Nintendo will be present at this weekend's San Diego Comic-Con, held at the San Diego Convention Center from July 24-27. And they have quite a lot planned for those who decide to stop by and visit.
Their hub will be located at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge (Booth #235) on the first floor of the Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel, open to badge holders and the general public, July 24-26 from 10am-7pm, and Sunday, July 27 from 10am-5pm (Pacific Time), to come and sample their titles. The following Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo WiiU titles will be playable:
-Super Smash Bros.
-Pokémon Art Academy
-Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
-Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal
-THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL
-Super Smash Bros.
-Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
-Yoshi’s Woolly World
-Mario Kart 8
-Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
-Just Dance 2015
-Skylanders Trap Team
-Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition
Miscellaneous activities at Nintendo Gaming Lounge include a display of Amiibo figures to view, and a Tomodachi Life-themed area for visitors to relax and recharge their handhelds. Super Smash Bros 3DS will have its own dedicated booth; and from July 25-26 as part of their Nintendo Challenge Live, Nintendo will host a Super Smash Bros 3DS tournament via first come, first serve. Nintendo will stream the entire tournament on their twitch channel. For those that are curious, Nintendo will not use a new build, but instead use their prior E3 2014 demo to host the tournament.
Mario Kart lovers can also get in on the action, as Nintendo will aslo host a tournament for Mario Kart 8. The tournament will used a bracket-style competiton, where 32 challengers will play each other locally for a chance to take on racers worldwide via online play. The tournament isn't just limited to showgoers, as participants at home can also join in online and challenge the winners. Schedules and online tournament codes will be announced through Nintendo's social media networks in the future. And finally, for anyone who wanted to see Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, the upcoming full-length anime, a special screening will be scheduled Friday, July 25, at 9:35pm PT in Marriott Hall Room 4 at the Marriott Marquis & Marina hotel. A SDCC badge is required for entry.
For any questions regarding Nintendo's SDCC schedule, simply check the link near the beginning of the news post for all the details.
It’s all about Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty this week, and little else. Entwined, already out on PS4, makes its way to the Vita and PS3, and the PS3 gets a card battle game based on Migth & Magic, and that’s about it. There are a number of sales going on, with this week’s theme being super heroes, as well as a number of Atlus games that have been on sale before. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty ($29.99)
Tour De France – Season 2014 ($49.99)
Entwined ($9.99 PS4/PS3/Vita)
Might & Magic: Duel of Champions Forgotten Wars ($9.99)
Entwined ($9.99 Cross Buy PS4/PS3/Vita)
Draw Slasher Bundle ($5.99)
Batman Arkham Asylum (PS3) $4.20
Batman Arkham Origins (PS3) $8.40
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (Vita) $4.20
Dc Universe Online Ultimate Edition (PS4) $11.99
Dc Universe Online Ultimate Edition (PS3) $11.99
inFAMOUS (PS3) $9.79
inFAMOUS 2 (PS3) $9.79
inFAMOUS Festival Of Blood (PS3) $2.44
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PS4) $8.40
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PS3) $8.40
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (Vita) $4.20
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS4) $8.40
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS3) $10.50
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Vita) $6.30
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (PS3) $4.20
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Origins (PS3) $3.75
Mortal Kombat Vs Dc Universe (PS3) $4.20
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (PS3) $8.99
We’re kickstarting our patreon for paypal donations at the following link.
First things first, if you aren’t reading or haven’t yet read Console Wars about the Nintendo Vs. Sega battle in the 90s, you really should check it out. We won’t have the author on for another week or so, but it worth bringing up now because I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
I don’t know the statistic of successful Kickstarters versus those that failed, but in the 20 or so that I’ve backed, 2 of them didn’t meet their goal, and there’s a few left that are still in development (one of those gets a trailer at Comic Con this week). My personal experience hasn’t been a bad one and there’s probably a lot of people who’ve experienced the same. One bad Kickstarter doesn’t make them all bad. Just…be careful where you put your money and, just as important, understand the rules of Kickstarter….and “early access” for that matter.
Microsoft today announced the closure of the Xbox Entertainment division, effectively ending further development of original programming. As first reported by Recode, and later confirmed by a Microsoft statement, the studio will wind down operations
The announcement comes as part of a larger round of layoffs by the computing giant. 18,000 employees (12,500 of which came with the Nokia acquisition) are being laid off by the company, which has shifted gears under new CEO Satya Nadella. Under former CEO Steve Ballmer and games division head Don Mattrick, Xbox Entertainment was a huge part of the Xbox line, with former CBS entertainment head Nancy Tellem hired in 2012 to head the initiative. It's clear that Nadella has different priorities for the company going forward.
