Delayed Video Games: It’s Not the End of the World

Video game delay announcements. It’s something we, as gamers, all hate hearing about – especially if it’s a game we’re really looking forward too, but I’ve never understood why some people act like it’s the end of the world. A number of people may argue that a delay can be a good thing. If a development team need that extra time to polish and turn a game from a six to a nine, thus creating a more compelling story, smoother game play and a better game in general, then so be it.

Personally, as much as it can be an annoyance at times, I welcome delays with a general understanding and acceptance although many may not. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has seen three delays now, with the most recent postpone coming in order to deliver on the studio’s ambitious vision for the games ending. When Neil Druckmann states that;

This’ll make for a smooth worldwide launch. Thanks for your patience… It’ll be worth it at the end. Promise

When Druckmann makes a promise on behalf of the famous Naughty Dog studio, the ones responsible for bringing us a slew of incredible games in the past, I’m well inclined to believe him and trust his judgement that the game just wasn’t ready and that this delay will invoke a more spectacular finished product.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is shaping up to be a spectacular finale to the series.

We see a magnitude of games follow the same suit. In relation to the header image, Persona 5 was originally due to be released in 2014 on the PS3, now, after a number of changes and a different platform release we see it’s next upcoming release date to be June of 2016 and it’s radio silent on Atlus’ behalf with only a couple of month to go. This isn’t the end of the world thought, I’d rather they work on the game than focus on PR and marketing. There are many different games and other activities to occupy our time. Although some people happen to think otherwise…

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It’s quite disheartening seeing a vulgar response like this, but sadly these things still happen. I mean, it’s not as if the team at ATLUS want their audience to wait as long as possible to play their games. The amount of pressure the developers already face in the first place is immense, never mind inpatient individuals screaming down their necks about the game not releasing when they want it too.

If a game is held back they aren’t doing it to purposefully annoy people, they’re only harming themselves anyway and not on purpose either, but can some games really recover from development hell or a vast number of delays and setbacks? The Last Guardian has been in development since 2007 and has had it’s fair share of development hell, to the point of where many thought the project had been cancelled all together until it resurfaced in 2015.

Journalists have expressed their concern as to whether the game would even be such a landmark title as initially seen. In many ways, the landscape of gaming has greatly changed since the release of The Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian already has big boots to fill with that in mind. I’d be very much surprised if the game can clinch anything back and if it would well be worth the wait.

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The Last Guardian looks beautiful, but will it be able to hit as hard as SOTC did?

The likes of Final Fantasy XV share a similar story. Originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a PS3 exclusive spin off, it soon became apparent that the title wasn’t going in the direction that they first hoped. With a transition to the eighth-generation hardware, a change of name, new director, a different story and essentially a totally different change of game. After ten long years of development and more than likely thousands of pounds put into resources, Final Fantasy XV is nearing its release date this year. But will the wait really be worth it?

Why do studios release these dates and then don’t adhere to them without knowing that they’ll definitely meet their deadline? Why do they give a release date in the first place if they just can’t meet it? Well, it’s more than likely pressure from the publishing side of things, the sooner they get a release date out the sooner they can start marketing the game and making money from pre-orders and merchandise. Why not just take a leaf out of Bethesda’s book and release in a similar way Fallout 4 did, with a ton of info, trailers, game play, and a solid release date that was only a number of months away from annoucment, as opposed to years.

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Fallout 4 was released just a few months after it’s announcement.

I think we’d all love to see games released that way. I would love too. I believe it’s the best way for all parties – publishers, studio and consumers. That can’t always be the case thought. Some games just don’t have the stature or an audience as big as Fallout so they aren’t able to draw a big enough audience in a short space of time, they need to build up their public relations over an extended period.

Sometimes delays just can’t be helped and it’s certainly not the end of the world when they happen. I think the overreactions to when these incidents happen needs to stop. No one ever wants a delay. Not the consumers, publishers or studio working on the title. There’s a ton of other games out there and when your favorite game has a setback, just remember – patience is the best policy. If a game is going to fall into development hell then it’s the studio/publisher that is affected and not you. At the end of the day, there’s no point crying over spilt milk.

