Off-Duty Game News Roundup 1/24/14
First zombies, now aliens: Call of Duty has expanded the purview of its latest title to include invaders from space. But, not the kind with black bug-eyes and ray guns; players will be squaring off against rabid quadrupeds and at least one enormous, nasty looking worm. Episode 1 is being included in the "Onslaught" DLC pack coming on January 28th to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, with the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 release dates as yet unannounced.
According to the trailer, Nightfall will be the first of four single-player episodes presumably following a single plot arc about an alien outbreak. It looks like players will blast xeno butt up and down an Alaskan research outpost, and will have access to at least one new weapon. Currently, the "Call of Duty: Ghosts" season pass costs $50 for all future content packs.
The Hearts of Iron franchise is a title that tends to fly under the radar of many gamers but has a dedicated fanbase and trundles on unimpeded. Straight out of the Paradox Convention, "Hearts of Iron IV" has been announced and teases "newly discovered weapons of mass destruction." Fans of the franchise are familiar with its preference for statistical realism over flashy graphics, and there's no indication that "Hears of Iron IV" will break away from that formula.
Framerate is always a top concern for any developer: if it falls too low, a game becomes unplayable so it's important to balance system resources at every point. After a certain speed, however, framerate becomes a point of contention among players of competitive, reflex based games and graphics aficionados.
Square Enix's "Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition" has received some attention lately regarding its framerate. Lowball estimates have put all versions of the game at around 30fps, while recent reports put the Xbox One and PlayStation Four versions at 60fps. Eurogamer received a response from Square Enix about the issue, and was told that, "Both platforms offer the same outstanding Tomb Raider experience." For those concerned with framerate issues, it seems only the game's launch will tell.
The fact that "Minecraft" made millions before the final product was even released was unprecedented, but it appears to be part of the start of a new trend. Helped by Kickstarter, crowd-funded games are becoming more and more common, and increasingly successful.
It usually takes a AAA studio and huge marketing budgets for a game to rake in millions, but Chris Roberts' "Star Citizen" has already raised $37 million and the game is barely playable. Roberts' name carries a lot of weight given his success with "wing Commander" in the 90s, and his game development methods have won over well over 360,000 backers.
"Star Citizen" is offering to launch modules of playability for anyone who purchases the game by buying a starship. This way, players will simultaneously enjoy new content as it's released while contributing to ongoing testing. "Star Citizen" is expected to launch its final module, making a complete game, sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.