Fallout Boy: A Recap of the Bethesda E3 2018 Showcase

Bethesda had an interesting 2017. Despite a lacklustre trip to Bethesdaland and reports that several of its games didn’t meet sales targets, the company was still the number one publisher on Metacritic, a fact proudly claimed by Senior VP of Global Marketing Pete Hines. Though if this year’s E3 press conference is any indication, 2018 and beyond are going to be very big and important years for the publisher.

The show kicked off quite literally with a bang as inspirational speaker Andrew W.K. and his band introduced us to to the recently unveiled Rage 2, as well as endless shots of audience members not understanding that they were in the presence of a Party God. We got a deeper look at the game, which seems to be the marriage between Avalanche Studios’ open world game design and the combat sensibilities of id Software’s Doom, with the aesthetic of a fever dream. Expect to rage again sometime in 2019.

As for id Software proper, Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin made a brief appearance to announce Doom Eternal. While we didn’t get any gameplay, we got plenty of teases: A more powerful Doom Slayer, more demons to kill and even a look at Hell on Earth. No date was announced, but more will be shown at QuakeCon in August.

While Arkane Austin may have had some Mimic problems, the studio was able to quell them in time to announce some significant updates coming to Prey. A major update hitting the game as you read this will include a Story Mode difficulty setting, a New Game Plus mode, and a Survival mode. It’s also getting two DLC packs: the newly available Moon Crash, a survival mode where every run through the mode is never the same twice; and Typhon Hunter, a 5v1 multiplayer mode which will employ bold teamwork strategies as one soldier goes up against five players who have the powers of a Mimic.

Typhon Hunter will also be coming to VR as part of Bethesda’s initiative to support the fledgling platform; as will a brand new Wolfenstein title, as part of Bethesda’s initiative to spread the message of “Fuck Nazis” to every platform possible. Speaking of which, MachineGames made a brief on-stage appearance to announce a brand new title. Wolfenstein Youngblood will be set in Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1980s. You’ll be playing as BJ Blazkowicz’s twin daughters, either solo or in co-op, as they proceed to carry the family tradition of brutal Nazi murder alive. No further details were mentioned, aside from a 2019 release window.

If the first half of the show was a standard affair for E3 press conferences, things kicked into overdrive when it became time to talk about the upcoming work of Bethesda Game Studios. Our guide through this period of delirium was none other than Todd Howard, the patron saint of the New Game Plus Discord, who charismatically and effortlessly weaved his way through massive announcements, timing miscues and audience interjection.

First off, Fallout 76, which will see you rebuilding the world after the War — with actual humans! Fallout 76 will be always online, but Bethesda is going out of its way to ensure that it won’t be as brutal an experience as similar survival games. You’ll be connected with a dozen players at any time, death will not be punishing, and your progress carries with you when you connect with other players. Though if the notion of online Fallout with other people worries you, this is still a Bethesda game, so there’s still a quest and and you can play the game solo.

As for the game itself, it’ll be set in West Virginia, with a massive visual and technical improvement over Fallout 4. It’s a world that’s still somewhat lush, and Bethesda has taken folklore of the area as inspiration for the game. You’ll be able to build wherever you want in the world, and move your buildings anywhere. And if things break down to the point where a nuclear option is necessary, there are several nuclear missile sites in the game world. While a beta will be coming soonish, you’ll be able to rebuild the world from 14 November this year. If you’re after a Fallout experience right now, Fallout Shelter, which just celebrated its third anniversary, has just been released on the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Todd Howard also announced another major Bethesda franchise is going mobile. The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a free to play Elder Scrolls experience that aims to bring an entire Bethesda RPG onto your phone, either in portrait or landscape mode. It’s coming with hand crafted and procedurally generated dungeons, as well as a town building system in which you can see what your friends have built. It’s not quite Skyrim for phones, but Bethesda is at least aware that game is everywhere, even on Amazon Echo devices.

