Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things that happened in gaming this week. That is when I’m not listening to the weird noises my cat makes when she dreams.
Barely a year after it was released and scooped up over 200 game of the year awards, the critically-acclaimed TV-drama-in-videogame-form The Last of Us is getting a remake. Specifically an HD one for the PS4, complete with all the DLC released for the PS3 version.
I remember when you had to wait years, and sign a boatload of e-petitions, to get an HD remake of anything. Now a game barely has time to make it to the bargain bin before they get one. What next eh? A 1080p version of Dark Souls 2 running at 60 frames per second?
So if you only owned a 360 last generation…god that still feels weird to say, doesn’t it? “Last generation.” Seems like years ago. Anyhow, if you only had a 360 last gen and picked the PS4 as your taste for a new generation then The Last of Us Remastered, or TLOUR for short, is literally tailor-made for you. You, Mr or Mrs Johnny or Janey come-lately are precisely the sort of person Sony and Naughty Dog are targeting with this.
Similarly if you’re a fresh-faced gaming virgin who saw an ad on the telly for this Last One of Us vidjagame thingy and fancied giving it a try. Because it’s a bit like a TV show only you press buttons, innit?
Meanwhile PS3 owners who have the original version of The Last of Us are understandably a bit miffed at this news. Particularly those who also purchased all the DLC for it. And I can understand why. It’s a bit like being told the version you bought is geriatric rubbish for steam-powered granddad machines.
Despite Naughty Dog insisting no PS4 version was in the works, The Last of Us Remastered is hardly a bolt from the blue. If anything it was one of the games industry’s worst-kept-secrets.
Even so I can’t imagine Naughty Dog would be so gauche as to, oh I dunno, start work on a PS4 version immediately after shipping the PS3 one.
[INTERVIEW CLIP WHERE EVAN WELLS OF NAUGHTY DOG ADMITS THEY STARTED DEVELOPING THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED RIGHT AFTER WRAPPING THE PS3 VERSION]
Oh, okay. Well it’ll surely be a fair old while before The Last of Us Remastered actually hits store shelves.
[RELEASE DATE: SUMMER 2014]
Lying, ladies and gentlemen. For those times when “We’re not talking about that right now” might put a hefty dent in your sales figures.
Some people’s anger at this news is understandable, and somewhat justified in my opinion. Open secret or not, starting development of the PS4 version immediately after wrapping up the PS3 one, and then lying about it for months afterwards, is a rather shitty thing to do.
Nevertheless if you own the PS3 version of The Last of Us you shouldn’t let this diminish any enjoyment you got out of it. Any you did get was more likely for its writing and characterisation than its game mechanics or its graphics, which were hardly shoddy by any stretch of the imagination. Slapping fancy graphical bells and whistles onto a story-heavy game is like engraving the works of Shakespeare onto sheets of solid gold. It might look nice and shiny but it won’t make Shakespeare any more or less enjoyable for you.
The same of course applies to Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition, which was damn near exactly the same thing.
And who wants to lay bets on a remastered version of GTA V in the not-so-distant future? Anyone? Anyone at all?
If you absolutely have to play The Last of Us in 1080p then you’ll need to fork out another $60 USD or your regional equivalent for the remastered edition. Because there is presently no plan to let existing owners of The Last of Us upgrade to the PS4 version for a smaller fee, unlike the PS3 version of Battlefield 4 which came with a code that let you do just that.
Failing that you can always move on and play something else. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head. Unless they are, in which case I’m very, very sorry… and somewhat surprised they let you have internet access. Thanks for watching my video by the way.
In other news, Nintendo this week announced release dates for Wii U and 3DS versions of Super Smash Bros 4.
Which has no emotional resonance with me whatsoever since I’ve never, ever played a Smash Bros game. Ever. Still some people seem to like it so more power to them I suppose.
Both versions of the game will have the same roster of playable characters but each features eclusive stages, trophies and collectables. The 3DS version also features an exclusive Smash Run mode in which players run through an open environment for stat powerups before actually getting down to fighting each other.
And as is de rigeur with fighting games, SSB4 comes with upgrades to existing characters and some entirely new characters to play. Among the fresh additions to the roster are the male villager from Animal Crossing, Little Mac from Punch Out, Rosalina from the Super Mario Galaxy Games, the Wii Fit trainer, Megaman from the Megaman games and a Pokemon.
