WEEKLY NEWS UPDATES FOR 4TH APRIL – 17TH MAY

Headlines For 11th to 17th May

A new project designed as a spiritual successor to the long running Castlevania series, Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, has proved to be a hit on Kickstarter by raking in nearly $1.3 million in funding within a day (as of writing this article, the figure has risen to $2,223,566!). The game is the brainchild of Koji Igarashi, who in the past has worked as Assistant Producer on Symphony Of The Night and as Producer on several other games in the series.

Among the stretch goals that have been hit for the proposal (which was only looking for $500,000) are local co-operative gameplay, voice work from the legendary David Hayter, Speed & Boss Rush modes and in a first for Kickstarter, the option to receive the game in a physical disc format for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Bloodstained is the second high profile game to receive press attention in recent weeks following Yooka-Laylee, and suggests a mini-renaissance for the crowdfunding initiative which has been largely quiet since Mighty No.9.

Oculus have revealed the recommended system specifications for anyone who wishes to run the consumer version of their Rift virtual reality headset, aiming to come to market in 2016; users will require the following equipment:

  • A Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD 290 graphics card equivalent or greater
  • A Intel i5-4590 processor equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Windows 7 SP1 or newer

The bad news for laptop owners is that the Rift is likely to be incompatible with their hardware as they will lack the GPU performance required to power video output, but Oculus has claimed that the required configuration should remain for the lifetime of the Rift meaning that over time more people will naturally get the hardware to run the headset as performance levels increase.

Development on OS X and Linux versions of the Rift have been paused as the company focuses on the launch for Windows.

In sad news, both the Ratchet & Clank film and PS4 re-imagining of the first game in the series by Insomniac Games have been delayed into 2016. Announced on the US PlayStation Blog, the film will now hit cinemas on April 29th 2016 with the game following around the same time – both had been set to come out before the end of the current year. It’s been a very long time now sine I last played a Ratchet game, so the delay of the PS4 title in particular is a crushing disappointment.

On the plus side, Insomniac have managed to recruit some star voice talent for the film, including Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, John Goodman and even Sylvester Stallone. Series regulars James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward & Armin Shimerman (Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark and Dr Nefarious respectively) will also reprise their roles for the film.

Blizzard are celebrating the third anniversary of Diablo III the only way they know how – by adding cows into the mix. Until May 21st, players on PC, PS4 and Xbox One will be able to visit the ‘Totally Not A Cow Level’ to earn lots of new loot and tackle a new event, while PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will instead receive a 100% buff to gold and XP.

For those unaware, the Secret Cow Level in Diablo II is considered one of gaming’s most famous Easter Eggs; an area unlocked after the main game is defeated where the player is able to fight a enormous herd of polearm-wielding bovines for rare loot.

The CEO of Burger King gets a warm welcome from some fans...

The CEO of Burger King gets a warm welcome from some fans…

A report by the Washington Post has decreed that Minecraft is the most popular game on YouTube, with over 42 MILLION videos of the game having been uploaded on the video sharing website. Perhaps more surprising is the knowledge that ‘Minecraft’ is also the second biggest search term on the site – presumably ahead of ‘Taylor Swift’, ‘cats’ or ‘insert the newest meme of the week here’.

The next games in the Top Ten list are all big name hitters including Grand Theft Auto, League Of Legends, Call Of Duty & FIFA, but the inclusion of indie frightfest Five Nights At Freddy’s in eighth spot suggests at how popular ‘Let’s Play’ and reaction videos have become in the past few years.

Square Enix are set to release the wonderful Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King on Nintendo 3DS. A Japanese release date of the 27th August has been set, with no word yet on a Western release. The 3DS version will include two new party members, StreetPass support and a full symphonic soundtrack.

Headlines For 4th to 10th May

As it turns out, Amiibo’s have proven to be quite popular – much more so than Nintendo thought they would be at least. Since launching last November alongside Super Smash Bros, 10.5 million Amiibo’s have been sold and there has been a constant shortage of figurines across the world (especially in North America where the demand is crazy high) leading to some of the rarer models being sold for extortionate prices by third party vendors. The Big N has responded to these issues at long last, outlining plans to increase production and re-issue figurines which have gone out of print:

“We appreciate the enthusiasm that our fans continue to show toward Amiibo. Sales for the product have exceeded our expectations. We understand how frustrating it can be at times if consumers are unable to find certain figures, and we apologise for that…As our library of Amiibo continues to grow, some figures will be easier to find than others. We are constantly looking for the opportunity to reissue Amiibo and are already making plans to bring back some currently out-of-stock Amiibo figures. Stay tuned for details.” – Nintendo speaking on their Facebook page

In further Nintendo news, the company has returned to profitable ways for the first time in four lean years.

Over the last 12 months Nintendo managed to generate 41 billion yen (£226 million), shifting 9 million 3DS handheld consoles and 3.6 million Wii U consles worldwide in the same timeframe. The best selling games were Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (9.94 million units combined) and Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U (10.4 million combined).

During the same results briefing, president Satoru Iwata outlined that the company aims to have five games released for smartphones by 2017 as part of its partnership with DeNA – the first (which you can bet several houses on will be something to do with Mario) will be out before the end of the year.

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