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PAX AU 2014 - I have just stepped back into my hotel room after a hectic first day at PAX Australia 2014, which was held in the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with the highlight of the day being the 'A Chat With Chris Roberts, The Original Wing Commander', the guy behind Star Citizen, which has raised close to $60 million through crowdfunding so far, with no signs of stopping.
Chris had some great things to say during the speech, with that 1-hour chat available right here. But, we organized a chat with the man himself after the talk with the PAX AU crowd, where he had some interesting things to say. We talked about the state of PC gaming, where we have people like Alex Hutchinson, the Creative Director of Far Cry 4 saying that resolution in games is "not something" he "cares about". Roberts on the other hand, had the total opposite to say.
He said that the team is working on 4K and 8K textures, pushing the boundaries of the APIs in DirectX 11 and Mantle, where he said that Mantle and DX12 are going to provide some performance improvements to Star Citizen. This is because the game is quite CPU bound, something that DX12 should help out with when it launches next year. He finished the chat with a few great quotes, where he said: "I don't care about consoles" as he is really gunning for a true PC exclusive game in Star Citizen, something that pushes the entire PC gaming world forward in leaps and bounds.
MSI has unveiled the GT80 Titan gaming laptop with a SteelSeries mechanical keyboard, becoming the first gaming laptop to include a mechanical keyboard. It's a unique product because mechanical keyboards tend to have better feedback, prevents key jamming and helps increase durability.
The GT80's keyboard has a keycap just 27mm of thickness - and the laptop itself is the world's slimmest and lightest 18-inch laptop, 17 percent thinner and 22 percent lighter than rival products.
"Performance is key for gamers and the GT80 Titan will forever change the mobile gaming experience," said Andy Tung, MSI Pan America President. "We are proud to be at the forefront of the gaming evolution and will continue to provide solutions that deliver the most outstanding gaming experience in the world."
Imprisoned former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega had his lawsuit against Activision thrown out of court, after he accused the game company of "unlawfully exploiting" him in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. In the video game, a character with the likeness of Noriega, conveniently named "Manuel Noriega," assists the CIA and later betrays the US government.
The victory wasn't just for Activision, and is a "victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world," according to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who serves as partner of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.
"[T]he Court concludes that the marketability and economic value of the challenged work in this case comes not from Noriega, but from the creativity, skill and reputation of defendants," according to Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey, as he dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.
It was only a few hours ago that we were reporting that EA announced that Battlefield: Hardline, which is being developed by Visceral Games, will be released March 17, 2015, and now we're hearing about Star Wars Battlefront.
EA has announced that Star Wars Battlefront, DICE's take on the Star Wars universe, will reach gamers in Q4 2015. Considering Star Wars: Episode 7 is due on December 18, 2015, this makes perfect sense - ride the marketing wave of the movie. Blake Jorgensen, EA's Chief Financial Officer confirmed that Star Wars Battlefront will indeed be a first-person shooter, and it'll be EA's "major first-person shooter" for the year.
The following year, 2016, DICE's Battlefield franchise will be fresh out of the oven, with Battlefield 5 (or a rename, or whatever it arrives as), will arrive in the third quarter of EA's 2017 fiscal year, so sometime in the last quarter of 2016. This means we're waiting an entire two years for the next true Battlefield game, which is sad news.
With the 30FPS and low-res debacle causing outrage amongst gamers, Techland has just announced it has cancelled the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of its zombie survival game, Dying Light, which will now be exclusive to current-gen consoles, and the PC.
The developer said that the previous-gen versions were compromising the "core version of Dying Light", adding that it had spent the past three years of development on Dying Light "making sure that all the features of our game add up to create a truly next-gen experience". The developer continued: "Much of this 'next-gen feel' is tightly connected to the technological side of Dying Light. For instance, up to 200,000 objects can be displayed in the game at once. Add to this our use of realistic, physics-based lighting technology and you really start to push the next-gen systems to the limits. Features like these along with our core gameplay pillars - such as the player-empowering Natural Movement, threefold character development system, and vast open world - are all an inherent part of how Dying Light plays. However, combining all of these into one fluid experience is only possible on technologically advanced platforms".
