WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 7TH – 13TH JULY

Headline Of The Week

After weeks without a single debilitating comment, Microsoft have returned to form by announcing and then quickly denying a development with it’s Xbox One(-Eighty) console.

On Wednesday it was suggested by Martin Fuller from the Xbox Advanced Technology Group that the console would no longer double up as a development kit as originally intended, before a spokesman rebuked the claims the next day (“We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solutions for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One”), and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reiterated the company’s support to its gaming division.

The relevance of the story was reinforced by a survey conducted at GDC Europe (Game Developers Conference) this week suggesting that on the console front, more developers prefer to use the architecture offered by Sony’s PS4 (25% compared to 13% for Xbox One). However, the survey also suggested that the influence of consoles is starting to wear thin on developers, with over 60% claiming to be working on PC and mobile platforms. From the survey, it was also decreed that Sweden is current premier hub for game development in Europe, with the UK and Germany not far behind.

In Other News…

For fans of the fighting game scene this will be old news, but EVO 2014 has been taking place over the weekend, with a whole day of finals planned for Monday 14th. Over 4,000 entrants have put their name in this year, with players scrapping to become king of titles including Ultra Street Fighter IV, Killer Instinct and Super Smash Bros Melee amongst others. The majority of the tournaments have been streamed live on TwitchTV, and I anticipate there will be plenty of footage to catch up on if you have missed the activities so far. It’s also been heavily teased that Tekken 7 is going to be revealed as well!

In the meantime, it seems appropriate to once again link the only thing that I know of EVO’s history – the greatest comeback since Lazarus, performed by Daigo Umehara back in 2004.

The remake of cult classic Grim Fandango has been confirmed for release on PC, Mac & Linux in a tweet by Double Fine’s Tim Schafer:

The title, exclusively revealed at Sony’s E3 conference, was originally released on PC, so it makes sense for it to return. The chances of a release on Xbox platforms are thought to be slim at this moment. Apart from the basic announcement nothing more has been revealed about the remake, apart from that it will feature upgraded audio and visuals.

Remember a while back when it was announced that there was going to be a Ratchet & Clank movie and everyone whooped with joy? It might have gone under the radar that at the same time, Heavenly Sword (one of the early PS3 title developed by Ninja Theory) was also greenlit for a film adaptation, albeit on a smaller scale. The Blu-Ray, DVD and digital release via PSN has been set for September 2nd in the United States, with no European release plans yet revealed.

The film will see Anna Torv reprise her role as heroine Nariko, and will also feature the vocal talents of Alfred Molina (Dr Octopus in Spiderman 2) and Thomas Jane (The Punisher). You can watch the trailer here; where I dare say it looks pretty average at best.

A newcomer to the Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS roster is set to be announced in a three minute livestream on Monday 14th at 3pm UK time. The use of a livestream to make the announcement suggests that something special is in the works, as previous characters have been revealed in pre-recorded short videos – it is heavily expected that at least Shulk from Xenoblades Chronicles will be added (after the creator of Xenoblades retweeted Nintendo’s official correspondence), with possibly a few old hands including Captain Falcon and Ness also getting confirmation.

In additional SSB news, a stage based on Pac-Man has been revealed exclusively for the 3DS version, which will features pellets that the players can pick up and the inclusion of the four classic ghost Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde as hazards.

After quite a few bundles which have failed to quite grab my attention, the Humble Bundle is back in force with a selection of games from 2K being put up for charitable donations. Paying $1 or its equivalent will net you BioShock, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and The Darkness 2, while paying over the average price will give you BioShock 2, Mafia II & Spec Ops: The Line, with mystery titles to be added soon! Anyone kind enough to donate over $20 will receive the two top tier games, BioShock Infinite and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

In additional deal news, a bundle has been formed on Xbox Live Marketplace for classic platformers Banjo Kazooie & Banjo Tooie,inventively called the ‘Banjo Games Bundle’. The bundle costs £11.99, and considered the games on their own are £9.99 apiece, that represents quite a saving.

In a dry week for new releases, Sniper Elite 3 remained at the top of the UK Game Sales Chart fighting off competition from fellow non-mover Watch_Dogs. The usual suspects round out the rest of the Top Ten.

Top Ten For Week Ending 5th July 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Sniper Elite 3 (Rebellion/505 Games)

2 – Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)

3 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

4 – Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment/Bluepoint Games)

5 – Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames)

6 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)

7 – EA Sports UFC (EA Canada)

8 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (EA Canada)

9 – Minecraft: PS3 Edition (4J Studios)

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

And Finally…

This week marked the 33rd birthday of one of gaming’s unsung heroes – Donkey Kong, the lovable tie-wearing ape who made his debut in arcades on July 9th 1981.

The original King Of The Jungle, looking good for someone turned 30

The original King Of The Jungle, looking good for someone turned 30…

The arcade version was a smash hit worldwide and helped to establish Nintendo’s name before the release of the NES a few years later, with DK’s adversary ‘Jumpman’ getting a name change to Mario and…well the rest as they say, is history. DK has proved to be a reliable outsource for Nintendo, with a string of highly rated and influential titles including Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong 64 and more recently Donkey Kong County Returns & Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The big ape has also been a regular on the rosters of Smash Bros and various Mario-sporting titles including every iteration of Kart, Tennis & Golf, as well as getting his own musical spin-offs in the shape of Donkey Konga.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, here’s the only song (that I’m aware of) to pay homage to the stubborn gorilla that made the charts – ‘Do The Donkey Kong’ by Bucker And Garcia

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