To close out the show, we got a look at the future of Bethesda Game Studios with two quick teases. Starfield, the first new Bethesda IP in 25 years, was unveiled with a logo reveal. But for those wanting something a bit less sci-fi, there was the tease for the next game after that: The Elder Scrolls VI.

If last year leaned far too hard into the kitschy Bethesdaland setting in lieu of major announcements or humanity, this year traded it for significant reveals and developer presence. We got a better look at Bethesda’s future, and what it showed was exciting. Who would have thought all you needed to make a better show was Todd Howard?

(And just in case you were craving another way of playing Skyrim, you can actually play the Very Special Edition on Amazon Echo. Thanks Todd.)

Unboxing Video: EA Play at E3 2018

2017 was a disastrous year for EA, including a laughably bad E3 presentation and the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box debacle. The company has spent much of this year apologising for these decisions, and this formed a recurring theme during EA Play. Gone were the Influencers and Game Changers, the phrase “Creative Cave” was uttered precisely zero times and EA CEO Andrew Wilson was limited to two appearances, one of which was to effectively apologise for the company’s actions. This year, EA delved extensively into sci-fi, shooters and sports and, with a couple of exceptions, provided a conservative showcase of the year ahead.

The show kicked off proper with a brief look at Battlefield V. Coming off its reveal last month, DICE’s Oskar Gabrielson and Lars Gustavsson talked about how Battlefield V will feature the ability to dive and smash through windows, the return of full scale destruction, the ability to move defensive weaponry, and in a series first, the ability to visually customise your character and weapon — all without loot boxes and no premium pass!

After a quick pitch on the returning War Stories campaign, we got the biggest reveal yet: Battle Royale is coming to Battlefield V as a post-launch update. DICE described the concept as being reimagined for Battlefield, focusing on the core of what makes that game unique: team play and vehicles.

FIFA 19 was next up, and this year’s big feature is the inclusion of the UEFA Champions League, the biggest international club football championship in the world. The UCL will permeate every facet of the game, from Career Modes, to content in FIFA Ultimate Team, and it will be the focus of Alex Hunter’s story in The Journey: Champions.

Fans of NBA Live and Madden will be happy to know their games got some stage time. NBA Live 19 got a quick trailer to showcase the more worldly version of their single player mode, The One. Madden NFL 19 got its usual trailer of Frostbite-powered NFL action, but was bizarrely introduced with Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster interviewing Madden NFL 18 Bowl winner Shay “YoungKiv” Kivlen about his rise to Madden esports prominence. It went about as well as you expect.

Speaking of Madden, it will be making its return to the PC this year after a long absence, and will be a part of EA’s newest subscription service: Origin Access Premier. It’s the next tier up from the already existing Origin Access, but instead of merely getting early access to trials of full games, you’ll receive early access to the full games in addition to access to the already existing titles in the Origin Access Vault. Pricing is $19.99 AUD per month, or $129.99 per year, and will launch later this year.

Arguably the highlight of the show was the EA Originals block. We were treated to two new games from two passionate European developers. Unravel Two showed off a second Yarny (in-game, no yarn people on stage) who’ll be your constant companion throughout the game, even if you’re playing solo. While I could tell you all about the much more action packed levels or how the two Yarnys have impacted puzzle design, you can experience it for yourself as the game is out right now!

The second game announced as part of this block was Sea of Solitude, by Berlin-based Jo-Mei Games. Sea of Solitude is a game about loneliness, and how it transforms people into monsters. Kay, the player character, is a young girl whose loneliness has transformed her into a literal monster, and is searching for a cure to his ailment. Not much was revealed about the game aside from its striking look, but it’ll certainly be one to look forward to.

Fresh off the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, we got our first taste of EA’s next big Star Wars game courtesy of developer (and recent EA acquiree) Respawn Games. Titled Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, you’ll be playing as a Jedi during in the 30 year gap between Episodes III and IV. It will come out during Holiday 2019.