In late May 2013, Microsoft held a huge event to unveil the Xbox One. 14 months later, two of the major pillars of that event - Kinect 2.0 and Xbox Entertainment are effectively dead. Xbox Entertainment was Microsoft's answer to Netflix and Amazon's moves to create original programming, and was a key component of MS' plan to "own the living room." But after several years of lackluster productions and reports of internal power struggles, the plug has been pulled. High profile shows and ones that are already deep into production, such as the Halo series' and the 'Signal to Noise' documentary series respectively, will be completed. But most of the other projects listed here likely won't make it to the small screen, at least not in their present state.
Some of you may have noticed that we no longer feature open Kickstarter (or other crowdfunding campaigns) on our front page anylonger. Sometime early last year we began to become very uncomfortable with some of these campaigns, to the point that we didn't feel that featuring them on the front page served our readers. Today we have a very visceral example of why we stopped.
The popular YouTube collective YogCast took to Kickstarter in 2012 to fund development of Yogventures, a sandbox game based on their channel. They asked for $250K and received $570K. But that was two years ago, and updates on the game - which was being developed by new studio Winterkewl Games - were few and sparse. YogCast yesterday announced what many feared: YogVentures was canceled. They'd struck a deal to give backers of the game early access to another sandbox game, TUG, but that didn't sit well with some of the backers. Many already had access to TUG, and others spent hundreds or thousands of dollars in the hopes of getting tier rewards, most of which will never come. YogCast as apologized, and they're trying to replace some of the tier rewards with similar items from TUG, but they're making no promises.
This illustrates a problem many have with Kickstarter. They treat the service as just another way to pre-order a game. But it's nothing of the sort. The money you give to a Kickstarter is a non-exempt donation to the creators. They are technically under no legal obligation to do anything in particular with your money. The person behind a Kickstarter campaign could take every dime raised and go on a vacation to Maui, or even buy a house, and there's nothing to legally prevent them from doing so. Delivery of the final product or any tier rewards are not guaranteed, and refunds will not be given for missed goals, a fact Kickstarter makes that clear frequently. Which is why we only talk about games that have finished their campaigns, and which we're reasonably certain will make it to completion. As always, caveat emptor. Or in this case, caveat donatis.
This week’s releases are incredibly thin, with only one new game coming to each platform. There are some sales going on, but nothing that’s going to blow anyone’s socks off. So, it looks like this may be a good week to give your wallet a rest The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Crimsonland (Regular Price: $13.99, Sale Price: $8.99, Plus Price: $7.19) [With Demo]
Actually, we’re not doing anything of the sort, but most of us watched EVO all weekend and would have during the show had we not had to do...a show. I can imagine ArJay shares the sentiment, but for me, personally, EVO is fascinating to watch and no matter the game being played, I am transfixed with the competition and skill being displayed during the fights. It really has everything you could want in almost any kind of competition. I’m not really a sports guy. I can watch a game and get the point and empathize with fans of a team, but there’s still a disconnect of some sort. That isn’t something I have while watching EVO - in fact, I know from how it feels watching these matches what sports fans feel and can easily understand their passion to something I was so dismissive of before.
Oh yeah, I’m also building a virtual pinball machine - and don’t worry, we DO NOT talk about Wolf Among Us in this episode.
There are bad ideas, terrible ideas, horrible ideas and this. For the love of all that is good and pure in this world, we cannot allow this to happen.
A Steam-style Early Access programme is a common request amongst ID@Xbox developers, the platform holder's Chris Charla has told Develop.
Reports have emerged this morning that Sony is considering a similar scheme on PlayStation 4 and Charla told Develop in an interview last week that it's a talking point at Xbox as well.
For those who don't know, Valve launched the Early Access initiative on Steam last year. This let devs put their games up on Steam even though they weren't finished. In theory this was a good idea. Devs had been working with this model for years, but the practice really exploded when Minecraft hit the scene 5 years ago. The idea expanded again when Kickstarter launched several years back, and has been ballooning every since. Unfortunately, for every Minecraft or FTL or Rogue Legacy that was able to fund it's own development by selling early access to the game, you have dozens of other titles that never quite make it to completion. The Steam forums are littered with complaints about games paid for, but never brought to completion. Some of these are the result of unforeseen delays or developers biting off more than they can chew, but more than a few seem like out-and-out scams. Still, that's Steam, and PC gamers are generally accustomed to such things. The same cannot be said of console gamers.
