PAX Prime rolled through Seattle this past weekend, and brought with it a bevy of gaming news on upcoming indie efforts and blockbusters alike. While there were no announcements or reveals of a major nature, PAX provided an opportunity for developers to show some more of the substance behind their already-announced efforts, which is certainly good news for fans of mechs, pirates, and dragons.
Assassin’s Creed IV is looking better and better as time passes. General gamer feedback describes the current game as combining the best elements of the Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, and Far Cry 3... with pirates. Want to go shark-hunting? Grab your harpoons. Want to wantonly maraud ships between quests? You can do that too. Control your fellow sailors and have them sing shanties during your travels? Check. Find treasure, take on contracts, fight massive naval battles... the list goes on. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this game closer to its October release but AC IV seems to be on-track as a promising recovery game for Ubisoft, much needed after the somewhat disappointing Assassin’s Creed III. AC IV launches on October 30 for the PS3 and Xbox One, and is also a launch title for both the PS4 and Xbox One.
Over at the Microsoft booth, the studio’s most popular exclusive Xbox One launch title, Titanfall, was understandably the center of attention. By all accounts, Titanfall is not your average pretty run-of-the-mill next-gen shooter. The game looks to be an immersive squad-based, destruction-filled mech fan’s dream, and hands-on accounts are doing nothing to refute this perception. This game’s reception on launch has the potential to define the path of next-gen multiplayer. Titanfall launches early 2014.
The Elder Scrolls Online seems to have advanced leaps and bounds since its initially tepid announcement. Hands-on reports indicate that Zenimax is sticking very closely with the look and feel of Skyrim for ESO, extending the single-player experience into an MMO environment. This is likely a smart move, as there wasn’t much to complain about in regard specifically to Skyrim’s aesthetic and UI. ESO includes new races, new classes, and a questing experience that places far less emphasis on finding and delivering items or completing quests, and more on exploration and discovery, which are the true strengths of the Elder Scrolls universe. We’ll hopefully have a bit more to tell you after this Friday’s upcoming ESO beta session. ESO is launching sometime in 2014.
A quick check in on indie-land shows a promising year ahead, between Escape Goat 2 (whose premise is exactly as it sounds), Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (which brings co-op gameplay to the forefront), Tengami (a soothing origami puzzler), Contrast (a wonderfully creative noir-ish platformer in which the gamer controls both the protagonist and her imaginary friend who has the capability to transform into a shadow), and That Dragon, Cancer (a game developed and based on the developer’s devastating experience recounting his son’s fight with cancer).
In other gaming news this week, GTA V nears, Diablo III hits consoles, and the Xbox One gets a release date. Read on!
- Naughty Dog almost put a puppy in The Last of Us! Awwwwww. But who are we kidding? The bastards would’ve killed it off a few hours in. Also cut: infected elephants!
- How scary is new horror game Outlast, now available on Steam? Very, according to Joystiq.
- Sick and tired of annual Call of Duty games? Too bad, says Activision.
- While we personally are trying to remain as spoiler-free as possible prior to the release of GTA V on September 17, there’s no reason you have to. Go ahead and check out IGN’s hands-on preview of the game’s single-player and multiplayer campaigns.
- There’s a gameplay trailer coming out of PAX for Dragon Age: Inquisition, and things are looking good. IGN describes the game as a medieval Far Cry 3 that takes all the strengths of Dragon Age: Origins but subtracts the weaknesses of Dragon Age 2.
- Diablo III launched for consoles this week and by most accounts, Blizzard pulled off the port masterfully. The biggest issue the game presented to consoles was its inventory system - which is apparently by no means perfect on consoles, but at least serviceable.
- Quantic Dreams CEO David Cage mentioned this week that Microsoft had the opportunity to make PS3 smash hit Heavy Rain an Xbox exclusive, but balked at the game’s child kidnapping.
- Microsoft has announced that despite the impending launch of the Xbox One, they will continue to support and release games for the Xbox 360 for at least the next three years.
- Finally, the Xbox One has a release date: November 22, one week after the PS4 launches on November 15. Will you be lining up on opening day?