Hello and welcome back to The Weekly Knockout, Ground Punch’s round-up of all the juiciest gaming news from throughout the week, for the week ending 4th. This week a Morrowind expansion has been announced for The Elder Scrolls Online and Nintendo have released their financial report for the year, revealing good news for the 3DS but some not so good news for the Wii U.
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This Week’s Main Stories
ZeniMax Online Studios has detailed the next expansion for their MMO, The Elderscrolls Online, Morrowind. Set for release on 6th June 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and costing £30 / $40 / €40, Morrowind will include a new zone, Vcardenfell which will be the same size as it appeared in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and will feature all the expected landmarks, albeit set 700 years earlier. Also included will be a 30-hour campaign, a new player class, The Warden, and a new 4v4v4 PvP arena mode called Battlegrounds. Players who are wanting to jump into ESO for the first time will be able to purchase the base game with the Morrowind expansion for £40 / $60 / €60 and will be able to skip directly to the Morrowind content.
Players can pre-order to receive the Discovery Pack which will include an exclusive warden costume, dwarven war dog pet, treasure maps, dwarven crown create, and experience scrolls. Additionally, players can pre-order the Collector’s Edition of the game which includes a variety of in-game content, an exclusive game case, Dwarven Colossus statue, a Map of Morrowind and Naryu’s Journal, a 176-page book “chronicling Morag Tong assassin Naryu’s pursuit of a conspiracy across Tamirel”. The collector’s edition, currently only retailing in the US, will cost $99.99.
Developer Hangar 13 has announced that three story expansions will be coming to Mafia 3. Titled Faster, Baby!, Stones Unturned, and Sign of the Times they are set for release in March, May, and July 2017 respectively. mafiagame.com provides the following descriptions for the three expansions.
Faster, Baby!: “Fast cars, dramatic chases, and epic stunt driving take center stage as Lincoln joins forces with Roxy Laveau, a sister-in-arms out to take down a corrupt Sheriff terrorizing Civil Rights activists on the outskirts of New Bordeaux.”
Stones Unturned: “When a merciless rival resurfaces in New Bordeaux, Lincoln must join forces with CIA agent John Donovan to settle a blood feud that began in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam.”
Sign of the Times: “A string of ritualistic killings has New Bordeaux on the edge of terror. At Father James’ request, Lincoln agrees to hunt down the cult responsible, a quest that will take him from the dark heart of the old bayou to the drug-ridden counterculture of the inner city.”
A new Need for Speed game will be releasing before the end of the next fiscal year I.E. 31st March 2018. Speaking during the company’s quarterly earnings calls, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said; “We’ve given this game an extended development cycle to focus on innovation, and the Need for Speed team is pushing the boundaries of action driving with what we believe is the most exciting and best-looking Need for Speed game we’ve ever produced”
Sony has detailed the contents of the upcoming 4.5 PlayStation 4 software patch (codenamed Sasuke). The patch, which is currently in beta, will add the following:-
External HDD Support
Sasuke will allow users to save and install games, app, and add-ons directly to any external HDD that features a USB 3.0 connection. When a compatible HDD is connected any content stored on the HDD will be displayed on the home screen as normal. Using the Application Saved Data Management option in the PS4’s setting users can move already installed content to the external HDD, Sony has not stated if the opposite will also be true. The PS4 will support HDD up to 8TB in size.
Screenshots taken using the PS4’s Share button can now be set as the PS4’s home menu background. Drop shadows and brightness settings for menus can also now be tweaked to keep them visible against backgrounds that would otherwise obscure them.
Quick Menu Refreshed
The quick menu has been refreshed to cover less of the game screen and chat parties can now be created, joined, and managed from the Quick Menu.
Boost Mode (PS4 Pro Only)
Sasuke will add a new mode for the PlayStation 4 Pro, Boost Mode. Boost Mode is intended to improve the performance of games that do not support PS4 Pro by allowing the PS4 Pro to run at higher GPU and CPU clock speeds. This will allow games will a variable frame rate to potentially run at a higher frame rate and may reduce loading times for certain games.
3D Blu-Ray Support (PlayStation VR Only)
PS VR users can now watch 3D Blu-ray discs in stereoscopic 3D using the headset.
Nintendo has announced that it will no longer be manufacturing Wii U consoles as it has ended production globally. As part of the company’s recent financial report (see This Weeks Sales & Financials), they also updated sales figures for the Wii U stating that just over 13.5 million were sold as of the 31st December 2016.
This Week’s Other Stories
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a remaster of the PlayStation 2 game, will release 11th July 2017 for PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe and two days later in Japan. The remaster features updated graphics and the game’s job system, included only in the Japanese version when Final Fantasy: XII originally released, will now be included in all versions of the game regardless of region.