EA then took the time to unveil the return of one of its classic franchises with Command & Conquer Rivals, a competitive 1v1 strategy game designed for mobile devices. The game might not be the return people would be expecting, and the excruciatingly long on stage demo isn’t going to do the game any favours (editor’s note: it was only four and a half minutes, but it dragged so hard I wish Albert Einstein used his time machine to put an early end to the segment).

After being announced at last year’s EA Play, we finally got our first proper look at Anthem. While it does follow in some familiar footsteps, Bioware was quick to point out the differences . Narrative will be a big focus here, and the team is aiming to bring the stories Bioware is known for to this genre.

Players are designated as Freelancers, with classes not set by choices at the start of the game, but what mech suit (known as Javelins) they choose. You’re free to choose what Javelin you wish, and you’ll be able to customise them as such. Like every other title as part of EA’s Apology Tour, you can’t pay for power, and the contents of any microtransactions will be very clear up front. You’ll have plenty of time to save up for those EVA Unit-01 colours, because Anthem is coming on 22 February 2019.

EA’s press conference was understated compared to previous years. A few surprises, but otherwise, pretty safe with minimal cringe. It made for a duller show, but given the last twelve months, it was probably a better move. Last year, my one hope was EA would tone down the influencer prominence, and the company certainly did that this year. For next year, I’d be happy to suffer a hundred bad demos of mobile Command & Conquer games for something, anything about a certain skateboarding franchise that needs to return. But maybe that’s just me.

A Strain of Influencers: EA Play at E3 2017

Around this time every year, EA likes to remind us that it does things differently to the rest of the industry; just look at last year’s Los Angeles-London show and the developer-centric show from years before. This time around, EA continued to defy expectation with its EA Play event, and like last year it was a combination of promising and punishing.

Where EA has previously been very friendly with influencers and content creators, this year saw EA entirely embracing them. Not only did CEO Andrew Wilson’s opening speech give plenty of lip service to the greater community, content creators were a major theme of the event. This was an event where a DICE LA producer uttered the words “Creative Cave” without irony as he talked about upcoming updates to Battlefield 1.

This went both ways. Having podcasters like Men in Blazers talking FIFA 18 came across well, with plenty of charisma and entertainment. This wasn’t the case with PrankVsPrank’s Jesse Wellens. His introduction for Need for Speed Payback made for E3 2017’s first moment of pure cringe. I’m still not sure what was worse: Jesse Wellens or EA boasting about bringing in players for Star Wars Battlefront II playtesting and dubbing them the Game Changers.

Speaking of, Star Wars Battlefront II saw the bulk of EA’s press conference. It was one of the few bright spots of the event, heightened by the presence of actor Janina Gavankar (The League, Far Cry 4), who plays Commander Iden Versio in the single player campaign.

Gavankar’s charismatic performance and passion for games (if her Twitter account is any indication) was on show as she announced Battlefront II’s approach to DLC. The game will feature themed seasonal content, with heroes, maps and modes added for free. The first season was confirmed to focus around The Last Jedi, with actor John Boyega making a surprise appearance to confirm Finn and Captain Phasma will be in Battlefront II.

Passion was what drove Josef Fares, creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, to establish Hazelight, a studio dedicated to telling stories whilst also pushing the boundaries of gameplay. After being teased at The Game Awards back in 2014, Fares formally announced A Way Out, the second title published under the EA Originals label. The first EA Original, Fe, didn’t receive any updates this year.

A Way Out is a co-op game featuring two prisoners, Leo and Vincent, aiming to escape captivity, re-enter the world and follow up on some loose ends. Fares intends for players to experience this game in person, though online play was confirmed. As far as the co-op goes, both characters will have different perspectives and objectives; one scenario saw Vincent prisoner playing distration whilst Leo stole a laundry cart.

