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International Media Partner



Back off, Vivendi Ubisoft’s current management team warns against ‘big conglomerates’ who make decisions for financial, and not creative, reasons as Vivendi increases its stake by Christopher Dring A DEFIANT Ubisoft united at E3 last week as the threat of a Vivendi takeover increases. At the end of the firm’s preE3 press conference, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot took to the stage - flanked by several of his biggest developers - and told the assembled media that the freedom he gives his studios is “what got us here today and that is what will drive us for another 30 years.” It follows hostile activity from Vivendi, which has now secured a 20.1 per cent stake in Ubisoft. The firm insists it is not ‘considering the launch of a public tender’ on Ubisoft, but it did complete an unwanted takeover of mobile games creators Gameloft last month - a company run by Yves Guillemot’s brother Michel. Speaking to MCV at the show, EMEA boss Alain Corre did not reference Vivendi directly. But he told MCV that ‘large industrial conglomerates’ threaten the creative freedom of a company like Ubisoft. “What our creative teams enjoy at Ubisoft is the certain freedom to innovate, create and to be independent,” he told MCV. “Also, the decisions we are able to take sometimes are ones that are good for the games. When we decided to postpone The Division, twice, it was a very complicated, painful decision in terms of financial implications. But we felt it was a necessity for the game to be really polished and for it make a big

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot led a united show of force on-stage at E3

strike and put a smile on the faces of fans who bought it day one. “Our creative teams know the games will not be ruined by short term obligations. They feel confident, they feel they can express themselves - within a certain frame - so that we can win in the end. That is a uniqueness of Ubisoft and its culture.” He added: “For big conglomerates, for big industrial groups, for sure it is not the case [that they put the games before financial targets]. But for us, and our shareholders, it is very important. The decision to postpone The Division into March was questioned by our

The way Ubisoft is being managed today is the best for everybody. Alain Corre, Ubisoft

shareholders, but they believed we knew what we were doing and that, at the end of the day, it would be beneficial for them. We created a fantastic franchise, more than 10m people have played it now, and everybody has been very happy including our shareholders. “We are all gamers, we share this passion, but also we are trying to create value for our shareholders, which is something we have been doing for the past 20 years. “Last week, we had a finance conference, and our shareholders are very confident in our strategy. That is reassuring and shows that the way Ubisoft is being managed is the best way for everybody.”



Xbox: ‘We’re very excited about VR’ Augmented reality also remains a focus for Microsoft, despite E3 no-show for its HoloLens project by Christopher Dring IT may not have a VR headset, but Xbox told MCV that the technology is not far from its thoughts. The firm has partnered with other VR companies, such as Oculus, yet unlike PlayStation, has not developed its own product. Yet head of operations Dave McCarthy says that Xbox is planning to support VR with its new console – Project Scorpio – and also points to its VR Minecraft game. “We’re excited about VR,” he said “We brought Minecraft to Gear VR in the spring and Oculus this summer. We’re learning a lot as a game maker in the virtual reality space. There’s a tonne of healthy activity, especially in the high fidelity space on Windows 10, right now. “And we’re making sure with Project Scorpio in 2017 that the

Microsoft brought Oculus’ John Carmack on-stage to demo Minecraft on Gear VR

capabilities are there with six terraflops, doing things at the right time with the next step. We’re big on this space and we think it’s going to work well across our ecosystem.” McCarthy says there’s ‘nothing to announce’ in terms of its own headset, but says its other hardware initiative – HoloLens – remains a focus for the firm. The AR tech was demoed at E3 2015, but was absent from this year’s show. “[HoloLens] was magical last year,” he said. “From a practical consideration, the HoloLens team is focused on their developer edition that they are putting out right now. They are heads down trying to get that done at this point in time. Our commitment in the Windows ecosystem on VR, AR, MR hasn’t changed. We want to push all of those things going forward.”

Ginx TV wants to put eSports in every home in the world by Alex Calvin GAMES TV broadcaster Ginx wants to ‘dominate’ the world with its eSports coverage. The firm has partnered with ITV and Sky to launch a 24-hour pro-gaming channel, Ginx eSports TV, and its CEO Michiel Bakker has told MCV that it wants to get this into every home in the world. With its new broadcasting partners, Ginx eSports TV reaches 37m houses. “Our ambition [for eSports] is nothing short

‘We’re trying to get Sonic’s quality right,’ says Sega by Christopher Dring THE team now in charge of Sonic says it is determined to rectify past mistakes. Sonic games have suffered from inconsistent quality recently, particularly with 2014’s Boom. “Sega is really - as of this last year - putting a huge emphasis

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on quality,” said Chief brand officer Ivo Gerscovich. “One of the things about Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is that we held the title for a year, which is not something Sega has traditionally done, but this focus on quality is really about trying to take Sonic back to where it used to be.” Check out our Sonic anniversary special from page 19.


of world domination,” Bakker said. “We want to put the channel into every home in the world, that would be a good start. We want to expand into multiple territories. We’re already in almost 40m homes, but there are still territories where we are not huge, such as North and Latin America. Those are places where we’d like to take the channel. “But first, we want to get the programming mix right.” You can read more about Ginx’s eSports push on page 31.


Multiplay reveals four-day League of Legends festival by Christopher Dring ANOTHER ‘fest’ will take place at August’s Insomnia58 event, organiser Multiplay has announced. League Fest will take over a 6,500 square metre hall at Birmingham’s NEC and run from August 26th to 29th. The festival will feature live tournaments featuring former pro players, merchandise, cosplay and ‘special guests’. Tickets will start from £30. It is the second ‘Fest’ to be bolted onto the side of Insomnia,


the other being consumer expo GAMEFest. “I’m expecting more than ten thousand champions to beat a path to Insomnia this August, swelling our overall attendance to more than 100,000 at the NEC,” said Multiplay CEO Craig Fletcher. “League fans have always been a huge part of Insomnia, from the prize tournament to the evening events. This year we’re raising the bar to stage one of Europe’s largest celebrations of the world’s most played game.”



3, as has become custom, is almost more about what wasn’t shown than what was. Where was Crackdown? That was the first question I was asked by a fellow journalist shortly after Xbox’s press conference, followed swiftly by: ‘where was HoloLens for that matter?’ PlayStation executives spent half their time answering questions about the Neo machine it didn’t show. Whereas E3 chatter suggested Rockstar, at the last minute, may have pulled a certain Western game from the event. We can’t substantiate that, of course, although we must admit Sony’s press conference (which was probably the best one of the week) did end on an unusually anti-climactic note. The biggest no-show of all, however, was Nintendo. It only had Zelda on the show floor at E3. There were no 3DS titles, and its new NX machine was nowhere to be seen. Such is the frenzied excitement around the mysterious console that a vague comment from Ubisoft about it became our most read story online last week. We know NX was at E3, somewhere, lurking behind a closed door. Did Nintendo make a mistake in not showing it? If the machine was ready, if there were games to unveil, then absolutely, NX should have been there. But if it isn’t, then Nintendo should wait until it has a full product to reveal – especially after the

League Fest joins GAMEFest at Insomnia58







South Park The Fractured But Whole + Stick of Truth (PS4)



PlayStation VR



God of War (PS4)



Forza Horizon 3 (XO)


FIFA 17 + Ultimate Team Pre-Order bonus (PS4)


Days Gone (PS4)


Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (XO)


Battlefield 1 + Hellfighter Pack (PS4)


Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Legacy Edition (PS4)

Microsoft EA Sony Bethesda EA Activision


Nintendo may have had very little to show gamers but the rabid reaction to its solitary triple-A product was incredible. communication errors the firm made with Wii U. E3 has an incredible media reach, which is a huge opportunity, but it also means there’s no room for error. Not that Nintendo needed NX to steal the show at E3. Ahead of the doors opening, one US media personality told me Nintendo was ‘arrogant’ for having such a giant booth just for Zelda. I tried to explain that it was probably reserving the space for next year, but actually, come the close of the event on Thursday, it became clear Nintendo probably needed a bigger booth. Watch the ‘Zelda Stampede’ video on YouTube, as fans swarmed the booth in an attempt to get hands-on with the game. We heard reports of eight-hour queues of people waiting to play. We even witnessed first hand how that queue circled the PlayStation stand. Nintendo may have had very little to show gamers (and its E3 livestream was a bit of a mess), but the rabid reaction to its solitary triple-A product just goes to show that there’s a lot of life in this sleeping giant yet.

June 24th 2016


PlayStation subverts expectations with games, not hardware, at E3 Forget the Neo, Sony was all about God of War, Spider-Man, Resident Evil, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Crash Bandicoot, Hideo Kojima, Days Gone, Call of Duty and 50 VR games at E3 2016. Christopher Dring discusses the strategy with global marketing and sales boss, Jim Ryan


layStation surprised us this year. If you had asked us what we would have expected ahead of their pre-E3 press conference, we would have suggested a hardwarecentric show, featuring PlayStation VR and the firm’s new ‘Neo’ console. We would have put our money on the traditional sizzle reel of inventive indie games, bookended by corporate executives and producers talking about how ‘super excited’ they are to ‘surprise and delight consumers’. VR aside, that didn’t happen. Featuring a live orchestra and just a handful of management appearances, this was a fast moving event filled with triple-A games. Kicking off with God of War, and including a Spider-Man title, a terrifying new zombie IP (Days Gone), Hideo Kojima’s bizarre teaser trailer and the return of Crash Bandicoot – this was PlayStation on slick, assertive form (even if many of these titles were sans release dates).

June 24th 2016

“There was a level of confidence displayed during the presentation last week, in the fact that there was very little talking and we just let the games speak for themselves,” says Jim Ryan, PlayStation’s global head of sales and marketing. “That was underpinned by our belief in the line-up we had, which I think was more heavily skewed towards first-party than it has been for quite some time.” WHERE IS NEO? You’ll often find after a press conference that everyone is talking about what was missing. PlayStation deliberately decided not to detail its upcoming ‘Neo’ console, despite confirming its existence the week before. It felt like a missed opportunity, especially as Xbox had announced its new ‘Scorpio’ machine earlier that day. “We just had such a strong and, I’d say, almost pure story about games,” says Ryan when discussing why the firm didn’t show the machine. “You’ve commented to us before - and it’s a fair comment about how we’re only just getting going on the games side of things on PS4. By focusing exclusively on the games last night, hopefully we have laid that bogey to rest. “We have disclosed some of the high level principles about the thing codenamed Neo. We really want to be able to demonstrate it properly. So we will do that when we are ready.”

