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Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Castilian Spanish Support Missing

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Greetings from Spain! I’m a fellow Halo fan and a die hard fan of the multiplayer matches. You may not know me, but we’ve sure met in battle. I’m writing this calling every gamer, every Halo fan out there, hoping that you can understand what we’re living here with the upcoming release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

I would like to start with a little recap. In 2004, Microsoft had the “brilliant” idea of dubbing Halo 2 with what they called “neutral Spanish” (some kind of made-up language that mixes several Spanish dialects and accents), and they decided to dub it in LA with a bunch of non-professional actors. The result was a total disaster, an embarrasing voice work that has generated thousands of memes and jokes during the past decade. It didn’t please the fans from Spain, nor the fans from America. A couple of awful examples (with terrible voice acting):


However, Microsoft stated, back in the day: “Halo 2 is so good, our spanish-speaking friends will soon forget about the voice acting”. Amazing. Yet Microsoft decided to let it go, and did nothing to fix that back in the day.

Now, in 2014, Microsoft announced Halo: The Master Chief Collection, with Halo 2 Anniversary included within it. We fans thought that this was a GOLDEN opportunity to ammend such a terrible mistake, but (quite unsurprisingly), Microsoft again decided to do nothing, but they’ve screwed the language even further: they’ve removed the original dub and, instead of re-dubbing it (Halo CEA had Captain Keyes re-dubbed, since the original audios from Bungie were missing), they’re releasing the game in full English. This is absurd due to one main reason: Halo – The Master Chief Collection has a pretty awesome launcher that allows user to remix all the campaigns in customized playlists. What’s the point in playing some levels in Spanish and then suddenly play others that come in full English? It’s nonsense, and will make our experience very awkward. Halo deserves better. Many people disliked that dub, both in Spain and America, so Microsoft decided to correctly dub the future Halos, both in Spain’s “Castilian” and in America’s “Latin” (and the new games have a way more professional voice acting for both regions).

The Halo fans here in Spain (and in America, since many communities there also support this cause) refuse to accept this. This is why we have created several initiatives and petitions to show Microsoft that we are a big community and they can’t risk losing that huge amount of customers for their struggling XOne (Spanish is the most spoken language in the world right after English). We ask them to reconsider this situation and make a proper dub so all their Spanish fans can finally enjoy Halo 2 and the Collection it is included in.

These campaigns are:

Xbox Feedback: https://xbox.uservoice.com/forums/251647-gaming-achievements/suggestions/6083567-halo-2-anniversary-con-nuevo-doblaje-en-castellano
Change.org: https://www.change.org/es/peticiones/microsoft-ibérica-s-r-l-haced-un-doblaje-en-castellano-castellano-del-juego-halo-2-anniversary

Since we started this campaign, we contacted tons of sites, and as of today, almost 50 websites from all around the world have shown us their support and care. Here’s the current list:

http://halo2anniversary.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/paginas-web-que-nos-apoyan-que-hariamos.html

We don’t have Spanish-only support. Our voice has been heard beyond our territories proving us that Halo is truly a beloved IP. The greatest Halo community in Italy is helping us with this:
http://www.halo.17kgroup.it/sc/5604-halo-2-anniversary-i-fan-spagnoli-chiedono-aiuto/
http://kingdomgame.it/news/6570-halo-2-anniversary-gli-spagnoli-chiedono-aiuto
They even spoke to 343i at Gamescom:
http://www.halo.17kgroup.it/ap/5812-gamescom-giorno-1/

Also, from the UK (Halo.Bungie.Org), Claude Errera himself showed us his love:
http://halo.bungie.org/news.html?item=40538

Even from the USA, we have this long thread in NeoGAF:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=875819
There, Halo Franchise Director Frank O’Connor (aka Stinkles) wrote an official answer:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=125891870&postcount=8074

And the latest community to join is Halo France:
http://halo.fr/news/communaute/soutien-la-communaute-espagnole

You can see that we have a huge worldwide support on this. But, unfortunately, it is not enough. We need more help, your help, to vote, sign (Xbox Feedback and Change) and share, so we can prove them that the Halo community is a borderless one. We want every region to be considered equally with a wolrdwide release of this magnitude.

