OK, so it's still Sid Meier's Civilization VI, but the man of a million deaths - Sean Bean - narrates this walkthrough of the upcoming game. The beginning also serves as a wonderful stroll through the history of the series, with shots from all of the main line iterations intertwined in a greater narrative. If you're a Civ geek (like me), it's a pleasant trip down memory lane before we move onto the future.
The bulk of the video (shown behind closed doors at E3) shows off the meat and potatoes of the game, which includes a lot of returning 'classic' elements, interspersed with the new bells and whistles.
OK, that headline is a bit hyperbolic, but it's basically true. Criterion Games was recently announced as one of the (many) studios working on Star Wars titles for EA. But that work comes at a cost: the company's extreme sports title Beyond Cars, which was announced at E3 2014, is no longer in development.
Beyond Cars would have included a huge variety of alternative vehicles - including ATVs, wingsuits, helicopters and speedboats - engaged Burnout-esque challenges. But EA clearly sees more value in Criterion's work on various Star Wars projects, including the Battlefront VR title, than an unproven title in a niche genre. But fans of the late, great Burnout series are likely shedding a tear over this cancellation.
Our opening video shows more games than EA did at the following link.
If weíre picking winners of E3 based on the conferences alone, Sony wins in our book. We easily tell you why in this episode and while weíre likely to find disagreement on our selection, this is strictly based on just our opinions. They way we felt collectively during Sonyís press conference was, somehow, greater than how I collectively felt during their conference last year. Weíre not sure how they did it, but they did it. Actually, we are kinda sure and, again, we tell you why in the episode.
If weíre picking losers for E3 based on conferences alone, EA failed miserably. Although Ubisoft is a VERY close second and likely would have tied for the honor were it not for South Park.
Chinese web giant Tencent has acquired Clash of Clans developer Supercell for an astronomical sum of $6.8 billion. The deal will be completed in stages over the course of a year.
Supercell is best known for the ubiquitous Clash of Clans, but also created Boom Beach and Clash Royale. Tencent is extremely well known in China, and is currently one of the largest media companies in the world. Here in the west it's best known as the owner of League of Legends developer Riot Games, but they're also significant stakeholders in Epic Games and Activision Blizzard. In fact, Tencent is the largest game publisher on earth, taking the crown from Activision Blizzard in 2015, and that lead will only grow with the Supercell deal.
How astronomical are these numbers? It's about $600M less than Disney paid for Marvel and Disney in 2009 and 2012, respectively. And by most accounts I can find, no one really seems to think Tencent overpaid for Supercell. They're one of the few developers who can legitimately claim to have developed more than one monster mobile hit.
I don't get political on the front page, but I don't think too many of you will be upset by my belief that the patent, trademark and copyright systems in the US and Europe mostly suck. As perfectly illustrated by the news that Hello Games had been involved in a long legal war with Sky News over the name of their upcoming game, No Man's Sky.
I use 'had' in the past tense, since Hello Games prevailed in the case they called "3 years of secret stupid legal nonsense." Sky is notoriously litigious, and had previously forced Microsoft to change the name of their SkyDrive cloud solution to OneDrive to "avoid confusion". While that example may fall into the realm of reasonableness, I find it hard to imagine any reasonable consumer confusing No Man's Sky with Sky News, and I'm glad that a judge seems to have agreed.
No Man's Sky is now slated for an August release on the PS4 & PC.
Itís one of our most irrelevant shows. The show before E3. I mean, itís quite relevant at the time we record it, but by the time you hear it (if you donít tune into the live show), itís all old and outdated news and discussion. A lot of what you hear in this episode every year is just us and our thoughts on whatís to come at E3 this week. By Tuesday, when this show goes up for download and whatever, itís already said and done.
Outside of that, we do talk a bit more about Dangerous Golf and I give my thoughts on Mirrorís Edge Catalyst. So for that, at least, we hope youíll tune in. Then again, half the fun is seeing how right or wrong we were in our hopes and expectations. Hereís a spoiler for next week: weíre already disappointed in EAís showing.
Nintendo has taken the wraps off of Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild, and it may be the least orthodox iteration of the series in a very long time.
