In name only
Fuss in the music world, as Deep Purple are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame without legendary lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Deep Purple were formed in 1968 and are still touring – as you read this, they’re in Japan. But only one of the original lineup is with the group. You might think it odd to draw parallels between sexagenarian rock aristocracy and the cutting edge of interactive entertainment, but here we all are.
Just weeks ahead of release, we finally have our first play of the singleplayer component of Uncharted 4 (p36). It is, its name implies, the fourth game in Naughty Dog’s Nathan Drake series. But what does that mean, when series creators Amy Hennig and Richard Lemarchand have skipped off to EA and academia respectively, and creative control has been passed to the pair who helmed The Last Of Us? The result is a game that seeks to address the most frequent criticisms aimed at Nathan Drake – and the answers, to some of them at least, come from Joel and Ellie.
This month’s Hype crop yields another first hands-on with a forthcoming platform exclusive, but the relative lack of excitement around Gears Of War
4 (p42) speaks to its rather muddled lineage. Gears has passed from North Carolina to Warsaw, from Epic Games to Microsoft, and is now being made by a Vancouver studio that has been closed down once and changed its name twice. Will this still be a Gears game? Absolutely, resolutely yes – though that’s not necessarily a good thing in 2016.
Epic Games seems to understand that. Paragon (p52) is a new IP from the Gears Of War creator, though a MOBA is far from a new concept, and its maker is much changed from the days when Cliff Bleszinski held up a gun with a chainsaw on it and was treated like a rock star. Just like Deep Purple, those who remain at Epic Games carry on without their talisman. We doubt, however, that they’ll ever make it big in Japan.