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Welcome to Vault 111

The first episode of my Fallout 4 let’s play is now LIVE! After GAME’s frustrating cock up, resulting in myself and many others receiving the game late, and then having a couple of sleepless nights in order to perfect my Let’s Play setup and to learn Sony Vegas – the video has already been through a lot. It’s all been worth it though and I’m pleased with the end result. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this video, in order to perfect it, as I never want to put things out that are just “half arsed’ so to speak, hopefully you can see that from the vide and appriciate the fact that a lot of passion and care has gone into it.

I’ve always wanted to share my first reactions to a series that means so much to me, not just for others to view, but for something to look back on in years to come. I’m aiming to get 3 videos up a week, as well as maintaining my blog and live streaming on Twitch. Part 2 will be up wednesday night (18th Nov, 7.30pm GMT) so please drop me a sub if you haven’t already. It’s gonna be hard work to stick to this schedule, but I really love what I do so it’s all worth it, hopefully you guys think so to. I won’t be spamming my blog with these videos, but I just wanted to make you guys aware I’d finally started my first let’s play series of Fallout 4. Thanks again for the continued support and enjoy!

 

For more episodes head on over to my youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW5Haq1I9rtjSxDybDxeZRw

Do you remember why you started playing video games?

If you were to ask this question 20 years ago, you might well get a completely different answer from today’s generation. It’s absolutely mind-blowing how much video game content we have on hand these days. There are constantly active social feeds going off at all times around the globe, each displaying various information on the next upcoming trend – whether it’s a new game, news, reviews, leaks etc. Even if you choose not to follow, this information still seeps through the cracks, whether it be from sponsored links, ads tailored to your search engine entries, YouTube/TV ads or even posts liked by your social circle that just so happen to appear in your news feed.

The video game industry has blown up since the dawn of the Internet and the psychical world still holds its own too. Now this may be true with nearly every form of entertainment. But the way we consume video games and their media never used to be anywhere near the magnitude it is today.

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Rather than bringing us together, gamers can tear each other apart because of what their platform of choice is. Why? Not everyone likes the same things.

It’s not just video game media that’s changed though, video games themselves have massively spiked in popularity, and they’re now a commercial phenomenon, appealing to the most casual audiences with characters and consoles becoming household names. The industry consists of multi million dollar projects, which make up an impressive $90 billion dollar industry, as of 2015. Video Games as a medium now share a close likeness to film – due to the sheer jump in visuals, writing and game play we’ve seen in the last 20 years.

The medium is one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment. Which barely even existed 30 years ago. Can you remember when gaming was a relatively underground activity? When games existed in just a 2D pixel based format, the evolution in terms of time has been drastic. As the medium grows so rapidly, so does the selection that comes with it, with each company wanting to get a piece of the pie, which they then in turn can feed to us consumers to make a substantial profit.

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Fallout 4 seems to be a huge contender for GOTY, but still has to fight off an astounding amount of competition.

I’ve recently created a list of all the games I’m hoping to get my hands on in the coming months. Two of those titles sit high upon my wish list perch – Fallout 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront. Although I may not want the many others as much as these two, the others that sit beneath it still call out for my attention through a vast form of media. With my recent trip to EGX I got a reminder of just how many games I have my eye on going into Q4 – Uncharted Collection, Assassins Creed Syndicate; which seems to have made a triumphant return in terms of reviews and from what I’ve played.

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 also makes its way onto the list along with Rainbow Six: Siege and Just Cause 3. Each game cleverly marketed to draw my attention – mostly through nostalgia I’ve noticed. Call of Duty with its throwback to Nuketown and emphasis on Zombies, Battlefront with its authenticity of the original trilogy and Fallout 4 with the expansion on all of the good points from Fallout 3, moulded into something even better.

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 Companies often like to hone in on our Nostalgia. Nuketown is a firm favourite amongst COD fans.

Now I know I’m not the only one who would love to pick every single one these titles. The media I consume each day insists that I have them all. I’d love to play the majority and each one has been fighting for my attention through adverts, promotions, etc. But when does it all just become too much? How much time do you really have? How are you expected to keep up with everything, not just with the games but also with the media that comes with it?