Yes aside from never having played a single Smash Bros game I’ve never played a single Pokemon game either, so the addition of “Greninja” – or however you bloody pronounce it – means absolutely nothing to me.
Let’s just say when the Pokemon boat first sailed by my little island and I was given the chance to step aboard, I decided I’d rather stay where I was…and eat my own flesh.
Some existing characters have also been updated for SSB4, the most notable being Metroid’s Samus Aran whose “Zero Suit” form now sports ridiculous space-age high heels. Because the very concept of Zero Suit Samus wasn’t entirely fucking stupid enough to begin with. At least there’s always the proper Armoured Samus to play with, even though she does seem to shrink a little more with each passing Metroid game.
Meanwhile the inclusion of Megaman is perhaps ironically the most respect the character’s actually received in quite some time, which will no doubt make many Megaman fans rather happy. They can look forward to playing as him against their chums in Summer of this year for the 3DS version and Winter for the Wii U.
And straight out of PAX this weeks comes the first proper gameplay footage for Star Citizen, Chris Roberts’ ambitious PC-only online space sim.
Sadly because the footage was recorded in a convention hall type thing all you really hear of the game is a bunch of hooting and bellowing from the peanut gallery.
Even in this very early version it looks absolutely gorgeous, with orbital installations firing whopping great lasers into planets and asteroid belts around the smouldering ruins of destroyed planets. The game also features Newtonian Physics and G-forces for sad space nerds like me who get giddy over such things. And if you don’t know what Newtonian Physics or G-forces are then I weep for the future of the human race. Roberts also showed off some of the multiplayer, which seemed to consist mostly of him dying and respawning over and over again, while the crowd hollered like chimps at the zoo.
Whatever happened to being quietly excited for something? Is that still a thing or must every game presentation nowadays sound like a Nuremberg Rally for gibbons?
Star Citizen isn’t the only space sim to look forward to of course. There’s also Elite: Dangerous from Frontier Developments led by David Braben, one of the creators of the classic Elite which arguably the kicked-off the entire space sim genre in the first place.
And just to show you don’t need a whopping great budget to explore the stars there’s also Rodina, from former Bethesda programmer Brendan Anthony, featuring procedurally generated planets you can land and walk around on. Basically it’s a really exciting time for fans of what was until recently considered an almost dead genre.
And before some smartarse brings up EVE Online, I see enough spreadsheets at my day job thankyouvery much.
Related to this news only by the fact that it involves space, a new Borderlands game called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has been announced. It takes place between Borderlands 1 & 2 and charts the rise to power of Borderlands 2’s villain Handsome Jack, with you playing as one of four new character classes assisting him.
One of the classes is a playable version of Claptrap, the fan-favourite wisecracking robot, so we can all eventually expect plenty of YouTube videos of multiplayer playthroughs where everyone is Claptrap.
What interests me the most with Borderlands The Pre-Sequel however is that it’s being made by 2K Australia, who made Bioshock 2 aka the best BioShock game. So hopefully this instalment of the franchise won’t have so many shitty internet memes stuffed into it like Bonsai Kittens.
According to 2K Australia the Pre-Sequel will have more “diverse” humour than previous instalments, with a strong influence of Australian comedy and culture. And that’s good news for gamers because comedy is taken so seriously in Australia, that the biggest jokes reap the greatest rewards.
Ahahahahahaha!…he’s now the Prime Minister of Australia.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2014 for PS3 , XBOX 360 and PC.
And finally, fresh from PAX again is the announcement of Civilisation: Beyond Earth from Firaxis, a new Civilisation game that takes place beyond earth. Believe it or not. Which is exactly what the classic Sid Meier game Alpha Centauri was, making this essentially the Alpha Centauri sequel Firaxis fans have been crying out for for years.
In a nutshell your plucky human colonists land on a new, procedurally generated alien planet and have to survive there, either by conquering the local flora and fauna with bionic commandos, genetically altering everyone to live in harmony with their new environment, or stubbornly refusing to adapt and doing things the old-fashioned way by plonking cities all over the place.
Civilisation: Beyond Earth is due for release in the Fall of 2014, or Autumn as we call it here.
That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you liked it then please do let me know. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. If you didn’t like it you can always get the HD re-release, which I’m going to start working on right this instant so you can go now.