Gaming Week In Review: THQ Comes Back From The Dead, Quantum Break stabs Windows 10 in the back
THQ Rises From The Grave As THQNordic
Back in 2013, legacy publisher THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a series of costly retail failures. While its most notable franchises (Saints Row, WWE, Total War, Homefront) eventually found homes at other publishing houses – the bulk of their IP (including the THQ name) was purchased by Nordic Games. The Austrian publishing house had developed several major titles with the studio, including the ATV vs MX racing series. The purchases included dungeon crawler Titan Quest, colorful platformer De Blob and the martian shooter Red Faction. Up to this point, Nordic’s plans for these franchises didn’t have much of a clear future.
This morning however, Nordic recommitted to THQ in a huge way by rebranding itself as THQNordic. On top of the name change, the company also announced it was working on 13 unannounced titles under the new studio name with a majority sourced from the acquired franchises. No specific titles were confirmed, but it seems highly likely that one of them will be linked to the Darksiders series of Zelda-esque beat-‘em-ups. Nordic’s acquisition deal in 2013 included not just that franchise, but the development team who had spearheaded it. That team has been vocal in the past about continuing the series, and this sudden reinvigoration by their new owner seems like the perfect moment.
Quantum Break leaps to Steam, leaves behind Windows 10
Remedy Games’ experimental TV-and-game hybrid Quantum Break released earlier this year on XBox ONE and Windows 10 to mixed reactions. While the game’s quality was regarded as subpar, one innovative feature that drew headlines was the fact that those who bought the game digitally on XBox ONE would receive a complimentary copy on Windows 10 – and vice-versa. The cross-buy program would later be confirmed as part of a larger initiative by Microsoft to ‘recommit’ to the PC gaming platform, regaining lost ground by Valve’s omnipresent Steam digital distribution service.
Some of that ground was ceded again this week when Remedy announced that they would no longer be supporting the Windows 10 version of the game with updates. Instead, focus would be shifted to a new version of the game launching on Steam. This includes a hotly anticipated engine upgrade to DirectX 11, a graphics technology that would have boosted performance on many PCs. With the move to Steam, the game will also be made available to users who have chosen to forgo the Windows 10 upgrade, running on Windows 7 and 8. Existing owners of the Windows 10 version should not expect a free upgrade to the Steam version.
Quantum Break launches on Steam on Sept. 14, for $39.99.
The Outrage Over No Man’s Sky leeches into another week
Last week, we detailed some growing concern over the upcoming release of Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky – an ambitious space exploration game that boasted “quintillions” of unique planets. Since release, a large patch has alleviated many of the issues that emerged for players who obtained the game prior to release. This includes a fixing an exploit that allowed one player to finish the game in just 30 hours, and various problems with the game’s inventory system.
A new set of controversies was quick to emerge, though. No Man’s Sky namely trafficked itself on a mysterious marketing campaign, making promises about an expansive universe that would be everything and nothing all at once. The uncertainty about what exactly one could do in No Man’s Sky fed into the unending hype, particularly the potential of online connectivity with other players. While everybody in No Man’s Sky is playing within the same universe, Hello Games studio head Sean Murray was adamant that the likelihood of two players ever finding each other was slight. Yet in the first week, two players claim to have done just that.
Once the two players were able to coordinate a meetup at one planet, they quickly realized that they could not see each other in the separate games. Community outrage was quick to boil over once again, with many players claiming that they felt lied to during the game’s promotional campaign. Murray’s many promotional appearances for No Man’s Sky were consistently vague about the multiplayer nature of the game, leading some to believe that the feature was at some point scrapped in the design process. Adding to this assumption were shots of a box for the game’s Limited Edition release on PC, which has iconography for the online-multiplayer feature hastily covered up by stickers.
No Man’s Sky is currently available for Playstation 4 and PC.
Follow Chris Berg on Twitter @ChrisBerg25
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