Headline Of The Week
It’s been one of, if not the busiest release week of the year for video games these past seven days (although next week might give it a run for its money with the likes of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4 and Grand Theft Auto V all looking for a snug place in your disc drives), but the headlines have been dominated by reports of poor performance across the board on several big name titles. Most notably, matchmaking playlists for Halo: The Master Chief Collection have ran into server issues, both the 3DS and Wii U Sonic Boom games have been ripped to shreds for game breaking exploits and uninspiring gameplay…and there is the curious case of Assassins Creed: Unity – a AAA game released seemingly before it was finished.
Despite mostly positive reviews from the gaming press, Unity has been beset by a number of bugs and glitches across all platforms; developer Ubisoft Montreal have been attacked on pretty much all fronts for problems including players falling through the world allowing them to swim under Renaissance era Paris, characters grabbing onto invisible ledges, and most hilariously/horrifyingly character faces disappearing mid-cut scene.
Ubisoft have said they are hastily working on a patch to iron out the most serious reported problems, but much of the damage has been done both to their reputation and to their finances – shares in the company fell by up to 12% after the game’s launch on Tuesday. The company also came under fire for placing a review embargo on the game which lasted until twelve hours after the game was released.
No pressure then on both Far Cry 4 and The Crew (both of which are games I’ve been looking forward to) to bring some good press back to the studio.
In Other News
TellTale Games have been busy this week, outlining details for their two highly anticipated forthcoming projects.
A debut trailer for Tales From The Borderlands has introduced players to the characters and basic story of the collaboration with Gearbox Software set after the events of Borderlands 2, and the company have confirmed that its Game Of Thrones series will feature five playable characters across six episodes (as opposed to the five episode model used in both The Walking Dead & The Wolf Among Us), the events of which are concurrent with the fourth series of the televised adaptation of George R.R Martin’s fantasy novels.
Both games are set to have at the least their respective first episodes released on multiple platforms by the end of the year.
Sony are set to launch a new cloud based television service called PlayStation Vue (pronounced ‘View’). Set for beta in the US in the first half of 2015, the service aims to make the last three days of broadcasting from 75 licensed channels available without requirement for recordings, and would be accessible through both Sony and non-Sony devices as the company looks to extend the PlayStation brand beyond gaming.
The Vue service has no installation charges or contracts, but Sony has declined to mention how much the service would cost from month to month (a decision which will inevitably draw comparisons to Netflix’s monthly charges), or whether it will be made available outside of America. It’s also interesting to see Sony move in the direction of TV content, an area which Microsoft originally envisaged as a big selling point for the Xbox One but eventually backtracked from after vocal criticism from the gaming public.
On a slightly less positive note for Sony, FIFA 15 has become the latest title to block the recently introduced ‘Share Play’ feature on PS4; following in the footsteps of Tomb Raider, Thief & Call Of Duty: Ghosts.
A new game awards ceremony, inventively called ‘The Game Awards’, will debut next month on December 5th in Las Vegas. Organized by the strangely influential gaming journalist and Mountain Dew salesman Geoff Keighley, the event will seemingly replace the Spike VGX awards (which were a cringeworthy shambles to watch in 2013) and has attracted several big names to its advisory board including Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, SCEA boss Shawn Layden and Xbox head Phil Spencer.
The event will be streamed live via Steam, Xbox Live and PSN.
Finally, as I correctly predicted last week to no great surprise, Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare has ended FIFA 15’s six week reign to become the new leader of the UK Game Sales Charts this week. The first week sales of Activision’s latest iteration into the FPS franchise allegedly beat the combined first week sales of 2014’s other big shooters, Titanfall, Destiny and Wolfenstien: The New Order…which probably means that Activision were lying through their teeth when pronouncing the successes of Destiny back in September.
The other big release of the week, Football Manager 2015, debuted in third spot – once again proving that PC exclusive releases can hold their own weight against the console market.
Top Ten For Week Ending 8th November 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games)*
2 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)
3 – Football Manager 2015 (Sports Interactive)*
4 – Alien Isolation (Creative Assembly)
5 – Destiny (Bungie)
6 – Minecraft: Playstation Edition (4J Studios)
7 – Skylanders: Trap Team (Toys For Bob)
8 – Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games)
9 – The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks)
10 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)
(* indicates a new release)