Weekend Short-Takes: 4/4/15

Titanfall 2 could have a traditional campaign and more weapons

 

Summary: 

In an interview, Respawn developers hint that Titanfall 2 might include more weapons and a traditional narrative campaign. 

Analysis: 

First of all, do make sure to check out our very own interview with Abbie Heppe, the great community manager at Respawn who was also the one to deliver these teases. Secondly, it really isn't surprising to see Respawn doing a serious 180 and falling in line with main competitors Battlefield and Call of Duty. My apologies and respect to them for trying out a radical new concept, but it may ultimately prove to be ahead of its time. Now it's going to be a normal shooter. My recommendation that would make it a truly radical departure from the other games in its generation: four-person, local co-op and multiplayer. Seriously, I'm tired of having only two-player split-screen in all of these new games. 

OnLive shutting down, Sony snaps up patents

 

Summary: 

The game-streaminig service OnLive is shutting down and 140 of its patents on cloud gaming will be sold to Sony Computer Entertainment. 

Analysis: 

This is the final nail in the coffin for OnLive, which never recovered from its first bankruptcy in August 2012. It attempted a comeback with new funding in March 2014 but barely took off as it seemed to be a concept too ahead of its time. Instead, Sony will now use whatever intellectual property OnLive generated to boost its own portfolio. This is probably more of a strategic denial to any other companies than it is a real acquisition of unique IP; remember that Sony bought its own streaming service Gaikai for $380 million in July 2012. Rather, as PlayStation actually ramps up streaming games with PS TV and its new subscription streaming model for PS4, this serves as an attempt to increase the distance between itself and Microsoft, which has not seen a single major announcement or move towards game streaming on Xbox. 

Elite: Dangerous makes a surprise jump to Steam, offers crossbuy between Mac and PC

 

Summary: 

Elite: Dangerous has made the move to Steam, retailing for the same price as on the developer's website. While achievements and trading cards, staples of most Steam games, won't be included at launch, Frontier Developments are reportedly open to the possibility in the future. 

Analysis: 

This is fantastic news. I (Alex) won't go into too much detail here as to why I'm excited about Elite: Dangerous becoming more accessible to gamers (you'll hear more in our upcoming podcast), but suffice to say Steam has become a platform that excels at ease of access and multiplayer support, both of which are good things for games. It is certainly disappointing that current players won't get a Steam key to port their version over to Steam, though it is potentially understandable. That being said, I do wonder if it's wise for a crowdfunded game to punish its early adopters (and in many cases the backers who allowed the game to exist in the first place). 

Xbox One's Quantum Break Delayed

 

Summary: 

Xbox-exclusive Quantum Break has been delayed to 2016 to give developer Remedy Entertainment time "to polish and fine tune the game." This is the latest in a string of exclusive game delays, as Sony and Nintendo each saw major titles, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Legend of Zelda respectively, pushed to 2016. 

Analysis: 

There seems to be a theme this week of things being ahead of their time. OnLive looked to provide game streaming well before any of the major consoles got into the game, and Titanfall's multiplayer-only campaign seems to have been too radical for traditional gamers. Quantum Break may have them both trumped, as it's so farsighted it may not even see the light of day. While Microsoft is spinning this as an attempt to spread out their strong stable of exclusive titles, it seems a bit suspicious that their highly touted TV-game hybrid has been delayed for a second time, especially after the division set up to create original content for the Xbox One has been shutdown. While this could be in the best interest of the project and lead to a fantastic new IP for Microsoft (something we are under-served in the gaming industry), a new IP on the Xbox One already has a few strikes against it given the less than stellar performances by Ryse and Titanfall. Only time will tell, but given a project that already has so many unknowns and potential problems, creating more uncertainty probably isn't a good thing. 

 

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