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November 2013

Uncharted Announced For PS4

Did anyone really expect Sony and Naughty Dog to leave Nathan Drake and the Uncharted franchise behind in the next generation?  Last night the companies announced a new Uncharted sequel currently in development for the PlayStation 4 and debuted a teaser trailer with some narration, a map, and not much else.  As you'll recall, Naughty Dog has a history of announcing new Uncharted games with similar trailers; Uncharted 3's announcement featured a particularly memorable monologue regarding men dreaming, but not equally.  This new trailer seems to come from the point of view of the antagonist as another mistake from Drake's past comes back to bite him.  No subtitle or even a proper sequel number accompany the title at this time.  Let's hope it's not a reboot.  More to come in the future on this one certainly.

Batman Has Had Enough Of Your Nonsense

BatmanBatman: Arkham Origins has its share of problems, but it also contains some delightful character moments.  Late in the game, Batman is tasked with rounding up twenty common criminals who have escaped from Blackgate Penitentiary in the aftermath of the plot.  Far from being potential Jokers or Penguins, these are just petty thugs taking advantage of the situation to run free.  Whenever Batman takes one of them down, the crook begs for his freedom or threatens Batman in some way to which Batman replies with a sharp retort before knocking the crook out for the police to come collect.  One criminal, however, decides to laugh off his capture by singing the schoolyard "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" song when caught in Batman's grip.  Batman doesn't take it well as seen in this clip.

Roger Craig Smith absolutely nails Batman's disgusted "No" reply to the thug's song.  Not seen in this video is the best part of the exchange: after knocking out the crook, Batman calls the police on his radio to come make the arrest.  He warns them to bring a muzzle and claims that the guy is a biter.  That's one way to shut him up!

Power Button - Episode 112: Best Of Times, Worst Of Times (Part 1)

Power ButtonAs the generation that brought us the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 prepares to give way to a new era of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it's time for us to look back on the past seven years and recount all of the new features that this generation brought us both wonderful and woeful.  In this first of a special two-part discussion, Blake Grundman and I recall the days of horse armor, value-packed downloadable content, digital distribution, motion controls, and so much more.  Join us for an hour of memories and looking back on the generation that was.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButtonNext week: The conversation continues with the second part of the discussion.

Miiverse Coming To Nintendo 3DS Soon

Nintendo NetworkNintendo has put a lot of attention into its Miiverse social network for the Wii U, but the bragging/assistance/art piece of the company's world has been confined to its latest home console.  That will change soon when a system update for the Nintendo 3DS adds the Miiverse in all its community glory to the handheld along with the ability to merge account balances between the two systems.  Kotaku summarizes for us:

When the update goes live, all you have to do is sign up for the same username on both systems, and you'll be able to merge your 3DS funds with your Wii U funds to buy games on either platform.

We're so close to an actual account system for Nintendo hardware that I can taste it.  I've hoped and wished for the company to embrace Sony's cross-buy initiative that allows customers to purchase a game on one platform and then play it on all other related platforms without an additional charge, and while this announcement has nothing to do with that, this is a viable first step into making it happen someday.  Buying a Virtual Console game on the 3DS or Wii U should enable access to the game on the other device; I'll gladly buy Super Mario Bros. 2 again, but I won't buy it again and again and again to spread it around my Nintendo library.  Miiverse and a unified balance is great news, Nintendo.  Now let's take the next logical step.

PlayStation App Arrives For iOS, Android

PlayStation AppAs part of the new media and social capabilities coming as part of the Sony PlayStation 4, the official PlayStation App has been released for iOS and Android.  Offering a way to quickly and conveniently tap into the PlayStation Network ecosystem when away from PlayStation devices, the app allows players to buy content from the PlayStation Store, remotely begin PS4 downloads, check messages, view friend list activity, compare trophies, and more.  Here's the official breakdown:

With the PlayStation®App installed on your mobile device, you can:

  • See what your friends are playing, compare trophies, and view your profile or recent activity.
  • Chat with your friends; receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations, and then use your mobile device as an on-screen keyboard for your PS4™ system.
  • Browse PlayStation®Store, pick-up the latest hit games and add-ons, and then push them to your PS4™ system so they are ready when you get home.
  • Take advantage of the in-app second-screen features, when available, for greater challenges and control.
  • Quickly access PlayStation® system guides, manuals, and PlayStation.Blog.