With VR, there is no trodden path that developers feel obligated to follow. Everybody is doing things a bit differently. Jim Ryan, PlayStation


The absence of Neo surprised some commentators because of the perception that the new machine is pretty much a requirement to run PlayStation VR. It isn’t, of course. MCV has played several PSVR games, and they work just fine on the normal PS4. This is something Ryan is keen to underline. “Just go to our room [at E3] and check out the VR games and make up your own mind,” he says. “We are completely confident that the line-up of 50 games - plus some of what was announced at E3, which was serious in terms of heavyweight IP – are going to provide a first class VR experience. What we can say is that we have a fertile ground of 40m PS4s, all of which will run PlayStation VR. And every demo we have done so far has been done on standard PS4.” A VIRTUAL FUTURE This brings us nicely onto VR. PS4 has a couple of major ‘traditional’ titles scheduled for Christmas, but it is the headset that is commanding the most column inches. At E3, Sony has finally attracted some major third-party studios to PlayStation VR - the most notable of which was Capcom with Resident Evil VII. There were ‘experiences’ from other big companies, too. EA has created a VR Star Wars Battlefront level, Warner Bros has a Batman experience, while Square Enix is introducing VR


God of War kicked off Sony’s impressive E3 conference

functionality into a part of Final Fantasy XV. These brands would normally have system-shifting potential, but it’s to be seen if these smaller ‘experiences’ will have the same impact. “The truth is we don’t really know, because VR is such a different proposition,” Ryan admits. “We are very intrigued about VR, but there is so much we won’t know until we get out there and see what people enjoy.” He sounds uncertain, but Ryan deflects that not knowing what will work isn’t necessarily a bad thing: “Uncertainty is liberating in many ways. There is no trodden path that developers or publishers feel obligated to follow. Everybody is doing things a bit differently, and that’s great.” PSVR arrives on October 13th and it’s certainly gaining a lot of attention. But any predictions would be little more than guesswork. We suggested that VR could benefit PS4 in the same way DVD boosted PS2, by winning over mainstream audiences. Ryan says

it’s a possibility but, once again, he doesn’t know. “It could definitely enhance and prolong the lifecycle that we are in the middle of,” he believes. “Whether it has the potential to take PS4 to the heights of mass-market acceptance that we saw with PS2, I am not sure about yet. It is easy to forget that PS2 was retailing for £99. With PS4 you are going to have to spend £300 on a PS4 and a further £350 on the VR set. We are quite proud of the price point we have been able to achieve relative to other offerings, but there is a gating factor of price and to what extent that allows us to get into the mass market remains to be seen.” There was a lot to take in from Sony’s E3 conference. Many of the new reveals lacked release dates, but with some 50 VR games, The Last Guardian and Gran Turismo Sport due out before Christmas (plus third-party games like Call of Duty), there’s plenty for the company to talk about in the meantime. It’s no wonder Neo will just have to wait for another day.

THE LOCAL TOUCH ONE of the key differences between PlayStation and Xbox is how they operate on a worldwide level. Whereas Xbox takes a more global approach to its marketing and content acquisition, PlayStation adopts a more local strategy. Sony develops marketing campaigns for each territory, and it’s not unusual for Europe to sign games that the US isn’t interested in. That locality has helped establish PlayStation in every major territory, but it can also be a messy, complicated set-up to deal with. Yet earlier this year, the company restructured into a more global-facing entity. Jim Ryan, our interview subject this week, has been promoted from European boss to handling sales and marketing globally. Does that spell the end for PlayStation’s local focus? “No,” Ryan said after a pause. “One of the reasons that we


are so strong globally, and especially in Europe, is because of the very strong individual country presence. Whether that’s localised product, tailored distribution approaches, strength of retail partnerships... all of those things we must never lose. The trick, and it’s not easy, is to keep all of those things while at the same time achieving a level of global vision and consistency that any successful global business must have in this day and age. “There was a risk, and I think the new structure obviates this risk, of the three very strong regional pillars - Japan, Europe and North America, which have functioned with a surprising amount of autonomy - becoming sort of monolithic structures with massive inefficiencies in them. One of the intents [of this reogranisation] is to retain a strong regional focus, but kind-of knitted together with coordinated global management.”

June 24th 2016


Xbox sets sights on the next great platform war Microsoft held a press conference at E3 that featured almost as many PC games as it did Xbox One titles. What does that mean for the upcoming Xbox One S and Project Scorpio? Christopher Dring asks operations boss Dave McCarthy


hen Microsoft said it was taking gaming seriously with Windows 10, we weren’t the only ones that didn’t believe it. We’d heard it all before. We are told that: ‘gaming is at the heart of Windows Vista/7/8 [delete as appropriate]’, a couple of games would then emerge, and a year later the whole thing would be forgotten. This time, things are different. At Xbox’s E3 press conference, the phrase ‘Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive’ echoed around The Galen Center like a record stuck on repeat. “Gaming is important to the future of Xbox,” says Dave McCarthy, head of Xbox Operations at Microsoft. “The thing we have seen in the PC space, especially in the last five years, is that it has exploded in usage, with all different game types, business models and players in the space. We know, even with our traditional console fan base, that they’re gaming on PC as well. We felt that we had some meaningful assets that could really help in that space. “Taking the full power of Xbox Live across our ecosystem... and not just the Windows 10 PCs, you saw us yesterday present Minecraft on iOS and Android with Xbox Live, and Xbox Live being that connective social tissue for games. And having new features like clubs on Xbox Live and looking for groups... it’s a great space of innovation as well. We see awesome stuff happening [on PC] with 4K gaming and high fidelity VR, which makes us think that if our customers and gamers are there,

June 24th 2016

we want to be there too, offering meaningful value.” CONSOLE WAR OVER? Xbox announced two new consoles at E3 last week. Xbox One S is a slimmed-down, cheaper model with 4K video output (and out next month), while Project Scorpio is a significantly more powerful machine capable of running far superior looking games (out Christmas 2017). Yet despite this, Xbox is actually gearing up for the next great platform war – one that is about more than just console vs console. Last week, analyst firm DFC said that ‘Microsoft effectively killed Xbox One Slim right out of the gate’. It criticised the firm’s decision to announce two machines, saying that gamers will just wait for the more powerful iteration. It also accused the company of mixed messaging, and asked: ‘all the important games will be on PC, so why invest in a console?’ We ran those comments and were immediately accused of being pro-PlayStation by Xbox’s loyal fanbase. Yet the truth is, we don’t actually agree with DFC. The analyst seems to have fundamentally misunderstood Microsoft’s strategy. It doesn’t matter if people are playing on PC, or Scorpio or S, all that matters is that they’re playing on Xbox Live. “It’s playing without boundaries,” says McCarthy, cooly delivering the company’s latest PR buzzphrase. “Our commitment to our fans and to our partners is around offering as much choice as we possibly can.

We felt that we had some meaningful assets that could really help in the PC space. Dave McCarthy, Microsoft


WHERE WERE THE GAMES? IN contrast to PS4, there wasn’t a lot of software announced for Xbox One at E3. In fact, Dead Rising 4, Forza Horizon 3 and State of Decay 2 was pretty much all we saw in terms of previously unannounced titles during the Xbox pre-E3 showcase. However, Xbox head of operations Dave McCarthy says fans have nothing to worry about. “I like to show games that people are going to buy soon,” he says. “I didn’t see a lot of dates discussed on games [at PlayStation’s conference]. We have four triple-A exclusives coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in 2016: ReCore, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4 and Dead Rising 4. In 2017, there’s another five to call out. We have Halo Wars 2, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Crackdown and Scalebound. I haven’t even mentioned our great third-party partners and ID@Xbox. We are going to see Inside at the end of June, we’re going to see an open beta for We Happy Few, which we showed on stage. It’s awesome. It’s going to be across Xbox One and Windows 10 and is going to be an Xbox Play Anywhere title. Then we have Cuphead, also a Play Anywhere title. And Below coming as well. I get excited about showing games that I am going to be able to get this year and next year.”


The Xbox One S is launching this August, before Project Scorpio hits shelves around Christmas 2017

You heard it across our content lineup, you heard it in terms of the Xbox Live feature set and you heard it in the additions to the Xbox One family of devices. “We wanted to be able to offer meaningful step-changes in technology that we felt delivered customer value at the end of the day. HDR gaming, 4K video and Blu-ray support on Xbox One S in 2016, then six terraflops of GPU and true 4K gaming in the console space in 2017. The great thing about that, and here’s the rub, is ensuring compatibility across those steps with our hardware overall. There’s always been this age-old dilemma of whether you leave a gamer behind when you make that shift. Clearly our promise yesterday was to say that we aren’t going to be leaving anyone behind. The games that you own today, the accessories you own today, those are going to work now and tomorrow across our family of devices.” The ability for Xbox games to be playable on all future Microsoftrelated machines (whether console, PC or mobile) is something McCarthy particularly liked to talk about. “The compatibility thing is funny in hindsight. It’s like: ‘hang on, I don’t have to worry about my music, I don’t have to worry about my videos working on all these new devices in the future and in the PC

space I don’t have to worry about my games, either, so why the hell haven’t we done it on console?’ He asks. “It’s just that mind shift change that we have. I do feel it’s really natural. And it takes a lot of angst out of it for consumers.” TARGET STEAM It’s all well and good Xbox backing its PC credentials with some actual content, but PC gamers, generally, don’t seem to trust Microsoft. They’ve been stung too many times before, and most of these gamers have found a reliable home on Steam. One way it hopes to convince fans is with Play Anywhere, an offer where gamers can buy select Xbox One games and play them on PC for no extra cost, and vice versa. “I’ll be honest, we are still learning in the Window 10 space on what to do there,” McCarthy continues. “Part of our push is to make sure that we drive programmes like Xbox Play Anywhere, but also that we bring lots of our first-party line-up of games. Gears of War Ultimate Edition and Forza Apex are a couple of examples, and you are going to see across our line-up moving forward that those exclusives come to both platforms. “That’s all about making that platform better. Steam is one of many players in the PC space. So we want to make sure we are doing as much innovation as we can. We

We aren’t going to be leaving anyone behind. The games and accessories you own today are going to work tomorrow across our family of devices. Dave McCarthy, Microsoft


have introduced things like frame rate unlock, which needs to be in there according to our PC users. We are improving download times from the Windows 10 store. We are on a journey of continuous improvement. I’d say we show the same thing on console with our regular updates. We’re committed to making sure we are offering the experiences gamers want on the devices they want.” This direction for Xbox takes it a little away from its head-tohead fight with PlayStation. PS4 continues to extend its lead over Xbox One in terms of pure hardware sales, and so Microsoft is gearing up for that next big platform war – not one between physical machines, but rather online services. “I think [Xbox and PlayStation] are on different journeys,“ McCarthy concludes. “For us, really emphasising a connective tissue of Xbox Live is at the heart of everything that we do. Having those new features show up, committing to improve the service so it strives to be the fastest and most reliable for gamers out there, bringing it cross-network to things like iOS and Android and expanding the touch points that our gamers can enjoy our franchises on... all that is part of this larger canvas that we think our gamers want to play across. “It’s true to that spirit of playing without boundaries. That’s the path we’re going down.”

June 24th 2016



Market Data Unit sales rose three per cent while revenue dipped four per cent last week

OVERWATCH drops one place to No.2 with a 24 per cent dip in sales

£10m £15m

£30m £5m

£8.5m 284,290 units

£6.1m 198,901 units

Week Ending June 4th

Week Ending June 11th

£5.9m 205,584 units DOOM claims the No.1 spot with a 57 per cent rise in sales due to retail price promotions

Week Ending June 18th

THE NEWS IN 140 CHARACTERS The Tweets you might have missed in the last seven days THIS WEEK: NEW ZELDA IS CALLED BREATH OF THE WILD Nintendo has revealed the name of its upcoming Wii U and NX Zelda title as Breath of the Wild. The game was the focus of the platform holder’s showing at E3, dominating its booth on the show floor as well as its Treehouse livestream.

@PatrickDane Played Zelda. It’s really lovely. Big shades of Shadow of the Colossus. Not out of my mind excited, but a lovely first impression.

Patrick Dane, Bleeding Cool Tuesday. June 14th

@toadsanime Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an enormous world and looks gorgeous. We have something very special here.

@AngelosLH As excited as I am for open world Zelda, the fact that it borrows so much from other games is worrying.

