Spike’s rebooted VGA’s, now inexplicably called VGX, has come and gone, leaving a pungent trail of awkward memories and flat jokes face down on the floor.
Seemingly slapped together in twelve minutes, the formerly televised, now streamed video game awards show ran close to three uninterrupted hours in which a strikingly disinterested Joel McHale lazily mocked gaming culture and industry guests while Game Trailers’ Geoff Keighley apologetically made “He Who Smelt It, Dealt It” faces in between fruitless spurts of holding the broken shards of professionalism together.
So, no, not much has improved over the VGA format. On the upside, there were plenty of neat game announcements and pretty footage of next-gen titles to oogle. I took the liberty of gathering them here.
Tomb Raider Reboot, Rebuilt
Crystal Dynamics, though nearly foiled by an Amazon listing, officially announced a next-gen port of Lara Croft’s 2013 re-imagining. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is heading to both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 28th.
Owning 4x the resolution of its current-gen incarnation, TR: Def’ also features a remodeled Lara and new effects technology that better simulates realistic, free-flowing hair. Just in case you were curious why the price point still rests at $59.99. Rest assured, you’re paying for a better head of hair (and all the multiplayer DLC you won’t touch).
Telltale Tells Borderlands Tales, Games Up Game of Thrones
A property chewing beast, Telltale added two new universes to its adventure game repertoire.
The first is a percolating collaboration between themselves and Texas-based think-tank Gearbox Software. Telltale’s creating a choice driven spin on the Borderlands mythos in the episodic Tales From the Borderlands. Assets by Gearbox, gameplay by Telltale.
Their next adaptation is recent rumor made titillating fact: the studio is taking on Game of Thrones. Interestingly, the game is confirmed to be based on the HBO series as opposed to the novels, meaning we can expect the visual design and narrative approach to tie-in closely with the show. No solid details to go on besides a projected 2014 release.
See the Universe, All of It in No Man’s Sky
A surprise reveal that genuinely raised everyone’s collective eyebrows impossibly above their hairlines comes from Hello Games, the indie team that brought us Joe Danger.
No Man’s Sky is a sci-fi game that ditches space marines for explorers. Your discoveries will span planets and galaxies. You’ll run into procedurally generated life reacting to organic worlds. The trailer showed us an explorer surveying life from within an ocean, hopping to the shore, jumping in his spaceship, and flying straight through the stratosphere into star craft populated space.
Stars in the distance aren’t merely lighting effects; they’re far reaching celestial bodies within their own solar systems, huge planets revolving around them (planets you can also traverse to). No Man’s Sky is a vastly ambitious next-gen undertaking that, insanely, is being developed by only four people.
And the Rest…
Broken Age [Elijah Wood featurette]
Tim Schafer returns to the adventure game (good time for it; ask Telltale). Brings with him a talented cast (Elijah Wood of Wilfred and only Wilfred fame) and a quirky art style.
Destiny [gameplay trailer]
Bungie has the “shooter” part down pat. Now they’re trying to redefine “epic.” You had me at “Gunfights on the Moon.”
The Division [snowfall trailer]
Gameplay? No, no. You’re obviously more interested in the wondrous engine being utilized to breathe life into a Tom Clancy post-apocalypse… that Tom Clancy didn’t actually write about. Still, impressive effects. Watch as the next-gen further advances the technology we use to realistically deface cop cars.
Dying Light [gameplay trailer]
I loved Dead Island, which is, according to reviews, too much praise for the open-world zombie stomper. This spiritual successor looks to approach the formula with a new, free-running centered bent. It’s zombie carnage, only faster.
Quantum Break [trailer]
I… I don’t know about this at all. I should trust Remedy Games, especially after two rad Payne’s and Wake’s, but this whole TV-meets-gaming crossover garbage makes me want to shrug hard enough to dislocate a shoulder. “Time is fucking broken!!!” is a premise that could go dangerously camp real bad.
Respawn introduced two new classes of Titan. I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything beyond that – I was in a trance watching hulking, anthropomorphic metal husks decimate ground troops. Which… How am I supposed to enjoy any part of this game not spent in a Titan? This game’s strength could be its metallic Achilles’ Heel.