This Week in Games: August 25, 2012

New GTAV shots show cycling and paragliding, Microsoft changes its logo, Obama and Romney beat each other up on iOS, and the PlayStation 4 may support super-duper hi-def 4K visuals.

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Another week, another whiff of next-gen console news. This week? Speaking to the German edition of Gamesindustry International, Remedy Entertainment's (Alan Wake) head of franchise development Oskari Hakkinen confirmed his studio is working on a next-generation project, and shrugged off the thought that new hardware will not be a significant improvement over existing technology. "Right now we're working as always with a relatively small team on a next-generation project," Hakkinen said. "You always ask yourself: Can the new consoles really be that much better than the old ones? Be assured: They are. It is a quantum leap forward." Hakkinen did not say if he was referring to a Microsoft or Sony system, or reveal any other details about the game it has in development for unannounced technology. Regardless, it's further confirmation that things are starting to heat up.

Speaking of which…

PlayStation 4K

Hear that groaning sound? That's the collective grumbling of technophiles that just bought a new TV, along with hordes of online video editors wondering where on Earth they're going to find the hard drive storage to capture PlayStation 4 video content if reports from Boy Genius Report are correct. BGR cites an anonymous source that reportedly told the site that Sony is planning to implement 4K resolution in the PlayStation 4, following the publisher's reportedly planned line-up of 80-inch XBR LED screens sporting the same resolution. 4K has a horizontal pixel count of 4096, and is double the resolution of 1080p. BGR claims Sony is implementing a larger scheme to push out 4K to consumers, likening it to the publisher's earlier efforts with 3D. And, y'know…that worked out awesome, right? The site says Sony's move to include support for 4K resolution media like games and movies in its next-gen console is part of an incentive to draw consumers to 4K TVs. Think it will work?

10 New GTAV Screens That Divulge Very Little

Rockstar Games shared three batches of new images from the much anticipated Grand Theft Auto V this week in a series of updates to the company's news blog. The first, dubbed "Transport" showed a fighter jet, sports car, and road bike; the second titled "Leisure" showed three individuals racing off-road motorbikes up a mountain pass, a tennis match, and a person parachuting through a gorge; finally, on Friday they showed a batch simply dubbed "Business" that showed a range of activities, environments, and actions including urban police chases, a harbor-set shootout, and a biplane flying over a countryside river.

So what is Rockstar trying to tell us? That the new game is much broader in scope than GTAIV? That it has more in common with San Andreas (that let you jump out of planes, too)? Possibly. If there's one thing the publisher is good at, it's dribbling out just enough information to get us talking, without giving away anything of real substance. One of the many advantages about a game so big, successful, and beloved is that it inspires such debate. What do you think Rockstar is trying to convey? Let us know in the comments.

Check out all of the new Grand Theft Auto V screens here.

In terms of a release date, Rockstar is still keeping its cards very close to its chest. The game has been the subject of much speculation, with many analysts believing that it will be on store shelves by March 2013, despite Rockstar having remained silent on the subject. Last month, the studio explained why it has remained largely quiet on GTAV since officially announcing it in October, saying it doesn't want to spoil the game prerelease, and it is simply not ready to show more.

If you had to guess, when do you think it will be out?

Political Parody Beat 'Em Up

Chair Entertainment is following up Infinity Blade II with another downloadable brawler, but with a very different theme. The company announced Vote!!! The Game (that's three exclamation points) on Wednesday this week, a free cartoon-style iOS game that pits President Barack Obama against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Described as a "lighthearted romp," the game allows players to dress their candidate of choice in a range of comedic outfits, like a disco suit or boxing shorts, and equip them with a series of items, including ice cream cones and microphones. Players duke it out in various stages, ranging from debate halls to the White House front lawn. The game also features voice-acted soundalikes, with Obama spouting lines like "All right, we're getting fired up now" and "Can't hold us back. Why? 'Cause we're moving forward." Romney delivers quips like "You like that, huh?" and "It's time to believe in America." Vote!! The Game is free, but as revealed in the game's announcement trailer (embedded below), users will be able to spend real money to purchase "coins," which can be spent on a range of in-game boosters. These include Filibuster, which adds an extra 30 seconds to the fight; Good Press, which allows players to take a hit without suffering a booster reset; and Health Care, a booster that makes it so players cannot be knocked down.

