Welcome to the Weekly Knockout, our weekly round-up of the biggest gaming news for the week ending 16th July. This week, No Man’s Sky is facing a potential lawsuit, and a new Sonic game has been announced.
NOTE: There is no audio version of the Weekly Knockout this week due to me attempting to spare anyone from having to listen to me with a cold.
This Week’s 7 Biggest Stories
1) No Man’s Sky Facing Potential Lawsuit for Using “Superformula” Without Permission
UPDATE: 24/07/2016 @ 10:53
Sean Murray has taken to Twitter to refute Genicap’s claims; “No Man’s Sky doesn’t actually use this “superformula” thing or infringe a patent. This is a non-story… everybody chill”
No Man's Sky doesn't actually use this "superformula" thing or infringe a patent. This is a non-story… everybody chill
— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) July 23, 2016
ORIGINAL STORY: –
Yes, as if No Man’s Sky didn’t have enough stacked against it already, it appears as if developer, Hello Games, could be facing a lawsuit over using a superformula without the appropriate license. The superformula in question, is apparently the same one used to generated the 18 quintillion planets featured in No Man’s Sky. Dutch company, Genicap is the owner of a patented superformula created by Johan Gielis (A Belgian plant geneticist), that Sean Murray admitting to using in an interview with the New York Times. “The problem nagged at him, until he found an equation, published in 2003 by a Belgian plant geneticist named Johan Gielis. … Murray, sitting before his monitor, typed the Superformula into the terrain of a test planet. … He envisioned using the Superformula throughout the game, especially at the center of the galaxy, where landscapes would become more surreal.”
It’s important to note that Murray only talks about testing the superformula in the game, and while the New York Times piece does state, “He envisioned using the Supeformula throughout the game”, the article is ambiguous as to whether Murray adopted a different formula later in development. That being said, Genicap is keen to investigate the possibility; “We haven’t provided a license to Hello Games. We certainly don’t want to stop the launch, but if the formula is used we’ll need to have a talk.”
So what could the possible outcomes be for No Man’s Sky, if Gielis superformula is being used? The most obvious answer is that Genicap will probably take developer, Hello Games to court, with the aim of cutting into the game’s – potentially sizeable, profit. Should this be the case, it is possible that developers – being a small studio – would be unable to fund the volume of first-rate legal talent that often is required to fight such contentious battles. In such a situation, Sony (Who have been closer partners with developer Hello Games) may offer to fund a defence team, but that in turn raises questions of what Sony would want in return.
It’s possible Sony would be looking to just capitalise of the good will of ‘saving’ No Man’s Sky, although they could use the opportunity to renegotiate their relationship with Hello Games, either to the ends of moving the game to a sole PlayStation 4 exclusive, securing the game as a PlayStation VR exclusive (Should VR come to No Man’s Sky), or even transitioning the developer to a first part studio. In the case of the former possibilities, Sony would have to be careful of the potential backlash of such an aggressive move. As for the latter, it seems unlikely given that Hello Games is an untested developer, and given the fact that Sony has not actively pursued acquiring developers with whom they have extremely close relationships, such as Drink box Studios, and House Marque.
Of course, the above possibilities deal with the concept that Hello Games would win said law suit, but the opposite could be just as likely. In that case, I personally can’t see Genicap wanting to pull the game from store shelves, given that they could make significant money off of the game’s sales. If the intention was to prevent the game from being released, why not make these concerns clear earlier? The New York Times article was released last year, so knowledge of Murray using the superformula, (At least for testing purposes) has plenty of time to circulate. Instead, Genicap have perfectly timed their ‘attack’ to capitalise off of the game’s profits.
Then there’s the mostly likely, outcome (Assuming that Genicap’s claims have any validity) that Genicap would want to settle this out of the courts. Settling these matters in the courts is costly, and time consuming, and often the most favourable outcome – for both parties – is to reach an agreeable settlement. Indeed, such court cases normally arise to a settlement not being reached, but reaching a settlement is almost always the first port-of-call.
Note that the above four paragraphs are speculative, but are based on the knowledge available at the time.
2) New Sonic Game, Sonic Mania Announced
During this year’s San-Diego Comic-Con, SEGA announced a new entry in their infamous Sonic franchise, Sonic Mania. Sonic Mania, which will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in Spring 2017, will feature 2D platforming with “core classic gameplay”. The game will include reimagined areas from classic Sonic Games; Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, and Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles, in addition to brand-new areas. SEGA of America co-developing the game with PagodaWest Games, with more details about the game to be revealed later this year.
For more on Comic-Con, you can check out our coverage here.