Do you ever get that feeling like you’ve missed out on something you should have played way back, but at the time there was just too much choice and now it’s come back to bite you in the arse. For example Mass Effect is a series I always wanted to try out, but due to the already overflowing market I never ended up picking it up. Maybe it was financial constraints due to blowing my budget on other games that were released around that time, or maybe due to already devoting a lot of time trying to get through other games.

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The new Mass Effect trailer looks outstanding, but with all of these other games on offer I really don’t know if I’d find the time to play through the series.

When Andromeda was previewed the media and gaming community went crazy for it, yet I feel as though I missed out on everything that came before it and feel like an outsider looking in on something I don’t feel part of, but should, even becoming scrutinized by certain folk because I was never part of the series in the early days. I’ve also seen this happen to others on Twitter most recently with the likes of the Fallout series.

It’s not just the consumers that can sometimes suffer, companies can also feel the squeeze in such a saturated market. People pay with their wallets and its survival of the fittest. But is it really too saturated? Do we have too much choice as gamers? Is that a better thing, which then in turn equals more competition?

Do you just pick and choose, hoping the game you want doesn’t flop after spending your hard-earned cash on it, while others that may not have been as appealing end up rising in popularity after you’ve already laid down your moolah elsewhere. It’s so brutal out there, for both seller and consumer at times.

If games don’t sell the prices take a massive cut too. With so many on the market you can end up picking up new games for half of their retail price, just a few weeks after release as the companies fight to keep themselves and their games afloat. It really is that cutthroat. People complain that games are too expensive, even though they’re the cheapest they’ve ever been. If your game isn’t pulling in an audience then the price won’t stay as high as its initial release. Games like GTA V can remain at their first price because of how popular they are while others take a nosedive in order to sell the copies that remain.

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Not many games can stack up against GTA V in terms of popularity.

Trying to keep up with all of the latest gaming trends, what’s hot, what’s not, what you should be playing, what you shouldn’t be, who’s streaming what, the most popular YouTube video doing the rounds, FPS this and 1080p that, all the different types of memes and gifs, hateful comments, Gamer Gate etc, etc, etc. JUST STOP, ARGH! It all just gets a little too much at times, doesn’t it?

The way everything is extremely scrutinized, the cutthroat market, the endless choice, marketing that reveals every minute detail about a game it ships, the uninviting media, the annoying YouTubers, the swatted twitch players, micro transactions, season passes, pre-order bonuses and DLC. Remember simpler times, when none of this even existed?

Thinking back to when I was a child I was allowed one game for Christmas, maybe two if I was very lucky. The deciding factor would come from a few screenshots on the back of a box or the cover artwork on the front. That experience of buying a new game, travelling home, reading the cover front to back, actually reading through the instruction manual. All of that now just a distant memory often thought back too in a flicker of video game nostalgia. I’d play the games I had over and over, numerous times, I’d know the ins and outs of every part.

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I put countless hours into Legend of Zelda: A link to the past, as at one point, it was all I had to play. Attempting tough puzzles and feeling a real sense of achievement once I’d progressed further. Whatever happened to putting in the groundwork?

Games weren’t as accessible as they are now, you’d actually get your money’s worth. You wouldn’t play a game for five minutes, get bored and move on. You wouldn’t buy games in a sale and let them gather dust. You’d dedicate yourself to them. I’m not saying that’s what all gamers are like, but it seems the attention span of many has greatly reduced over the years.

It’s not just the short attention span though; games are just much more accessible these days. I have countless games sat on my shelf, still in the cellophane, in my steam or PlayStation library, all un-played, hoping to see the light of day, but I’m no octopus, I can’t play everything at once. I get a game, play as much as I can, then before I know it, its old news and the media and gaming community are all focused on something else, I then feel like the un-cool kid in the playground who isn’t on board with the new fad and before I know it, new games are out, time moves on and the old stuff, still un-played, gets left behind. The 10-year-old me would have never let that happen.

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Through the year I’d mainly have to rent games but each rental was decided on my own accord, what I thought looked good, regardless if it was or not, it was ME that made the decision and I felt no marketing or peer pressure in doing so. You’d discover hidden gems and amazing experiences, like getting lost in a library of amazing new worlds. Memory didn’t matter; your handful of MB on your memory card was sufficient enough. You’d play games first hand – mainly knowing nothing about them, apart from a blurb on the back or a paragraph in a magazine – that was it.

