Headline Of The Week
An unexpected Nintendo Direct broadcast midweek brought some unexpected surprises, none moreso than Hyrule Warriors – a collaboration of The Legend Of Zelda and Toei’s Dynasty Warriors series coming soon for the Wii U (check out the trailer below). Could this be the first Dynasty Warriors game that will be non-repetitive? Don’t be foolish – however the team up does suggest that Nintendo’s previously announced intentions to get its legendary IP’s involved with other developers may be more than just smoke and mirrors.
Among the other headline announcements were new DLC packs for Sonic: Lost World based around Yoshi’s Island and Zelda, the continuation of the Year Of Luigi with Dr. Luigi heading to the eShop on January 15th 2014 in Europe, and a confirmed European release date for Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright on the 3DS of March 28th 2014.
And while we are no closer to having a release date for the next installment of Super Smash Bros, a new character has been confirmed in the form of Princess Rosalina and her companion Luma from Super Mario Galaxy. Perhaps more excitingly, the game will also feature a stage based on everyone’s favorite twisty-turny racetrack, Rainbow Road from the Mario Kart series.
In Other News…
Microsoft has stated their intentions to bring the first selection of Xbox exclusive television content to consoles in early 2014.
As well as the Halo television series to be produced by Steven Spielberg that was announced at the Xbox One reveal, Xbox Entertainment Studios also plan for a eight-part series in the run up to the 2014 World Cup looking at the most talented street soccer players across the globe, and a documentary covering the infamous burial of E.T cartridges for the Atari 2600 in a New Mexico desert landfill.
There has been no word on how much the content might cost, as Microsoft aim to take a slice of the instant streaming market currently snapped up by LoveFilm and Netflix.
The ongoing argument over YouTube’s new copyright detection policies has attracted the attention of several major independent developers, who have found videos featuring their games content removed from the video sharing website.
The creators of Thomas Was Alone and VVVVVV in particular have lashed out at ‘Indmusic’ for monetizing footage of their respective games, and Vlambeer (Ridiculous Fishing) has advised composers to avoid the service to prevent licensed content being removed.
For their part YouTube have defended their policies in an open email to users and once again stated that those affected can file a dispute.
Electronic Arts has been hit by two lawsuits over the continuing debacle that is Battlefield 4.
Claiming that stockholders were misled over the progress of the development of DICE’s first person shooter, two law firms in San Deigo and Atlanta allege that due to EA strengthening their earnings forecast at the end of October and the subsequent drop in stock prices after problems with the multiplayer mode were reported, investors buying common stock between July 24th 2013 and this month have lost out. A representative from EA has said the following:
“We believe these claims are meritless. We intend to aggressively defend ourselves, and we’re confident the court will dismiss the complaint in due course.”
As previously reported at the beginning of December, all development of all future DLC has been put on hold as DICE look to stabilize the online multiplayer environment.
In an effort to maintain its status as the premier simulation racer ahead of Forza Motorsport 5, Gran Turismo 6 has enlisted the help of four time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who now appears as a racing mentor in the game. Commenting on his inclusion, Vettel said “I’ve been playing Gran Turismo since I was 12, so to appear in the game myself as a mentor is great”.
As part of a partnership between developers Polyphony Digital and Red Bull Racing, a new update will also bring two new cars (the Red Bull Racing Kart and Red Bull X2014 Junior), with the promise of two more models yet to come. The update has also brought new changes to credit payouts in Career Mode and introduced two bonus events to celebrate the festive season.
This week’s sales charts in the UK prove once and for all that we are mindless sheep when it comes to game purchases at Christmas; Call Of Duty: Ghosts remains at the top, followed by:
“This year’s FIFA game, then this year’s Lego game, then this year’s Battlefield game, then this year’s Assassin’s Creed game, then this year’s Just Dance game, then this year’s Need for Speed game…” (quote from Eurogamer).
In other sales news, the number of Nintendo 3DS units sold in the United Kingdom has surpassed the 2,000,000 mark this week, reaching the milestone quicker than the original DS.
Top Ten For Week Ending 15th December 2013 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)
2 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)
3 – Lego Marvel Superheroes (Traveller’s Tales)
4 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)
5 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft Montreal)
6 – Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft)
7 – Need For Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games)
8 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)
9 – WWE 2K14 (Yuke’s)
10 – Gran Turismo 6 (Polyphony Digital)
2013 was the year that many commentators expected would be a tipping point for mobile gaming; and while the products on offer have certainly been well beyond my personal expectations (if you had told me even two years ago that I could play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic on a phone, I would have answered with skepticism), it has yet to quite become the threat to console gaming that optimists had hoped for. Still, if the charts released by Apple showing the most popular applications for iOS devices in 2013 are to be believed, then gaming has certainly found a comfortable home on the move.
Games dominate both the lists for free and paid for applications downloaded onto iPhone’s and iPad’s – Minecraft Pocket Edition beat the likes of Angry Birds: Star Wars and Temple Run: Oz to become the highest grossing app of the year, while the seemingly addictive Candy Crush Saga topped the list of free applications ahead of options for social networking and mass entertainment such as YouTube, Facebook and SnapChat.
Mobile gaming is now well established as a popular pastime; it remains to be seen if any aspiring developer (like Camouflaj with the recently released Rebuplique) can take the bold leap and make it essential.