WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 16TH – 22ND FEBRUARY

Headline Of The Week

As a means to get more developers to adopt the Unreal Engine 4, Epic Games are set to give away nearly $5 million via a grant initiative. Epic will help to fund projects that it likes the look of, with the intention that the developer will retain all rights to the IP and publishing while the engine gets exposure – projects that have been crowdfunded will also be eligible for a grant of between $5,000 and $50,000. The co-founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, has explained why the company has put forward the idea:

“While development can be fueled by creativity and determination alone, finishing and releasing a commercial project often requires money…A small budget can make all the difference in shipping a project with the content, marketing materials, and promotional expenses necessary for it to gain traction. We like games, of course, but we also want to see animated features, architectural visualizations, Marketplace content, mods- anything that will make us say ‘Whoa.’”

Epic have already won plaudits for how accessible it has made the Unreal Engine 4; it is open to all for $19 a month with devs having to pay a 5% of gross revenue royalty fee once the game is finished.

In Other News

The first purpose built e-Sports arena in the United Kingdom is to be opened in March. Following an arrangement between VUE Cinemas and Gfinity, part of the VUE Fulham Broadway is to be turned into a permanent 600 person e-Sports venue – the Gfinity Arena will host a player lounge, a ticketing hall and confectionery stalls, with the 2015 Gfinity Championships (where games including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA 15 & Hearthstone will feature) taking place in the month it opens.

Despite the fervor, massive crowds (4,000 nerds enthusiasts attended a e-Sports event in London last year) and insane prizepots that are integral elements of its build up, E-Sports tournaments really don’t interest me in the slightest. Perhaps it’s the lack of interactivity that puts me off; that knowledge that I could just as easily be playing the same game rather than watching someone play it is a big turn off. Good luck to them though I guess in this little venture…

The release dates for the jaw-droppingly gorgeous PROJECT CARS has been pushed back once again; the PC version will arrive first on April 2nd, followed by the PS4 and Xbox One versions on April 7th.

It's car porn of the highest order - even Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2 look quite ancient in comparison

It’s car porn of the highest order – even Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2 look quite ancient in comparison

The simulation racer being published by Bandai Namco and being developed by the wonderfully named Slightly Mad Studios had originally been set for release in November 2014, before slipping back to March 2015.

Microsoft have rolled out a software update for its Upload Studio application on Xbox One. The free update will now allow support for projects with a runtime of 30 minutes, as well as add green screen effects, transitions and templates. For a more in-depth look at the additions you can view this handy video.

The Japanese developer Tri-Ace (best known for their work on the Star Ocean series) has been snapped up by Nepro Japan, a mobile company. The publisher has announced that they intend for Tri-Ace, who have most recently worked alongside Square Enix on the Final Fantasy XIII saga, to develop smartphone titles for the Japanese market.

Despite the confusion of a million-and-one pre-order versions, the 4vs1 shooter Evolve debuted at the top spot on the UK Game Sales Shart closely followed by fellow new release The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DMonster Hunter 4 Ulimate also dented the established order in a strong week for the debut of the New 3DS hardware.

Top Ten For Week Ending 14th February 2015 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Evolve (Turtle Rock Studios)*

2 – The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Grezzo/Nintendo)*

3 – Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games)

4 – Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom)*

5 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

6 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)

7 – Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal)

8 – Minecraft: Xbox Edition (4J Studios)

9 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity (Ubisoft Montreal)

10 – Destiny (Bungie)

(* indicates a new entry)

And Finally…

Hotline Miami is a wonderful, twisted, neon hazed and blood soaked shooter that I thoroughly enjoyed playing last year (although I haven’t quite finished it yet…) – but I’d be stumped if I was asked to provide a coherent rendition of the game’s plot. Perhaps in realization that story wasn’t the game’s strongest suit, developer Devolver Digital has teamed up with Dayjob Studios to produce a free digital comic which will detail the backstory of several important characters from the upcoming sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

The first two issues have been released on Steam (you can pick them up here), with more to come in the following weeks before the game’s potential release on March 10th 2015.

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