5 Conclusions - 20/04/18
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: FIFA 1 - PES 0
For ten years the major selling point for Pro Evolution Soccer — in terms of presentation at least — has been Konami’s licensing of the UEFA Champions League. It was the one area where it beat FIFA. For many the gameplay was the main area where it won out, but sales indicated this was never really a factor for folks. The multiple and superior game modes, like FUT, meant FIFA is the de facto number one.
Now, the license is gone. We don’t yet know where it’s off to but let’s wait for the reveal of FIFA 19 — May most likely if previous years are anything to go by — when I suspect we’ll see EA have snaffled it and FIFA becomes that bit more all-encompassing. Greta news for FIFA fans, bad news for Konami and worse news for Pro Evo players as there will be one less selling point for this year’s iteration.
Conclusion Two: Single-player clearly isn't dead - but Activision didn't get the memo.
God of War might well be the greatest single-player game yet made — there are many challengers of course — and you’ll hear soon from Jump Dash Roll whether we’d agree. Regardless though, it shows that the classic single-player game is in many ways still king, and in every way totally relevant. This is good news for those, like me, who have grown up with them and for various reasons now (fatherhood, for example!) need that opportunity to play something alone when they have those uniquely free twenty minutes or so.
Jade Raymond, currently heading-up an EA studio called Motive (and previously the lead for Assassin’s Creed at Ubisoft) agrees according to US Gamer, even if her parent company does not. So it’s not just us, and thankfully isn’t the entire industry.
Activision, however, seem to be headed to this conclusion. Rumours have surfaced that the forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will have no single-player campaign. This is a sizeable shift given it will be the first time ever this is the case. Multiplayer has always been a significant part of the game, and I’m sure the title will enjoy great success regardless but really? No cool storyline, no chance to replicate those moments from Call of Duty past where you’ve died in a nuclear blast or gotten all ghillied up for some intense assassination attempt? It makes me sad, but also so glad that Sony Santa Monica, Naughty Dog and Motive exist and will be able to give me what I crave, alongside these kind of products which work well, but for only part of the market.
Conclusion Three: Praise the sun - in the summer?
Every Nintendo Switch fan looking forward to the release of From Soft’s Dark Souls Remastered will have to wait a bit longer — the game on this particular platform has been delayed until Summer 2018. No reason has been given to why, but it could be due to technical challenges relating to some of the poorest performing regions from the original release (Blighttown has a mythology all of its own but Lost Izalith wasn’t great in terms of framerate either, where sub-10 FPS was not unknown). It might well be online implementation as jolly cooperation is essential but Nintendo’s architecture is different, and typically less capable than anything on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
It might just be that Bandai Namco wanted to wait for some sun to ensure everyone could praise the sun truly with their Solaire amiibo whilst playing. Maybe.
Conclusion Four: SEGA to release a Mega Drive Mini
This will be great news to those who want to experience the remaining best of the 16-bit era without the ability or know-how to do it already: SEGA is to release a Mega Drive Mini according to Polygon, similar to the NES and SNES Mini Nintendo has released in recent years.
SEGA Japan has announced it all properly but as yet no UK release date or details, other than that it will launch in the US and other territories later this year. A chance to sit a teenie-tiny Mega Drive next to my SNES is one I am certainly looking forward to.
Conclusion Five: Sony and Amazon have fallen out
This is a weird one. On Amazon — both the UK and US sites at least — a variety of PS4 games are unavailable. Looking ahead to Detroit: Become Human and Spider-Man, you can’t pre-order. These are Sony first party games with fixed release dates. You can pre-order elsewhere, so it’s not that Sony haven’t sorted themselves out.
Looking further, you can today buy God of War in the UK but not in the US, via Amazon. You could pre-order Vampyr on the Xbox One at Amazon UK, but not on PlayStation — so it’s not just first party titles.
What’s going on? Is there some conflict between the two companies or are Sony just having some issues with the supply chain via Amazon? Our bet is the former as the supply chain’s worked in the past and won’t be different for retailer X versus retailer Y unless retailer Y is asking for something different — and maybe that’s the case and right now, Sony is not open to agreeing without further discussion? This may be something to keep an eye on.