Thanks a lot for reading this, and for your help.

Lluís SD.

D4 on Xbox One Preview

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D4’s title (Dark Dreams Don’t Die) is enough to confuse most people. A labour of love from cult game developer SWERY and Access Games that Microsoft has decided to include as part of its Xbox One post launch release schedule.

In typical SWERY story telling, D4 makes absolutely no sense from the start. It tells the story of a time travelling detective, David Young, who receives his gift on the same day that his wife is shot dead and he somehow survives the same ordeal – even thought he was also fatally shot. It’s clear from the start that D4 is more of an interactive experience akin to the highly popular Walking Dead video-game.

The first half of the demonstration was spent getting acquainted with the different Kinect controls. It seemed to take a little while to get used to, but the idea of using different finger gestures to move and interact with the environment eventually sinks in.

There’s a fair amount of interaction within the short demo. This included being able to do minor actions, such as making the character see how he was looking on the bathroom mirror. It may seem pointless but such interactions made it possible to feel part of the story. Fans of SWERY’s work will no doubt know how well similar quirky interactions worked in Deadly Premonition and the same applies to D4.

Walking out of an air plane’s bathroom makes it possible to interact with some of the crew and passengers. Each comes with unique physical and personality traits that will make these encounters memorable. From the grumpy agent, Derek, to the fabulous designer Duncan and his life sized mannequin Sulky. How did Duncan manage to get Sulky on-board? It’s one of the many questions those who experience D4 will no doubt ask themselves. Interacting with these characters is very simple. It’s so easy that it is even feasible to do so with Kinect’s voice recognition feature. More proof that it is possible for a core video-game to work with the improved Kinect 2.0!

There’s also various “memento” items scattered around. These will work as a means for David to literally go into memories related to the story. It was mentioned that these items make it possible to jump in and out of any new memories unlocked. There’s even mementos that have no purpose in moving the story forward – but still provide those eager to explore with optional scenarios.

The final part of the demo will no doubt bring back memories of days gone by where rhythm games, like Elite Beat Agents, were highly popular on the Nintendo DS. It basically consists of David running after a criminal within the narrow space of the airplane aisle. This is a scene most are no doubt familiar with from the trailers and other media exposure. But how does it feel to actually play the fight?

It’s all happening very fast and it’s necessary to pay close attention to on-screen prompts. Initially the prompts are very simple one hand swipes. It continues to get harder until both arms and even special gestures are used. However, what truly matters is that the Kinect is highly responsive to any player actions. It worked so well that it made the fight a pleasure to experience. The icing on this hands-on fight sequence was the use of props like a baseball bat. Even performing such motions didn’t spoil the flow of the fight – since the player is given a few seconds to get into position by mimicking the pose associated with holding a baseball bat. The demonstration ended with the character getting kicked in the crotch. A fitting conclusion to what is possibly another wonderfully bizarre concoction from the house of SWERY.

What was incredible throughout all of this was the fact it was played completely whilst sitting down. No more need to worry about distance or having to stand up. If there is any software that has the potential to prove just how far Kinect has come, then this is it.

The improvement in visuals from Deadly Premonition is also a nice bonus. Especially if it still manages to captivate players in the same manner that Deadly Premonition did. The only small downside found was how linear it felt. Hopefully, it will open up once more area are revealed. D4 is certainly looking like another unique offering from SWERY. Most importantly is how it will benefit Kinect and make it more like part of the Xbox 360 experience – rather than an add-on that won’t get as much use.

Dead Rising 3 Preview

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The time is getting closer with only weeks until the launch of the eagerly awaited Xbox One hardware. For many Dead Rising 3 is the one exclusive that has made them pre-order an Xbox One. But just how well is Capcom’s Xbox One exclusive holding up after getting some hands-on with it?

It’s necessary to start off this preview by mentioning the freedom players are given. It’s been promised that time objectives are a lot less restrictive now. It’s really more about seeing everything on offer. The areas to explore are huge and it wasn’t even possible to scratch the surface during the time spent playing. In fact, it felt more like only a very small area was explored during the time it was played.