"After thorough internal testing" the developer decided to axe the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, so that players will receive "the full and best experience regardless of the platform you play on". Dying Light was meant to be released before the end of the year, but was delayed until February 2015.
Looking ahead to the 2014 Christmas shopping season, gamers and studios have a lot to look forward to. Christmas spending is expected to be the highest in years, with PC gaming surging while Microsoft and Sony both promote their own game consoles.
Here is what Blake Jorgenson, EA chief financial officer, noted in a recent interview: "A year ago, there were only a handful of titles. We had five of them, so we benefited from that." The addition of "new software coming into the marketplace - our software, as well as competitors' software" should make this year different. "I think the trend is positive."
Gamers looking to purchase a Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 will see lower prices and a wider selection of game titles to choose from - as retailers also show keen interest in bringing customers into their stores.
Electronic Arts today announced that Battlefield Hardline will be released on March 17, 2015 in North America, with a March 19, 2015 release date set for Europe.
Instead of a war-themed game, Hardline takes a new spin on cops versus robbers, with a single player storyline of officer Nick Mendoza fighting corrupt cops and drug dealers in Miami. Multiplayer gamers will play in teams "on one side of the law or the other," trying to either complete heists as a criminal or bust the bad guys as law enforcement.
Battlefield Hardline was delayed until 2015 so developers had additional time to make improvements and closely evaluate beta player feedback. EA doesn't want a repeat of the chaos that ensued with the release of Battlefield 4, which suffered numerous problems.
The kool-aid continues to be consumed over at Ubisoft, with Far Cry 4's Creative Director, Alex Hutchinson, having some interesting things to say when it comes to 1080p.
When asked about resolution, Hutchinson said: "It's certainly not something I care about in a game" when asked by Total Xbox about the target resolution of 1080p and 30FPS for Far Cry 4 on Xbox One and PS4. He continued: "It feels weird to me that people are cool about playing a sort of retro pixel game, and yet the resolution somehow matters. It's like: is it fun, is it interesting, is it new, is it fresh, are there interesting questions. With the 4K TVs and things - somebody was telling me that with a 4K TV, to even see it, your living room has to be big enough to sit like 12 feet from the screen. I don't know the exact numbers, but it starts to get a little crazy. I'm just in it for the experience, I'll play a SNES game if it's cool".
It continues, where Hutchinson reiterates that resolution isn't that important, where he said that consumer interest in high-end visuals is starting to fade away, rendering itself at a resolution of 480p, probably. He agreed with the sentiments of Crytek's Nicolas Schulz, who back in October said that it's getting "difficult to really wow people" with flashy graphics (we'll come back to that in a minute, Nicolas). Hutchinson backed Schulz up, saying: "Exactly. And also I think it's a bad axis. We should not be in a business that sells itself - we are, a little bit, but that sells itself on the flavour of like, gadgetry and technology. I think that's a bad sign. If our thing is 'woo, the same exact thing you had before, at twice the resolution, instead of a new thing'... A new spin or an evolution, I think is much more interesting".
Some of my fondest gaming memories are thanks to LucasArts, with The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and many more will reportedly be coming to GOG.com today.
The news is coming from a now-deleted forum post, with the leaked post saying: "We're proud to announce a new partnership with Disney that allows for the DRM-free release of about 30 classic titles from [LucasArts]. Today, to start with a bang, we are releasing a selection of 6 acclaimed titles from Lucas' most famous gaming franchises, so that the Disney/Lucasfilm catalog on GOG.com is made impressive from day one".
The two aforementioned games will be accompanied by Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition, Star Wars: Tie Fighter Special Edition, Sam & Max Hit The Road and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Gamers interested in purchasing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be able to pick up a copy at WalMart or GameStop 24 hours before release at other retailers. More than 2,800 Walmart stores will host special events on Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. local time, with the Day Zero Edition of the game available on sale at 12:01 AM on Nov. 3 - with the official release date on Nov. 4.
Amazon, Best Buy and Costco made the Call of Duty Day Zero edition available on sale over the summer, but only have limited supply - but Walmart ensures they "are not going to run out," according to Walmart senior VP for entertainment, Laura Phillips.
WalMart also is selling used games in its stores, after the retailer began a program in which gamers receive gift cards for their used video games in March.