Yeah some were lacklustre and not worth your time. But remember the ones that were worth it, the ones you knew hardly anything about, you’d become engrossed in their worlds or get lost in the story, yet you’d essentially go in blind, knowing very little about them as opposed to how much we know of a game, pre-release, now.

Look at No Mans Sky for example – Murray and Hello Games are negatively criticized for not revealing much information about the game. I’m sorry, but that game looks intriguing enough as it is and I’d rather find out about it for myself when I have it in my own hands.

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Playing Minecraft for the first time, without any idea of what it was, how to play, or what I should do, was such an amazing experience. Something that made me think back to a time when each game I tried was like playing Minecraft for the first time.

Remember when Minecraft wasn’t even a thing, yet when people first jumped into that they knew nothing, no instruction manual, no tutorial – you just played first hand and worked it out for yourself. Just like how it used to be. You’d play games due to how engaging and fun they were. How a game looked, in terms of visuals, just didn’t matter. You’d share a couch with friends, it was a social thing – playing co-op, competitive split screen multiplayer, conducting mini gaming tournaments for FUN or taking turns handing the controller to one another after each turn. That is but a distant memory with most games.

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The couch never used to be this lonely.

Yet now people are constantly connected, with a camera and microphone in their face, sat on a specialized “gaming” chair, pondering over YouTube or Twitch or arguing in forums over FPS and Display Quality, something that was relatively unheard of. Everything has become so competitive; if you aren’t winning, then you’re a loser.

Some games even offer you the option to skip levels if they’re too hard, what happened to actually putting the effort in and retrying until you got it, you know, when games actually taught you valuable life lessons – not to give up, to always keep at something even if you fail over and over, to put the time, effort and work in, in order to reap the benefits, rather than paying your way out of something, skipping a level, paying to win or progress. It baffles me how anyone would rather chose the latter.

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The fact that the invincibility leaf power up, in Super Mario 3D World, is even a thing makes me weep inside.

Remember when fighting games had hidden characters and you’d have to work your way through the roster in order to obtain them, putting the time in to unlock them, now you can just download them from the store or get them free for pre-ordering. The likes of Black Ops 3 allows you to play every level from the get go. You don’t even have to work your way through the game, you can just go right ahead and play the last level if you so desire, never mind skipping sections if they get too hard, this let’s you skip the whole game, period.

What next? An auto pilot button, that when pressed, just plays the game for you while you watch. Some may argue that this already exists in the form of watching let’s plays – now don’t get me wrong, watching lets plays can be fun, but when you hear people saying they can’t be bothered to play the game and that they’d rather just watch someone else play to see what happens, it really gets to me.

Gaming never used to be like this, or at least this isn’t how I experienced video games when growing up. Even though you are constantly connected with people around the globe and the industry is abundant with all different types of titles, video gaming can, at times, leave you feeling isolated or become very over whelming.

It seems with an ever-growing industry the times, values and reasons people play games have changed dramatically. People play games because of how popular they are, resulting in more views on their latest lets play videos, rather than playing what they really love, regardless of how popular it is. I’m not saying this applies to every gamer, but it applies a lot more today than it did 20 years ago.

Maybe I’m just stuck in my old ways, agitated by a fast paced world, everything moves so fast these days, written media is a dying art form, 8 second vine clips and countless snapchats are all the rage. People don’t have time to play games these days, or so it seems. Hmm. I don’t know, maybe that’s how we’ve evolved as a society, not enough time for anything, but still enough time to keep our social feeds up to date.

Maybe it’s time I stopped trying to adapt to every form of change within the industry and take a step back. Chasing trends and gaming fads will never work. You’ll always feel left behind or out of the loop, even if your first to arrive, the party will be over before you know it and you’ll be left wondering why you even attended in the first place.

Stop feeling like you’re left behind. Play what you love and love what you play, you shouldn’t play games for anyone else but yourself. You didn’t get into games because other people wanted you to play, so why become a puppet on a string to please others?

