April 9th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Post PAX East festivities! This past weekend the video game industry came to visit the northeast New England region. A place also recognized as Boston. And although it didn’t bring a ton of news, the news it did bring was insane. Collaborations, new projects, and single player second year DLC. Yea feel lucky, cause I damn sure do. Here’s why:

1. Fantasy Raider 1.

That seems like it will be the exact title of the upcoming project from Square Enix. To open the PAX East gates Square Enix announced a cross over project of two of its biggest franchises, Final Fantasy & Tomb Raider. There wasn’t any other information reveled so time to go into hyper speculation mode. I think it would be amazing to introduce some sort of lore that ties the two worlds together with one being present/past and the other being present/future. Either way I’m excited to see what comes of it, so long as its not a damn Pachinko machine. Looking at you Konami.

2. Final Fantasy XV lives on.

A few years back. Ok, maybe a little bit more than a few years but who’s counting. I remember conversing with my co-workers about DLC. I would always say to them, all I would want from DLC would be story expansion. You know like, when theres still more to the story but not necessarily enough for a full fledged sequel. Fast forward to 2018, and for the most part that’s what we get. Anyway, on to the news. Final Fantasy XV will be receiving new story based episodic DLC all the way through 2019. That is amazing because of how long the string of content for this game has been. Imagine a world where you fall in love with a game and instead of being given a full blown sequel that wasn’t necessary, you get episodic additions to the game you love. That’s he direction we could be heading in the games industry. That, and of course Battle Royales.

3. Return of the Dragon.

Everyone’s favorite purple dragon is back. Don’t believe me? Find another purple dragon nearly as popular as Spyro. I’m not even gonna wait because I know you won’t. Spyro the dragon is returning for the second time. This time however, he’s coming back in true form. Activision announced the Spyro remastered trilogy, featuring the first three games to make the dragon a star. Much like the recent Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, the remaster will feature upgraded graphics, modernized controls, and a reimagined take on the original music. The game will be available on September 21 for PS4 and Xbox One and no mention of a Switch version in the works.

4. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, spins a web when he can.

This week Spidey showed up to drop gems about his upcoming game. First the release date. Spider-Man will be arriving exclusively on a PS4 near you on September 7th, 2018. Plans for DLC were also briefly highlighted stating in will come in the form of a three part campaign with new villains, suits, missions, and more. And speaking on suits, this new Spider-Man game will allow us to dress Spidey up in over a dozen different suits from various comic story lines. A collector’s edition was also announced with more info coming in the summer, but it will come with all DLC included just like the Deluxe edition. Insomniac, the developers, also made a big deal to note there will be absolutely no micro transactions in the game.

5. Vive Pro Starter Edition.

With VR finally reaching a point of mass general interest, the manufacturers have also started finding better ways to cut cost on production. This perfect middle ground genesis is the type of thing that results in price drops and special bundles. In this case we are getting a special bundle from HTC. Taking feedback and backlash into consideration, HTC has announced a new starter kit for the Vive Pro VR system. This special bundle includes the Vive Pro Headset, two Vive 1.0 controllers, and two 1.0 base stations for $1100. Considering all of that is necessary to use the system it makes a ton of sense to see such an aggressive pricing. When considering the cost of all things separate that’s about a $300 savings. Pretty good if you ask me.

6. PC to Console, Console to Switch.

So before any Nintendo fan boys come at me for not calling the Switch a console, understand I do it with the highest respect. The Switch is not a console. It is so much more. That however is save for another day. Today let’s talk about Firewatch, the incredibly unique adventure game, coming to Nintendo Switch. The Switch version will include system specific upgrades, although most of those will be under the hood. And no date was provided. On the flip side, I am very excited for a new RPG being ported from PC to Console. As rarely as that happens, it is my pleasure to share with you Divinity: Original Sin 2 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One in August. Featuring 4 player online and local split screen Co-Op, Divinity is a story based action RPG that looks phenomenal.

7. Is that a new… Challenger?

Warner Bros has obtained the rights to distribute and publish IO Interactive’s Hitman. Wasting no time with this new muscle, Hitman: The Definitive Edition will be releasing on May 18th. And with rumors floating around the world of a new Hitman coming, it’s very possible we may see some version of the nemesis system in everyone’s favorite modern day assassins world. This is the real outrageous news though. Here comes a new challenger! In the most abstract way. Right now you can hop on Kickstarter and support the Street Fighter Board Game. I don’t even know how to explain the incredible thing that is this project. I mean for real the only bad part about it is the price tag but as a collector’s item its well worth it. Dive in and see for yourself.

Posted in Articles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 15th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Ports, Sequels, and Books!

