Saturday, 30 May 2015

Halo: ODST Drops In!

The Halo: Master Chief Collection just got it's title voided. As new DLC adds the first Halo spin off to the bumper collection.

Yep, The divisive Halo title joins Halo 1 - 4 on remastered in 1080p/60FPS on Xbox one today. Free if you bought the collection before December 9th and an awfully low £3.99 for everyone else. Why the low price? well ODST's instant classic Firefight mode is absent for the remaster.

Halo: ODST for those unaware is an spin off on Earth during the events of Halo 2. Instead of the traditional Spartan, players take on the role of a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troops. Players are greeted by a night time open world where they must discover the fate of their squad via flashbacks of the previous day. People either enjoyed the unique challenge of playing as a comparatively squishy human or hated feeling so depowered.

For those wishing to join in the fight from scratch the Halo: Master Chief Collection is currently £24.85 on Amazon, Seeing as the games earlier matchmaking problems (rather understandable due to over 100 maps) are now largely a thing of the past, it's a good price for a hell of a package.

Abe's Take
I enjoyed ODST spin on the Halo universe, The Firefly reunion cast alone is worth the price. ODST Buck not only has Nathan Fillion's voice but also his face. I wonder if 343i have left in Bungie's Destiny tease

RUMOUR: Silent Hills to live!?

We're back! I took a week off due to a birth but now I'm back (I'll be sure to give the rest of the team a kicking!). We return to a conflicting news story. Konami has issued an apology over it's "mobile first" comments (without actually retracting that new focus) but now an anonymous insider has a different story. WARNING: Prepare for potential screams of PS4 owners.

UPDATE: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has shot down the rumour.

"Sorry, this isn't true. Not sure where the rumor started but I don't want to mislead anyone."

So abandon all hope Silent Hill fans. Unless of cause if this is a Microsoft not xbox purchase like Minecraft, which would mean multiplatform release.

---Original Story Follows---

Speaking to Rooster Teeth the source says that Microsoft wants to save the Kojima X Del Toro horror game from cancellation and is prepared to spend "billions" to bring it EXCLUSIVELY to Xbox One in time for this years E3.

The source goes on to say that Konami wants out of the console business as fast as possible (Its likely that Konami still has money tied up in development) and its prepared to sell of its IP that can not be easily used in it's mobile games. The tipster goes on to say that the games is currently 80% finished and as an "act of good faith" Konami pulled PT (Silent Hills teaser demo) from the PSN store (even for those who wish to redownload it).

Abe's Take
This is all very interesting because there is a important questions if this is true. Will Kojima be involved? IF Microsoft buys just the game (billions seems a bit much for one game) would the rift between Kojima and Konami be too much? Obviously if Microsoft buys the IP as well then obviously Konami would be out of the equation. Obviously PS4 Silent Hill fans will be upset if this rumour is true.
In regards to this rumour MS buying the IP is the best outcome as its most likely to get the Del Toro/Kojima dream team together.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Could We Be Getting A Red Dead Redemption Sequel?

Back in 2010 a little slightly meh Red Dead Revolver got an exceptional sequel (but narratively divorced) Red Dead Redemption. Which took the classic GTA formula and gave it an western paint job... Which turned out to be possibly one of the top games on 360/PS3.

This nicely illustrate the horrors of cougars... the animal, not the women.
Now the studio behind RDR (Redemption not Revolver) Rockstar San Diego is hiring 36 new members across the multiple disciplines and tasks. The Graphics Programmer description makes it seem that this will be one very pretty game.

"develop new and enhance existing graphics technologies (rendering, lighting, shadows, shaders, culling, scene management and others) to help achieve state-of-the-art visuals. Work with others to expand our next-generation graphics pipeline including advanced lighting and rendering techniques, and special effects. This is an exciting opportunity to develop cutting-edge graphics and visual effect systems, working together with the art department to create optimal, attractive solutions for our games."

The original had an entertaining open world multiplayer (which now appears to be a prototype for GTA: online). The Network Programmer description paints an interesting picture for multiplayer.

Integrate dynamic multiplayer into all areas of gameplay. Extend and maintain core and mid-level solutions for efficient networking of complex open-world game environments. Work with the game project team to integrate networking technology into game projects, identify extensions to that technology, and create those improvements. Implement cross-platform abstractions for third-party online services, including Xbox Live and Sony NP. Work with external vendors to develop solutions using and/or extending their online service SDKs.

Of course it's possible this isn't Red Dead but a new game or a sequel to another Rockstar IP like Bully, Manhunt or L.A. Noire. However both Redemption and it's zombie themed DLC Undead Nightmare was massive successes and Rockstar did recently refer to Red Dead Redemption as a "permanent franchise" so a new entry in the series seems most likely.

