WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 24TH -31ST AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Video game soundtracks have been in the news again this week – not once, not twice, but THRICE.

The most high profile story concerns the soundtrack to the PS4 exclusive Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – initially the album was included on the Classical Artists Albums Chart, before the Official Charts Company moved it to the Official Soundtrack Album Chart claiming that the first classification had been an error. Composer Jessica Curry took to Twitter to vent her frustration at being left off the list, as she felt she would have had a No.1 entry on her hands.

The British developers behind Rapture, The Chinese Room, also accused the firm of elitism when it came to including game soundtracks – a debate which has been ongoing since video game soundtracks were first included on the Classic FM Hall Of Fame in 2012.

In related soundtrack news, a vinyl CD for the cult SNES classic Earthbound will be getting a Western release – the 24 song release is available for a £25 pre-order now with a choice of four disc colours, set to ship to Europe and North America in early 2016. Finally, Nintendo’s surprise hit Splatoon is also getting an official soundtrack; amusingly called ‘Splatune’ it will feature 61 tracks and cost just $26 when it release in October.

In Other News

Nintendo have announced the release dates of several games in its Winter line-up; which is arguably the strongest collection of first party games going into the Christmas period. The news was announced via Nintendo’s Twitter feed instead of via a Nintendo Direct broadcast, presumably due to the sad passing of usual presenter Satoru Iwata last month.

Both Star Fox Zero and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will launch on 20th November (just two days after Star Wars: Battlefront – no pressure there), with Xenoblades Chronicles X following on 4th December. 3DS titles Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival & New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward are also set to come out by the end of the year

Despite being in writing and development hell for what seems like forever, the Assassin’s Creed film is going ahead – to celebrate the start of filming, a first shot of Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Prometheus, Shame) dressed up in his new garb has been released – to be fair, he looks fairly boss!

You wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley at least...

You wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley at least… (image courtesy of Yahoo Movies)

The story will revolve around Fassbender’s character reliving the memories of a 15th Century Spanish ancestor, and will tie into the existing stories told in the multiple games in the franchise. Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) and Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) are set to co-star, with a tentative release date of 21st December 2016 set by Ubisoft and 20th Century Fox

In related film news, Lionsgate have given the green light for a film based on the Borderlands universe, to be produced by Avi and Ari Arad – of course, we already have the magnificent Mad Max: Fury Road for post-apocalyptic nonsense, but a Borderlands film could possibly be good if they get the humour right.

The MMORPG Guild Wars 2 base game is now available to everyone to play for free. Bucking the trend of the usual ‘free-to-play’ model where you would eventually have to pay to get ahead, Guild Wars 2 never had a subscription fee in the first place – just a £30/40 initial payment for the game, which has now been removed.

In addition, ArenaNet are set to introduce 10 player raids which will coincide with the release of the Heart Of Thorns add-on on October 23rd.

The football season is already underway and that means that a new FIFA demo is on the horizon, ready to test my resolve as to whether I want to jump back into a franchise that has disappointed me in recent years.

The FIFA 16 demo, available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 on 8th September, does seem quite substantial – alongside the usual short match option from which players can select 10 teams (as well as the German and USA female national teams), you’ll also be able to sample the new FIFA Ultimate Team Draft option as well as the new FIFA Trainer, complete with six skill games. Bundesliga enthusiasts will be able to see the fresh presentation for the league as well by playing a match between two German teams. Top stuff!

GOG.com have collaborated with Bethesda to bring a fair number of the publisher’s back catalogue to the DRM-free site for the first time. The games that have been added are The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition, The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, The Elder Scrolls: Battlespire, Quake, The Ultimate DOOM, DOOM 2, Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics. Purchase any of those games, and you’ll also get a copy of The Elder Scrolls: Arena & The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall thrown in for free.

And Finally…

Despite being the most popular thing to view on the internet and having tournaments fill stadiums worldwide, I still have absolutely zero interest in following ‘eSports’ on a day-to-day basis. Despite my ignorance it continues to grow however, and now bookmakers are getting in on the fun.

Betway are setting up what they claim is the first ‘dedicated eSports betting portal’, allowing punters to have a flutter on the results of tournaments for the likes of Counter Strike, DOTA 2, StarCraft 2 and League Of Legends. Of more interest are the highly optimistic special bets, including odds of 99/1 that Hearthstone will be included in the 2030 Winter Olympics – an event which doesn’t even have a host sorted out yet. You could also pop a bet on World Of Tanks to appear at the same event with odds of 499/1.

Not quite sure how the spectacle would work on ice – but they always tell you to play the popular market…

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