E3 Conferences Impressions

This year’s E3 conferences were quite different than past years, despite being good, there wasn’t one who stood out as remarkable or unforgettable. Without many surprising moments that would make the audience go crazy, most of them felt lukewarm, as if companies were keeping their cards close to their chests, or didn’t really have many novelties to show.

Here I’ll talk about them from worst to best, in my opinion, and some things I noticed about how companies are changing some aspects of how they approach their conferences:

EA

As last year, EA came up with the worst presentation, even though it certainly has improved. Many strange and cringy moments happened, mainly because it feels that the company is striving to look cool, trying to talk with the millennial generation without completely understanding it.

Youtubers that had problems with teleprompters,  feet out of place in a presentation willing to appeal not only to customers but also to stakeholders. Sports games would have overly long presentations at times, and yes, it is an integral part of the company strategy and finance, however, a leaner, more dynamic segment would work better for them. Jokes, long introductions, a trailer focusing on eSports also didn’t help the presentation, making it feel longer than it really was.

Battlefront 2’s multiplayer demonstration felt out of place, especially after EA’s focus on the singleplayer campaign ever since its announcement. Revealing that it won’t have a season pass is nice, and the multiplayer does look interesting, but showing just a little bit of the story would feel like a reward after the unimpressive Battlefront.

A way out

Although there were some problems, not all was lost. Need for Speed Payback looked amazing, with a truly great demo, showing a little bit of its mechanics, characters, mission structure, appearing to be a better game than we expected. And the best moment was A Way Out, part of the EA Originals program, a game that shows real innovation, with an unusual and unique gameplay mechanic. Becoming one of the best games to show at the event, with an effective trailer, and a very enthusiastic developer.

Sony

I might be too harsh on them, but after last year’s stellar presentation, this year’s just felt underwhelming. A repetition of the games seen last year, many still remaining without any release dates, a lack of new and exciting titles, and a feeling that something was missing, marked the presentation. By the way, I’m not considering the sound issues, these things happen.

Starting with Naughty Dog and Guerrilla was a smart move, but an Uncharted stand alone game and Horizon DLC doesn’t really hype up the audience. Destiny and Call of Duty being part of it isn’t a surprise, after all, both are expected to be the biggest sellers of the year, but none had an exciting showing.

The same can be said of Monster Hunter World and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, that looks very strange, with last-gen graphics, especially when compared with Street Fighter V and the superb Injustice 2. I have to say that I was surprised that they mentioned VR, with a good number of games, although they still feel more like tech demos than full-fledged games. Please, let’s stop releasing Skyrim on every platform, compared to more modern titles, it doesn’t look great, neither graphically, nor mechanically.

The one surprise of the presentation was the remake of Shadow of the Colossus, that looks incredible, but this one is on me, I can’t muster any excitement over a remake or remaster anymore. Detroit: Become Human is on the verge of saturation for me, it feels like I’ve seen this games more times than I needed too, and the lack of a release date doesn’t feel like a sign we’ll see it soon, probably next year.

God of War had a new trailer that highlighted the story and the relationship with Kratos and his son, what seems to be the part that the developers are giving the most attention to. The trailer itself was good, the story indeed looks intriguing, but the way it was cut was a little strange, I preferred last year’s gameplay chunk.

Days Gone

The best parts for me were the first gameplay reveal of Insomniac’s Spider-Man, and Days Gone, that after last year’s lukewarm presentation, they came out with an unexpected demo. Days Gone with a stunning demo finally gave us more on the background of the game, that may be very promising. God of War will be huge, but the prospect of a The Last of Us with an open world is something to look for. What looked like another zombie game that solely focused on action, now appears to one with a soul, highlighting human relationships, instead of waves of enemies. A game that I couldn’t care less about, became one I’ll keep my eye on, although Bend still hasn’t released anything that impressive.

Spider-Man is a beautiful title that based on the pedigree of the studio behind and what we saw, won’t disappoint. The combat is fluid, the world and the animations are beautiful, and the action set-piece was entertaining, reminding an Uncharted with a superhero as the main character. The high number of QTE’s can be troubling, but we’ll only find out next year, earlier than expected.

Bethesda

It started in a great way, with developers and their kids talking about what they did for a living and their excitement over games, something that was quite strange, as Bethesda’s game tend to be very violent, but it was fresh, funny and why not, cute. Then a video presentation started with great animation, showing the lineup of Bethesda, it was short, straight to the point, and very pleasant. However, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

Everything that was anticipated was there, Skyrim is coming out again, now in VR, Doom too, Elder Scrolls online, Legends were part of the presentation, but nothing that stood out. Quake legends appealed to the eSports side of the game. Dishonored DLC looked great, like every Dishonored trailer, with a very cool twist on the story, that may have some serious repercussion in the future of the franchise.

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The 2 surprises that ended up not surprising anybody, were the highlights. The Evil Within 2 had a very curious trailer that focused on the struggles of the leading character, the impact of his past on his life, and apparently, on his mind. With a beautiful soundtrack and a striking visual style, it showed great promise.

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus came with a long trailer that never ceased to amaze. The graphics are mesmerizing, the story fascinating. It’s nice to see that MachineGames appears to have improved on every area. The New Order was a great game, but The New Colossus may take the franchise a step further, with crazy characters, charismatic villains, and visceral action.

Microsoft

Unlike Bethesda, the more I think about Microsoft’s conference, the more I like it. When it ended I was completely deflated, mainly due to the lack of a massive AAA announcement of an exclusive for their new console, but pondering on what was presented, there were some very interesting games. Cuphead finally got a release date and a feature long awaited, OG Xbox backwards compatibility was announced.

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It started with the reveal of the Xbox One X, formerly known as Project Scorpio, that looks very slick in spite of being a lot more powerful than the original Xbox One, actually, it is smaller than the S model. The price is way too high, eliminating any chance to compete with the PS4 Pro, that may have fewer teraflops, but has better exclusives, let’s face it. Especially if multiplatform games don’t run that better on the X.

They promised to show more than 40 games, 22 exclusives, however many were timed exclusives, and others didn’t really impress the audience. Like The Newton Project and Lucky’s Tale, that felt generic and uninteresting. What was curious about the conference was that there were a significant number of good games, with a little bit for everybody, and that’s why I liked it.

First-party titles looked great, but nothing close to the size of a Halo or Gears. State of Decay 2 looks like an AAA title now, with many possibilities, although I would prefer a gameplay demo instead of the trailer shown, it felt a little long. Forza 7 is more beautiful than ever, it just didn’t make a lot of noise because everyone knew it would come out.

