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International Media Partner



Pokémon, Mario and Zelda headline NX ‘dream’ line-up Nintendo eyes the market between hardcore and casual for upcoming portable/home console hybrid by Christopher Dring NINTENDO is putting together a triple-A software line-up, to ensure NX flies out of the gate next year. Developer Game Freak will bring Pokémon to the platform, while Nintendo’s first party titles include the previously announced Zelda game – Breath of the Wild – and a new Mario game. All three products are scheduled to appear within the first six months of the machine’s life. The firm has also been busy securing third-party support, with Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Activision and Warner Bros already on-board. Sources close to Nintendo have told MCV that the firm is determined that NX will not suffer the same slow start as either the Wii U or 3DS. The same sources confirmed that the Eurogamer report last week - which revealed that NX will be a portable machine that can be plugged into a TV and features a breakaway controller – is ‘100 per cent accurate’. Game graphics will be ‘somewhere between a PS3 and PS4’, with Nintendo targeting an audience that sits between smartphone gamers and the more hardcore users of PS4 and Xbox One. “It’s a nice bit of kit, a bit of a novelty, but a good one,” said

Nintendo seems set on trying to upgrade smartphone gamers.

one exec that has got hands on with the machine. “It won’t appeal to PS4 fans. Nintendo seems set on trying to upgrade smartphone gamers. That’s going to be a big job for the marketing department.” NX is currently slated to launch in March next year worldwide.

‘NX MUST BE SOLD FOR £200 OR LESS’ UK retail buyers have told MCV that they have high hopes for Nintendo’s NX, but only if it’s affordable. Every retailer surveyed says that a sub-£200 price tag will be essential if Nintendo hopes to stage a comeback in the console market. “The industry sorely misses a strong Nintendo,” said one buyer. “If the NX reports are true, I’m optimistic. But only if it is significantly cheaper than PS4 and Xbox One.” Another retail boss added: “NX could be what the market needs. A £150 to £200 price would ensure a far stronger start than Wii U or 3DS.”



Pokémon Go just keeps going, and going, and going 3DS sales continue to spike as mobile phenomenon enters third week O Nintendo now UK’s No.1 boxed publisher by Christopher Dring IN what is becoming a now weekly MCV story, UK sales of 3DS consoles and 3DS Pokémon games continue to rise as the Pokémon Go obsession continues. According to retail sources quoting GfK figures, Nintendo was the No.1 boxed games publisher (both in units and value) last week. The firm held ten of the UK Top 50 games. Pokémon titles in that chart sold almost 9,000 units, with Pokémon Alpha Sapphire (No.11), Omega Ruby (No.18), Pokémon X (No.25) and Y (No.29) the highest charting titles. 3DS XL hardware was up 222 per cent last week compared with the same period a year before, while 2DS sales rose 234 per cent. The figures are all the more impressive when you consider that news of the 3DS’ successor - the NX - was leaked last week. The official Apple charts reveals that Pokémon Go was comfortably the best-selling free apps on

iPhone and iPad during its first two weeks, while App Annie says that the game was the highest grossing title on iPhone during launch (although at No.5 on iPad). Sales of trading cards, Pokémon toys and clothing are also rising, while pre-orders for the upcoming 3DS titles - Sun and Moon - have also increased significantly.

Apple Store Official Charts - GB - July 25th, 2016 - July 31st, 2016






PokeWhere - Live Radar Map for Pokemon Go


50 50 - The Addictive Slicing Game


Talking Tom Gold Run



Eden: The Game


CSR Racing 2


Color Switch


Pharaoh’s Party: Coin Pusher



Vylar App Design . Company Outfit 7 Limited Steve Howse Channel 4 NaturalMotion Fortafy Games Mindstorm Studios Ketchapp






Farm Heroes Super Saga


CSR Racing 2



Big Bang Racing

Traplight Ltd




Color Switch


LEGO City My City 2


Talking Tom Gold Run


Steve Howse King NaturalMotion

Colin Lane Fortafy Games LEGO Systems, Inc. Outfit 7 Limited

Games Centre runs Pokémon Go events for charity by Marie Dealessandri SCOTTISH retail chain Games Centre made the most of the Pokémon Go phenomenon, all in the aid of charity. Starting with its Kilmarnock store, the firm organised ‘Pokémon Go Prowls’ from all its local shops. The concept saw Games Centre offer a tour of town landmarks, while visiting Pokéstops and catching Pokémon. In exchange, players were asked to bring a tin for local food banks. The retailer has been working closely with the Trussel Trust Fund on its ‘Bring a tin’ campaign.

August 5th 2016

Kilmarnock’s Pokémon Go Prowl (pictured) attracted 80 people and nearly 100 tins were donated. This paved the way for an even bigger success at Irvine’s Games Centre, where over 300 people attended and donated 922 tins. “We also talked to local businesses, and

they’ve been absolutely amazing and donated loads,” Irvine store manager Craig Kennedy told MCV. “It’s been such a positive experience to just get everyone in and about, and interact with everyone. Vanilla Joes, our local ice cream store, even created a


Pokémon Go flavoured ice cream for everyone.” Each event was also broadcasted on Facebook Live, with people tuning in from as far as Australia. Games Centre’s MD Robert Lindsay said that Pokémon Go was “exactly what the industry needed at this time of the year.” He added: “Pokémon Go has given us the opportunity to engage with new and existing customers in a fun and innovative way.” Even the Scottish parliament praised the initiative, wishing Games Centre “all the best with its future Pokémon charity walks.”



Insert Coin rebrands to boost fashion credentials By Alex Calvin GAMES clothing firm Insert Coin has rebranded itself in a bid to be seen as more than just a ‘merchandise site’. The firm has a strong reputation in the games business for its video game-inspired range of apparel. It now wants to be viewed more as a fashion brand. “We’ve had the same look for almost six years and we wanted to shake things up a bit with something new. We wanted to build on our reputation as more of a fashion brand as opposed to ‘just another merchandise seller’,” head of communications Dan Long said. “Our original 8-bit style has served us well - and we

will continue to use it in our #GetYourGeekOn sub brand - but we wanted to move beyond the arcades that started us off and get something better suited to our style. It’s slick, stylish and has a great little coin reference, too.” Insert Coin is also bullish in the face of growing competition within the merchandise space. “There have always been lots of people making gaming merchandise, but very few have brands that gamers know and trust,” Long said. “That’s where Insert Coin comes in. People know us by name - and know that we not only treat the games they love with respect, but also give them something unique and exclusive to wear. It’s definitely all about the gamers.”



n a strange way, I’m a little reassured by the dismissive and critical response to the NX leak. The story from Eurogamer this week is correct. NX will be a portable-cum-home console and it won’t be as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One. It’s provoked quite the negative reaction from some corners: ‘Nintendo will never compete with smartphones’, ‘it is failing its core fans’, ‘it will never secure third-party support’... We’ve heard all this before, of course, when the 154 millionselling DS was first revealed. The NX appears to be trying to capture a market that currently doesn’t exist – the sort of gamer that sits between casual and hardcore. It is a brave move for a company that’s had a tough few years, but it’s one that could potentially benefit the entire games market. Right now there is little out there that sits between smartphone experiences and console or PC games. It’s quite the leap from Clash of Clans to Call of Duty, and Nintendo will feel it is ideally placed to plug that gap. I recall one marketing exec telling me that the ‘genius’ behind the DS was that it brought in millions of nongamers with Brain Training, before converting a chunk of them into actual gamers through the likes of Professor Layton. “It’s just a small leap from there to Zelda,” he said. I’m not convinced it was a

The old Insert Coin (above) versus the new (above)






FIFA 17: Inc FUT Pre-order Bonus (PS4)


Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration - Art Book Edition (PS4)

Square Enix


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Day 1 Edition (PS4)

Square Enix


Xbox One Console S 2TB


Formula 1 2016 (PS4)


Final Fantasy XV Inc Masamune, Saber & Gourmand DLC (PS4)


Formula 1 2016 (XO)


PES 2017: Pro Evolution Soccer (PS4)



FIFA 17: Inc FUT Pre-order Bonus (XO)




Microsoft Codemasters Square Enix Codemasters


The NX appears to be trying to capture a market that currently doesn’t exist - the gamer that sits between casual and harcore. deliberate strategy - and it was certainly something Nintendo failed to do with Wii – but perhaps NX could repeat this trick of ‘upgrading’ casual players. Nintendo has already stated how it hopes to leverage its upcoming mobile games and encourage smartphone players to give NX a try. The recent Pokémon Go phenomenon, and the impact that has had on 3DS sales (see far left), suggests it’s a strategy with some merit. It all comes down to execution, of course. What does the NX look like? It needs to be big enough and powerful enough to work as a ‘home system’, but will also need to have the portability and battery life of a handheld. And which Nintendo marketing team will we see? The smart folk behind DS and Wii? The crazy/brilliant minds that crafted those bizarre Nintendo Direct videos? Or the team that messed up the messaging behind Wii U and 3DS? Not long until we find out.

