Sony did many things really well yesterday. In this post we will focus on one thing that without a doubt blew the hinges off of E3. Their partnership with Activision & Bungie gave an otherwise boring presser the kind of punch it needed in terms of games. In a full length playable demo Bungie was able to show off how vast, vibrant, and utterly sexy it will be to play “Destiny“. Showcasing a rich palate in graphics, color, sound, and action. Bungie showed how powerful the Playstation 4 is, but how powerful and wide ranging of a universe they have created in “Destiny”. Much of the ambitious ideas & direction that Bungie is laying out to span 10 years in “Destiny” came together.
With Respawn Entertainment earlier yesterday showing the fantastic “Titan Fall”. Activision can breathe a sigh of relief that Bungie has delivered a next generation IP that will be talked about, and played for a very long time. In a short while Activision will be able to continue singing “We’re in the money!” at a high pitch that only dogs can hear. The point being in this unadulterated hyperboyle of mine is that Bungie kicked ass with “Destiny”.
Sony announced yesterday that in association with Warner Brothers & Avalanche studios the 80′s cult classic movie “Mad Max” will be a game for the Playstation 4 exclusively. “Mad Max” is the tale of man living in a dystopian earth. Was it ever clear what happened to make the world of Mad Max the it is?. We may get the answer from the new title. This is a world that has been shattered to the core where survival is lived on the extreme. Survive or die is not a mantra it is what is lived in the universe/world of “Mad Max”. Where a man’s best friend is his brutality, gun, and vehicle. Avalanche studios with their pedigree for open world gaming with titles such as “Lost Cause” series is perhaps one of the best studios equipped with the expertise to tackle such an iconic licensed character. In all truth and honesty you could supplement Max in for the main character in any of the “Just Cause” games, and he would fit. Having the game be on next gen could let Avalanche flex their technical, and creative prowess for open world gaming in really interesting ways. We can’t wait to see, and hear more.
For years now the divide between the Sony Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 online services was a chasm. Both offering features that were alike, but in serious ways vastly different. Throughout Microsoft’s Xbox Live service it has been subscription based, coming in different flavors of pricing. If you wanted the complete experience $60 a month was entry fee. Many felt that based on it’s stability, and overall content services it was a good deal for online console gaming. Sony never had anything like it until they introduced PSN with the PS3. Except it was free. Gamer‘s could get online, and play, watch movies, download stuff, and surf the net. Except it came with a cost, no way to chat with voice, and shaky infrastructure. Price sometimes isn’t always the bottom line, and in the case of Xbox Live it held true. As this era leaves us Sony has managed to make PSN a better online service. Offering many rewards, and services to gamer’s with an option to pay with PSN + on the PS3. Now as we enter into the next generation with the Playstation 4 Sony will now charge gamer’s $50 dollars a month to play against their friends. While still offering many services for free .
There was no choice in order for Sony to build to scale, and support it’s online ambitions for Playstation 4. Making many Xbox gamer’s right in the process of really assessing how Sony; who is hemorrhaging money would be able to keep shelling out money to support a costly service. Something had to give, and with the financial success that Microsoft has had, and may have in the future with Xbox Live. Sony had to figure out a way to offer a paid service that suits consumers, as well as their bottom line to sustain the service. Sony may have done that. If there is any indication to point to this being true, many Playstation console owners are embracing the idea that although they will have to pay for online gaming, at least they are still being treated to great content without losing much. What is interesting to read around the net is the flip-flopping of fanboys, and journalists who once berated Xbox Live. By charging for online gaming, Sony have validated Microsoft for 10 years of what has been a solid business practice for online console gaming.
Ubisoft first impressed everyone last year at E3 with “Watch Dogs” which is a tech conspiracy/control based world where the gamer is in the middle of a story that gives him access to a connected world. Outside of that one game, we had no idea what else the developer had in store for the next generation. Till today that is. Ubisoft took the veil off of Tom Clancy “The Division”. The game looks amazing, and really shows us a world where you have to repair it. Not knowing what you are in for in a destroyed city of New York.
