5 Conclusions - 12/10/18

October 12, 2018
FEATURES

A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.


Conclusion One: The Walking Dead are alive

A few weeks back we learnt of the sad news that Telltale Games, famous for The Walking Dead series of games, was shutting down. Whilst we’d love to get into the whys of that particular decision, that would derail us from delivering our conclusion about something good which has just happened:

The very fact that we will see an end to Clem’s story is news likely to fill many gamers’ hearts with joy. We’ve followed that girl — that young lady — through all manner of challenges since 2012 and to have her ending dangled in front of us, to so cruelly have it taken away alongside Telltale was just terrible.

What’s even better is that The Walking Dead: The Final Season is going to be finished by Skybound Games. Skybound Games employs folk who were part of the Telltale team which introduced us to Clem. Sometimes, stories do have happy endings. Ours does, in this case. What about Clem’s?


Conclusion Two: Of course there will be a PlayStation 5

I don’t quite understand the world sometimes. Real news would be if we learnt Sony planned to leave the gaming hardware business. Surely it’s not real news to anyone that Sony is instead working on a new PlayStation, to replace the current market-leading hardware in the whole of gaming; a console so successful it has obliterated Microsoft this time around?

The reason folk have got so excited is because earlier this month Sony was granted a patent relating to remastering by emulation. There’s a suggestion that this could be part of any future console; a way to ensure backwards compatibility without the excessive cost or hardware challenges with the solution provided via the launch PS3.

Some have detailed their concerns that the filing date is around the time when Sony detailed plans related to emulation. This, however, was for titles running on the PS4 which are actually PS1 and PS2 games. These concerns are not a worry as for a patent to be granted there needs to be an inventive step: something not obvious. This means if there is any prior art, then you can’t be inventive. Given Sony had communicated to the world about their emulation currently in place before this date, there would have been very clear prior art — related to the actual technology as well. At this point there is no way the USPTO could, or would, grant it. So this is something else. This is for the PS5. What exciting news! Sony has now told us it’s working on something new, too.

Conclusion Three: Obsidian is heading for a new chapter

Reports surfaced this week that Obsidian, the developer behind critical hits such as Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity is on the brink of being bought by Microsoft. Kotaku spoke to people in the know who claim that the deal is almost “90%” complete, but neither Microsoft nor Obsidian are opening up about a possible buyout.

If it did go ahead, it would make sense. Microsoft has been snapping up companies all year, including Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Playground Games, but Obsidian represents an opportunity to land an RPG developer with pedigree. From Obsidian’s standpoint, though Pillars and its sequel performed well, they are a 170-strong studio and the cost of running it may be taking its toll. Having the financial clout of Microsoft behind it would let it start a new chapter in its development and hopefully release more of the RPG goodness we’ve come to love over the last few years.

It’s by no means a certainty, but when there are rumours coming from multiple sources combined with the tight lips of both parties, we’ll be surprised if we don’t hear confirmation within a month.

Conclusion Four: Sony finally answers the question: “What’s in a name?”

After years of waiting, Sony has finally announced that gamers can change their PSN Online ID. Microsoft, of course, have had this feature for ages and it seems that Sony has taken a leaf from their accounting book. By that, we mean you can change your handle once for free, but any further changes will require you to cough up some hard currency — specifically $9.99 a pop, or $4.99 if you have PS+.

There are caveats though. Of course there are.

Firstly, this is only currently available as part of a preview program which previous PS4 software beta testers were part of. 

Secondly, and more worryingly, changing your name may actually break some games which relied on the old PSN ID:

"This feature is compatible with PS4 games originally published after April 1, 2018, and a large majority of the most-played PS4 games that were released before this date. However, please note not all games and applications for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita systems are guaranteed to support the online ID change, and users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games." — Sid Shuman Director, Social Media

Gah.

Sony has said that if you do experience problems, reverting back (once) is free, and “will resolve most problems”. Note the use of the word “most” here. We can’t imagine people will be happy to have their game saves wiped or trophies lost because of Sony’s system software being unable to handle a change that they’re charging for. But that’s the price you pay: a PSN ID by any other name may not play as sweet, but at least it’ll finally mean you’re no longer stuck with “n00b_idiot_69” when you drunkenly registered it as a bet all those years ago.

Conclusion Five: PC has its killer app...in 2022

In the 90s, Goldeneye was all the rage. It pretty much still is. Glorious local multiplayer excellence without equal, from Nintendo’s console (the N64) and Rare’s minds. An odd combination, but my word did everyone who had access to an N64 play that game ad infinitum. Except me. But I digress.

Due to rights issues which extend and twist further and more often than any other gaming rights issue (probably), we were unlikely to see any re-release or remaster of this beloved game. Why? Due to many unanswered questions including: 

- who owns the Bond licence now? (Answer: no-one, so come on developers and publishers, please) 

- who owns Rare? (Answer: not Nintendo as it’s actually Bill Gates’ old company), and 

- do Nintendo want a violent multiplayer game on any of their systems anyway given they can’t quite get online right and for some bizarre reason nobody does local multiplayer anymore? (Hint: they should). 

We've answered the questions easily, but this seems beyond "normal" developers. So when some chap decided to rebuild the entire game in Unreal Engine 4 ready for 2022 (according to Kotaku) then we all have to stand and listen, clap and just wait patiently for what could be a glorious killer app for PC gaming once more.

Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 30+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the Nintendo Switch and most things in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple right now, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either ad infinitum...