As February wraps up, gamers are preparing for several weeks of epic releases. The Elder Scrolls Online, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, and South Park: The Stick of Truth are all coming out soon and all managed to find their way into the news cycle. Also this week, a new Tony Hawk game stirred some excitement until we all realized that is a mobile platform exclusive and Seth Rogan announced he is making a movie about the 1990's Sega/Nintendo rivalry.
Open(ish) Closed Beta for The Elder Scrolls Online
The latest test for the The Elder Scrolls Online is a closed beta in everything but name. So many invites have gone out that it's abundantly clear that Bethesda wants to stress test the servers. I'm not complaining as it's a great chance to play a game that has some serious questions surrounding it. Whether The Elder Scrolls can translate to the MMO format in a way that doesn't totally spit on the series' legacy is a legitimate concern especially when you consider that developer Zenimax has no track record to speak of and their brain trust last made waves over a decade ago with Dark Age of Camelot.
I've been talking a lot about Diablo 3 lately with the anticipation that we were in for a bit of a lull over the next few weeks leading up to the launch of Reaper of Souls. Instead, Blizzard caught everyone by surprise as the 2.0 patch went live earlier in the week (something that wasn't expected to happen until several weeks from now). If you read my stuff regularly you know that I'm really excited for this game and feel that 2.0 has made significant progress to bringing the series back to form. Now is a perfect time to start playing again and decide for yourself if you want to purchase the expansion - the 2.0 patch is incorporating many features that are touted to be gameplay stables once the new content goes live.
New Tony Hawk Game... Ugh, Mobile Platforms Only
I'm really not sure if this franchise is relevant any more but earlier this week, the man himself, Tony Hawk announced that another game was in development. The rumour mill was pretty active until we found out that the title was being developed exclusively for mobile platforms. Betting money is that it's another tablet HD remake of an earlier title in the series or a piece of shovelware that won't make a blip on the radar of even the most ardent fans. I actually wouldn't mind a proper console release of a new Tony Hawk game and I think the buzz surrounding the initial announcement shows that at least a few other people would be too.
Censoring the Stick
European version of South Park RPG are reportedly censored compared to the North American release. The offending content seems to surround the use of swastikas and references to Hitler. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have never been known for pulling their punches and it's a bit ludicrous that these types of references (low brow as they are) appear constantly in the television show but suddenly aren't acceptable for gaming audiences. That said, if the censorship really is limited to this material, I won't lose any sleep over it and it definitely won't impact my purchase decision.
Console Wars Movie Announced
Newer gamers may not be familiar with the subject but there was a period during the 1990's where Nintendo and Sega were the kingpins of gaming. This era, often referred to as the bit-wars, will be the subject for an upcoming Seth Rogan film. It will likely be a comedy but details are scant at this stage - don't even think about asking for a release date! In any case, I'm a fan of Rogan's work and his films seem to be getting better and better as he perfects his brand of slack-jawed stoner comedy.