Dan Burke guides us through the most pressing gaming stories of the last month, slap on your Virtual Boys and let’s get into it!
Nintendo finally revealed their new console in a short video this month. The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that has the capability to be connected to your TV or taken on the go. The trailer shows off how the handheld device snaps out of the main unit, which transfers the gameplay from the TV to the handheld’s screen. The handheld portion of the console has two detachable controllers either side of the unit that can be held separately in each hand or shared among players for local multiplayer. There is a kick stand on the back of the unit and the trailer shows that the Switch supports local multiplayer using multiple consoles as well as split screen on a single device; using NBA 2K17 and Mario Kart to showcase this.
The console has a headphone jack, uses game cartridges, but Nintendo are yet to confirm if there is a touch screen or any sort of compatibility with cartridges from the 3DS. A large portion of the trailer was dedicated to the Switch’s capability to be a portable console, but there was a showcase of a new pro controller that can be used instead of the detachable ‘Joy-Con’ controllers.
Nintendo also announced a long list of third party developers and publishers that are supporting the Nintendo Switch, but the WiiU also had a fairly extensive, albeit smaller, list of partners that were quick to drop support for the console. Questions about battery life, pricing, a specific release date and a confirmed list of launch titles outside of the new Legend of Zelda remain unanswered and it seems that Nintendo won’t be announcing any more features or news on the Switch until next year.
Read Dead Redemption 2
One hour after the Nintendo Switch was revealed, Rockstar released a trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2. Due for release in Autumn 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One, the teaser only gives a short glimpse of the game Rockstar are creating. Interestingly there is no confirmation of a PC version, although this will probably be released months later, similarly to the PC version of GTAV. There is also a confirmation of new online multiplayer mode for the game on Rockstar’s website.
Video Game Voice Actor Strike
After a final attempt to come to an agreement with video game employers was unsuccessful, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) has gone on strike. The two main issues are that of transparency and secondary compensation. The guild is unhappy with voice actors being unaware of the title of the game that they are working on. The guild also wants the opportunity for the employer to buy out an actor by paying a bonus upfront or provide a bonus after the game is released, if the game sells more than 2 million copies.
Electronic Arts, Activision, WB Games and Take 2 Interactive are a few examples of big publishers in the list provided SAG-AFTRA’s website and this strike affects all games that went into production after Feb. 17th 2015. A spokesperson for the companies cited in the strike stated,
“We had hoped this would be successful, but union leadership left mediation without providing a counteroffer. We urged union leaders to put the package to a vote of their membership, but union leaders refused”
In a statement SAG-AFTRA said,
“This group of video game employers knowingly feeds off other industries that pay these same performers fairly to make a living. This represents a ‘freeloader model of compensation’ that we believe cannot and should not continue.”
Examples of notable voice actors that are in favour of the strike include: Ashly Burch, Jennifer Hale, Will Wheaton and David Hayter who were involved in Life is Strange, Mass Effect, Broken Age and Metal Gear Solid respectively.
Even More Access
EA Access subscribers can rejoice as EA have announced that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Star Wars Battlefront and UFC2 will be added to the vault by the end of the year. There will also be a 10-hour trial available for the newly released Battlefield 1, which allows full access to the multiplayer and the first two missions in the campaign. Origin Access subscribers will also get access to all these benefits apart form UFC2, which is unavailable on PC. Recently Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 was added to the vault, along with a range of Xbox Live Arcade titles from PopCap.
To finish up this month the Playstation VR is finally available in stores. The headset is priced at £349.99, which offers a lower entry price into virtual reality compared with the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive (assuming you own the required Playstation camera) and finally the frustration from PS4 Bethesda fans is slightly lifted as Bethesda have announced that mods will be coming to Skyrim Special Edition. Despite supporting mods in a more limited format, the game will reserve 1GB of space for mods on PS4 (compared with 5GB on the Xbox One) and will not allow the use of outside assets.
– DAN BURKE