat X new character reveal
  • Special Oculus announcement
  • Walking Dead Michonne
  • Rocket League Surprise
  • Shaq Fu

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Backwards Compatibility 104: My top picks and most wanted

The list for all 104 games is on Major Nelson’s website if you want to give it a gander.

It’s a reasonable list but there isn’t a whole lot there overall for me, I was hoping for a few more AAA titles but I think the most interesting titles on the list are definitely Gears of War Judgment, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Bioshock Infinite (the latter due post-launch sometime soon) because of when they released, titles at the end of the generation do the most with the hardware available and if Microsoft can get these AAA titles working well then it will be a great sign for other titles coming in the coming months.

I really hope Microsoft are forthcoming with the list so we know what to expect and let us try some of them in preview too, that would be nice.

Here are the games I’m looking forward to playing the most:

Alien Hominid HD

The Behemoth were a hugely successful developer on XBLA and Alien Hominid was their first release on the platform in February 2007, another one of those titles I overlooked (probably because it was too hard…) but now I can re-write that wrong. Their other games Castle Crashers (also remastered natively on Xbox One) and Battleblock Theatre are part of the first backwards compatibility list too.

AH (more…)