WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 2ND – 8TH JUNE

Headline Of The Week

All aboard! It’s that time of the year again where the gaming hype train makes a stop at Los Angeles for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly referred to as E3. While it has never been the most open show on the gaming calendar (it is primarily a press event after all), E3 commands a media attention that few other expositions can match, and for just under twenty years now it has been the battleground on which most major announcements have been made by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and EA amongst others.

I’ll be covering what I’m personally looking forward to in a separate article, so for now let’s confirm when all the major action is going to be broadcast. Microsoft will kick things off on Monday 9th at 5:30pm GMT, and will be followed by EA at 8pm GMT and Ubisoft at 11pm GMT. Sony once again will keep you up until the early morning by starting their conference at 2am GMT, and then Nintendo’s online only presentations will be broadcast on the Nintendo Direct website at 5pm GMT on Tuesday 10th. As ever, several gaming sites will be doing live streams throughout the day, including GameTrailers, IGN and Twitch.

In Other News…

2014 has already seen plenty of next-gen titles being delayed into the following year, including The Division, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and last week’s casualty, The Order 1886. They are now set to be joined by The Dark Knight as well – Batman: Arkham Knight, being developed by UK based Rocksteady Studios, is now launching in 2015.

Warner Bros Interactive announced the news alongside a new teaser trailer showing a combat mode for the Batmobile, which will make its playable debut in Arkham Knight and has received an awful lot of press attention. Even with the delay, expect to see some more footage of the game being shown off at E3 over the next week.

After weeks of cryptic tweets from series co-creator Ed Boon, Mortal Kombat X has been officially announced. Under the helm of NetherRealm Studios (whose previous credits include the PS3/Xbox 360 reboot of MK and Injustice: Gods Among Us), the tenth entry into the long running fighting game series is set for a 2015 release on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Scorpion's looking as brooding as ever

Scorpion’s looking as brooding as ever

Players will be able to pick multiple variations of the same character for the first time in the series, and the first trailer for the game (featuring MK regulars Scorpion and Sub-Zero fighting in a snowy forest) suggests that interaction with the surrounding environment, a feature utilised in Injustice, will also feature. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a particular fan of Mortal Kombat, but in a week that has seen the release of yet another version of Street Fighter IV, I’ll welcome something else to freshen up the fighting game scene.

For those of you who might have been put off by the relative small size of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes campaign and environment, then here’s a soundbite that’ll make you happy – apparently The Phantom Pain will be over 200 times bigger according to Hideo Kojima. As part of a one and a half hour video presentation on the game, Kojima displayed a chart that shows the proposed map size of The Phantom Pain in comparison to each of the other Metal Gear titles, and it’s safe to say that it dwarfs them all. Real time changes in weather will also apparently affect gameplay, forcing players to undertake missions at different times for the best results.

Kojima has never been shy of over-hyping his games, but the end results are usually pretty top notch anyway. For all the focus on Metal Gear Solid V though, want I would really like is a next-gen sequel for the stupid and wonderful Revengeance.

A sequel to the highly enjoyable Forza Horizon is in the works for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The sequel, Forza Horizon 2, will take place in Northern Italy and Southern France this time, although the focus will once again be centered on a music festival with hundreds of cars (including the headliner Lamborghini Huracan) available for the player to pick from. The poorly named ‘Drivatar’ system from Forza Motorsport 5 will also be included in the game.

The Xbox One version of Forza Horizon 2 will be co-developed by Playground Games and Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studio, while the 360 version will be built on an older game engine by Sumo Digital.

GOG.com has lifted the tabs on a new internet client service that will act as a rival to Steam. The Galaxy Client will offer users the chance to automatically update games they own, and will add achievements and other social features including cross-play with other services.

While Galaxy and its related features will require an internet connection, games purchased from GOG.com will still be playable without the client as per normal. In a bid to entice people towards the service, users can sign up for potential participation in a closed multiplayer beta for The Witcher Adventure Game which will debut on the client.

Sales of Wii U consoles in the UK shot up by a staggering 666% last week with the release of Mario Kart 8, which recorded the second best launch in the series’ history and provided the much needed impetus for Nintendo’s latest console (remember, you can register for another free game if you buy it before July 31st). However, not even a combination of anti-gravity action and the viral popularity of ‘Luigi’s Death Stare’ could get MK8 to the top of the UK Game Sales Charts…

And that’s because Watch_Dogs set a new record for first week sales of a new IP, selling over four million units worldwide and beating the previous record set by LA Noire way back in 2011. It also recorded the 17th highest first week sales of any game ever released in the UK. Elsewhere in the charts, Wolfenstein: The New Order dropped into third spot.

Top Ten For Week Ending 31st May 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)*

2 – Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo)*

3 – Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames)

4 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

5 – Minecraft: PS3 Edition (4J Studios)

6 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil(EA Canada)

7 – Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment/Bluepoint Games)

8 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)

9 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)

10 – The Lego Movie Videogame (Traveller’s Tales)

(* indicates a new entry)

And Finally…

I’m delighted to say that another video game concert is making it’s way over to UK shores; this time in the guise of RePlay: Symphony Of Heroes.

Featuring orchestral adaptations from the likes of Halo, Castlevania, Journey, God Of War and Mass Effect, the concert will be taking place at The SSE Arena in Wembley on Friday 26th September 2014 at 8pm, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir – meaning that you could potentially fill your day with a trip to the Eurogamer Expo (I’m going on the Friday) and then catch the concert in the evening! Indeed, those attending the exposition can apply for a 10% discount on tickets.

Speaking about the concert, creator Jason Michael Paul (who also produced the Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses Tour) said “the audience is able to recapture the emotional connection they had with each video game not just through the music, but also by reliving their adventures as the hero.” If you are interested, then tickets are currently on sale starting from £40 at RePlay-Symphony.com.

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