Unlike last year, the EA Originals game wasn’t the only new game to debut at EA’s press conference. EA Vice President Patrick Söderlund took the stage to talk about EA’s future. He first announced the Search For Extraordinary Experiences Division, or SEED, a forward thinking team at EA looking at concepts like machine learning or AI to enhance its games. Then out of nowhere, Söderlund surprised everyone with a teaser for Bioware’s newest IP,  Anthem. With more set to be a part of Microsoft’s press conference, it looks unlike anything Bioware has done to date.

EA’s roster of sporting titles is getting a major single-player push. Following in the footsteps of last year’s FIFA, Madden 18 will feature a story mode called “The Longshot”. FIFA 18 will continue the story of Alex Hunter in “The Journey: Hunter Returns”. NBA Live 18 will feature The One, a career mode where you define your legacy across street basketball, pro-am and eventually the NBA.

After its reveal a few weeks ago, Need for Speed: Payback saw its first gameplay footage, with executive producer Marcus Nilsson describing it as an action driving fantasy. We saw a set piece involving a dramatic truck chase that concluded with the players cornered by the police. While the game looked fine enough, it’s hard to watch the crashes and takedowns without thinking of a certain scrapped EA racing franchise…

EA kicked off E3 2017 with a more daring presentation than last year. Anthem and A Way Out look set to be fascinating games to watch, and the doubling down on single player modes in its sports games is an interesting approach. My one suggestion for next year would be to feature less influencers and lessen their prominence. If it means more interesting announcements, then it would be an acceptable sacrifice.

Hold The Line: Thoughts On Switch Online and Nintendo’s Online Heritage

With days until E3 2017, Nintendo re-announced its paid online suite for the Switch, clarifying details in newspaper interviews and press conferences.

There are three big takeaways from the announcement: The service will cost $AU29.95 for a yearly subscription; You’ll be able to pay for the service in 2018, with 2017 remaining free for all users; and finally, Nintendo is offering a library of classic games featuring online enhancements.

And yet I’m still not sold on what Nintendo is offering.

Nintendo now charging for online functionality raises a certain level of expectation on the service. A lot of where Nintendo’s pitch hangs in the balance is how they treat the library of classic games. An on-demand library of games from Nintendo’s back catalogue is undeniably appealing. Couple that with the low monthly fee, and this is almost a no-brainer to me.

My biggest worry is the execution. Nintendo has a long and storied history of treating their past with a disdain and apathy. I loved the idea of the Virtual Console, but it has always been problematic. Every iteration of the service has had its share of issues and they’ve all been baffling.

The 3DS is a prime example of Nintendo’s questionable Virtual Console practices at their worst. Despite adding Nintendo Network support, Virtual Console purchases weren’t unified between systems. If you wanted the luxury of playing games like Urban Champion on the go, but also wanted to play it at home, you’d have to pay twice.

The same goes with SNES games, and that’s not getting into it being a feature exclusive to the New 3DS. It was so ridiculous that it was a constant worry every time I purchased a Virtual Console game — where do I play it on?

As far as the rest of the offerings Nintendo are aiming to add with their paid online, I could care less about the smartphone app to chat with my friends. I’ve got Discord for that. Just the promise of an on-demand library of Nintendo games, accessible for $30 a year, would more than justify the existence of the paid tier to me. I’m also praying that because it’s a paid service, everything about it will be clear and easy to use.

There’s plenty of reason to be doubtful of Nintendo doing right by its back catalogue. The fact that it’s confident enough in the service to justify annual payments speaks some volumes. But then again we all said that about the previous iterations of the Virtual Console.

Awesome Nix: Spare the Pre-Release Reveals and Surprise Me

I should be far more excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 than I actually am. It’s the first comic book movie since 2014 that I’m genuinely excited to see, but as we inch ever close to release, I’m worried about the amount of information getting out there.

While no plot spoilers have been revealed, various members of the Guardians team have been happily talking to the press and public about specific elements of the movie, and they’re being posting them without any warning or way of avoiding spoilers. Details about the soundtrack, casting and even the amount of post-credit sequences have become public knowledge ahead of the movie’s release.

