Short-Takes 5/30/14

It's been a very long time since we've had any sort of articles come in a set, but I thought this compilation was particularly noteworthy. These three delays have all come this week alone. We already know that Destiny, Watch Dogs, and the Division are other titles for the current consoles that were previously delayed. On Twitter, John Tarr suggested that most developers are trying to avoid poor sales because of low console shipment volume, and a delay would be far less costly in the big picture. That's fine... to a point. This type of thinking could lead to a destructive cycle, because consumers are electing to defer a console purchase until there is sufficient market saturation. On the flip side, however, publishers are nervous about releasing a top tier game with so much development time and marketing money behind it without a proven market. Someone's got to go first, and that someone is the game publisher. 

Max Gruber: 

These delays have been coming up for a couple of weeks now. Everything is being pushed ahead of schedule, and it's very unsettling. It could be that, as Simon wrote, that they don't want to release their titles on a platform that doesn't have nearly as many people as the people who own the previous iteration of the consoles. But, on the other hand, some of these titles, like The Evil Within, Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and others are releasing on both current and last gen consoles, which means that they have to create versions with different code sets. Remember, the last consoles aren't running Direct X11, which means that they have to create versions with different sets of code. It seems that developing on the current set of consoles has been a breeze when compared to developing for the last gen, as evidenced by Ubisoft's comments on Assassin's Creed 4. 

Jackson Sinnenberg: 

These delays also come in the week right after the world confirmed that Ubisoft has been lying to us for the last couple of years and the "true next gen" graphics experience is a complete dud. These developers and publishers see the tidal wave of scorn and criticism that came crashing down on Ubisoft's head and would like to keep their business and dignity in one piece - hence the need to delay in order to actually get those graphics up to snuff. This is merely to build on/offer a different explanation from what Mr. Wu and Mr. Gruber have said about this subject. Alternatively it could make a great new drinking game to drink every time a game gets delayed - we can work on the specifics later. 

EA announces Battlefield Hardline, plans full reveal June 9 at E3 

Simon Wu: 


So we've finally run out of Russian invasions and terrorist master plots, and are resorting to good old beat cops. A couple things are notable here: first, the game is not being developed by DICE. Rather, Visceral will be taking the reins. In a perfect world, this is so DICE can put every nanosecond of its collective focus on making Star Wars: Battlefront the greatest game we will ever be witness to, but it's probably just so they can work on figuring out how to make Battlefield 5 be less awful at launch than Battlefield 4 was. 

Jackson Sinnenberg: 

So its Grand Theft Auto meets Call of Duty...I think I can hear the folks at EA cackling while they acclaim "the focus group work has lead us to this defining moment, we cannot lose!" Except if you have proven one thing EA it is that you can lose: Hard. While I agree with Mr. Wu and that it seems like EA finally had to accept that they can no longer beat the dead horse, because there is nothing left to beat, a cops and robbers style CoD still does not seem like the proper route to go. Maybe I am worried about anything Police related since the Trayvon Martin case last summer, but Cops and Robbers is even more trite and beaten to death than War. Plus, EA now has to deal with the realism. A police officer would not go around carrying an M16 on everyday patrol like a soldier in Iraq would, so they are going to have to be clever if they want to try to stay in the realism of the setting (though knowing Battlefield's average audience, I doubt that they'll care). I still have a sinking feeling that this will get 9s from IGN and make money that should be going to actually inventive/creative developers. 

The Walking Dead Season 1 & 2, The Wolf Among Us coming to PS4 and Xbox One 

Max Gruber: 

There seems to be an increasing number of games for the previous generation that are making the jump to the current-gen, i.e. The Last of Us, the rumored Master Chief collection, and now this. It's interesting that this is happening, but I wonder what will become of their other upcoming titles, those being Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones. I wonder if those will be released for both current and last gen, or if they're only available to the current set of consoles, as the visuals from TftB looks way too much for an Xbox 360 or a PS3 to handle. But, then again, it's probably just CG footage, which doesn't really mean anything about the overall graphics of the game itself. Again, as I've said a lot since then, only time will tell. 

Jackson Sinnenberg: 

While it makes sense for Telltale to do this with two of their more popular IPs, part of me has to wonder whether this is necessarily a good thing. I doubt that it will take significant effort on their part to revamp the games for next gen (maybe even learn from Watch Dogs mistake on that), but could their time be spent doing more with new IPs for next gen? We all know that triple A gaming and Hollywood have sizeable problems with remakes/sequels and reusing old IPs - so is this part of that epidemic? At least when the 360, Wii and PS3 all came out we did not seem to have the same mad scramble for updating of recently released games. Like Mr. Gruber points out, how much can they really improve on these games and even then what would the point be except to sell it to us again, a little shinier and with a little more chrome for another $30-$60? Not much I think, not much.