Throughout the week, I keep a Word document on my computer desktop where I paste in quick notes and links for the next Tuesday Newsday. I usually end up with four or five when Monday evening rolls around, a practical length for an article like this.
However, this week I have over a dozen, so I have had to prune away some of the less interesting stories and keep only the best of the lot. Even so, this is going to be a long one...
Bungie finally unveils their new IP
One word, "Destiny", and a weird triangular logo. That's all we've had for months, teasing the brand new game from one of the most popular studios on the planet.
Far back in 2007, Halo creators Bungie announced they had secured their independence from Microsoft and were striking out on their own to create new intellectual properties (IPs). Three years later, they announced a long-term publishing deal with Activision, which would include several new IPs that would remain Bungie's property.
In November, there was a leak - a title and a logo, some meaningless concept art, and some very vague plot details. Bungie responded by confirming the title and logo were genuine and releasing some more concept art. After that, silence.
This week, Bungie has finally unveiled some substantial detail about Destiny, though many of the specifics are still quite vague. We now know that it is an always-online massively-multiplayer first-person shooter, and that it will be console only - Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and "future consoles" only, no PC. While even more concept art has been released, maddeningly there is still no gameplay footage, or even stills.
The concept is that humanity has been nearly destroyed by natural disasters, and a roving alien intelligence saved a small human community from total extinction. This community has grown and thrived thanks to their protector, and are now striking out into the devastated earth to reclaim it. They quickly learn that they are not alone: many diverse alien species, all of them apparently hostile, have taken up residence on the deserted world, and humanity will have to fight if it wants its home back.
No release date had been announced, but the loose launch window is late this year, presumably in time for the Christmas shopping season. Check out Bungie's video documentary if you want to know a bit more.
Telltale announces Walking Dead sequel
Well, this could get confusing. Telltale Games, the creators of the popular and critically acclaimed Walking Dead episodic game series that snagged a host of "game of the year" awards, have announced they are creating a sequel. Labelled a "second season", it will once again be an episodic release, and Telltale has revealed that the huge success of the first season of The Walking Dead is going to affect how they design games and do business from now on.
The only problem is that there is already a Walking Dead game coming out in 2013. Published by Activision, The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts will be a first-person shooter survival game. Rather than being based directly on the comics, as Telltale's adventure series was, it will be based on the Walking Dead TV series, which has stamped its own style on the franchise.
The shooter is due out in March, while no release date details have been given for Telltale's second outing.
Steam starts selling Linux games
It was pretty much an inevitability after Valve boss Gabe Newell called Windows 8 a "disaster for gamers" and declared Linux to be the open and free future for PC gaming, but this week it actually happened: Steam has started selling games for Linux. While Steam promotes Ubuntu as their favourite "flavour" of Linux, it appears to support a variety of distributions.
The launch is a quite spectacular one, with Steam listing over 100 games for sale to Linux users on day one, a huge improvement over the launch of their Mac OS X support in 2010, with around 50 games available. Considering Mac OS X users now have over ten times that many to choose from, this promises a bright future for Linux-based gaming.
Even so, there are few high-profile games available so far. The vast bulk of the launch day titles are independent releases, and while many of them, such as Bastion, FTL: Faster Than Light, and World of Goo have found some mainstream success, they lack the star power of Portal 2, which was the flagship of the Mac OS X launch.
Still, it is early days, and those in the market for a bargain would do well to check out the Linux launch sale: every Linux-enabled game is on sale, even for Windows and Mac users.
A plethora of game delays
Several high profile games have been delayed in the past couple of weeks, with perhaps the highest profile of the lot being Grand Theft Auto V, which has slipped back to September after initially being announced as a northern Spring release (March to May). Rockstar said the delay was to polish the game more and make sure it would be as good as possible.
Last week we talked about Rayman Legends, which was both announced as a cross-platform title and also delayed until September. Wii U fans were angry when publisher Ubisoft admitted that the Wii U version, which was originally supposed to be ready in November 2012 for the launch of the new console, is finished, but will not be released until the PS3 and Xbox versions are ready later in the year. This does not say good things about Ubisoft's faith in the value of the Wii U.
This week, Naughty Dog fans emitted a collective groan of disappointment when the creators of the phenomenal Uncharted series revealed that their new project, The Last of Us, has slipped back a month from May to June. The highly anticipated PS3 exclusive was, like GTAV, delayed in order to finish off the final polish and make sure it was ready for release.
It's official: 2K has the WWE games licence
Wrestling fans can finally let out a sigh of relief. The fate of the WWE wrestling licence was not officially revealed during the massive sell-off of THQ's assets several weeks ago, but rumours were circulating that 2K Sports, the label behind NBA 2K13 and many other popular sporting titles, had picked it up. Those rumours have now been officially confirmed.
The details are still a little hazy, but it appears that 2K's parent company Take Two has retained the services of Japanese studio Yuke's, which had been creating THQ's wrestling titles for them for several years. Some fans have expressed disappointment over that last fact, as they felt Yuke's was stuck in the past, and the franchise needs a breath of fresh air.
As for whether there will be a WWE game out this year, there is no word currently.
All Australian states now have R18+ rating for games
Queensland has finally caught up with the rest of the country, with its state parliament belatedly passing legislation to put the R18+ rating for games into law.
The decision was marked with several snafus, with the most prominent being the Queensland Attorney General's website publishing a press release announcing the new legislation before the vote had taken place. The vote was then delayed again and again, and for a while seemed likely to slip backward into the next sitting of parliament. In the end, though, the vote occurred and the legislation was passed into law.
Had there been further delays, we would once again have seen the situation we had in the 1980s and 1990s when Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen placed more stringent restrictions on video rentals, leading to many notorious horror films carrying the famous "banned in Queensland" sticker. Any R-rated games released in the rest of the country would have been banned in Queensland. Thankfully, this legislation means that the new classification scheme is now standard across all states and territories.
Do you have a hot tip for a gaming new story? Send it to DexX at SPYourTurn@gmail.com.
- James "DexX" Dominguez
DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez