WEEKLY NEWS UPDATES FOR 13TH APRIL – 3RD MAY

Hello one and all; my sincere apologies once again for a lack of blogging output over the last month or so, but I’ve been kind of busy…buying and moving into a house! What you will find below if some of the choicer stories that made the headlines over the past month.

Headlines For 27th April to 3rd May

If you remember a couple of months back, a group of former Rare employees broke off to create their own studio, Playtonic Games, with the intent to create a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie. The project was subsequently revealed to be Yooka-Laylee, a colourful platformer featuring a chameleon and it’s bat sidekick in a 3D enviroment packed with good old collectibles.

A Kickstarter campaign was set up to help fund development of the game to the tune of £175,000. They raised that total in less than 45 minutes.

As I write this article now, I’m delighted to say that the figure stands at a whopping £1,480,866 – that amount means that a number of stretch goals were met that will result in the game having a 2-4 player multiplayer mode, an N64 style shader mode and a simultaneous release across PC, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U platforms. While the game is only set to come out in October next year, the incredibly positive feedback towards the project does put a smile across my face – it suggests that the love and enthusiasm for the classic platformer genre isn’t quite dead as feared.

As soon as they mentioned that you get a retro manual, I was in. Remember how awesome manauls were back in the day?

As soon as they mentioned that you get a retro manual, I was in. Remember how awesome manauls were back in the day?

If you want to stump up some cash towards the project (which is now mighty close to reaching its final stretch goal of having an orchestral soundtrack from musical geniuses David Wise & Grant Kirkhope), then you can visit the Kickstarter page here

The Android micro-console and general mismanagement failure that is the Ouya is searching desperately for a quick sale as debts mount up. A leaked internal document from company CEO Julie Uhrman suggested that restructuring within the company had not saved enough capital and that they would be looking for offers of interest before the end of May.

The Ouya is a quite strange case scenario of when a promising idea goes very wrong in practice – having received $8.5 million in funding from a Kickstarter campaign, the finished product was cheaply made and did not have the range of titles to hold consumer interest. The company became further embroiled in scandal last year through a scheme to match the funding received for game projects on the Ouya which led to developers exploiting the fund pool with highly dubious crowdfunded proposals.

Headlines For 20th to 26th April

Konami has pulled the plug on Silent Hills, to the howls of disappointment from most of the gaming community. What is perhaps more newsworthy is the bizarre circumstances under which the whole scenario played out; initially Konami announced that the playable teaser demo P.T (highly regarded in its own right for being quite terrifying) was to be brought down from the PS Store on 29th April. This was followed by comments from director Guillermo Del Toro and actor Norman Reedus who were both attached to the project that it was dead in the water, which Konami later confirmed themselves. Although the series will continue to be developed, Silent Hills is very much now a thing of the past

After P.T was pulled from the store, there was then a few brief days in which it was possible to re-download the game if you had deleted it from your console’s hard-drive, and now the game has completely vanished from existence. This in turn now makes P.T a very rare game as only those who have it own their PS4 system will ever get to play it…and I’m one of those lucky people!

Square Enix is to hold its first ever individual E3 conference on Tuesday 16th June at 5pm UK time; the event will be streamed live via YouTube and Twitch. It is an unusual move as Square’s games are usually featured within Sony & Microsoft’s showcases (especially the latter with Rise Of The Tomb Raider), but they probably feel that they have enough content to make do on their own, in the same way that Bethesda will also be doing a solo conference at E3 this year.

Not content with working on at least four games at the same time, TellTale Games have announced that they will team up with Marvel Comics for a brand new ‘game series project’ set to debut in 2017.

The studio has remained tight-lipped on which heroes from Marvel’s massive stable of characters will be used in the series, but one would imagine that a tie in to the cinematic universe would be likely. TellTale just have to wade through Games Of Thrones, Tales From The Borderlands and future seasons of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us before they get to work on the new stuff.

Headlines For 13th to 19th April

In and amongst the fever pitch excitement for a fresh look at Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens at the Star Wars Celebration event (that trailer was pretty good, right?), DICE were also on hand to reveal the first ironclad details for Star Wars: Battlefront.

The new game will not feature a dedicated campaign like the PS2 titles; instead focusing on ‘crafted missions’ that can be played alone or with friends online. The player cap for battles will max out at 40 on all three platforms, and the release date has been set as 20th November 2015. In case you haven’t seen it already, DICE also showed off a video using footage captured from the in-game engine – if the finished product looks anything like that however, I’ll eat a mountain of hats.

Guitar Hero is back! And the first signs…aren’t really all that promising to be honest.

Developed by FreeStyle Games (the studio who created the much underrated DJ Hero), Guitar Hero Live is set to be released later this year, with a new gimmick that will see players rocking out from a first person perspective while a video of a real life crowd plays in front of them, who will react positively or negatively depending on your performance.The game will also require the purchase of a new guitar peripheral with two rows of three notes – a decision which hasn’t gone down well considering that Rock Band 4 will have backwards compatibility with all old equipment.

It seems the crowd has already made up its mind on how the new controller will go down...

It seems the crowd has already made up its mind on how the new controller will go down…

Let the rock wars recommence!

The price of an Xbox One has been slashed to a RRP of £299.99 in the United Kingdom; the fourth drop in price since the console was released in November 2013 (when it cost £429.99). A spokeperson from Microsoft was on hand to confirm that the drop in price is only for UK consumers, commenting that it ‘offers great value for fans looking to buy an Xbox One ahead of the launch of 2015’s highly-anticipated games’.

For reference, the PlayStation4 has kept it’s RRP of £349.99 since launch at most retailers.

Oddworld Inhabitants are already at work on a remake of the brilliant PS1 2D platformer Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, according to the series creator Lorne Lanning. Speaking in a recent interview, Lanning (who also does the voices for most of the characters in the games dont’cha know) said the following:

“We get asked every day whether this is going to happen so it’s nice to finally be able to say that this is indeed our intention…We’re going to have the community name it”

The declaration falls in line with comments that Lanning made before the release of Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty by where a remake of Exoddus would happen if the company shifted 250,000 copies of the game. Having recently completed and thoroughly enjoyed New ‘N’ Tasty (aside from a rather bad bug that wiped all my save progress early on), I have faith that they’ll make another solid remake in due course.

Finally, Flower, FlOw & Journey, the three highly received titles created by ThatGameCompany exclusively for the PS3, will be available as part of a disc compilation pack for the PS4 this summer. While the first two games have already been released as Cross Buy titles, Journey is set for release soon with a frame rate boost to 60fps.

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