This week in gaming was expectedly slow on the news spectrum, you know with CES happening at the same time and all, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t dig up all the coolest stuff I could find. Big news in the sports category and for anyone who happens to be a football fan and like the Patriots last week had some good news for them too. Also, the power went out at the most recognized electronics convention. Irony. That was a great tangent so here’s your recap:

1. Big buys may lead to big careers.

As we continue to move into a world where the video games industry is looked at as a thriving and optimal business, it’s exciting to see some of the big steps some major companies are making. This week’s big example, and award, goes to Twitch for purchasing the exclusive streaming rights to Overwatch for $90 million. That’s a boatload of cash. Literally, you could fill a boat with that much money. This should open a lot of doors for a lot of amazing people in the game industry. In other Overwatch news, the Overwatch league companion app was just released on the App stores for iOS and Android devices. Ball’s in your court now buddy, you ready to make this your job?

2. 2nd Generation VR is on the horizon.

Or here depending on your point of view. See what I did there? Yeah, you like that. Anyway, at CES 2018 HTC pulled out the big guns. Introducing the HTC Vive Pro and the Vive Wireless adapter. These new products in the lineup aim to improve your experience with higher resolution, frame rates, and more importantly the removal of wires. The resolution is said to be a 78% improvement over the still on-the-market HTC Vive. What’s even more impressive than that, honestly, is that the Vive Wireless Adapter will work with either model. This means if you have an existing Vive you don’t have to shell out for a brand new headset unless you really want the upgraded screen resolution. No official release date exists for either of these new devices, but HTC did say to expect the Vive Wireless Adapter by third quarter 2018. But really, who knows what that means.

3. Atari brings old stuff in new boxes to 2018.

I’m assuming someone or a group of someones decided to email Atari and the letter went something like this: “Dear Mr. or Mrs. Sir or Ma’am, I am a huge fan of both air hockey and pong. My love for both of these games is so intense that it has caused me emotional distress trying to decide between the two. Please fix my problem or I will go online and ruin you with one post. Try me. Sincerely, Someone no one would ever take a serious suggestion from if it weren’t for the current social climate and corporate toxicity. P.S. I also like pinball but only for the sound effects, so add those in as well.” So now we have Atari’s pong cabinet. I know this is supposed to be informative things about video game news, but I really don’t want to give any more attention to Pong.

4. Haven’t taken a friendly fire at anything Xbox related in a while.

No, seriously, this one is just a rib shot at my incredible comrades who love their Xbox so you can skip this if you don’t care about Halo, Dashboard updates, or Player Unknown Battle Grounds. First jab: 343 drops heavy hints that Halo 6 is not coming to a console near you this year. They did say that there will be other exciting surprises though but don’t hold your breath, we’re still waiting on Crackdown. Second jab: the latest dashboard update is actually pretty cool. It includes the addition of Do Not Disturb mode, new guide functionality, and more inactivity shutdown options. Oh wait, none of that is actually that cool. I mean if going DND is awesome. Final jab: The PUBG Xbox launch was awful, but the updates are coming in steady in hopes of making it a better world. The most recent update includes slight increases in frame rates and a number of crash-inducing issues have been addressed. Note: an undisclosed number of crashes were fixed but not all. {Editors Note: It’s fine, Halo 5 was a great shame anyway. What Xbox really needs it to resurrect Scalebound.}

5. Last generation Assassins go Rogue.

Ubisoft has decided to finally bless its fans who moved on to the new generation of consoles with a remastered version of Assassin’s Creed Rogue. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to play through a story a lot of fans might have missed due to the awkward console generation shift. If you didn’t know, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is set in 18th century North America and follows an Assassin who eventually becomes a Templar. Most reviews criticized the game for lack of story depth and direction, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t had a chance to play it. Maybe I will though now that it’s available on my favorite console. See what happens when you keep up Ubisoft, now just bring an AC game to Switch and you win. {Editor’s Note: Black Flag/Rogue bundled together on Switch, make it happen Nintendo/Ubisoft!}

6. Another cross-franchise fighting game approaches!

Blaze Blue Cross Tag Battle will be released on June 5th, 2018. That’s all you really wanted. Don’t pretend to care about the rest of the details I worked so hard to find. Don’t pretend to care that the game will feature a 20 character roster with special appearances from favorites from series like BlazBlue, Under Night In-Birth, Persona 4, and RWBY. Don’t pretend to care that the game will be available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. No Xbox, which doesn’t fully make sense because an Xbox is essentially just a fancy not fancy PC. Either way, I’m personally extremely excited about the endless possibilities and of course the plotline, considering all these series are extremely plot heavy. You don’t care though, you just wanted to know that Blaz Blue Cross Tag Battle is coming out on June 5th, 2018.