We saw Crackdown 3 after years of silence, bringing Terry Crews to the trailer, and the game, the letdown was that we didn’t see much of the title. Sea of Thieves had a much better showing than last year, with a mission that displayed the new features of the game, a little bit of the team aspect, finally revealing more about what it is all about.

Phil Spencer’s trip to Japan really worked out well for the company, a section was devoted to Japanese titles, with Dragon Ball Fighter Z standing out in a completely unexpected way.

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But the highlights for me were clearly The Last Night, an indie game that combines a beautiful world that resembles Blade Runner, using a pixel art aesthetic, attracting a lot of attention for its beauty and mysterious world. Assassin’s Creed Origins brought the franchise back to E3 after a year off, and it looked like that decision paid off, new features were shown, combat has changed, Egypt looks impressive, leaving some hope that the franchise might have a bright future ahead.

A Life is Strange prequel was revealed, and that was the moment in which I really got excited, in spite of the fact that Chloe’s voice actress has changed, it was nice to see the franchise being recognized on a big stage. And to finish things off, Anthem, the new Bioware IP had their gameplay reveal, and it looked amazing, maybe too beautiful at times. But the changes of gameplay that happened seamlessly were impressive, the world hypnotizing, it looked like a Destiny with a more fleshed out world and story.

Nintendo

I was baffled with how much I enjoyed Nintendo’s conference, given that I’m not somebody who really cares about their games or even consoles. The last one I had was a Super Nintendo, and for the first time since the SNES, I’m thinking about buying a console from them.

Their spotlight was short, effective, showed new games, and had a different feeling than the other companies had. The beginning was a little strange with a trailer focusing on the Switch, followed by Reggie Fils-Aime reflected on game and life, something that was funny, quickly proceeding to the games.

And here is where Nintendo always shines, their games don’t really have a story, but they have a trademark style. Starting with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a huge RPG that is exclusive to the console, looking massive, diverse and beautiful. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks like XCOM for kids, with a stunning art style, and a gameplay that genuinely looks fun.

New games of Kirby, Yoshi were shown, with different mechanics that work around the genre they’re in. They talked more about Breath of the Wild’s DLC, shedding some light on what could be expected from now on. Two projects stole the show, a Pokémon RPG is coming to Switch, and we expect for it to be a massive game, and Metroid Prime 4, that appears to be at the very beginning of its development cycle.

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The grand finale was the bizarre Super Mario Odyssey, and how crazy is that game. Taking the approach of bigger worlds, we managed to see the game running for the first time, and it reminds 64 and Sunshine, with open landscapes, a looser experience. And the hat, that we finally understand why was highlighted, allowing you to possess the body of any character in the world, creating endless possibilities for puzzles, representing something new to the genre. As I said, it was short, there weren’t dozens of games, but the ones that were shown were meaningful projects, in an E3 that felt lukewarm.

Ubisoft

I might be biased as I tend to enjoy their conferences, and the company as a whole, they make mistakes but they look honest, and I feel that this year they showed that. What an improvement when compared to last year, instead of overly long demonstrations, we saw a much better-structured show, if it was sports, it would’ve gotten the most improved player award.

Just Dance didn’t have a long dance routine that would bore everybody, it was short and swift. The way it started was brilliant, bringing Shigeru Miyamoto to the stage to talk about Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and to see the emotion and the passion of the developers was truly remarkable. Although the Rabbids can be very annoying at times, the presence of Mario balances that, in a game that looks delightful to play.

Assassin’s Creed Origins had a smaller presence, after appearing with an extended gameplay on Microsoft’s stage. Here was the strangest moment, when we were shown someone playing on a screen announcing a gameplay that would air after the conference, it just didn’t make any sense.

The Crew 2 was impressive, with many different styles of racing, planes, boats, cars, a beautiful world, and an Inception style effect. It feels like a much-improved title, looking like another case of Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs 2 syndrome.

Some moments didn’t land, South Park appeared again, an Elijah Wood project didn’t have a lot of details revealed, Steep has DLC, and a toys-to-life game was announced, long after the genre died.

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A new game based on pirate life, Skull & Bones, surprised the audience, looking like the Black Flag spin-off we were all waiting for. Naval battles with a multiplayer focus, in a beautiful world, and the possibility of creating a pirate squad, that’s not bad. Far Cry 5 continues to look like a significant improvement over Far Cry 4, that felt tired. More options to use NPC’s as part of the missions, hiring friends to help you, a world that responds to your actions, it appears to be a real sequel.

To end things off, they brought Beyond Good & Evil 2 back from the dead. With a new look, characters, feel, working as a prequel to Jade’s adventure. To see Michel Ansel tearing up on stage was truly special, it was nice to see that in such a rich industry you can see love for what they do. Whether we’ll actually play it we’re not sure, but it was great to see such a beloved franchise making a comeback, let’s hope that for good now.

A few things that caught my attention:

  • Every company is crazy to get their share of eSports.
  • Long gameplay demos became more scarce, it feels that companies are preferring gameplay trailers.
  • Microsoft didn’t talk about new features and Game Pass.
  • Companies are looking to make open worlds more responsive, reacting to your actions, like in GTA V.
  • Some are taking the Nintendo approach, making the conferences shorter, usually lasting less than one hour, with minimal presence from executives, like Bethesda and Sony did.
  • Speaking of Sony, it was strange to see that Hidden Agenda, the new Supermassive project, was part of the pre-show, especially when their VR projects, that looked much worse, took the main stage. And it is intriguing to see the downfall of Gran Turismo, that was too a part of the pre-show. We’re talking about the highest-selling franchise Sony has, and it is astonishing that it wasn’t part of the main show.

 

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E3 Expectations: Ubisoft

The craziest, funniest conference, sometimes for some strange reasons, comes back in their usual Monday slot. Ubisoft has released a small video “hyping” what we could see in the conference, promising a lot of surprises and unexpected things. With franchises coming back and awkward moments, what can we expect from Ubisoft this year?

Silly Just Dance Moment

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All jokes aside, that’s why I love their conferences

Every year, sometimes in the beginning, it is a certainty that we’ll see a bizarre, to the point it gets funny, moment revealing that year’s Just Dance. Enthusiastic dancers with colorful clothes will dance to the sound of a pop song, and maybe the singer will be there to join them. In the end, we’ll get a release date, some novelty on how to play, and I guess it will lose the number, and embrace the Just Dance Unlimited subscription model for future iterations.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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It’s not a secret anymore that the next Assassin’s Creed will be set in Egypt, and will be called Origins, mainly because of leaks from shirts. Expected to be a reboot, this is the game I’m most curious about, if this extra year was used for improvements on gameplay, mission structure, we can probably see a renaissance of the franchise.

