Headline Of The Week

This week the gaming world has paid its respects to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away on Monday from a bile duct growth. He was aged 55.

Iwata had a long and illustrious history with Nintendo, working as a programmer at HAL Laboratory on titles including Earthbound and Balloon Fight, before succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 to become only the fourth President of the company. During his tenure the company enjoyed great success with the DS and Wii consoles, while Iwata himself received praise for his hands-on approach to the role; regularly hosting Nintendo Direct announcements and highlighting the work of developers with ‘Iwata Asks’ interviews. In recent years he took a voluntary 50% paycut in response to Nintendo’s falling profits, and following E3 less than a month ago he publicly apologized for what was perceived by hardcore fans as a disappointing showing. While fighting illness in recent months, he also announced Nintendo’s intention to get into the mobile games sector.

Tributes flooded in from high profile individuals within the games industry and fans alike, led by a moving statement from fellow Earthbound programmer Shigesato Itoi. Over 4,000 people attended his funeral in Kyoto over the weekend, where the two interim co-directors of the company, Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda, delivered a eulogy stating that they will carry on Iwata’s legacy

His sense of fun, memorably demonstrated at multiple E3 conferences, will be sorely missed.  RIP Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015
His sense of fun, memorably demonstrated at multiple E3 conferences, will be sorely missed.
RIP Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015

In Other News

The biggest fighting game competition in the world, EVO 2015, is currently taking place in Las Vegas with thousands of competitors brawling in the likes of Ultra Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat X and Tekken 7 for big cash prizes and all-important bragging rights.

Away from all the action however, Capcom have announced a big shift in strategy for Street Fighter V; rather than releasing a ‘new’ version of the game each year with a suitable prefix (Super, Ultra, Mega, Hyper Deluxe etc.), the main game will be supported by continual small updates, while players will be able to unlock DLC characters by either playing the game or paying real money and avoiding the grind:

‘Essentially, what we did over time with Street Fighter IV is made our player pool smaller and smaller by eliminating people who didn’t purchase the upgrades…looking forward, our new strategy is more consumer friendly. This also creates additional long-term engagement with the game, because the more you play it, the more you’re rewarded. We’re always adding to the player base this time around — we’re never shrinking it by requiring a paid update. Players can leave at any time and come back at any time, and play on the latest balance adjustments with the largest player base’ – Matt Dahlgren, senior product marketing manager at Capcom

The Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue III has ended, becoming the highest funded video game project in the process. In the end, $6,333,296 was raised to beat the previous record of $5.54 million set in May by Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night. Now comes the immensely long wait until the game is actually presented in a playable format, estimated to be around 2017.

In related crowdfunding news, a sequel to the music puzzler Chime (which saw proceeds go to charity) has already been funded to the tune of $10,000, while an ex-Midway Games employee has also set up a campaign to fund a documentary about the company in the early 90s when Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam were all the rage.

A leaked e-mail from an Australian games retailer suggests that the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight will not be properly fixed until at least September. The message (sent by Warner Bros to EB Games – yep, it’s still a brand in the Southern Hemisphere) states that all copies of the PC version should be returned due to the expected delay for the fix, currently being worked on by Rocksteady and Iron Galaxy Studios. WB Games have declined to comment on the matter.

As previously reported both on this blog and everywhere else on the internet, the launch of PC version of Arkham Knight was a complete shambles. It doesn’t help that the post-release DLC is getting quite low scores across the board as well.

Developer Rovio Games has announced Angry Birds 2 – which confusingly is somehow the fifteenth game in the series after a whole palette of spinoff titles. A full reveal of the game is set for July 28th, with the game becoming available to download two days later.

Do people still care about the series enough at this point?
Do people still care about the series enough at this point?

Although it is nowhere near as popular as it once was (blame immense market saturation), Angry Birds remains one of the most widespread games in history with over 3 billion downloads to its credit. An animated film is expected at some point next year.

An upcoming patch for Destiny is set to completely overhaul many of the game’s most popular weapons. Patch 2.0.0 (coming in September to prepare for the next overpriced expansion, The Taken King) will nerf top PVE guns Thorn, Ice Breaker and the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher; the latter considered an essential requirement for the game’s most difficult encounters. Weapons in general will receive overhauls – both hand cannons and shotguns will have their power output reduced, while auto-rifles will receive a much required improvement.

Personally, I feel Bungie could remedy the situation by just having a basic selection of around 20 weapons – you know, like those old Halo games that people really love….

And Finally…

Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service has entered an open beta in the UK, meaning anyone with a PS3 or PS4 and a decent internet connection can stream games. Application support for both the Vita and PlayStation TV will appear at some time in the near future.

Following a quick browse of the games on offer, the selection is already pretty good but curtailed to only PS3 titles at the moment. Sadly, the rental prices (covering either 48 hours or 30 days) are still way too high for the service to be taken seriously, but if it inevitably gets rolled in with the price of a PS Plus subscription, I could see myself enjoying the opportunity to play some PS3 games that I missed.

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