August 5th 2016


‘Triple-A publishers risk creating massive rivals by not investing in VR’ Vive creator warns major game makers about their ‘wait and see’ approach, as VR could be the ‘next mobile’ By Christopher Dring THE content boss for the Vive VR headset has delivered a warning to major games publishers that are reluctant to invest in virtual reality. Joel Breton told MCV that these businesses risk enabling ‘massive new competitors’ by not getting in early on virtual reality – akin to what happened in the smartphone space. The likes of Ubisoft and Bethesda have already committed significant resources to building VR games, but other businesses have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach. The likes of

which they didn’t have before. That is a considerable risk. “As a matter of fact, you don’t have to look that far back to see this happen, because it happened in the mobile and social space quite recently - to all of the big boys. Some of them had to go out and spend billions of dollars to acquire the leaders in the mobile and social space. If they had only got into it early, and built it up organically, they could have owned their own destiny rather than splash massive amounts of cash to buy their way in later.” You can read more from HTC on page 19

Take-Two, Activision and EA have either not committed to VR, or are experimenting with smaller VR ‘experiences’. “If this is potentially the future platform for your business, then right now is a great time to stake out your place in the market,” said Breton. “If these companies do wait and see, then they will be again – as they have been in previous generations – a follower. What may end up happening is that new companies appear, who are so aggressive and get so good at VR, that these big publishers will end up with massive new competitors in the market -

Merge on the hunt for UK indie games developers By Alex Calvin PUBLISHER Merge Games it plans to be the No.1 indie label in the North of Britain. The firm also hopes its strategy of working with leading British games creators will see it become one of the UK’s biggest publishers overall. The news comes as the company prepares to release games – both digitally and physically – for PS4 and Xbox One. “We want to be known as the No.1 publisher in the North and one of the biggest publishers for indie games in the UK,” said MD Luke Keighran. “We understand it’s going to take some time, but that’s our ambition.” He continued: “We’ve got some really great indie developers that we are working with and more

August 5th 2016

We want to be known as the No.1 publisher in the North. Luke Keighran, Merge Games

and more of them are from the UK. We’ve got Leeds’ Laser Dog working on Hopiko, Tango Fiesta being made in London by Spilt Milk, Mainlining which is being handled by Sam Read at Suffolk-based Rebelephant, and then Sublevel Zero by Sigtrap from Manchester. We’re really actively pushing and supporting UK developers because there’s lots of great talent right on our doorstep.” You can read more from Merge on page 17

Merge Games is working more and more with UK devs, such as Spilt Milk on Tango Fiesta



BioWare: ‘MMO market has never been bigger’ Star Wars: The Old Republic director James Ohlen highlights The Division and Destiny as evolutions of the genre By Alex Calvin THE director of Star Wars: The Old Republic insists that the MMO market is more popular than ever. The MMO sector has seen declines amongst its traditional big hitters, such as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Yet James Ohlen tells MCV that the recent success of Activision’s Destiny and Ubisoft’s The Division highlights how the genre has expanded. “The MMO genre is much bigger than it ever has been before – it’s just that people misunderstand what the genre actually consists of now,” Ohlen said. “If you think about it, everyone thought about [MMOs] as

hardcore PC games, but the genre now includes two of the biggest new IP launches of the last three or four years – The Division and Destiny. Both are MMO games, they just don’t call themselves that. “If you’re familiar with MMOs and play them, you know that’s exactly what they are. It’s expanded into mobile games, you have a lot of games that are essentially MMOs on smartphones. It’s just expanded beyond the classic PC MMO. Obviously, Star Wars The Old Republic is very much a classic PC MMO game, but we’ve been very successful because we are Star Wars, we are BioWare and we are focused on differentiating ourselves with story.”

BioWare’s Ohlen says The Division and Destiny are MMOs, even if ‘they don’t call themselves that’

Ark: Survival Evolved hits 5.5m on PC and Xbox One By Alex Calvin HIT PC game Ark: Survival Evolved has been downloaded 5.5m times since its June 2015 release date. Speaking to MCV, the co-founder of developer Studio Wildcard Jeremy Stieglitz said that the Xbox One SKU, which launched in December 2015, had sold 1.5m copies alone. Therefore the PC version will have hit 4m downloads. He added that the game’s success was unexpected considering the saturation in the survival genre. The firm has also had to drastically increase its scope for what it originally planned for the game. “[Our first year] has gone very well,” Stieglitz told us. “The launch was an unexpected

success, but that’s also a double edged sword because when it succeeds at that level, it kind of raises expectations about how ambitious the game is going to be, and how large of a scope it is going to have when it is finished. “We have especially blown the doors open on what we had originally planned in terms of number of creatures, features and technical complexity. When we launched we didn’t even plan on having modding support, which has become a huge aspect of the game’s appeal and life cycle on PC. “It’s been interesting to raise ourselves and our level of work to the expectations that this very large audience now has.” Read more about Ark: Survival Evolved in next week’s MCV.

Studio Wildcard co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz says the success of Ark: Survival Evolved was ‘unexpected’


August 5th 2016



Market Data Game revenue and sales are up 20 per cent this week thanks to the summer holidays

£10m £15m

FIFA 16 FALLS two places to No.4 despite a 20 per cent increase in sales

£30m £5m

£6.3m 227,791 units

Week Ending July 16th

£4.3m 161,395 units

£5m 192,078 units

Week Ending July 23rd

Week Ending July 30th

SALES OF Ratchet & Clank shoot up 143 per cent as the game jumps 23 places to No.10





GAMESCOM 2016 Koelnmesse, Cologne Wednesday, August 17th – Sunday, August 12st Q The biggest trade fair for video games in Europe is coming back this summer Q Organiser Koelnmesse predicts over 800 companies from more than 40 countries at this year’s show Q Ticket registrations 60 per cent higher than those for Gamescom 2015 Q Come visit MCV at booth D019 in Hall 2.2

EUROPEAN WOMEN IN GAMES CONFERENCE University of Greenwich, London Wednesday, September 7th Q The sixth edition of the European Women in Games Conference takes place at University of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College Q Over 40 speakers will be delivering keynotes, panel discussions and workshops on subjects including careers, eSports and BAME diversity

INSOMNIA58 NEC Birmingham Friday, August 26th – Monday, August 29th Q As well as a main stage, Insomnia features 24-hour LAN areas, panel talks, retro and indie zones, console tournaments and a massive retail zone Q For the first time, High Street retailer will be holding GAMEFest at this iteration of Insomnia Q Multiplay is also holding a League of Legends event, League Fest, at the event for the first time

August 5th 2016


LEGENDS OF GAMING LIVE 2016 Alexandra Palace, London Saturday, September 10th – Sunday, September 11th Q For two days next month, fans will be meeting the stars of YouTube. Almost 20,000 gamers are expected to be in attendance EGX NEC, Birmingham Thursday, September 22nd – Sunday, September 25th Q EGX returns for its second year at NEC Birmingham




THE NEWS IN 140 CHARACTERS The Tweets you might have missed in the last seven days

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

NX IS BOTH HOME AND HANDHELD CONSOLE A new report from Eurogamer claims that Nintendo’s upcoming NX console will be a portable machine with detachable controllers. When home, the console can be docked in a base unit to use on the TV. Sources have confirmed this information to MCV.

43.5m Sony has revealed that 43.5m PlayStation 4s have been shipped to retailers

15% @serkantoto Am I the only one who thinks the rumoured NX concept sounds boring? Detachable controllers and TV connectivity: I hope this isn’t the ‘secret’. Dr. Serkan Toto, industry analyst Tuesday, July 26th

@MegMgumi So the NX is a handheld? Looks like Nintendo are slowly pulling out from home consoles then. Sony, Microsoft the floor is all yours now.

@WalnutSoap Lukewarm take: Nintendo consolidating its handheld and console markets is an excellent idea. Families will love one console for everything. Paul Watson, Gamer Network Tuesday, July 26th

@LiamBME Handheld consoles are the best consoles. Nintendo handhelds are also the best handhelds. This NX rumour pleases me.

@TheLastMetroid So, how long until Nintendo let the cat out of the bag and show off NX. After all, it’s supposed to be coming early next year, right?

@krisgraft Isn’t the Nintendo NX pitch a bit similar to the PlayStation Vita minus a TV option? Is NX basically a Vita and PlayStation TV bundle?

Meg Rice, PlayHubs Tuesday, July 26th

Liam Edwards, Final Games Cast Tuesday, July 26th

Lee Garbutt, God is a Geek, Wednesday, July 27th

Kris Graft, Gamasutra Thursday, July 28th

@bskipper27 If the report is true, it’ll be interesting to see the NX pricing. Will also be interesting to see Nintendo focusing on a single device.