7. Varric Tethras becomes a published author!

Fear not gamers, in a world where people have no idea whats gonna happen next because leadership isn’t exactly A1, a fictional character from a video game just inked a deal with Dark Horse Books and Penguin Random House. That’s right, if you’re familiar with the name you’re probably soiling yourself in excitement already. For those unfamiliar, well let’s get you all caught up. A long long time ago (back in 2011) a great game (general public opinion I would say it was ok) was released named Dragon Age 2, by the magicians who were in charge of Bioware. {Editor’s Note: Past tense?} In this historic game, there is an adventurous dwarf who you know writes novels in his spare time. He just nailed a deal to publish his most popular piece of fictional fiction entitled “Hard in Hightown” (don’t you dare make a sex joke!) in the real world. So now you to can purchase a fiction novel written by a fictional character with reference to a fictional world. That’s how bad the world we live in currently feels. We are going to extreme levels to escape it. Thanks for pointing that out Varric. Go Varric.

Posted in Articles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 25th, 2017 by Vega Montanez

Bio Mutant Assassin VR Troopers with Tanks

Another lucky week to be a gamer ladies and gents. That is unless you are the guy who has to write these. I must admit this week really showed me how tough this is actually going to be. Alas, it is a blessing regardless and I am excited to be the thing-ray of information! Or just a guy with a laptop and an obsession with video games. You decide.

1. Another price drop on Virtual Reality hardware has arrived!

If you are unfamiliar with how excited I am about VR you have got some catching up to do. TL;DR, I LOVE VR! HTC announced a significant price drop on their incredible VR headset the HTC Vive. The price drop reduces one of the most heavily supported VR platforms thus far by $200 bringing the retail price to $599. Although thats not enough to have us all flock to the nearest store (also known as online shopping) it leaves hopes high for the possibility of an incredible holiday bundle. Doesn’t that just put some egg noggy spice in your heart?

2. PC Elitist & Mobile Champions Unite: the 15th Final Fantasy approaches.

I think the header pretty much sums up what this about, but wait theres more! Alongside the announcement of a PC version of this fantastic game, Square announced a partnership with the almighty Ubisoft. The partnership will bring Assassin’s Creed themed DLC to Final Fantasy across all Platforms. I could bore you with the details of 4K compatibility and increased textures but I won’t. I am better than that. However, I am not above ruining the excitement I just created by letting you know the release window is early 2018. Almost 2 years later. Does that hurt yet? No I can’t be that mean, so I’ll leave you some good news. Final Fantasy Pocket Edition will be coming to an Android or IOS device near you later this year.

3. How do we feel about tanks merging with stories?

We may not have an answer now, but we will very soon. World of Tanks, one of the most popular free to play titles of all time surprisingly, will be receiving an actual story based campaign. The campaign will play out as isolated chapters focused on specific units, which means you’ll play as certain tanks, and the mission they take on. After completing the story you can go back and play the challenge mode using any tank you want. I don’t know if I’ll start playing but I will definitely look into this when they arrive on all available platforms.

4. BioMutant: A wholly new original action RPG!

A team of former Just Cause developers have announced a brand new action RPG called “BioMutant”. Under their new independent dev group, Experiment 101, the team has gotten THQ Nordic to publish the game which will let you take advantage of “mutations, bionic prosthetics, and weapons” to make your character cool. Oh and because no current gen game can exist with game impacting choices, everything you augment will impact the way your hero plays. Doesn’t that sound insane and exciting? It’s coming at some undetermined time next year. Fun over.

5. Fe coming to Switch!

Announced by EA at E3 2016, the upcoming Fe platform has been confirmed to be paying a visit to the Nintendo Switch! Taking on the role of a Cub who awakes in a forest (Wait, isn’t that where most cubs wake up?) and then uses sound to communicate as it explores the world rescuing wildlife. No, don’t stop reading. It’s fun, I swear. It sounds way more boring on paper than it really is. and If you need anymore excitement, EA confirmed the game will be released sometime early 2018 on all platforms. Excellent.

6. Enter the land of VR!

Probably the most exciting news this week. More VR! Well now really more, just concrete proof of VR fun to come. Three recently announced VR games have been given release dates! And they are all releasing in the last two months of the year. First is Skyrim VR, the game I plan to play heavily cause I always said I would actually play it if it were VR. It will be releasing on PSVR on November 17th! Doom VFR, I am significantly less excited for but still excited for, will be available to play on December 1st for PSVR and HTC Vive. And Last but not least, Fallout 4 VR will launch exclusively on HTC Vive on December 12th, with arrival on other platforms still a possibility. VR for the win. [Editor’s Note: Including this example here, VR has now been mentioned 16 and a half times in this article.]

