Welcome to the Weekly Knockout, our weekly round-up of the biggest gaming news for the week ending 9th July. This week is all about re-releases of games, with Evolve Stage 2, and Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition both announced.
I would also like to extended a heartfelt thank you to my friend, and fellow writer, Liam Harvey, for graciously offering to fill in for me last week, and doing a fantastic job of it at that.
NOTE: Audio version of the Weekly Knockout can be found on iTunes, or at the bottom of this page.
This Week’s 5 Biggest Stories
1) Evolve becomes free-to-play
It appears that Turtle Rock Studios and 2K have come to the conclusion that many of us reached before Evolve even launched; that it should be a free-to-play game. The game has begun transitioning to the new free-to-play model as part of a re-release of the game, titled Evolve: Stage 2. Stage 2 has already released on Steam, with the game seeing over 150 times the number of players, compared to last week. Turtle Rock Studios has plans to bring Stage 2 to console, although there is no timeline in place as of yet. Stage 2 will feature a weekly rotation of the game’s monster and hunter line-up, with the ability to also use unlocked characters.
Going forward, character unlocks and upgrades will be purchased using Silver Keys, a new in-game currency being added for Stage 2. Silver Keys can be earned through normal gameplay, with micro-transaction support to be added in the coming weeks once Turtle Rock Studios have decided on appropriate price points. Current owners of the game will continue to have access to all previous unlocks. Finally, the developers will be adding four new hunters to the game over the coming months.
2) Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition Announced
Bethesda has announced that they will be releasing The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition, which will release later this year, on 9th September. The Gold Edition of the Zenimax’s MMO take on Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls franchise will feature the four DLC packs that were added to the game post-release; Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, and last month’s Dark Brotherhood. The Gold Edition does not appear to include the Hist DLC which is set for release in August, the ability to play as an Imperial (offered as a bonus to those who purchased the Collector’s Edition) or the ability to freely pledge loyalty to one of the game’s three joinable alliances, regardless of character race (offered as a pre-order bonus to those who originally purchased ESO). However, you will receive a free mount!
The Gold Edition will retail at £50 in the UK, $60 in the US, or the usual equivalent if you are outside of those regions. There is also no word on if current players will automatically be upgraded to the Gold Edition of the game, or if they will still have to purchase the DLC for themselves post-September. Zenimax also plans to continue support for the game, with more DLC packs planned for late 2016, early 2017, such as an Argonian Dungeon Pack.
3) Nintendo Files Patent for Potential New Gaming Device
Nintendo has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a “handheld information processing apparatus”. The kneejerk reaction is to believe that this new device is tied to Nintendo’s upcoming NX, but is worth noting the device could be a porotype for a dedicated handheld as well. It’s also worth noting that company’s files patents for several prototypes as insurance should they choose to move forward, but filing a patent by no means indicates the device will ever see the light of day.
The device features a circle pad, as seen on the 3DS, as well as the standard “X”, “Y”, “A”, and “B” buttons, D-pad, touch screen and power button. Interestingly there are no “home”, “start”, “select” buttons, shoulder buttons, or any cameras featured on the device. If the patented device is a successor to the 3DS, then it appears as if Nintendo will abandon its predecessor’s 3D capabilities, as the camera is used to focus the 3D based on the relation between the device and the player’s eyes.
4) No Man’s Sky Has Gone Gold.
A game that was given a release date is actually going to release on said release date! Yes, after many notable delays, No Man’s Sky has finally gone gold, meaning the game will release on 9th August.
5) Xbox Avatars to add Wheelchairs
Following some discussions on Twitter, head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, confirmed that wheelchair options will be added to Xbox avatars. Later, platform lead Mike Ybarra revealed some preview and/or concept images for the upcoming wheelchairs.
This Week’s Financial Report
IT’s NOT AS SCARY AS IT SOUNDS! Here’s the weeks latest sales figures and financials for games, developers, publishers and hardware manufactures.
Nintendo Projected Wii U Would Sell 100 Million Units
During a recent shareholders meeting, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that internal projections for Wii U sales were set as high as 100 million units; “In an internal sales representative meeting, someone projected that we would sell close to 100 million Wii U systems worldwide”. Kimishima explained that the reasoning behind the projection was that the Wii U would be able to continue in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Wii’s, meteoric success; “The thinking was that because Wii sold well, Wii U would follow suit.”
For context, the Wii U has only sold 12 million units since its launch in 2012, while the Wii has sold over 100 million units to date. It is unclear exactly what the financial ramifications for this miscalculation have been, although it is clear that Nintendo cannot make the same mistakes with the NX.
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’s spotlight goes to Liam Harvey’s review of Furi. Making for an excellent read, Liam praises the game for having “…bosses [that] aren’t hulking Goliaths to your David, but instead equals, drawing from broadly the same abilities as you. They don’t incite awe or a change in underwear, but calculating appraisal and gladiatorial honor.”, featuring “…depth and variety [that] comes from a fascinating marriage of two gameplay genres: the bullet-hell twitch shooter and the third person beat-’em-up.”, and coming “out of nowhere fully-formed, and where it matters, is truly excellent.“
And that’s a wrap on this weeks’ news, be sure to come back next week for another news round-up and subscribe to the Weekly Knockout on iTunes.