Welcome to first ever “The Week in Video Games,” a weekly column covering the major events, releases, and gossip from the world of video games. This week: Blizzard scores a huge win… and a huge loss, NO MAN’S SKY disappoints everyone before it’s even finished, a game with zombies is announced for consoles (finally!) and we take a look at the trailer for the next FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S game.
Blizzard’s Very Good and Very Bad Week
Blizzard Entertainment was both the biggest winner and the biggest loser in gaming this week. First the good news: OVERWATCH. Folks have been waiting for this game since it was announced in 2014, and the stylish looking MOBA finally dropped on Tuesday. The squad-based multiplayer shooter has earned rave reviews from both the gaming press and gamers themselves. Basically everyone is playing it, all the time. I’m playing it right now. You’re probably playing it too. I heard your mom is playing it.
Along with being a fun game, OVERWATCH might represent a new era in game marketing. Unlike a lot of online-only games, you have to buy the full version of OVERWATCH to play it, which turns every OVERWATCH player into a salesman as they try to sign their friends up so they’re not playing with scrubs. The game’s crazy action is geared toward spectators too, which is more free advertising. It’s marketing genius, and might be enough to make up for the hemorrhaging of players (and monthly fees) from WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s ever shrinking player base. Speaking of WARCRAFT, here’s the bad news I mentioned earlier: The Warcraft movie.
Critics savage WARCRAFT
Although the movie doesn’t come out until June 10, the WARCRAFT reviews are in. By almost all accounts, it is a bad movie. How bad? Rotten tomatoes gives it only 29 percent, and Variety says WARCRAFT “brings to mind those animated advertisements for iPhone app games.” So a failure,in spite of nearly a decade of hype, a huge budget, and the impressive pedigree of director Duncan Jones (he made MOON). The theme of the criticism of the movie is that it’s overly serious, and long on complexity but short on reasons to care.
Basically, if you’re not already invested in the lore of the WARCRAFT universe, you’re not likely to give a crap about the complicated backstory and culture of the characters in this movie. And even if you did play, you still might not care. I spent more than a year playing WORLD OF WARCRAFT, putting in hardcore work for the horde in Azeroth, and I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the history of the land or the ways of the people. I only played to melt people’s faces off with my undead death priest. For the Horde!
NO MAN’S SKY Delayed
According to anonymous sources who spoke to gaming blog Kotaku, No Man’s Sky has been delayed, supposedly pushed back from June until July or August. Since it was first announced, No Man’s Sky has been one of those “second coming” style games. It’s been massively obsessed over, even breaking out of the gaming ghetto to be written about in The New Yorker and named dropped by Stephen Colbert. Now that’s hype! In NO MAN’S SKY, you are a space explorer in a procedurally generated universe that is (theoretically) infinite. You can travel from planet to planet, naming creatures, fighting battles, and making your mark, a mark that other players can see if they visit your little corner of space.
Sounds cool, right? It also sounds amazingly ambitious, technically complicated, and very expensive, so a delay is not exactly surprising, especially given the small size of NMS developer Hello Games. On a personal level, I’m psyched for NO MAN’S SKY, but in a modest way. I’m old as dirt and have seen these kinds of overly hyped, “paradigm shifting” games come and go (remember SPORE?), so I’m going to wait until the game comes out and is actually fun before I get too jazzed.
HORROR GAMING CORNER
It wouldn’t be Blumhouse without the horror, right? This hasn’t been a very eventual week in terms of the horror subgenre, but a couple of interesting things went down.
7 DAYS TO DIE Comes to Consoles
The big news in horror gaming this week: Sandbox style zombie survival horror game 7 DAYS TO DIE has a firm console release date. 7 DAYS hits PS4 and Xbox One on June 28. The open-world game is part shooter, part survival, part tower defense, and part world-building.
Console gamers get all those genres for only $29.99, and 7 DAYS publisher TellTale Games has even added some just-for-console goodies. There’s a new multiplayer mode, couch co-op, weekly world-events, and sweet WALKING DEAD skins for people who pre-order.
FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S SISTER LOCATION Trailer Released
The fifth game in the came-out-of-nowhere Five Nights at Freddy’s series, SISTER LOCATION, has a new trailer. SISTER LOCATION is billed as a return-to-horror-form for the games, and judging from the trailer linked below, it’s going to be scary… assuming that you find out-of-control animatronics scary.