Abe's Take
Red Dead Redemption was absolutely brilliant and been dying for a sequel, hopefully a sequel to it's DLC too and westerns genre in general (A western spin of Saint Rows has been demanded by GKUK members). If they bring the enhancements from GTA: Online to Red Dead's multiplayer I think i'd settle into that game world for at least a year. Online drunken bar brawls anyone?

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Well as many of us brave the world of the Witcher another dark world is coming... swapping the fields of blood and monsters for the dark streets of... well blood and monsters but the people kind (though there is also some less people monster too). 

we're about a month away from the launch of Batman: Arkham Knight the finale part of the trilogy (ignoring the less awesome Arkham Origins) Rocksteady has been crafting since Arkham Asylum (the game not the equally awesome but unrelated book) and so we're starting to get videos that dont show the game but grab attention, such as this one.

In related news Amazon Pre-orders now include both the Harley Quinn story pack AND a new "Prototype Batmobile" skin, It can be grabbed HERE

Abe's Take
Yep that was odd but kinda sets up what the "ideal" of Batman. Now it would be funny if this trailer caused the decent people on trains and buses to pummel people being a pain (yes I'm talking to you burby-hat-boy sitting at the back playing your music on your phone WITHOUT earphones).

Witcher 3 Devs On "Graphics Downgrade"

Well in this run up to E3 everything has gotten a bit quiet with not a lot of news. But now it seems we have something to talk about. Every game gets an CGI trailer, then a developer lead gameplay trailer and then 3rd party demo footage from expos, then finally the game releases and it doesn't look exactly like the first two trailers and the internet explodes with rage.


It seems every game gets the graphics downgrade claims and publishers tend to ignore them or claim the scene looked better due to a "perfect storm" of lighting and effects during a particular scene in the demos. Ubisoft claimed this was the case before players discovered Watch_Dogs E3 graphics effects in the game's files.

The rather brilliant Witcher 3 is currently facing similar claims from the PC players (console players generally expect their games not to look like the trailers), who are claiming the console versions "dragged" the PC version down. CD Projekts Red's co-founder Marcin Iwinski has decided to head to those concerns.

"Developing only for the PC: yes, probably we could get more [in terms of graphics] as there would be nothing else - they would be so focused, like if we would develop only on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But then we cannot afford such a game."

Iwinski (by the way my new favourite surname, goes on to defend why they was a console version of a series where the original game and the first run at it's sequel was PC exclusive (Witcher 2 later got an enhanced version across PC, 360 & PS3).

"If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is, We can lay it out that simply. We just cannot afford it, because consoles allow us to go higher in terms of the possible or achievable sales; have a higher budget for the game, and invest it all into developing this huge, gigantic world."

Iwinski goes on to say the early gameplay footage of the game from the various expos and E3 are all from "vertical slices"  a subsection of the game running in the full games specifications without the games open world or a lot of it's underpinnings. As the rest of the game is added it places more stress on the engine so graphical quality drops. Iwinski says his team didn't intent to "deceive" anyone with the early footage and says they can never really promise what a game will look like at launch because they simply don't know what problems will arise in development.

"Maybe we shouldn't have shown that [trailer], I don't know, but we didn't know that it wasn't going to work, so it's not a lie or a bad will - that's why we didn't comment actively. We don't agree there is a downgrade but it's our opinion, and gamers' feeling can be different. If they made their purchasing decision based on the 2013 materials, I'm deeply sorry for that, and we are discussing how we can make it up to them because that's not fair."

Abe's Take
Obviously there are times that this isn't true such as Alien: Colonial Marines where the vertical slice was far superior to the retail game but the game was largely a corridor shooter but I believe this is one of those times.
Between the retail copies of the game came with a thank you note, 16 free DLC's regardless of platform, pre-owned/new, or version (standard, collectors, digital), and CD Projekt Red's store;'s treatment of customers and fans I am prepared to accept Iwinski's words at face value, after all Witcher 3 is amazing

Friday, 15 May 2015


The hype is certainly starting to swell as we approach Splatoon's launch. Apparently they want to give us another shot at the game before launch. 

Last week Nintendo treated the world to 3 one hour sessions to test their new servers. For those 3 separate hours Nintendo fans around the world splattered, sprayed and inked each other and had a lot of fun, we really did with Splatoon demo impressing us with it's quirky style and different mechanics to your normal online game.

Quick refresh of the game here in the oh-so-90's US trailer.

So Nintendo wants to give the server another roughing up on May 23rd at 11PM! GMT (3pm PST), which obviously is a slightly late for UK gamers but that the curse of global gaming. In related news Amazon now has stock of the special bundle of Splatoon and exclusive Squid Amiibo for pre-order.

Abe's Take
The first "test fire" sold me on the game but I'm happy to jump back on just to play it again before launch, I'm hoping the people who missed on the first test can jump onboard this time (a certain knight missed it because his HOURGLASS was left unturned).