There are no doubts that they can create beautiful, lively worlds, but without relatable characters and an interesting story, something the AC franchise has struggled a little, it wll be just another entry in the franchise. A clean slate enables them to rework the Abstergo story, enhance the missions, highlight the world, bringing the long requested Egyptian location as the background. It will probably be released this Fall, November maybe, and I think will appear with a trailer and an extensive demo.

Splinter Cell

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As part of my expectations from Microsoft, I mentioned that the series may come back as an exclusive title for the Xbox. 4 years have passed since Blacklist was released, to positive reception from the media, but lukewarm sales. Reports of Michael Ironside’s return as the voice of Sam Fisher have surfaced, and I think it’s been long enough for the franchise to return.

I believe they might try to reboot the franchise, calling the game only Splinter Cell, as a fresh start, with some gameplay changes willing to appeal to a larger market. My guess is that it will come back in less than one year. I don’t know if it has the strength to be released during the Fall season, so Q1 or Q2 2018 would be a nice time to release it.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Following the reveal trailer that garnered some hate, we’ll probably see gameplay for the first time. Set in the US, it looks like an interesting change of setting, as some mechanics might require some changes since the landscape is very different. The controversy around it has the chance to propel the game to an even higher height, receiving attention from groups that might’ve not noticed it otherwise.

New mechanics, like flying planes, will be part of the game, there will be some player customization, and the trailer appeared to focus a lot on the characters, with the most relevant side characters receiving individual pieces. We can expect a bigger attention when it comes to the story side, and if it follows the pattern of past games, the villain will probably steal the show. This is a game that I didn’t really care, but the news coming from it got me cautiously optimistic, let’s see.

The Crew 2

The Crew

Despite having a great potential, and an impressive world map that recreated the US with a scale we haven’t seen before, The Crew never fulfilled expectations, being a little underwhelming. Heavy focus on microtransactions, a heavy DLC system, an uninteresting plot and a world that was huge but lifeless ended up leaving a bad taste in their consumer’s mouth.

But Ubisoft’s track record of greatly improving on their second games creates hope for The Crew 2, as we saw with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Watch Dogs 2. I’d guess it will have a new setting, a gameplay demo and for the release date, my bet is Q1 2018.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

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Everything about it leaked, the marketing strategy, amiibos, pretty much all that mattered. A turn-based RPG exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, with focus on exploration, bringing mascots from both companies with different abilities and weapons. According to the leaked material, it is expected to be released in August/September, and sounds like an awesome idea.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park Whole

Returning for yet another E3, South Park: The Fracture But Whole must bring back Trey Parker and Matt Stone to the stage with a new trailer and some more gameplay.

UbiArt comeback

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It’s been 3 years since Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War came out, to very positive critical and commercial reception, representing something different in the AAA publisher’s market. Games marked by beautiful visuals, stories that didn’t need words to be told, interesting gameplay. There are no rumors regarding a comeback, but that would be something that I would love to see return, after all, quality, introspective games are never enough.

IP That Appeared in Watch Dogs 2

A possible candidate for the final surprise of the conference, a new IP set on space may be unveiled after appearing in a trailer within a mission in Watch Dogs 2. According to reports in the media, sources claim that the game is in development, and it would be an interesting way to end the show, as they did last year revealing a new IP, Steep. Maybe they could repeat.

Other Possibilities and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See:

  • A new IP inspired by Black Flag, focusing on pirate life, and since that came out 4 years ago, it’s been enough time to develop a new game.
  • A new Rayman game.
  • Prince of Persia reboot.
  • Beyond Good and Evil 2 trailer
  • Another new IP coming out of the left field, probably, the surprise in the end.

1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See: I know remasters can suck, but I’d love to have the Sam Fisher collection, all past games in one package with gameplay and graphics enhancements.

Are We Seeing the Beginning of the End of the Physical Market?

For a while now the digital market has emerged as the future of the games industry, with its participation growing exponentially. In the past few years it has already dominated the PC landscape, and every year it increases their participation in the console space. To the point that 60% of EA’s  total business revenue comes from the digital market reaching almost $3 billion in the last 12 months, 47% of Ubisoft’s sales come from digital products, increasing more than 84% when compared to the previous year, becoming an instrumental market to any company.

A confluence of reasons allowed this growth to happen, such as the improvement of the internet infrastructure worldwide, with improved speed and reliability. The ease of being able to purchase a game without the need to wait for days until the game is delivered, allied to the capacity to play from the second it is released. Services such as PS Plus and Games with Gold giving dozens of games each year, the growth of the indie scene, that is very hard to find physically, and smaller prices, bigger sales, also helped attract consumers to this market.

Yesterday another example of these changing times was the announcement of the Xbox Game Pass, a service that for a monthly fee allows gamers to access a library in excess of 100 games. Having a similar structure to Netflix and Spotify, services that dominate their respective markets and were in part responsible for the downfall of the physical market in the movies and music industry, but also a new source of revenue and a revival, changing the way people consume their entertainment.

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Nowadays digital transactions represent more than 27% of Microsoft’s gaming division revenue, considering hardware and software. And in 2014, the first sign of this focus was the arrival of EA Access, that similar to Xbox Game Pass, gives you access to EA’s library, trials and discounts. After the announcement of both services, Gamespot’s shares tumbled, showing a level of concern over their future.

And in order to not become redundant, Gamestop, the biggest video game retailer in the world, has tried to change their business strategy. Focusing on geek culture, selling licensed products from major franchises, trying to reach a new audience, especially since their revenue, number of stores, and relevance has diminished significantly in the past few years.

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They also started GameTrust, their publishing arm, representing their biggest opportunity to stay in the market, if everything goes as planned. Partnering with studios such as Insomniac and Ready at Dawn, to finance and publish new titles, creating products based on these properties that can only be found in their stores. With their first foray being Song of the Deep, with about 80% of the sales coming from retail.

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But the most unexpected and perhaps the most important player in this situation, and that could propel this change even faster, is the US president-elect Donald Trump. With his intent to roll out trade tariffs, he can end up affecting the physical market negatively.

Living in Brazil I managed to see this situation closely when the PS4 was released for more than $1.800,00 due to heavy taxation, being recognized by Nintendo as the main reason to end their distribution in the country. With the only way out being producing the console as well as the games locally, as Microsoft has done with the Xbox One from the beginning, and Sony followed suit later with the PS4.

A big part of the expense behind physical games comes from manufacturing and logistics. Printing games, distributing, are all expenses that don’t affect the digital market. Many materials come from other countries, distribution centers might be located overseas, as well as many other parts of the business don’t happen in the US, creating a scenario in which game prices may increase.

