Gaming in Review | April 2016

The gaming industry remains one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, one that constantly adapts, and one that is increasingly expanding its reach and grasp on the citizens of the world’s free time. As such, there’s rarely a month go by which can be called a bad month in the industry, especially not when we look at it as players rather than puppet-masters and suits. 

To wave out the old, and welcome in the new we’ll be going through some of the defining factors of each of the months of the year. We’ll be listing some of the games that launched, discussing some of the events that happened, and discussing some of the implications that they had throughout the year, or might have going into the next.

So, without further ado, 

April 2016

The second quarter of the year started with a bang; Quantum Break, Dark Souls III, The Banner Saga II (PC) held the headlines while Curve Digital Entertainment started their first year as a publisher off with the quirky Stikbold. Offworld Trading Company, Invisible Inc, Dirt Rally, and Speedrunners all reached final release after time in Early Access; and Axiom Verge, Bravely Second: End Layer, and -of course- Stephen’s Sausage Roll also launched, to name a few among the masses.

  • Sega’s full acquisition of Atlas was finally completed in the closing days of March, and opening days of April; the deal had initially been announced back in November 2013 (Kotaku) and would ensure the survival of the publisher/distributor as a brand under Sega Sammy (trading alongside Sega, rather than under).
    • Shortly after news of the deal completion it was confirmed that Atlas US would be publishing the next entry in SNK’s King of Fighter series -14- in the NA territory.
  • GameStop, the North American games retailer, announced that they would be launching an independent publishing label titled GameTrust.  Earlier in the year they had announced they would be publishing Insomniac’s next outing -Song of the Deep- which would go on to launch in July.
    • GameTrust/GameStop also announced they had signed on several other developers including Tequila Works (Rime, Deadlight), Ready at Dawn (The Order: 1886), and Frozenbyte (Trine, Shadwen).
  • Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox 360 production had officially been ceased, with all production shifting to the One; although support and live services would continue for the foreseeable future. The Xbox 360 had been on the market through various iterations over a decade-long period – a generation that it started back in 2006, one that saw the emergence of digital download on consoles, online services, entertainment as an extra, and storage-space led model revisions.
  • John Romero, alongside Adrian Carmack, took to Kickstarter to raise funds for a new shooter.
    • The new title, named Blackroom, would be developed under the name of Night Work Games, and operate in Galway, Ireland, in the vicinity of the Romero Residence.
    • The funding would ultimately be put on hold four days after it’s start, with just under 20% of its 700k target already achieved. The reason? A lot of would-be backers voiced their desire to see the title in action before putting money towards the project. While there’s no doubt that the game would have likely met the funding goal required based on the time it had left, it’s hard to deny that the developer made the right choice in their pledge to return anew with gameplay demo in tow.
  • After years of palaver between Ubisoft and Patrice Desiléts the two finally settled matters. Ubisoft relinquished the rights to 1666 Amsterdam, and Desiléts dropped his lawsuit suit against them.
    • Patrice Desiléts had formerly worked for Ubisoft where he was one of the minds behind Ubisoft’s successful Assassin’s Creed series. The two did not part ways on kind terms, and Desiléts found his way to THQ who signed up to publish his title 1666: Amsterdam. As part of the contract with THQ there was a clause stating that the IP would be retained by Desiléts should they fail to publish the title. THQ -unfortunately- went bankrupt a few years back, and Ubisoft swept in and picked up both Desiléts’ studio, and the IP. He was reportedly sacked from the project, however the IP was not released by Ubisoft, who instead shelved the project.
    • All these years on, and with it finally -kind of- resolved, some gameplay for the title was revealed (VG247).
    • In my opinion Desiléts’ idea was a natural progression for the series, and Ubisoft may well have disagreed; it seems clear that Ubisoft’s plan to remove it as a competitor worked, as platforms it had been developed for are now redundant.

As for Big Boss Battle? We weren’t here yet. In April both Ben and I were still writing and creating for a different website, in fact the site -as you see it- only formally launched in May of this year.

That said, the idea for the website had begun fermenting early in the month, with us buying the domain on the 21st of April as a planned tie-in to our former outlet – one focused on written content, and featuring content.

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