3) Gravity Rush 2 Release Date & Anime Announced
Gravity Rush 2, the sequel to the originally PS Vita exclusive Gravity Rush, will release on PlayStation on 30th November 2016 in mainland European territories, and on 2nd December 2016 in the UK and North America. Announced on the PlayStation Blog, Gravity Rush 2 will feature the return of Kat, Raven, and Syd, as well as introducing new characters such as Angel, “a superheroine with an aggressive and wild fighting style”. See Angel in action in the trailer below.
Should you pre-order the game from participating retailers, you will receive an alternative white costume for Kat, and Director’s Choice Soundtrack. Those who pre-order the game digitally will receive both aforementioned bonuses, in addition to a PS4 Theme.
Finally, prior to the release of Gravity Rush 2, a new anime; Gravity Rush: The Animation – Overture, will be releasing. The Anime will bridge the gap between the original game, and it’s upcoming sequel. Being produced by Studio Khara, known for their work on works such as Rebuild of Evangelion, more details will be announced prior to launch.
4) Batman: The Telltale Series Gameplay Trailer & Release Date
Telltale Games have released the first gameplay trailer for Batman: The Telltale Series, showcasing both Bruce Wayne, and Batman in action. The trailer concludes with the title and release date for the series’ first episode; Realm of Shadows. Realm of Shadows, will be available digitally on PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Mobile from 2nd August 2016. A physical copy can be purchased for supporting platforms starting 13th September.
5) Pokémon Sun & Moon Trailer Reveals Six New Pokémon
A new trailer for upcoming Pokémon games, Sun & Moon, was debuted earlier this week. The trailer showcased six new Pokemon;-
- Whimpod, a Bug and Water type bug with the ability Wimp Out. Wimp Out allows a Pokémon to flee battle after taking damage.
- Bounsweet, a Grass type, with Leaf Guard or Oblivious as its ability.
- Comfey, a Fairy type pokemon modelled after a Hawaiian flower garland. Comfey will either possess Flower Veil or Trigge as its ability.
- Mudsdale, a Ground type horse, with Own Tempo or Stamina for its ability. Mudsdale appears to have been inspired by shire horses.
- Mimikyu, who can be viewed as either a disturbing or cute ghost and fairy type Pokémon, (For me it’s definitely the former) that disguises itself as a hand-drawn Pikachu to gain affection. Mimikyu uses the ability Disguise.
- Bewear (Pun intended?) is a Normal and Fighting type, you guessed it, bear, who can be found with either Fluffy or Klutz as its ability.
Also showcased in the trailer is the ability to host your own global competitions, and a new form of EV stat training, Hyper Training. Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon will release this coming 23rd November.
6) Rocket League Cross-Network Play Nearly Complete
Vice president of Rocket League developer Pysonix, Jeremy Dunham, has revealed that the developer has completed the Cross-Network play they purported a few months back. Speaking to IGN, Dunham had the following to say; “Right now, we’re literally at the point where all we need is the go-ahead on the Sony side and we can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working no problem.”.
Dunham went on to stress that while the company is waiting on Sony’s approval, he respects the difficulties of trying to secure such permission;-
“Sony’s such a big company that I’m sure it takes a while for them to figure out what it is that the roadblocks are, what sort of issues they might run into with other titles, any number of things that I can’t even begin to speculate on. We definitely ask them for updates often, and we’re still very confident that they’re eventually going to open those doors and welcome us in, but we also are really understanding that it’s going to take a while especially given all the ramifications of everything. It was just as much of a surprise to them as I think the rest of the world when Microsoft said that they would do it.”
7) Rise of the Tomb Will Finally Arrive on PS4
At this point, a potential archaeology artefact itself, Rise of the Tomb Raider will finally come to PlayStation 4 on 11th October 2016. Titled the 20 Year Celebration edition, the game will include the content currently released as part of the £20/$25 Season Pass, as upcoming season pass content; Blood Ties, Lara’s Nightmare, and a new co-op endurance mode. Lara’s Nightmare will also be playable in VR, with PlayStation VR being the only announced supported platform as of yet. Those who pre-order the game will receive a Limited Edition Art Book whilst stocks last, although whether you want to spend £50/$60 on a year-old game that can be purchased for as little as £14.88/$21.99 is up to you.1
This Week’s Spotlight
This Week’s Spotlight is a new section I’m demoing, where I shine the spotlight on my favourite article published on Ground Punch over the past week. This week, I wanted to shine the proverbial spotlight on two articles. This first is Sam Young’s latest review for the game Raw Data, which we walked away from feeling conflicted. Secondly, I wanted to also bring attention to a non-gaming review, in the form of Evan Buck’s review of the first episode of Mr Robot Season 2. He’ll be reviewing each episode as and when they release, so be sure to keep an eye out over the coming weeks and months.
And that’s a wrap on this weeks’ news, be sure to come back next week for another news round-up.
1 Prices quoted from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and sourced 23/07/2016