Ninja Theory today announced that Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice will release August 8, 2017 on PS4 and PC.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is one of the most striking games I've seen in recent memory, and features some eldritch and truly phantasmagoric visuals. Ninja Theory's new game has strong Norse and Celtic overtones, and revolves around Senua's intimate journey into her own broken and fractured mind. The trailer shows exotic imagery that transcends the kind of content we usually see in games today and looks to be something quite unique.
With Hellblade Ninja Theory aims to "bring back the mid-sized game" and will sell the game at half the price of modern games, or $29.99. The developer, which is made up by a small team of 20 people, affirms that this title is a "independent AAA experience" and backs it up by both developing and publishing the game themselves. As such, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice will be digital-only on PlayStation 4 and PC (GOG and Steam).
Up until the PS4, Sony's new consoles have always had strong backward compatibility support. But with its current PlayStation 4 platform, the company has butchered a potential lucrative games foundation with its weird, fractured backward compatibility solutions, which rely on clumsy PS3 game streaming via PS Now and a handful of remastered PS2 games. And it looks like Sony isn't changing course any time soon.
Sony has a wealth of old beloved fan-favorite games that it could monetize and re-release onto the PlayStation 4, but instead of putting forth major efforts to make backward compatibility linear and painless, the games-maker has opted for a non-popular PlayStation Now paid streaming service for its PS3 games. But what about the golden era PS2 games (you know, the games that helped the PS2 become the best-selling console of all time?) and nostalgic PS One games? According to Sony exec Jim Ryan, we shouldn't expect a massive influx of classic PS2 or PS1 games on the PS4 any time soon.
In a recent interview with TIME, Sony Head of Global Sales and Marketing Jim Ryan took a page from Don Mattrick's playbook with his stance on backward compatibility; gamers make a lot of noise about it, but don't use it (probably because PS Now is clunky, awkward, and gamers already pay $60 a year for PS Plus and $60 per game). Of course, Ryan then slams the fidelity of old-school PlayStation games, which obviously look terrible on 1080p HDTVs. That's why Sony would remaster them and sell them for $14.99 a pop, like it does with its other PS2 games on PS4.
"When we've dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much. That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?"
In an attempt to save its beleaguered MOBA Battleborn, Gearbox has made a strange hybrid scheme that combines a free to play structure with microtransactions while retaining the $30 retail version.
With Battleborn, 2K Games has found a way to merge freemium-style microtransactions with actual retail sales. Battleborn now has a "free trial" mode that offers unlimited PVP play with 30 free heroes across four modes, with a rotating cast of heroes. To offset the free trial mode, Battleborn will have premium digital currency that is purchased with real money, which is redeemed form cosmetics, gear, EXP boosters and more. The full game will still be sold for $30 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and upgrading to the full game unlocks all 25 characters, the full story mode campaign, and private matches. The free trial mode is now available on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One.
Existing Battleborn owners who purchased the game before today get access to the Founder's Bonus Content loot pack, which includes premium platinum currency, credits, exclusive titles and skins, loot packs, and more. Gearbox meticulously outlines all of the changes to Battleborn in this huge post, so give it a read if you're interested.
Much to the approval of gamers everywhere, Sony's PlayStation 4 console has been the home for traditional Japanese games for quite some time. As the region leaves consoles behind in favor of mobile games, Sony says that Japanese console games are "coming back," and re-affirms its commitment to hosting these experiences on its PlayStation platform.
Freemium mobile games reign supreme in the Land of the Rising Sun, and the region makes up less than 10% of the PS4's near 60-million global salesbase. However, Japanese console games are quite popular in the West, and Sony has done its part to keep these unique experiences alive by hosting titles like Resident Evil 7, NiOh, NieR: Automata, Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5 on its PlayStation 4 ecosystem. Due to strong growth and widespread appeal Sony has no plans to change this trend any time soon--Japanese games have always had a home on PlayStation.
"Japanese publishers are coming back, and that's super important for us," Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Shawn Layden said in a recent interview with TIME. Layden goes on to tease some major Japanese game reveals for E3 2017, igniting hope for the fabled Bloodborne 2. "I think a lot of Japanese developers lost their way chasing the mobile games yen, if you will, but they're coming back to console in a major way. And speaking of, we'll have some big announcements at E3 in that precise vein."
Nintendo today announced some surprising news: Pokken Tournament DX is coming to the Nintendo Switch handheld-console hybrid, not the rumored Pokemon Sun & Moon HD remaster.
The rumors were wrong: The Pokemon Company is bringing Pokken Tournament DX to the system, not the anticipated "Pokemon Stars" remaster of Pokemon Sun & Moon.
Pokken Tournament DX is slated to arrive on Nintendo Switch this September, bringing with it the myriad of form factor playstyles the Switch offers. Pokken Tournament Deluxe offers the 16 playable Pokemon from the original Wii U release and adds in five extra characters like Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk, and Decidueye from Pokemon Sun & Moon. The fighter also features 3v3 battles, ranked matches online, and friends-only group matches. Also remember that Nintendo Switch's online service will be free up until its launch in 2018.
