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We've been through a crazy week or so with Ubisoft, with the company deliberately gimping the PC version of Watch Dogs, claiming that the next-gen console version of Far Cry 4 will be equal to "Ultra High" settings on PC, and The Division being locked at 30FPS. Can it get any worse? Yes, yes it can.
GameSpot recently interviewed the studio behind The Division, Massive Entertainment, which had some interesting things to say. When asked about "making a console game after spending so many years in the PC space", Ubisoft Massive Managing Director, David Polfeldt said: "We were a very, very hardcore PC gamer studio before. And we never understood the previous generation of consoles very well from a technological standpoint. But then when we saw the specs for this generation consoles... I remember we had a meeting at Massive and we just looked at each other and said 'Is this what I think it is?!' 'Is this our home turf?' Because on this hardware, we can be excellent; we can be one of the best. And as soon as we had that, we just started focusing on this generation of consoles like crazy".
So in that quote, we see that Massive went from being a "very, very hardcore PC gamer studio" to "focusing on this generation of consoles like crazy" after Massive saw what would be powering the next-gen consoles. In the quote above, Massive talked about next-gen consoles, saying that "because of this hardware, we can be excellent; we can be one of the best". The proof is right there.
Another nugget of information, is that Massive states that the Snowdrop engine that powers The Division is "enormously tailored to the current generation of consoles". Remember, that The Division is not coming to the Xbox 360 or PS3, but is exclusive to the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
When Ubisoft unveiled The Division at E3 2013, most - including myself - were quite blown away. Could this be? A true next-gen title? Well, we thought so until this year - but even with the game hitting only next-gen consoles and PCs (with no release on previous generation platforms) - the game is being gimped, just like Watch Dogs.
This is just a rumor right now, as we can't prove it like the modders did with Watch Dogs, but according to Whatifgaming, a source close to them said that Massive Entertainment - the studio behind The Division - has already removed "quite a lot of screen space reflections from the game" and that The Division will not look as good as it did during the reveal at E3 2013.
This source had some interesting things to say: "We really loved the reception to the demo we showed on the PC version at E3. Currently as it stands, there is definitely a lot of push coming from publishers to not make the experience so different on consoles as to alienate people into thinking that next generation is not as powerful as PC. This is probably what happened at Ubisoft Montreal. I think that while making stability changes is definitely important, it does not completely obliterate a lot of enhanced rendering applications".
Intel has asked AMD for access to its Mantle API, with Intel confirming it asked its competitor for access to Mantle, for something it has called an "experiment". Intel has reaffirmed its position with DirectX, saying that it remains committed to the open standard.
AMD has over 47 game developers signed up for its Mantle API, with its competitor NVIDIA only signing up Crytek and Ubisoft to its GameWorks program. So we know that AMD and NVIDIA are wanting to get game developers on their side, but what is Intel's play in all of this? In Q2 of this year, according to data from Jon Peddie Research, AMD and NVIDIA have 33% of the GPU market share, combined. The rest is dominated by Intel.
Richard Huddy, who just joined AMD again as its "gaming scientist" said: "I know that Intel have approached us for access to the Mantle interfaces, et cetera. And right now, we've said, give us a month or two, this is a closed beta, and we'll go into the 1.0 [public release] phase sometime this year, which is less than five months if you count forward from June. They have asked for access, and we will give it to them when we open this up, and we'll give it to anyone who wants to participate in this".
Microsoft has been forced to make a statement regarding Games for Windows Live, which is a service for PC gamers, and whether it will be shutting down. The software giant has formally denied that it is shutting down the service.
The company talked with Game Informer, where it said: "We are continuing to support the Games for Widows Live service. We remain committed to investing in PC gaming in the years ahead, and look forward to sharing more in the future. Although customers are unable to purchase new games from the marketplace or receive title updates, they can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows Live client as usual".
We heard back in March that Microsoft had "a renewed focus on Windows and PC gaming" when the head of Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, stepped up and talked about it. Is the future of PC gaming DirectX 12? For me, I think we're going to see big changes soon, but Microsoft won't be at the center of it.
I'm sure you've already loaded up your library with games during the Steam Summer Sales, but they continue - with Saints Row IV down to $12.49 from $49.99, representing a nice 75% off. We also have Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition down 75%, from $19.99 to just $4.99.
