News of the Week – June 15, 2013

This edition of News of the Week won’t have the regular audio slideshow. I was unable to put everything together in time. I apologize. I feel everything should be back to normal starting next Tuesday with the article on artificial difficulty. I should have a regular audio slideshow for next week’s edition as well. In case you were interested, here is the script for today’s show. Sorry again and I hope to have everything back to normal next week.

News of the Week

It was an extremely busy week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Sony all held press conferences Monday, with Microsoft and Sony showing off their new consoles and upcoming games. Both companies finally revealed the prices of their new hardware: 500 US for Microsoft’s Xbox One and 400 US for Sony’s PlayStation 4. Both will launch this holiday season, meaning parents will be feeling a little less rich in December. Electronic Arts and Ubisoft showed off some great games during their conferences. EA announced their DICE Stockholm studio is working on a new Star Wars Battlefront game and Ubisoft showed off their new games in the fun-as-all-hell Trials series. And that’s certainly not all. For more information on E3 announcements, visit the Internet. Anywhere on the Internet. There’s simply too much E3 goodness for me to cram into one show.

If the Internet happened to be a single person, he or she would say Sony won E3. How? The company pushed hard to do the exact opposite of what Microsoft has been doing lately. There won’t be any restrictions on used game sales except for any changes made by retailers. There won’t be any mandatory online check-up to make sure gamers are using their system correctly. The only thing they announced that upset gamers was making online multiplayer require a subscription. While this is no different to Microsoft and Xbox Live, many believed this to give Sony the edge they needed in winning over gamers to the PlayStation 3. Paying for online multiplayer appears to be the norm now — unless you’re lucky enough to have a decent computer or unlucky enough to have a Wii U.

Perhaps the most anticipated and most exciting game announcement at all of E3 was a new entry in the Super Smash Brothers series. As many suspected, the newest game is actually two new games: one for the Wii U and one for the 3DS. New characters include the Villager from Animal Crossing, the trainer from Wii Fit, and Capcom’s very own Mega Man. But what’s the biggest news to come out of all of this? No more tripping. Expect both versions to release in 2014, though maybe not at the same time. As well, players of either version can only play against people of the same version. That means no cross-play between the two. Considering the limitations of the 3DS, this might be for the best.

Women who want more female protagonists in video games, look no further. This E3 was full of ‘em. EA announced a new Mirror’s Edge, so it’s safe to assume players will once again take control of Faith and her amazing parkour skills. Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends introduced the world to Barbara the viking. And Nintendo has done something in a main series Mario game that hasn’t been done since Super Mario Brothers 2: they’ve made Peach a playable character. She’s back to help save the princess — wait, who ARE the characters going to save then? And let’s not forget every feminist’s favourite female protagonist: the sorceress from Dragon’s Crown. Yeah, no.

Peter Molyneux, famous for the Fable series and telling the game industry’s greatest lies, finally made some sense the other day. Molyneux is speaking out against Microsoft and the direction they’re heading, particularly what they said at their latest press conference about. He says he feels they need to do a better job communicating to gamers why the Xbox One’s always-online requirement will benefit them. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t done that yet. Here’s to hoping they can build some hype again as we get closer to the console’s November launch date.

Question of the Week

Once again I’m taking the easy path with an obvious question: what was your favourite announcement at E3? I know mine was the Star Wars Battlefront announcement and that DICE Stockholm was in charge, meaning the makers of Battlefield 4 and Mirror’s Edge will be working on this long-awaited game. Let me know what your favourite announcement was on Twitter or in the comments.

Upcoming Game Releases

It’s a big week for Sony’s dead-on-arrival Vita system. Vee-ta, Veye-ta? Who cares, this thing needs games more than it needs a pronouncer.

Tuesday, June 18th sees not one but TWO rehashes for the handheld system. The first is Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. This not-so-classic Disney game was originally released for current-generation consoles last November. It performed poorly then and it will perform poorly now. But if you have a child who demands for a good Disney adventure for their buyer’s regret Vita, then do what any good parent would do: avoid this one.

If you actually want to buy a Vita game on Tuesday, then pick up the Jak and Daxter Collection. You know it’s going to be good because it’s the original trilogy ported to a handheld device. Great for people who want to play one of developer Naughty Dog’s other great trilogies on the go and even better for people who missed it the first time around. But if you missed it the first time around you really need to be ashamed of yourself.

Wii U collecting some dust? I know, you get that a lot. But lucky for you there’s a new Mario game coming out Thursday June 20th. Oh, reports are coming in and it’s actually a Luigi game! In a daring and unprecedented move, Nintendo has done the unimaginable and made Luigi the star of his very own platforming game. The downloadable New Super Luigi U requires the original New Super Mario Bros U to play. If you don’t have the original game, don’t worry: Nintendo is releasing a standalone disc version August 25th. Long live Luigi!

And one more game for the PlayStation Vita, and surprise surprise it’s another port. Muramusa: Rebirth is a remake of an action-role playing game on the Wii. With updated graphics and the ability to download new levels, this one looks to be the definitive version of the game nobody heard about until now. Unless you’re really REALLY into anime and stuff.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll be talking about… what was I supposed to talk about this week again? Artificial difficulty? Yeah, I’ll be talking about that in Tuesday’s update. And I promise it’ll be up. I’m serious this time. So eat, pray, love, and game on Canada!

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