Weekend Short-Takes: 4/26/13

Interview: Ubisoft Montreal's next-gen agenda

Simon Wu:

These comments come as a welcome sign that the new and far more compatible platforms that developers are proficient with are coming to the consoles. However, this actually raises a new problem that I don’t think has ever been raised before. With the good of a shared core comes the bad: piracy. It’s near impossible for the layman to accomplish on a console because you need to physically modify the console and will not be able to play games online; a huge component of the experience. If the underlying security measures of the console games is now similar or possibly identical to those of the PC, will this be a sudden pandemic no one saw coming?

Max Gruber:

When Ubisoft said they would announce a new IP every year, my respect for Ubisoft grew exponentially. It’s always affirming to see a company attempt to break out of the monotony and banality that the entire gaming industry seem to be moving towards: milking the franchise cow dry. I’m very curious—and excited—to know what the next game will be, instead of expecting another sequel of a long running franchise. Strangely enough, this is what more publishers should be doing, instead of releasing sequel after sequel because it “sold well”.

Alex Miller:

While I was a little confused by Ubisoft's decision to announce Assassin’s Creed 4 so soon after AC3, this article has done a lot to slow some of my fears that Ubisoft might follow Activision and EA down the yearly sequel road. The amount of times “unannounced project” and “new IPs” was mentioned in this interview, obviously expected in any discussion close to a new console generation, still got me excited for the future. The little tease for E3 is yet another sign of good things to come out of this summer’s show, one I think I look forward to more than any other in years.



Nintendo won't hold a large E3 press conference this year

Simon Wu:

... and they shouldn’t come back until they’ve fundamentally rethought their approach to this next generation. Right now it’s clear the status quo isn’t working, and the fact that they’re relying on first party game remakes yet again to get them through is an even worse sign that they’ve given up alternate ideas. Hopefully this is the first of many steps they are taking after another brutal year where their profit target missed by 50% after already lowered forecasts because the Wii U and 3DS simply are that unattractive.

Max Gruber:

It doesn’t surprise me that Nintendo is opting out of E3 this year, especially given the titanic disaster that was the Wii U. It’s difficult to see Nintendo returning to the fore once more to make a comeback in the console wars. If they do manage to get back on their feet, it’s more than likely they’ll just stagger themselves to the point of no return.



Shinji Mikami wants to "bring back survival horror" with The Evil Within

Simon Wu:

I have hopes for this game, and not just misplaced hopes. There are two main factors that I see going for this game. Firstly, it might avoid the pitfall of Dead Space because EA is not the one footing the bill and therefore demanding that the game be lowered to the least common denominator. Bethesda gives developers significant latitude, which leads to great games (read: Dishonored). Secondly, while I am not a fan of the new Resident Evil titles, this is the creator of the series, and perhaps he is aware of the serious decline that it has suffered, and this is an attempt to get back closer to feel of the first few games.

Max Gruber:

These are great promises, but promises all the same, though I can see where he says that horror games have leaned more to action than horror. We’ve seen it recently with Dead Space 3 and how it wasn’t even trying to be a horror game, but instead tried to be “Dead Battlefield of Honor 3: Spacefighter” in third-person. It’s been so long since a good horror game has come out, and I think it’ll be very satisfying to play a proper horror game.

Convincing "Call of Duty: Ghost" Listing appears on Tesco Direct

Simon Wu:

While I’m a huge fan of the Craig Fairbrass’ recurring Cockney accent in new incarnations, there’s only so far it can go. I would first like to say that I read an article that said some were speculating a return to WWII might be in the cards, thus furthering my belief that it’s a good idea. If we break this down, it’s probably far more focused on covert actions, or perhaps black ops, if you will. (I’ll see myself out, thanks.) But if we extrapolate: this was probably the best method of making a Modern Warfare: Black Ops game without crossing the streams. We’ve had illegal military actions in the past and the future, now they’re bringing them to the present. And my wait for the fields of France goes on.

Jonathan Tung:

Oh boy, YET ANOTHER CALL OF DUTY GAME. I’m sorry Activision, but it has come to a point where I don’t seem to usually care about Call of Duty, especially since the franchise has been dead since last year (That and the fact that they’re simply beating a dead horse now, much like EA). Instead, I’ll probably be saving up all my hard-earned dosh for something better, such as Grand Theft Auto V, for example.

