Our Week in Games – Week 143
While people are picking over the still-twitching carcass of E3, one major story flew, haphazardly out of the gore (I have no idea where I’m going with this metaphor); the Xbox Exclusivity of Bethesda’s hotly anticipated Starfield is generated some controversy. While we still know little about the game aside from a prerendered cinematic and the usual PR ‘Gumf’ about ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’, the news that Playstation owners will not be able to get hold of it, predictably, hasn’t gone down well. While platform exclusives have always been a thing, this somehow seems different and even as a PC player who’s confident that whatever happens in the console wars I’ll eventually get to play any exclusive, I feel bad for the PlayStation owners.
It also raises tantalising questions about the platform-availability of the next Elder Scrolls game….
Stalker 2, the sequel to what I think are some of the most underrated games of all time has received it’s first major trailer and it looks stunning. Details are sparse, but the recommendation for a Geforce 2070 (or equivalent) have certainly grabbed my attention. It’s not hard to see why this is required either as the game looks incredible in the trailer. It may be time to retire my trustworthy 1070 as this is not a game I think anyone should be missing out on. Luckily GPU’s are really easy to get hold of at the moment…..
intro by Jon
I’ve been smashing my way through our Chivalry 2 review the past week and having an absolute blast doing so. You should expect words up later-this week on it, but suffice to say I haven’t played a game in a long time that has made me laugh-out-loud as much as this.
Another game that is well and truly on my Radar is Back 4 Blood, Turtle Rocks spiritual sequel to Left4Dead2- which is also one of the greatest games of all time. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve been invited to participate in the closed-beta, so I’ll be dropping some opinions on that in the coming weeks- embargoes willing. And… assuming I can get my Warner Brothers account to work……
Finally, the pre-wipe events have begun in Escape from Tarkov. At time of writing, ALL the bosses are present on the Reserve map. Regular players will understand how big a deal this is; just one boss has the potential to kill your entire squad with ease- having 5 on the same map (with their super-tough bodyguards) is the very definition of overkill. It hasn’t stopped thousands of players, myself included, from flocking to the map to get stuck in though.
This game always seems to find a way to drag me back in…. and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
In his intro, Jon makes a very good point about the importance of first-part exclusives, a topic which has reared its had so clearly with Starfield. When you think about titles like God of War or Halo, they are defined by being exclusive to one of the two brands, while historically you could generally be content that titles from Bethesda (and anything else in the ZeniMax stable) would usually make their way across the full range of platforms, even with Doom making its way onto the venerable Switch. But having something like Starfield, and who knows what else from ZeniMax potentially being exclusive to the Xbox Game Studios platforms is a serious game changer. We might not see the impact of this exclusivity this year, but as this console generation goes on, Microsoft will certainly have a range of first-party equivalent titles to challenge Sony’s slate.
Of course, both companies have wildly different priorities. For Microsoft, Game Pass is the selling point for this generation, and will undoubtedly be a big money maker. Sony’s strategy seems to be releasing a regular slate of big first-party titles of their own, but expecting to make their revenues from those sales rather than relying on PlayStation Plus. The flaw I see in how Sony treat their first-party backlog is that they regularly end up with big discounts. For example, you can find The Last of Us Part 2, a massive AAA exlusive which is only a year old for £25. Contrast that with Nintendo who are still selling Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 at near enough their original launch price.
As consumers become more clued into the approaches being taken by the three console manufacturers, will we see Sony fans start to hold off their purchases of first-party exclusives for a few months to pick them up when they’re cheap? And how many might start to see an Xbox Series S with Game Pass as a decent purchase, getting a new generation machine for a relative bargain and a whole heap of Microsoft and ZeniMax titles for the cost of a few beers each month?
That I recently picked up an Xbox Series S to sit alongside my PlayStation 5 perhaps tells you where my head is leaning.