Kickstart This! Pine
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All Articles: Wildstar
The new releases have begun to dry up as we roll towards the Summer and (in eight days time) the 2014 E3 Expo. Thankfully, Nintendo, Square Enix, NCSoft, and NIS America are here to give us a quartet of new games this week.
Nintendo’s 3DS life simulator, Tomodachi Life, will be available on June 6. Whether you’ve followed the debate over the game’s exclusion of same-sex relationships or not, Tomodachi Life looks like a skewed take on Nintendo’s already-established Animal Crossing franchise. Plus, it features Shaquille O’Neal as himself. If you’re looking for something a little less lighthearted, Square Enix and Airtight Games will release Murdered: Soul Suspect on Tuesday for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game follows Ronan O’Connor, a detective who has been murdered by The Bell Killer. As a ghost, Ronan has to deal with demonic spectres and solve the mystery of his own death. So like Ghost, but with less Whoopi Goldberg (Unless…).
Also available this week is WildStar, a new MMO from NCSoft that eschews the dark and gritty aesthetic of most MMOs and replaces it with colorful locales and anthropomorphized animals. And speaking of colorful, NIS America will release Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection, a diva simulator for the Vita.
Finally, Microsoft will roll out the $399 Kinect-less Xbox One this week. So if you’ve been thinking about adding a new-generation console to your entertainment center, perhaps now is the time.
If you haven’t yet heard of WildStar, I’d highly suggest visiting the game’s official website and just watching the “Flicks” introducing the two factions. It can sometimes be hard to get invested in the pre-release media and hype that developers try to throw at you, but I haven’t been this impressed by a trailer for an MMO since Illidan Stormrage informed me that I was not prepared.
It’s hard to quantify what is so good about the WildStar videos, but the best way to put it is simply that they’re overflowing with personality. Similar to Borderlands, this game has character rarely seen in modern titles, which have a propensity to take themselves entirely too seriously. Carbine Studios has opted for a more humorous approach, aided by good voice acting. I was pretty much done by the end of Kit’s explanation of the Exiles when she punched the camera man in a fit of emotion.
Of course, with the amount of MMOs going from subscription to free-to-play (or “pay-to-win”), one of the most important questions for any new MMO is what the business model will be. According to a recent announcement from Carbine Studios, WildStar will be a hybrid, with both a monthly subscription model and a “play-to-pay” option. The model is centered around an in-game item called C.R.E.D.D. (an acronym for “Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development”). C.R.E.D.D. can be purchased online with real money and sold for in-game money, which allows players wishing to play for free to grind out a pile of cash and purchase extra game time, effectively “playing to pay.” Meanwhile, players who want to save their in-game gold and can afford C.R.E.D.D. can simply pay a subscription fee. In fact, for extra in-game gold, players can buy C.R.E.D.D. and sell it to others and increase their own stash.
It’s a model that seeks to cater to both audiences who have disposable income but little time (such as people with jobs and/or families) and also players with little disposable income but lots of free time (such as high school or college students). Additionally, by offering C.R.E.D.D. to players who want extra in-game gold for legal purchase via Carbine Studios themselves, the developers hope to cut back on gold farming that is so prevalent in other MMOs. Whether this business model is going to work for WildStar or not, this is definitely a game to watch for in the future.
The closed beta is already underway, and if all goes well, WildStar will be released sometime in Spring 2014.