Additionally, through a partnership with political engagement group Rock the Vote, Vote!!! The Game features in-game voter registration for the real-world presidential election this November. On top of this, Chair Entertainment and parent company Epic Games have teamed with the Video Game Voters Network and Project Vote Smart to provide gamers access to various voting resources.

So what do you think? Do games like this raise awareness and have a positive effect on getting people to think about politics? Or does it just trivialize the whole thing? Let us know in the comments.

Sticking with politics, Microsoft will launch its U.S. Election Hub 2012 on Xbox Live on August 27, showcasing a range of pre-recorded content as well as interactive polls and video streams from the upcoming Republican and Democratic National Conventions. As it has before, and much like Vote!!! The Game, Microsoft is collaborating with Rock the Vote to offer voter registration through the service as well as local information. The Hub will also feature regular Obama and Romney campaign coverage from NBCnews.com, daily polls from online market research agency YouGov, and contributions from public policy fact-finding group Face the Facts USA. "Technology has been a transformative force in politics during recent years," said Fred Humphries, vice president of government affairs at Microsoft. "By bringing the elections directly into the home through this Xbox platform, we hope to encourage greater participation in the democratic process this fall." Some of the hub's features require an Xbox Live Gold membership to function, including NBC news updates and live event streams.

Cage Wants A Different Approach to War

To not make a game just about shooting and glorifying violence by saying, 'look how great it is to have a gun and shoot at people.’ It would be interesting to show the other angle, and how difficult it is to be at war."

Outspoken Quantic Dream boss David Cage told VG247 this week that he would like to see a shooter be made that focuses on the "difficulty" of war. He bemoaned games like Call of Duty, saying that even with new advancements in technology, "it's the same game." Instead, Cage said he is interested in a game that approaches war in the way that popular American war movies Platoon or Apocalypse Now do. "Then it would be very interesting," he said. "To not make a game just about shooting and glorifying violence by saying, 'look how great it is to have a gun and shoot at people.’ It would be interesting to show the other angle, and how difficult it is to be at war." Cage elaborated further, saying he hopes that when new hardware arrives, it will be used to "say something meaningful. But if you use it to do another shooter--that's cool--but it's not a big step." Last week during Gamescom, Cage called on the industry to "grow up," saying he was frustrated with the industry's reluctance to broach more mature subject material. This followed comments from July, when he said the industry will "die" without innovation.

What do you think? Do you agree with him?

On the subject of games with lots of shooting in them, last month, Electronic Arts officially announced Battlefield 4, even though it hasn't yet finished working on add-ons for Battlefield 3. The timing of the game's announcement struck up a commotion with some gamers, but EA executive producer Patrick Bach dismissed these concerns. "We have now announced we are putting a lot of effort into supporting Battlefield 3 and still we get reactions like this. I think it's just sad," he told Eurogamer. "We are dedicated to supporting Battlefield 3. People seem to be worried for all the wrong reasons." Bach said he has heard similar complaints before with Battlefield 2, and claimed they are misguided. "People tend to forget we built three other Battlefield games in between Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 3," Bach said. "That's a natural reaction. People then think we won't support Battlefield 3, even though we have the Premium version. People know we're working on future expansion packs and we've been very open in explaining what we are doing." Ultimately, Bach said that he understands that some will be upset to learn DICE is working on more than Battlefield 3, but noted "people want something awesome in the future, and that takes time."

Cheaper Kinect, and New Logo For Microsoft

Microsoft has cut the price of its full-body motion-control technology peripheral Kinect from $150 to $110 in the United States effective immediately. Microsoft's director of Xbox Live programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb announced the news on Thursday through his blog. A permanent price cut for the rest of North America, as well as Latin America and Asia Pacific regions, is also planned. Additionally, the Kinect peripheral will be available at a permanently reduced rate in Australia and New Zealand beginning October 4. Microsoft said the final retail price for each region will vary based on currency rates and "other variables." The price drop will not extend to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Japan. Why? No reason was given. Speculate about that doozy in the comments.