Sony has initiated its new smartphone gaming push in Japan with preparations for the release of its first mobile game Everybody's Golf.
Sony's PlayStation 4 console is not popular in Japan. Console gaming has significantly dropped in the past decade, and mobile gaming now reigns supreme, with big-hitting free-to-play freemium games conquering the region. Sony's PS4 has won big in the West, but mobile gaming is king in Japan. Sony has a plan, however, to penetrate Japan's lucrative smartphone market by converting its key IPs into mobile titles.
To facilitate this smartphone push, SIE created ForwardWorks, a development studio that's tasked in created key mobile versions of the company's popular IPs. Sony's first free-to-play Japanese smartphone game, Everybody's Golf, is about to roll out on the market with in-app purchases to ensure long-term revenue. Like Nintendo's recent Super Mario Run release, Everybody's Golf can be played with one hand, but unlike Mario on mobile, Sony's new golf game is available on both Android and Apple iPhone mobile phones at launch.
Microsoft is set to reveal the exact name and price point of its high-end 4K-ready Project Scorpio console at E3 2017, but first we get a better glimpse at the system's development kit.
Xbox spokesman Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb recently sat down with Kevin Gammill from the Xbox engineering team to discuss Project Scorpio's devkit, and how it'll arm developers with the most powerful console ever made. We've already seen the devs at Turn10 hit native 4K 60FPS in Ultra PC settings with 88% of Project Scorpio's GPU utilized, and other developers like Monolith Productions are aiming for native 4K resolution in games like Middle-earth Shadow of War.
As we reported weeks ago, Project Scorpio's devkit is beefier than the retail model so that developers can "come in high and tune down," as Gammill says. The devkit features 12GB more RAM than the Project Scorpio's base 12GB GDDR5 RAM, or 24GB of GDDR5 unified RAM total. The devkit also features four more Compute Units, for a total of 44 customized Polaris-derived GPU Compute Units, and the GPU itself is clocked at 6.6 TFLOPS versus the retail model's 6TFLOPs of power.
Electronic Arts today confirmed that FIFA 18 is the publisher's FIFA game coming to the Nintendo Switch, but the handheld's version will be missing key features.
FIFA 18's Nintendo Switch, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions aren't powered by DICE's Frostbite 3 engine, and won't have the Journey: Hunter Returns story mode. This is quite significant: not only is the Switch being technically lumped in with other legacy hardware in terms of features and content, but FIFA 18 not being powered by Frostbite 3 on the platform sends a clear message that EA may not be willing to re-tool the engine to work on the Switch, or Nintendo's new handheld-console hybrid doesn't support it very well.
"Frostbite game engine technology and the Journey: Hunter Returns mode are available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC platform versions only. Not all features available on all platforms," fine print reads at the bottom of FIFA 18's trailer reveal. It's also worth adding that EA has teamed up with Sony to market FIFA 18 after years and years with Microsoft.
Gamevice, the creator of innovative controllers that snap-on to sides of Apple devices for mobile gaming, has just secured a substantial $12.5 million Series A funding round to expand the development of its product line. With proper support and content curation, this device could prove a major interrupting force for Nintendo's new Switch console-handheld.
Due to its accessibility and comparative low-cost, mobile gaming is the most lucrative segment to the games industry, especially in regions like China and Japan. According to Newzoo's predictions, mobile gaming will rake in $46.1 billion or 42% of 2017's total games industry revenues. By 2020, mobile gaming is expected to pull in half of the industry's revenues with $64.9 billion. Gamevice aims to tap this booming market with its controller peripheral, which snaps onto compatible Apple handsets and tablets to transform them into a fully-fledged on-the-go handheld. This transforming nature is not unlike the Nintendo Switch, which features attachable JoyCon controllers that slide onto a tablet-like screen to facilitate on-the-go play.
While the Gamevice may be similar to the Switch, it has a key advantage: it's simply an add-on peripheral instead of an actual machine. Right now Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console is in extreme demand, and an industry-wide parts shortage may interrupt the company's lofty 18 million Switch production order. Nintendo is competing against smartphone-makers like Apple and Samsung for key components such as NAND flash memory, LPDDR4 RAM, and LCD screens--all of which are essential for making mobile devices, and the Switch, tick. This shortage is likely to ensure devices like Nintendo's Switch aren't able to keep up with massive demand, leading many gamers to look elsewhere for a similar experience--and that's where the Gamevice controller may win out.
Nintendo has officially announced a new Pokemon-themed Nintendo Direct showcase planned for tomorrow at 7AM PST / 10AM EST.
Nintendo may finally be ready to unveil the much-anticipated Pokemon Stars game on Nintendo's new Switch handheld-console hybrid. Rumor has it that Pokemon Stars will be a "director's cut" of the original Pokemon Sun and Moon games released on 3DS, with remastered 1080p graphics while docked and 720p in handheld mode, as well as other content specifically tailor-made for the Switch handheld.
If Nintendo does announce Pokemon Stars tomorrow, it'll assuredly showcase the game during its main E3 2017 reel slated for Tuesday, June 13 at 9AM PST / 12PM EST.