Sarah Ford, Mediatonic Saturday, June 18th

Ryan Brown, Daily Mirror Tuesday. June 14th

E3 5 SECOND FACTS Your shortcut to sounding clever in the pub, we take you around the industry in under 30 seconds






Bethesda’s Todd Howard has revealed that The Elder Scrolls 6 is in development, but a long way from launch

Resident Evil 7 is the first in the series to be penned by a Westerner. Spec Ops’ Richard Pearsey is handling writing duties

Capcom has confirmed that Dead Rising 4 is a Microsoft exclusive – on Windows 10 and Xbox One – for one year

Microsoft has unveiled a smaller Xbox One, the S. This starts at £249 for a 500GB edition and launches in August

Sony has announced that 50 games will come to PlayStation VR between its October release date and the end of the year

ANKA Headset - PDP Design and manufacture the Officially licensed Microsoft – fully Wireless Headset for Xbox ONE

June 24th 2016




Nintendo UK welcomes new general manager Wegnez replaces Simon Kemp OYogscast community manager joins Sold Out OVideo producer leaves GameSpot NINTENDO | The platform holder’s UK general manager SIMON KEMP (left) has left the firm. He had joined Nintendo in 2012 to replace DAVID YARNTON, having previously worked for the likes of GSK and Unilever. He is being replaced by NICOLAS WEGNEZ (above left), who held various senior positions at Nintendo for the past 20 years. He previously worked as marketing director for Nintendo Iberica, the firm’s division in Spain and Portugal.

Maxim UK as a part time contributor, before moving up to entertainment editor within six months. Following this, in 2013, he made the move to Bristol to assist The Yogscast with their viewer engagement.

The company said in a statement: “Nintendo would like to take this opportunity to thank Simon for his services to Nintendo UK and to wish him every success in his choice of new career.” The company also told MCV that Kemp was leaving ‘to pursue opportunities for a change of career outside Nintendo’.

GAMESPOT | Former video producer KATE GRAY has departed GameSpot to go freelance. She had joined the firm in September 2015. Before that, Gray worked as video presenter, writer and producer at Attention Seekers’ Xbox On brand. She also used to be a staff writer

SOLD OUT | Former Yogscast community manager TOM PERKINS has joined Sold Out Sales & Marketing as a community and product manager. Tom began his games industry journey in 2010 with


for both Official Xbox Magazine and Official Nintendo Magazine. Gray also runs the Toku Podcast with freelance journalist Holly Nielsen. She commented: “I am now a full-time freelance writer and presenter, able to write whatever reviews, previews and features your heart/website desires. I’ve written for most games magazines, some of the biggest gaming sites, and been an official on-screen ambassador for Xbox UK. “I’ve even got a big bit of perspex that MCV gave me to tell me I’m good, and you can trust those guys.”

June 24th 2016


WEEKLY CHARTS DOOM has overtaken Overwatch and is the best-selling title in the UK this week. Sales for the shooter were up 57 per cent week-on-week thanks to retail promotions. It’s the first No.1 for Bethesda since Fallout 4 and also the first top spot for developer Id Software since 2004’s Doom 3. Overwatch has been pushed down to No.2, with sales dropping by 24 per cent. Sony’s Uncharted 4 climbed one spot to No.3, with sales slightly increasing by one per cent. FIFA 16 and Grand Theft Auto V also both gained one spot, with sales increasing 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Call of Duty: Black Ops III also makes its comeback

in the Top Ten this week, at No.7, as sales were up 52 per cent week-on-week. This is also due to retail promotions. Last week’s No.2, EA’s Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, has fallen to No.6. Sales for the title decreased by 62 per cent. PQube’s MotoGP 16: Valentino Rossi is the only new entry this week. The racing title debuts at No.19. Elsewhere, Dead by Daylight debuts on the Steam charts at No.1. Starbreeze’s horror title comes ahead of Total War: Warhammer and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The platform listings also welcome back Bandai Namco’s Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin at No.5.


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LW 02 04 07 RE 03 01 05 06 09


TITLE Total War: Warhammer Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Arma 3 Apex Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Grand Theft Auto V Hearts of Iron IV Youtubers Life Doom ARK: Survival Evolved

PUBLISHER Sega Valve Bohemia Interactive Bandai Namco Rockstar Paradox Interactive U-Play Bethesda Studio Wildcard



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Title Doom Overwatch Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End FIFA 16 Grand Theft Auto V Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Call of Duty: Black Ops III UEFA Euro 2016 Pro Evolution Soccer Star Wars Battlefront LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Fallout 4 Ratchet & Clank Tom Clancy’s The Division Dead Island: Definitive Edition Homefront: The Revolution Destiny: The Taken King Minecraft: Xbox Edition Minecraft: Story Mode MotoGP16: Valentino Rossi LEGO Jurassic World Halo 5: Guardians EA Sports UFC 2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Deadpool Forza Motorsport 6 WWE 2K16 Minecraft: PlayStation Edition Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Batman: Arkham Knight Far Cry Primal Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Need for Speed Dirt Rally Rise of the Tomb Raider Kirby: Planet Robobot LEGO Dimensions Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Disney Infinity 3.0 Yo-Kai Watch

Source: Steam, Period: June 13th to 19th June 24th 2016




Format Publisher PS4, XO, PC Bethesda PS4, XO, PC Activision Blizzard PS4 Sony PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Rockstar PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Activision Blizzard PS4, PS3 Konami PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PC Bethesda PS4 Sony PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO Deep Silver PS4, XO, PC Deep Silver PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard XO, 360 Microsoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Telltale Games/Avanquest PS4, XO, PC PQube PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros XO Microsoft PS4, XO EA PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard XO Microsoft PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games PS4, PS3, Vita Sony PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO, PC Warner Bros PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft PS4 Sony PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco PS4, XO, PC EA PS4, XO Codemasters XO, 360 Square Enix 3DS Nintendo PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360 Warner Bros PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Konami PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC Disney 3DS Nintendo

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending June 18th 12



01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10






Title Minecraft: Story Mode Chimeras: The Signs of Prophecy Terraria Football Manager Mobile 2016 The Curio Society: Eclipse over Mesina HD Bloons TD 5 HD Human Resource Machine Take Off - The Flight Simulator Goat Simulator: Waste of Space

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Telltale Big Fish 505 Games Sega Big Fish Ninja Kiwi Experimental Gameplay Astragon Entertainment Coffee Stain Studios

LW 06 02 05 07 03 08 09 RE RE



Title Football Manager Mobile 2016 Heads Up! Plague Inc. Angry Birds New Star Soccer G-Story Monopoly Game Bloons TD 5 Storage Hunters UK: The Game Geometry Dash

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 03 06 04 06 07 09 RE RE


Title Candy Crush Saga Mobile Strike Clash Royale Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Hay Day Gummy Drop! Boom Beach Candy Crush Jelly Saga

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer King Epic War Supercell Machine Zone King Supercell Big Fish Supercell King

LW 02 03 04 05 06 07 10 09 RE


Title Mobile Strike Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Clash Royale Candy Crush Soda Saga 8 Ball Pool Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls: Senior Year Marvel Contest of Champions Boom Beach

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th






Title War - Free Color Tank Guns Steppy Pants Kickerinho World Bingo Pop Disney Crossy Road Build Away! - Idle City Builder Ketchapp Basketball 3D Dubai Parking Simulator Drive Ahead!

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Tra My Nguyen Super Entertainment Tabasco Interactive Uken Games Disney Futureplay Ketchapp Play With Games Dodreams

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th

Developer Epic War King Machine Zone Supercell King Episode Interactive Kabam Supercell

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th


TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Sega Warner Bros Ndemic Creations Rovio Five Aces EA Ninja Kiwi UKTV Interactive RopTop Games

LW 08 01 RE 06 NEW RE RE 02 03


Title UEFA Euro 2016 Fantasy Dictator: Outbreak Crossy Maze Coin Party: Carnival Pusher Defend the Planet Steppy Pants Bud Farm: Grass Roots Color Switch

Developer UEFA Steve Howse Tigrido Tigrido Mindstorm Argo Studio Super Entertainment LDRLY Marc Lejeune

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: June 6th to June 12th 13

June 24th 2016


MCV’s GAMES OF E3 We played the games, we watched the trailers and we spoke to the UK games industry to come up with our top titles from E3 2016




We Happy Few From: Compulsion Games Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4 Out: July 26th (Early Access)

Titanfall 2 From: Respawn (EA) Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC Out: October 28th, 2016

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild From: Nintendo Platforms: Wii U, NX Out: March 2017

This creepy survival game takes place in a world where everyone takes a pill called ‘Joy’ to help them forget their misery. Those that refuse to take the pill (called ‘Downers’) are attacked and must go into hiding and escape. You are challenged to survive the city and leave the world before you are discovered.

This Christmas is going to be awash with shooters. There are two Call of Duty games, while Battlefield is reimagining the First World War. Yet our favourite has to be the return of Titanfall. EA uncovered the game during its E3 press conference, which introduced the same frantic Titan-based combat, although things seem to move a little smoother with this new entry. The biggest addition comes in the form of a story mode, which further explores the relationship between Titan and Pilot.

Pretty easy one this, it was the only Nintendo game playable at E3. Yet it is possibly the biggest game of the show (just Google ‘Zelda Stampede’, to see what we mean). There were two demos available, the first allowed fans to explore one per cent of the game’s massive world, with Link now able to jump, run and cook, plus all the things you’d expect from a more mainstream RPG. The second one was more storyorientated, with some puzzles. It’s difficult to judge this sort of game in a show setting, but the new Zelda looks gorgeous.

Runner up: Inside (Playdead)

2. VR GAME OF E3 Star Trek: Bridge Crew From: Ubisoft Platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR Out: 2016

Runner up: Pokémon Sun and Moon (Nintendo)

Runner up: Dishonored 2 (Bethesda)

4 3

E3 2016 finally delivered some proper VR games worth getting excited about. Our personal favourite was Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew. A social experience designed to put you on the Bridge of a Starship, the game features full Star Trekstyle missions. Runners up: Fallout 4 VR (Bethesda), Resident Evil VII (Capcom), Eagle Flight (Ubisoft)


2 5


6 9 8. SPORTS GAME OF E3 Steep From: Ubisoft Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Out: December 2016 Ubisoft delivers one of its open world games, but this one is not about shooting people. Gamers can spawn at various points in this huge world to ski, snowboard, paraglide and base jump. Gamers can film and upload their experiences to social networks.



Runner up: FIFA 17 (EA)

9. ACTION GAME OF E3 Days Gone From: Sony Platform: PS4 Out: TBC


8 5. PC GAME OF E3

Sea of Thieves From: Rare (Microsoft Studio) Platforms: Xbox One, PC Out: TBC

Civilization VI From: FirAxis (2K Games) Platforms: PC Out: October 21st

In this game, we took control of a pirate ship as we set sail on the seven seas to find enemy pirates and engage in epic sea battles. An open world sandbox experience, with the classic Rare comedy in full flow: we couldn’t stop laughing as our ship sank.

We opted for Sony’s new IP Days Gone for the gameplay demonstration. We’ve never seen so many monsters on screen, pursuing our hero relentlessly. The whole thing was incredibly intense and immediately put this IP on our radar.

Although most of the games at E3 were also coming to PC, there were very few PC-only projects on show. The notable exception to that was Civilization VI. 2K Games’ hugely popular strategy series is back with a rather more basic, cartoony visual style that will make the game a little easier to manage when compared with previous titles in the series. Cities are now also ‘unstacked’, which significantly changes how gamers will approach the title. It’s on-course to be the biggest PC launch of the year.