Having a secondary way to access this material from a familiar and handy source is greatly appreciated.  You need a PS4 to really get the most from this app, but it's still a great tool for those of us who want to have PSN in their pocket.  Using the app as an onscreen keyboard for the console will greatly speed up messaging, and if the PlayStation Store interface on the PS4 is as painful to use as the one on the PS3, then buying and downloading content via the app will make things so much easier.  I'm glad to see the PlayStation app ready for the masses and hope that Sony will continue to improve it as the PS4 feature set grows.

PS4 Trophies Calculate Rarity

TrophiesAfter embracing the achievement trend last generation with the PlayStation 3, Sony is planning on enhancing the experience of earning trophies when playing the PlayStation 4.  In addition to the familiar bronze, silver, gold, and platinum rankings for each trophy, the console can tell you how rare each of your prizes are compared to the total accomplishments of the gaming community.  It's another neat metric for the competitive hothead in us all.  Game Informer has the details.

The PlayStation 4 will offer a dynamic trophy-rarity system. On your trophy screen, you'll see a classification that identifies a trophy as common, uncommon, rare, and ultra rare, according to a Sony representative. We saw this yesterday morning during a user experience briefing here in New York City.

The rarity will shift over time depending on how many players have earned the trophy, and it's conceivable that any given one could go in either direction. All of your trophies are displayed in the same place now, too. You'll see everything you've earned on PS3, Vita, and PS4 on one screen.

I know that achievements and trophies are not supposed to matter, but I do enjoy earning them.  As I say on the upcoming Episode 112 of the Power Button podcast, I find myself going out of my way to earn some of them just for the sake of trying the crazy idea suggested by the goal.  String up a bad guy in Just Cause 2 and shoot him before he hits the ground?  Sure!  Trade color schemes in Street Fighter X Tekken?  Why not?  Glide across the bridge in Batman: Arkham Origins without touching the ground?  Challenge accepted!

Continue reading "PS4 Trophies Calculate Rarity" »

Amazon Offering Buy Two, Get One Free PS4 Games Today

Buy somethin' will ya!There are a few remarkable deals out there for stocking up on games for the new Sony PlayStation 4, but I'm partial to today's Amazon offering.  Starting at 12:00pm ET and running for four hours or while supplies last, the retailer is offering a buy two, get one deal on a list of select PS4 games.  Just enter the promotional discount code GR8TNESS at checkout to score the free game.  Here's the list of what's available:

  • Angry Birds: Star Wars
  • Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag 
  • Battlefield 4 
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts 
  • FIFA 14
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
  • Just Dance 2014  
  • Killzone: Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes  
  • Madden NFL 25 
  • NBA 2K14 
  • Need for Speed Rivals 
  • Skylanders SWAP Force

I was not planning on buying any PS4 launch titles, but with a deal like this going on combined with some spare Amazon credit I have banked, I've changed my mind.  I'm going with Assassin's Creed IV and Need For Speed with my third pick as a double-dip on Injustice (Knack is just too unknown an entity).  I'll see where my whims take me when the deal begins.  Of course, if you're taking advantage as well, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd use the green link above to help support Press The Buttons. 

Future Of Doctor Who Games In Doubt

The DoctorThe BBC just can't seem to find a video game developer that can do justice to its long-running sci-fi television series Doctor Who.  Following tepid reviews of the last Who game, last year's The Eternity Clock for the Sony PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and PC, BBC has parted ways with Eternity developer Supermassive Games.  The planned story trilogy of which Eternity kicked off will go unresolved.  Polygon has the news:

BBC confirmed with Polygon that the two remaining Doctor Who games slated for development under Supermassive have been canceled.

