With E3 2013 week out of the way, it’s time to play catch-up on a few key news items that dropped before and during the big event. This week’s wrap up covers the return of Baldur’s Gate and FreeSpace; cinematic trailers for Total War: ROME II and World of Warplanes; The Witcher 3 and Killer Instinct DLC plans; two new Trials games; and another high profile MMO going fully free-to-play.
Read on for the details and more stories.
GTA V Map
Pieced together from Rockstar-released snippets and teasers of the GTA V collector’s edition, one fan created this unofficial map of Los Santos – redesigned and bigger and better than its original debut inÂ Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Click thumbnail above to see full-size map.
Bring On The Space Sims
Chris Roberts is developing the spiritual success toÂ Wing Commander andÂ Freelancer with the record-breaking crowdfundedÂ Star Citizen, Star Wars is coming back in a big way at Electronic Arts, CCP Games blew way the industry withÂ EVE-VR at E3 2013, and these are only a few examples of the return of space sims. One other example isÂ Interplay Entertainment Corporation’s recent acquisition of theÂ FreeSpace IP from now defunct publisher THQ and developer Volition. They managed to buy it for the shockingly low price of $7500.
Sources: Kurtzman Carson Consultants
Baldur’s Gate: Reloaded
What if BioWare’s originalÂ Baldur’s Gate were 3D? Thanks to the BGR Team, a group of dedicated and talented developers, they entirety ofÂ Baldur’s Gate has been remade as a mode forÂ Neverwinter Nights 2. The team began in 2006 and just finished recently. It can be downloaded here.
Subscription models and pay walls just don’t work anymore. NearlyÂ every major triple-A MMO game has had to drop paid subscriptions and outside ofÂ World of Warcraft andÂ EVE Online, publishers are now relying on free-to-play models supporting by premium services and microtransactions to find success. Every game fromÂ EverQuest andÂ Star Wars: The Old Republic toÂ Lord of the Rings Online and Star Trek OnlineÂ have embraced the switch and mostÂ new games coming out, including some making the jump toÂ PlayStation 4 (see:Â Warframe, PlanetSide 2 &Â DC Universe Online), are launching with the model in mind. So it’s no surprise thatÂ RIFT, byÂ Trion Worlds, has also gone fully free-to-play as well with “no trials, no tricks, no traps!”
That means a subscription is no longer required to adventure through the vast world of Telara and battle the forces of the planes. From now on, you can log in to your RIFT account any time and play with no level or content restrictions.
Interested gamers can downloadÂ RIFT here.
World of Warplanes Gets Cinematic
Wargaming is expanding its already vast player empire to consoles with the surprise unveil during Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2013 Media Briefing thatÂ World of Tanks would be coming exclusively to the Xbox 360. That of course means that, when ready,Â World of Warplanes andÂ World of Warships will follow suit and all three will surely make their way to the Xbox One eventually. Leading up to E3, Wargaming released the above cinematic trailer forÂ World of Warplanes. Can it beat the impressive and similar free-to-play WWII online flight sim/shooter,Â War Thunder?
At the Sega booth during E3 2013, we had a chance to get hands-on withÂ Total War: ROME II. Just before the big event, the above cinematic teaser trailer was released focusing on the story of Cleopatra.
What Happened ToÂ Shadow of the Eternals?
A week before E3, and more than halfway through its Kickstarter campaign to raise $1.35 million,Â Paul Caporicci,Â CEO and founder of Precursor Games, canceled the Kickstarter – which hadn’t even crossed the 10% mark – and posted a message starting they’re postponing the Kickstarter and will relaunch later with “new developments.” We don’t know the real reason behind the change, but part of the reasons was that they likely weren’t going to meet the funding goal and wouldn’t have raised any money this way. Part of the issue is the involvement ofÂ Denis Dyack and the resulting confusion of the studio’s relationship to Silicon Knights, and the lack of clarity surrounding what the game would offer. It’s going to relaunch with s lower funding goal at some point, but we don’t know when.
The Witcher 3 DLC
The Witcher 3 was one of the most impressive games at E3, and one of the sequels that offered the most improvement over its predecessors. For PC players who’ve been there since the original, CD Projekt Red is continuing to put consumers first, with free updates and DLC planned for at least the PC version of the threequel.Â CD Projekt head Marcin Iwinski tellsÂ RPS:
“It’s too early to talk specifics, but definitely all the DLCs and updates will be free. Of course, weâ€™ll see what the platform holders will allow â€“ what we can do for free [on next-gen consoles]. I mean, there are different business models on consoles. From our standpoint, weâ€™ll definitely do everything we can to deliver the same experience across all platforms.”
During Ubisoft’s E3 2013 Media Briefing, not one but two new Trials games were announced.
- Trials Fusion launches with a new physics system and social features for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360.
- TrialsÂ Frontier is RedLynx and Ubisoft’s first mobileÂ Trials game and is connected withÂ Trials Fusion.
It was on our wishlist for game unveils during the Xbox E3 briefing and developerÂ Double Helix GamesÂ made it true;Â Killer Instinct is coming exclusively to Xbox One as a launch title but with limited characters. So limited in fact, that purchasers only get one (Jago) to pick from and that’s because it’sÂ free, with additional characters for sale individually. The downloadable title will however have a season’s pass which will includeÂ all additional content. We don’t yet know how much it costs.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.