Whatever it may be, we need to remember why we got into gaming in the first place, hopefully for the love of it and the chance to visit amazing new worlds, to get lost in different time periods; whether it’s fiction or non fiction or sharing the love we have for different games and characters.

Forget about all the inconsequential shit and play for your love of playing, as without that, what does that make gaming, but a passive form of media, as we let it pass by in such a fast pace world, watching others experience it, rather than experiencing it for ourselves.

Why don’t you pick up a controller, take an old game from your shelf and remember what made you start playing in the first place.

/ CR

War… War Never Changes.

Wednesday just didn’t seem real to me. When the announcement was made and the count down released I completely lost it. It was finally happening. I’d waited so long for this, and what a trailer it was as well! We were totally spoilt. I honestly thought we would have gotten an image of the logo and maybe a slow pan of that at most – Boy was I wrong. I think I kept my browser open for the majority of the countdown. This was a great move I thought, allowing the hype to build and expectation rise. Which totally paid off when the trailer dropped.

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Literally just over an hour into the countdown and I couldn’t contain my excitement.

I appreciated the honesty of the reveal, because this is the way the final game is going to look, they could have shown us a high rendered trailer that wouldn’t of been anywhere near the likes of what we were going to get in the final release – similar to what a lot of games have done in the last year or so, resulting in a huge graphical downgrade *cough* Watchdogs *cough*.

All of the trailer was created using in game assets, so what we see is more than likely what we’ll get. I didn’t expect a Fallout game to be so colourful either, the environments and visuals looked so vivid and completely popped as opposed to it’s predecessor that consisted of a grayscale with washes of green and blue.

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It was great to see events before the destruction, I’d love to get to experience what the world was like as an introduction to the game.

I’d like to talk about the trailer for a minute, some good, some bad. There has been a ton of controversy surrounding it and a lot of people are being very negative about the way the game looks visually. Fair enough, it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but that’s not where Bethesda really shines.

The mechanics did seem a little off at first, the way the dog conveyed it’s movements within it’s animations – it all seemed a little sloppy and clunky, it didn’t seem to move naturally within the environment. This is similar to what we may have seen in the likes of Fallout 3 so I can understand people complaining about that aspect.

The models weren’t the best looking and the baby on the bed doesn’t look as natural to me as it may do in other games, to be frank I first thought they were picking a doll out of it’s crib and not a baby.

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Some of the character models do seem a little rigid, hopefully we’ll be able to take a closer look at E3 to see if this concern is rectified. 

But this is Bethesda, their distinctive graphical style is noticed straight away across the likes of the elder scrolls series and fallout. They proudly showcased the jankyness of Fallout in all it’s glory, that weirdness has always been there. The strange reaction you have with some NPC’s as a user.

I mean, imagine what Fallout 3 would have been like without Vats, the game would have been borderline unplayable, especially in the gun mechanic department. I’m not entirely sure what people were expecting? Personally I feel like the game looks a lot better than I thought it was going too. But high fidelity graphics are not the main reason I played, or am going to be playing Fallout for, although personally I think they done a good job.

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Fallout 4 looks to expand on the towns and cities it . It looks as though the communities and urban areas are going to be a lot larger in this instalment.

The gameplay itself was the reason why I fell in love with the Fallout series – exploring the setting, interacting with the eccentric characters that roam the wasteland and getting lost in the post apocalyptic surroundings. I didn’t ever expect to go to Fallout for the graphics, animations and mechanics. It something that it’s always kind of stuttered with.

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The way colour and lighting is used throughout the trailer really reminded me of Bioshock in some places, specifically in the image above.

Did people really think Bethesda were going to emphasise the way the game looked after never doing that in the past with the likes of Fallout and their elder scrolls series? those games have always been clunky. It’s not like Fallout 3 was a pretty game and it seems there’s a lot of hyperbole about this game, people are already saying it looks like Fallout 3.

I feel like a lot of people who are saying that couldn’t have possibly played Fallout 3 or New Vegas, If you think that this trailer looks like fallout 3 I advise you to pop the game back into your machine, take a quick gander at it, then re-watch the reveal. The beauty of this trailer is that it’s all in game, it isn’t pre-rendered at all.

