Voice actor strike reveals unannounced games like Lego Marvel 2, Brothers in Arms, more
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Titanfall 2, World of Final Fantasy, Skyrim Special Edition, more added to PS Store
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The PlayStation Store is about to get a little more epic this week as a handful of big games are now available to download on the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita.
First up, the Titanfall franchise will make its PS4 debut this week with the launch of Titanfall 2. The second collaboration between EA and Respawn will add new Titans, new weapons, new multiplayer options, and an expansive new single-player campaign to the series.
Also available this week is World of Final Fantasy, Square Enix’s reimagining of the Final Fantasy franchise for younger players. Designed using the “chibi” art style, World of Final Fantasy will merge together many of the greatest heroes and villains from the franchise’s lengthy history in an RPG that’s now available to download for the PS4 and PS Vita.
And speaking of epic RPGs, Bethesda will bring The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition to the PS4 this week. In addition to the main game and all its expansion, the Skyrim Special Edition will include support for mods and additional technical wizardry that adds “remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections, and more” to the game.
PS4 and PS3 owners will also be able to launch into some epic dance moves with the release of Just Dance 2017.
Finally, a pair of episodic games will receive new chapters this week on the PS4 and PS3. Batman: The Telltale Series will reach the halfway point with Episode 3: New World Order. And The Odd Gentlemen will bring the King’s Quest reboot to a close with Chapter 5: The Good Knight.
More information on all of these games (and a big batch of other new releases) can be found after the break. And, as always, the PlayStation Blog has a complete rundown of this week’s new add-ons and discounts. (more…)
Dragon Quest Builders was released for the PS4 and Vita a few weeks ago, and Square Enix’s Noriyoshi Fujimoto recently sat down with MCV to discuss the game’s development.
Naturally, the conversation eventually shifted to questions about the future of the Dragon Quest franchise in Western locales like the US and UK. While Fujimoto couldn’t make any specific announcements, he did confirm that Square Enix is “committed” to launching more Dragon Quest games outside of Japan:
MCV: How do you think Dragon Quest Builders will affect the series’ Western performance going forwards?
Fujimoto: 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest series. It’s not as well known in the West as we would like but it really plays an epoch making role in the console gaming history. If gamers were to “discover” Dragon Quest now, they may be surprised to the sheer breadth of the universe, in terms of variety and depth. But they would also have instant access to something that has taken us 30 years to build. Dragon Quest Builders is definitely a great way of getting the feel of Dragon Quest while having great fun right from the start.
We’re committed to bringing more Dragon Quest titles in the West as we believe it truly has potential to succeed even better. So watch this space.
Square Enix plans to make good on their promise soon, as they’ll partner with Nintendo to release Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King on the 3DS sometime next year.
The publisher will also launch Dragon Quest XI: In Search of the Departed Time on the 3DS, PS4, and Switch in Japan next Spring, but it’s currently unknown if a Western translation is in the cards.
EA and Respawn Entertainment will storm their way into stores this week with Titanfall 2 for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. In addition to expanded multiplayer options, Titanfall 2 will include a single-player campaign for the first time. We can finally say it… Your Titanfall sequel is ready.
Also available this week is World of Final Fantasy, a new “chibi” RPG from Square Enix that celebrates the grand history of the Final Fantasy franchise. Designed primarily for a younger audience, PS4 and Vita players will still need to save the world from an evil mastermind. Thankfully, they’ll be aided by dozens of heroes from previous games in the series.
If you’d rather skip all the fighting and just dance, Ubisoft has you covered with the launch of Just Dance 2017 on the PC, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Just Dance 2017 includes dozens of songs, and the new Just Dance Machine mode, which will throw an assortment of different dance styles at players.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition will make its PC, PS4, and Xbox One debut this week, as Bethesda plans to relaunch their epic RPG on a new generation of platforms. And Telltale will bring together Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure on a single disc for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Finally this week, one of my favorite puzzlers of the year, Tumblestone, will receive a retail release on the PS4 and Wii U.
A complete list of this week’s new retail releases can be found after the break. (more…)
SAG-AFTRA, a union representing voice actors and stunt performers, authorized a strike against game developers that began this morning. As part of the process, the union has published a list of projects that members are no longer allowed to work on, and it includes several unannounced games.
It wasn’t much of a shock to learn that EA Sports is already hard at work on Madden NFL 18 and NHL 18, but listings for Lego Marvel 2 and Brothers in Arms were a bit more surprising (though not unexpected). While WB Games has yet to make any noise about a new Lego Marvel game, Gearbox confirmed the existence of a fourth Brothers in Arms game last year.