Runners up: Forza Horizon 3 (Microsoft), Gears of War 4 (Microsoft), Dead Rising 4 (Capcom)

Runner up: For Honor (Ubisoft)


10. RPG OF E3

Resident Evil VII From: Capcom Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Out: January 24th, 2017

South Park: The Fractured But Whole From: Ubisoft Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Out: December 6th

Runners up: Abzu (505 Games), Dawn of War 3 (Sega), Quake Champions (Bethesda)

Although the demo we played at E3 wasn’t part of the final game, it was an excellent, terrifying concept piece that really showcased the advantages of PlayStation VR in a horror setting. The demo is playable via PS Plus right now, but MCV was able to play it in virtual reality. We were told before it started that if we put our hands up, they will happily take us out of the game if we felt a bit too scared/uncomfortable. There were multiple moments when we were on the verge of doing just that. Resident Evil is returning to its horror roots.

We love South Park, because it replaces dragons and swords with brilliant satirical humour. This game sees two factions engaged in a ‘civil war’ following a disagreement over their own superhero franchise.

Runners up: Spider-Man (Sony), God of War (Sony), Days Gone (Sony)

Runner Up: Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix)


June 24th 2016

As always, gamescom was fantastic and a big success for us! (Category Manager, TEKNOSA, Turkey) gamescom presents worldwide entertainment trends and is the gateway to the European market. (CEO, Koch Media, Germany) Perfect, wonderful, highly educational – I can hardly wait for gamescom 2016. (Purchasing Director, Gaming, Maxitoys, Belgium)

17-21.08.2016, Cologne Secure your tickets now!





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17th, 18th and 19th of August

Return of the hugely successful MCV @ Gamescom Daily The daily print & online resource for visitors to Gamescom Championing and promoting the international video games companies at Gamescom 2016 Latest games business news, insight from the trade show and company spotlights Delivered to 35,000+ games industry professionals at Gamescom Promoted to a global audience of 450,000+ via

To be involved please contact Conor Tallon or Lesley McDiarmid

0207 354 6000 Deadline for inclusion: July 20th



SONIC We celebrate 25 years of Sega’s iconic character with the development team behind the franchise, plus UK games industry execs share their best Sonic moments


June 24th 2016


‘We are turning Sonic into an entertainment icon’ Sega has rejuvenated its Sonic business with a new office in Southern California and a commitment to making quality games. But the firm is planning far more than that. Christopher Dring speaks to VP of product development Takashi Iizuka and Sonic’s chief brand officer Ivo Gerscovich


ate last year, Sega made a number of changes to its US business that has made a big impact on the future of its famous blue mascot. Sonic, which celebrates its 25th year in existence this month, has a new management team with the purpose of establishing the hedgehog not just as the games pioneer it once was, but also as a major entertainment property. Part of that team includes Takashi Iizuka, the VP of product development and creative services. Iizuka is a longserving member of the Sonic team, having joined the company as Sonic 2 was being completed, and he was one of the designers that moved to San Francisco to work on Sonic 3. He has been involved with the brand ever since. Joining Iizuka is Sonic’s new chief brand officer Ivo Gerscovich. Gerscovich is a veteran marketer, having held roles at Fox, Paramount and Vivendi, and is charged with establishing the character both in and outside of gaming. Here, we speak to both Gerscovich and Iizuka on the future of the iconic franchise.

Takashi Iizuka, you have worked on so many Sonic games. What would you say has been the most significant? Iizuka: It’s really Sonic Adventure.

June 24th 2016

That title right there was the fundamental turning point, and is the game that cemented Sonic as we know him today. It was the transition between the flat 2D games into the 3D world. In Sega America, a lot of people were experimenting with things, because it was a time when the industry was moving from pixel to polygon. There were a lot of tests done internally on how to get a 2D game into a 3D world, there were a lot of failures, but most of the things I saw I thought: ‘This is great, but it is not Sonic.’ Sonic Adventure was the thing the team was able to create that felt like a Sonic game, with a new version of the character, but still had the attitude and graphics and the 3D world that I was looking for. Without that title, everything we have seen since would have been different.

Historically that is where our relationship started with Nintendo. Unfortunately, the Wii U didn’t manage to get as many gamers on the hardware as we would have liked. That was unfortunate for Sonic because we didn’t get the mass of people to enjoy the content. But Nintendo has always been a great partner, we have Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Sonic in Super Smash Bros... we really appreciate the work that they do. Gerscovich (top) and Iizuka (below)

Sonic has become closely linked with Nintendo. The Boom games have been exclusive to 3DS and Wii U platforms. How have you found that collaboration? Iizuka: When Sega stopped making hardware and just started doing software, the first platform that we released Sonic on was a Nintendo console. We felt, from the very beginning, that the Nintendo platforms were where the passionate Sonic fans were.

Sega’s focus on quality is about trying to take Sonic back to where it used to be. Ivo Gerscovich, Sega


How would you evaluate the current state of Sonic The Hedgehog as a franchise? Gerscovich: Well this year it’s Sonic’s 25th anniversary. Sonic has been inducted into the Hall of Fame this year by the Strong Museum. Sonic won the most votes out of 20 different gaming brands all with a long history. So we were really honoured and flattered. We have now sold over 350m games - either physically or downloaded. We have been on more platforms than virtually any other game. Sonic is the star of his fifth TV series now, and even on mobile we have had over 200m downloads from the last few games. So the state of the brand is really, really strong and we are now energising it even further. We are rolling into 100 countries with the television show - Sonic Boom - and


to make sure that the games we release are of the right quality. We want to release good titles to all the players, and that is the challenge for us moving forward - making sure our games are great.

Gerscovich: We are really focused on turning Sonic into an entertainment icon, not just a games icon. We want to go across all platforms and elevate his status even further, which explains why we are doing so much.

Sonic Adventure was the ‘turning point’ in the Sonic franchise, Iizuka says

it is doing great in the ratings. On the games front, we have a number of different games we are putting out this year, including Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on 3DS, Sonic will appear in LEGO Dimensions, there is Mario & Sonic at the Rio Olympics, and Sonic appeared in Sega 3D Classics. We have a lot of new announcements to come. On the consumer product front, we have over 100 licensees around the world, and doing great, UK and Ireland as well, we have a number of new licensees, too, such as Insert Coin with the anniversary apparel, Bioworld and Iron Gut with the limited edition prints. We have a movie that is being worked on by Sony Columbia Pictures, and the producer is the same one behind Fast & The Furious, so it should be a lot of fun. On the digital front, we have been winning awards for our social media, we have close to 9m followers across our community, and that is growing exponentially.

It is a great time for the Sonic brand and we look forward to it growing even further.

We have seen a decline in the kids market on console. Has that had an impact on Sonic at all? Gerscovich: We are constantly monitoring all platforms and making sure we are where the audience is. One thing to keep in mind is that we have an older audience, a lot of core and retro gamers, and we have a kids audience as well. They both have different habits and different ways of playing. So we need to make sure we are on as many platforms as possible for both audiences, and you will see that as Sonic evolves. So what is your long-term ambition for Sonic? To re-establish him as a leading games icon? Gerscovich: We want to take Sonic to as many touch points as makes sense, but also to deliver the best quality content on all of those platforms. Whether it be mobile or console or consumer products, Sega is really putting a huge emphasis on quality. Some of the previews that are starting to come out about Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, is that we are delivering on that. One of the things about Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is that we held the title for a year, which is not something Sega has traditionally done, but this focus on quality is really about trying to take Sonic back to where it used to be.

Iizuka: We are doing a lot to really expand what Sonic is as a character. We are really trying to reach out as much as possible and break into many interesting areas to entertain people. From my perspective, Sonic is a games character, and I feel there is a lot of value to the Sonic The Hedgehog games that we need to keep providing to the players. That is the challenge that I have. We do recognise that the Sonic Boom games that came out two years ago... there were elements that I was not really happy with, and we do regret that it got out there. But they are out there, we did listen to a lot of people’s requests, demands and complaints, we really took it to heart, and with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, we have really tried


June 24th 2016


Sonic through the ages... 1991


Sonic The Hedgehog (Mega Drive)

Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast)

The first entry in the franchise remains the most successful to date, with 15m copies shifted. It is also Steam’s Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub bestseller.

Sonic Adventure is the first 3D title in the franchise. It features six playable characters, each one with their own storyline. Sonic’s nemesis Dr Robotnik also sees his name changed to Dr Eggman in this title.

1992 Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive)


In this sequel, gamers can play as Tails for the first time. It’s also Super Sonic’s first appearance.

Sonic Underground (TV Series) Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie



Sonic The Hedgehog CD (Mega CD) Sonic Spinball (Mega Drive) Sonic Chaos (Sega Master System) Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (TV Series)

Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast)


The first of five Sonic the Hedgehog TV Shows.

Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance) Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast)


Fans can play as Dr. Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2. It’s also the first appearance of Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic Advance is the first title of the series to be released on a Nintendo platform.

Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive) Sonic Drift (Game Gear) Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble (Game Gear) Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Drive) Sonic The Hedgehog (TV Series)

2002 Sonic Advance 2 (Game Boy Advance)

Sonic 3 is the first game worked on by Takashi Iizuka.



Sonic Battle (Game Boy Advance) Sonic Pinball Party (Game Boy Advance) Sonic X (TV Series) Sonic Heroes (GameCube, Xbox, PS2)

Sonic Drift 2 (Game Gear) Sonic Labyrinth (Game Gear)


Heroes was the first game to be released on all major platforms.

Sonic 3D Blast (Mega Drive, Saturn)


The first of two games (the other being Sonic R) created by Traveller’s Tales, which is currently bringing Sonic to LEGO Dimensions.

Sonic Heroes (PC) Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance)


2005 - 2016 continues on page 26

Sonic R (Saturn)

June 24th 2016






Our Sonic memories As the speedy hedgehog reaches quarter of a century old, UK games retailers, publishers, media and developers reminisce about their favourite Sonic games and moments

MY earliest memory was one of my most favourite gaming memories, sat on my mate Stu’s sofa, on the Game Gear, playing one-life-one-pass all night long trying to complete Sonic 1. I remember us getting stuck on the jungle boss level with Dr Robotnik – it was like a little halfpipe, but with bombs. I remember thinking just how amazing the graphics were – and how mobile gaming would eventually become the biggest international market for games well, the first bit anyway. Sonic will always have a special place in my heart.

SONIC 2 was the game that basically took over my childhood. Seeing those bright colours, the loop-de-loops, the speed and the attitude of this little blue critter essentially made me a fan for life. As a kid, my fondest memory was being able to play Sonic & Knuckles for the first time on the Sega Bus at a game show in London. In recent years, my favourite moment was hosting [Sonic’s creator] Yuji Naka at a fan convention I held five years ago, for Sonic’s 20th Anniversary. Not only did I get to meet my childhood hero in person, he also apologised for making that really hard bit in Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic 2. So it’s all kind of come full circle, really.

SONIC’S Spin Dash: Entering a trancelike state with shoulder and arm muscles seizing up from trying to get the pitch of the spin dash sound effect as high as possible.

James Marsden, FuturLab

Svend Joscelyne, IGN

I was 12 years old when Sonic 2 came out. I was a massive fan of the first game, obviously, and I have exceptionally happy memories - after a gruelling sixweek wait – of Christmas Day sitting on the floor, gaping up at Emerald Hill Zone. I was the luckiest, happiest little boy alive, it was a game full of wonder and charm and promise, and thinking about it to this day spreads a warm smile across my face. An exceptional, beautiful video game.

