Recapping last week's game news -- following our DOOM benchmark and review -- mostly looks at major Overwatch playerbase announcements, future Star Wars titles (and an RTS, maybe?), and Ubisoft's plans through March, 2017.
Overwatch announced a major achievement in its acquisition of 9.7 million active players during its beta weekend, Respawn Entertainment teased its work on a new Star Wars title, as did EA, and Blizzard is making moves toward an eSports media network.
Video below, script below that.
EA and Dice seem to be having trouble counting. Yesterday, EA launched a campaign blitz for the next Battlefield title -- “Battlefield 1.” Presumably, the title refers to the game’s setting which was previously confirmed World War One. The newly released trailer, as well as the two-hour livestream celebrating the franchise, finalize the setting that had been accidently leaked months ago through NeoGaf.
Game news this week kicks off the sequel to a game no one remembers. EA confirmed Titanfall 2 with a teaser trailer this week, announcing at the same time that the game would be on display in some form at their Play Event during E3. EA’s Play Event starts on June 12, and was set up because the company is skipping E3. So far, no other details have come out about the game, but you can expect to hear more about it in June.
Some sad news for many World of Warcraft fans this week. The popular private server Nostalrius, was shut down on April 10th. This comes following a cease and desist from Blizzard Entertainment. The Nostalrius server has allowed players to keep playing vanilla WoW as it was 13 years ago, pre-expansion, and is somewhat similar to Project 99 for EverQuest. Before being shut down, Nostalrius had over 150,000 active players. To signify the ending of the server, players got together to travel from the orc capital Orgrimmar to the Thunder Bluff cliffs -- where they jumped to their deaths. In addition, many attempted to stream the server’s final moments; however, the private server violated Twitch.Tv’s terms of service, and so to were the streams shutdown.
Breaking news from Germany -- Duke Franz Ferdinand is dead.
Well, maybe -- a NeoGAF listing by EA re-confirmed Battlefield 5, a game we already knew would ship from a recent EA earnings call. While this isn’t shocking, the setting is: according to the store listing, the Battlefield franchise will go back in time to World War 1. This rumor starts with the listed description of the game (now redacted), which states auf Deutsch that the game in question is “Mehrspieler Taktik Shooter im 1. Weltkrieg.” In the language of the victors, that’s “multiplayer tactical shooter in WW1.” If the unintentional leak is true, this would be a first for the Battlefield franchise and takes us back farther than its 1942 - Vietnam roots.
Ghost Games and EA Games just posted the PC system requirements (minimum and recommended) for Need for Speed, including racing wheel support and specs for 1080p60 gaming. The newest entry in the Need for Speed franchise reminds us of ages-distant NFS Underground series, primarily focusing on night-time street racing and car modification.
The NFS post indicates that Ghost Games, the developers, have learned PC gamers demand more – mostly more frames, as they've unlocked the framerate for March 15th's Need for Speed.
Here's a list of requirements:
We just reported on WD & Seagate's fiscal year 2Q16 earnings, both hard drive companies showing a decline in both revenue and income. Not to be left behind, publicly-held EA Games recently released its shareholder earnings call transcript with a roadmap for the next year.
The company is currently developing and publishing “Mass Effect 4” (official title – Mass Effect: Andromeda), the next Battlefield game, and “Titanfall 2” (name TBD). All three series will deliver their refreshments in 2017, with Titanfall and Mass Effect updating prior to 2Q17 (before April). Titanfall 2 is known to be multi-platform and will retain its focus on fast-paced, parkour-inspired gameplay.
It's game launch season. This is the busiest time of year for the games industry, and that's apparent to anyone who's followed recent launches – it's been one hit after the next. Black Ops III led into Fallout 4, into Battlefront, into Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and now Blizzard's Overwatch. The intensity of the season makes for plenty of discussion topics in the gaming news space (and for lots of benchmarking), something that GN's newest commentator is eager to discuss.
This week's biggest news items include, perhaps obviously, Assassin's Creed Syndicate & Battlefront launches, the Overwatch beta weekend, and some Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 news. Our loose script / video outline can be found below the news recap!
It’s time to pick up the blasters and lightsabers again. After 10 years, the Star Wars “Battlefront” franchise is returning to something bigger than a handheld device. Initially announced two years ago, EA is now sending out invitations to a closed alpha test for the PC version of Star Wars Battlefront. You can join in by signing up at starwars.ea.com.
Need For Speed is one of the longest-standing racing genres in gaming history, rooted in high-speed police chases and later adding detailed car customization. Need For Speed Underground heavily focused on high-octane street racing, featuring dyno tuning, car tweaking, and import-styled visuals. NFSU2 offered an open world experience on the nighttime streets of various cities.
As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.
The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.
Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.