Here’s the stuff we’d never heard of before we covered it for the first time here. You wanted bleeding edge… here it is! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
Like many readers, I was originally disappointed when Destiny wasn’t released for PC. I’m not even a Halo fan but could see that the title had promise. Release, though, sounded just OK. I fed my sci-fi MMO-ish need with doses of PlanetSide 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic and largely ignored the title, aside from the fact that major gaming sites seemed happy with the expansion. I figured it was one of those few decent console games not made by Nintendo that PC players just wouldn’t get. Whatever.
Fast forward to the announcement that Blizzard would add Destiny 2 to its launcher to ensure its PC release. PC fans freak out. World of Warcraft token values skyrocket. Massively OP writers and readers note its potential to define the genre. The chance to demo it at E3 put me on the hype train, but the reality has caused me to pump the breaks.
As I mentioned in MassivelyOP’s Best of E3 Overthinking article, I came away from this year’s con thinking Sea of Thieves was the best playable online multiplayer game with a playable demo there, despite that demo being “terrible.” What I mean by “terrible” is that it created the potential for some of the worst parts of gaming to come true. There’s a reason most MMOs demo a battleground, boss fight, or newbie experience: Those are easy to demo, especially for non-MMO fans. Some demos give players a zone to explore, which is better, when done well. Rarely are people put into a situation where the entire demo requires coordination, but Rare did it, and it paid off, despite the fact that it’s not selling an MMO.
Allow me to explain.
Oh, E3, always a magical time full of promises when some aren’t meant to be kept, some are meant to be kept but won’t be, and some actually will happen. Have fun guessing which is which!
Among the more pertinent announcements from this year’s convention are ARK: Survival Evolved launching on August 8th, Sea of Thieves delaying launch until 2018, and Destiny 2 launching early September and late October depending on platform. We’ve also got the new game Anthem on its way for 2018 and Monster Hunter World headed for consoles and PC, which is all cool.
Oh, and let’s not forget the announcements of Skull and Bones and The Crew 2. Or the Lawbreakers beta starting June 28th while launch is set for August 8th. Jeez. Is there even room for more beta news? Yes, but just a little.
Whew! Some title density in there, almost mirroring that of the list down below. You can still read the list, though, and if we missed something or a game has slipped into a new test phase, you can let us know in the comments.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
The Netmarble take on NCsoft’s Lineage franchise, Lineage 2 Revolution, has soft launched as a global version in multiple English-speaking markets and app stores this week as planned. The Unreal 4 game has already become a blockbuster overseas, having landed in the top 10 ten mobile games in SuperData’s revenue charts for the last several months and helping to propel Netmarble’s record setting $12B IPO bid this spring.
The game boasts high-ish end graphics for mobile devices and stock MMORPG mechanics usually reserved for PC and console games, including questing, raiding, and PvPing in an open-world setting. Anybody smacked this on a phone yet to try it out?
At this year E3’s, a lot of the big companies in gaming let journalists behind the scenes, rather than forcing us to spend hours of expo time in line. In fact, some even slipped us a few nuggets that other press weren’t being given (or due to their lack of knowledge of our genre, didn’t understand). Small nuggets, but things that excited me as a fan. It’s not a true MMO, but Nintendo gave us some interesting news about Splatoon 2’s Salmon Run mode, a new feature in the 4v4 multiplayer shooter, and I got my hands on it and a Nintendo Switch to boot.
An RPG based on Magic: the Gathering is one of those things I have both long wanted and long assumed was just never going to happen. Now it’s happening, and it’s happening at the hands of Cryptic and PWE. That doesn’t necessarily make me enthusiastic about the business models, but it does mean (based on the studios’ other games) that it’ll be good solid fun to play just the same.
It makes me especially happy because it’s possible to play a lot of MtG without ever knowing anything about the setting, too. Now you sort of have to.
My time with MtG as an active player is definitely in my rear-view mirror, but it’s possible to have a passing familiarity with the game but not really get what in the world is there to base a non-card game upon. Since I tend to absorb this stuff, though, my mind was immediately set aflame with visions of teleporting between planes, summoning creatures, and collecting artifacts. So let’s take a look at the lore behind the cards and speculate a bit on systems, shall we?
