The Weekly Fetch Quest – October 24, 2016
Welcome to Theory of Gaming’s Weekly Fetch Quest, in which we adventure out into the world searching for the week’s most important news, and gather it all in one place, for your reading pleasure (and unlike most adventurers, we’ll fetch these items for you free of charge).
Every Monday, we’ll post the top stories from the previous week relating to the world of video games, along with some insights into why these are the news stories you should be reading. The Weekly Fetch Quest promises to be a brief look at these events that will get you caught up in no time at all.
To see more content from our site, or to submit a news story you would like to see covered in the Weekly Fetch Quest, follow us through our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) or contact us directly.
After months of speculation and rumors, Nintendo has finally unveiled their next console, named the Nintendo Switch. The console is unique in that it is both a traditional home console and a mobile, handheld console. Players will be able to play games on their home TV, and can remove the console from a docking station to bring the game with them wherever they go. Although there are still many unanswered questions (price, specs, launch titles), we’re excited for the Switch for three reasons: the potential for asymmetrical gameplay, the possibility of unique non-traditional game design and, well, it’s Nintendo, and we’re endlessly loyal to them (even if they are prone to some questionable decision making).
After nearly two years of back-and-forth negotiations with numerous video game publishers and developers, including Electronic Arts and Activision (among many others), the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has decided to go on strike. There are a number of issues at the center of the strike, but the primary concerns are a discrepancy in pay and unsafe working conditions. Voice actors feel their work is undervalued by the industry, and that many publishers push actors to work through long, sometimes unreasonable recording sessions, which can cause harm to the actor’s vocal chords. Although industry representatives labeled the strike as “self-defeating,” we can only hope for a swift resolution to this issue – after all, voice actors are essential components of great games.
For many, Red Dead Redemption symbolizes the pinnacle of achievement for Rockstar Games, a title that helped define the golden era of game design. So it came as a very pleasant surprise when Rockstar announced a sequel, set for release in 2017. Not only are we excited for this release, but Rockstar should be commended for how they have so far handled the pre-release communication of the title, an issue that is currently in the news. It will also be interesting to see if Rockstar can once again raise the bar they set themselves with their most recent release, Grand Theft Auto V.
Along with news of their next console, Nintendo also unveiled new details of the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo demonstrated some new features, such as a dynamic weather system, and confirmed that the title would release on both the Wii U and Switch. It will be interesting to see if there are any differences between the two versions of the title, and if Nintendo can create a compelling open-world adventure, something they have limited experience with. Also interesting to note is that the title appears to abandon motion controls, a curious move since the last entry in the franchise helped set the standard for motion controls in games.
An unfortunate reminder that the video game industry is just that, an industry, came this week with the news that United Front Games would be closing down after nine years of developing original AAA titles, as well as supporting other developers on large AAA titles. The closure of yet another large development studio strengthens the argument that the current model of AAA game development is unsustainable, and that the industry needs to reexamine how video games are developed and published.
Outside of Japan, many gamers have never heard of The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets, a sort of remix of the popular Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The obscurity of the title is, in large part, due to the unique nature of the game – according to Kotaku, the game faced an uphill battle in terms of emulation because “The game could only be played while it was being broadcast via satellite and changed over time. Audio broadcasts were played during the games, with orchestrated music and voice acting.” However, fans have found a workaround, and the title can now be downloaded and played by all. Not only is it a chance to experience a curious piece of Nintendo’s history, but it also shows how the company has long experimented with non-traditional game design.