Most Important Headline Of The Week
The greatest of all the Pokemon, Charizard, has been confirmed as a standalone character for Super Smash Bros on 3DS and Wii U. Let’s take a moment to bask in his magnificence.
The Other Headline Of The Week
The Nintendo Direct presentation on Tuesday also revealed plenty more details on the upcoming Super Smash Bros – most important of all was the news that the 3DS version will be launching in the Summer ahead of the Wii U version, which still has a non-specific release date of late 2014.
The 40 minute presentation (hosted by Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai) also had plenty more surprises in store; revealing new items, assist trophies & stages, a two tier system for online play separating those who wish for fun or glory, and a brand new game mode called Smash Run which will be 3DS exclusive. Finally, it was confirmed that Yoshi will return to the roster (along with Zero Suit Samus and Sheik who now have individual spots) with the second newcomer from the Pokemon series unveiled to be Greninja. If you missed the presentation on Tuesday, you can watch the whole thing via the video link below.
It was also amusing that in a week where Super Smash Bros was the talk of the town, a ‘ultimate balance patch’ was released for Playstation All Stars Battle Royale – Sony’s largely inferior but still amusing mascot fighter. All the details of the patch can be found here.
In Other News…
It has been a productive week for game reveals of various kinds. Leading the way was 2K Australia who showed off Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel; a game set between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2 which takes place on the moon orbiting Pandora and will showcase how antagonist Handsome Jack came to prominence in the Hyperion Corporation.
The four playable characters have been confirmed as Athena The Gladiator, Wilhelm The Enforcer, Nisha The Lawbringer and Fragtrap – a militarised version of the eccentric Claptrap that stole the show in Borderlands 2. Two new types of weapons will also be added in the form of lasers and Cyro guns which can freeze and break enemies apart in the space environment. Players will also have to constantly loot oxygen from containers to stay alive, and will have access to jetpacks.
It is set to be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, and will hopefully plug the gap for a potential third game in the main series which Gearbox Software’s head honcho Randy Pitchford has stated ‘is not in development’. If you can’t wait that long however, then Borderlands 2 for the PS Vita is coming out in a bundle pack on May 6th 2014, with the standalone game available a week later on the 13th.
Having soaked up billion of hours of player’s time fighting battles on the Earth, the Sid Meier’s Civilization series is to head back into space. Firaxis Games have unveiled Civilization: Beyond Earth, scheduled for a release on PC in Fall 2014.
The game will be a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri; based upon the heaxagonal system employed in Civilization V, Beyond Earth looks to shake things up with a ‘tech-web’ system rather than a linear skill tree, and by dividing factions along five different affinities. There will also be native aliens who can be fought or befriended. A first trailer has been released outlining the concept for why humans need to take real-time strategy into the skies above.
Having been teased by one of their Turkish PR representatives two weeks ago, Sony have moved quickly to confirm that The Last Of Us: Remastered is coming to PS4.
Along with a number of tweaks and improvements, Naughty Dog have stated the multi-award winning title will be upgraded to 60fps in 1080p resolution, and will feature the ‘Left Behind’ DLC. You can catch the briefest of glimpses of the upgrades in this trailer – my desire to pick up a PS4 this summer has coincidentally shot through the roof.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is slated for release in the third quarter of 2014, but Dennation Games has released a new trailer to whet your blood lusting appetites. It’s full of frenzied mayhem, neon and ace music, so I’m in. The sequel to the vibrant, violent and incredibly popular Hotline Miami will feature new weapons including chainsaws, one handed shotguns and dual wielding SMG’s; allowing you to replicate that awesome ‘shoot both ways down a corridor’ thing you often see in action films.
Transistor, the latest project from Supergiant Games (who created the wonderful Bastion) will release on PC and PS4 on May 20th, where it will cost £14.99. It is the first game that Supergiant have self-published, and they have stated their intentions to bring the intriguing real time/pause/turn based adventure to Mac and Linux systems following launch.
And finally on the reveals & releases front, Ubisoft have confirmed that open world racer The Crew (one of my highlights from E3 and Eurogamer 2013) is to be released in Autumn 2014 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One – putting it in roughly the same window as other racers such as DRIVECLUB. Sadly it was also unveiled that micro transactions will be present allowing players to purchase performance upgrades with real world money, although apparently no extra performance will be exclusive.
The script for the Assassin’s Creed film is to undergo a rewrite…presumably to include more pirates. The responsibility has fallen upon Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, who have previously worked with Ridley Scott and Darren Aronofksy.
The movie has been in a state of flux for a while now, after it was initially revealed in July 2012 that Michael Fassbender would play the as-of-yet unnamed main role and then in October 2012 it was suggested that work on the film was being fast-tracked by New Regency and Fox. As of now, the film has no script, director or supporting cast members.
Somehow that’s still better progress than the World Of Warcraft movie…
After two months skulking around the middle of the charts, out of nowhere FIFA 14 has risen straight back to the top of the UK Game Sales Charts – meaning it has now been top dog for a combined 11 weeks. It means that FIFA 14 has matched a record earned by only four games since the charts were recorded: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Wii Fit, Zumba Fitness, and the granddaddy of them all – FIFA 98: Road To World Cup.
Elsewhere, the PC version of The Elder Scrolls Online sold enough to slot into second place, with the PS4 and Xbox One versions arriving in June.
Top Ten For Week Ending 5th April 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)
2 – The Elder Scrolls Online (Zenimax Online Studios)*
3 – Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment)
4 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)
5 – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Kojima Productions)
6 – Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch)
7 – The Lego Movie Videogame (Traveller’s Tales)
8 – SouthPark: The Stick Of Truth (Obsidian Entertainment)
9 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)
10 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)
(* signifies a new chart entry)
Believe it or not, but 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite game developers – Naughty Dog. While they have certainly been enjoying the high life in the past few years with strong showing from the Uncharted series and The Last Of Us, my fondness for them stretches back into the mid-90s with the creation of Crash Bandicoot.
As a way of celebrating all that success, the studio is teaming up with Dark Horse Comics to publish ‘The Art Of Naughty Dog’.
Available later this year, the publication will feature both never before seen development art, and also a selection of fan art as well. It comes as part of an announcement that hints at further anniversary celebrations throughout the year – I hope to the old god and the new that it somehow involves a reboot of Crash back in the hands that created him. Should that not come to pass, I imagine I’ll be enjoying reading through the artbook anyway.
I’ll keep an eye on the project and hopefully have more news on pricing later on this year