This city/suburban setting really makes it seem more than just another remote setting – like with the previous two entries. It’s not just the case of it being another exclusive playground that was eventually overrun by zombies. This is a whole city brought to its knees that is just begging to be explored. The nature of the city landscape means that it’s now easier than ever to make use of any vehicles scattered around. There are a few roadblocks to make players walk on foot in some areas. However, the option to access vehicles easily did make it really useful to get around the are explored more quickly.

The sheer amount of weapons, combos and ultra combos to unlock seems bigger than ever. There’s some truly inventive ways of combining items for devastating attacks. Even more so when given the fact there is now a light and heavy attack. The character can also grab zombies and perform different hand to hand actions. It’s also even possible to combine two vehicles close together or at a mechanic shop. Some of the vehicles combined are real power beasts that will cause some serious mayhem when it comes to facing large groups of zombies.

Everything unlocked is then accessible from clearly marked safe houses spread all over the city. The tradition of insane costumes continues in this new Dead Rising chapter. It;s even better now as the player is given more control over how clothes are changed. It’s begging for players to come up with some truly garish combinations. For example it was possible to get the character, Nick Ramos, into some tights, a skirt, cowboy boots and a sports jacket. Imagine what else is possible when it comes to unlocking more clothing items.

But just how easy is it to control the character and the various moves? It’s never been a better time to jump into Dead Rising. Even aiming guns feels less of a struggle thanks to improved movement controls that makes it simple to shoot targets – regardless of distance. The character moves fairly quickly and is agile enough to climb and fight his way through crowds of zombies. Not that the character felt overpowered since zombies can still grab him inside vehicles. There is a new twist in that shaking the controller will result zombies being pushed away. It’s a simple mechanic but one that could possibly rid of button quick time events. What is fascinating is that the Kinect sensor recognises this move and it works really well.

Capcom wasn’t joking when it said the Xbox one hardware made it possible to fulfil its original concept for Dead Rising. The sheer number of zombies on-screen at any point is mesmerising. Even more so as there wasn’t a single instance where the game’s frame rate suffered because of it. It felt satisfying to ram through a crowd a zombies. Especially as the Xbox One’s controller vibration feedback made it possible to feel every instance that a zombie was knocked down. Each vibration gave the sense that the player was really there ramming another hundred or so zombies.

Making use of the item management system was also very simple. It’s just necessary to press a button and swap between items. Although it seemed like there were a lot of slots – it’s necessary to think of the level up system. It contains different paths and each will give different rewards and eventually unlock specialised skills. It seem quite interesting and should mean each player can go about playing in a different manner.

There wasn’t a moment where Dead Rising 3 ceased to amuse. It was non-stop gore and reinforced the idea that this is another quirky take on the zombie apocalypse. There was also some story shown which gave the impression that this adventure will include the biggest cast of characters so far. It should prove interesting as might make it easier for players to feel the need to invest in the story and see what direction it goes.

Dead Rising 3 is certainly one of the more promising launch titles for the next generation. The time spent on it was not only remarkable but also showed that this partnership between Capcom and Microsoft is beneficial for the players. If there is one title worth getting with an Xbox One then Dead Rising 3 is looking like  it. It certainly has the pontifical to become an unforgettable take on the zombie apocalypse that is not to be missed.

Call of Duty Launch Night – IndigO2 at O2 Dome London

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Do you believe in ghosts?

Everyone that attended the launch party for the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Ghost from Infinity Ward and Activision must have. This year’s prestigious event took place at the IndigO2 at O2 dome last night (Nov 4th 2013.) It was spacious enough to accommodate both eager fans and press who were attending to cover the event – so others who couldn’t attend were still able to experience it.

The venue itself was open based so that it made it easy to see everything on offer. There is no argument that the best section to be was the one where various Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles were set up for some serious Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer action.

It was great to see that Activision and its PR agency Red Consultancy made it possible for fans to try out new online multiplayer modes – such as the one where a team has to survive an alien attack! There was a great atmosphere throughout the night with people happily chatting (presumably about their online tactics) on the floor and playing the game. In fact, the queues to play only started to get smaller as midnight came. Presumably, most of the fans were taken to the nearest midnight GAME launch to be sold their copies of the title.

