games / Columns

Around the Gaming World News Report 06.22.12

June 22, 2012 | Posted by Chris Ferrell

Hey everyone, welcome to the latest installment of Around The Gaming World. If this is your first time checking in I try to cover some of the major stories for each console in addition to news, which in my opinion, is the news of the week.

First, let’s start with the comments from last week.

If you hate Sony or dislike them for whatever reason, it is okay to admit it. Lack of Vita games? Really?

(looks at some of my Vita games)

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Wipeout 2048
Unit 13
Dynasty Warriors Next
Resistance: Burning Skies
Gravity Rush

What do you consider a killer app? Halo? Gears of War? A generic first person shooter? I mean there are other games like MLB: The Show, Mortal Kombat, Disgaea 3, Rayman Origins, and other like games that offer nearly current generation graphics on a portable (on a OLED screen that rivals my iPad v3). It isn’t like the PSP which offered last generation graphics on the go, this is a completely different beast.

Now, I understand your opinion (or veiled dislike), but I actually enjoy the stuff that is released on the PS more than MS. I guess it comes from me not being an avid FPS fan (outside of Retro’s Metroid games), but I will call you out when you being disengenuous. It is the same group-think that stated there was “no games on the PSP.”

Posted By: Lifelong Console Gamer (Guest) on June 15, 2012 at 02:19 AM

In all fairness I will admit I’m not a big Sony fan. I’ve not made a secret of that. But honestly up until E3 I don’t think they had any must have games. Uncharted had mixed reviews and Resistance really isn’t as popular anymore as it once was. E3 I think will bring more people to the Vita which I think is a good thing. The portable gaming market is going to get tougher as more people get smartphones and tablets and the Vita doing well keeps companies making games for non-casual gamers.

Yeah, it’s a shame if they just double-down on the crappy, nonsensical ending they stuck us with in Mass Effect 3.

Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but Smart Glass sounds a bit intrusive to me.

Posted By: Guest#2089 (Guest) on June 15, 2012 at 02:27 AM

There’s a small part of me that just keeps hoping the Mass Effect 3 ending will change and they won’t stick with the current space magic explanation.

As for Smart Glass it is optional and I doubt they will be making fundamental parts of the games need to be played on the tablet. I see Smart Glass as a tool to help in certain games, but not the platform playing a game.

The Vita does have a lack of a true exclusive killer app. Uncharted GA was an impressive outing and a good compliment to the system, but not the genre defining game that sells systems like Super Mario 64, Final Fantasy 7, Pokemon, Monster Hunter, or Halo. Another God of War won’t seal the deal either, no matter how good, it’s just a portable version of the full scale experience. A new IP exclusive to the Vita in an under-represented genre we won’t expect will have to be the game to make it.

Posted By: Mr. Ace Crusher (Guest) on June 20, 2012 at 07:46 AM

I really think that the Vita would benefit from some fresher IP, but the new Assassin’s Creed looks awesome and I think it will drive sales because it is not the same game you would get on the PS3. The new AC game on Vita will be a unique experience.

As for our friend the Red Pen, he seems to be laying low this week. Probably afraid to do anything without his legal representation.

And now, it’s on to the news…

Did The Xbox 720 Details Leak? – According to the two-year-old leaked document, the all-in-one box will be released ahead of the 2013 holiday season. Xbox 360 owners may get a boost, though, since the document indicated that Microsoft plans to release XTV service and apps for the 360 before the end of 2012.

The Xbox 720 is expected to carry support for Blu-ray, native 3D, video acceleration, and five power states, from “full power” to “standby,” according to the document.
Also, a second-generation Kinect accessory, dubbed the Kinect V2, will provide “closer, wider, deeper” 3D play space, improved voice recognition, four-player tracking, and more, the document revealed.

Via: PC Mag

Microsoft sure is doing a good job of trying to shut the door on this leak. The problem is, once something hits the Internet you can never get it back. This Xbox 720 leak is just the latest example. Microsoft and its legal teams have been making the rounds and forcing sites to take down any of the official documents they might have posted. Thankfully, we can still talk about what was in the leaked documents even if we don’t have copies of them anymore. To me, it seems there might be some truth to these leaks since Microsoft has responded so swiftly. In fact they have issued a statement that in effect was equivalent to a fancy ‘no comment.’