Dan Marshall, Size Five Games

SONIC was the first game I ever owned and I am still terrified by that drowning music, everybody is. Sometimes I wake up in the night in cold sweats with images of struggling to find a bubble in the Labyrinth Zone flashing through my mind. Consequently I didn’t learn to swim until I was 12.

Simon Bennett, Roll7

Alex Girling, Indigo Pearl

June 24th 2016




MY best memory was when I borrowed a friend’s Mega Drive and completed Sonic, getting all the emeralds. It took nearly three hours from memory. There was so much hype around that game – at the time it was ground-breaking, which might be hard to imagine now. The gameplay and music was fantastic. Sonic 2 ‘2sday’ was huge when that came around, sold by the bucketload and I really enjoyed the sequel.

Stephen Staley, Game Seek

THE blue hedgehog has been present throughout my entire life. Before the original title came out in the shops, I remember crowding around a Mega Drive in my local electronics store with fellow kids being wowed at the insane speed of that iconic Green Hill Zone. Back at home once it was released, it felt like us Mega Drive owners finally had our own Mario - and he was cooler and faster than the Italian plumber. As was the games industry at the time, it kinda kicked off The Great Console War, which was absolutely awesome growing up as a child. Soon there was a sequel, the introduction of Tails, and other characters. I played it on Game Gear, I played it on SegaCD, and nowadays my kids play it on Apple TV and Wii U. They went nuts when they saw he’ll soon be appearing in LEGO Dimensions. He’s an iconic mascot, and long may he live forever.

I remember working in-store for Sonic 2sday – it was one of the first Tuesday launches and a big deal back in the 1990s. I also remember the first Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, which was a big moment back when the Wii was hot... and if I remember rightly, it outsold the Mario Galaxy game at launch.

MY fondest memory of Sonic is the first time I ran into Dr Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik in the first game on the Mega Drive. I was happily running around this beautiful hilly landscape crushing the local wildlife when this egg shaped lunatic flies in on his homemade space-seat like some moustachioed Baron Harkonnen and starts swinging his ball around. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. Scarred me for life.

Lee Cummings, Tiny Rebel

James Cooke, Argos

MY lasting memory of Sonic is actually very hands on. I was helping Sega PR at the launch of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. We branded a London bus and drove around all the iconic London sights on a boiling hot day during the Easter Half Term. To say it was logistically hard is putting it mildly, but also seeing everyone’s face light up when they saw Sonic and Mario really brought home how recognised and loved they both are. Happy birthday Sonic, you sexy blue hedgehog.

Andy Tudor, Slightly Mad MY Sonic highlight was a few years ago when I was in sixth form. I was born a bit late for the Nintendo vs Sega console war, so Sonic had never stood out to me. I had played a few Sonic games as part of the PS2 Sonic Mega Collection, but none really felt right to me. I was staying late after school, and booted up a GBA emulator on one of the school computers and played Sonic Advance. I sat there for three hours and got zero work done. I’d still say that the Advance/ Rush games are the best in the series besides Generations.

IT’S easy to underestimate just how different the first Sonic was when it launched. Loved the speed, the easy playability and his cheeky foot tapping if you stopped. But my favourite moment is around Sonic 2. My first daughter had recently been born and on Valentine’s Day, Sega took a big advert in the nationals with just an illustration of him holding a bunch of flowers saying ‘Sonic Loves Amy’. Okay, it was for his girlfriend, but it felt like it was for our little girl.

Stuart Dinsey, Curve Digital

Caroline Miller, Indigo Pearl

Dan Pearce, Four Circle


June 24th 2016


Sonic through the ages, continued 2005 Sonic Rush (DS) Shadow The Hedgehog (GameCube, PS2, Xbox)

2011 Sonic Generations (360, PS3, PC, 3DS) Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii, 3DS)

2006 Sonic Riders (GameCube, Xbox, PS2) Sonic The Hedgehog (360, PS3)

2012 Sonic 4 Episode II (PC, PS3, 360, Android, iOS) Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed (360, PS3, Wii U, Vita) Wreck-It Ralph (Movie)

Released for the 15th anniversary of the character, the controversial Sonic The Hedgehog is the first 360/PS3 title of the franchise.



Sonic Lost World (Wii U, 3DS) Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U, 3DS) Sonic Dash (iOS, Android, Windows phones)

Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii) Sonic Rush Adventure (DS) Sonic Rivals 2 (PSP) Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii) Mario and Sonic partner for the very first time in this game.



Super Smash Bros (Wii, 3DS) Sonic Boom (TV Series) Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyrics & Shattered Crystal (Wii U, 3DS)

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS) Sonic Riders Zero Gravity (Wii, PS2) Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS) Sonic Unleashed (Wii, PS2, 360, PS3)

These two titles launched alongside a brand new animated series of the same name.

2015 Sonic Runners (iOS, Android)

2009 Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii) Sonic Unleashed (Mobile) Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Wii, DS)

2016 and beyond Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U and 3DS) September 30th, 2016: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (3DS) 2016: LEGO Dimensions Sonic pack (Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360) 2018: Sonic The Hedgehog movie

Sonic enters the mobile gaming universe for the first time.

2010 Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (360, PS3, Wii, DS) Sonic 4 Episode I (iOS, Wii, PS3, 360) Sonic Free Riders (360) Sonic Colors (Wii, DS) 16 years after Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sega releases the first part of a direct sequel to the original trilogy.

June 24th 2016





Uncharted™ 4: A Thief’s End

No Man’s Sky™

The Last Guardian™

Horizon Zero Dawn™

Released: 10 May 2016

Scheduled Release: 10 Aug 2016

Scheduled Release: 28 Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: 3 Mar 2017




GT Sport

Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare

World of Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy XV

Scheduled Release: 18 Nov 2016

Scheduled Release: 4 Nov 2016

Scheduled Release: Coming 2016

Scheduled Release: 30 Sep 2016


LEGO® Star Wars™: The Force Awakens

LEGO® Dimensions™

World of Warriors™

Watch_Dogs® 2

Scheduled Release: 28 June 2016

Expansion packs from Sep 2016

Scheduled Release: 2016

Scheduled Release: 15 Nov 2016

Second Screen

Share Play



Remote Play

DUALSHOCK®4 Wireless Controller


Resident Evil™ Biohazard

Gravity Rush™ 2

Scheduled Release: 24 Jan 2017

Scheduled Release: TBC


upcoming games


Spider-Man PS4 (Working Title)

Death Stranding

Scheduled Release: TBC

Scheduled Release: TBC



Detroit: Become Human

God of War

Days Gone

Scheduled Release: TBC

Scheduled Release:TBC

Scheduled Release: TBC

Scheduled Release: TBC












RIGS™: Mechanized Combat League

Tumble VR

PlayStation® VR Worlds

Untill Dawn™: Rush of Blood

Scheduled Release: 13 Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: 13 Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: 13 Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: 13 Oct 2016







EVE: Valkyrie

GT Sport

Robinson: The Journey™

Scheduled Release: Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: Oct 2016

Scheduled Release: 16 Nov 2016 (EU) / 18 Nov 2016 (UK)

Scheduled Release: Oct 2016




Batman™: Arkham VR

Scheduled Release: TBC

Scheduled Release: Oct 2016









“2” and “PlayStation” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Also, “Ø” is a trademark of the same company. All rights reserved. No Man’s Sky - TM/ © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved. No Man’s Sky - TM/ © 2016 Hello Games Ltd. Developed by Hello Games Ltd. All rights reserved.

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For more information, please contact:

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Ginx’s eSports bet Just over a week after its flagship video game show VGN was cancelled, Ginx revealed it was going all in on eSports, and partnering with Sky and ITV to launch a 24-hour pro-gaming channel. But this decision is far from popular with some involved with the company. Alex Calvin speaks to CEO Michiel Bakker


t the start of June, popular video games show VGN was dropped by broadcaster Challenge and production firm Ginx. Just ten days later, Ginx announced it was launching a 24-hour eSports channel with Sky and ITV. “We had been reviewing our programming output for some time,” Ginx CEO Michiel Bakker says. “The way we were covering games is still valid, and will still be part of Ginx, but we looked at the development of eSports and decided it was the right moment for a dedicated channel. We are already broadcasting to 30m homes. Given the scale of events that are taking place and the excitement that is building around it, it makes for good TV. We made the decision six months ago to really focus the channel on eSports and have been preparing for launch ever since.” CHALLENGING TIMES The decision to no longer run VGN came from Challenge. If Ginx is still committed to covering games, then why did it not try and find a new home for the show? “Ginx operates as both its own TV channel and a production company,” Bakker says. “VGN was a production made for Challenge. It wants to focus entirely on more game show formats rather than video games. But the rights for VGN are with Challenge for some time as part of our contract. It’s not ours to play with if you will.” Although eSports is a prosperous market, Ginx’s decision to entirely focus on this market has not been completely popular. That pro-gaming was to

“The communication regarding the cancellation of VGN was handled incredibly poorly, as I imagine was the case with the other shows.” But Bakker insists pro-gaming has been a focus for a while. “eSports has been part of our road map for some time,” he says. “The more we looked at it after crowdfunding, the more sense it made to take the channel fully in that direction. We’ve now announced the intention of Sky and ITV to come on-board with the channel. This is a tremendous step forward for the business. It puts Ginx in a new playing field altogether. Our potential to grow the business from our original plan, the one put forward in our crowdfunding push, has been significantly enhanced. Strategies evolve, the market place changes and we’re responding to that.”

become the firm’s focus was a detail missing from Ginx’s recent £500,000 crowdfunding push. The only mention of eSports was a weekly round up show, and some shareholders feel betrayed by this new direction. “This is not the way I wanted Ginx to go to at all,” one shareholder, Tanja Glittenberg, tells MCV. “I feel betrayed and sad that UK’s best gaming channel has totally forgotten about their core fans and supporters that are not into eSports. I wanted to support the channel I loved and cared about.” Another source close to the company told MCV that Ginx is rushing into eSports – and that the move is far from popular internally. “Ginx been staffing up for the new eSports direction, but also losing a fair number of long-time employees at the same time owing to the shift in focus being an unpopular decision and the appalling way they’ve treated their existing – now former – producers and presenters,” the source says.

When it comes to eSports, our ambition is nothing short of world domination. Michiel Bakker, Ginx


GO BIG OR GO HOME Popular or not, Ginx has big plans for its eSports content. “Our ambition is nothing short of world domination,” Bakker says. “We want to put the channel into every home in the world, that would be a good start. We want to expand into multiple territories. We’re already in almost 40m (including Sky’s 10m) homes, but there are still territories where we are not particular huge, such as North and Latin America. Those are places where we’d like to take the channel. That is what we will be focusing on. “But first things first, we want to get the programming mix completely right, to get feedback from our audience and to get the channel and mix of content optimised early on and then expand the distribution after.”