Sticking with Microsoft, the company also unveiled its first logo change in 25 years on Thursday, revealing a more colorful brand image that will be used to kick off an "incredibly exciting" year for the firm. In an update to the official Microsoft blog, brand strategy general manager Jeff Hansen said now is the "perfect time for a change," as the company prepares to release new versions of "nearly all" of its products this year. The new logo will be a part of Microsoft's aim for a "common look and feel" across its products, including Windows 8, Windows 8 Phone, and new iterations of Office and Xbox services.

What do you think? Do you like it? That new font is called Segoe, if you care about such things. It's actually quite a bit like Adobe's Myriad Pro, which is the font Apple uses on everything. We're sure that's not intentional at all.

Quoted for Truth: Watch Us Talk About News

If you like to watch and listen to your news coverage, rather than read about it - check out our weekly news discussion show Quoted for Truth. This week, news editor Brendan Sinclair steps out for an episode, and the magnificently bearded Peter Brown joins us to discuss Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and some politically incorrect nonsense. It's embedded here for your viewing pleasure.

Farewell Psygnosis and Nintendo Power

There was plenty of bad news this week, unfortunately. So much that news editor Eddie Makuch had enough material to write an entire article about the bad events of the week. You can read that here. Of particular note was the closure of Sony Liverpool (formerly Psygnosis; responsible for some truly incredible games over the years, and a defining element of the original PlayStation generation) and longstanding games magazine Nintendo Power. Two great institutions from what is now, clearly, a previous age.

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Discussion

91 comments
mattcake
mattcake

4K? Man, outta date, don't they know that 8K already exists? I wish I was joking, but I'm not :) About time we upped the framerate more importantly imo, I'd rather see 1080p @120hz than 4K at 24hz.

DemannameD
DemannameD

David Cage wants a game that simulates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That sounds like a terrible idea, how about "a thin red line" the game... If I want to play something that makes me want to kill myself I'll just play a capcom game.4K televisions... P$4 will support them and I'm going to stick with my PC. A PC that will be running Windows 7 until windows 9 comes out.

Martin_G_N
Martin_G_N

4k is the future...it will make the picture quality even better, even if it's only upscaled. And please don't tell me that you can't see the difference, PC monitors support higher resolution than 1080p, and the image quality is better.

It's not like you will be forced to use the feature....but Sony knows it's the next thing in TV tech and they have no problem of implementing it in the PS4.

 

Simplythebest12
Simplythebest12

Jesus why the hell do they call it 4k it sounds stupid.

It should be called 4096p or 4096i....And officially there are no TV sets supporting  such a big resolution and the few that support that right now are extremely expensive and mostly at experimental level

thekazumalord
thekazumalord

a 4k tv? no thanks ... i only recently brought a HD tv... played my PS3 on a regular SD tv before now and it was fine A SD tv i had for like 8 years..so  i probably wont ever buy a 4k tv... no thanks Sony my current HD tv is just fine for a long time to come.. i could care less about the other news here...except GTA 5. im looking forward to  that game and im glad they haven't  told us to much info... publishers leak to much info on games these days.. the games should be a  bit more of a surprise to a degree ..more then that are now...

Monsta1217
Monsta1217

the ps4 will most likely be the price of a gaming pc i cant even lie i see this happening on launch day for the first yr a lot of people wont buy those who cant afford but on launch day i guess i'll be sitting outside of gamestop just waiting its the sad truth i love technology and most of us was there for the launch of the hyped up ps3 

Kane04
Kane04

If nothing else this 4K news tell me they're are going for the "powerhouse" type of console.

After wii came along stealing the show I though the next gen would be wii all around (no point intended).

 

I'll keep my 1080p 42" TV because like pretty much everyone is saying, thats just to push TVs and MAYBE you'll have a game like flOw that actually does native 4096p.

Lets not forget years after the 360/PS3 came along many people (won't risk a number) were still gaming on old TVs, because LCDs were too expensive or too blurry/draggy.

 

If the PS4 does 1080p with AA properly I'll be a happy man and thats good enough for me.

But unlike every other before it i won't get it day 1.

