Nintendo of America is making it harder for non-popular or established video influencers or video games websites to attain advanced review copies of first-party games, anonymous sources tell US Gamer.
According to inside sources who agreed to speak on the matter on the condition of anonymity, Nintendo's North American branch is tightening access to early review copies of its games in an effort to stop early leaks and further control its intellectual property. These sources say that the company has revised its policy following the major leak of Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga and Bowser's Minions for the 3DS. As a result, a number of North American YouTubers/streamers and gaming outlets won't get pre-release access to Super Mario Odyssey or Fire Emblem Warriors. European press, however, has access to both games, sources say.
"After the leak of Mario & Luigi, done by an influencer, [Nintendo of America] flipped out and changed their review policy. Plenty of outlets and influencers are without [Fire Emblem Warriors] and [Super Mario Odyssey]... Apparently, it will be [sent out] in tiers, but [I'm] not sure how they are set up," a source told US Gamer.
On the eve of Visceral Games' death at the hands of EA--sadly studios closures happen all the time in this industry--a bunch of current and ex developers shared their thoughts about working at the studio and gave brief looks through these unique windows of time. Zach Wilson, who worked on Dead Space 2, was one such developer, and his particular window peeled back the layers of the games industry to give us a look at its inner workings.
Video games are very expensive, and there's so, so much that goes into making them that the average gamer doesn't realize. As ex-Bungie dev Jaime Griesemer rightly said, the fact that any game ever ships is a miracle. There's often a big disconnect between developers, who make the games, and publishers, who pay for the games: publishers typically set the budgets with marketing, development, distribution, etc, as well as the deals with platform holders like Microsoft and Sony. These budgets are often predatory in the sense that every last cent is pinched, and the sales expectations are firmly set in stone. Sometimes these targets are conservative, sometimes they're outlandish--but regardless of all the planning and exhaustive data sifting, there's no guarantee that a game will sell X units and make Y dollars.
As so many gamers wonder why EA closed down Visceral Games, ex-Visceral dev Zach Wilson gave an example how numbers are pretty much the backbone to a studio's success, and determine whether or not they stick around. Wilson notes that Dead Space 2's budget was about $60 million, and that EA was "merciless" with its budgeting. For reference, EA expects to make upwards of $5 billion in net revenue this fiscal year, and is one of the "big three" in gaming. To say EA wants to invest in guaranteed projects is an understatement.
Wilson goes on by saying that Dead Space 2 sold about 4 million copies on all systems, but it was still "not enough" to meet the internal sales targets.
Capcom might miss its internal net sales target for the fiscal year ending March 2018, analysts predict.
Japanese video games publisher Capcom has a section on its Investor Relations page devoted to consensus from a sampling of major industry analysts. These analysts typically weigh in and give their predictions on whether or not Capcom will meet, exceed, or miss internal financial targets for the fiscal year. Capcom just updated this section, showing some interesting results. Remember these predictions fluctuate based on the performance and reception of key games, as well as other things such as market trends, exchange rates, etc.
Since predictions are not an exact science, analysts separate their consensuses into three likelihood categories: average, low, and high. Analysts agree that on the average Capcom may miss its net sales target of 93 billion yen earned from total game sales and content by about 4%, or 3.701 billion yen. This may reflect the current reception of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, which reportedly had a meager budget. It's worth noting, however, the "high" prediction for net sales sits at 98.272 billion yen, or about 5.6% above Capcom's estimates.
In an advertisement for the new Resident Evil 7 Gold Edition, Capcom reveals the haunting game has sold-in (shipped) more than 4 million copies worldwide...but don't get this confused with actual digital and retail sales.
This new milestone might sound impressive, but a closer glance gives true meaning. Remember that this is shipments to retailers, also called sell-in, not actual games sales made to consumers (which is called sell-through). At the time of writing Capcom still has Resident Evil 7 pinned at 3.7 million units sold globally, matching the figures it gave out during its fiscal Q1'18 earnings report.
Capcom's recent financials reveal that Resident Evil 7, which was released in January, missed the lofty sales target set by the publisher: the company expected the game to hit 4 million units sold by the end of the fiscal year in March. Capcom later adjusted its financials and removed exact sales projections on a per-game basis.
True RTS fans will remember the Command & Conquer series with fond memories... until EA purchased the series and tarnished its legacy. Developer Petroglyph Games have announced that in partnership with Team 17, a new RTS called Forged Battalion. Petroglyph Games have built an impressive RTS resume including Grey-Goo and Star Wars: Empire at War, the company was also founded by core members of the original Command & Conquer. Petroglyph Games have released a teaser trailer showcasing what we can expect from Forged Battalion and I think I can speak for every Command & Conquer fan when I say it looks absolutely brilliant.