The capabilities of the new system all make sense, especially with the new Microsoft commitment to make the Xbox the centerpiece of your home media center. The addition of Blu-ray and 3D support all make sense. Blu-ray is something that has been a strong selling point for Sony as the Blu-ray drive allowed for larger games and the viewing of HD content off of Blu-ray discs. Consumers still like to have a physical disc for movies and until that changes it makes sense for Microsoft to include a Blu-ray drive in the next Xbox. At least this time they won’t have to scrap a peripheral like they did with the HD-DVD drive, a drive I still have hooked to my Xbox 360. It’s also interesting to note that Microsoft has plans for a Kinect 2. There’s nothing too fancy with the next-gen Kinect. To me it seems to be an evolutionary step forward instead of revolutionary. To me, the most interesting thing to come out of this leak was the supposed price point of $299 for the Xbox 720. That should keep the market pretty competitive if you ask me.

As interesting as the leaked content is, it’s important to remember this is not an official announcement from Microsoft. Things could and probably still will change in regards to Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox 720.

Minecraft Xbox Gets Better! – he team at 4J and Mojang have been working on some quick fixes and improvements that you are gonna love!

* Added an autosave, and the ability to turn autosave off, or set it from 15 minutes up to 2 hours in 15 minute steps.

* Split the sensitivity controls into an in-game sensitivity and an in-menu sensitivity.

* Added an Interface Opacity slider in the settings for plasma screen users.

* Added a gamertag display in splitscreen, and the ability to enable/disable it in the settings.

* Added an option in the settings menu to enable/disable in-game hints.

* Added an option in the settings menu to enable/disable tooltips.

* Added a co-ordinate display to the in-game map.

* Added new sections in the How To Play on Multiplayer, Sharing Screenshots, and What’s New.

* Added a warning message when attempting to place lava near the spawn area.

Via: Play XBLA

I’ve only played the demo, but I have friends that absolutely love Minecraft on the Xbox. One of my concerns is that it would take longer for updates to roll out to the Xbox than it would to the PC. However, it looks like they are making a commitment to pushing out regular updates to the XBLA version of the game.

Solid Snake is Back! – Hideo Kojima spoke with a French gaming magazine, dropping the first hints about Metal Gear Solid 5, and discussing where Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance fits in the overall franchise.

First, Kojima confirmed that Solid Snake will be back in Metal Gear Solid 5, but he didn’t discuss what role he’d be playing in the game. The reveal came as Kojima was discussing the somewhat controversial Revengeance, a game developed by Platinum Games and substantially different from other games in the franchise.

This [Revengeance] is not a game about our beloved Solid Snake. It is a spinoff that tries something different. We have not yet finished with Solid Snake, despite the fact that I wanted to let him die at the end of Guns of the Patriots.

He also confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 5 would be using the Fox Engine, which is less of a surprise considering it’s the studio’s in-house engine, designed to make multi-platform games easier and faster to construct and publish.

The big surprise, really, is that Metal Gear Solid 5 is in the works, as there were no hints of this at E3. Konami has confirmed the comments are legitimate, although that’s all they’re willing to say at the moment.

Via: Game Trailers

There was always a part of me that just assumed Metal Gear Solid 5 would be happening. However, it seemed strange that there was nothing mentioned at E3 about the game. It’s good to see just a little bit of news now. If you’re a fan of Snake, it’s good to see that he will be coming back. However, at this time it’s still unknown whether Snake will be a playable character.

That being said, I wouldn’t count on Snake having a long life expectancy. It seems to me that Hideo Kojima really wants to see Snake move on and open the franchise up for someone else to take the lead. I’m not a big Metal Gear fan, but what do you fans think? Would a Metal Gear game be nearly as interesting without Snake?

Another Final Fantasy VII Rumor Hits the Web – According to a Google Cache link sent to Joystiq and confirmed through Who-Is, Square Enix registered a website called with lots of information about the classic title’s reincarnation. Among the juiciest bits is a little note that suggests that players will be able to use a “character booster” to increase their HP, MP, XP, or to attain items “all with the simple click of a button, leaving you to enjoy your adventure.” Which, of course, sounds quite a bit like micro transactions.

We’re still skeptical that this is a 100% true story, and not an elaborate troll. The website is registered to Square Enix as well as a Japanese domain trademark firm though. We’re just baffled as to why Square Enix would fundamentally alter the gameplay of its most cherished classic in order to turn it into a FF7 sight-seeing tour.