My original PS1 still works, PS2 died of reading disk error, original 60GB with the sweet BC died of YLOD... Make something solid like you use to!

LeperousAvenger
LeperousAvenger

Sony pushing 4k huh? I guess this is like how they pushed 1080p with ps3. Even though almost all ps3 games run in 720p. I think they should focus on actually implementing the current technology properly before moving on to the next. This kind of thing is pretty much the whole reason I gave up on consoles and now exclusively play p.c. games.

soulless4now
soulless4now

4K? The sound of it makes my wallet cringe. 

fullynickmate
fullynickmate

*sigh* 4K sounds great and all... but god damn its hard to keep up with technology. I think im gonna enjoy using my 3d led smart screen for a while before i fork out thousands of dollars on a new console and new screen for my family.. i will get the PS4 on launch, but for now im happy with the screen i have. i dont like to miss out on the best, but this is getting stupid lol. as for GTA5.. it looks like they are really ahead in the production of the game. i hope it drops sooner rather than later :D ANNNNND, i hope it has co op play to do missions with. that would be AMAZING!!! having a partner to murder gangs and cruise around the cities with

Versus3
Versus3

Why isn't this a youtube show?

Evo8u
Evo8u

The 4k thing is Sony's way to try and hype the ps4 just like the did with ps3 with 1080p and all but 4 of their games r native 720 and the one that r 1080p have crappy textures and no detail. Way to try hype with lies Sony. Ken Kutaragi and his lies and BS are back.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

I'd rather wait for the virtual reality headset then drop the cash for this 4k t.v. it's way too soon for that. T.V. still send 720p signals

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

I don't know this 4k thing doesn't seem right. Sure it will be great for huge as tvs but most of us gamers play at home sitting on the couch so i do think that 4k is highly unnecessary. Also i doubt games will use it's full potential, we aren't even using the full potential on 1080p yet.

twtech
twtech

4k was going to happen one way or another.  Sony isn't the first or only company to be pushing that tech.  Along with bigger screens, it will enable closer viewing distances with those larger screens without seeing pixels, offering a more immersive experience overall.  You'll be able to sit in front of an 80" at the same distance as a current 42, and the image will be just as sharp.  Hello home IMAX.

bullsfan769
bullsfan769

hmmm seems like sony just wants to make (more) money, will the increased resolution really make that much of a difference?

Peter_Desert
Peter_Desert

4K resolution? uhhhhh...what about we keep it at 1080p and actually output it at that resolution(unlike the 720p most games come out at). besides, god dammit i hated the lack of anti-alising this generation had, so if we keep 1080p, games can look nicer and have some GOD DAMN anti-alisingi hate those jagged edges, sorry for the rant 

Hawkeye747
Hawkeye747

All this talk about 4K so we can get better, more realistic graphics?  In our drive for realism, do you think people will go for the ultimate in "realistic" entertainment and head to Broadway in droves?

 

I'm a mature gamer and my wife and I make a very comfortable living, but keeping up with these new advances is just crazy.  If/when this 4K comes along, I'll happily sit back and watch my 52" 1080P TV for a couple years until the price of them drops down to a level where people can actually afford them without a 2nd mortgage.  Then and only then will I probably go out and get one, then a couple years later I'll be reading about the 10K displays you need to build an extension on your house for.

bigfarce
bigfarce

Video Games are a form of art. If you cut the prices from the start, or even scratch them altogether, then you also devalue the game. Paying for video games helps to drive the economy forward. Do people really NOT understand the fundamentals of capitalism? Come on people!!

anfunny
anfunny

The human eye can't really tell the difference between 1080p and 720p on a tv much smaller than 42" from 2ft away, 4k is just a way to make money.

melvz99
melvz99

No hi-end pc at this point can render 4k resolution. its an envy for those pc owners out there. hehehehe!

 

melvz99
melvz99

4k is meant for 80inch screens or higher. anyway, if you're playing ps4 on a 23 inch tv, 4k is not that obvious. 

 

DIGN
DIGN

Hopefully I can still eat after buying a PS4 this time...

 

Also, Cage said something about games not approaching the "difficulties" of war? He obviously hasn't played Arma II.

