Week In Review: 5/23/2014 – Google Stream, Rock Band Reunites and The Witcher 3 Doesn’t take a Side
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: As much as I am sure Sony fans would want there to be some exclusive content for The Witcher 3 on the PS4, I couldn’t be happier to hear a developer say something like this. Exclusive content is a great thing for those that have it available, but it sucks for anyone on the other end of the stick. Artificially implementing a delay to benefit or hurt a specific console is just a great way to do bad business and does little more than facilitate the fictitious ‘console war’.
Alex: I couldn’t agree more with you, Danny boy. I absolutely love CD Projekt RED’s consumer-minded approach to everything it does. Platform-exclusive content is purely a business tactic and nothing more. All it does is add vestigial content to a specific sector of the audience, while leaving everyone else on the other side of the fence feeling shortchanged. The Witcher 3 is going to be an awesome game, no doubt, and the fact that every version of the title is going to offer the same complete experience only has me more excited for its release in February.
Alex: So it looks like YouTube and its parent company Google will be acquiring the largest game-broadcasting service on the net. This is huge, and so are its implications, especially for gamers invested in sharing their content online. Thanks to my ignorance on the matter, I can’t really surmise how such an acquisition will ultimately affect Twitch as we know it today, but it really was only a matter of time before the service got picked up by an interested party. Whether or not you are happy about the fact that Google is the buyer, I think we can all at least be thankful it isn’t Facebook this time.
Dan: Personally, I would rather of had Twitch as an independent company, simply because it left us with other options for streaming. YouTube has had the option to do live streams, but the requirements to be allowed to do so require a broadcaster to post videos for a period of time before they prove themselves. This, on top of the issue that YouTube has been having with incorrectly flagging copyrighted material, will only cause people to get blacklisted from being able to get approved. So, if Google is looking to pick up Twitch, I can only hope that they leave it as is and not mess it up, as they have with YouTube.
Dan: After Guitar Hero and Rock Band called it quits a few years back, I had a feeling that we had not seen the last of either of them. The only question that will need to be answered is, how will they approach the need for instruments? Will we see more piles of plastic instruments? Or will we see more interaction with real instruments? My hope is more the latter, but with other games like Rocksmith, it would feel as if they were late to the game.
Alex: The folks over at Harmonix are not only brilliant, they’re insanely creative, so I’m sure however they decide to revitalize the music rhythm genre, it’ll be in a way that we don’t see coming. While I enjoyed what little I played of Guitar Hero and Rock Band back in the day, I have no interest in collecting a whole bunch of plastic instruments yet again. As such, I hope the studio has a unique and still unforeseen solution to cutting down on the peripheral clutter.
Alex: Hurray for next-gen game development ! While have no interest in sports games and even less interest in UFC, I’m pleased to see a major publisher throw all of its eggs in the next-gen basket. It’s about time we leave the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 behind us. Too many games are being limited as developers attempt to reach the largest audience as possible. While I can’t blame them, I can’t help but wonder how much more impressive so many of today’s multi-platform games might be if they weren’t cross-generational. That’s one of the main reasons I’m so excited to see more of Batman: Arkham Knight.
Dan: Exactly, I really couldn’t have said it better Alex. We really are in the next-gen, so as soon as we can leave behind the PS3 and 360, the sooner we can start calling it the current-gen and look to the future instead of dragging around the past. The simple fact that this is being developed for the PS4/XBO actually makes me interested in possibly picking this up, as too many games still feel like uprezzed versions of games from the last generation.
Dan: Being a fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I couldn’t be more happy to finally be getting a game from that IP that is also getting the full treatment. I know people are getting tired of having the same two or three voice actors in every game, and I do agree it is getting slightly ridiculous. But, I think part of the reason is also that the games that Troy or Nolan do work for get that much more attention, simply because they are apart of the cast. Besides that, the quality of voice work done by both of these guys is phenomenal and you won’t find me complaining until we find more people who can even come close to their level of performance.
Alex: Shadow of Mordor looks like its going to be an amazing game, and the fact that Warner Bros. has brought on such killer voice acting talent is only going to make the experience that much better. Sure, these two guys are in loads of other games, but both actors have a broad range and are extremely versatile. Just because Troy and Nolan are in this games doesn’t mean it’ll feel like Nathan Drake and Booker Dewitt have crashed the party. In my eyes, this is a huge win for gamers and LOTR fans alike.
Dan: To be honest, I don’t know too much about Transistor other than it is a highly stylized game cyberpunk, filled with puzzles and a ‘deep combat’ system. So, I can’t say too much as I haven’t had time to play it, but from what I have seen and read, this is probably going to a fantastic addition to almost any gamer’s library.
Alex: Absolutely. I got some hands-on time with the title back at PAX in 2013, and I was impressed, especially by the visual style and sound design. It’s an absolutely stunning game through-and-through, and best part is that it’s beauty isn’t only skin deep. There’s a lot of depth to the combat system, mixing traditional action combat with a unique tactics system. It’s hard to explain and should just be experienced instead. Seriously, this is one ever PS4 owner should check out. It’s done by the team that brought us Bastion after all.
This was a decent week, and it finally looks like the trend of layoffs have finally died down for now at least, and that is something to be thankful for. We did get a highly anticipated game this week with Transistor, and I have a feeling that it won’t be disappointing any gamer looking to pick it up, but if you are still unsure, make sure to check out our review for it. EA Sports UFC made some bold statements about focusing on next-gen, Harmonix working on Rock Band and Shadows of Modor getting an all-star cast is good but we still are up in the air about Google and Twitch.
Overall Score: 6.5/10