A large number of mobile games also make up a large part of the list, as well as a few games that are denoted only by codenames. For example, Take-Two is working on something called “Alligator,” while EA is developing games under monikers as diverse as “Odin,” “Fearless,” “Scorpion,” and “Timbits.” We may never know what these codenames refer to (they may even belong to games that have already been released), but one of the union’s major demands is for developers to be more transparent during the hiring process and to use a game’s actual title when contracting with vocal/stunt performers.
Finally, several highly-anticipated 2017 titles will be affected by the strike including Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, Injustice 2, and Crash Bandicoot Remastered. So hopefully the two sides can reach an equitable agreement soon.
Negotiations between game developers and the voice actors and stunt performers represented by the SAG-AFTRA union began in February 2015, but after more than 18 months of discussions, the two sides appear no closer to an agreement. Because of the impasse, and to protest against a contract they believe is decades out of date, the members of the union went on strike this morning.
“SAG-AFTRA has gone to the negotiations table with serious concerns affecting voiceover and stunt performers,” said Ray Rodriguez, the Chief Contracts Officer for SAG-AFTRA. “It’s time for video game employers to take our concerns seriously and negotiate a modern contract based on actor safety, industry precedent and best practices.”
This strike won’t affect all developers, and currently only applies to games that went into production after February 17, 2015 at Activision, Electronic Arts, Insomniac Games, Take-Two Interactive, and WB Games. However, the strike also extends to several independent vocal production studios that do a lot of contract work with the big publishers.
The game developers are offering an immediate 9% salary hike for all performers, and “additional compensation” depending on the number of recording sessions. However, the union’s demands for better working conditions went unmentioned in a statement from the Chief Negotiator for the game developers.
The SAG-AFTRA union plans to push the game developers for a better deal over the next few weeks, and their first order of business is encouraging all members to join a picket line in front of EA’s headquarters this Monday, October 24.
“Come on, boys!” EA and DICE are heading back to the frontlines in Battlefield 1, which launches this week for the PS4. The game will be available to download this Friday, but PS4 owners can get it early if they’re willing to spring for the Early Enlister Edition, which includes bonus downloadable content, or the Ultimate Edition, which comes bundled with the post-launch Premium Pass.
Also available to download this week is a pair of re-releases that will give PS4 players a chance to relive two of WBIE’s PS3-era successes. Batman: Return to Arkham will collect Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City as a single package with “fully remastered and updated visuals” and all previously-released downloadable content. And the Lego Harry Potter Collection brings together Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 with newly redone graphics.
Over on the PS3 side of the PlayStation Store, players will be able to continue Batman: The Telltale Series with this week’s launch of Episode 2: Children of Arkham.
Finally this week, Harmonix will launch the Rivals expansion for Rock Band 4. Players will be able to tackle a brand new campaign mode known as “Rockudrama,” and battle it out with others online in “Rivals Mode.”
More information on all of these games (and a few other new releases) can be found after the break. And a complete listing of this week’s new add-ons and discounts can be found at the PlayStation Blog. (more…)
While the Call of Duty franchise continues to push further and further into the future, EA and DICE are taking the Battlefield franchise back to The Great War for Battlefield 1. The shooter will be available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One this week, and Microsoft is even offering a special Xbox One S + Battlefield 1 Bundle in two sizes… 500 GB and 1 TB.
Firaxis Games and 2K will return with a different sort of trip through time this week with Civilization VI. The strategy game will be released for the PC, and it’ll once again ask players to battle it out with famous world leaders and grow their civilization.
Skylanders fans will get the chance to try out a new entry in the franchise, as Activision will bring Skylanders Imaginators to the PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One this week. For the first time, players will be able to design their own Skylanders characters with the brand new Imaginators system.
In what has become a regular occurrence in the New Retail Releases report, another batch of games will get the re-release treatment this week. WB Games will swoop down to save the day in Batman: Return to Arkham, a PS4 and Xbox One compilation featuring Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The publisher will also package together Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 in Lego Harry Potter Collection, exclusively for the PS4. WayForward will give 3DS owners another chance to pick up Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, this time in a new Retail Edition. Finally, Harmonix will release the Rivals expansion for Rock Band 4 this week, and launch a special Rock Band 4 + Rivals Expansion pack for the PS4 and Xbox One.
A complete look at this week’s new releases can be found after the break. (more…)