June 24th 2016



The birth of modern warfare This year, Battlefield is ditching the present day or futuristic first-person shooter setting and is instead taking on the First World War – a period rarely touched upon in video games. Alex Calvin speaks to creative director Lars Gustavsson about why this conflict is a perfect fit for the series

Release Date: October 21st Formats: PS4/XO/PC Publisher: EA Developer: DICE

June 24th 2016




f you ever needed a solid indication that consumers weren’t exactly satisfied with the state of the shooter genre, you need only look at the reaction to Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare this year. The reveal trailer for the former, a first-person shooter set during World War One has become YouTube’s most liked trailer, ever. The latter, a first-person shooter set in space, however, is YouTube’s most disliked trailer, ever. “We were happy with the trailer and that we have a fantastic video team,” Battlefield 1’s creative director Lars Gustavsson says. “I’m so proud of the people making the game, too. You can’t plan for that success though. That just struck us by surprise.” He continues: “As developers, we can look at trends, dig deeper and try and find new angles. But being a part of these trends is like

being in a race – you can’t look at the other runners and what they are doing. You have to focus on your track and what you are doing and stick to what you believe in. “From the get-go, we truly believed in Battlefield 1. Once we agreed to do it, we threw ourselves out there and I’m super proud of what the team has accomplished.” Though clearly the concept of Battlefield 1 has been a hit with fans, EA and DICE were not taken with the idea at first. What would become Battlefield 1 was originally pitched by two DICE developers way back in 2008, and it took several years of nagging and pitching over and over before their concept for a World War One shooter entered production. “After Battlefield 4 we stepped back and asked ourselves what we were going to do next, how we were going to find new gameplay opportunities,


things that will excite both our audience and us as a team,” Gustavsson explains. “In the back of our minds there was a pitch from two guys in our office, Stefan Strandberg and Martin Kopparhed, from 2008. They pitched the idea of a Battlefield game set during the First World War. “Modders have done Battlefield 1918 [by altering 2002’s Battlefield 1942] before and it’s been a long-time dream. Then we dug deeper and discovered even more about World War One. We quickly saw that it was a Lars Gustavsson, DICE perfect match to Battlefield – the diversity of the hardware, the variety of land, air and sea and the possibilities that afforded us. From there on we saw that World War One and Battlefield were meant to be.”

World War One really is the dawn of all-out conflict. This is the genesis of what we’d consider modern warfare.

June 24th 2016


World War One saw a great deal of technological advances, including the introduction of aerial vehicles to conflict

Battlefield 1’s World War One setting does help differentiate it from a genre crowded with modern day and futuristic shooters. But at first glance, the conflict doesn’t seem like a logical choice for a genre known for its fast-paced combat. Think of the First World War and you’ll probably envision trench warfare where soldiers were just as likely to die of disease as they were enemy fire. Yet this was also a time of great technological innovation. This was the first time tanks were used, when chemical warfare was developed. “It really is the dawn of all-out war,” Gustavsson explains. “This is the genesis of what we’d consider modern warfare. Most of the weaponry we have used in the Battlefield series has in one way or another been invented or refined during this time. Many are still in service today. “That made us super excited – we opened the box and saw new things that we hadn’t heard about. There’s a perception that the First World War was all slow, trench warfare

June 24th 2016

but there was so much more. It was a global conflict with so many battles and pieces of technology that we didn’t know of. It is very much a case of the old meeting the new: trench warfare with hatchets and bayonets, horses being on the same battlefield as tanks and airplanes. I can’t even imagine how inventive people were during those four years.”

We discovered a great deal about World War One. It’s so much more than people think, and its the perfect match for Battlefield.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST War is not an uncommon setting for a video game. And many – including previous Battlefield titles - have used the backdrop of real-life conflicts such as World War Two. Yet, the First World War has not really been explored in video games, bar rare exceptions like Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts and EA’s own Wings of Glory. “It might be a pop culture thing,” Gustavsson speculates. “There hasn’t even been the big Saving Private Ryan-type movie for the First World War yet. And from that perspective, it might be that people don’t really know much about it.

Lars Gustavsson, DICE


“When I was in school, I learnt everything around the Second World War, but World War One was barely mentioned. From that perspective, we have learnt a lot as creators during Battlefield 1’s development. That conflict really shaped the world we live in today – trench coats, zippers, tea bags and cigarettes all came out of that. “There are so many untold stories to be portrayed and that really helps us in the development; both in the multiplayer experience as well as in the campaign.” Battlefield 1 is going up against Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Modern Warfare Remastered and EA’s own Titanfall 2 at the end of 2016 in what is becoming a busy time for the shooter market. Although Battlefield has a unique setting, four shooters launching in such close proximity seems excessive. “I’m a naturally worried person, but that competition is healthy,” Gustavsson says. “Titanfall 2 and Call of Duty are both great games. We wouldn’t be what we are without that competition. I love



great games and I am inspired by them. If we were alone in the military shooter genre, it would be very lonely. You wouldn’t get to see how everyone else is doing it.” TECHNOLOGY RACE Battlefield 1 is the first entry in the series made purely for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As such, DICE was able to push what the game could do. “For me, Battlefield really stands for the fact that no match is ever the same,” Gustavsson says. “In the past we have reflected that with the dynamic destruction [whereby levels were not static and could change mid-game]. “This time around we have the dynamic weather. Overall, we have a much more intuitive and dynamic world that we want players to interact with and use as yet another tool for how you survive on the battlefield, in addition to the military hardware. Developing for the new machines means that we can push the boundaries, not only for fun gameplay and dynamic environments, but also for the visual

experience connecting gamers to what’s going on.” Battlefield is also known for its online multiplayer. But this mode has suffered problems in the last few titles. Both Battlefield 4 and Hardline’s competitive modes struggled upon launch. And DICE is trying to ensure this isn’t the case with Battlefield 1. “We’ve been working really hard with different processes and programmes in order to get the smoothest possible launch,” Gustavsson says. “Later in the summer we’ll have a public beta. We have the best community, too. They have been with us all through the years and with our community test environment we work so closely in testing everything we do and getting a lot of feedback. A lot of the improvements that have gone into Battlefield 4 and Hardline are going into Battlefield 1. “I’m forever grateful to our community and that direct bond that we have. But also, a lot of these things are reassuring me that we’re moving towards a good and smooth launch.”


There hasn’t really been that big Saving Private Ryan-type movie for World War One yet. People might not really know much about it. Lars Gustavsson, DICE


AHEAD of E3, it was revealed that this year’s entry in EA’s FIFA franchise would be running on Frostbite, an engine made by Battlefield developer DICE. BioWare is also using the tech for its new Mass Effect game. Battlefield 1 creative director Lars Gustavsson says that EA’s studios are working closer together. “As Frosbite has trickled into a number of EA products, the bonding and the networking is constantly on-going,” he says. “That’s the beauty about being part of EA: whenever you have a challenge, you can throw out the question to all the studios and there might be a developer that can help out. We have gone from isolated islands to much more of a community of developers, which is enormously beneficial for us.”

June 24th 2016


Why is System 3 rebuilding Constructor? Thanks to the success of games like Cities: Skylines, the strategy and sim market is booming. Now System 3 is bringing its cult title Constructor back, with an HD version headed to both PC and console. Alex Calvin speaks to the firm’s boss Mark Cale about why its bringing back the series and the challenges of sim games on console


years ago, System 3 partnered up with publisher Acclaim to release city-building title Constructor. The game became a cult hit, launching on PlayStation, PC and Mac, and went onto sell over 5m units. Now System 3 is bringing the series back, releasing a new HD version. It’s launching later this year for PS4, Xbox One and PC, and is being made by members of the original’s development team. “After Mark of the Ninja, Constructor has been one of our most-requested games to bring back and relaunch,” System 3 boss Mark Cale says. “Based on that, and coupled with a strategy and RTS boom, it made sense to bring it back.” The decision was in part due to the success of Paradox Interactive’s Cities: Skylines. But also because Cale spotted a gap in the market on console. “The RTS sim game is an under-supported genre on console,” Cale says. “A lot of fans that have consoles really wanted this game. We

trialled the PlayStation edition as a PS3 emulated version a number of years ago, and it was one of the first games on PSN. We launched that in five territories in Europe and saw over 200,000 downloads. It showed there’s a huge market for these games. “Certainly our market research shows that there are a lot of people that would want a different gameplay experience on consoles.” He continues: “For us, attacking the RTS market is the right move because it’s a sector that’s ripe for the picking. Other people are starting to see that. As you know XCOM 2 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One, Tropico has been on console in the past, and there are a lot of RTS games planned on console for next year. At the moment, there’s a big market that’s crying out for great strategy games. Thankfully, I believe that we’ve got something that could fulfil those needs.” RTS and sim games are historically PC-focused, largely due to how dependant they are on a mouse and keyboard setup. Overcoming this, and thus making Constructor HD accessible and playable

on console, was a huge focus for the development team. “The first thing was looking at the original PlayStation controllers and how it was frustrating to move that cursor, click on each icon and make it feel like a PC game,” Cale says. “It did not feel as good as the PC version. The way we have engineered the ergonomics of the pointer on console means that, for the first time, it feels like a mouse pointer. Now we have the mouse cursor moving around correctly on the game pad and the inertia is correct and feels good. What you don’t want to do is keep moving all over the screen because it becomes frustrating.

Constructor has been one of our mostrequested games to bring back. Mark Cale, System 3

“What we also introduced was a lot of hot keys, where a combination press of buttons opens up different keys that quickly access an area. It makes the experience much quicker, better and it redefines how an RTS game can be explored and played on a console. We’re not just exploring a classic IP that has a cult following. We’re not just exploring the second largest genre of games in the market currently. We’re also exploring how to actually match the experience to console where it has previously been largely PC-exclusive.” BEYOND BRITAIN Controls aren’t the only challenge standing in Constructor HD’s way. The game has a very absurd, dark and, well, British sense of humour. Not only that, the UK build that MCV played had a cockney voiceover from John Challis, the actor best-known for portraying Boycie in Only Fools and Horses. But Cale says System 3 has invested in giving the game a global appeal. “We’ve invested a lot of time and money localising this into many other languages,” he says. “We’re going to have not just different text, but also voice overs for Germany and France. We’re planning an Americanised version with a US voice over.” Cale says that Constructor HD has wide spread appeal and, as a result, System 3 has high expectations for the game. “As the second largest genre in the gaming world at the moment, RTS titles are attracting a wide range of gamers,” he


BUILDING ANTICIPATION SYSTEM 3 is going all out for Constructor HD, with a wide-reaching campaign to push the game. “We’re looking to reward some of our loyal fans with playable demos which will be coming out in – hopefully – late August or early September,” System 3 boss Mark Cale says. “This will be done in conjunction with the platform holders; Sony, Microsoft, Steam and so on. Aside from that we are also going to be doing a preorder campaign where there will be additional DLC that people will get if they preorder with various partners. There will be an extensive marketing campaign through social media, print magazines as well as outdoor activities. “We’re also looking to do some sort of eSports promotion after we launch the game, too.”

Constructor HD is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year

says. “There’s a large spectrum of consumers that like to sit, think and play strategy games. The market is open to all age groups over 13 years old.” He continues: “The response we have had in the market from a couple of behind the scenes reviewers, distributors and retailers has been extraordinary. People really see this as hitting the market at the right time, with the right quality and brand. All of which is going to turn this into something a lot of people believe will be very successful. We do have high expectations for this title.” Though System 3 is currently focused on getting Constructor HD out to market, the publisher does have plans for the franchise beyond this release.


“We’re going to be supporting the game with additional characters after launch. We’re also adding in new buildings and scenarios. Following on from this, there was always going to be a Constructor Space, which was previewed many years ago after we launched Constructor but it never happened. And it’s always been the desire of the company to then create this scenario in space with undesirable aliens and monsters. It’s a little bit different to what anyone has seen, but again there’s a dark humour about it.” He concludes: “But let’s get this game out first and let’s build on the success of the IP and relaunch it, show the world that there is a huge market on console for strategy games and go from there.”