If companies are required to bring their business to the US, the overall cost of production will increase, after all the American worker is a lot more expensive than the European, Mexican, Canadian worker. A situation that could create an extremely positive environment for digital stores, that due to a slimmer infrastructure can have much lower prices, to the point of going below the $60,00 price tag for releases, becoming much more attractive than any program offered by a retail store.

Yes, this law is focused in the US, but we are talking about the biggest gaming market in the world. If the American market adopts digital games as the standard for consoles, the entire industry will follow suit, maybe not immediately, but eventually. Microsoft’s decision to create an all-digital service was the biggest example of one of the Big Three companies taking a significant step towards this change.

Whether people like it or not, we are roaming towards an all-digital future, such as the other areas of entertainment. It has never been cheaper and easier to watch a movie, listen to an album, read a book, and from what it looks like, the same will happen with games, and from what we can see from companies such as EA and Microsoft, they can’t wait for it to happen.

PS: Two videos of the Colin Was Right series were part of the inspiration for this text, and they go even further in other subjects, so watch them and enjoy.

Nintendo Switch Reveal Impressions

Last night Nintendo held a conference in Tokyo to properly introduce the Nintendo Switch to the world, after a trailer that had a great reception in October. It had some cringeworthy moments, with producers talking about their games in a very excited, and strange way at times. The translation was confusing in some situations, such as when Suda took the stage. And the production value felt a lot smaller compared to what Sony and Microsoft did when they announced the PS4 and the Xbox One.

When it comes to the console, there weren’t a lot of surprises, except for the release date, March 3rd, sooner than expected. The price point is good, $299, but it feels expensive if we consider that you can buy a PS4 or an Xbox One, more powerful machines, for a much lower price. There were a lot of ups and downs, and even though the reception seems positive, there were some yellow lights and some reasons for concern, and we’ll talk about the good and the bad.

The Presentation of the Machine

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This time Nintendo explained the concept of the console in a much clearer way than when they presented the Wii U. When a lot of people didn’t even know it was a new console and thought it was an expansion of the Wii, in part because of the horrible name choice.

All modes of playing were well displayed, in videos that only expanded what we saw in the trailer, and it looks like a great design from Mario’s company. It seems easy to use, allowing you to use it as a home console and a portable device, with an acceptable battery life, that can go from 2,5 to 6 hours.

But they ended up spending too much time on the Joycon, that is very surprising because of the high technology it has. It works as motion control, has the NFC technology, but after seeing a bizarre video showing its vibration using a glass of water filled with ice cubes, it felt like they wasted precious time over-explaining its controller.

A Lack of Third-Party Support

A good number of games were presented, but the stars were the already known Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that will be a launch title, and Super Mario Odyssey, that will come in the Holiday of this year. Splatoon 2, Arms, and others were announced, but without the impact expected for a new console. And with all titles releasing months after launch, except for 1,2 Switch and Zelda, and ports coming out later, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, that will come in April, the lineup for the first few months feels empty.

When it comes to third-party studios, unfortunately, it felt like the Wii U all over again. Many JRP’s being ported and created to the console, but as we all know, it’s nothing more than a niche nowadays, and if the Vita is an example, it doesn’t move units. Some stage presences felt weird, like the one from Sega, that didn’t show anything, and Suda that announced that he was working in a new No More Heroes.

On the Western side, we saw a clear lack of support. With EA’s presence revealing a Fifa, that may end up being an inferior game to the PS4 and XONE iteration. Also, nothing was talked about Mass Effect Andromeda, Battlefield, Madden or Star Wars coming to Switch. Bethesda’s 6 year-old Skyrim being confirmed to a brand new console. Ubisoft was a no-show, what surprised many, given that they were the first company to talk about the console, and the relationship they had during the Wii U generation, releasing exclusives such as ZombiU.

Despite their image that shows many studios working on projects for Switch, very few companies appear to be really interested in doing that. It can change, but it doesn’t look like huge franchises will make an appearance, like COD, Red Dead Redemption, GTA. Showing that maybe Nintendo didn’t learn from its past mistakes, alienating third-party studios, something that has proved to be extremely negative to any company. But in E3 that can change, as we can expect announcements for the Holiday Season.

What To Expect From Switch

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It’s still very early to tell, but in spite of having of having one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises in its release, there are some worrisome signs that this may be another failure from Big N. It doesn’t mean a lot, but the company’s stocks fell more than 5% after the announcement, exhibiting a concern from the market.

Zelda may be adored by hardcore gamers, but it doesn’t drive as many sales as gamers may believe. The biggest one was Twilight Princess, with more than 8 million copies in 2 consoles, the Wii and the Gamecube, less than Halo 3, that was available only on the 360 and moved 15 million. Their last big title, Skyward Sword, sold less than 4 million copies in a console with more than 100 million consumers, with an attachment rate of less than 4%.

It will drive units, but it’s not a system seller, as Super Mario Odyssey would be, that will only come out more than 6 months after the release. Pokemon, another massive franchise of the company, didn’t have any news, another waste of an opportunity of creating an AAA console game that could become a signature game for Switch.

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Nintendo has garnered a lot of goodwill in the past few months from gamers, with an effective trailer that even stole Red Dead’s thunder. But a lineup that looks pale in new titles could create another Wii U situation. And Nintendo can’t afford another failure, or it might become the next Sega, releasing only software.

Especially since the Switch is coming to replace not only the Wii U, but also the 3DS. And the most important distinction, if the market will it as a consider it as a portable that can be used as a console, or a console that can be used as a portable, might define its fate.

If the former happens, there’s a great chance of success, after all, there are no real competitors, and it can work very well as a strong portable with AAA games on the go. If the latter happens, we might witness Nintendo’s last hardware. It is a lot less powerful than its competitors, with a lot more unappealing lineup, and a shortcoming of important franchises that are vital to the success of any console, even if it’s perceived as the second option.

And it can represent its death, as what happened with the Gamecube and the Wii U, unless there’s a consistent stream of attractive games being released and a significant support from third-party studios.

Movies That Could Influence Splinter Cell

Spoilers follow.

After the unfortunate failure of the Assassin’s Creed movie, with a very negative critical reception and poor box office performance, expectations have reached a new low. And even though it wasn’t the movie responsible for the arrival of the golden age of great video game movies, another Ubisoft franchise has a meaningful chance to do that, Splinter Cell.

It may sound crazy to even believe that someday our luck will change, but Sam Fisher’s foray has a shot for a simple reason, it’s not that different from movies we’ve seen. A gruff, talented agent ain’t nothing revolutionary, but the series has enough elements to feel like a breath of fresh air, and most importantly it can learn from other movies.