The Last Guardian, released less than two months ago on the 6th December 2016 has received a price cut from $60 to $40 in the United States and from £50 to £30 in the United Kingdom. Speaking to the US price cut, Sony has confirmed to Polygon that this price cut will be permanent, and we assume the same is true for the UK.
Wave Eight of LEGO Dimension packs, consisting of The Goonies Level Pack, Hermione Granger Fun Pack, and The Lego City Fun Pack, will release 9th May in the US and 12th May in the UK. The Goonies Level Pack will consist of an additional in-game level that sees the player helping Sloth and Chunk escape the Fratelli hideout and comes with an additional Minifigure and vehicle, whereas both Fun Packs will come with an additional Minifigure and two vehicles.
Eurogamer reports that the Deus Ex franchise has been put on hiatus due to a number of factors including underwhelming sales, long development schedules, and to allow Square Enix to devote more developers to its recently announced muli-game partnership with MARVEL. Those who have played Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be familiar with the many unanswered questions in the game and according to Eurogamer the answers were originally suppose to be in the game but do to the game taking five years to develop were instead moved over to a third game in the franchise. This game is the one now on potentially indefinite hiatus.
Nintendo Switch Countdown:
27 Days To Go
Nintendo May Add VR Support To The Switch
President of Nintendo, Tatsumi Kimishima recently spoke to the publication Nikkei Asian Review and said that the company is “studying” how to implement virtual reality. Kimishima said that Nintendo would like to release a VR device that “carries value, and is affordable.” however, is wary of the comfort issues associated with playing VR for extended periods; “If we are able to resolve the issues with playing [VR] comfortably for long hours, we will support it in one form or another”. Nintendo already owns a patent for a potential Switch-compatible VR accessory so exploring Hyrule in virtual reality may be something we can experience sooner rather than later.
Kojima Calls Switch a “Gamer’s Dream”
Speaking to IGN at RTX Sydney, Hideo Kojima referred to the Switch as a “gamer’s dream”; “You might be familiar with the fact that for a previous game that I did [Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker], we had a specification that we called ‘Transfarring’ where you could take the saved data from the PS Vita and move it over to the PS3 and back and forth like that. I believe [Switch] is an extension of that idea. The fact you can play something at home and take it outside, this is the gamer’s dream. The Switch is an evolution of that.”
Kojima then went on to comment about where the industry will go in the future; “I feel like cloud technology is what everything will eventually move to. It’s further behind right now than I think where people thought it would be at this point, but I think it will go there, and when the infrastructure is ready, you’ll be able to play everything, on every device, anywhere. The Switch is the predecessor to this step.”
This Week’s Sales & Financials
- 3DS hardware sales for the year ending December 2016 reached 6.45 million units, up 179% from last year.
- Lifetime 3DS hardware sales are now at 65.3 million units, nearly 90 million short of the Nintendo DS’s 154.02 million lifetime sales.
- Wii U hardware sales for the year ending December 2016 reached 760 thousand units, down 75% from last year.
- Lifetime Wii U hardware sales are now at 13.5 million units, over 80 million short of the Wii’s 101.6 million lifetime sales.
- Pokémon Sun & Moon have shipped 14.6 million units since the games launched 18th November 2016. This places the games above Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby which sold 13.68 million to date, and the third best-selling 3DS game behind Mario Kart 7 at 14.82 million, and Pokémon X & Y at 16.06 million.
- Super Mario Maker 3DS has passed 1 million units sold.
- Nintendo 3DS software sales for the year ending December 2016 reached 46.78 million units, up 20% from last year.
- Wii U software sales for the year ending December 2016 reached 12.48 million units, down 45% from last year.
According to residentevil.net, over 1.1 million people have played Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and a little under 10% of those have played the game in VR. It’s worth noting that these figures only represent those who have “enabled the in-game data transmission option”. In terms of the game’s overall sales, Capcom announced that Resident Evil 7 has shipped 2.5 million copies to retailers. Following the news Cpacom’s shares fell over 3% that trading day and have continued to fall throughout the week. Capcom original goals were to sell 4 million copies day one and they expect Resident Evil 7 to be the best-selling game in the franchise which would require it to outperform Resident Evil 5’s 7.1 million total sales.
This Week’s Spotlight
For this week’s spotlight I urge you to check out The Breakdown, a new series by Kevin where he provides mini-reviews on pretty much every superhero show to have aired over the past week, including Arrow, Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. These fantastic reviews, are brief, to the point, and discerning. And while you’re at it why don’t you check out Ground Punch’s superhero podcast, Superhero Highlight Reel?