7. Return of the Titans.

Following the success of pretty much everything that holds the Attack on Titan branding, a sequel to the PS4 exclusive Attack on Titan game has been announced. The newly announced game will act as a direct sequel to the hack’n slash title that retold the first nineteen chapters of the amazing manga. If you love this world you will be more than excited to know that the new one has been in development for sometime since the first release and will be arriving early 2018. Oh yea, can’t wait to collect more necks.

Posted in Articles Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 8th, 2017 by Vega Montanez

Hot off the heels of Apple’s 2017 Web Developers Conference (which heavily featured VR), I figured it was a great time to address what so many people have been hesitant to accept: VR is here to stay and it may very well be the next big thing. VR, or virtual reality for those who hate acronyms, is the latest video platform attempting to make a full move into your living room. Much like 3D, VR is a platform that aims to fully immerse you in the content you are experiencing. Here are 4 solid reasons you should start making space on your entertainment stand for a fancy new headset.

(1) Apple has joined the race.
You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy, in all honestly you don’t even have to like the company or its products at all to know that when Apple steps into a market it means two things. First, that product segment, whatever it is, is about to be the next major thing in our world and second, Apple has a strong plan to shake up and eventually dominate that industry. A quick look back in time will turn up quite a few undeniable examples. iPhone, came through and shook up the mobile industry and the Apple Watch relentlessly attacked both the wearables market and the fashion industry at the same time! During the 2017 WDC Apple made it very clear that they understood the future of virtual reality is not as unrealistic as many people on the outer circles of technology believe it to be. Apple typically isn’t the first company to show up to the party, but when they show up they show up strong and they also make sure everyone else wants to be at that party as well.

(2) Playstation VR has sold over 1 million units.
In the world of electronics, I am a gamer first and everything else after. I’m also a tiny, little bit of a PlayStation fanatic. Knowing that it should come as no surprise that I’ll be offloading a few small statistics regarding the platform that currently has the easiest entry point into your home when it comes to VR. Since it’s release in October, with supply constraints, Sony’s PlayStation VR has sold more than 1 million units. For most people who are heavily active in the gaming community that’s pretty easy to understand but can also be seen as pretty insignificant. There are over 50 million PS4’s that have been sold which translates to roughly 1 out of every 50 PS4 owners has purchased a PSVR. However when compared to it’s direct competitor’s (HTC, Oculus, Samsung, to name a few) thats a pretty significant number. Even taken out of that context, 1 million is a very large number. Maybe not for a company that specializes in creating consumer electronics, maybe not for a generation that has become desensitized to hearing numbers larger than 1 million thrown around due to Youtube, but in general it’s a pretty large number. Have you ever seen 1 million of anything in 1 room at the same time? It’s quite a lot.

(3) VR Experience Demos are almost everywhere.
Which brings me to my next point, although not by the millions, the opportunities to experience VR are starting to pop up everywhere. In most cities throughout the world, you can walk into any big box retailer (i.e. Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart) and experience some version of VR. During one of the big festivals in my little hometown of Providence, RI I was able to engage in a VR Experience in a van right down the street from my house. That means that all the people in attendance had the same opportunity and I would love to get the numbers on how many people engaged because that’s what it’s all about. As long as the big companies and indie devs keep finding ways to get people to into a headset, the adoption of VR will be that much faster.

(4) VR is more plausible than AR (for now)
In order for VR to succeed it has to find a way to make itself interesting not just for people play video games, but to the general public as well. That is one area where VR has a strong advantage over Augmented Reality or AR. Right now AR is still to early on in it’s infancy to find itself in the home of anyone who isn’t trying to find a way to become even more immersed in the worlds created by game developers or whose pockets are lined with gold. The VR experience is encompassed inside of a headset, which continue to become more comfortable daily, rather than encompass the entire environment around you which requires a slew of technology that I don’t even fully understand yet. Virtual realityy is a greatt experience for anyone looking to enjoy a story in a completely new way. It makes it possible to put you directly in the middle of a fast furious race or a star wars dogfight and when you’re done you just pop your headset off. AR is exciting but the world just isn’t there yet.

As technology continues to advance at lightning speeds it’s always exciting to have that one new thing that you feel you can count on being a survivor. We all know 4K and HDR are absolutely sticking around just as much as we know smartphones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I really feel like Virtual Reality is going to be the next big thing that brings the world together, even if only to menacingly question that one friend of yours who is extremely slow to adopt any new piece of incredible gear.

Posted in Articles Tagged with: , , , , , ,