No matter how many disclaimers or warning Microsoft or Sony put up in front of a theoretical Early Access section of their stores, you will have thousands and thousands of gamers who won't understand the concept, and will buy the product thinking it complete. If you thought you had a lot of scuzzy games on Steam's Early Access, think about what sorts of scams you'll have on PSN and XBL. Those platforms are curated more closely than Steam is, but problematic games will make it through anyway. And that presumes the abuses will only come from small developers. It doesn't take much imagination to think of ways that larger publishers will use the system. Imagine the new Battlefield, bugs and all, released for $80 in June, 4 months ahead of it's 'formal' launch. You'd easily have a million people buy into that, if only to get a headstart on learning maps and earning perks. They would, in effect, become the new QA team for the game, only instead of getting paid for their work, they pay for the privilege.
So there's the problem, and here's some solutions. Valve - or any other storefront offering incomplete games for sale - should put in place hard rules for these games. If you cannot produce a feature-complete, functional product within a set period of time - say, 2 years - anyone who bought the game can apply for a refund for 30 days after the day of default. It won't eliminate all of the problems, but it may discourage inexperienced devs from promising the moon if they may be forced to issue refunds. Secondly, mandate that a single publisher can only have one active games on Early Access at a given time. Again, it won't eliminate the abuse, but it would prevent publishers from flooding the market with alpha titles. EA can test Battlefield, or it can test the new Sims, not both simultaneously.
Of course any such regulations are likely pipe dreams. Publishers see the potential gold mine here, and platform holders aren't likely to fight too hard against it. Early Access will be coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4/Vita at some point, whether we like it or not.
Two years ago I was a skeptic. Today, I'm a convert. Don't believe the haters, e-sports are here, and they're fun (for me).
This revelation came during a weekend off where I spent a decent chunk of time watching The International 4, the world championship for Dota 2 organized by Valve. I watched a bit of The International in 2012, and a lot of it last year. Dota 2 is a game I've played a lot, although not at any sort of high level. But it's a complex game, with over 150 characters, 100 items and a lexicon that grows each year. It's not an easy e-sport to drop into cold, but with even a bit of familiarity, the games of The International become engrossing and dramatic. Some of the matches dragged on a bit too long (at least two matches I watched went over the 70 minute mark), but even the long matches were generally filled with drama. When played on this high level, even losing one team fight badly can turn the tide of a match, so every near encounter brings tension. At the end of the first round, some of the tournament favorites were cruising, and others were headed home. Just as you'd have in any high level sports tournament.
On Sunday I was made aware of EVO, the annual fighting game tournament held in Las Vegas by shoryuken.com. While Ti4 focused on one game and only one game, EVO was a celebration of all sorts of fighting games, with tournaments being held for eight different games. While the total prize pool was much smaller - just about $100,000 total spread across multiple events and competitors - the event was just as raucous. I missed out on some of the preliminary games, but caught the final matches for Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultra Street Fighter 4 and was completely blown away by the fights. While I've enjoyed fighting games since the days of Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat on the SNES, I'm not what you'd call 'good' or 'skilled' at them. So seeing competitors at the top of their game going all out was a thing of beauty. I was worried that the game would move so fast I couldn't follow, but everything was pretty clear. (Eurogamer has embeds of the finals from those two games, plus BlazBlue)
As wonderful as the matches were, the presentation of the finals to fans watching at home were the real story. Each event had broadcasters filling the traditional play-by-play and analyst roles, supplemented by informative on-screen chyrons, statistics and even directors. It wasn't quite like watching the World Cup final on ESPN, but it's getting closer to those heights.
I'm not saying e-sports are for everyone. These are the highest competitive levels of these respective games, and the competition on lesser tournaments isn't nearly so strong. And there are ways they can improve the presentation. But I can say that in 2014 e-sports have evolved and improved in a way that I didn't anticipate. So I'm awfully curious as to where they'll be going from here.
The annual EVO fighting game tournament was occasion enough for Bandai Namco to officially announce Tekken 7. A short teaser was shown featuring a bit of story from the series which I frankly find incomprehensible, but I'm sure it means something to fans of the franchise. Interestingly the game is being built on the Unreal Engine 4, which is (I believe) the first installment of the series built on a middleware engine. It also strongly suggests that a new gen console release is in the cards.
The teaser also noted that more info on the game would be revealed at the San Diego Comic Con in two weeks.
The supremely tough but fun Rogue Legacy is coming to the Playstation platforms as a cross-buy title July 29. That means you can buy the title once and play it on the PS3, PS4 and Vita. Pricing was not disclosed at this time.
