The (reported) circle of life
The industry rumors this week give us poignant reminders of the circle of life: One game gets delayed (perhaps canceled), giving way to reports of several new games. Will The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ever come out on Xbox One? Is Minecraft going to eventually be released on every single console ever made? Will the beloved Tales of Hearts make its way to the West in localized form?
Of course, nothing is confirmed yet (were 99% on that Minecraft thing, though). Click through the following slides to get our take on all the juicy rumors of the week.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 canceled on Xbox One?
The rumor:The upcoming movie tie-in for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 may not make its fast-approaching release date on the Xbox One. Currently, the title is slated for release on Every Platform Under The Sun on April 29 in the US and May 2 in Europe, but Activision has recently removed all reference to the Xbox One version from the games official website. Activision has apparently reportedly issued a statement to MCV, saying When and whether ASM2 is released on Xbox One is TBD.
Our take: It seems pretty certain at this point that Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Xbox One will not make its release date. The question, then, is whether it will make it to the platform at all. And to answer that question, one has to ask the reason for the delay in the first place. Two options spring to mind: One, Activision is experiencing complications with Microsoft, perhaps regarding technical certification requirements Microsoft imposes to ship a product. That seems unlikely, given the amount of games Activision has shipped on Microsoft platforms. More likely then, the Xbox One version simply isnt ready. Ultimately, Activision isnt a publisher wont to miss out on any revenue streams--our guess is the game eventually shows up on Xbox One, even if its not right away.
Tales of Hearts R coming to the West
The rumor: That rumormongers best friend, the elusive Retail Database Leak, has come through once again. This time, it comes in the form of a reported GameStop pre-order listing which includes the adorably misspelled Tales of Heart. Tales of Hearts R, a PS Vita remake of the DS title Tales of Hearts, was released in Japan back in October, and that listing suggests it may be coming to the West.
Our take: Though the original Tales of Hearts was never released outside of Japan, most of the Tales games eventually make it out to the West in some form. As an opportunity for Namco Bandai to satiate fans of the beloved original who never got a proper, localized release, this makes total sense.
Nintendo passed on Skylanders exclusivity
The rumor: Okay, this is less rumor and more fact, since theres an official statement from Toys For Bob co-founder Fred Ford. But since we havent heard Nintendos side, well keep it in the speculative camp for now. The story is that Toys For Bob, having locked up a deal with Activision following their pitch for Skylanders, approached Nintendo hoping to strike up an exclusivity deal for some major funding. According to Ford, Nintendo balked, and was only willing to do a co-marketing deal, which ultimately didnt net either party much. Ford speculates that Nintendos decision will probably haunt them for the rest of their days.
Our take: Again, Nintendo passing on an exclusivity proposition for Skylanders is all but confirmed, but whether Nintendo is beating themselves up over it is another question entirely. Skylanders has grown into an absolutely massive franchise, but who knows how Nintendo exclusivity would have affected that development? Its tough to say, but whatever their reasoning at the time, it probably had something to do with their dominance in the console space with the Wii. The Wii U, complete with its own NFC technology was also likely well into development at the time. Nintendos probably just thought it could do it better, using its own brands--and probably still does.
The Witcher 3 will run at 720p/30fps on Xbox One, 900p/30fps on PS4, equivalent to minimum settings on PC
The rumor: Stay with me here: A NeoGAF thread, sourcing Russian gaming publication Gametech, indicates that The Witcher 3 will run at 900p and 30 frames per second on PS4, and 720p and 30 fps on Xbox One. That sounds about in line with the graphical disparities between multiplatform games thus far in the cycle. But thats not all: According to the source, the console versions will look equivalent to the PC versions minimum settings.
Our take: This is as rumory as they come. Gametech reportedly concedes that this information only represents the current state of the game, which is nearly a year away from its projected release date. Our guess is that Gametechs claims--which also include a statement that The Witcher 3 on consoles will look roughly equivalent to The Witcher 2--are mostly off-base. Yes, the PC version will likely look significantly better when cranked up with beefy hardware--but the disparity probably wont be so severe as this rumor suggests.