@shahidkamal Nintendo could always call its NX the ‘Nintendo Vita’. Heck I’d wanna make games for it.

Ben Skipper, IBT Tuesday, July 26th

Shahid Ahmad, indie developer Thursday, July 27th

For a second consecutive quarter, sales of iPhones have declined with 40.4m units sold during Apple’s Q3

2 The release of the Pokémon Go Plus Bluetooth peripheral has been delayed by two months, Nintendo has announced

$18.6m Upcoming DOTA 2 competition The International 6 has the largest eSports prize pool ever at a huge $18.6m

3 Three Fields, the studio formed by former Burnout developers, has announced its next game will be a racing title AG Prismatic Controller - PDP Design and manufacture the Afterglow Prismatic Controller for Xbox ONE Officially licensed by Microsoft








GamesAid members will soon be voting to see which charities receive funds it has raised this year. Voting opens on August 15th and closes on September 5th. Becoming a GamesAid member is free of charge.

Following Gamescom, a number of GamesAid members will be cycling 352 miles from Cologne to Brighton for charity. You can donate here www. gamescomtobrighton2016


The annual GamesAid Golf and Spa Day returned for the ninth time on Thursday, July 14th. The event raised a whopping £30,000. This year it was once again held at The Grove.

August 5th 2016



2K hires marketing veteran Jon Rooke GameSpot promotes UK editor ONew social media exec for The Hut Group OSubstance Global strengthens its teams 2K GAMES | Games industry marketing veteran JON ROOKE has joined 2K as international marketing and communications director. He previously worked at Sega as European marketing director and brings 16 years of experience to 2K. Other roles include senior positions at The Creative Assembly, THQ and Microsoft. VP of publishing MURRAY PANNELL stated: “Jon brings a ton of knowledge to the table on triple-A franchises, sports titles and strategy games. By welcoming Jon to the management team at 2K, we believe we’re all set for the biggest year in 2K history.”

August 5th 2016

GAMESPOT | The media site has appointed former news editor TAMOOR HUSSAIN as its new UK editor. Before joining GameSpot in early 2015, he was features editor at Future. “I have been reading GameSpot since I was a kid,” Hussain commented. “Being appointed UK editor is a dream come true and I couldn’t ask for a better team to be working with. GameSpot continues to produce some of the best video game content out there, and as we expand our scope into broader entertainment our talented writers and video producers will shine even brighter. I will bask in their reflected glory.”

THE HUT GROUP | JANE MCCONNELL has been hired by The Hut Group as senior social media executive. She joins from Pixelbomb. “It’s been a fascinating couple of years at Pixelbomb,” McConnell commented. “I wish them all the best with Beyond Flesh and Blood. I’m incredibly excited to be stepping up to the plate at The Hut Group. It’s a fantastic company with an extremely bright future ahead.” SUBSTANCE GLOBAL | The marketing agency behind the LEGO Star Wars: The Force


Awakens campaign has strengthened its publicity and social media teams. Former senior account manager KAYLEIGH WATSON (bottom, left) has been promoted to account director. She has been leading the team on its games projects, as well as on the Deadpool and Assassin’s Creed movies. SARAH KNOWLES (above), previously at Disney, also joined Substance as social media account manager, while former community and online manager at NextGen Skills Academy ELISHA BROWN (top) has been hired as social media executive.


WEEKLY CHARTS ONCE again, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is at the top of the UK charts. For its fifth consecutive week at No.1, sales for Warner Bros’ title were up one per cent. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End made it to No.2 this week, thanks to retail promotions. Its sales increased by 94 per cent. Sony’s title is followed by Grand Theft Auto V, which gained one spot this week with sales rising by 37 per cent. Meanwhile, Ratchet & Clank made an impressive comeback, climbing 23 places to No.10. Sony’s IP saw an 143 per cent growth in sales. There isn’t a single new release in this week’s charts, but the success of Pokémon Go helped

Nintendo to have four Pokémon games in the charts this week. Pokémon Y is at No.29 while X re-entered the listings at No.25. Pokémon Omega Ruby is at No.18 and Alpha Sapphire (No.11) has seen a huge spike this week, with sales increasing 95 per cent. Pokémon Go is also taking over the mobile charts. Niantic’s phenomenon is No.1 in both free iPad and iPhone charts. The game is also at the top of the iPhone grossing listings and No.6 in the iPad grossing rankings. Over on Steam, pre-orders for Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky top the charts and Compulsion’s We Happy Few debuts at No.2.


01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW NEW 01 09 02 08 06 RE 05 RE


TITLE We Happy Few Grand Theft Auto V Total War: Warhammer RimWorld Starbound Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Ark: Survival Evolved Dead by Daylight Tom Clancy’s Raibow Six Siege

PUBLISHER Compulsion Games Rockstar Sega Ludeon Studios Chucklefish Valve Studio Wildcard Starbreeze Ubisoft



TW 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40


Format PS4, XO, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC PS4 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC XO, 360 PS4 3DS PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, PC PS4, XO, PC PS4, XO, PC


LW 01 06 04 02 03 05 08 07 10 33 24 11 12 13 16

Title LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Grand Theft Auto V FIFA 16 Overwatch Doom Rocket League Call of Duty: Black Ops III Minecraft: Xbox Edition Ratchet & Clank Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Star Wars Battlefront LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Fallout 4 Homefront: The Revolution

13 14 17 20 18 30 09 31 22 RE 27 36 26 29 RE 15 28 25 RE 35 23 32 RE RE 40

Minecraft: Story Mode PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC Telltale Games LEGO Jurassic World PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros Pokémon Omega Ruby 3DS Nintendo Minecraft: PlayStation Edition PS4, PS3, Vita Sony Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympics Wii U, 3DS Nintendo Tom Clancy’s The Division PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Monster Hunter Generations 3DS Capcom EA Sports UFC 2 PS4, XO EA Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft Pokémon X 3DS Nintendo New Super Mario Bros 2 3DS Nintendo Heavy Rain & Beyond Two Souls Collection PS4 Sony WWE 2K16 PS4, XO, PS3, 360, PC 2K Games Pokémon Y 3DS Nintendo Bloodborne PS4 Sony Mirror’s Edge Catalyst PS4, XO, PC EA Tomodachi Life 3DS Nintendo The Witcher III: Wild Hunt PS4, XO, PC Bandai Namco Deadpool PS4, XO, PS3, 360 Activision Blizzard Minecraft: Wii U Edition Wii U Nintendo 7 Days to Die PS4, XO Telltale Far Cry Primal PS4, XO, PC Ubisoft LEGO Marvel Super Heroes PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC Warner Bros Terraria PS4, XO, Wii U, PS3, 360, 3DS, Vita, PC 505 Games Yo-Kai Watch 3DS Nintendo

Source: Steam, Period: July 25th to 31st August 5th 2016


Publisher Warner Bros Sony Rockstar EA Activision Blizzard Bethesda 505 Games Activision Blizzard Microsoft Sony Nintendo EA Warner Bros Bethesda Deep Silver

Source: UKIE/GfK Entertainment, Period: Week ending July 30th 10



01 TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW NEW 05 02 09 NEW RE 04 NEW RE





Title Hidden Expedition: Dawn of Prosperity Terraria Octodad: Dadliest Catch Plague Inc. Royal Detective: Legend of The Golem Soccer Physics Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure Battling Game Ultimate Shark Simulator Bloons TD 5 HD

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Big Fish 505 Games Young Horses Ndemic Creations Big Fish Otto-Ville Ojala Cartoon Network Gluten Free Games Ninja Kiwi

LW 02 04 10 06 NEW 05 RE RE RE



Title Heads Up! Plague Inc. Neo Monsters Monopoly Game Bangers Unlimited 2 Football Manager Mobile 2016 Backflip Madness Geometry Dash Klocki

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th





TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

LW 02 04 03 05 RE 06 08 09 RE


Title Mobile Strike Clash of Clans Game of War - Fire Age Candy Crush Soda Saga Pokémon Go Hay Day Gummy Drop! The Sims FreePlay Minecraft: Pocket Edition

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Epic War Supercell Machine Zone King Niantic Supercell Big Fish EA Mojang

LW 01 02 05 03 07 06 09 08 10


Title Mobile Strike Candy Crush Saga Game of War - Fire Age Clash of Clans Candy Crush Soda Saga Clash Royale 8 Ball Pool CSR Racing 2 Episode - Choose Your Story, feat. Mean Girls: Senior Year

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th




LW 02 04 RE 06 RE 07 RE NEW NEW


Title Farm Heroes Super Saga Micro Machines Talking Tom Gold Run CSR Racing 2 Batman: Arkham Underworld Disney Emoji Blitz Dunkers

TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Steve Howse King Chillingo Outfit7 NaturalMotion Warner Bros Disney Colin Lane

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th

Developer Epic War King Machine Zone Supercell King Supercell Natural Motion Episode Interactive

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th


TW 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Developer Warner Bros Ndemic Creations NTT Resonant EA Stuart Cowie Sega Gamesoul Studio RobTop Games Maciej Targoni



Title 50 50 - The Addictive Slicing Game Talking Tom Gold Run Go Up CSR Racing 2 Dictator: Emergence The Higher Lower Game Color Switch Disney Emoji Blitz

Developer App Design Company Outfit7 Steve Howse Ketchapp NaturalMotion Tigrido Code Computerlove Marc Lejeune Disney

Source: UKIE/Refl ection, Period: July 18th to July 24th 11

August 5th 2016



Emerging markets and the rapid rise of the new generation of consoles CHRIS STANTON-JONES of Catapult Business Solutions discusses the console transition in emerging European, Middle Eastern and African markets

THE term ‘Emerging Markets’ seems to be the most widely used term when describing Middle East and Africa, Russia, Central Europe, Balkans and Adriatic Region, India, Turkey, Greece and Portugal. It may seem a bit out-dated as, after many years of games market growth, they really have ‘emerged’ already. Territories like the Middle East and Poland are both very large and established, and just as advanced in many respects as their Western European counterparts. Average incomes are, however, lower than in Western Europe, and perhaps here lies both the big difference and the opportunity for the future, because incomes will inevitably increase. We are talking about a combined population of over 2bn people, and once games become affordable for them, we really will see some success. The combined boxed software market value for these markets totals around €0.9bn (£0.7bn) closely behind Germany and just ahead of France. It is now over double that of Spain and only two-thirds that of Europe’s largest market: the UK. In fact, it now represents around one sixth of the total European software market. THE PLAYSTATION FACTOR The combined PS4 installed base across all emerging markets is already over 3.5m consoles. It has

August 5th 2016

generally sold at a much faster rate than the PS3 did. In Russia, as an example, the PS4s rate of sale is double that of PS3 in the respective launch years, and in the Middle East, it has shipped at four times the rate in its first 18 months. Compared to Xbox One (at around 0.6m consoles) it has outsold it at a rate of six to one. PS4 has been most successful in the Middle East where the installed base is already well over 1m units and almost double that of the No.2 territory: Russia. The transition to the new consoles has been quicker than people expected and certainly quicker than in previous cycles. Apart from the lower console pricing at launch, the other key factor is that there is little difference in software pricing, and also when the industry switched from PS2 to PS3, many consumers stayed with PS2 to continue access to ultracheap pirated games. The traditional thought is that because of lower income, emerging markets take a longer period to transition to next-gen formats. But that is certainly no longer valid. The rise of smartphones, which has created the habit of consumers spending high amounts of money on electrical goods and then upgrading them regularly, has

also probably helped the trend of people upgrading their consoles faster. PlayStation formats have generally been synonymous with hardcore gamers and these users have switched rapidly to PS4. On the other hand, Xbox has had its fan base more with the casual market, and here users have been more loyal to Xbox 360 and less motivated to trade-up.

Territories like the Middle East and Poland are as advanced as their Western European counterparts. Chris Stanton-Jones, Catapult Business Solutions


MARKET TO MARKET Some territories have been quicker than others to transition to the new machines. Many markets in the Middle East have been just as quick as Western European territories to transition. Other territories doing better than expected are several Central European ones such as Poland, Czech, Romania, Bulgaria and the Adriatic Region. India and South Africa are slower than average and the main issue here is affordability for the masses. Turkey has had the added issue of import duties pushing up console RRPs. South Africa and Greece are also renowned for being late adopter markets for all new technology generally, and Greece has, of course, had the additional issue of its own economic problems. For more information on the markets in emerging territories, contact



The Force is strong with these ones EA is making a massive investment in the Star Wars IP, and has some of its biggest studios making experiences set in that universe. Alex Calvin catches up with three such developers to talk about creating games set in a galaxy far, far away


A is not messing around when it comes to Star Wars. During its EA Play event at E3, the publishing giant rolled out a video showing just how much of an investment it is making in a galaxy far, far away. We saw our first glimpse of Amy Hennig’s untitled Star Wars title (she of Uncharted fame), developed by [Dead Space creators] Visceral. That’s on top of the news that Burnout studio Criterion was helping out with Battlefront VR content and other Star Wars projects. If that wasn’t enough, Titanfall outfit Respawn and Motive, led by former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond, are both working on brand new titles in the franchise. But that’s the future. EA has already made a big splash with the Star Wars IP, via releases that cover the Holy Trinity of video games. It has Battlefront for the console crowd, Galaxy of Heroes on mobile while PC is represented by MMO The Old Republic. “EA has made this huge commitment to Star Wars,” DICE’s Battlefront lead designer Niklas Fegraeus says. “It wants to make the best Star Wars games. That is a commitment that is registered around the globe. It involves so many studios and so many talented people. There’s this big family feeling in terms of talking to each other, exchanging ideas, and it’s created a discussions with ourselves and with LucasArts. We’re just living Star Wars on a daily basis. That’s another perk.” TIE-IN BOMBERS Last year’s launch of The Force

August 5th 2016

Awakens stands as a contrast to 1999’s The Phantom Menace. When the latter launched, it was accompanied by a huge number of games tying into various aspects of the film. However, when The Force Awakens hit the silver screen, there wasn’t a direct tie-in. We had Battlefront, Galaxy of Heroes and a Level Pack for Disney Infinity, but not a standalone Force Awakens game. Fans would have to wait another seven months before the closest thing – Warner Bros’ LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens – would hit stores. “The games industry learned the hard way when it was releasing game after game that was crap just to meet a specific date,” James Ohlen, The Old Republic’s game director says. “Now obviously dates are important in any industry, but what you want to do is create quality games within the IP that they’re part of. That’s where you see the most success. If you look at Battlefront, it’s a great Star Wars experience from the team at DICE. You see a game like the Batman Arkham series – those games are not tied into any movie and they’re fantastic. The lesson the industry has learned is create great products within that IP, and if they can get it attached to launch around a film, that’s great. Just don’t make it the focus of the games.” Fegraeus adds: “Previously in the industry there’s been a stigma surrounding movie tie-in games. Hopefully we are changing that perception. We take this super seriously and we aren’t going to

The world had its first look at Visceral’s Star Wars game in June

DREAMS COME TRUE FOR pretty much anyone working in the games industry, Star Wars is the ultimate brand to work on. It has farreaching influence and is one of the world’s biggest entertainment properties. As a result, LucasArts, and Star Wars’ new owners Disney, have every right to be somewhat protective of the IP. But aside from certain instances, the firm is reasonably relaxed. “Actually it’s been pretty easy to work with LucasArts throughout the years,” The Old Republic game director James Ohlen says. “I’ve been collaborating with them for 16 years now since Knights of the Old Republic in 2000. “As long as you are trying to tell stories that are true to Star Wars you don’t have a problem. Sometimes they do push back on ideas but you have no idea why. For example, in our trailer for [expansion]


Knights of a Fallen Empire we wanted to have giant crashed Star Destroyers and were told we couldn’t have them – we were asking why we couldn’t have them and then we saw the trailer for The Force Awakens and there’s the crashed Star Destroyer.” Lead designer on S tar Wars Battlefront , Niklas Fegraeus adds: “LucasArts been super open with us. We have been having this creative conversation with them since day one. It’s been really great. Of course, it owns this brand and it wants to make sure that this brand is as great as it is. To me it just feels like you get invited to this world and learn what that world is. From the outside view, you have one experience. When you get to the inside, it becomes so much richer and you understand it more. To me that’s just a big perk of being able to work with it.”


REBEL BASES EA has some of its biggest studios working on new entries in the Star Wars saga: DICE The Stockholm-based studio released shooter Star Wars Battlefront in November 2015. The game has sold 13m copies, with DICE supporting it post-launch. That’s on top of a sequel being made in collaboration with EA Motive. RESPAWN Titanfall maker Respawn is working on a third-person action adventure game set in a different timeline to the other EA Star Wars titles. God of War III veteran Stig Asmussen is heading sup production.