I have a sort of a love-hate relationship with Rogue Legacy. On the one hand, I really enjoy playing it (especially now that I can use a controller). It's an action platformer set in a procedurally generated castle where you play as your own descendants after you (inevitably) die. On the other hand...I stink at it, so I never get that far in it. But I still keep going back for more pain and death.
Update time! This week’s major releases are the classic Another World and Mousecraft, both of which are cross buy across all three platforms. Otherwise this week is pretty quiet, with nothing big in the sale department. The Wolf Among Us does get its last episode, so there’s that. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition ($7.99 Cross-Buy)
Mousecraft ($14.99 Cross-Buy)
Thief – The Lockdown Demo (PS4)
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty ($29.99) [Pre-order]
Destiny Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99) [Pre-order]
Mousecraft ($14.99 Cross-Buy)
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition ($7.99 Cross-Buy)
The Wolf Among Us – Episode 5: Cry Wolf ($4.99)
Le Tour de France – Season 2014 ($49.99)
One Piece Unlimited World Red ($49.99)
Sacra Terra: Kiss of Death ($11.99)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Demo (PS3)
Destiny Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99) [Pre-order]
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition ($7.99 Cross-Buy)
Mousecraft ($14.99 Cross-Buy)
Blacklight: Retribution PlayStation Plus Pack (Exclusive to Plus) PS4 FREE
DC Universe Online – Hand of Fate PS3|PS4 $4.89
DC Universe Online – War of the Light Part I PS3|PS4 $4.89
Another World 20th Anniversary Edition PS Vita |PS3|PS4 $7.19
Owners of Shovel Knight for 3DS/WiiU eShop have recently discovered a bug that, after defeating Tinker Knight and executing a shovel drop immediately after during the first of his two-part boss fight, the game would freeze, forcing you to exit the stage and start all over again.
In response, Yacht Club Games spread word through the tweet vine that a fix for the WiiU version is out, but the patch for the 3DS version will come a little later as it's not quite ready. As an additional treat, Yacht Club Games also let gamers know that a larger patch is incoming, which will include tweaks and possible bonus content for the game across all versions of Shovel Knight.
Hullbreach Studios has announced SDK Paint for Nintendo WiiU eshop. Like its Ipad counterpart, it's a paint application that will make use of the console's features. Some highlights include DLC (free and paid), and the ability to share creations via a dedicated Miiverse community. SDK Paint will also be compatible with Hullbreach: Uncloaked, due for release sometime next year.
And at $1.99, it looks to be an (inexpensive) no-brainer. As no specific date other than "Q3 2014" was given, you can read the press release below for further information.
SDK Paint for Wii U is the successor to a collection of paint applications since released for the browsers of DSi, Wii, and 3DS which all fit under HullBreach Studios' SDK Community umbrella. It utilizes Nintendo's Web Framework development platform and maintains a planned Q3 2014 launch inside Nintendo's Wii U eShop with a modest $1.99 MSRP. It will be celebrated as the first Nintendo licensed game released from HullBreach Studios!
SDK Paint Included Features:
-HullBreach Uncloaked Wii U Connectivity (Internet Required)
-Connectivity to "Unannounced 2015 Wii U Title" (DETAILS TBA)
-Sharing & Discussion Via A Dedicated Miiverse Community
-Motion Control Integration
-Strong DLC Commitment (Free & Paid)
-5 Paintbrush Sizes
-Onion Skinning Layers (50% Opacity)
-Multiple Color Models (RGB, RYB, and HSL)
-Parallax Layer Preview
-Edge Enhance Filter
-PNG, JPEG, GIF, MPO Support
-JPS For 3DTV Support
-Dedicated Online SDK Paint Servers w/ Gallery
The primary interface of SDK Paint will be the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad while the TV above functions as a secondary visualiser animating content while the artwork is being painted below. Things like layers pivoting in 3D and sliding with independence while under constant subtle parallax motion giving artists a special sense of discovery while creating inside Wii U's SDK Paint!
The Wii U space epic HullBreach Uncloaked is cross compatible with the fast approaching eShop creation app SDK Paint. This means that gamers owning both experiences will be able to easily customize the appearance of their HullBreach Uncloaked assets giving gamers a special and unique personal flare! A Wii U with internet connection is required for linkage between the 2 titles. Cross compatibility is accomplished by uploading user generated artwork from Wii U's SDK Paint into HullBreach: Uncloaked through HullBreach Studios' own dedicated SDK Paint servers. Exclusive free SDK Paint Wii U DLC will make availible to gamers various "HullBreach Vessel Templates" which can easily be painted and uploaded into a HullBreach Uncloaked profile. Online SDK Paint Galleries will officially tie in with a specific Nintendo Network ID, meaning any imports can only be uploaded by the account that created them. Additionally, uploads are designated private by default however any user's content have the option to enable public web viewing if players desire. SDK Paint hits Wii U's eShop this year and gives gamers precious time to customize their upcoming HullBreach Uncloaked experience while anticipating its launch.