Max Gruber:

Yawn. Yet another Call of Duty being released late fall/winter of the next year. I stopped playing CoD since Modern Warfare 2, for obvious reasons. I haven’t even bothered to go out and get the new games because they’re all the same. Bobby KoDick has an adamant chubby for how much Call of Duty is raking in for profits, and he’ll see fit that he loses as little money—while gaining as much money—as humanly possible. At least franchises like Halo, Souls, Final Fantasy, Bioshock, GTA, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Borderlands have the cajones to do something different, because it gives people something new, while refreshing the experience. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be filled with elation from being DP’d in Dark Souls once more.



New trailer hints at XCOM shooter reveal on April 26

Simon Wu:

So I actually really enjoyed XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Really enjoyed it. I’m now totally sold on the series, which I didn’t have the chance to play in its original incarnation. Following it up now with games from other genres is a natural step to further introduce people in a new generation like me to the game. From what I understand, the veterans got the faithful and improved remake of the turn-based shooter, so now 2K and Firaxis can move on to other ideas.

UPDATE: This has now been revealed as The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

Jonathan Tung:

Any of you guys remember that XCOM shooter thing that was announced a while back only to get trashed by all the hardcore XCOM fans because it deviated too far from the original source material and was a shooter instead of a tactical turn-based strategy game? Well, it looks like it’s coming back, albeit in a different form. From what I’ve heard so far, 2K might be planning on renaming the title to something called “The Bureau,” probably in order to make it a spinoff of sorts, especially since they already have a vastly superior (and slightly much better) XCOM game already (the one by Firaxis, I mean). This could be a good thing, as I actually want to play a game that allows me to be one of those dudes from one of those old pulp novels blasting alien baddies and stuff, something you don’t usually see in games nowadays.

Max Gruber:

I’m with Simon on this one. I also never got a chance to play the old games, but, having played the remake really got me invested in the entire franchise. What I loved about XCOM was how brutal it was, even on the easiest difficulty setting, which really got me hooked into the game. I would have gone into the IronMan mode, but all I have to say is: F*ck no. I do like the idea of an FPS version of XCOM—now retitled as The Bureau—because it introduces people to a new game, while getting them interested in the franchise before it.



Microsoft announces next Xbox reveal date

Simon Wu:

Firstly, if you haven’t already, go read this article by veteran Microsoft watcher and avid Xbox gamer Paul Thurrott, who posted extensive details about the next Xbox. Now that you’re back with some more concrete details, here are my thoughts about the timing of the event. If done right, and this is a big if, Microsoft could really knock back Sony and recapture the initiative in a one-two punch. By delaying the launch a month, Microsoft has allowed Sony to show their hand, and in doing so, got a good look at how the PS4 was pitched and designed. Moreover, they also saw what Sony got flak for after the unveiling, or more correctly, the distinct lack thereof. Microsoft can come out swinging, making sure all their pitches hit perfectly against the PS4, and maybe unveiling the unit too. Then follow it up with a superior E3 showing with better exclusives, and it’s like those two months never happened.

Max Gruber:

I think we all saw this coming from a mile away, especially with the belated unveiling of the Nextbox. This shouldn’t be a surprise to everyone that this is massive news, as this is the last of the next-gen consoles to be revealed, with the Wii U and the PlayStation 4 already released and announced, respectively. We already know so much about what the Nextbox will have, like the how there will be two versions of the Xbox, the specs for the device, and the always bemoaned “Always-On” requirements—though those rumors have been denied, for the most part. But there are still the unknowns that haven’t been revealed. And, to Simon’s point, the Wii U has been doing very poorly, and the PS4’s ultimate weakness is that they did nothing to showcase what the actual PS4 was, so Microsoft could very well take home the trophy once more with the Nextbox.

UPDATE. Apparently, they decided to give us the bird and answer those rumors.


Joe Harris's picture

I've always liked Ubisoft, even through the turbulent DRM period, simply because they were willing to put out what I deem to be good quality games regardless of the pedigree behind them, if they were a sequel or a new IP or if the previous game had flopped massively.

Subconsciously, I think I bought games based on the Ubisoft name alone for a while, and they were all good fun. They also seem to give their games a chance to achieve their vision, whether it be the vast refinement of Assassin's Creed II over its predecessor or the sixteen year gap between Rayman and Rayman: Origins which allowed Michael Ancel to create what he believed the first Rayman should have been.

I'm really glad they seem to be continuing the trend of trying new things while so many other companies are reliant on cashcows and carbon copies of the same games (as you mentioned for the Call of Duty franchise).

darthskeletor's picture

I feel like Bethesda is doing its fans a great disservice by abruptly stopping further development on Skyrim, although at this point that series is already in its fifth iteration. I can see why they'd want to branch out. But still, if this game doesn't blow everyone away, the criticism they'll receive will be immense for dropping such fan desired content on a completely untried gamble.

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