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There was a Call of Duty tournament that took place too – this itself was very entertaining to watch and it was all thanks to the commentary team. It consisted of two Youtube professionals and eSports sensation, Ben Bowe. This was a brilliant idea given that these are people who know what they are doing. It made it all the more exciting to see as the teams went up against each other until one victorious team was left standing. Each of the team’s also had a special member – it was either a CoD developer, celebrity or someone well know in games industry – to hopefully guide them to victory. The winning team really deserved the top spot after managing to defeat the team that had one of the game’s developers, Tina Palacios.

The rest of the night consisted of more multiplayer matches whilst being entertained by Rizzlekicks and a fantastic DJ set from MJ Mistajam. To top it off, even the famous Call of Duty: Ghosts dog made an appearance. There is no denying that this was one of the best launch parties of the year for what is arguably one of the biggest software launches of the year.

RizzleKicks Performance at the Call of Duty Ghosts Launch Party in London.
RizzleKicks Performance at the Call of Duty Ghosts Launch Party in London.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is out now on Xbox 360. It will launch alongside the Xbox One on the 22nd November 2013.

Look out for our reviews of both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One in due course, but we’re sure you’re more than happy enjoying your title right now?

FIFA 14 Review

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As reviewed by Robin White

This year’s incarnation of FIFA 14 made me feel awful. Just last week I was playing the recent Pro Evo release and thinking to myself ‘hot damn (I talk like a child from the fifties) Pro Evo might finally have caught up this year’, visualizing the oft benighted lesser sibling ousting EA’s FIFA from atop its footballing throne and declaring itself King of the football titles.

But then FIFA 14 arrived on my door step and Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s pocket sized maestro, looked up at me from the cover and I swear to goodness, the man winked. He knew, as I did, that of course FIFA was still undisputed Empire of the footballing world, the mighty Barcelona to Pro Evo’s Leyton Orient. Whilst Pro Evo seemingly improves every year and FIFA stays almost entirely the same, FIFA is still absolutely always better. It has no need to improve, for it is already, essentially, perfect.

Sorry Pro Evo. Back to Gamespot you go.

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With FIFA 14, EA hasn’t given us the ‘marquee’ feature we’ve come to expect from previous years. Too often in the past we’ve been treated to gimmicky innovations like the player impact engine and tactical defending with mixed results, but this year FIFA’s attention has been focused utterly on making sure that all of the little things are done just right. And that’s wonderful.

Whilst on the surface, improvements over FIFA 13 may feel somewhat superficial, in actuality they’re deeper than ever. The way players go about their business has been drastically modified for the better – passing, shooting and fluid on and off the ball movement are smoother than ever which coupled with significantly more realistic on pitch animation create a wonderful sense of immersion often missing from a sports title. There might well be no one stand out improvement, but as a cumulative effort what improvements we do have go together to result in an absolute triumph.

The players, who in previous years have been slowly benefiting from becoming much more physical in the way they interact with each other, finally feel altogether more human. They build up momentum, turn, manoeuvre and leap tackles like their real world counterparts and strike the ball so realistically that you can almost hear laces hitting leather.

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Having loaded my first career mode match, I spent the first three quarters of the game fighting out a frustrating 0-0 draw, unable to penetrate the AI’s solid defending, even though the odds are weighed significantly in my own squad’s favour. But on the 75th minute, the ball falls to my long distance specialist, eight yards outside of the box. Just as he would in the premier league, he glances up, sees a path to the goal through a mass of onrushing defenders, shapes his body accordingly and unleashes a veritably majestic screamer, courtesy of the outside of the boot which goes dipping, lunging, sailing its way inexorably into the back of the net, the goalkeeper staring  up at the sky dejectedly whilst my players dance around the centre circle in delight. This is FIFA 14.

Pleasingly, you won’t find yourself relying on Hollywood efforts to find the back of the net – you’ll score from all sorts of situations which were missing from FIFA 13, benefiting the aforementioned sense of impressive realism. Poached headers from the six yard box, scrambled shots taken from the deck having lost your feet, silkily worked passes into the back of the net and goals which see the ball bounce alarmingly close to the goal line are all in evidence and they’re wonderful to see. The ball physics are better than ever and you’ll be marvelling at your efforts and calling your flatmates into the living room to take a look at the free kick you’ve just bent over the wall, off the cross bar and in.

