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E3 is now over and for the most part it was pretty – okay. xxxBoxOnexxx managed to reveal some sequels to well know franchises but also gave us some new ip: Sea of Thieves, Anthem and A way out. Sony gave us an update of all the games it showed us  2 years ago. For the first time in about 4 years Nintendo actually put some effort in and gave us what we wanted.

Not too bad really.

Now we just have to wait for everything to show up. Unfortunately this is where it all falls down. Beyond Good and Evil 2, is rumoured to have only just started development and games like God of War 4 are still another year away. Problem with this approach is people get bored of waiting, or generally loose interest in games which are still a good 2-5 years away.

Some games manage to buck this trend and take ages to be released but then people loose their shit when it finally comes out. For example: Breath of the Wild. Some games release never ending gameplay trailer until it looks dated or someones already re-hashed the ideas into a game thats available now. Others choose to release early and go with the episode approach like Hitman. For some people this is fine, but for me I like to buy the complete product not be drip fed episodes then made to wait for the next one, which could turn out to be crap.

The best announcement for a game, I can remember was the announcement of Fallout 4, a game that rode the hype train and then massively under-delivered. But people rode that hype train, they didn’t have chance to think much about it. From announcement to release was about 4 months.

Most of the time dragging something out is worse than not announcing anything at all. If Sony took the approach of only announcing games that where at maximum a year away people would loose their shit more than a game thats like 5 years away.

But then if all you have is a selection of games 3-4 years away the last thing you want to do is a Nintendo where you go on stage and cry into the camera.

Difficult.

 

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Its all gone primal

With the PS4 Paris conference now over a few games came to light which before we knew very little about: Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn. Two more games to add to the ever growing prehistoric genre which has become the focus of some of the new games hitting the market in 2016.

Let’s take a look at what’s coming up and how this trend might be an interesting new direction.

Wild


Wild is bought to us by a studio based in Montpellier with the name… Wild. It was co-founded by Michel Ancel who bought us both Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil (where the fuck is Beyond Good & Evil 2?) . Wild sees you playing as a shaman with control over various animals both large and small. Personally this kind of game will likely push the scales for me picking up a PS4 (it’s a PS4 exclusive) over the next year and it’s not surprising, although very little is known about the game, in its current state it still makes it one of the more impressive  and experimental games I’ve seen for a while. Definitely worth looking out for in 2016.

Farcry Primal

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At the end of Farcry 4 Ubisoft posted that they would be taking Farcry to some strange places in the next installment of the genre. Given the success of the much loved Blood Dragon which came off the back of Farcry 3 I was surprised that they stuck to a relatively safe idea in Farcry 4. The drug mission which took us to strange and distant lands where you had control of a tiger and had to kill evil spirits with a bow and arrow showed that the developer had some really interesting ideas but were unable to make a whole game out of them. Farcry Primal takes us way back to the days of spears and mammoths. It’s looking like an interesting decision but I’m hesitant at the moment. What they really should have done is gone ‘fuck this’ and done something more along the lines of Kung Fury. Let’s see what happens.

ARK: Survival Evolved

Ark is an early access game currently available on steam, and similar to every sandbox survival game on steam it has picked up a heavy following. Players start out with nothing after being stranded on an island inhabitedby dinosaurs, and as with all of these games you start off by collecting resources and working your way up the development tree until you have an AK47 and a Tyrannosaurus Rex mount. It’s looking good – but to be honest it’s not really my thing. It will likely attract the Minecraft crowd as they search for a new fix, you know, after the Microsoft thing. RIP 🙁

Horizon Zero Dawn

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Despite sounding like a CoD expansion pack, Horizon Zero Dawn couldn’t be any further from it. You play Aloy (FFS, seriously) – a female hunter who tries to make it in a world occupied by robot dinosaurs. Set a 1000 years in the future this post-apocalyptic back drop provides you with all you need to make scrap metal out of your new robot overlords. Despite how incredibly shit that all sounded the game looks to be somewhat entertaining. Again Horizon is a PS4 exclusive.

Of course lets not forget our roots.

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EGX Game Expo: How far we have come.

As I walked into the arena at EGX I wasn’t expecting to get blown away by anything in particular. Having played video games for over half my life it hard for me to get excited about anything any more (The last game I got truly excited about was Witcher 3). Indeed its difficult to get excited as most games companies prefer to take the safe road and invest in tried and tested IP as opposed to investing into something truly new and unique. Its said that everything ever  written can be boiled down into seven plots, something which can easily be extended to game-play.

However despite the negativity something happened at EGX I didn’t quite expect. I finally got Excited about gaming again.

Gaming has always had an issue with Hardware, allot of bottleneck on games happened for the prolonged period in which the Xbox 360 and PS3 just wouldn’t fuck off and die (they still haven’t), being a PC gamer things have been pretty dry and thanks to marketing, and just generally how things are PC ports became the new norm. Anything released on a console would get wrapped up and released onto a PC, however because hardware is released every 5 mins on a PC it quickly out grew the consoles, but had to suffer with games designed for the console from 5 years ago.

Then the big announcement, ‘Next Gen’ (I assume next gen will be ‘Next Next Gen’ ?), new shinny consoles doing all sorts of new and shiny things – and no games.

But things seem to be warming up, and it all seems to have kicked off with – CD Projekt Red releasing Witcher 3, which despite my opinion was still a massive achievement. It looked visually stunning, it felt like a truly immersive next gen game. The type of gaming which we always wanted but never quite got. I recently picked up MGS5, another game that’s pushing the barriers and giving us something which visually looks amazing.

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I never quite realized this however until I went to EGX and got to see some of the up and coming games hitting the market later this year and early next year.

What truly sold it to me was the tech demo for the new Hitman game coming out March 2016. I have had very little interest in Hitman, I still have very little interest in Hitman. It’s more about what it represents, the level design, the game-play everything about it shouted “Next Gen”.

I doubt will see any true disruption in the gaming industry until they sort out all the 4D virtual reality stuff which is in the pipes from Valve and Facebook – I’m just happy that things have finally taken a step in the right direction.

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