New BloodRayne game on the way from Arc System Works
The rumor: Er, the fact: Arc System Works has put up an official website teasing the announcement of a new game, displaying the letters BRCS and a date: April 23, 2014. Now, the rumor: This announcement will be for a new side-scrolling BloodRayne game.
Our take: Studious observers have pointed out the symbolism in the artwork, which is directly out of other BloodRayne titles. This is certainly a new BloodRayne game from BlazBlue developer Arc System Works (if you arent convinced: note the InterCap in both titles--its a perfect pairing). But what kind of game will it be? Arc is mostly known for fighting games, between BB and Guilty Gear, but they also made a downloadable 2D side-scroller, Hard Corps Uprising, back in 2011. The last BloodRayne game, BloodRayne: Betrayal, was a downloadable 2D side-scroller. Well leave the math to you on this one.
The Last of Us Remastered may be cheaper for owners of the PS3 version
The rumor: The Last of Us is coming to PS4 in June, and Sony is apparently looking into a pricing model which would give owners of the PS3 version a discount.
Our take: The Last of Us on PS4, dubbed The Last of Us: Remastered, is currently set at $59.99. Thats a lot of money to pay for a year-old game, even with its inclusion of post-release DLC and even HDer graphics. At the PS4s launch, Sony itself implemented a program in which PS3 games, both third-party and first-party, could be upgraded to their PS4 versions with a $10 fee. One hopes it continues with that mindset, rather than taking a page out of Nintendos double-dipping book.
Minecraft coming to PS4/Vita/Xbox One
The rumor: Pretty self-explanatory--Minecraft may be making its way to a few new consoles. A Twitter post sent out by the official account for 4J Studios, makers of the existing Minecraft console ports, includes a photograph suspiciously composed in such a way that it suggests three new versions of the game. Well, truth be told, at least two--there are explicit views of the game running on a Vita and a PS4, while a conspicuously placed Xbox One gamepad is the only indication we have of that versions existence.
Our take: Makes sense... its been, what, a few weeks since Minecraft appeared on a new platform? If Notch and Mojang are to continue on their path to world domination, it would be prudent to show up on the new consoles. In other words, we were pretty sure this was going to happen before we had this visual confirmation of sorts. And the sooner they get the important platforms out of the way, the sooner they can get to work on the BREW version.
Sony asked Respawn to bring Titanfall to the Vita
The rumor: According to Geoff Keighleys new tell-all about Titanfalls development, The Final Hours of Titanfall, Respawn had approached Sony in early 2012 to talk next-gen consoles. At the time, Sony wasnt ready to discuss the PS4, and instead diverted Respawns attention to the Vita, which Respawn wasnt interested in. The book suggests that this was what started the road to Xbox exclusivity for Titanfall, with Respawn already having been briefed on the Xbox One by that time.
Our take: The Vita launched in early 2012, and it didnt have a particularly great start. It makes sense that Sony would have been courting developers for the platform at that time, recognizing that there wasnt going to be a huge library for the Vita out of the gate. Charting the timeline with the PS4 is a bit more difficult, as its impossible to say when other developers would have started hearing about the system from Sony. It seems like this was a matter of split-second timing, with Sony momentarily hyper-focused on the Vita.
Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle to launch alongside the game
The rumor: French publication Gameblog was tipped off to an image of a Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle, which will include the game and a black Wii U with a 32GB hard drive. It will apparently launch across the US and Europe on May 30, the same day as Mario Kart 8.
Our take: This seems like another no-brainer, with Nintendo being known to do time-limited bundles with both the Wii U and 3DS. The question that Gameblog doesnt answer is the price of the bundle. The current bundle with a comparable console and New Super Mario Bros. U is $299, and the same was true for the Wind Waker HD bundle. Presumably, Mario Kart 8 is a game Nintendo could get away with charging more for, but our guess is they wont gouge consumers with this one. They need to get Wii U consoles into homes.
Were we spot-on?
What do you think of the past weeks gaming apocrypha? Are we off-base? Did we miss any big stories? Will Xbox One owners ever get to play The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Let your speculation run wild in the comments!