Weekly Review! (11/12)

The week’s video game happenings and announcements summed up in one helpful list, never be out of the loop again!

Saturday 5th December – Sony PSX 2015 Keynote

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Sony have truly covered their bases with their PSX 2015 Keynote which took place on Saturday. Showing off their plans for 2016, experiences range from the new Ratchet & Clank to a ‘Best Of’ segment on Star Wars Battlefront, from big names like Uncharted 4 to some impressive looking Indie titles including Don’t Starve Together. A teasing Crash Bandicoot shirt worn by president Shawn Layden went down well despite a continued silence surrounding the iconic series, but last year’s Final Fantasy 7 tease was realized in the showcase of a new gameplay trailer. With Black Ops 3 due, the PS4 is unveiled as the Call of Duty World League competition console, and new title Dead Star is thrown into the universe. Meanwhile, in a slightly lackluster tech demo, PlayStation VR had some limelight, with Rez Infinite, Golem, and Ace Combat 7 being demoed on the console.

Monday 7th December – Gone Home to be Released on PS4 and Xbox 1, Not Wii U 

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Little did Damon Baker of Nintendo of America know when he revealed that Gone Home was to be released on their Wii U console way back at Unite 2014. After the publishing label Majesco Entertainment had to close the door on the title earlier this year, they confirmed that the game was “not actively in development any longer”. Spelling disaster for both the developers and the distributors, things looked bleak for the first person exploration game. Until Monday. The Fullbright company announced that Gone Home will appear on PS4 and Xbox 1 on 12th January 2016. In a full 180, the new version will be released in partnership with Midnight City despite the Majesco difficulties. The updated console version is built using the Unity 5 engine, rather than the 4 seen on the PC version on its release in 2013. And possibly best of all, Gone Home console version will feature 90 minutes of developer commentary.

Tuesday 8th December – The Sims 4 Get Together Launch, and Sony Releases Dedicated Messaging App on Android and iOS

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Tuesday was a big day. In the PC and Mac world, The Sims 4 Get Together was launched after much reverence in its build up. Players can now create and play with groups of Sims and explore Windenburg, a new world developed with European influences and plenty of new locations. Features include the implementation of a ‘Clubs’ mechanic whereby players can become members of societies with specific interests, personalities, and styles, or create their own. The expansion is available for $39.99 on PC and Mac Origin and also in physical copies.

Meanwhile, over at Sony, a new messaging app was released for PSN Message. The app reduces the overall clunk of the messenger feature. The dedicated app focusses entirely on the messaging function of PSN, and has been released for both iOS and Android systems.

Wednesday 9th December – Microsoft HoloLens not “Gaming-First”

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With the developer’s release of Microsoft’s answer to virtual reality rapidly looming (we’ll see the lucky devs who managed to pre-order the console for $3000 in January), the company released new information on the likely intentions of the device on Wednesday. Speaking to GeekWire, Larry Hyrb (Director of Programming for Xbox Live) announced that the HoloLens is not “designed” to be a “gaming-first device”. They’re apparently only focusing on getting the system to its absolute highest quality as a system in itself before thinking about its entertainment value. That’s not to say there won’t be a gaming future for the HoloLens, with original IP Project X-Ray having been identified, and footage of the console running Minecraft existing since its very announcement.

Thursday 10th December – EA’s New Competitive Gaming Division 

Peter Moore of EA Game Photo: Alex Washburn / Wired

The esports arena is heating up at the moment, and yesterday EA proved its (albeit late) commitment to the cause. The new Competitive Gaming Division was announced, with Peter Moore to lead the cavalry in “the latest step in our journey to put our players first” (EA CEO Andrew Wilson). Promises have been made to include big-name franchises such as FIFA, Madden NFL, and Battlefield in the competition and the company have assured a new “infrastructure to bring you the world’s preeminent EA competitive experiences”. While others have jumped on the bandwagon a little earlier, Activision-Blizzard for example launched their esports division in October, and both Riot and Valve securing their roles in the ever-growing phenomenon earlier in the year. Keep an eye on this whole esports shindig – as it looks set to explode in 2016.

 

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