“Throwing Hands Up”

Note: This week’s Report looks a little different than ones in the past. The new format for The Report separates the factual reporting of the news stories and my personal opinion. Be sure to let me know what you think of the changes and feel free to voice any concerns. Enjoy!

This week was a plentiful one for gaming news, with TGS in full-swing and others eager to make it into the headlines. Release dates for From Software’s highly anticipated Dark Souls 3 were revealed, Tokyo Game Show kicked off with some big announcements, Rockstar released their latest ambitious update for GTA 5, and reports surfaced suggesting Konami might be ceasing production on console games. Here’s everything newsworthy this week.

  • Dark Souls 3 Release Dates Revealed

Darkk Souls 3What You Need To Know: During Tokyo Game Show this week, Bandai Namco announced that  From Software’s action RPG, Dark Souls 3, will be making its way to Japan on March 24, 2016, with a release in the West following later in April. The precise date for the western release hasn’t yet been revealed, though specifics shouldn’t be too far off.

My Take: Having personally never been a hardcore fan of the Souls series, despite having the utmost respect for its games, I’m very curious to see how Dark Souls 3 will shakedown. Bloodborne is amongst my highest ranked games of the year, and the time I got to spend with Dark Souls 3 at PAX earlier this this month, really grabbed me. Feeling much faster and fluid than past Souls games, the latest entry hit many notes similar to Bloodborne. The various aspects that pushed me away from the earlier Souls games felt much less inhibiting, as the environments and fighting style were much more accessible. An April release in the West is a great window for Dark Souls 3, as it avoids the busy February and March months of next year. Though it would have been nice to see the game launch consecutively, worldwide.

  • The Big Announcements From TGS

TGS2015What You Need To Know: Sony opened Tokyo Game Show with their PlayStation press conference that was home to plenty of substantial announcements. From entirely new games, to hardware news, to price drops, Sony’s show was a great way to kick off TGS. Some of the bigger reveals include the unveiling of Bloodborne’s upcoming expansion, The Old Hunters, and a renaming of Project Morpheus, now simply known as PlayStation VR. Gravity Rush 2 was unveiled, accompanied by a remaster of the first game. Yakuza 6 was confirmed to be in development, and a tactical shooter in the Resident Evil universe was given its first details. For a comprehensive look into what Sony showed, check out Gamespot’s trailer roundup here.

My Take: There was a lot of exciting news that dropped from TGS this week. Some of the highlights, for me, being the announcement of Bloodborne’s first expansion during Sony’s show and the deeper insight into Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s upcoming online mode. The renaming of Project Morpheus to the much more straightforward PlayStation VR, seemed a little basic, despite seeing Sony’s intentions to simplify the brand. The Resident Evil spinoff shooter grabbed my attention, though it’s still far too early to come to a consensus on whether or not it’s a good idea or not. All in all, TGS had some really great announcements, and offered a slew of games and hardware to get excited about in the upcoming months.

  • GTA 5’s Ambitious New Update

GTA OnlineWhat You Need To Know: Rockstar released their latest update for GTA 5, packaging a new way to play online with Freemode Events and the addition of the Rockstar Editor to PS4 and Xbox One. The headliners are the new Freemode Events, which offer spontaneous challenges throughout the open world without needing to enter a lobby to participate. The events trigger every 12 minutes in the open world, with a countdown informing players how much time they have left until it begins. Launching with over 200 variants, Freemode Events are the most substantial addition to Grand Theft Auto 5 since heists. The events include large-scale cooperative battles, King of the Hill modes, stunt challenges and many, many more. Competing in said events will reward players with lumps of cash and RP bonus, and can vary depending on performance.

My Take: Grand Theft Auto continues to be a shining example of how downloadable content and updates should be handled. Rockstar has yet again outdone themselves with Freemode Events, giving the game’s online component a completely new way to play. As somebody who has never really been able to invest the time into Grand Theft Auto Online, Freemode Events are the perfect way for me to enjoy my time with others in Los Santos. Haven given them a shot, I can say there’s nothing about them that feels underdeveloped or rushed. Events feel fresh and distinct from one another, utilizing much of what makes the open world so special. The update also brings the Rockstar Editor to current generation consoles; an incredible addition that used to be exclusive to the PC version of the game. The simple, yet extremely robust editor gives players all the tools necessary to create a film within the game’s world. It’s a great, almost productive excuse to return to the criminal-infused streets of San Andreas.

  • Konami Ceasing AAA Console Production

KonamiWhat You Need To Know: Reports have suggested that Konami has ceased development of all triple-A console projects, with the exception of the Pro Evolution Soccer series. Gamblog, a French gaming site, wrote that Konami is currently finishing work on Metal Gear Online, but has no plans to release new Metal Gear titles after that. These reports were soon verified by Eurogamer, who also went on to reiterate that Konami now has a barren schedule in terms of triple-A console releases. The reports are obviously not enough to go on as it stands, though this is a direction that wouldn’t be surprising for Konami to continue. Seeing Konami pull out of the triple-A console market seems almost inevitable by this point, with each breaking story only reinforcing such changes.

My Take: The headlines surrounding Konami over the last few months make this news unsurprising, though nonetheless interesting. If true, the whole ordeal is unfortunate, but Konami hasn’t been the most popular of companies in recent memory. If this news were to have surfaced before the controversy between Konami and Kojima sparked, we may be looking at this differently. Though the fallout between the two ensued, and Konami became the negative brunt of the industry. IP’s full of potential such as Metal Gear and Silent Hills could go untouched if these rumors come to fruition, though possibly for the better. The recently released Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, one of the year’s best games, has Konami’s fingerprints on it, in a partially negative light. Aspects of The Phantom Pain such as microtransactions are an example of Konami stepping in, and have enraged gamers opposed to such business models in $60 games. With Konami possibly opting to step out of the triple-A console market, microtransactions, as well as the slew of negative buzz surrounding the company, would distance itself from their treasured IPs. Ultimately, this could be for better or worse, depending on how you look at this situation. It’s been a mess since the whispers of controversy surfaced back in March, and I have a feeling we’ve not heard the last of it.

To keep up with my thoughts on all things video games, along with plenty of other nonsense, follow me on Twitter @BraxHaugen.