AS well as a single player mode, Constructor HD comes with a competitive multiplayer section. In this, gamers can build their own maps that can be shared with their friends. It’s a model not entirely dissimilar to some of Minecraft’s social features. “As you play the game, you unlock buildings and new resources and new Undesirables [characters],” System 3 head Mark Cale says. “What we’ve designed in this game, which was different to the original, is a layout mode whereby you can have a set amount of money, decide what your financial starting point is, how many players you are competing with and you can design the map


for not just yourself, but your enemies as well. You will be able to share this online with your friends and effectively build maps with different challenges, depending on what you want to do. “By letting gamers share maps, it saves them the rather laborious process of trying to build a map online and have hours go by before they and their friends can play it. “You’re instantly into a strategy game in which you can challenge your friends with a design you have made, or you can select the maps that we have built as challenges for different people. Or you can play your friends’ maps online.”

June 24th 2016


INDIE INTERVIEW Highway to the Dangerzone After creating the chaotic Burnout franchise, Criterion’s Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward left to set up their own venture, Three Fields. Alex Calvin speaks to Sperry about going indie, Dangerous Golf and what’s coming next


n 1999, PC-focused Criterion Studios asked Fiona Sperry to set up a new development arm within the company. The result was Criterion Games, a step into the brave new world of console. Its first title was TrickStyle, a Dreamcast game published by Acclaim. The project was signed by one Alex Ward. Criterion is best known for Burnout, a racing title launched by Sperry and Ward in 2001 that spawned five sequels, but has also worked on EA’s Need for Speed series as well as shooter IP Black. The studio was so talented that EA paid out $48m to buy Criterion in 2004. But in 2014, Sperry and Ward left the firm, setting up their own venture, Three Fields. “It was just about freedom,” Sperry tells MCV. “Really, we had great jobs at EA. It was fantastic, we were largely independent and ran our own studio. But ultimately, we talked for many years about leaving and starting out on our own. However much freedom you get within a corporation, you are still part of a large company. “It was really important that we set up the company where we could release great games, have fun making them and, most importantly, have complete autonomy. For example, we didn’t announce [the firm’s first game] Dangerous Golf for a very long time: we didn’t show it until we were completely happy with it. Things like that would have been much harder to do if we were not indepedent. It was really about getting back to our roots of fitting an entire team in one room, making a game and not being distracted by anything else.” LIVING DANGEROUSLY But by going indie, and by opting to selfpublish, distractions were numerous when it came to releasing a game. At EA there were whole departments handling the likes of marketing and PR, but now Three Fields had to do all of this itself. So if Sperry and Ward wanted to be able to focus purely on making the game, why did they self publish? “The big reason for us leaving EA was that everything had come together,” Sperry explains. “It was perfect timing. A market existed where

June 24th 2016

Sperry says that Dangerous Golf was pitched as Burnout meets NBA Jam

A market exists now where developers can self-publish. We believe that a small team can compete and do amazing things. Fiona Sperry, Three Fields

developers can self-publish. We believe that a small team can compete and do amazing things. We think the game looks fantastic, we are really proud of the graphics and how much physically is moving around in the game. It really hasn’t been done before. “Also, when we did Burnout Paradise, that was the first time we had a direct relationship with our customer and could sell directly to them. Paradise was EA’s first digital download game. That was largely because we pushed to do it. We did massive amounts of direct customer support. We loved it. We thought we’d just give it a go and see how it went.”


Dangerous Golf on PS4, Xbox One and PC launched earlier this month and features some of the same chaotic DNA seen in Burnout. “If we want to make a game, it needs to be big and over the top,” Sperry says. “It’s not regular golf, other than having a ball and a hole there are few similarities to real golf. It’s like Burnout meets NBA Jam. That’s how we pitched it. That was the game we wanted to make right from the start.” Though Dangerous Golf has similarities to the Burnout series, Three Field’s next game could be even more familiar. “That type of racing game deserves to come back and our great hope is that we could make it,” she says. “Maybe not Burnout exactly, but we’d like to make a spiritual successor to that game. Obviously, EA owns the Burnout licence and what the company does with it is its prerogative. Certainly, we feel that that kind of game is missing from the market today. We’d love to bring something like that back. “Technology has moved on massively and a lot of what we have achieved in Dangerous Golf is testing the limits of what we can do with physics in a game. Physics and destruction are always what we have been about and we’d love to do another driving game that takes that to another level.”


SHELF LIFE Paul Whitfield from Excite Games in Guisborough discusses why he decided to hold back on selling merchandise – apart from Minecraft products – and why the Xbox One S won’t change anything for Microsoft How has business been lately? Not too bad, the new releases have done very well. Doom did well and Uncharted 4 did very well. It’s been a constant seller since it came out. So basically we’re just waiting for some new stuff to arrive now - some things like LEGO Star Wars. The LEGO games are definite sellers, they always do very well. What other games are you looking forward to? Ghost Recon - that looks really


when it’s traded in it’s basically just the original game again. It doesn’t keep its value as much.

good. That’s probably the main one to be honest. Then obviously the usual ones, like Call of Duty and FIFA - these are good sellers.

What platform do you think will perform the best this year? It’s been pretty close between Xbox One and PS4 - I’ll probably say that PS4 is slightly ahead.

What challenges are you facing? Probably just the usual - there’s a lot of things going on with digital now. When we make money it’s mostly on second hand items cause there’s actually good margins, as opposed to the new items. Things like Destiny come out with extras but they’re downloadable, so it means that

Do you think the new Xbox One S will have an impact on how the console is performing? I don’t think it will make a massive


TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. FIFA 17 INC. FUT PREORDER BONUS EA, PS4 2. Watch Dogs 2 inc. Zodiac Killer extra mission Ubisoft ....................................................................PS4


3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Bethesda ...............................................................PS4

Ubisoft, PS4


4. Battlefield 1 inc. Hellfighter pack EA .............................................................................PS4





6. Mafia III Family Kick-back pre-order bonus + exclusive poster Ubisoft ....................................................................PS4 7. FIFA 17 inc. FUT pre-order bonus EA ................................................................................XO

9. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Bethesda ..................................................................XO 10. Watch Dogs 2 inc. Zodiac Killer extra mission Ubisoft .......................................................................XO

UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market























Two new missions are arriving on PS4, Xbox One and PC for Hitman

This 2D platformer developed by Thinice Games has landed on Wii U

Burning Arrow’s horror-survival title is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC


June 24th 2016


8. Titanfall 2 EA .............................................................................PS4



5. South Park: The Fractured But Whole Ubisoft ....................................................................PS4





Excite Games 17 Market Place, Guisborough, TS14 6BN

Phone: 01287 637 777 Website: Facebook: /ExciteGamesEntertainment Twitter: @excite_games

difference. The fact that there’s another one coming out will probably just annoy people who just bought one because of the price drop. You also sell merchandise, right? Not that much really. We did try it, but it wasn’t really something that did that well for us. We kind of held back a bit on it. We sold things like hats and T-shirts. We do try now and again with the figures Skylanders figures for example. We tried Games Workshop items, too,

and it’s not too bad but it’s not really our main thing. Our main thing is games. But anything Minecraftrelated always does very well T-shirts and figures for example. Are you looking forward to VR? Yeah, it’s definitely going to be interesting. I don’t know how it’s going to do but PSVR looks pretty cool. As long as it has backing from publishers and that there are enough games coming out for it, it should do well.


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June 24th 2016


SONIC Sonic is turning 25. As a consequence, a wealth of new merchandise is hitting shelves over the course of the year. Marie Dealessandri has looked at the latest items

SONIC’S journey started in June 1991, when Sega published Sonic The Hedgehog for its Mega Drive console. Even after 25 years, the title remains as popular as ever. Speaking to MCV a few weeks ago, Sega’s director of digital distribution James Schall revealed that the game was the best seller within the Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub on Steam. “It’s the most popular title, followed by Sonic The Hedgehog

Endless runner Sonic Dash has already been downloaded 98m times since its release in 2013.

2 and then Sonic The Hedgehog 3,” he listed. “Sonic is really leading the way in all of that content and is a very popular character.” To celebrate the character’s birthday, Sega signed new licensing deals to bring even more Sonic products to the market. Amongst these new partners are Accutime, which will design Sonic watches, Concept One Accessories, Rubber Road, Toy Factory, Bioworld, Insert Coin and Vandor. Some of these new ranges of accessories are already

GREEN HILL ZONE SCARF To celebrate Sonic’s 25th anniversary, Insert Coin designed a scarf based on the iconic first level of 1991’s Sonic the Hedgehog, released on Mega Drive. SRP: £20 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Distributor: Insert Coin Contact: 01702 521 850




Get the Sonic look with these socks, which might even help you to run faster.

The Sonic Amiibo can be used in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 8, amongst others.

Written by Ian Flynn, this series see Mega Man and Sonic unite to fight both Dr Wily and Dr Eggman.

SRP: £9.99 Manufacturer: Numskull Distributor: Rubber Road Contact: 01707 800 881

SRP: £10.99 Manufacturer: Nintendo Distributor: Open Contact: 01753 483 700

SRP: £21.99 Manufacturer: Archie Comics Distributor: Diamond Comic Distributors Contact: 01928 531760

June 24th 2016


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out, while the rest will be released over the course of the summer. Merchandise is one way to maintain Sonic’s popularity, but Sega’s most powerful weapon at the moment is mobile gaming. Endless runner Sonic Dash, launched in 2013 on iOS and Android, has been downloaded 98m times. As a comparison, the most successful title in the franchise (which, again, is 1991’s Sonic The Hedgehog) sold 15m copies.

Sega will soon launch another mobile product, Sonic Central, a new app featuring information, exclusive art and clips, as well as games. The release date has not been confirmed but the app has been announced at the same time as the new Sonic title for 3DS, which will launch on September 30th. Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is being developed by US studio Sanzaru, which is already behind a previous Sonic Boom title, Shattered Crystal, released in 2014.

SONIC BOOM MONOPOLY Pick your favourite Sonic character and destroy your friends’ fortune in this Monopoly special edition based on Sonic Boom. Knuckles, Amy Rose, Tails, Sticks and Sonic’s iconic villain Dr Eggman are amongst the tokens. SRP: £29.99 Manufacturer: Hasbro Distributor: Winning Moves UK Contact: 0207 262 9696




This large bag features one big compartment as well as an outside pocket.

Longstanding Sonic fans will certainly enjoy the retro look of this wallet.

Limited to 5,000 copies, this print comes with a backing board and a certificate of authenticity.

SRP: £32.99 Manufacturer: Sega Distributor: Five Elements Distribution Contact:

SRP: £17 Manufacturer: Fashion UK Distributor: Vanilla Underground Contact: 01827 769 115

SRP: £10 Manufacturer: Sonic Merchandise Distributor: Sega Contact:


June 24th 2016





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DEAD GOOD MEDIA Tel: +44 (0)7780 600 728 ........................................................................................................

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DC GAMES GROUP Tel: +971-50-9287220 ........................................................................................................

INCOMM Tel: 01489 588 200 ........................................................................................................

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PLAY DISTRIBUTION Tel: +64-9-815-3852 ........................................................................................................