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The lighting effects look absolutely stunning. Hopefully we’ll see live weather effects in Fallout 4.

Fallout has never been a game that has ever cut to insanely beautiful cut scenes, everything has always used in game assets to replicate the story and to present the goings on throughout your journey. Personally I was surprised by the negativity, considering how long we’ve been waiting for the game – which is approaching a decade.

I want a pretty game, but I’d rather a game that is fun, interesting and sucks me in – wouldn’t you agree? I want to get lost in that world, not hung up on what things look like, sure I don’t want it to look awful. But it hasn’t kicked that much of a fuss up with me from what I’ve seen so far. 

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What seems to be some kind of fort containing a lick of green paint is guarded by raiders of the wasteland.

Speaking out of total speculation, it looks like we may get to see the world of Fallout before it went to pot, although I don’t think this setting will play a key role in the game. It’d be great to at least see a portion of the setting and experience the game before the bomb inevitably drops, similar to how the introduction played out in fallout 3, where you started as a baby and progressed in age until you were cast out of Vault 101 onto the open plains of the wasteland.

We know very little about the game, no features have been confirmed as of yet, we don’t know anything about the characters we can see within the clip and nothing has yet been revealed. There’s a lot of familiar monsters such as what looks like a Deathclaw and ghouls, there’s also Airships and the iconically recognised Brotherhood of Steel. Bobble heads, Nuka-Cola and other familiar brands are still scattered about the wasteland.

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A Death Claw roams the plains for it’s next victim. Argghhh, Death Claws!!

I was quite surprised of how much of it we got to see, especially compared to the kind of reveal trailers that released when Fallout 3 and New Vegas came. Obviously a whole ton of content will be showcased at the E3 press conference. This is going to be a significant game, what we’re going to find out at E3 is presumably when the game is released.

I suspect we’ll see full gameplay and I still have a strong feeling the release date will be imminent and we’ll be playing the game before the year is out. I think Definitively they will have to have a date reveal at the show, my assumption is that they’ll either have a specific date in 2015 if not then a suspected quarter within 2016.

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We see a return of many familiar faces – Human, Monster and Robotic. Although they look such much better at next gen.

So the speculation of Fallout 4 coming to the previous generation (PS3/360) is untrue. Which is a great decision from Bethesda, from my point of view. I know a lot of people haven’t made the transition yet, but if a game is being developed solely for next-gen the developers are then able to harness the power of the new machines and aren’t held back by the old consoles, quite frankly if you are that serious about gaming I can’t understand why you’d haven’t made the jump yet.

A few people are confused as to why Bethesda have chosen to open their mouths about the game just a few weeks before E3. Pete Hines is the head of marketing PR at Bethesda and seem like a very smart guy. He and his team would have realised the chance of this game leaking prior to E3 would have been very strong.

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A Dog roams the shadows in this brilliantly lit underpass. I really can’t understand the negativity around the visuals of this game.

Announcing Fallout 4 not only allowed Bethesda to own the day, have video game sites go nuts about them, trend on twitter world wide and have their official announcement trailer reach nearly 10 million views in it’s first day, but it created a such a buzz within the gaming community that nearly everyone is going into the expo talking about it beforehand.

I have very high expectations for this game. I seriously cannot wait to see more of it. I can’t wait to step out of Vault 111 and experience this world once again. A few of you may remember the article I wrote about re-visiting Fallout 3 and just how much that game meant to me. It seems like 2015 is shaping up to be one of the finest years for entertainment, especially for me personally.

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Vault 101 is a distant memory now as we began out new journey from Vault 111.

Most of the films I grew up with are either being reissued or sequels to those series’ are being released – Mad Max, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys and not to forget Star Wars, as well as an announcement of a new Ghostbusters. Not only does it feel like one of the best years for films but for games too – Star Wars: Battlefront, Metal Gear Solid V, Fallout 4 and E3 is still around the corner.

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“Lets go, pal”.. Did anyone feel a similar vibe to the Star Wars Ep 7 trailer at this point?

I personally can’t think of a better year, that has appealed to me more, for both mediums. And it’s even better to know the majority of the above is still all to come. So bring on E3 I say and lets potentially see what the rest of this year has in store.

/ CR