It’s becoming an increasingly worrying trend amongst tentpole Hollywood releases to reveal more and more about a movie ahead of release. Spider-Man: Homecoming recently came under fire for effectively revealing a majority of the plot in its two minute trailer, and  Ghost in the Shell’s trailer all but revealed its plot twist.

Sadly, this has been proven to work. In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Matt Brubaker (president of theatrical at PR agency Trailer Park) offered this: “Nine times out of 10, the more of the plot you give away, the more interest you garner from the audiences. Audiences respond to the trailers with more of the movie.”

While Brubaker’s belief didn’t exactly hold true for Ghost in the Shell’s box office performance, it’s also a belief I wholeheartedly disagree with. There’s no greater power than surprise, and it’s something that’s been especially true in the recent gaming landscape.

My frontrunner for 2017’s Game of the Year is Nier: Automata, and while I certainly would’ve enjoyed it had I gone into it knowing its key moments, there’s no way it would have become my fervent and unwavering pick for 2017’s best game if I’d known those specifics. From the very first moment, I wasn’t sure where the game would go and I was exceptionally happy that I didn’t know. Whenever director Yoko Taro sharply turned the game on its head, it left me wanting more.  It’s a game I have recommended to people and told them explicitly to not read up on anything prior. Very few games have made me speak this way.

Even before Nier: Automata, From Software made themselves household names with the Souls games, a series that thrived on letting players figure things out for themselves. Game Designer and Podcaster Jim Crawford has made something of a career of making games about discovery and surprise in the age of spoilers. There’s a reason why his games, Frog Fractions and its sequel, are lauded and yet not really spoken about.

While I have no doubt that revealing key information about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 won’t affect its box office performance or how people perceive it, it’s unfortunate that this has become the norm. There’s still a place for surprise, and maybe I’m old fashioned, but it’s depressing to see this go away with so little resistance.

After all, everyone remembers the first time they learnt about Luke Skywalker’s father, or the truth about Dr. Malcolm Crowe, and it sure as hell wasn’t before release.

Two Player: EA's E3 2016 "EA Play" Event

EA Play Titanfall 2

For the last few years, EA has kicked off its press conferences with some variant of the phrase “we like to do things differently.” While it’s standard corporate speak at this point, this year EA meant it more than ever. Aside from now being the first of the E3 2016 conferences, the company made the decision to not only show its wares outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center, but hold an event simultaneously in LA and London. So with all this change, did EA actually bring anything new and exciting?

Fans of EA’s sci-fi wares were well served…unless your sci-fi game didn’t feature grappling hooks or mechs shooting at each other, in which case you were treated to a sizzle reel of developers hard at work; apologies to all you Star Wars and Mass Effect fans. Titanfall 2 was given a proper showing, with all its mechs and grappling hooks. Respawn Entertainment’s Vince Zampella was on hand to not only welcome PS4 players into the fold, but to formally announce a single player campaign “for the four people who didn’t see the leak.”

FIFA 17 saw the biggest sports push at the conference. Aside from announcing the usual improvements (this year’s buzzwords include “Physical Play Overhaul” and “Active Intelligence System”) Peter Moore played to the London crowd by announcing several Premier League managers will be present in the game, including his homeboy (and yours), Liverpool’s Jüergen Klopp.

We were also introduced to Alex Hunter. Never heard of him? Don’t worry, no-one has; he’s the fictional Manchester United footballer you’ll be playing as in FIFA 17’s brand new story mode ‘The Journey.’ While Peter Moore wouldn’t confirm any 10 minute ghost monologues, he was quick to point out this is only possible because of the power of Frostbite.

By far the most interesting announcements at the conference weren’t for games, but for several company-wide initiatives. Peter Moore detailed more on the EA Competitive Division announced back in December. Aside from several types of championships and events, Moore announced the first big event in the EA Championship series, a Madden NFL 17 Championship with a $1 million prize. Moore affirmed that Madden is just the start, and that he will bring competitive gaming to the wider EA games family.