Paul Joffe, vice president of digital entertainment and games at the BBC, said that no further Eternity Clock games went into development, nor would they. Joffe did not comment on what studios the BBC may be partnering with on future Doctor Who video games, not did he offer comment on Eternity Clock's poor reception. He added that while the relationship between BBC and Supermassive "was and continues to be good," the company has no more projects in the pipeline with Supermassive.

"We will not be releasing any further Eternity Clock games, nor did any other go into production," Joffe said. "We also have no current work with Supermassive. We do have Doctor Who games in the pipeline and we will be announcing these in due course."

It's unfortunate, as Eternity Clock had its rough parts but was a decent enough kickoff point for a series of Who games.  With the Who franchise moving on to the arrival of the new Twelfth Doctor later this year and the departure of Matt Smith from the starring role, I'm not surprised that the BBC is ready to move on.  Sadly, the corporation is focusing on the mobile market for future games which is a major disappointment.  Who needs a big budget Batman: Arkham Asylum treatment with top quality talent behind it.  It needs full voice acting and animated cutscenes.  It needs a stellar story above all else, too.  The BBC seems to want to spend as little money as possible on their Who games, but if they want to make a fantastic one, they're going to have to open their wallets and bring in a studio with the talent and vision to see the project through. 

Power Button - Episode 110: Zen Studios And The Art Of Star Wars Pinball: Balance Of The Force

Power ButtonA long time ago in an interview far, far away, Mel Kirk of Zen Studios joined us to discuss the new Balance of the Force expansion of pinball tables for Star Wars Pinball, Zen Pinball 2, and Pinball FX 2 for consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices.  He spoke to us of the secrets behind developing tables based on Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader, and Starfighter Assault and explained how the creation process happens.  He told of forgotten lore involving dealing with LucasFilm and respecting the Star Wars brand and he even gave us a peek into the future of the Marvel pinball world with a discussion about the upcoming table based around Doctor Strange.  Now you can hear this nearly lost episode of the Power Button podcast.  Episode 110 has been waiting in the wings for clearance, but the time has finally come to release it into the world.  Join us for an hour of Star Wars, pinball, and much more.  We'd planned to bring you an exclusive announcement of a new Zen Studios product during this show, but some ongoing behind the scenes work at Zen has forced us to cut that segment from this episode.  Someday when the announcement is ready for the public, we'll present the lost part of this interview.  Until then, may the Force be with you!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButtonNext week: As we prepare for the release of the next generation of video game consoles, we look back at the departing generation and discuss the best and worst trends to emerge in the past seven years of gaming.

Weekly Poll: Love Of Livestream

Weekly Poll for 9-03-2013The majority of you are set for your Nintendo 3DS needs, but it looks like the 2DS will do alright for itself amongst those of you in the market for one.  I have a 3DS already and don't need another compatible unit, so I'm not interested in buying one.  Nicole wants a 3DS, but wants the traditional clamshell design and ease of portability that the 2DS doesn't offer (nor is she interested in the oversize 3DS XL).  There's a place for the 2DS in the market with its lower price and fewer features and I hope that those interested in the 3DS brand but not the 3DS hardware itself find it.

Moving on, last weekend the EvilCast podcast team from Games Are Evil participated in a charity event that involved broadcasting themselves playing video games for an entire day.  I was added into their feed via Skype on Saturday evening to add live commentary to their time with Ghostbusters: The Video Game (you can watch the archived recording here), and while I had fun and would gladly do it again, I noticed that the video player's stats noted only seven people were watching the show (and one of those was me).  Granted that there was a lot of livestreaming competition at the time and plenty of other things for people to do, but I thought this seemed a little low.  It seems you can't go anywhere in the gaming community these days without hearing about people creating and watching livestreams.  Now the new Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One will allow players to livestream directly from the console, so there must be a demand for this stuff.  So, I ask you: do you watch gaming livestreams?  Why or why not?  I really want to know.