(Above left to right) BioWare’s Ohlen, Capital Games’ Salera and DICE’s Fegraeus

do anything unless we know it is going to be 1000 per cent quality and true to the quality our fans expect. The industry is just taking it more seriously this time around.” Content based on The Force Awakens was also missing from last year’s Star Wars Battlefront at launch, though DICE added in the Battle of Jakku DLC post-release, which ties into one of the movie’s settings. But Galaxy of Heroes is the only EA Star Wars game that features characters from that film. “It was important for us and the players to be able to encompass the full breadth of Star Wars,” says John Salera, executive producer at Galaxy of Heroes studio Capital Games. “When we launched we had about 65 characters. Now we have 90. We keep adding environments and content and functionality.” GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT Content based on upcoming film Rogue One is coming to Battlefront as the shooter’s final round of post-release content. Developer DICE has been constantly making changes to the game since its November launch. While the game was received well critically, the

game. It matters to us,” Fegraeus continues. “We want players to think that this is the best Star Wars game that they have ever played and that they feel super happy with the purchase. It’s all about creating that good will within the community and making them feel like they’re extremely important to us. That’s the reason we do what we do.”

reception wasn’t entirely positive – the launch day product was a bit sparse when it came to features. There was very little to do if you weren’t willing to go online. “There’s only one way to deal with that [criticism] and that is just to make everything happen for the players,” Fegraeus explains. “If they have something that they don’t like.

NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS The future of Star Wars in the games space is looking bright. We have one the world’s biggest publishers putting everything it has behind the sci-fi behemoth, and it has done well to learn from the industry’s past mistakes of rushing out content to meet arbitrary film release dates. Plus, the fact that its developers are constantly listening to the fans and answering problems they have with the content, or lack thereof, is surely a positive sign. “The grand plan is to continue this journey of trying to provide the most awesome battle fantasies that people have,” Fegraeus says. “Just focusing on letting players transport themselves into the galaxy of Star Wars.”

Previously there was a stigma for tie-in games. Hopefully we are changing that perception. Niklas Fegraeus, DICE

We need to fix it. That’s the mantra that we have. Don’t argue with it, just fix it.” A lack of offline content is something that DICE is looking to rectify with the upcoming Skirmish mode, that lets gamers play some modes – Walker Assault and Fighter Squadron – offline. “It’s free to everyone, it contains all the maps from the base


MOTIVE A new studio set up by former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond is working on the next instalment of Star Wars Battlefront alongside DICE. That is launching in 2017. VISCREAL Dead Space studio Visceral is making a new third-person action Star Wars game. Uncharted vet Amy Hennig is leading the project, which is set for a 2018 release. CRITERION The Burnout firm has been working on a number of Star Wars projects for EA, including the upcoming PSVR experience for Battlefront. CAPITAL GAMES The studio’s mobile title Galaxy of Heroes launched last November, with Capital Games supporting it with new characters. BIOWARE Since 2011, BioWare has been adding to its Star Wars: The Old Republic PC MMO. The developer has just announced a new expansion, Knights of the Eternal Throne, set for release at the end of this year.

August 5th 2016


Northern lights Three years ago, Merge was releasing boxed version of PC hits like Limbo and Super Meat Boy. Now it’s launching games digitally and it’s about to start putting out tiles for console. Alex Calvin speaks to MD Luke Keighran


erge Games is a name you may recognise from the boxed PC section of your local games retailer. For the last three years, the company has been known for releasing special editions of PC indie hits such as Terraria, Limbo and Super Meat Boy. But the company has changed up its offering. Last year it started launching digital games on Steam, such as Excalibur’s Shoppe Keep. Today, it’s now preparing to get into the console space both digitally and physically. “It was a natural progression for us,” MD Luke Keighran tells MCV. “There’s not too many independent publishers out there that actually handle retail as well as digital. We’re one of them because we have great reach in the market.” FROM PC TO CONSOLES Merge isn’t messing around with its move into console publishing, either. In fact, the firm has eight games in the works for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. “We see that it’s a good market for indies,” Keighran says. “Steam is becoming quite a flooded market. It’s not a problem, it just means that the quality of titles that we’re looking to publish has changed from what it was two years ago. Something that probably worked OK two years ago may not work as well these days. We’re seeing more and more games, not necessarily published by us, that are great games but are not working as well on Steam. “The market is saturated and production values have increased so it is worth getting games onto more distribution platforms to help develop sales and marketing strategies. The barrier to entry

Merge published Sublevel Zero last year, developed by Manchester-based Sigtrap Games

is closing somewhat for indie developers – and to a certain degree indie publishers. If you don’t pick up the right games then they’re not going to work in a particular market. We’re trying to take games to PC, PS4 and Xbox One simultaneously as it also gives us a much bigger press reach.” Keighran also says that the UK indie market is struggling, with the cost of producing these titles increasing by as much as three times and the sector becoming saturated with developers. “It’s an exciting time. But we look at a lot of games and say: ‘12 months ago that would cost £100,000 but now those are exploding to £300,000’. We often say: ‘Yeah, that’s a great game, but will you get your money back?’,” he admits. “There probably needs to be more of an education right across the market as to what’s palatable in such a saturated market. If a game is outstanding, then sure it’s going to reap its budget times ten.

We’re pushing and supporting UK devs because there’s lots of great talent right on our doorstep. Luke Keighran, Merge Games


“But there’s a lot more games in the market now. The big indie publishers will get bigger, and the big indie studios will grow, too. There will be some change in the mid to lower end as to whether people want to self-publish or fund their own development. It’s an interesting time.” Historically, Merge has dealt mostly with Italian development partners, but that’s also changing. The publisher is now working with UK studios such as Manchesterbased Sigtrap Games on Sublevel Zero, Spilt Milk for Tango Fiesta and Leeds’ Laser Dog for its upcoming release: Hopiko. “We’re really actively pushing and supporting UK devs because there’s lots of great talent right on our doorstep,” Keighran says. “We want to be known as the No.1 publisher in the North and one of the biggest publishers for indie games in the UK. We understand it’s going to take some time, but that’s our ambition.”

August 5th 2016


Vive’s E3 Fallout HTC insists it doesn’t want exclusive games to sell its VR headset, and yet in Bethesda’s Fallout 4 it has potentially its biggest system shifter yet. Christopher Dring discusses this, plus HTC’s efforts to win over big publishers, with VP of VR content Joel Breton


TC and Valve, the companies behind the Vive virtual reality headset, really don’t like exclusives. Despite being the more expensive of three major VR products (the other two being Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR), and despite being desperate to establish itself in a competitive and unproven marketplace, the Vive team are against the idea of using software exclusivity to outmanoeuver its competitors. “We have been quite public that we are not pursuing exclusive arrangements at all,” insists Joel Breton, VP of VR content at HTC. “We think that is bad for consumers. While it may be better for a platform holder to try and block their content in the short term, what we find is that it may not be the best strategy long term, because what we are trying to focus on is making VR really take off. “We think we can compete really strongly on our platform features. What we are encouraging folks to do is to use Vive as the reference platform for development. If you are going to be a cross-platform piece of content, it is a much, much simpler task to de-feature, and take things out, rather than add them in or upscale. We want folks to start with Vive and then they are definitely free to go to other platforms, and they will have a much easier job of doing that if they started at the top rather than at the bottom.”

Bethesda’s Fallout 4 will be exclusive to HTC’s Vive headset

We think that exclusive titles are bad for consumers. Joel Breton, HTC

PUBLISHER BACKING Breton may dismiss a strategy that the likes of Microsoft, Sony


and Nintendo have adopted for years, yet Vive has still found itself with a number of exclusive titles. The biggest one yet emerged from E3, when Bethesda announced that the smash hit Fallout 4 will receive full VR support – utilising the Vive headset. It’s a big coup for HTC. Fallout is one of the biggest video game brands in the world, and its significance isn’t lost on Breton. “It sure could be our killer app,” he says. “There are 120 hours of content in here, and if people are looking for something that is going to give them repeat play, and basically let them play as long as they want to, this is that sort of game. Bethesda is very good at making these titles.” Yet, he says, there are other companies that have piqued his interest. “Ubisoft is also making some very exciting VR content, and I have been lucky enough to check out many of its games, and they are all fantastic,” he enthuses. “Those are just some of the companies leading the charge, and we certainly applaud and give them all the help and support that we can.” Ubisoft is one of the big early supporters of VR. It will launch four VR games this Christmas, with more due in 2017. One game in particular has garnered plenty of attention from the press: Star Trek Bridge Crew. The title is a co-op game where multiple players team up to control a Starship. “People are just going to go crazy for it,” he said. “For sure, anyone that is interested in Star Trek will need to get this right away. But even broader than that, I think people who may not like

August 5th 2016



Software pricing, as it was the case for Job Simulator, remains an issue in the VR scene Simulator

the franchise are going to want to pilot their own starship. Who doesn’t want to try that?” WHERE IS THE LOVE? Ubisoft and Bethesda are two of just a handful of publishers fully committed to virtual reality right now. Breton observes that more creators are coming on-board, and although they may not have projects ready straight away, we can expect to see some bigger, deeper, titles to emerge from early next year. Nevertheless, some of the major publishers have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach. Whereas Ubisoft has jumped into VR with both feet, others have been toying with VR ‘experiences’ or simply holding off entirely. We’ve yet to see anything from Take-Two or Activision, whereas EA’s single initiative is a special level created for Star Wars Battlefront. “It is sort of a situation where there are some companies sitting on the sidelines, and that’s great, they can have a nice comfortable seat and watch as VR takes off,”

August 5th 2016

owned their own destiny rather than splash massive amounts of cash to buy their way in later. That is a point that I am happy to make with all of my friends in the triple-A games space.” The VR market has yet to truly get going, despite consumer versions of Oculus and Vive being available for several months now. A lot of the industry has its eyes fixed on the PlayStation VR launch in September, because if anyone can make it work, it’s Sony. Yet all HTC can do is encourage the content to keep coming. The games at E3 painted a positive future for VR, but right now it’s hard to pin-point what magical product will turn the Vive from an expensive novelty into a gaming essential. It could be Fallout, it could be Star Trek, it could be something entirely unrelated to video games. Suddenly, the industry can’t just rely on the same old genres to deliver the numbers. Perhaps that’s the real reason HTC isn’t prepared to splash out on exclusives.

