Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weekly Roundup - 2014 Week 6

A fairly eclectic week headlined by more Titanfall news and The Last of Us taking home more awards. Also there was a bizarre story about some prankster causing Ubisoft to (temporarily) rescind their trademark for Watchdogs. Rounding things out was Amazon purchasing Killer Instinct developer Double Helix and the announcement of the EVO 2014 game lineup.

Titanfall Stuff
Just face it, you're going to be hearing about this pretty much every week from me regardless of whether the news is major or not - I'm just that excited. This week we found out the minimum PC specs for the game as well as a few details surrounding the beta. We now know that the beta will be closed with access codes to be distributed (how and when is anyone's guess). Also, we learned that the beta (and full game) will require EA's Origin service to play. I gave my full thoughts on this on GeekBinge; I'm not a fan of Origin but will suck it up for Titanfall. In quasi related news, Ubisoft announced that their proprietary distribution platform (Uplay) will not be required to play South Park: The Stick of Truth. Looks like one company knows what gamer's want (hint: it's not EA).

The Last of Us Keeps Winning
After claiming many game-of-the-year nods at the end of 2013, The Last of Us isn't done yet as they just nabbed GOTY at the DICE awards hosted by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. It's a legit award in gaming circles and will go nicely on the mantle. Also, The Last of Us took home the best video game writing award from the Writer's Guild of America. This one doesn't count so much for gamers but is a nice nod from a mainstream organisation. Following the news, developer Naughty Dog opened a poll to the public asking whether they would rather see a sequel or brand new intellectual property for their next title; a classy move considering most developers would be milking the success for everything it was worth. Personally, I want to see a sequel.

Watchdogs Trademark Kerfuffle
In a classic case of bureaucracy in action, the Watch Dogs trademark was abandoned last week after a prankster forged Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot's signature on a patent removal form and submitted it to the US Patent Office. Seriously, all it takes to remove a patent is a form and a signature, no questions asked. Naturally, the gaming community got wind that the patent was rescinded and the rumour mill caught fire after churning faster than ever before. When the dust settled, Ubisoft had the patent reinstated but the culprit remains at large. Though contrary to my extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system through Law and Order reruns, I imaging we will never catch the real troll because using a fake name may as well be a cloak of invisibility.

Amazon Buys Double Helix Games
Yeah, that Amazon. Evidently they want to start dabbling in video game development and have decided to pick up the Killer Instinct developer. I guess it's not too big of a surprise as Amazon has clearly tried to expand their business to the tech sector through the development of the Kindle and Fire tablets as well as their own television service. What this ultimately means for gamers remains to be seen but I expect Amazon will try to tap the lucrative mobile market instead of pushing for development on any of the major consoles.

EVO 2014 Lineup
In another bit of 'not really news but it's my blog so deal with', the game lineup for the biggest fighting game tournament, EVO, was announced. No big surprises with all the usual suspects included (SF4, MvC, Injustice, KoF). The fringe games, Blazblue and Smash Bros. Melee are also on the list. Whether Nintendo actually allows Melee to be played is up for grabs but given that they caved last year I think it's a good bet.