EA is also giving a million dollars to charity with its “Play To Give” initiative. The company is partnering with five charities around the world and donating money based on player competed tasks across their games. Winning the “Play to Win” cup in FIFA will not only score you a megapack of cards for FIFA Ultimate Team, but also a donation to charity. Finally, EA has given all of you a good reason to check out Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.

Following the acclaim and success of Unravel, EA Vice President Patrick Söderlund announced EA Originals. The initiative is based on three things: Finding unique experiences and bringing them to the world, supporting small developers and, most importantly, offering them security and funding. All of the profits from the program will go directly to the developers. The first title in the program will be Fe by the 20 person strong studio Zoink Games in Gothenburg, Sweden. The game looks to be the tale of a young cub, the relationship with we have with nature and our longing to be one with the world around us.

Closing out the conference was Battlefield 1. After showing 30 seconds of a trailer that would close out the segment, DICE’s Patrick Bach discussed the origins of the game and how no two battles would ever be the same, citing how dynamic weather and player controlled “Behemoths” (armoured trains, zeppelins) would achieve this, permanently changing the battle map mid-battle. And because you need it, here’s a gif of Snoop Dogg smoking a blunt whilst playing Battlefield 1.

It was a safe, but otherwise enjoyable conference from EA. FIFA’s attempt to take on NBA2K in the ‘sports game story’ attempt should prove entertaining, and Battlefield, even with its horrible musical choices in its trailers, looks the goods. While only one new game announcement is disappointing, the new initiatives look to be a fascinating step forward for the company.

NG+ Game of the Year 2015: Jamie's Top Five

GOTY 2015 - Jamie ii

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I was lamenting how 2014 was a disappointing year for games. This year? The turnaround is nuts. Choosing one game, let alone five, to represent the year as a whole, was actually pretty damned challenging.

Seriously, this took way longer than it honestly should have.

Guitar Hero

5. Guitar Hero Live

[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Guitar Hero Live]

2015 saw the return of both Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and they couldn’t be any more different. While Rock Band 4 played it super safe, Activision and Freestyle Games decided to start fresh with a new guitar and Full Motion Video interface. It was a recipe for disaster that played out much better than I expected.

The new guitar is great to play with and mastering the new fret layout is a satisfying challenge. Where the game shone was the music video streaming service GHTV. It was easily the coolest mode added to the genre in years, and I hope we see more of this going forward. Sure, there are arguments you could make about ownership of your own music, but it’s not something that’s especially bothersome to me (that gripe lies with the on disc tracks).

Seriously, give it a shot. It was by far the most interesting rhythm game of 2015, and an exciting push forward for the genre.

Her Story i

4. Her Story

[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Her Story]

Her Story is a full motion video video game where you watch a woman being interviewed about her missing husband. To go into the story any deeper than that would be a detriment to the experience, because there’s nothing quite like it, and it deserves to be played.

The core of the gameplay is searching for clips, watching them, and using specific words and phrases to dig deeper into the mystery. It’s left up to the player to piece it together. What works is the writing and the fantastic subtleties in Viva Seifert’s performance that makes the mystery incredibly compelling.

In its two hours, I was given something truly unique and different. It gave me yet another reminder that games can do some really cool things with non-linearity and interactivity.

Super Mario Maker

3. Super Mario Maker

[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Super Mario Maker]

I’ve always been fascinated by games which feature user generated content, but always ended up kind of turned off by the complexity and time required to make something truly great. Super Mario Maker gets around the complexity issue with ease, while also still offering enough to make something special.

Creating a level takes almost no time at all, the editor is stupidly charming, and there’s a real satisfaction in playing and testing your level to see what works and what doesn’t. The requirement to pass your level to even upload it is fantastic.

It also features my favourite new mode of 2015: The 100 Mario Challenge. Something about clearing sets of randomly uploaded levels remains weirdly satisfying to me, and it’s a great way to see what the community has come up with.