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ORY 2016



Carly Moxey-Kim, Media Consultant

Deborah Henderson, Media Consultant

ADDRESS: 69 Knowl Piece, Wilbury Way, Hitchin, SG4 0HY

HELLO! We’re Dead Good Media. A boutique, multi-award-winning entertainment PR agency based just outside London, we’ve been making waves since we opened in 2012, including: recordbreaking, pan-European Kickstarter campaigns; VR entertainment consultancy & strategy; and indie and mobile game launches. With 20-plus years games industry experience behind us, Dead Good’s remit is to provide clear, focused and engaging PR campaigns to suit any budget; targeted at consumer or games media; spanning print, online and broadcast; and delivering results that speak for themselves. Full PR consultancy service - from advice on strategy, media training, planning a product launch or just writing and distributing a press release. Copywriting bureau on a large or small scale - from advertorial, website editorial or company newsletters. Video production - whether you want a showstopping opening to your company awards show or a video of your launch event, Dead Good can deliver the ďŹ nal product from storyboards through to the ďŹ nal edit. Event management - we can deliver on any scale, from a photo stunt, product showcase to launch events. If you want us on your next project then give us a shout. *ODG\V$G [ LQGG 



4TH 2015












believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),

Twist think virtual reality is doomedUKIE’s SuperData’s van Dreunen

(above middle) and Reection’s Leksell (above)

ack are bdig Charts ital e y’r the e, tim And this


s for mobile and digital console

data QMCV re-launches charts



picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016




Specialism: Marketing agency Location: Albert House, 2nd Floor, 256-260 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DD

Contact: W: P: 020 7324 0088 E:

Rory Hallam, creative operations director at Think Jam, discusses Ratchet & Clank, film adaptations and virtual reality Tell us about your company. We are a global entertainment marketing agency. Since 2004 we have been partnering with clients across film, games, TV and theatre to deliver publicity, social media and digital ad campaigns. What successes have you seen? I’m really proud of the work our digital ad team did on Sony’s Ratchet & Clank. We produced digital creative that showcased the characters and irreverent humour, to engage fans of the original and introduce the game to new players.

securing the right influencer for titles is vital, especially when assets and talent are not available and broad cut-through is a priority. 2016 is also the year of virtual reality, with Oculus and Vive generating lots of buzz. It will be interesting to see how PlayStation VR changes things. We also work on a lot of film adaptations and it is interesting to see that Ubisoft has set up its own studio to manage Assassin’s Creed. This is a great move for the industry in terms of keeping the creative control with the games company.

It was a great collaboration and was so successful we worked on some early E3 activity for the muchanticipated release of Horizon Zero Dawn. Also, for Warner Bros, we have been working on a number of activations around Euro 2016 for Suicide Squad. What trends in the games industry are affecting you? Influencers have now become a larger part of all publicity and social campaigns due to their immense reach, authenticity with audiences and original content. Identifying and




Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

June 24th 2016








Artworking Mastertronic Brand Identity Ukie Localisation Rising Star Games Advertising BBFC Website Design Deep Silver Exhibition Bethesda Illustration Just Flight Appynation Digital Media IntentMedia Charity GamesAid Banners & Takeovers Konami Packaging Design Just Flight Email: CREATIVE DISTRIBUTION

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June 24th 2016




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June 24th 2016





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BRAZIL Sony Music Entertainment Brasil # 1 Physical Distributor in Brazil Rua Lauro Muller n°. 116 – 40°. Andar Salas 4001 a 4003 Botafogo Rio de Janeiro RJ CEP. 22.290-160 Tel. +55 21 2128-0771 Fax: +55 21 2128-0747 Email : Website: |


UAE ALESAYI UNITED COMPANY Video Games Distributor in the Middle East, P.O BOX 16999 Jebel Ali Free Zone Dubai U.A.E. Tel: 00971 4 883 5960 Fax: 00971 4 883 5175 Email: U.A.E. Website: Group Website:

DC GAMES GROUP No.9, Hemmatian St., Takestan St., Sattarkhan Tehran, Iran Tel: +98-912-1014090 +98-21-44228670 Email: Web:


WORLDWIDE CLICK ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED Email: Web: Phone: +44 (0)203 137 3781

GAME OUTLET EUROPE AB PO Box 5083, S-650 05 Karlstad, Sweden Sales dept: Sales dept: Purchase dept: Purchase dept: Web:

MCV WORLDWIDE Editorial: + 61 (0)424 967 263

Advertising: + 61 (0)417 084821


MORE DISTRIBUTORS AUSTRALIA AFA Interactive, Bluemouth Interactive, Five Star Games, Mindscape, Namco Bandai Partners, Turn Left Distribution BENELUX CLD Distribution, Koch Media, Gameworld Distribution B.V. CANADA E One, Importel, Just4Games, Solutions 2 Go, Vidéoglobe CYPRUS Access, Gibareio, Zilos, Nortec Multimedia CZECH REPUBLIC Cenega, Conquest, Comgad, Playman, ABC Data DENMARK Bergsala, Elpa, Impulse, Koch Media, Nordisk Film Interactive, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision FRANCE Big Ben, Innelec, Koch Media, SDO, Sodifa GREECE Zegatron, CD Media, Namco Bandai Partners, IGE, Nortec, Enarxis, Beacon HUNGARY Hungary, CTC Trading, Magnew, PlayON, Stadlbauer ICELAND Sena, Myndform, Samfilm, Ormsson INDONESIA Maxsoft, Uptron, Technosolution IRELAND MSE Group, Baumex JAPAN Ajioka, Happinet, Jesnet NORWAY Bergsala, Game Outlet, Koch Media, Nordic Game Supply, Nordisk Film, Pan Vision POLAND CD Projekt, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM PORTUGAL Ecoplay, Infocapital, Koch Media, Namco Bandai ROMANIA Best Distribution SERBIA ComTrade, Computerland/Iris Mega, Extreme CC SPAIN Digital Bros, Koch Media, Namco Bandai Partners, Nobilis SWEDEN Bergsala, Koch Media, Namco Bandai, Nordic Game Supply, PAN Vision, Wendros, Ztorm (digital) UAE Red Entertainment Distribution, Pluto Games (LS2 Pluto), Viva Entertainment, Gameplay Entertainment, Geekay Distribution



June 24th 2016


INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: TURKEY Population: 75,837,000 Capital City: Ankara Currency: Turkish Lira GDP (Per Capita): $10,971.8 KEY RETAILERS Teknosa, Bimeks, Sabanci/ Carrefour, D & R, Sony Center, Media Markt TOP DISTRIBUTORS Aral, Pluto Games, Nortec Eurasia

TOP DEVELOPERS 2GEN Studio, ArcadeMonk, Creavect, Crytek Istanbul, Cultic Games, Gamegos, Gram Games, Ingame Group, MagiClick Games, Motion Blur, Peak Games, Pixofun, Riot Games Istanbul, Sobee Studios, TaleWorlds, Warlock Arts, Zoetrope PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION Microsoft, Riot Games, Sony

TURKEY is a relatively small market for video games – but it is a booming one. In 2014, the country’s industry generated $375m (£264m) in revenues, ranking No.17 in Newzoo’s annual charts. In 2015, it was worth $464m (£327m), which represented an impressive 24.7 per cent increase year-on-year and allowed the country to rank at No.16. The data firm also points out that the ‘payer-to-player’ ratio in the country - 61 per cent - is well above the MEA region average of 41 per cent. However, the standard annual spend is quite low: only $33.71 per payer. This matches the analysis made by Faruk Akıncı, founder and CEO of BigKazan, a marketing agency helping publishers to enter the Turkish market. Speaking to English-speaking newspaper Daily Sabah, he said that “Turkish gamers mostly prefer online free-toplay games.”

June 24th 2016

“Sports titles, RPG and MOBA games are the most preferred genres,” Akıncı added. “If a publisher decides to make a strategy for the Turkish territory, the content should be easy to access, must feature playerversus-player (PvP) modes and should be easy to learn.” The gaming community in Turkey consists of around 27m people – and they love to play in Turkish, Akıncı also revealed. A strategy that developer and publisher Riot Games had clearly understood when it opened an office in Istanbul a few years ago to provide Turkish localisation for its hit League of Legends. Turkish gamers are also enjoying more and more mobile games, Akıncı concluded. “We would expect even more growth with 4.5G and more use of smart devices. There are more than 34 million active mobile data users in Turkey and nearly 18 million of them are playing mobile games.”



MEANWHILE IN... THE UNITED STATES After Skype and Nokia, Microsoft just announced it will acquire professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn BETWEEN two E3 announcements, Microsoft also revealed last week that it will acquire LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£18.3bn). Microsoft already bought Skype in 2011 for $8.5bn (£5.9bn) and Nokia in 2013 for $7.2bn (£5bn). Jeff Weiner will remain the CEO of the professional social network, reporting to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella. The latter said: “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as we seek to


empower every person and organisation on the planet.” Weiner added: “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft now gives

us a chance to also change the way the world works. I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.”

June 24th 2016


OFF THE RECORD This week, Sonic continues to win Twitter and hackers attack Nintendo at E3 SONIC’S THROWING SHADE IT’S not completely unreasonable to say that Sonic peaked early. The first three games on the Mega Drive were THE NUTS. And we’ve enjoyed some of the later ones, too. We liked Sonic Generations. Quite a bit, actually. Sonic Rush was pretty good. Oh and Sonic R still has the best game soundtrack ever FACT. But yeah, it’s been shaky at times. But while Sonic’s games may not have gone from strengthto-strength, the Hedgehog’s Twitter game is doing exactly that. We don’t know when Sega handed over the account’s password to whomever the secretive badass is that’s now behind it, but what a move. And the latest tweet is a corker. Mighty No.9 came out this week after several delays and many stumbles along its post-crowdfunded development path. And it’s not reviewing very well. The frustration reached a bit of a tipping point when Inafune and Comcept bro Ben Judd argued that while the game may be a little lacking, that it exists and is out “is better than nothing”. Whoops. Sonic, who is more than happy to play the big dog despite his own questionable development history, was happy to step up and dish out a friendly dig. Sick burn, as the kids say.

LEGEND OF STEALDA WORD on the street is that Nintendo didn’t just have to fend off game-starved Wii U owners at E3 last week - it also had to contend with a hacker trying to get their hands on Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s code. Indeed, one very well known Nintendo hacker was adamant that the attempted theft did indeed happen, according to Kotaku. The fellow in question even had the audacity to seek help for the heist on Twitter. Apparently the console itself did not need to be accessed, only the GamePad, with the idea being that the code would be stolen from the network rather than the machine. So adept and technical wizardry are these folk that even the discovery that the E3 show Wii Us were not retail units was not enough to deter them - they simply rewrote the program. It was all for nowt, however, as the attempt failed. Code theft is not a new E3 phenomenon. A Metal Gear demo was famously very nearly half inched in 2004, while Metroid Prime was successfully pilfered in 2006. Skyward Sword fell victim in 2011, too. And as for that Xbox One S in MCV’s meeting room... hang on, sorry, what Xbox One S? What is an Xbox? Who? Erm.



Mike Fethers Head Buyer, Tech & Games, The Hut Group Firstly, what does the quack of a horse-sized duck sound like? But I’d go for the 100 duck-sized horses, imagine rounding them up and training them to run errands for you. I could sell the movie rights: The Duck-Sized Horse Whisperer.

June 24th 2016


Green Man Gaming Asks...

Resident Evil VII fully supports VR, what other classic franchise would you want to see in VR? #GMGasks

Each week Green Man Gaming asks the Twitter community what they think about the biggest gaming topics trending today.

Metal Gear Solid, but only if Konami lets Hideo Kojima do it or sells him the rights.

Leisure Suit Larry.



Sticking with the horror theme, would love a Silent Hills VR.

The Descent series, hands down.




Halo for sure.



Tag your reply with #GMGasks to have your say!

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#Sonic25 Sonic the Hedgehog Š SEGA / Technicolor Animation Productions.


Profile for Future PLC

MCV884 June 24th  

MCV884 June 24th  


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