Via: Games Radar

It has long been a dream of Final Fantasy fans that Sony would release an updated version of Final Fantasy VII. It has been teased forever, the first teaser I can remember was at the announcement press conference for the PS2. Sony displayed parts of FFVII updated with what was then the next-gen graphics. Fans were excited and clamoring to play a new version of the classic game. Sadly, Sony announced there were no plans to remake Final Fantasy VII. That is a stance they have stuck to ever since. It’s true that the classic/original versions have been released for both the PS Vita and PS3 but the game, while fun, is graphically dated.

The microtransaction piece I don’t believe is actually going to happen though. It would be a unique way to gather cash from users though. How many people would pay to level up quick and then blast through the game?

The Wii U Is Stronger Than We Thought – Cevat Yerli, head of CryTek, had this to say about Nintendo’s upcoming console:

“From my perspective, I do not understand the public’s concerns that the Wii U is weaker than the PS3 and 360. … That I cannot see. From my perspective the Wii U is minimum as powerful as the Xbox 360.”

Yerli bases this on having seen the Wii U run CryEngine 3, which Yerli, for obvious reasons, is fairly gung-ho about.

Does this mean CryTek is developing for the Wii U? Not yet, according to Yerli; the company simply has too much on its plate right now. He does, however, note that another company is developing a game for the Wii U using CryEngine 3, who he refers to as a “respected developer”, and that their game will be announced later this summer.

Via: Game Trailers

Crytek has been known for their graphics engine that produces gorgeous visuals even on somewhat dated hardware like the Xbox 360. I would argue that Crysis 2 is one of the best looking games I have played on my Xbox, and Crysis 3 is breathtaking to watch. Needless to say, Crytek knows what they are talking about when it comes to graphical prowess on consoles and PCs.

The Wii U has been criticized by fans because the technology in it appears to be a step up from current consoles but not quite as powerful as the predicted next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony. In fact, some stories have stated that the Wii U is less powerful that the current Xbox. However, the folks at Crytek have said that in their opinion the Wii U is, at a minimum, just as powerful as the Xbox and probably more so. First of all, it’s awesome to see that the Wii U might not be lacking as many have predicted. I would love to see what Crytek could do with the Wii U, but they aren’t making any games for the Nintendo console at this time. My guess is they are focusing on Crysis 3 right now and once that game is completed the focus will shift to development for the next-gen consoles. That’s when they will get to take a good look at the hardware specs from all the major companies and I would love to see if their opinion changes then.

Microsoft Enters The Tablet Wars – The star of Microsoft’s mystery Monday unveiling has been revealed: Surface, a Windows tablet.

“It was always clear that what our software could do would require us to push hardware, sometimes where our partners hadn’t envisioned,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the event. “Much like Windows 1 needed the mouse, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own hardware.”

Just as Windows 8 is a reimagining of the Windows operating system, Microsoft describes Surface as a reimagining of the tablet.

The first of its kind, Surface is designed to work as both tablet and PC and comes in a version running Windows RT as well as a version running Windows 8 Pro.

Super-thin, the tablet is just 9.3mm thin for the Windows RT version and 13.5mm for the Pro version. Both have two full size USB ports — something you won’t find on the vast majority of the tablet competition. You’ll also find a Micro SD port on the side of the RT version and a microSDXC port of the Pro version for adding data to the device or reading files (like pictures from your digital camera) on the fly.

Via: Mashable

At first glance this might not have much connection to gaming but after E3 and the announcement of Smart Glass I think we will see a lot of gaming uses on Surface. My guess is there will be a unique implementation of Smart Glass on Surface. By that I mean the best Smart Glass experience will be on the Microsoft tablet. Every platform will get Smart Glass it just won’t be as good.

Also, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a connection in the future that allows playing Xbox Live Arcade games on the Surface. That would link the table to the Xbox Live infrastructure. It would also help to ease some of Microsoft’s problems with a lack of apps at this time. The rise of tablets and smartphones has lead to an increase in casual gaming. I think Surface could help bring Xbox to the casual gamers.

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My personal Twitter: @RoundTableNerds

Thanks for checking in for your weekly dose of gaming news. It should be interesting to see how some stories, such as the next version of the Xbox and PS3, progress over the next week. As always, please make use of the comments to let me know what you are thinking. Feedback is always welcomed.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be reviewing Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes. Once the review is done I’ll let you all know.

If you find yourselves bored on Xbox Live, send me a message. I’m always looking to put together a good team on the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer to tackle some gold challenges. Without a good team you just get your ass kicked.

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