Sicario and The Accountant are great examples, with scenes that show how a Splinter Cell movie could play out. In both, we see a character in need to invade a compound filled with enemies, something common in any game of the series. With quick shots, slick and brutal fights, interesting use of the environment, that focused on a stealthier approach, it can serve as a roadmap to how they should deal with action.

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And it can be greatly enhanced given Fisher’s highly technological pieces of equipment, as we saw in Batman v Superman. Like Batman, Sam can utilize his gadgets, such as a drone to have a higher ground, having an idea of what’s to come. His advanced suit as a way to protect from adversaries, weapons and his multi-vision goggles as a way to differentiate himself from known cinema characters, as his signature, using technology in a much more grounded style than a billionaire super-hero.

bourne

The Bourne franchise can be a great inspiration for a series that not only is beloved but also innovative. A killing machine to the government, with the distinction that Fisher works closely with it, with some exceptions, whereas Bourne is a high valued target.

This relationship can be greatly developed, and the duality of it. Like for example, in Double Agent, where Fisher had to work within the boundaries of working as a government agent whilst being undercover in a terrorist organization, juggling their interests. In Conviction, that had its leading character going rogue to save his daughter, leading him to invade even the White House, and gruesome torture scenes, that could translate well to the movies, if used with the right motivation and care.

If they choose to go in a more Blacklist style of story, they can focus on his role as the leader of a government agency, and his relationship with Grim, as his right hand, and a possible love interest, Victor Coste, his mentor, and his daughter Sarah. The idea of protecting targets from possible attacks could be a touchy subject, but if treated properly can be appealing to a mass market.

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With a strong actor such as Tom Hardy attached, we have someone talented and with an edge that can bring the character to another level, and has repeatedly displayed his capacity to lead a film. In a property that has a rich history of quality titles and a story that is easily understandable, while in Assassin’s Creed and other movies based on games, there were complicated lore and some complex and/or convoluted ideas, we can see a more feasible chance of success. Like The Division project, another Ubisoft movie to come.

Expectations for Fall Season

Fall Season has arrived upon us with the release of the acclaimed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Batman: The Telltale Series, amongst other games, the best time of the year has come to destroy our wallets and our savings, and warm our hearts, and I’ll talk about some of my personal expectations regarding some releases from September to December, a few major titles may not appear here, but after all it’s my most expected, so…

September

Recore

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To kick things off, a game that had an enticing reveal trailer that left gamers intrigued with the concept of a heroine being assisted by robots that could evolve, and the relationship dynamic around it, Recore, will be released on the 13th, with concerns surrounding the title due to a lack of a marketing push from Microsoft, mixed reception from previews, however the team behind it is composed of industry veterans, known for the Metroid Prime and Megaman series, and from what it has been shown that’s a title that may not have the most complex story or amazing graphics, but a fun and interesting gameplay.

Forza Horizon 3

forza-horizon-3

One of my favorite franchises, and one that has maintained a steady level of quality throughout its iterations, showing great and considerable improvements, Forza Horizon 3, out on the 27th, seems to elevate the level of the franchise, that will premiere on PC, and spin the story, from an unknown driver fighting for recognition, now you are the man or woman behind the Horizon Festival, organizing the events, hiring your friends and firing them if they don’t perform, all with one of the most beautiful settings anyone could ask, Australia, from the coast to jungles, with breathtaking vistas, and the stunning graphics and great gameplay we’ve come to expect from the franchise.

Destiny: Rise of Iron

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A game that has transformed a lot from the troubled release, with terrible reviews and expectations being shattered, to last year’s The Taken King expansion, that I have to admit I enjoyed a lot more that I’d expected, Destiny: Rise of Iron, out on the 20th, is a new promising expansion with new missions that will expand on the franchise’s lore and improve the story in meaningful ways, multiplayer changes, a raid, all while leaving last generation behind, what looks like a great move, bringing new gameplay and graphical possibilities, preparing the market for next year’s Destiny 2 expected release.

October

Mafia 3

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This is a surprise for me,  especially since I’ve never played any game of this franchise, Mafia 3, out on the 7th, has turned into my most expected for the entire year, with the promise of a grueling and mature story, of a former soldier, Lincoln Clay, coming back from war to find his family and city, New Bordeaux, torn apart by crime, displaying his climb through the ranks, tackling tough themes that we hardly see in any games, such as racism, prostitution, and the dark side of crime and America, all with a soundtrack that has everything to be one of the best ever and a concern on world-building that looks into enhancing the atmosphere of the US in the 60’s, that if done properly, can create a remarkable experience.

Titanfall 2

titanfall-2

The open multiplayer beta didn’t really help creating any hype, actually going on the opposite direction, tampering players expectations, mainly due to the pace, that is slower than Titanfall 1, and modes that didn’t feel right with the gameplay, Titanfall 2, out on the 28th, has the difficult task of bringing the franchise to a whole new level, with the a single player campaign that looks like a buddy story between the soldier and his titan, and I still can’t wrap my head around how they’ll be able to bring the multiplayer speed to the campaign, while telling a compelling story, but team behind it has professionals responsible for the revered COD: MW 1 campaign, so let’s give it a chance.

Battlefield 1

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After an entire generation of modern and future war games, the Battlefield franchise returns to historical wars, focusing on one that doesn’t have enough representation on video games, WWI that was the background for the excellent Valiant Hearts, with Battlefield 1, out on the 21st, displaying a combat focused on closer interactions, old airplanes, more rudimentary tanks, weapons that don’t have a lot of range, making the battle more intense, and less dependant on technology, and promising to present a single player that will tell different stories with varied POV’s.

The Last Guardian

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This one is more due to pure morbid curiosity, after approximately 10 years of an arduous development, the team behind the classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus will finally release The Last Guardian, out on the 25th, being the spiritual successor of the aforementioned titles, with years and years of hype, being announced originally for the PS3, it will be released on PS4 with worries regarding the graphics that look outdated, and the problem of a project that’s been through a long development cycle, the possibility of a game that comes out feeling old, with gameplay systems that don’t belong in this generation, chances are that the hype was too big to achieve but maybe a new classic is upon us.

November

Final Fantasy XV

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Speaking of morbid curiosity, I’ve never played a game of this franchise, a few hours of FF7 doesn’t count, Final Fantasy XV, out on the 29th, is another example of a game plagued by a long development cycle, will be released after several delays and name changes, being announced originally as FF Versus XIII in 2006, boosted by an aggressive marketing campaign that culminated in an event, called Uncovered, unveiling a multimedia strategy, with an anime series, a movie, Kingslaive, and demos, that brought the project back to the media in grand fashion, promising hours of a grandiose experience that will be fulfilling for novices as well as for veterans of the franchise, being influenced by western games such as Last of Us.