Breton says. “My message to them is that this is the time to be a leader in a space that is not going to go away anytime soon. If this is potentially the future platform for your business, then right now is a great time to stake out your place in the market.” He continues: “If they do wait and see, then they will be again – as they have been in previous generations – a follower. What may end up happening is that new companies will appear who are so aggressive, and get so good at VR, that these big publishers will end up with massive new competitors in the market that they didn’t have before. That is a considerable risk. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to look that far back to see this happen, because it happened in the mobile and social space quite recently - to all of the big boys. Some of them had to go out and spend billions of dollars to acquire the leaders in the mobile and social space. If they had only got into it early and built it up organically, they could have


ONE of the issues around virtual reality right now is game pricing. With VR install bases still relatively low, developers have been charging a lot for their VR titles – even the smaller, more experimental projects. Job Simulator was one game that had a price of $40, before it was reduced by $10 following criticism from fans. HTC’s content boss for Vive, Joel Breton, offers this advice to studios. “An easy way to look at it is: ‘What is the depth of your content? What is its replayability?’ If it is a single time thing that you play through and it lasts 30 minutes, that should probably be at a lower price. If it has multiplayer, a story mode, with 20 or 30 hours of content, you can price that a bit higher, because people will view that as being better value,” he says. “Look at the engagement to measure the price. “Another good thing to do is go on Steam, look at the games, look at the price, and see how you feel about that price as a consumer. That is what I try to do. I take my industry hat off and become a gamer, a consumer, and I ask myself: ‘Now that I’ve bought this, and experienced it, how do I feel about that purchase?” Try doing that with your own content.”

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Sonic’s 2017 comeback By the time Sonic Mania comes out early next year, it will have been more than four years since the iconic speedy hedgehog paid a visit to PlayStation and Xbox. MCV finds out more about the franchise’s full debut on PS4 and Xbox One


onic & All-Stars Racing Transformed in 2012 was the last time Sega’s world famous hedgehog debuted on a Sony or Microsoft console. Since then, the speed freak has found a home on Nintendo’s platforms, with four console exclusive Wii U and 3DS games – beginning with Sonic: Lost World in 2013 and concluding this September with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Nintendo and Sonic have long been a good fit, but the past few years have been tough – with the 3DS not quite reaching the heights of its predecessor, and the Wii U proving to be a commercial disappointment. That Nintendo deal is coming to an end, however, and next year will mark Sonic’s arrival on PS4 and Xbox One. Initially with the download-only 2D platform game Sonic Mania, and then with an entirely new 3D Sonic adventure, which will also arrive on Nintendo’s upcoming NX system. “We have enjoyed our time working exclusively with our good friends at Nintendo and are now looking forward to reaching an even bigger audience,” says Ivo Gerscovich, SVP at Sega of America and chief brand officer for Sega’s Sonic Pillar (the new Sonic head office in Los Angeles, which unites US and Japanese executives). “We believe in finding ways to connect with our fans wherever they may be and however they may play. It’s equally important to us that all of these experiences be of high quality and keep gamers engaged.” THE MOBILE FACTOR With Wii U and 3DS sales proving

August 5th 2016

Sega’s Ivo Gerscovich says Sonic Mania will ‘surprise players’

somewhat disappointing, it would be easy to assume that the past four years have been tough on Sonic. Yet actually there’s been a number of significant successes. The Sonic Boom TV series – which debuted in 2014 – has been a hit. Yet perhaps Sonic’s biggest success has been in the mobile space. There have been multiple Sonic titles released on iOS and Android, with Sonic Dash in particular enjoying more than 200 million downloads. “The huge audience for Sonic Dash amongst young and old, men and women alike, shows that

We have enjoyed our time working with our good friends at Nintendo and are now looking forward to reaching an even bigger audence. Ivo Gerscovich, Sega


Sonic appeals to a very broad audience today just as much as when he was born 25 years ago,” says Chris Southall, who is in charge of Sega’s Hardlight Studio - the team responsible for the Sonic mobile titles. “With many people, their first experience of the series now comes from Dash - introducing them to what defines the wider exploits of our speedy blue friend.” Gerscovich adds: “Our fans play all gaming systems and mobile is a big part of that. Sonic is not defined by one specific platform or device. He’s universal and


Sonic Mania is set to be released on PS4 and Xbox One in 2017

mobile has become a large part of the strategy of achieving an even larger audience around the world.” SONIC IN 2017 This year is the 25th anniversary of Sonic, and Sega has been developing a number of initiatives to celebrate – including a series of new licensing partners. There’s also the upcoming Sonic Boom game on 3DS, which launches on September 30th, and the character will also appear in LEGO Dimensions. Yet arguably the more exciting Sonic projects will be arriving in 2017. Last month, during the San Diego Comic-Con – at a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary – Sonic Mania was revealed. The title is a 2D reinvention of previous Sonic titles, developed by Sega of America and in collaboration with Pagoda West Games. That includes Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, who worked on remasters of previous Sonic games. The game will use a pixel-art style and feature reimagined Sonic levels from previous titles – along with all-new acts and bosses. It’s coming out on PS4, Xbox One and PC. “For Sonic’s 25th anniversary we wanted to do something special for the fans,” explains Gerscovich. “We wanted to go back to where

it all began, but with an additional twist... a look at the future. It is a 2D platform game with a modern pixelstyle art and reimagined classic levels. It may look similar, but it will definitely surprise players.” He continues: “The team from PagodaWest Games, along with Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, have as deep a love for Sonic as the team here at Sega. You put that kind of passion and talent together with Iizuka-san [head of Sonic Team] and you’re going to make fans happy. They have a proven track record in working on past Sonic titles for mobile and Steam, and after our meetings we felt that together we could create the game our fans have been asking for.” Also teased at the event in the US was a new 3D Sonic project. Described as an ‘epic’ title, the game is created by the same team behind Sonic Generations and Colors. Along with PS4, Xbox One and PC, the game will also arrive on Nintendo NX by Christmas 2017. Gerscovich says: “Our core philosophy at the Sonic Pillar is to surprise and delight our fans. It was a way to give the fans something special. It’s been 25 years and the Sonic character is still ‘ever-blue’. It’s a mix of pushing the limits in looking

With many people, their first experience of the series now comes from Sonic Dash. Chris Southall, Hardlight


forward while paying homage to Sonic’s roots. “As you can tell from the early trailer, it’s something fresh and new. We strongly believe in the game as the team that created fan-favorites Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations is developing it. We can’t wait to reveal more over time.“ With three games on the way, plus Sonic appearing in LEGO Dimensions, the prospect of a movie, plus a huge slate of merchandise (more on that on page 28), the next 18 months are on-course to be amongst the busiest in Sonic’s 25-year history.