This month's Game Informer cover reveal is Battleborn, a new property from Gearbox that mixes MOBA style arena combat with first person shooters.
As usual, a lot of info on the game is locked behind GI's subscriber wall, but we know the game will pit a large variety of characters against on another in a battle for the universe's last surviving star.
Gearbox's unique universal apocalypse premise pulls together a ton of unlockable playable heroes that not only look wildly different, but control like they're from entirely different first-person games. The consummate space marine feels like he's been ripped from any modern shooter. A spry elven huntress leaps far above other players' heads and rains down volleys of deadly arrows, evoking memories of high fantasy heroes. Imagine an archetype you've always wanted to pit against another in a first-person shooter, and that's the dream Gearbox is bringing to life.
GI had extensive time with the traditional MOBA-style Incursion mode, but they also promise a 5 player co-op campaign. In general MOBAs are competitive MP only, with only training or bot modes to let you play solo. The inclusion of a campaign may set it apart from the many other MOBAs being published now.
We don't know when Battleborn will be published, but it's slated for the XB1, PS4 and PC.
We’re patiently sniping but valiant in our efforts at the following link.
We’re still in the middle of what feels like a wasteland of game releases and gaming things to talk about, but, for some reason, I don’t actually feel that to be true. I’ve got two playthroughs of Valiant Hearts out of the way in one week’s time and have made good progress in Sniper Elite 3, but something still feels lacking. Maybe it’s just this time of year that has set in for me (or all of us) to experience a slowing down of releases and news. Regardless, this episode only seems to enforce that kind of thinking. We do hit on the two games I’ve spent time with this week, but we also distract ourselves in going over our history of gaming - where it started for us and the different turns it took along the way. It was fun, interesting, and something I really wish James, Nathan, and Matt could have also shared with us by being on the show.
A listing on the Microsoft Store shows that the PC version of the Kinect 2.0 will be available next week for $200. This begs a few questions.
- Now that the Kinect has been unbundled from the Xbox One, how many devs out there will be eager to develop for the peripheral?
- They're selling it for $100 more than it costs to buy it for the Xbox One. That speaks volumes about how many units Microsoft thinks they're going to sell of the PC Kinect 2.0. It's aimed squarely at research & development institutions and tech completists, not everyday enthusiasts.
I'm probably more of a fan of the Kinect tech than most of you - I think there is great potential there - but I sure as hell won't be dropping two bills on one for my PC.
In this industry there are two inevitabilities: there will be controversies, and there will be closures. Today we ponder the latter as we learn that Airtight Games has, apparently, shut down just a month after their latest game, Murdered: Soul Suspect, hit stores.
Geek Wire traveled to the Redmond, WA headquarters of Airtight, and found the studio space closed, with office equipment for sale, plus...
A small collection of Airtight’s past awards from the E3 video game convention sat on an empty desk, amid a sea of unused monitors and computer equipment.
Airtight has not commented on the story, and their website makes no mention of a shutdown. In addition to Murdered, the studio also developed the forgettable Dark Void before snagging former Portal lead designer Kim Swift. Swift led development on the fun puzzler Quantum Continuum and the Ouya-exclusive rhythm brawler Soul Fjord before leaving to join Amazon's burgeoning game studios. Murdered released in June to little fanfare and middling reviews.
We're stopping to smell the backlog at the following link.
The quiet interval between E3 and the holiday market rush really ought to be a sacred time for us who play games, even if it's a bit dreary for those in the mood for new releases. The doldrums don't quite last as long as they seem, if we're honest, and they aren't really all that bare, either. But the spectacle of news and marketing that immediately precedes the summer lull is matched only by the crush of new games that follow in the fall, and we spend the months in between disoriented, with our ears ringing and our nerves jangling.
As hosts, we're forced to do what we'd have preferred to do all along, which is to talk to one another, and to you, about what we've played or wished we had, and how we felt about whatever we can remember. Being starved for public relations messages, marketing hype, press releases, developer controversy, and endless other tabloid gossip is a strongly positive thing. None of us first developed an interest in games for the drama, unless that drama was in the cartridge or on the disc. Sadly, it takes a near total lack of triple-A news to remind us of this. Maybe one day the lesson will stick.