Week in Review: 5/9/2014 – The E3 2014 Rumors Kick Off and The Elder Scrolls Online Gets Delayed
Welcome to the Week in Review, a feature where Dan Oravasaari and Alex Osborn will break down what happened over the last week and discuss what it means to the industry as a whole, and to you the gamer.
Dan: Looking through the list of games that are being rumored to be shown off at Sony’s E3 2014 conference, it is easy to get excited about all of the possibilities we might be seeing in just about a month. But, with that the validity of the list really needs to be considered. Much like was discussed on this week’s episode of Bad Gamers, many of the games listed are obvious choices due to having been announced already, simply bound to happen at some point or already leaked. So, as much as I think this would make an impossibly good E3, this feels like fan baiting than anything.
Alex: Agreed, but like you said, it’s hard not to get excited at the prospect of what Sony might show. I think it is safe to say that Uncharted for PlayStation 4 will be there in some shape or form, as well as Media Molecule’s next big thing. As the rumor suggests, the LBP developer is apparently working on a new title that uses Project Morpheus, which I really hope is true. I also hope that we see the heavily-rumored role-playing game from Guerrilla. I’m still having trouble imagining exactly what an RPG from the folks that brought us Killzone would look like, but that has all the more intrigued. Oh yeah, and as for The Last Guardian, it better be there.
Alex: This makes perfect sense and doesn’t come as all that much of a surprise. Seeing as how Infinity Ward is merely a shell of its former self, there’s no doubt the team has been in need of additional talent. Their latest title, Call of Duty: Ghosts, ended up being a collaboration with a handful of other studios anyway, so it makes sense for Neversoft to join forces so that Activision now has three fully-functional, well-oiled teams capable of pumping out new entries in the series on an annual basis using a three-year rotation strategy.
Dan: Exactly, Activision has been working on getting enough assets around the Call of Duty machine they have been working on for some time and it looks like they have finally put in the last piece of the puzzle. Neversoft have sadly lost most of their lineup, as both the Tony Hawk series and the Guitar Hero franchises have faded away, leaving them free to help develop for their parent companies biggest IP.
Dan: I keep saying this every year, I will not buy into the hype for another Call of Duty. But, they did it to me again. Advanced Warfare looks pretty sweet from what we have seen with the trailer and not to mention that it has Kevin Spacey in it. On top of all of that, Troy Baker is doing the voice work for the main character, and that alone makes me excited that we might actually get a campaign out of a CoD game that doesn’t suck.
Alex: I’m not falling for the Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood bait. I haven’t been truly interested in a Call of Duty game since the original Modern Warfare, and that like won’t ever change. Military shooters have totally lost their lustre for me, and as such, I’ve moved on. That said, it does look like Activision is making the right moves in generating excitement for those that haven’t completely written off the franchise. It’s interesting to see more and more Hollywood acting talent dip their toes into the world of video games. We saw it last year with Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, and earlier this year with Kiefer Sutherland in Ground Zeroes. Something tells me this is going to become a trend that only continues to pick up steam.
Alex: Yeah… Sony as a company isn’t doing all that hot right now, but at least the PlayStation division is thriving, right? In all honesty, while there certainly is reason for concern, this isn’t anything new for Sony, and as the saying goes: things only are going to get worse before they get better. Kaz Hirai is doing what he can to trim away the fat from the company, and I do believe that his efforts will pay off in the long run. Ditching the VAIO brand and scaling back its television efforts is wise and will allow the company to focus on its more profitable brands, like PlayStation.
Dan: One of the things that most people don’t realize about Sony is that they have their hands in a number of different industries, and no matter how strong their brand name is, it doesn’t mean they will all be profitable. Thankfully, as Alex said, Kaz has taken charge and has been working on cutting down problem areas, so in time there is a good chance we will see the company turn the whole ship around. The PlayStation brand has been one of the major saving graces for the Sony name, as their share of the TV market has dropped significantly with companies like Samsung making major pushes for the top spot.
Dan: To put it mildly, this sucks. While Bethesda is offering gamers the ability to transfer characters over from the PC build, and for an additional $20 add a digital version for the PS4 and XBO, it is still hard to swallow. Besides the fact that many PC gamers are already getting to play the game ahead of console gamers, a gap between them is only going to get bigger. Having the opportunity to start now on PC is better than nothing, but more than likely, any gamer wanting to play it on PC, already does. But, as much as it sucks to have to wait even longer to play this on a console, I would rather the game release in great shape than fall apart from the start. Although, this does mean that Bethesda better be ready on launch day.
Have you been playing TESO Alex?
Alex: I fell down the World of Warcraft rabbit hole many years ago, and have since promised myself that I will never fall victim to the insidious trappings of an MMO ever again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure The Elder Scrolls Online is a great game, I just don’t have the time to sink into such a meaty and addictive experience. The only way to truly get the most out of an MMO is to push everything else to the side and dive in without reserve. I just can’t make that commitment.
But as far as the console delay goes, yeah it sucks, but I’m glad to see Zenimax and Bethesda take the time to get it polished. From what I hear, the PC version is a little rough around the edges, and let’s face it, Bethesda has a rather buggy track record. I just hope that there’s still interest in TESO in six months’ time when the console versions finally do hit store shelves.
Alex: Sportswho? I must admit, I had to look this game up because I hadn’t even heard of the crowd-funded MP-centric title. I’m more of a single-player guy, so Sportsfriends has little to offer me, but I’m sure those looking for a fun party game will find plenty to love here. You know it’s a slow week when all that’s releasing on PlayStation hardware is a small-scale indie game. May is going to be a tough month to get through, but with E3 looming on the horizon, it’s hard not to be excited about games, even if there isn’t a whole lot to play on PlayStation 4 right now.
Dan: Dammit Alex, you need to get some friends together and play some Sportsfriends. Because if you have friends to play with in person, and even if they aren’t ‘gamers’, you can totally have an awesome time with this couch Co-Op only indie title. Sportsfriends is made up of 4 different indie titles, but my favorite has to be Johann Sebastian Joust, basically a real life tag system that uses the DualShock 4 or PS Move controller.
Again, another light week where not much of substance happened. This is probably mostly due to the lull before the storm that is E3. Yes, we are getting numerous rumors about what will be popping its head up during the show, but sadly that doesn’t really help this week, as rumors don’t count. Sony seeing major losses, and a highly anticipated MMO gets delayed by half a year, just can’t be offset the announcing of a game that we all knew was coming. But, I would be lying if I didn’t give this week at least a half a point boost just because it had more Spacey than the last week.
Overall Score: 5.5