Nether has a massive 80% off, dropping its original $14.99 price to just $2.99, while The Lego Movie: Video Game also enjoying 75% off, reducing its $29.99 price to just $7.49. The Flash Sales today include Gone Home, which is down from $19.99 to just $2.99, Scribblenauts Unlimited with 75% off, down from $19.99 to $4.99, Spec Ops: The Line with 80% off, and Rising Storm: GotY Edition with 75% off.
YouTuber 'XBLToothPik' has modified the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto V, adding in an incredible looking first-person view. There's a video below which gives you a closer look at how the first-person feel would translate into the third-person smash hit.
It actually looks quite impressive, even more so that it's modded on the console. The PC version of the game has been promised to be something truly special from Rockstar, so we should expect modders to do some truly awesome things with the PC version of GTA V. Now all we need is some Oculus Rift support, and we could spend the next few years in GTA V.
It wasn't even 48 hours ago that I wrote my article about Ubisoft and the future of PC gaming, but now there is news floating around that Crytek is in some serious trouble. The studio is reportedly not seeing developers using CryEngine that much, with German videogames magazine Gamestar throwing around the word bankruptcy.
Gamestar has said that the adoption rate of CryEngine is not that great, and that word of mouth at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) a couple of months back was negative. During GDC, Crytek announced that it was offering up CryEngine as an 'engine as a service' which should've seen more developers jumping onto the graphics engine, but this wasn't the case.
Another problem was the Xbox One exclusive 'Ryse' which didn't sell well for the company, and Microsoft. Ryse was a 'catastrophe' for the company, with the studio only completing it by getting more staff onto the job. There is reportedly a cash injection deal close to completion, which will see the company hopefully headed toward a brighter future, but DSO Gaming is reporting that "a lot of big publishers are waiting for a possible bankrupt in order to sign the talent and shop the IPs from Crytek".
The Steam Summer Sales continue, with today's games including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with 75% off, knocking it down from its original price of $34.99 to just $8.74. Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition also has 75% off, dropping from $29.99 to $7.49.
Wasteland 2 is up for grabs, dropping from $59.99 to $40.19 - a 33% discount - with 7 Days to Die seeing a 45% discount, down from $24.99 to just $13.74. There are also the 8-hour Flash Sales, which include NBA 2K14 for 50% right now, dropping the original $49.99 price to $24.99. Get in on these Steam Summer Sales now!
Battlefield 4's upcoming DLC, Dragon's Teeth, will see gamers killing each other on top of a floating restaurant. The restaurant is part of the destructive, Frostbite 3-powered world, where games can drain a lake that pushes a restaurant into the water.
Dragon's Teeth will include four new maps: Lumphini Garden, Pearl Market, Propaganda and Sunken Dragon. These new maps see gamers traversing across Asian cities, through alleyways, the rooftops of Pearl Market, and on canals "in the pristine park to get the upper hand in the battle of Lumphini Garden".
The new DLC for Battlefield 4 is due out in the summer, which will include 10 assignments and a new game mode known as Chain Link. Chain Link will allow players to create chains by linking up capture points in order to win. Dragon's Teeth will also roll out five new weapons: the Ballistic shield, and the heavily armed, remotely operated ground vehicle, R.A.W.R.
After a week of Ubisoft fighting a losing battle about watering down the PC version of Watch Dogs, EA is on the offensive for PC gamers. First, offering up Titanfall for free for 48 hours, second - unlocking all of the weapons and gadgets in its beta of Battlefield: Hardline, and now - stating that the PC version of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is not a console port.
Justin Wiebe, the game's Creative Director, took to PopCap Games' (which is owned by EA) developer diary today, where he explains: "It's not a port. Everything from our UI to how the mouse-driven controls are going to work - everything has been looked at from PC gamers' POV". When Garden Warfare launches on PC, it will include a new map, Jewel Junction, which features a world event that affects gameplay.
In this map, a train runs down the middle of the map, which should be an interesting turn for the game. Jewel Junction will be a timed exclusive for PC. Right now, you can pre-order Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare on Origin - with the Standard Edition costing $29.99, while the Digital Deluxe Edition costs $34.99. Garden Warfare launches in just three days time, on June 24.