Bye Konami

With all the trouble surrounding Hideo Kojima's future with Konami, his name and studio being taken off his games, the cancellation of Silent Hills, and Konami taking itself off the New York Stock Exchange. We knew something was coming, now we do.

According to Konami's CEO Hideki Hayakawa the company is pulling away from AAA console gaming and focusing on mobile gaming. Going as far to say mobile is the "future" of gaming. I'm guessing we can look forward to "Silent Hill: Finger Danger" in their future.

Gaming has spread to a number of platforms, but at the end of the day, the platform that is always closest to us, is mobile. Mobile is where the future of gaming lies, We hope that our overseas games such as MGSV and Winning Eleven continue to do well, but we are always thinking about how to push our franchises onto mobile there too

So it seems that Konami is not only leaving console gaming behind but it is keeping the kids... I mean IPs. So looks like not only is Metal Gear Solid 5 the last Kojima MGS but could also be the last "proper" MGS game. What's unknown is if Konami is stepping away from development and/or publishing of console game entirely. Konami's profits from mobile is primarily from Japan which also has a strong handheld focus, will we still see games for handheld devices?

Some "fans" are calling for a boycott of Metal Gear Solid 5 as a way of "punishing" Konami for leaving AAA gaming but this would only prove them right and hurt Kojima and his team for all their hard work. If people want Konami to make "proper" games then MGS5 has to be a huge success to lure them back in. (which explains all these links!)

Abe's Take
Well its hard to see an legend of gaming fade away from something the helped create and to see their brilliant IP's put though the "mobile ringer" but looking at finances they earn more in mobile gaming and slot machines (separately) than they do from AAA gaming, so it's understandable why Konami make mobile their "center"  

Thursday, 14 May 2015

New 90's Arcade Racer Video Appears

If you was in an arcade in the 90's then you'll remember two types of machines that dominated the scene. The light gun cabinets like Namco's Time Crisis and huge hulking racing cabinets like Sega's Daytona USA. 

Even today they stand out because of their loose handling (instead of racing sims "tight" handling), bright colourful graphics and seemingly normal environments filled with plenty of set pieces (WHALE!) . One dev Pelikan13 decided to revive the genre on PC and Mobile and launched an kickstarter, which hit its modest goal. In order to reach it's potential veteran Indie devs/Publisher NICALiS (seriously click the link, even the site is dripping in retro epic) joined up with Pelikan13 and added Wii U to that list.

We've been eagerly awaiting this game ever since it was set for a 2013 release, then its 2014 release and now it's "sometime" 2015 release but the devs are gearing up and showing Wii U footage to their backers and evidently on YouTube.

As you can see almost every aspect of great 90's Arcade Racers has transitioned to the new game and it is shaping up to be not only a fantastic addition to the Wii U but also the retro Indie scene. Which is filled with 8/16-bit tributes like the brilliant Shovel Knight. (dear Indies could we see more Arcade and N64 style games. Please!)

Abe's Take
I've been desperate for this game ever since I first heard about it along time ago, I'm sure the others (who also stalked Arcades in the 90's) will be inline to download this when it FINALLY releases. Keep at it Pelikan13 and NICALiS!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Rumour: Fallout 4 linked to GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S STUDIO

Another day and yet another piece of "evidence" proving Fallout 4's existence, this time we have someone's CV! (or resume for you out of towners)

Today's story was spotted by Videogamer and comes complete with a copy of the document in question (Below).
Click for larger version

Discovered on LinkedIn this CV (Resume) is for a unnamed artist over at Guillemro Del Toro's Mirada Studios. The Artist has done work 3D work on FarCry 4, Elder Scrolls Online, Forza, and (assuming) films Underworld Awakening and The Avengers.

It was long rumoured that Sony had snagged the exclusivity rights for Fallout 4 but since then Sony revealed their "huge" exclusive was Street Fighter 5

Abe's Take
As with all rumours its best to assume false till proven otherwise, however Bethesda hosting their first ever E3 press conference and Elder Scrolls only "recently" launching it's MMO it seems all but certain that Fallout will be making an appearance. That or Dishonoured 2 which would also be great

Nintendo lets some details spill

With E3 just around the corner and Nintendo hosting investor meetings we are learning subtle details about Nintendo's plans for the future outside of their Universal Theme Park partnership


Nintendo has confirmed that this years E3 is all about 2015 games for Wii U and 3DS. That means we wont be seeing any of their smartphone games, the QoL (Quality of Life) project or the NX. This isn't really big news as there are better times than E3 to show of mobile games and QoL, We've also known from the start that the NX will be seen in 2016.

"We do not plan on talking specifics about the the NX until 2016," Iwata said. "Presently, we cannot talk about the time period when it will go on sale or what it’s like. Because we are calling it a 'new concept,' we are not thinking of this as a 'simple replacement' for the 3DS or the Wii U."