The criticism in some quarters of FIFA’s passing system, with EA’s forums seeing Pro Evo fan boys commenting on their own title’s slick feel in that area, could be justifiable, but in the case of Pro Evo it’s a slickness designed to hide failures in other key parts of the game. Fifa has no such troubles and its passing system one might argue is not as slick because it’s so successfully aping the real world, where beautiful one touch passing and moving happen far less often than a hurried tap to your neighbour under pressure of the onrushing 7ft tall Serbian centre half.

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Computer AI still feels a little naive and given a few hours of practice you’ll be falling them easier than is realistic, but improvements in the AI of your team mates are a welcome addition. They’ll make runs into space without being asked, making the through ball feature more useful than ever and it’s an immensely satisfying as part of your attacking game to thread the ball through two defenders and into the path of your forward.

Real world features, always a FIFA strong point are improved once again, with continual updates from the real season, impacting player ability based on their real life form. Commentators in game will pull up a player who’s performing particularly well in the premier league and its satisfying to feel like you’re part of the wider footballing world.

The game modes themselves are interesting, to the point that I find myself playing offline more than usual – the wealth of  depth in career mode is fantastic and the new mini games feature is a delightful distraction, perfecting various skills and feeling like something one might expect to find on the Wii U, only better. Whilst I’m in the minority of players who rarely engages with Ultimate Team, fans of the system will be pleased to know that it remains in abundance and online friendlies, returning after a confusing one year absence, are more satisfying than ever.

The game day experience itself, fantastically produced and lovingly directed also shows a marked improvement this year. The sense of drama and excitement are entirely evident before a big game and you can almost smell the pies and barely repressed homophobia in the terraces. Terraces which are, irritatingly, still one of the title’s failings. Considering the improvements in player animation, EA have done little to improve the pitch, the stadia or the crowd themselves in recent years and that’s no different here, with surroundings reminiscent of FIFA 11, which is now four games ago.

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With FIFA 14, EA have provided what I’ve been hankering after for a long time. A game which doesn’t rely on gimmicks or Hollywood features, but instead stands on its own two feet by way of immersive, engaging and ultimately realistic game play. This year the gamer feels more in touch with the on pitch action than ever before and I’m sorry to say that Pro-Evo lovers have got at least one more year to wait before they’re back on top. Fifa, indisputably, is still on top. Long live the king.

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MotoGP 13 Review

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It’s not often I’m overcome with the immediate desire to mute a game, but Milestone’s MotoGP 13 is possessed of such an impressive array of irritating sounds that I had little choice. The audio assault began in the game’s menu, where you’ll be treated to some samples from generic racing game soundtrack 101, which segues swiftly into exposition-by-standard-narration-guy for dummies in the introductory voice over, before finally completing a marvellous trifecta of mediocrity with the bikes themselves. These are big powerful machines, so why exactly do they sound like the dirt bike from Vice City?

Setting out to disappoint the hardcore gamer from the very outset, the career mode has been relegated to a lowly fourth place in the main menu, shunned for the shallow, more cerebral options which require little commitment (or thought) from the user. Neither that, nor the game’s hideous soundtrack would be too much of a problem in of itself, if it weren’t for the fact that when you inevitably opt for the more immediate game types, you’re presented with ten minutes of fairly mundane bike racing. Giving the split-screen multiplayer a run out conjured a little amusement, but primarily because we spent the entirety of the race trying to knock people off their bikes and pop the biggest wheelies.

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Eventually making my way to career mode, I found a little hope and MotoGP 13 found a little redemption. The added extras and attention to detail in the career mode are impressive, as you earn fans, create team interest and make your way up the ranks from Moto2 to the impressively (read: dangerously) fast MotoGP category. The Parc Ferme, interactive, walkable garage and ability to talk tactics with your team mates create a level of immersion missing from the usual fare, but that impression of immersion is shattered when you’re once again plunked onto the back of your bike and forced to careen around within some of the most poorly put together environments since Porsche Challenge on the PSX. This game is ugly, there’s no doubt about it and the graphics are in desperate need of a serious update.