August 5th 2016


INDIE INTERVIEW Long live the King Following a failed Kickstarter, moving to Ireland and forming a brand new company, Donkey Crew is about to release its new game: Of Kings and Men. Alex Calvin meets the team to find out more


edieval combat title Of Kings and Men began with a mod. The development team that would become Donkey Crew met online while fiddling around with PC game Mount and Blade Warband. The result, CRPG, was a successful mod and it inspired the team to move to Ireland and raise funds to create a full project. Donkey Crew initially tried to fund its game via Kickstarter. But the crowdfunding platform proved a challenging place. “It was very rough. The Kickstarter was really difficult,” studio head Florian Hofreither recalls. “We spent a lot of time on developing the video for the Kickstarter. And of course we were a bit crushed when it did not secure funding. We were not so naive to think success was certain, but we did think that we had something to show. Ultimately, we got a lot out of the Kickstarter – what we presented just wasn’t the correct thing. “After the initial phase of self-loathing we took a step back and looked at what worked and what didn’t. That helped us figure out that what we had been presenting just wasn’t overly interesting and that’s why we changed the concept of the game. We took the elements that we wanted to keep, scrapped the more unpopular ones and added some new important ones.” COMMUNITY SERVICE The title eventually secured funding from Northern Ireland Screen – the body that backs Game of Thrones – and is now on the verge of launching into Early Access (where developers release games before they’re finished). This is Donkey Crew’s comfort zone – due to its history with mods, community-driven development is very much part of the team’s MO. “We’ve always made games like this – we develop a feature, give it to players and see what they think. If they like it, we develop it further,” Hofreither explains. “If they don’t then we revise it. So Early Access is the most natural way for us to release a game. I know it doesn’t have the best reputation, but it’s such a great

August 5th 2016

Donkey Crew’s Hofreither (above left) and Sahlstedt (above right) say that modding is an excellent way to start game development

We’ve always made projects like this – develop a feature then see what players think. Early Access is the most natural way for us to release a game. Florian Hofreither, Donkey Crew


way to develop the game. Of Kings and Men is based on combat, so we’re starting out with our combat being the most polished aspect of the title. Then we’re adding other modules, like the war mechanics because those are also an extremely important feature for our final product. When those elements are perfect, we’ll move onto the next bit. It’s rinse and repeat until we have the game that we envision. But at the same time, it will be strongly influenced by what the community wants. It’s crazy to develop a game in silence, release it and hope that you did everything right.” The team says that modding can be a great way of getting into games development. “It’s without a doubt the best thing. It doesn’t matter if you do art or programming. You can see the reaction to your project and can chat with the community,” artist Olle Sahlstedt explains. “What’s so great is that you don’t have this big obstacle to get into it – you can just play around with some modding tools and then have something to show for it. When people like it, you have the incentive to continue. “That is also why we plan to have a very strong modding support for our game just because that is where we came from. We want this to continue, we want people to mod our game and we want to see what they can come up with from what we have created, just like we did five years ago.”


17th, 18th and 19th of August

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SHELF LIFE Craig Kennedy from Games Centre in Irvine tells MCV about the challenge of attracting customers and his recent success of using Pokémon Go for good causes How has your business been performing lately? June and July have seen ups and downs, without a lot of new releases. It’s hard to pull the customers in so it’s been sort of a quiet time. We’ve been trying to diversify the store to generate influx. Some of the stores have been doing retro stuff, with things like Mega Drives and SNES, so that has been pretty good. We’ve also been concentrating on other aspects of the business because


there’s not many new releases at the moment, so things like trading cards are growing arms and legs. It expands the business and it’s good to see because it’s been tough on the games front.

a new set that launched just last week. Each brand of trading cards has its own customer base. Speaking about Pokémon Go, can you tell me a bit more about the events you’ve been organising around the game? We’ve been working with The Trussell Trust fund on their ‘Bring a tin’ campaign and we’ve been organising Pokémon Go Prowls walks from all our local stores. We organised our walk last night and

Which trading cards are the best sellers? Yu-Gi-Oh! is really strong but obviously on the back of the success of Pokémon Go, Pokémon cards are back again. Obviously you also have Magic the Gathering, with


TOP 10 PRE-ORDERS 1. NO MAN’S SKY INC. POSTCARD SET Sony, PS4 2. PlayStation VR Sony.........................................................................PS4 3. Battlefield 1 inc. Hellfighter Pack EA .............................................................................PS4


4. Gears of War 4 Microsoft ..................................................................XO


5. Final Fantasy XV inc. Masamune, Saber & Gourmand DLC Square Enix..........................................................PS4

Nintendo, 3DS

Nintendo, 3DS

7. Horizon Zero Dawn Sony.........................................................................PS4


Nintendo, 3DS

Nintendo, 3DS












9. FIFA 17 inc. FUT Pre-order bonus EA .............................................................................PS4









10. Mafia III: Family Kick-back pre-order bonus + exclusive poster 2K Games .............................................................PS4

UPLOADING The latest digital releases coming to market




The first expansion for The Division is now out on PS4, Xbox One and PC

Grow Home’s sequel is landing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

This classic has arrived on 3DS, alongside Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting


August 5th 2016



8. Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System inc. 30 NES games Nintendo............................................................. Wii U


6. PlayStation VR & Camera Sony.........................................................................PS4






Games Centre 5 Bridgegate, Irvine KA12 8BJ

Phone: 01294 312500 Website: Email:

over 200 people turned out and donated probably about 900 tins - and it’s all going to the local food banks. What we’re doing is we’re picking up all the donations and walking to all our local Pokéstops and Gyms, and catch Pokémon and stuff like that. We’ve also talked to local businesses and they’ve been absolutely amazing. Local shops donated loads and Vanilla Joes, our local ice cream store, even created a Pokémon Go flavoured ice cream for everyone. It’s been such

a positive experience to just get everyone in and about and interact with everyone... It’s been very good. Is there any challenge you are facing with your store? The challenge is getting people through the door. The customers are looking for new products all the time and unfortunately the new products are not there, so obviously we’ve been looking at other ways to generate that influx. But it’s very difficult.


WANT TO FEATURE YOUR OUTLET IN MCV? Contact or call 01992 515 303

Only five days to go before the highly-awaited No Man’s Sky finally hits shelves for PlayStation 4 - the PC version will come just afterwards FORMAT






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August 10th No Man’s Sky

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August 19th F1 2016

August 23rd Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

August 25th Madden NFL 17

August 26th A.O.T. Wings of Freedom



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August 5th 2016


SONIC 25TH ANNIVERSARY As the Sonic franchise celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, MCV has selected the latest products that have been released for that occasion

SONIC is turning 25 this year and it seems that the famous hedgehog still has a long life ahead of him. The next title in the franchise, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, will hit shelves on September 30th and Sega announced last week that two more Sonic games are set to be released in 2017. The first one is Sonic Mania, a 2D pixel art game coming back to the roots of the series. It will include reimagined levels from

We have over 100 licensees around the world. Ivo Gerscovich, Sonic

classic titles such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic CD, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles, alongside new levels. It will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in spring 2017. The second game doesn’t have a title yet and is dubbed ‘Project Sonic’. The game is being created by the team behind Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors, It will be 3D and launch at the end of 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox

SONIC GAME OVER WRITING SET The Sonic Game Over collection includes a pen set, a pencil tube set, and a notebook. The latter is an A5 format and features some classic pixel art inspired by the original Sonic The Hedgehog game. This writing set is the perfect gift for Sonic fans who want to keep track of their gaming journey with Sega’s iconic character. SRP: £2.99 – £6.99 (items sold separately) Manufacturer: JFS Distributor: Uwear Contact: 0161 370 0888




These Sonic Boom headphones have been designed to be a perfect fit for children.

Sonic, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Tails, Sticks and Dr. Eggman are amongst the tokens within this Monopoly special edition.

This DVD features 13 episodes of the animated TV series Sonic Boom, launched in 2014.

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: OTL Technologies Distributor: OTL Technologies Contact: 07785 281200

SRP: £34.99 Manufacturer: Winning Moves Distributor: Winning Moves Contact: 0207 298 9500

SRP: £7.99 Manufacturer: Universal Pictures Distributor: Universal Contact: 020 3618 8000

August 5th 2016




gaming merchandise uk

One, PC and Nintendo’s upcoming console, the NX. These will be the first Sonic games for Sony and Microsoft’s current-gen consoles, as the series has focused on Wii U and 3DS in recent years. A Sonic level pack is also set to be released for LEGO Dimensions in November. All these projects are in addition to all the licensed products that have been created to celebrate the

anniversary, Sonic’s chief brand officer Ivo Gerscovich told MCV. “On the consumer product front, we have over 100 licensees around the world,” he told us. “We have a number of new licensees, too, such as Insert Coin with the anniversary apparel and Iron Gut with the limited edition prints.” Check out a selection of the Sonic products available below, with even more to come.

DR. EGGMAN SWEATER Fans can now celebrate 25 years of evil with their favourite villain, Dr. Eggman. This unisex oversized sweater is Insert Coin’s latest addition to its Sonic range, launched precisely to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary. SRP: £40 Manufacturer: Insert Coin Distributor: Insert Coin Contact:




With this set of two figures, fans will be able to re-enact iconic battles between Sonic and Dr. Eggman.

Archie Comics has just released this graphic novel for Sonic’s 25th anniversary. The story is based on the original Sonic games.

Specially designed to celebrate Sonic’s 25th anniversary, a selection of limited edition prints are available from Iron Gut.