Petroglyph Games also release some information along with their trailer, most interesting is that Forged Battalion allows players to forge their own faction from the ground up, no more NOD or GDI. Forged Battalion is set to include a 'Persistent Tech Tree' that advances with every battle won, allowing your faction to upgrade its technology with different science paths. As expected, Forged Battalion will also include a 'dynamic story campaign' and online multiplayer.
Back in August I posted that Warhammer: Vermintide 2 was announced, with a full reveal in October... Well, Fatshark delivered on their promise and today released a trailer that includes two minutes of pre-alpha gameplay footage, that looks BRUTAL. Check it out below.
As expected, the Skaven hordes are back and have introduced some new friends with them, Choas. The two forces have "formed a pact to plunge the world into death and decay". Fatshark included some more information in the trailer with 15 careers/5 heroes, visceral melee combat, improved loot system, talent trees, new enemies and weapons and more.
EA has officially closed Visceral Games, the studio responsible for Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline, and the developer's ambitious new Star Wars project (codenamed "Ragtag") has been handed off to another internal EA studio.
Visceral Games is no more, and one of the big reasons EA likely canned the studio was because of their upcoming Star Wars game led by Amy Hennig. EA is embracing the games-as-a-service business model that essentially sees games lasting much longer and making more long-term money via microtransactions and lootboxes. I've reported on this in the past, and predicted that pretty much every new EA game--or AAA game from a big publisher--will have microtransactions and embrace this model. Sadly, Visceral's new Star Wars project just didn't fit this model, and EA has decided to dismantle the studio entirely and hand the project off to EA Vancouver, who will make a game from the assets and bones of Project Ragtag while incorporating that critical GaaS hook. This marks the second time EA has shut down a studio recently, the first being BioWare Montreal, who was shut down after the humiliating reception around Mass Effect: Andromeda.
In a recent blog post, EA exec Patrick Soderlund announced Visceral Games' closure and explained what the future holds for Project Ragtag. "Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game," Soderlund said. The exec went on to say that this linear story model just didn't mesh with player testing--and, more importantly, EA's all-in monetization business model. "Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design."
"A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project," Soderlund said, then explaining that Visceral Games will die off, despite being a wholly-owned studio. The Star Wars project was essentially strike three for Visceral, with the first two being Dead Space 3 and Battlefield Hardline. "Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we're in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA."
While the gaming world is dominated by the likes of Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Star Wars: Battlefront II, and others... don't forget massive fan favorites like Team Fortress 2, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Valve is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Team Fortress 2 with one of the games largest updates ever; Jungle Inferno. The new update relocates your heroes to tropical climates, with a story ripped from the script of Jurassic Park. Mann Co. President, Saxton Hale, has opened up Yeti Park. But there's a twist! The yetis escape and start causing all sorts of problems, as you can see in the video above.
Another surprise is that Valve released a new map, which is the first in-house map created since 2015, as well as some yeti-related taunts. The company has also unleashed five new fan-designed maps, with more content planned in the new Jungle Inferno content pack that will be released over the next couple of weeks.
Seriously... if you haven't picked up a Nintendo Switch and played Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you really ought to. It's one of the best games I've ever played, safely tucked into my top 10... but PUBG is definitely my #1. YouTuber BSoD Gaming has a great comparison between the Switch version, and the PC version with all of the bells and whistles.
To get the best experience out of the comparison, watch the video in 4K. First off, the visual style of Zelda: BotW is instantly apparent, but it is highlighted in the PC version with all of the mods. We have a new graphics pack, which adds much more contrast and saturation to the world, resulting in a much more luscious world.
The one big thing that I will point out, that I haven't seen anyone talk about yet. Most of you know I'm a huge graphics/PCMR kinda guy, but the actual experience of playing Zelda: BotW on the Nintendo Switch in portable mode. It's an amazing experience in portable mode, almost as if Nintendo made the Switch just for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It runs at 720p 30FPS, and as someone who games at 3440x1440 @ 100FPS+ it's a huge drop, but BotW is worth it.
Man, oh man... the amount of hours I pumped into my Sega Genesis, NES, and SNES... but now, Analogue is tempting me with their new Super Nt.
SuperNt is a new console that is capable of playing the massive 2200+ library of SNES and Super Famicom cartridges at 1080p, with no lag, and is compatible with every single accessory out there. The new console will play SNES games at 1080p, all while looking super-fly, as if it was designed this year.
The new console runs games from 480p to 1080p, with both NTSC and PAL support, as well as 48KHz 16-bit audio. There's even the same controller ports as the original SNES, with the new Super Nt capable of having its firmware updated with an SD card. Analogue has even included scanline options, scaling options, and more in order to get the exact image you want on your TV.
The new Super Nt will cost just $189.99 and will come in four different colors: Black, Classic, SF, and Transparent. Super Nt is expected to ship sometime in February 2018, with pre-orders up on Analogue's website.