While better level and creator searching tools would’ve been appreciated, it’s a slight damper on a fantastic experience. Between this and Splatoon, it’s the perfect swansong for the Wii U.

Life is Strange

2. Life Is Strange

[Watch New Game Plus’ review of Life is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis]

2015’s been a good year for choice based adventure gaming. If I had my way, this pick would be Life is Strange, Until Dawn and Tales From The Borderlands. All three are fantastic in their own ways and are worthy of your time and attention. Why just Life is Strange? Because it doesn’t feel like anything else released in 2015.

Aside from the cringe-inducing dialogue, the story just grabbed me. None of the mystery was over-explained (save for an awful cop out towards the end), the tone and pace was fantastic, and the fact that developer Dontnod didn’t completely ape Telltale’s style was refreshing. The game also made fantastic use of sunsets and sunrises in combination with its visual style to create some truly beautiful moments.

But most importantly, it clicked with me in a way that Until Dawn and Borderlands didn’t, especially with the fantastic ending.

The Witcher 3

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

[Watch New Game Plus’ review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt]

There were a lot of open world games released in 2015. Some good, some disappointing, but none of them hooked me like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Right from the get go, I was ready to see how Geralt’s tale ended, and unlike most game trilogies, it closed the loop in a satisfying way. It looks great, the combat works, I love CD Projekt’s commitment to patch every issue the game has. But these are just the tip of the iceberg for why I think it’s the best game of 2015; underneath all this was an amazing universe to explore.

Each of the three major story areas told their own individual story, all of which were better than most games released this year. Velen’s fractured family dynamic is fantastic and surprisingly frank. Novigrad is the game I wanted the entirety of Dragon Age II to be. Skellige and it’s tale of warring clans was the weakest of the three, but was still engaging enough. All three areas were designed so well that I wanted to seek out every nook and cranny and take my time with it. No other open world game this year did that.

In a year filled with timesink gaming, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is top of the class. Everything about this game worked and commanded my attention. If you haven’t played it by now, and you need a new world to lose yourself in, The Witcher is that game.

Come back tomorrow for more of the New Game Plus crew’s favourite games of 2015. And watch our 2015 Game of the Year Special.

Australian Senate To Launch Australian Game Development Inquiry

Aust Senate

An Inquiry into the Australian video game development industry moved by Greens Deputy Leader and  Communications Spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam was approved by the Senate on Monday. The Senate Inqury will look into how the Government could support game developers though tax frameworks and how to potentially attract international game companies.

“Internationally, companies have experienced strong growth thanks to smart government support and favourable regulatory settings,” said Senator Ludlam, “In Australia, no such luck: the sector has been treated like the poor cousin of the creative industries”

“This inquiry will help establish what the government should be doing to support Australia’s games industry and the employment, economic and creative benefits it delivers to the nation.”

This comes after the Federal Government abolished the Australian Interactive Games Fund in its 2014 Budget, removing $10 million in funding.

The inquiry will begin to accept public submissions shortly, with a final report due April 2016.

Death Note Getting Live Action TV Drama

(In brief) NTV has announced a live action adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba’s manga Death Note, set to air in Japan in July. To better work as a televised drama, the show will feature new plot elements to expand upon the story, and the character of Near (who didn’t feature in the two live action movies) will be present in this adaptation of the story.

The new drama marks the fourth live action adaptation of Death Note, following two movies based on the story, and a spin-off focusing on character L.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Announced

Disney Interactive Studios LogoDisney announced the third iteration of its Disney Infinity franchise, Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition, featuring characters from the Star Wars universe and contributions from various development studios. Three separate playsets will show off the major eras of the Star Wars franchise.

The starting set, Twilight of the Republic  is set around the Clone Wars TV series with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsaka Tano battling against a Droid Army. Yoda, Darth Maul and Mace Windu will also be playable. It will be developed by Ninja Theory (DmC: Devil May Cry). Continue reading Disney Infinity 3.0 Announced