WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 27TH JULY – 2ND AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

The computer hardware manufacturer Razer has acquired all of the software assets of Ouya (the ‘one time Kickstarted micro-console darling turned embarrassing failure of a venture’), with the intention of migrating all current users to its own Forge TV micro-console in the near future. Old Ouya customers will be allowed to transfer their games and accounts, while the Ouya marketplace will be rebranded. Most of the folks that worked at Ouya will retain their jobs, but the founder and CEO Juile Uhrman has bailed out.

The acquisition caused a panic storm when it was initially reported that Razer would not honor the poorly planned ‘Free The Games Fund’ that Ouya set up, meaning that a number of the twenty-seven developers who took part in the promotion would lose out on the income needed to complete their games. Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan quickly confirmed that his company would then cover the $620,000 that Ouya owed to developers, with a few caveats – a more in-depth explanation of the situation by Polygon can be found here.

In Other News

Following the successful completion of its Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic Games have announced that they are teaming up with Worms developer Team 17 to publish the finished product. In an update on the game’s campaign page, Playtonic have reassured backers that Team 17 will not be adding any additional funding, but that they will handle end-of-project processes including certification, localization and quality assurance:

To clarify, this isn’t a traditional publisher deal: Team 17 understands what we want to achieve as a studio and has created a unique partnership with us. Team 17 will improve Yooka-Laylee in a myriad of ways, not least in expanded localization (more languages!), QA testing, certification and store management – Basically, all the stuff that game creators don’t want to worry about. Playtonic remains completely independent and owns everything we do – thanks to you – and we’re really, really proud to be able to say that our game is 100% funded via Kickstarter – Gavin Price, creative lead on Yooka Laylee

Team 17 will also be looking into the possibility of a retail version of the game, which is currently set for a digital only release on Linux, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U.

Having released a HD remaster of the GameCube remake of Resident Evil, it seems Capcom are now getting serious about remaking Resident Evil 2. Following positive news reports for a fan remake of the game using the Unreal 4 engine, Capcom took to Facebook to ask for people’s ‘honest and frank opinion’ on the project – with the overwhelming response being something akin to ‘YES’. Over the weekend it has subsequently been revealed that internal concepts for a remake are already floating around, with the producer of the recent RE release Yoshiaki Hirabayashi taking the charge on the idea.

Resident Evil 2 remains one of the most popular entries in the long running horror franchise, so a remake seems like it would print money for Capcom – then again, they have a history of not exactly pleasing their fanbase, as any long suffering Mega Man fanatic will be able to tell you.

Dragon Quest XI has been officially unveiled, and marks the return of the massive JRPG series to Sony platforms. At a press conference Square Enix confirmed that the game will appear on both PS4 and 3DS (which will have the same story but split visual styles), while also making a bit of a marketing blunder by saying the game will appear on the NX, Nintendo’s next console that won’t even see the light of day until next year – Square very quickly backpedaled to say that the NX version ‘is under consideration’.

The MMORPG Dragon Quest X, previously available only on Wii, Wii U and PC, will also be coming to PS4 at some point in the future.

A new update for Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS has added a tournament mode and the ability to upload gameplay videos to YouTube for free. Prior to version 1.1.0, players could only upload videos to MiiVerse. The update also provides support for a new batch of paid-for DLC including the Hyrule Castle & Peach Castle stages from the N64 version of Smash Bros, and new characters in the shape of Chrom (Fire Emblem: Awakening) and King R Kool (Donkey Kong Country) – although sadly, only as Mii Fighter costumes.

The patch also adds a K.K Slider costume, complete with a guitar for a gun

The patch also adds a K.K Slider costume, complete with a guitar for a gun

Seasoned players of the game have also suggested that the patch brings a wave of buffs to certain characters including Ganondorf, Palutena and Wii Fit Trainer, while the likes of Sheik have been nerfed slightly.

The latest batch of games that you can pick up for free in August via Games With Gold and PS Plus have been unveiled. Xbox Live Gold subscribers can pick up Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on Xbox One and Metro 2033 on Xbox 360 from now through to August 15th, at which point they will be joined by How To Survive: Storm Warming Edition (X1) and Metro Last Light (360, 16-31st August). Over on Sony’s side, the current selection of titles (including the new internet sensation, Rocket League) will be rotated on August 4th for LIMBO (PS4), Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris (PS4), Stealth Inc 2: A Game Of Clones (PS4, PS3 & Vita), Sound Shapes (PS4, PS3 & Vita), Castlestorm Complete Edition (PS3, Vita) and God Of War: Ascension (PS3).

Sony have also outlined on the PlayStation Blog that soon users will have some element of control over what titles may appear on the Instant Games Collection, by voting for as-of-yet unreleased PS4 games ‘at regular intervals throughout the year’; which seems like a decent method of giving some smaller titles a bit of exposure.

As we move past the halfway point of the year, the NPD Group have proclaimed that Mortal Kombat X is currently the best selling game of the year; which might come as a surprise to some people. Based on sales figures from January to the end of June (but which significantly does not take into account digital sales figures), NeatherRealm’s bloody beat-em-up leads the way from Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield Hardline & Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare ­– as you can probably tell, the list includes games released in the past. The full list can be seen below, although sadly the NPD does not provide sales figures

1 – Mortal Kombat X (NeatherRealm Studios)

2 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

3 – Battlefield Hardline (DICE)

4 – Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Infinity Ward)

5 – Minecraft (Mojang)

6 – Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady)

7 – Dying Light (Techland)

8 – NBA 2K15 (2K Sports)

9 – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red)

10 – Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS (Nintendo)

As for hardware, Sony’s meteoric success with the PS4 continued in the second quarter of the year as they shifted 3 million consoles worldwide – meaning that they have now sold over 25 million consoles in less than two years. Microsoft reported that they had shipped 1.4 million Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles combined in the same quarter, with Nintendo reporting a profit of $43 million in the same period and announcing that the Wii U has moved past the 10 million mark for lifetime sales.

And Finally…

Pre-order bonuses have become an established (and rather annoying) trend in marketing video games – it usually amounts to a tiny bit of content (most probably cut from the main game for the sake of being a pre-order bonus) offering little in the way of substantial gameplay or a cosmetic change that will inevitably be made available to all a few months later as paid DLC. Waner Bros Interactive in particular have taken a hell of a lot of flak for this practice recently, but they are far from alone in such activity.

As such, it take something particularly unique to pique my interest; the insanely popular Pip-Boy model that Bethesda have offered for Fallout 4 is a good example, or the rather nice steelbook case for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster that I actually picked up. What 2K have offered as a pre-order incentive for WWE 2K16 has me intrigued, but more for how daft it is than its actual value – you can play as the god-damn T800 from The Terminator.

For those who have no interest in wrestling, the linkup actually has some rationale behind it. Arnie himself was recently initiated into the WWE Hall Of Fame, and the company has been heavily promoting Terminator: Genysis all year long. Besides, wrestling has always had an edge of stupidity behind it – RoboCop turned up at one PPV to save Sting during the WCW days. Being the Terminator in a wrestling game however, is just plain stupid. If you want to be duped into pre-ordering WWE 2K16, then maybe this trailer will help persuade you.

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