Watch Dogs 2

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The sequel of one of the most successful new IP’s of this generation, Watch Dogs 2, out on the 15th, aims to improve on the first title, that despite selling very well, failed to meet expectations, and had a release that tarnished Ubisoft’s brand due to the general feeling of deception, because of a downgrade and a final game that didn’t reflect the reveal trailer, however Watch Dogs 2 has been well received so far by the media, with previews presenting a sequel that heard the complaints and worked on them improving on every area, from driving to customization, and a new and beautiful setting, in San Francisco, with everybody expecting an improvement on the level of AC to AC2.

Dishonored 2

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After the rousing success of Dishonored, that despite being a new IP, had rave reviews being considered one of the best games of the year, Dishonored 2, out on the 11th, has 2 protagonists, Corvo, and his daughter Emily, both returning from the first game, with Emily being playable for the first time, presenting a world that will react to the player’s actions, with new possibilities of stealth, areas shifting physically, changing the perspective of the gameplay, new powers and a big focus on the story, that looks very interesting, with the city being an important part of it.

December

Steep

steep

Another surprise for me was Steep, out on the 2nd, that during the Ubisoft E3 press conference I was surprised they finished the presentation with this game, that looked so boring, and even though I’ve always loved extreme sports games, such as SSX and THPS, I couldn’t muster any excitement for Steep, but after watching a gameplay released during Gamescom, introducing the possibility to use 1st and 3rd person views, and embracing different styles like snowboard, ski, a sign of hope erupted that it may be an interesting game, not groundbreaking, but fun, and that’s why we play games.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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Talking about fun, this may be the most fun and one of the funniest games of the year, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, out on the 6th, is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Stick of Truth, and now they poke fun of the superhero genre, with the hilarious E3 trailer demonstrating how the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe and no DC Universe will be torn apart, with the characters leaving the RPG stereotypes from the previous entry to dress up as heroes creating their own Universe, and being a worthy addition to a genre that hasn’t exploded on games yet.

As we can see there’s a plethora of games to play for the rest of year with some that weren’t mentioned here, like Gravity Rush 2, Dead Rising 4 and Bioshock remasters, COD: Infinite Warfare, just to name a few, and Indie games like Cuphead, do you remember another game? Leave it in the comments

 

 

 

 

E3 Highlights

This was a very fascinating year for E3, with many leaks diminishing the excitement regarding some conferences, but with some great surprises and rumours confirmed but sometimes not as reported before, here are some of my personal highlights and low points of the show.

What was great

The orchestra at Sony conference

Even though most of the games didn’t have a proper release date as some complained, it was a real show for fans, being considered by many as the best one, and the orchestra was a big part of that, creating an environment of an event, of something really grandiose, enhancing  the gameplays and showing that to make a great conference you don’t need to focus on the technology but on putting on a show for the viewers, and they were extremely successful at it.

Horizon Zero Dawn

My most anticipated game prior to E3, Guerrilla Games presented us a demo of Horizon that only made my confidence in the quality of this game bigger, giving a sneak peek of the world, the wildlife, the way the robots are seen as corrupted, and a little bit about the leading character, Aloy, played by Ashly Burch, that did an amazing job as Chloe in Life is Strange, showing a strong, fearless woman on a quest for her origin, with amazing graphics and a world that seems to have some very enticing secrets.

Forza Horizon 3

One of my favorite franchises, with Forza Horizon 2 being my favorite racing game in years, Forza Horizon 3 had an amazing showing in the Microsoft conference, with a beautiful environment, using Australia as the setting, with a huge variety of landscapes, from beaches to forests, with breathtaking graphics and some very interesting innovations with off-road racing, co-op, and a world that seems more lively and even more relaxed.

Prey

A long rumoured return happened in Bethesda conference, with the revival of Prey, being a complete reboot of the franchise, with a Groundhog Day style trailer, that started very mysteriously, and with so many questions, such as the red-eye, the what it seems to be the leading character’s Doppelganger, turning Prey into a modern FPS with horror elements.

Spider-man PS4

Confirming rumours an exclusive PS4 game of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man is coming, but unlike reported it will come from Insomniac Games, the studio behind Ratchet & Clank franchise and the amazing Sunset Overdrive, with a trailer that made every Spidey fan around the world go crazy and happy to know that the character is in good hands after years of mediocre games.

Crash

Crash

After years of expectation and requests by the Bandicoot fans, Crash returned in great fashion in Sony conference, and I have to say when that song started playing I had a smile on my face, with the announcement of his participation in Skylanders and the best one, a complete remaster, from the ground up, of the first 3 titles of the franchise to the PS4.

Resident Evil 7

Another confirmed rumour was of Resident Evil 7, at Sony stage, but as it turns out it surprised everybody with a trailer that was surprising, especially because it didn’t show any characters, places, nothing that reminded the franchise, with a release date announcement, a demo, the surprise that Capcom’s Kitchen Demo that was highly praise was a concept test to the game, and the biggest one, the fact that it’s compatible with VR and is now in first-person.

We Happy Few

An indie game that has garnered attention for a while received a demo as the biggest title in the ID@Xbox program, with a look that reminds of Bioshock, in a presentation that perfectly displayed the world of the game, and a little bit more of the story, in which pills that were supposed to make the characters happy, seem to make them “blind” to the horrors of the world, being regarded in the media as one of the best games, stealing the show.

Gears of War 4

The biggest title this year in Microsoft’s lineup, Gears of War 4 did a great job with a demo that successfully showed the game’s innovations, the use of Xbox One power with stunning visuals and a weather effect that really affected the battlefield, a different use of the co-op, a better look on Kait Diaz, played by the brilliant Laura Bailey, and served as a statement that the franchise is in good hands.

Kojima

Kojima

After the tumultuous departure from Konami, and the announcement of the partnership with Sony, legendary designer, Hideo Kojima, took the stage lauded by the audience, showing he was back presenting the trailer of his first project with the company, Death Stranding, full of symbolism, and the unexpected reunion with Norman Reedus after the debacle of the Silent Hills project.

Watch Dogs 2

Part of the amazing but overly long Ubisoft presentation, Watch Dogs 2 showed a gameplay demo that showed that Ubisoft’s second entry improvement happened here, with a leading character having an appealing character, instead of Aiden Pierce, a world better realized, beautiful but believable graphics, and a mission that seemed like a real upgrade from Watch Dogs stale structure.

What was horrible

Since I don’t hate people, I won’t put any videos of the worst moments of the event.