Almost all Zelda games to day have followed a similar blueprint: Link goes from place to place, dungeon to dungeon, acquiring new tools, weapons and abilities. Each new acquisition opens up another section of the map, While the trailer shows some of that, it sure seems like we've got something verging on a full open world here to explore. We see Link climbing a variety of surfaces, cutting down a tree to use as a bridge, and even setting a brushfire. He also cooks, which may also be a first for the franchise.
The visuals have an ethereal feel, and even the music feels lighter than previous installments. It's not the ink & paint style of Wind Waker, but it's also not the anime-ish hyper-deformity of Majora's Mask/Ocarina of Time.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild is set for a March launch on the Wii U.
We'll start with the news people have been waiting for the longest: The Last Guardian has a release date of October 25. Insert "it's happening!" gif here.
After that, we move onto a new God of War (no subtitles or numbers), which features an older, bearded Kratos teaching his son to hunt in snowy country. The perspective of the older games has been ditched for an over the shoulder third person view, and the entire demo feels very reminiscent of The Last of Us.
The next big announcement was Capcom with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, which seems to be trying to bring the series back to it's roots. Will be released January 24 on consoles and PC, with a special VR mode on PSVR. A playable teaser is up now on PSN.
Onto the rest of the big announcements:
- The new Kojima Productions announced their first title: Death Stranding. The trailer stars a naked Norman Reedus and features imagery that can best be described as "Kojima-esque." It's very early in production, so don't expect much on this any time soon.
- Insomniac is developing a Spider-Man game exclusively for PS4. The trailer shows Spidey swinging through NYC in a new suit, fighting henchmen and doing Spidey things.
- PSVR game announcements included Batman Arkham VR (coming in October), a Star Wars X-Wing mission linked to Star Wars Battlefront, and a VR spinoff of Final Fantasy 15.
- A new VR horro game - Here They Lie - from Sony Santa Monica and new developer Tangentlemen.
- We also got Days Gone, a new game which can best be described as Bikers vs Zombies.
- Last year's big debut, Horizon Zero Dawn got a new trailer and a release date of February 2017.
- Finally we learned that Crash Bandicoot would be returning, both in a new Skylanders game, and in remastered versions of Crash 1-3.
The highlight of Microsoft's presser was the announcement of not one, but two new pieces of hardware.
The new Xbox One S (for Slim, maybe?) will launch in August in a variety of configurations ($300 for a 500GB HDD, $350 for 1TB, $400 for 2TB). It will also include, for the first time, Bluetooth compatibility, which is good, since the new XB1 controller now used both Bluetooth and the standard wireless connectivity, making these new controllers easier to use on the PC and other devices.
The other new hardware announcement was Project Scorpio, an upgraded version of the XB1 which will feature six teraflops of power, which will enable both 4K gaming and an as-of-yet VR solution. Scorpio will be compatible with all XB1 & XB1S hardware and games, and is slated to launch in the fall of 2017.
Then there are the software announcements, which we'll cover rapid fire style:
- "Microsoft Play Anywhere" will let you purchase certain games once, and play them both on XB1 and Win 10 PCs. Early examples include Gears 4, Dead Rising 4, Halo Wars 2 and Scalebound.
- Speaking of Dead Rising 4, it will be hitting both platforms this holiday season.
- Forza Horizon 3 will also be out this year - September 27,
- We learned that 2017 will see the releases of Scalebound, Halo Wars 2 and State of Decay 2.
- Bandai Namco announced Tekken 7 would launch in 2017 for PC and consoles with Street Fighter's Akuma as a playable character.
- Finally we had a gameplay trailer for Rare's seaborne adventure, Sea of Thieves, although no release date was forthcoming.
(A local power outage prevented me from covering the Bethesda E3 presser live, but here's a rundown of their announcements)
The conference kicked off with the cinematic debut of Quake Champions, a PC-only multiplayer title with eSport aspirations (drink!). We don't know much beyond it featuring "a roster of unique characters, each with their own distinctive abilities, giving every player a chance to play to their strengths." So it sounds like they're at least stepping into the hero shooter waters with the classic deathmatch franchise. No word on a release date just yet.