Once you’re on the track and weaving your way through some impressively high octane corners, you’re able to forget for a moment how generally dissatisfying MotoGP 13 really is, but those brief moments of satisfaction are few and far between and completing the occasional perfect overtaking manoeuvre with glee doesn’t make up for the game’s short comings. True to life, the bikes feel heavy and getting your head around the braking system will take you a little while, whilst the helmet cam is a wonderful addition, making it clear just how insane those adrenaline junkies who do this for a living really are.

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Ultimately, the game suffers from a lack of polish and the genuine attentions of an enthusiastic development and design team. Brief moments of intense on-bike satisfaction and some clever gimmicks can’t make up for an anaemic lack of character and ultimately, MotoGP13 left me feeling unsatisfied.

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Will Bungie’s Destiny Bring The MMO Genre To The Next Xbox?

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It really is an exciting time to be a console gamer. Not only has the Xbox seen a recent run of incredible games, the platform recently proved that gaming experiences that are slightly outside most people’s regular comfort zones such as the turn-based squad tactics in X-COM can actually succeed. Now, Bungie has revealed its next project – Destiny, a huge-in-scale MMOFPS that will bring the MMO experience to console in a far more accessible way than, say, Final Fantasy XI.

In a similar approach to developers designing titles for iOS that are actually tuned to a touch-screen gaming experience, Bungie are aiming to bring a full-bodied MMO experience to your Xbox console, whichever one you may be using by the time the game is released. While it’s likely that Destiny will blow the minds of many gamers, it may also open the floodgates to massively-multiplayer gaming as a regular part of the future Xbox line-up.

They may not all be MMOFPS titles, either – while the MMORPG tends to involve a considerable amount of buttons, it’s not entirely necessary – combinations of button-presses and the triggers potentially allowing you access to up to twelve face buttons for commands at once (and that’s before you count the bumpers), gamers need not reach for a USB keyboard any more. It’s a shame Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning never made it to MMORPG status, as its huge world and Fable-esque approachable control scheme made it the perfect basis for a console MMORPG.

The MMO genre is branching out on the PC currently, titles appearing that opt for massively-multiplayer real-time strategy, shooters, even purely social games. It’s also worth noting that Destiny isn’t alone in appearing as a console MMO in the near future – Defiance is also a shooter making tracks towards the Xbox and PS3. However, it’s also coming to PC, and given it’s a shooter, those without a mouse and keyboard may find themselves frustrated should they go up against those who are in possession of these superior FPS peripherals.

This is the problem with the approach of some developers who are bringing the MMO gamer back to consoles – that they’re targeting PC alongside the Xbox and Playstation platforms. The issues this causes are numerous: That either the controller isn’t enough, or the keyboard is underused. That the graphics won’t match between platforms. There are endless issues with facing off the PC and console crowds over a single game, and MMOs tuned for a specific platform will always outperform because neither side is lacking in their experience.

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(Photo courtesy of gameinformer.com)

Destiny also needs to prove its ability to operate subscription free, and to keep consoles clear of the free-to-play elements that have plagued people’s PC and iPhone game libraries as of late. Subscription fees tend to elicit much hissing and spitting when it comes to new MMOs, big releases like Star Wars: The Old Republic soon to include a free-to-play model to stop the game from failing completely, but unfortunately sabotaging itself by locking off many of its crucial features behind pay-walls.

None of these approaches will fly with console users. They’re used to a down payment at the start and that’s that. Now, DLC prices make them feel like they’re being milked for content that would’ve come as an expansion, or on the disc at release, ten years ago. Console MMOs will be no different – while expansions will keep the game financially solvent, any hint towards sucking extra money out of players in a “pay to win” environment may push a lot of gamers away from an otherwise fantastic game. Destiny has thrown the doors open to console-only MMO titles, but unless the other games walking through it are willing to adapt to a console environment, nothing may change.

 

David Thompson is a fresh and upcoming technology and entertainment blogger who enjoys the challenges of creativity and attention to detail. His specific areas of interest include film, gaming and the mobile industry, encompassing everything from manufacturer-specific news from Apple to industry announcements from the likes of O2.