EA’s conference

What an anticlimactic way of beginning E3, a presentation that was a real snoozefest, with the long esports segment taking precious time and not appealing to the audience, the lack of real games, with projects we’ll only see 2018, 2019, the infamous developers mini documentaries, and no real news of much-anticipated games and almost no gameplays.

Lack of gameplays

Speaking of gameplays, a worrying trend that happened during EA’s and Bethesda’s conferences was the lack of gameplays, with both companies favouring concept and CGI trailers to real gameplay, creating presentations that seemed like a look at the future and that had some very underwhelming moments in part due to no real exciting gameplay of anticipated games like Mass Effect Andromeda and Amy Hennig’s Star Wars.

So Much Talking

One of the reasons why Sony was so successful was the fact that they only focused on games, whilst some conferences focused on talking, on an event in which we want to see games and games only, from Ubisoft’s long interviews, the long Assassin’s Creed movie conversation, behind the scenes footage, EA’s talking of future projects, esports, the specifications of console and Xbox Live new features talk at Microsoft, moments that could have been used to display new projects were used to moments when viewers lost attentions.

Boring and overly long demos

One of my favorite conferences was the one from Ubisoft, but one thing that everybody agreed was the fact that their demos were too long, clocking over 2 hours, with more than 10 minutes at times, and moment that didn’t appear to work well together as in South Park demo, the disconnected Dishonored 2 demo, that seemed that drag the duration of the conference, creating an underwhelming ending for a good show, and the demos of FF XV, Scalebound, that didn’t create any excitement during the demos despite of the grandiose set pieces or as in Minecraft, that seemed too forced.

 

 

E3 Expectations (Part 1)

It’s the best time of the year for gamers, our “Super Bowl”, “Christmas”, E3 has arrived and it begins today with EA’s and Bethesda’s conferences, and what can we expect from this year’s event? New hardware? The beginning of the end for E3? Surprises? Or just leaks confirmations? We’ll discuss here what we wish we’ll see there.

EA

Known for playing it safe and rarely presenting any surprises, this year seems like another opportunity for the company to show gameplays and possible minor changes in their franchises, what to expect:

Battlefield 1 gameplay: In last month reveal event we had a taste of the game, with a very interesting trailer, but with little gameplay and even though it was in-engine, it doesn’t mean that showed the real graphics capability of the game, and it will be nice to better understand how the close combat scenario will work in the franchise.

Mass Effect Andromeda reveal: After being in development for more than 5 years, it looks like we’ll have a first look of how the gameplay, world, graphics have changed after being built from the ground up to this generation, especially after some leaked videos showing some interesting innovations like a jetpack, and the possibilities brought by a new galaxy and a new leading character.

Fifa 17 changes: The first game of EA’s sports games to use the Frostbite, they’ll probably show how it’s has changed being powered by a new engine, and a possible reveal of the long rumoured reimagined career story mode.

Amy Hennig’s Star Wars: In a recent interview, Jade Raymond, head of Motive, that has been working with Visceral in Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project, said that the game still was a few years ahead, but we can hope that EA will at least show a teaser trailer of the project, expected to be released in Fall 2017, especially due to the high expectations the market has towards the game.

Titanfall 2 campaign: Despite being a great first entry for a franchise, Titanfall suffered for not having a campaign to explain the world behind the maps, and producers of the sequel promised a real campaign, that has been bringing a lot of expectations to it, most notably because of the team behind it, responsible for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’s revolutionary campaign.

Bioware’s new franchise: A story that baffled the media happened a few months ago, when a Bioware was wearing a shirt that revealed the studio’s new IP, and to his own amusement, nobody realized it, and even though it may be a long shot, there’s a possibility it could be teased in Sunday’s conference.

IndiEA: After Unravel’s success, getting a sequel, we might see new indie project from the publisher, especially a reveal of the announced game the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons creators.

New Skate (Please): It’s a long shot but we can alway hope, the best skated franchise in the marked, sorry Tony Hawk, deserves a new sequel produced to this generation that can’t be represented on the skate genre by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5.

Bethesda

After being the surprise conference of last year, being regarded by many as the best, Bethesda surprisingly returns with another conference that despite not having a lot to show in the beginning, in the past week had some very surprising rumours about:

Dishonored 2 world premiere: The game will be shown for the first time after an enticing CG trailer, the sequel to a successful new IP, both critically and commercially, it promises to be even bigger and more impressive than the first one, with 2 protagonists, a bigger world and new ways to go through each mission.

Possible Skyrim remaster: After being longed by the franchises fans, it looks like we’ll finally see a Skyrim remaster to this generation, and this rumour came from a reliable industry insider, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched, especially because Fallout 4 team remastered the title to become used with this generation machines.

Evil Within 2: Since the release of Evil Within, Tango Gameworks hasn’t released any news regarding a new project, and rumours floated claiming that a sequel might be presented in the company conference.

Wolfenstein 2: With the successful revival of the franchise, it might be a perfect time for a sequel announcement, since it’s been more than 2 years since The New Order’s release, MachineGames has released an expansion pack, The Old Blood, and a possible sequel might be revealed with a date for beginning of 2017.

Prey 2 Rebirth: Revealed in 2011, Prey 2 had an impressive reveal a few years ago presenting a beautiful game with a fast-paced gameplay in an open-world, but as far as we know the project was cancelled, according to rumours because of an impossibility of achieving the same quality in the game as in the demo, but according to an industry insider, the game will come back in this year’s conference, and using a more powerful machine the developers may have finally reached what they aspired at first.

Microsoft

Amidst reports of new hardware, Microsoft still needs to show a strong presentation, specially after Sony’s last year conference focusing on fan service, revealing games long requested by gamers.

New hardware: Still not confirmed by the company, reports claim that the company will show 2 new models of the Xbox One, a slim one with 2TB, and a more powerful one, as the PS4 Neo, codenamed Scorpio, due to release in 2017, as well as a streaming device, under the leadership of Phil Spencer we suppose they’ll have a smoother presentation than the infamous Xbox One reveal event.

Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2: The 2 biggest Xbox franchises are scheduled to appear in the conference will a new gameplay o GOW 4, hoping to clear the bad impression left by last year’s demo, and the first gameplay footage of Halo Wars 2, that’s being produced by the studio that produces Total War, regarded as one of the best strategy games of the market, as well as the announcement of an open beta, with both games expected to be part of the Fall lineup of the company.

Forza Horizon 3: Speaking of Fall, a new Forza game will be announced, and if they follow their pattern, Forza Horizon 3 will be announced as another Fall game, with a possible Australian Coast setting, serving as a follow-up to a beautiful Mediterranean setting in the great Forza Horizon 2, as well as new innovations to the franchise.

