WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 6TH-12TH APRIL

Headline Of The Week

For several decades now, Lego has been THE toy for young children – a simple set of blocks which can ingeniously fit together into structures limited pretty much only by imagination. Video games featuring the Lego brand have been pretty fun (if not repetitive in nature) as well for the last couple of years, and the Danish brickmakers are now set to barge into the highly lucrative toys-to-life genre with Lego Dimensions, developed by TT Games for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U.

I personally thought that the sheer expense of collecting everything for toys-to-life games might have saturated their appeal - clearly I underestimated the collector's obsessive nature...

I personally thought that the sheer expense of collecting everything for toys-to-life games might have saturated their appeal – clearly I underestimated the collector’s obsessive nature…

The game will support figurines and models from multiple franchises including DC Comics, Back To The Future, The Lord Of The Rings & Lego’s own Ninjago franchise. The base game and a starter pack of characters is currently set to cost £90-100 – if you were to pick up all of the extra packs which have been announced, then that figure rises to an eye-watering £350!

The Skylanders and Disney Infinity titles have been huge earners and much demanded Christmas presents over the past few years as kids empty their parent’s wallets to get the latest figurines, and one would imagine that the brand appeal of Lego will allow Warner Bros to make like absolute bandits on Dimensions. For that price though, I think I’ll stick with the bricks…

In Other News

Love it or hate it, Call Of Duty isn’t exactly dying off any time soon – and this week following a rather strange marketing campaign that saw the insertion of Snapchat symbols into Black Ops II via a title update, Black Ops III has been confirmed for release, once again helmed by development studio Treyarch (who have taken it in turns with Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward to make the last few COD titles). A description isolated from the source code of the Call Of Duty website claims that the game will be set in a ‘dark, twisted future’ with the return of the highly popular Zombies multiplayer mode.

Strangely however, that wasn’t even the weirdest marketing campaign of the week – Square Enix livestreamed footage of a man lying down in a cell for about 24 hours before finally revealing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which will once again feature protagonist Adam Jensen from Human Revolution as he tracks down augmented terrorists in 2029. The reveal trailer also looks quite spiffy, and you can watch it here.

A new system has been introduced allowing players of the world’s biggest MMORPG, World Of Warcraft, to use real money to purchase virtual cash.

Whereas beforehand players could potentially be banned for buying gold from unlicensed vendors, the new system being tested by Blizzard will allow players to boost their artificial fortune via microtransactions – conversely if the player has a large amount of in-game funds, these can be used to purchase a token which will cover the subscription costs of the game which seems the more sensible option to be honest.

Initial trading saw the value of tokens drop by over 10,000 gold within 24 hours – even high fantasy worlds can’t stave off economic crises it seems.

As much as I thoroughly enjoy ignoring it, League Of Legends continues to be quite popular; so much so in fact that the quarter finals of the 2015 World Championship are set to be held at Wembley Arena on the 15th-18th October.

It’s a bold statement to fill a such a well known stadium which usually hosts England international football matches and massive concerts with thousands of nerds, but LOL seems to have that strange appeal –  last year the Championships amassed an online audience of over 27 million with 40,000 fans also packed into a stadium in Seoul, South Korea. The finals will take place in Berlin this year on Halloween.

The CEO of Zynga, Don Mattrick, has left his position less than two years after joining the company from Microsoft. He will be replaced by the former CEO Mark Pinicus; upon leaving Mattrick had the following to say:

“I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths…I am excited about the company’s trajectory and wish the best for Mark, Zynga and NaturalMotion as I plan to return to Canada to pursue my next challenge”

Quite frankly, Mattrick has earned a reputation for being quite terrible at his job. Having alienated many with multiple u-turns on policy for the Xbox One, during his tenure with the Farmville developers he oversaw a net loss of $226 million in 2014. Mattrick allegedly left voluntarily – read into that as you will.

Team Ninja (developers of Ninja Gaiden/Dead Or Alive) have been tasked to make a Dissidia: Final Fantasy game for Square Enix, using the ‘core system of technology’ of the PS4.

While this implies that Team Ninja will eventually bring the game to consoles, the game is expected to be exclusive to arcades in Japan for at least a year. The spin off Dissidia series has been one of the franchise’s brighter creations in the past few years, bringing together leading characters from the main series on the PSP for one-on-one scraps.

Finally, Battlefield Hardline remained at the top of the UK Game Sales Chart for a third straight week, holding off competition from Grand Theft Auto V and Bloodborne. The only new entry in the Top Ten was Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin.

Top Ten For Week Ending 4th April 2015 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Battlefield Hardline (Visceral Games)

2 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

3 – Bloodborne (FromSoftware)

4 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)

5 – Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal)

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

7 – Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (Gearbox Software)

8 – Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin (FromSoftware)*

9 – Dying Light (Techland)

10 – Destiny (Bungie)

(* indicates a new entry)

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