SRP: £14.99 Manufacturer: Tomy Distributor: Tomy Contact: 01392 281 928

SRP: £3 Manufacturer: Archie Comics Distributor: Archie Comics Contact:

SRP: £20 Manufacturer: Iron Gut Distributor: Iron Gut Contact:


August 5th 2016





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Suzy Barnes Director, Strategy

Kat Osezuah Studio Manager

ADDRESS: 62 Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4JZ

STUDIO DIVA is a creative agency built on the belief that happy people produce the best work. We’ve gathered a talented team of creative individuals who share our love of video games, sport, entertainment & leisure. The result is a thriving lifestyle agency, packed with amazing people, who love what they do. We think this makes us a better agency to work with. Our team’s personal passion for our core sectors brings with it a breadth of market knowledge, customer insight and raw enthusiasm that is simply invaluable to clients and, crucially, produces the brightest ideas and the highest standard of work. The experience of working with us is equally important, and our success is measured as much by the size of the smile on your face as the end result. We always take a collaborative approach to the creative journey, working in an inclusive way to combine your own brand insights, with our unique take on things, to deliver the most impactful campaigns. Our longstanding relationships with the likes of Activision Blizzard, Sony PlayStation, Bandai Namco and Turtle Beach are testament to the fact that we continue to get this right. Check out our website to see some of our latest work.



4TH 2015












believe PS4 will rule next year (above top),

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

(above middle) and Reflection’s Leksell (above)

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


obile and digital console data

QMCV re-launches charts



picked Uncharted 4 as their most anticipated game of 2016




Specialism: Development Location: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3TR

Contact: T: 0239 286 3675 W:

Climax’s CEO Simon Gardner talks about Pokémon Go and the developer’s focus on virtual and augmented reality Tell us about your company. Approaching our 30th birthday, Climax is a veteran of the UK games development scene. We developed mainly for home consoles and handhelds, but more recently have pivoted into VR, AR and ‘performance engineering’. What successes have you seen recently? Bandit Six on the Gear VR and Google Cardboard has been a huge success for us. It has exceeded our revenue expectations and created a new IP in the VR space. Our

Auckland studio. Finally, we have been doing more and more support engineering work for some of the biggest names in the industry.

work with Amazon on its GDC VR Lumberyard engine was also a high point. Furthermore, we implemented the VR and Oculus services code into Dirt Rally for Codemasters.

What are the biggest trends affecting you right now? VR is now a mainstream part of our business, so I would have to say AR and MR. Pokémon Go, whilst not true AR, gives a good indication of how this technology will flood into our lives. I really think this is going to be the next major change in the way we consume media and interact with our surroundings.

What are you currently working on? We currently have six VR projects in development - the most recently announced is Gunsight and is being developed with Oculus for the Gear VR. We also have two unannounced traditional console games underway and an augmented reality title being developed by our new




Tel: +44 (0) 1202 489500

August 5th 2016








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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



August 5th 2016


INTERNATIONAL FACTFILE: POLAND Population: 38,221,000 Capital City: Warsaw Currency: Zloty (PLN) GDP (Per Capita): $13,760.1 KEY RETAILERS Media Markt, Gry Online, Empik, Gram, Toys’R’Us,, Ultima, Swiat Gier,, Robson, PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION CD Projekt, CI Games, Sony, Ubisoft, EA, Microsoft, Techland

AS of June 2016, the Polish games industry was worth $439m (£334m), data firm Newzoo reports. The country is the second biggest games market in Eastern Europe, however, it’s far behind Russia and its $1.4bn annual global revenue. According to the latest report published by B2B event firm Digital Dragons (which works within East-Central Europe) the Polish games market is becoming increasingly digital. Physical retail represents between “30 to 35 per cent of total market value,” the study says, whereas, “several years ago, more than 90 per cent of revenue came from the sales of boxed editions.” Digital Dragons also predicts that the share of physical sales will fall below 30 per cent in Poland in the next two to three years. The company adds that this is also due to the growing popularity of PC games. “A very important factor influencing the physical distribution of video games in Poland is the peculiar situation of console

August 5th 2016

TOP DISTRIBUTORS CD Projekt,, Cenega, Galapagos, LEM, Techland TOP DEVELOPERS CD Projekt Red, The Astronauts, People Can Fly, Techland, Acid Wizard, Crunching Koalas, 11 Bit Studios, Flying Wild Hog, CI Games, Wastelands

gaming,” the study says. “Players still cling to the PC as their gaming platform of choice. The history of the console as the main entertainment device is rather short. Moreover, Nintendo – whose market share exceeds 33 per cent in certain European countries – never decided to distribute its products directly in Poland, which prevented it from establishing a real presence in our market.” But this doesn’t prevent Poland from being the home of high-quality games for both PC and consoles. For instance, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was developed by Polish studio CD Projekt Red and was a worldwide best-seller, ranking at No.11 in the 2015 UK charts. But Digital Dragons mentions that piracy remains a threat for the Polish games market, quoting Adam Zdrzałek at Ubisoft, who said: “If 20 to 30 per cent of all games are purchased in a legal way, we already have a reason to be happy.” However, Digital Dragons says that illegal downloads are “decreasing year by year.”



MEANWHILE IN... GERMANY The showing of ELeague’s Counter-Strike: GO semi-finals has been cancelled in Germany, following the shooting in Munich last week FOLLOWING the shooting in Munich on July 22nd, German channel ProSieben Maxx decided to cancel the showing of ELeague’s Counter-Strike: GO semi-finals. It was planned to be aired last weekend. The Munich shooter, who killed nine people during the attack, allegedly played violent video games, including Counter-Strike Source, Reuters reported. Matthias Remmert, the CEO of German gaming marketing agency Freaks 4U - who was ProSieben Maxx’s partner to promote the broadcast - commented: “I think it’s


sad that such an event takes away the chance to show every non-eSports fan how awesome this sport can be. “It was a beautiful journey to represent the german eSports scene

on TV and I am thankful to every single viewer, especially those who worked closely with us to give feedback.”

August 5th 2016


OFF THE RECORD This week, Special Effect brings in the big bucks with its One Special Day scheme, and we discover there are... Pokémon sex toys? Really? THE SPECIAL ONE EARLIER this month games charity Special Effect held its first ever One Special Day event. To say it was a success would be an understatement. Lots of companies from across the sector chipped in. Some donated a share of sales revenue from July 15th, while others organised assorted money raising activities. An eBay auction of various rarities fetched nearly £1,500 as well, including some of the items pictured (right). The target was £25,000. The total raised so far? £90,000+. Blimey. “The generosity of those supporting this has been overwhelming, and to smash our £25k target in the first year is phenomenal,” founder and CEO Mick Donegan said. “It’s a real boost when the games industry themselves, our natural partners, say: ‘Yes, we see the difference you’re making – how can we help?’ What’s especially great is that companies of all sizes have been part of an event that’s promoted the industry as a real force for good.” A round of applause, then, to all who took part: First Touch, The Chinese Room, New Star, Ripstone (pictured), Nomad, Green Man Gaming, Curve, nDreams, Devolver, Game Swing, Payload, Magic Notion, Tammeka, Bossa, Barog Game Labs, We Love Dragons, Deconstructeam, Vagabond Dog, Terri Vellmann, Acid Nerve, Free Lives, Roll7, Tundra, Insert Coin, Escape Technology, Revolution, Red Kite, Edgecase, Chillingo, Media Molecule, UKIE and Plethora Project. The charity is making this an annual event, too, so pencil in September 22nd 2017 and have a think about what you can do to help.

POKEMOAN LOOK, we know, we’re getting pretty sick of Pokémon, too. Obviously it’s great the game is a big success. Obviously it’s wonderful that Nintendo is in a roundabout way enjoying some mobile success. Are we bitter that a couple of us live in the sticks where the only Poké-action we can realistically hope for when walking the dog is to capture six Weedles? Over and over again. Every night. With no Pokéstops. Or gyms. We’ve forgotten what gyms look like. Perhaps. But nonetheless Pokémon Go remains THE topic. So how can we write about it in a new and interesting way? Did we do the story about the Pokémon sex toys? No, it doesn’t look like it. Sorry, hang on, what was that? Pokémon sex toys? Sex toys? Based on Pokémon? Oh. That’s... unexpected. Suffice to say these things aren’t officially licensed. Although the Big N is all about licensing nowadays so who knows what Kyoto has planned. Anyhow, these ‘gifts’ can be had on Etsy via the seller GeekSexToys. The range is called Pokémoan. Yep. There seem to be four models available based on your regular starters Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle, as well as mascot Pikachu. That last one looks a bit... pointy. But, y’know, this isn’t our specialist subject. Maybe that’s a normal for this sort of... thing [I think it’s a butt plug – Ed]. Covering this was a big mistake, wasn’t it? August 5th 2016



Green Man Gaming Asks...

In light of Capcom’s Project Palm teaser, what’s your favourite video game that never got a sequel? #GMGasks

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

Beyond Good & Evil.

God Hand.



Vagrant Story.

The Legend of Dragoon. Why Sony? WHY?



A follow-up to Timesplitters: Future Perfect.

I suppose it has the MMO sequel, but Dragon’s Dogma is legit.



Tag your reply with #GMGasks to have your say!

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