Rare presence: After a trailer that caught the eyes of long time fans of the studio, Sea of Thieves is set to make a return to the E3 stage, showing gameplay footage of the Pirate open world MMO game, that was highly praised as a possible comeback to Rare’s old days, another possibility, but with a smaller chance is of the reveal of another project from the English studio, possibly a Battletoads revival or a new Banjo game, specially after the latest Yooka-Laylee trailer showing signs that it may happen in the Banjo universe.

Recore and Crackdown: Present in last year’s conference, both games are expected to come back with Recore being shown after a quiet year since last year’s reveal of a CG trailer, with the expectation of the company showing gameplay of the mysterious game, and Crackdown is expected to show more about the its story and the impressive technology behind the game, creating a destructive environment like never seen before.

Red Read 3 and Dead Rising 4: Last week leaks of Dead Rising 4 surfaced with alleged Gamestop posters outing a new entry of zombie franchise being exclusive to Xbox One and PC, and a possibility that has gained force is of a Red Dead 3 reveal in the Xbox conference with a possible backward compatibility announcement attached to it, that has long been requested as one of the most desired by fans.

 

 

 

What Vivendi’s hostile takeover could mean to Ubisoft

In the past few months news have emerged regarding a possible Vivendi hostile takeover aiming Ubisoft, increasing gradually its share of the French Company. But what does it mean to the market, to the company’s studios, the franchises and most importantly, the consumers.

But what is a hostile takeover?

It consists basically in the acquisition of one company, known as target company, by another, the acquirer, that is accomplished by directly approaching the company’s shareholders, the case in Vivendi attempt, or fighting to replace management in order to get the acquisition approved.

And the main characteristic is that the target company does not want the deal to go through, occasionally utilizing various strategies to defend itself from an unwanted takeover.

The story behind it all

Since October 2015 Vivendi has been investing in Ubisoft and Gameloft, both companies owned by the Guillemot family, looking to spread its representation in the gaming market, which wouldn’t be the company’s first endeavour in the area, having controlled Activision Blizzard from 2007 to 2013, when Activision went for a buyout in the value of $8.2bn.

This move has been seen negatively by the Guillemot’s, as an aggressive attempt to overtake the company, that has reached Canadian investors to raise capital and has been working with financial advisors looking into ways of maintaining control of the company.

The first sign of changes has arrived, with Vivendi taking control of 56% of Gameloft, possessing the majority of the Gameloft’s share,  which resulted in the company’s CEO Michel Guillemot resignation, joining his brother, Yves, to keep control of Ubisoft.

What does that mean if it goes through?

According to analysts, the deal might actually be positive to the company, presenting new possibilities of growth and investment, with Ubisoft having a giant media conglomerate to back up expansions, partnerships and projects.

Despite being one the biggest publishers in the market Ubisoft still is heavily reliant in hits, such as Assassin’s Creed, Watch  Dogs, amongst others, making it difficult to reach the heights of companies like EA and Activision, which are leaders in the market, having a varied library, and successfully entered the highly lucrative mobile market.

And even though Ubisoft’s position has improved a lot in the past few years, establishing itself as one of the greats, investing in new IP’s, smaller games, and getting to create a style of games, with great quality, analysts believe that having a mass media company as owner could improve their ability to create or purchase studios, with a huge influx capital helping diverse its catalogue and investments.

But in one area they agree, this will only be positive if Vivendi adopt a hands-off approach, allowing Ubisoft to retain its creative independence, and ability to manage franchises, otherwise creating a landscape that can affect negatively the company.

Creating a scenario that could mean an annualization of franchises, which seems to be a concern for the company in the past few years, with Assassin’s Creed, their main franchise suffering of franchise fatigue, and taking one year off due to, could also lead to the release of games with a lower quality to fulfill deadlines, going against the company modus operandi of delaying games to release them in a better state, release of products in other media that don’t really align with the brand characteristics, amongst other possibilities.

And other cases of hostile  takeovers have brought serious issues to both companies, as for example the AOL/Time Warner case, in which resulted in $200bn in value in less than two years, and in other situations a decrease of consumers, due to a pessimistic opinion of the transaction, affecting their image.

Only time will tell how it will affect Ubisoft, but one thing is for sure, gamers all around the world are wondering how the company, that despite controversies regarding graphical downgrades, still is one of the most respected and well perceived by gamers, will change, and we all hope for the better.

 

 

Why you should play Child of Light

I’ve never been an RPG fan, then I saw the review of this game that changed my view of the genre, that showed what seemed like a very ordinary fairytale story of a princess that dies at a very young age, her evil stepmother that destroys her family and her father’s kingdom, and her journey to bring it all back to normal.

But Child of Light goes way beyond that, being an amazing doorway to an RPG beginner, bringing some light elements of the genre, an extremely clever turn-based combat, which makes nice use of your party, and a story that grabs you in a way you would never expect.

But why should you play Child of Light?

Child-of-Light-2

In Child of Light you play as Aurora, a princess with beautiful long red hair and a courage and heart bigger than the soldiers of the most famous shooters, in her endeavor to come back to life and to her father. After her death, Aurora wakes up in an altar in the land of Lemuria, that’s been overtaken by darkness, being controlled by Umbra, the Queen of Dark, in a world that looks like a beautiful painting, with the UbiArt showing its power and capacity to create beautiful environments.

Child of Light also uses a very unique way of telling its story, using rhymes to do it, bringing an epic feel to what could’ve been a very cliché setting, showing not only the physical but also the mental growth of Aurora, from an afraid little girl into a brave and strong woman. But what most grabbed my attention in this game was its soundtrack composed by Béatrice Martin, also known as Coeur de Pirate, being an integral part of the game, creating the atmosphere for the battles, the dramatic moments, with an expertise rarely seen, with songs complementing perfectly the scenes, almost becoming a character.

col_screen04_156324

The graphics of the game are simply stunning, with special attention to Aurora and her hair, landscapes with amazing views, inhabited my creatures and memorable characters that manage to bring more life to an already alive world, like Igniculus a firefly that accompanies you throughout the story, Rubella a jester in search of her brother, Robert, a mouse eager to prove his love, among others that become part of your party.

The battle system also deserves to be highlighted, being at the same time incredibly simple and complex, using a turn-based combat that privileges strategy, the use of counter attacks, and a smart handling of your party as vital to be victorious.

Child of Light is a game that moved me in a way that most games don’t, by telling a simple story in a very interesting way, with great characters, an amazing world, and an honest portrayal of a heroine. If you give a chance to this game you will find an experience very different than what we see in the videogame market, and I leave you with a simple example of the amazing soundtrack with the credits song.

Off to Sleep