Next up was Prey, a reimagining of a franchise whose name appears next to 'troubled' in the dictionary. This new game - just called Prey - reboots the series with little obvious connection to either the original or the never released sequel. You play as Morgan Yu, the subject of tests in the near future which may not be on the level. The trailer shows a bit of a horror bent than it's predecessors. Arkane Studios (likely their Austin outpost) is handling development duties, and it's slated for a 2017 launch on consoles & PC.
The rumored Skyrim Special Edition was next, with the remaster bringing improved graphics and mod support to consoles and the PC on October 28. Better yet, anyone who owns Skyrim and it's three add ons (Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn) on Steam will be upgraded to the Special Edition for free at launch. Sorry console players, no such freebies for you.
An extended gameplay demo was shown for Dishonored 2 (link to video). In the trailer we see more of the southern city of Karnaca where most of the game takes place, while also getting a sense of the new powers Emily and Corvo will be using. Dishonored 2 launched November 11 on consoles & PC.
On the Fallout 4 front, Bethesda revealed the final three add-ons included in the season pass. The next one - Contraptions Workshop - launches next week for $5 and adds a variety of machines and tools to construct complex contraptions at your settlements. Then in July we get Vault-Tec Workshop (also $5) which lets you finally build you own Vault. You build it, recruit dwellers, and even experiment on them. Finally we have Nuka-World ($20), which adds an all new area: the Nuka-World amusement park. Bethesda also announced that their Fallout Shelter mobile game will continue to receive new updates, and will be coming to the PC.
The just released Doom will be receiving a major balance update soon, while also 2 new MP maps and a host of SnapMap updates. The first premium DLC was also announced, although without a price or launch. The "Unto Evil" DLC will include...
Three new multiplayer maps: Offering, Cataclysm and Ritual
A new player-controlled demon: Harvester
A new weapon: UAC EMG Pistol
New equipment: Kinetic Mine
New ways to customize your DOOM marine, including additional armor sets, patterns, colors and taunts
New hack modules
Finally Bethesda announced that Fallout 4 would be coming to VR platforms in the next year, with a demo available at E3.
EA's presser kicks off any minute now over in Los Angeles. You can see the stream over at Twitch, YouTube, and numerous other spots.
Titanfall 2 - October 28, 2016 - XB1, PS4 & PC - New weapons & gadgets. Grappling hooks. 6 new titans. MP beta sign ups now. Single player campaign. Titans now have...personalities? Campaign will explore bond between pilot & titan.
Madden 2017 - August - Now itís a cricket game. Not really.
EA pushing eSport events for more games. 3 tiers of events, with escalating levels of prizes. 2017 Madden championship will have $1M prize. 4 majors & the championship.
Mass Effect Andromeda - BTS trailer. A few scant frames of new footage.
FIFA 2017 - New story mode, centering around big name managers.
EA Originals - Program to publish smaller games from indie developers. Zoink Games, developer of Fe, a fantasy metroidvania. The game will have minimal direction or instruction, leaving gamers to discover on their own.
Star Wars - New Star Wars Battlefront in 2017. 2018 will be VIsceralís adventure game. Respawn working on a 3rd person action adventure in a ďnew eraĒ.
Battlefield 1 - October 21, 2016 - PS4, PC & XB1 - Dynamic weather across all maps. Behemoth vehicles: airships, armored trains & battleships. Open beta later this summer. New gameplay trailer. Including shooting a machine gun from the sidecar of a motorcycle and a horseback raid on a train.
Sometime after the leaks became a deluge, Bungie has finally, officially revealed the next Destiny expansion: Rise of Iron. Here's some of what $29.99 will buy you come September 20.
New Story Campaign & Quests
New Armor and Gear
Maximum Light Increase
New Plaguelands Zone & Social Space
New Crucible Mode & Maps
New Enemy Faction and Bosses
Pre-orders will also get the black Gjallarhorn rocket launcher.
This also marks a fork in the road for Destiny's development across the generations. Starting with Rise of Iron, progress will not be shared across platform generations. You will still be able to port your PS3 or 360 characters to their current gen counterpart, but new content for Destiny is no longer being developed for the last gen platforms. Bungie has also revealed that you must own the Taken King expansion in addition to the base Destiny game to play Rise of Iron.
