This is the news
With guts swollen from overeating and eyes square from the insane daily gaming sessions over the Christmas break, we return to the grind to cover all things games. Hackers, broken servers, and promising developments for Xbox One launched our news hounds into the action in an otherwise quiet opening week.
Heres GamesRadars roundup of the juiciest news headlines that broke as you munched on your seventeenth turkey sandwich and delved into Super Mario 3D World. You did get Super Mario 3D World, didnt you?
Burnout dev Criterion loses its founders
Criterion Games co-founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have confirmed their departure from the studio (opens in new tab) responsible for the brilliant Burnout series. Ward leaves behind his role as vice president and creative director, while Sperry steps away from her studio directors chair.
"Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA. We appreciate their many contributions through the years and wish them well in their future endeavours, said EA in a statement to Polygon (opens in new tab). "The incredibly creative and talented team at Criterion are hard at work on a new project for next-gen consoles as new IP continues to be a major priority across EA. Matt Webster has stepped up as studio lead.
Steam, Origin and more hit with DDoS attacks
Its been a fun week, we assume, for one purported group of hackers who claimed responsibility for a string of DDoS attacks that brought down major game services including Steam (opens in new tab), Origin (opens in new tab), League of Legends and Battle.net (opens in new tab).
Bizarrely, the group appears to be targeting popular Twitch TV broadcaster James "PhantomL0rd" Varga, systematically hitting games and services that Varga broadcasts regularly. Varga reports that police were even sent to his house, placing him under arrest at gunpoint presumably on the back of prank call-in. Reasons for the attack have not been disclosed.
Fallout games pulled from digital distribution
Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics were recently pulled from digital distribution channels (opens in new tab) including GoG and Steam seemingly owing to licensing issues. This comes after the IPs acquisition by Bethesda, which took over full control of the series (opens in new tab) from its original developer Interplay.
Dry your eyes though, because Bethesda has pledged to work out the issues (opens in new tab) and bring the game back to Steam "at the earliest possible date. In the meantime, those who purchased those games prior to December 31 2013 can still download them via the applicable service.
Xbox One was very nearly a disc-less console
Despite Microsofts drastic and surprising policy changes late in Xbox Ones pre-launch development cycle, it would have come as an even bigger surprise if the firm had followed through with another of its considerations--to ditch the consoles disc drive (opens in new tab).
According to Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer, the firm gave serious thought to going digital-only with Xbox One as late as mid-2013, after Junes E3 show where the console was shown for a second time with a Blu-ray drive intact. But when you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues, admitted Spencer. Yeah, just a tad.
Your rants are helping to mold Xbox One, says Hryb
Microsoft is totally listing to Xbox One user feedback daily, and is using it to help shape its plans for updates (opens in new tab) to the console in the coming months and years. Thats the word of Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb, who said the firm is absolutely committed to improving the Xbox One hardware experience.
The team that works on Xbox are gamers themselves. We want to build the system that we use and that we know gamers would enjoy using," said Hryb. "We're going to continue to refine the system and make it what the Xbox fans are expecting and what they want. We're listening to the feedback every single day. I've already seen some changes in the operating system internally with what we're building."
Storm after the calm
Much of the industry didnt even turn up for work this week, it seems. Things are still relatively quiet, but we expect all engines to be full steam ahead as of next week when 2014 really gets started. Meanwhile, if youre looking for something to spend that get with those Christmas gift cards, heres GamesRadars list of the best PS4 games (opens in new tab) available right now.