Dragdar
Dragdar

4k resolution

 

to all the haters, it's called FUTURE PROOFING, the next console cycle will be EVEN LONGER than this one, in 6-7 years 4k will be a standard

 

although personaly i have  a 23' 1080p monitor, i just want the next console to deliver 1080p gaming (im not asking too much) monitors have a roof limit in their size, but TVs are hell bent on getting bigger and bigger, especially in public areas, promotions and such

SqualleoN_xD
SqualleoN_xD

What the fuck are u thinking, first, more than 50% of the games on ps3 didnt use 1080p resolution, second, a console lifetime is huge, 5-6 years? 6 years from now I bet u can buy on of those TV's for 1000-1500€, When PS3 came out I remember we didnt had money to buy a 720p TV, and a 1080p tv was a luxury, now everyone has one.... whats the difference? What I care here its the price of the console hardware...

Matthew-first
Matthew-first

ps4 will have 4k screens... so it means we will finally play on 1080p?! WOOOHOO! :)

nyran125
nyran125

4K screens? be cheaper buying a 4K priced PC.

Maelsthur
Maelsthur

 @Gryn89No xbox 720 for you son, if you think deeply next consoles needs absolutely 4k or more, resolution, bc there gonna be at least 7 years of activity of them, I see sony makes obvious things. Happened what have to be.

Tomdogg
Tomdogg

 @Simplythebest12 That's what 1080p was when PS3 first launched. 2 years later, I got a 22" 1080p TV for $200.

 

Just wait. Patience can be one of your best virtues.

Daian
Daian

 @soulless4now I wouldn't worry about it, chances are that most games will run in 1080p, the 360 and PS3 may support 1080p but most big games run in 720p so switching to 4k probably won't be necessary for a long time.

 

Oh in case you didn't know, the difference between 1080p and 720p is huge, it's more than double the pixels so it will be a big enough change, the popular names of these resolutions aren't explicit of the huge difference between them.

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

 @Hawkeye747 exactly, we probably will be already paying an absurd amount of money for the PS4 and they want to push us new tvs too? i don't know that doesn't seem like a good idea.

eddy1072
eddy1072

 @melvz99 Hi Melvz i play Ps3 and PC so im not a crazy PC fan but you are so wrong with a single ATI video card you can render 5760x2400 thats a lot more than 4k, and talking about High END computers you can install 4 of this cards to create more than 8k resolution, and this technology if from 2009. The problem here is that the max resolution display(commercial) is 2560x1600 but with a warping and blending software and projectors you can get a up to 8k resolution image.

jamesbigmac
jamesbigmac

 @melvz99 Developer PC's have been able to push out that much before. If 1080p never became a standard for all monitors and TV's and such, we would have already been well over the resolution of 4k.

camyers1310
camyers1310

 @DIGN realism of ballistics (arma) has nothing to do with you feeling sorry for the wife and son of the random guy who just got taken out by a sniper right next to you. (video game that has yet to be made)

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

 @LeperousAvenger well yeah but even so i still think it isn't necessary. also i don't own a gaming pc, where i live it is absrudly expensive to build/buy one.

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

 @pandamonium000  @anfunny The difference between 1080p and 720p is obvious from any distance. If you own a PC you would know this. Refresh rates are debatable though.

Hornsqualid
Hornsqualid

 @pandamonium000  @anfunny I can't find the article at them moment, but I was reading in a wired magazine that Sony was developing a TV that used the high screen refresh rate to actually display two images at once. Like a 3d tv it would come with glasses. Each set of glasses would sync to the refresh rate but at alternating frames. So If I had a TV at  240hz  I could have either 2 different screens at 120hz or 4 at 60hz. The point was to eliminate split screen gaming. 

jamesbigmac
jamesbigmac

 @pandamonium000  @anfunny I have no idea what you guys are talking about. There is an obvious visual difference between 1080 and 720 from 20 feet away, and the motion blur problem still occurs with 120hz (although it is much, much less).

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

 @Hornsqualid  @pandamonium000  @anfunny It's called Dual Play and its still not very good. I would wait another 2 years before they perfect it. In dark areas you can still see what is on the other persons screen and the quality of picture is horrible. This new 4k would probably solve it.