Another highly anticipated kickstarter game won't be making it's expected release date, but this time around any anger over the delay seems muted. InXile has announced that Torment: Tides of Numenera will now launch in early 2017. The dev had been hoping to release the RPG this year (still past the original 2015 launch the KS aimed for), but they'd rather get the game out right than get it out fast.
All said and done, our combined iteration and localization efforts are looking to be a 6-month process. So, we have two paths open to us, a bit of choice and consequence, if you will. Those of you who have been following our updates know we have been hinting towards a late 2016 release, and we could crunch and rush to get the game out around November. But doing so would mean both sacrificing the quality of our localization and would lead to a less polished game for the nearly 100,000 people total who have backed the game. Therefore, in the interests of giving everyone the best experience, we will be releasing Torment in early Q1 2017.
I should also point out that the holiday season is generally a bad time to launch any game that is not a potential blockbuster, and no matter how good the game ends up being, an isometric RPG on the PC doesn't have blockbuster written on it. So an early 2017 launch is probably better for the game, even beyond getting the finished product as polished as possible.
As the leaks revealed, Netherrealm Studios is working on Injustice 2, which once again pits characters from the DC universe against one another in mortal kombat battle.
The twist this time is the Gear System, which seems to be trying to apply a MOBA loot mechanic to this fighter
The Gear System uses RPG-like mechanics to reward you with loot drops every time you play the game. With each loot drop, you will earn character-specific gear to outfit and power up your roster Ė changing not only the look of each character, but your fight strategy and your personal approach to every match. As you gear up your characters, youíre building a roster of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains that reflects your choices, and your preferences, which can be vastly different than your opponents. A few play sessions in, you can expect your Aquaman to look and play different than anyone elseís Aquaman you may come across.
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then is must be...at the following link.
If you want more Burnout games, then buy Dangerous Golf. Iím just going to get right to the point of something Iíll probably say again on next weekís episode. I want more Burnout games. Support Dangerous Golf and thereís hope weíll have something later in the style of Burnout 3. If I have a preference, Iíd like you to support it on PC so Iíll have more people on my leaderboards to play against, but go with it wherever you like. Iíll actually probably double dip with it on PS4. Itís Burnoutís crash mode with a golf ball and it doesnít really do anything to hide that fact. It smashes you over the head with about as much subtlety as most of the levels in the game with the explosions and carnage you create.
Itís delightful destruction, choreographed chaos, and artful anarchy. Itís also a high score chaser and I would really like more high scores to chase. Get on it.
We're a week from E3, and the announcements are starting to fly. Today we get the new game from Saints' Row developer Volition: Agents of Mayhem. The trailer is cinematic, but it gives you the gist of the game: open urban environment, with over-the-top action and plenty of swear words. It also may be connected to the Saints' Row franchise in some way based on the end of the trailer.
Agents of Mayhem will be released for the PS4, XB1 & PC in 2017.
The new trailer for Pokemon Sun & Moon shows off the game's new legendary Pokemon, while also giving players a glimpse of the new Pokedex.
The Sun version of the game gets the legendary steel-psychic Solgaleo, while the Moon version gets the ghost-psychic Lunala as it's legendary. Meanwhile, even the Pokedex is alive(ish) this time, as it's inhabited by a ghostly Rotom, giving the device some personality.
Both Pokemon Sun & Moon will be released for the 3DS on November 18.
With E3 just a few weeks away weíre already on the speculation train as to what Microsoft and Sony will have to say at their presentations. Itís all but confirmed that both companies will talk about new hardware, but without naming a new console. Itís kinda the first time this has ever happened. Upgrades to current systems without calling it a new generation. This isnít going to be the PS5 or the Xbox Two (I have no idea how theyíll get around that branding, honestly). Itís going to be the PS4 and Xbox One, butÖ.more powerful. Sony is doing it for the VR and Microsoft may be as well, but itís more likely that MS is just tired of playing catch up to Sony this generation. And I mean that in all aspects. Theyíve been running second place in EVERYTHING. The new Xbox coming out after the new PS4, may put MS in a better position to actually catch up and take lead. Maybe.