Microsoft listened and Rare brought a new Killer Instinct which brings one of the best fighting games of a bygone 90′s era of gaming that saw the genre at it’s height of glory. The game looked big, bright, fast, and deep with game play. Integration of Twitch, game DVR game play for sharing with Kinect showed off just how rich Microsoft is making the return of Killer Instinct not only a game to watch, but a template for future games to come like a new Street Fighter, and tournament gaming. It also gave us a decent glimpse into how cloud gaming is pivotal to the Xbox One experience. Crytek finally took the reigns off of Ryse; a game set in ancient Rome that was first revealed several years ago as an exclusive Kinect game. That has changed as now it is using the Xbox One controller which has been updated. Now we don’t know if Kinect won’t be used in some form or function, but the sheer beauty, and game play is phenomenal. Crytek has invested much time into the engine, and shows not just in the vistas in set-pieces, but the variety of game play that gamer will wield. Ryse was certainly a highlight, but stepping back Microsoft opened E3 2013 with Metal Gear Solid 5 “The Phantom Pain” which although is a third party game from Konami and Kojima productions. It was a fantastic look at how open world gaming, and a great new engine will be on the Xbox One. From day and night cycles to different ways to show off stealth. The new Metal Gear was as an awesome reveal.
Black Tusk Studio: Project “Spark”
Much was made several years ago when Bungie the makers of Halo decided to go independent, and leave behind Halo in the hands of 343 industries. We now know that Bungie left Halo in great hands, because Halo 4 released last year was a fantastic game from 343. Not only that, but the expansion of Halo is growing from gaming to cross entertainment, and Microsoft showed off Halo 5 in a trailer that honestly bodes well for where second game in the “Reclaimer” trilogy will go. Fine we got a new Halo, but what else? How about Respawn & EA coming to the table with the exclusive “Titan Fall” which is absolutely exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles (It will be on PC as well). In terms of graphics the return of Mr. Zampalla, and the original Infinity Ward team that brought the universe “Call of Duty” left much to be desired. This is not to say “Titan Fall” looked bad, but keeping in mind that other titles shown were really gorgeous. Respawn Entertainment instead focused on gameplay with the reveal of “Titan Fall”. In a word. Fantastic. Where to begin though? Well the best way to describe “Titan Fall” would be to combine free-to-play MMO mech game “Hawken” & “Call of Duty” in a persistent sci-fi story driven world that is a mix between first person, and multiplayer. This game is shooting to the top of the gaming conversation becasue this is where online gaming is going in terms of blurring the line. now to what extent is the exclusivity and how long it will last? No one is sure, but with Microsoft pulling out the stops in terms of spending; we doubt you will see the game on a Playstation 4 anytime soon. If it does well as an exclusive, and EA is happy. Well let’s call it a steal for Xbox fanboys.
Respawn Entertainment & EA: “Titan Fall”
Forza 5 continues Turn 10′s fantastic run with the franchise racer, and what they showed not only in game graphics, but gameplay showed how ambitious they are being with the Xbox One, and it’s cloud integration. The feature of a “Drivatar” that is created based on how the player drives, and takes over in a virtual persistent world when you are not playing the game. Is an interesting feature where you get awarded for your “Ghost” playing with out you, and how it progresses. The level of depth that was shown in Forza 5 continues show how driving games are the benchmark by which a new console can really be a display of a platforms power, and potential. There is more to come on the title. Although, there were more games shown such as Quantum Break from Remedy there usually is a sleeper gem in a game that goes beyond what we used to think was possible. Black Tusk studios one of Microsoft’s new first party developers brought out a “God” title that could rival all others before it, and be a standard for the future. “The Spark” showed off the power of the Xbox One with Kinect features, controller game play that allows for gamers to literally create their own game within a game. At the same time off rea in game creation that continues, and is multiplayer. The nuance of features, and imagination going on in “The Spark” from its short reveal was astounding in both presentation, as well as potential. Last, but certainly not least was Insomniac the formerly first party studio of Sony who like Bunige became independent, has created an exclusive title for the Xbox One titled “Sunset Overdrive”. From the trailer it is very evident that the whimsical style of the companies titles like Ratchet & Clank have found their way into “Sunset Overdrive”. This despite in game footage. Judging strictly by the company’s past pedigree, and caliber of titles that Microsoft was showing today. There is healthy hypothesis that Insomniac is going to show up in a big way with the title. In summary Microsoft E3′s main theme in all it’s games shown is how the cloud truly is going to be a significant part of the overall evolution of every games genres. Even though we saw this on Microsoft side multiplayer games show that this will also be the case with the Playstation 4. What form that will take will be told today in their press conference later tonight at E3 2013. Xbox Live has been upgraded allowing gold members to get free games a month, and expanded friends list, along with other new features. The number one theme though again is how persistent gaming with connectivity is what next gen gaming will be about. Microsoft was able to show games that really showcase on development hardware that is not finalized where we are going to start, but not where we will end. It’s on gamers.
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