It's understandable Nintendo wants to keep its follow up system underwraps as not only would it affect sales of their current systems but last time Nintendo had 2 E3's for the Wii U before launch which gave Sony and MS a chance to emulate the controller.

NX region free?
During the investors briefing Mr Iwata brought up the topic of region locking their hardware. Something a vocal group of fans have been campaigning for ever since Smash Bro's Brawl on Wii was released far earlier in some territories. 

"Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don't consider that to be very realistic. However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we're currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realizing it. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I'd like to look at it optimistically going forward."

It's probable this has less to do with fan demand and more to do with money, If the systems are identical for each region it would be faster for Nintendo to "shuffle" around units between regions where needed.

Smartphone Games
Iwata also announced that Nintendo has 5 games lined up for release between now and March 2017 with Mario Kart 8 Producer Hideki Konno leading Nintendo's "Mobile Division". Now 5 games for most mobile devs would be around 1 years worth of titles but it appears Nintendo wants to guarantee "Nintendo Quality" on mobile devices, limiting titles and using its own staff should certainly help that goal but the question will be price. Publishers like Square Enix charge "proper" game prices when surrounded by 99p games.

We still don't have an awful lot to go on with this. Some people believe this is just extending the NNID (Nintendo Network ID) to mobile (games) and PC (eShop), whilst others believe it to be a fully integrated account system like Xbox Live with purchases linked to the account not the system.

While we will announce the details of this integrated membership service at a later date, I can share with you at a high level the idea is that the consumer can access multiple devices using one common ID. For us to be able to bridge the gap between smart devices and dedicated game systems, we will offer advantages to consumers who use one ID across multiple devices.
So far, the members input their Club Nintendo ID to use the services. With this new service, our members will be able to visit Nintendo's website and log in with one ID, and they will receive various services including the ones based on their past purchases and gameplay records as well as services that will be an improved version of the current loyalty program.
With this new membership, we are planning to deploy services that will make playing Nintendo games with their game pals more fun regardless of which platform they are accessing.

At the very least it sounds like the old Club Nintendo will be built right into this new system and what sounds a little like an Achievement system. Regardless It's likely we'll hear about this at E3 (It wasn't one of the things they announced WASN'T coming to E3-2015 .

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Battlefield Report: Splatoon Impressions

And we're back after all the crazy shouting that was the UK general election which members of or team was involved in trying to poke people into voting or simply hiding from the Internet "poo-storm" that politics creates. Our return has coincided with Splatoon "test fire" day.

It's not common we get to do prerelease impressions here on GK-UK as we try to make sure we have the same access as you guys at the same cost. So here's our early impression of Spaltoon

For those who don't know Splatoon is Nintendo's new online multiplayer focused IP. Whilst it's third person camera and controls are similar to other third person shooters. Much like it's Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers games, Nintendo has put its own on spin on the genre. Instead of being kills focused, players are tasked with spraying the environment with their weapons and the winner is the team with the most ink on the field.

At first things like squid transformations seem really bizarre additions until you realise that it acts the same way as sprinting in modern FPS games, You travel faster, harder to hit (your most;y invisible in your ink), jump further and also allows you to climb walls covered in your team ink and even reloads your ink tanks.

As you can see the battle quick coats the environments in bright colours. The change of focus and bright colours instantly make Splatoon feel distinct. It took a few matches for me to adjust to this games take on the genre (much like playing Smash and Kart for the first time) but soon I found myself really enjoying the battle, the last minute or so become an intense frenzy as both teams assault each others ink hoping to gain the edge (I lost one match by 0.2%).

There are some decisions that seems weird (and i'm sure will be used on forums as a complaint) on the surface that now I can see why. Splatoon features randomised teams, no voice chat and (in full release) maps rotating in pairs every hour. At first blush these seem crazy but after an hours worth of play I understand. With players spraying Ink on surfaces it's easy to see what you have to do with out needing to talk to your teammates, "is it your colour? No - spray/yes - move one" and the gamepad shows you in real time where is sprayed, whose sprayed it and what's uncovered. The D-pad allows you to signal for help which team mates can leap straight to you via tapping your icon on the gamepad. The time locked levels and randomised teams are an attempt to stop one team repeatedly stomping repeatedly and gives everyone the same chance to learn the levels.

This game oozes charm and is surprisingly intense, this stress test handled reasonably well with only occasional lag (I ran into one instance in a hour) and the server getting full (for this test there is only one server but full release will have a server for each territory - EU, US & JAP).

This beta experience along with Splatoon's lower price tag with additional maps, weapons, game modes, and costumes coming every few weeks after launch for FREE makes this a very easy preorder.

Splatoon can currently be Pre-ordered at Amazon for £29.00