Gamescom 2014 News Roundup
Normally, the summer would be quiet enough for me to be able to post all sorts of news from Gamescom. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way for me so I have to do the big Gamescom news in a few posts. Today, we have news and gameplay videos while all of the Gamescom trailers will be in Monday’s Game Trailers Roundup.
For now, we have four of the more interesting stories that I’ve read from Gamescom. While only one is a game announcement, we have some business of gaming-esque news that’ll probably just make you hate Ubisoft more.
If you owned both a PS3 and PS Vita in the previous console generation, you are probably aware of Cross-Buy. This was the PlayStation Store program for mostly indie games and small Sony published games that allowed a game that you purchased on one platform to be played on the other.
After announcing that Journey, my 2012 game of the year, was coming to the PlayStation 4 at Gamescom, they very quietly announced a new Cross-Buy perk on the PlayStation Blog. Not only can you cross-buy games now and have them available for other platforms but it seems to be a forwards-compatible feature. That means that your two-year-old purchase of Journey means you can play Journey on PS4 when it’s released.
Not only does that work for Journey but Flow, Flower and The Unfinished Swan will all be cross-buy between the PS3 and PS4. I always said that my favourite flavour of everything is free.
A few weeks ago, Ubisoft openly said that DLC was accepted by gamers. Their interpretation of “DLC” and most other people’s interpretation of DLC are different, though. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, what Ubisoft called “time-saving DLC packs” were really $1 or $2 microtransactions to give you a boost in the game. Back in the day, those so-called DLCs but actually microtransactions were cheat codes.
Well, it looks like Assassin’s Creed: Unity will also feature microtransactions of some sort. They say that they will only include microtransactions if it “fits the gameplay.” This is also the same company whose VP of Sales and Marketing said that they want to turn $60 customers into $200 customers. How will a microtransaction fit the gameplay? For Ubisoft, the game is making money and the way the microtransaction will fit is if someone pays them.
While Ubisoft’s The Crew was developed for next-gen consoles (and maybe even for PC), that doesn’t mean that Ubisoft is leaving legacy-gen consoles out of the mix. At Gamescom, Ubisoft announced that The Crew would be available for Xbox 360.
The PlayStation 3 and Wii U (lumped in as a legacy-gen console despite Ubisoft formerly being friends of Nintendo) won’t be getting it because the technical infrastructure of next-gen consoles made it easier to backwards port to 360 than the PS3 or Wii U. We all know that the PS3’s cell processor is a pain to develop for and only Sony’s first-party developers have been able to harness all the power that thing has to offer. I didn’t realize that the Wii U would have been harder to make The Crew work on since it’s more powerful than the 360 but I guess that Nintendo had a funny technical structure for the console that deters development.
In addition to the hardware concerns, it’s believed that the underlying Xbox Live server setup makes it a lot easier to get the massively multiplayer driving game up and running from an actual multiplayer perspective. Considering what Ubisoft is going for with The Crew, if this game landed two years ago, 360 would have been the lead platform solely because of Xbox Live.
When Casey Hudson left BioWare, he mentioned that the new IP he was working on was just about ready to enter pre-production. That new IP wasn’t the one being teased in YouTube videos or revealed at Gamescom. Instead, BioWare Austin had quietly been working on this new IP and EA officially unveiled it in Cologne.
Shadow Realms is a 4-v-1 game built around the asymmetric multiplayer that sounds like a cross between Dungeonland, Dungeons & Dragons and a BioWare RPG (though the latter two were pretty much the same thing in BioWare’s early days). Four heroes plucked out of modern times will enter a world controlled by the Shadow Lord. Each of the five characters will be controlled by a player. You can choose to be a hero or the Shadow Lord.
In classic BioWare style, there is going to be an emphasis on story. BioWare says that the game’s story will play out in episodic releases. There will also be “deep combat progression” which hopefully is code for character customization, replayability and the like. Hopefully this is a return to form for BioWare but I suppose we’ll get an idea of how high or low to set our expectation after Dragon Age: Inquisition.