It’s still very early to get excited about BioWare’s upcoming co-op shooter Anthem, but the game is bringing in veteran talent for development. Drew Karpyshyn has confirmed that he’s working on the title as a writer, although he’s been quiet about his degree of involvement and any actual details of the writing.
Which… seems pretty obvious, considering the title is still early in the reveal process. Obviously.
Karpyshyn is best known as the lead writer on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, but he has a lengthy history with Star Wars: The Old Republic as well; he penned two novels for the game, wrote much of Knights of the Eternal Throne, and had major input on the Jedi Knight class story. Of course, we currently know next to nothing about Anthem’s story, but we do know it’s being shaped by experienced hands.
Earlier this week, Nexon posted a Durango teaser trailer, announcing a Q4 2017 worldwide mobile launch for the game. If your eyeballs rolled over the word mobile, maybe reconsider: Nexon is calling this game a “fully featured MMO experience,” an “open-world sandbox massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a primitive alternate universe inhabited by dinosaurs,” with exploration, city building, PvP, survival, crafting, villages, procedurally generated world building, a living environment and ecosystem, dino taming, guilds, and on and on.
“Durango utilizes a revolutionary procedurally generated world building system that populates the massive open world with an infinite number of locations to discover and explore. Players will be able to colonize a vast number of stable continents or uncover and travel to unstable islands filled with resources, dinosaurs and secrets to uncover across a range of ecosystems and biomes that will surface and disappear into the sea at a moment’s notice.”
Nexon wasn’t finished with its reveals Monday, however: Today it’s got another trailer, longer than the first, so feast your eyes below before those dinos feast on you.
First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc is getting the E3 treatment this week, being available for play (and spectating) at the show. Expect it for PSVR later this summer, though it’ll eventually filter to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too.
“Sparc is a skill-based, fast-paced, and physical sport only possible in virtual reality,” says the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online. “In Sparc, players utilize their two PlayStation Move motion controllers to aim and throw projectiles at each other inside a sleek virtual arena, while defending themselves by dodging, blocking, or deflecting incoming attacks from a live opponent. Players can compete against their friends or find challengers via online matchmaking.”
Our own Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest, arguing that “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc.”
“Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition,” he wrote in April. “I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”
First, the bad news: Monster Hunter World is not an MMO version of the long-running franchise. But it is a new installment bringing in everything that’s long been celebrated about the series, with the same skill-based gameplay and the same core loop of hunting enormous beasts for materials. It’s also a chance for you to play with friends, as the game will support online drop-in drop-out co-op play, so you can jump in from the comfort of your own home to help your friends hunt down creatures.
It’s also going to be a multiplatform release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The console versions are planned to release first in 2018 followed by the PC version later, but if you’d like to treat this seamless open-world game as something of an MMO-like experience, the platform options will support that. Check out the trailer for the new title just below.
Ubisoft is undoubtedly pleased with the sales and performance of The Crew because as previously teased, the developer has invested in a full-fledged sequel that’s even bigger than the first cross-country racing game.
The Crew 2 will take multiplayer to a redesigned and larger America, with players jumping into the driver’s seat of all manner of cars, motorbikes, boats, helicopters, and even planes. The real star of the game is the open world setting, where players will be able to visit and traverse locations coast-to-coast, such as the Grand Canyon and New York City.
“Our ambition with The Crew 2 is to make the ultimate experience for all motorsports fans,” said the studio.
But what is there to do until the game comes out? Ubisoft launched a rewards program that allows players to earn and unlock up to 18 The Crew 2 vehicles by playing The Crew right now. An early 2018 release is planned on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Players can following the development progress and sign up for the beta on the website.
One of the indie highlights of this weekend’s pre-E3 show was Ashen, a beautiful survival sandbox with a former Guild Wars 2 artist on board at studio Aurora44. It’s not quite an MMORPG, but it’s promising what it’s calling “passive multiplayer” in a “seamless multiplayer” mode — a bit like what No Man’s Sky promised and failed to deliver — though you can opt to play solo too. It’s reminding me more of the Myst franchise or Wander in that it’s a survival sandbox framed by mystery and open-world exploration and relationship-building, not so much by the now-tropish parade of murderous zombies, dinosaurs, or other players (which is not to imply it’s not stuffed with danger, mind you!).
It’s expected to be a Microsoft exclusive, meaning PC and Xbox One release only, and that includes the newly announced Xbox One X. Peek at the trailer down below.