The year 2010 saw a lot of great shooters launch on their respective platforms. Vanquish and Halo Reach to name a few. But one that is rarely brought up much today is MAG for the PlayStation 3. With MechWarrior 3 and Crimson Skies under their belt, Zipper Interactive definitely set their sights high on this one with a first-person shooter that was promised to feature modern graphics, tight controls, and massive online matches with over 200 players at once in some modes.
The game, surprisingly, mostly delivered on its promises with those characteristics largely being brought to fruition. The graphics and presentation, while far from stupendous, were adequate all things considered, and the gameplay had that finely-tuned feel that required skill on the part of the player to be optimally efficient. Maps were also nice with lots of elevation and diversity that encouraged skirmishes between bunches of players at every turn. They never really reached the heights of some of the Battlefield series' maps, but they came close enough to deliver a fun experience to those who gave it a chance. As an online-focused experience, MAG featured several modes such as factions, which put two teams of 64 players against each other in a capture-the-flag sort of mission, Sabotage, with two teams of 32 players in a capture-and-hold game that would end with one team trying to take the other team's base, as well as a handful of other modes that used its massive lobby potential to great effect. And for a short while, it was a sight to behold it working out with so many players on the same map together in a video game in 2010.
MAG was received relatively well by critics for that massive online capability as well as it's good controls and leveling systems. There were some gripes here and there about bugs and a somewhat bland feel for the overall tone of the game, but overall opinions of the game were pretty good with a lot of 7s and 8s across the board. The game even sold relatively well for a short time, making it look like yet another success story for the PS3 ecosystem. What MAG was not particularly well prepared for though, was that 2010 was a year with a lot of other great shooters. Battlefield Bad Company 2 which would have a massive chunk of the online first-person shooter fanbase locked up upon its launch, as well as Halo Reach which of course would take much of the spotlight away from any other shooter at the time, especially for those gamers who owned both PS3's and 360's. I mean, if 2010 you had a choice between the new Halo game, the new battlefield game, or some newcomer called MAG, what would you choose? MAG was by all means a competent game with plenty to offer its players, but unfortunately it just didn't pop off the shelves when it was contrasted with other games in the franchise that had much more of an identity as well as massive built-in audiences.
MAG was just outmatched in basically every way, and its short window of existing without major competition was not enough time for it to solidify its own audience, nor were its massive lobbies enough to set it apart from its competition on a conceptual level. Unfortunately, MAG would end up in bargain bins very shortly. Now it's one of the PS3's least sought-after games with there being essentially nothing to do with it given that it's servers are long since shut down. It's a shame that such an ambitious project had to give way to the whims and harshness of the gaming space, but at the end of the day, players are going to go where they think other players are going to go. Especially with multiplayer games but it's also the fact that most people don't buy every game that comes out. Especially with the casual shooter audience, where usually, only one or two games are left standing once the dust settles every year. This is magnified even more by the game's reliance on its multiplayer modes. With no campaign, MAG went all-in on multiplayer functionality. It was a bold gamble, and one that sadly MAG ultimately would lose.
So where would a MAG 2 fit in today's gaming landscape? Well, it's certainly no secret that Sony has wanted their own flagship shooter franchise for a long time. Killzone certainly came close in some ways, but Sony has never really been able to get something as substantial as Halo off the ground. MAG was clearly another attempt at this, and despite Zipper Interactives valiant strides in this area, Sony shut them down shortly after MAG failed. They did their best with Unit 13 on the Vita, but sadly neither of those really took off either, so Zipper was defunct in 2012 in an effort to re-align Sony's resources. Given that the developer is gone, it's hard to say if a MAG 2 would ever really be a thing, especially considering that the entire PS4 generation, which was wildly successful, still wasn't a friendly-enough environment for Sony to want to take a risk on that IP. Sony seems to be more keen on just supporting the hell out of games like Destiny and Call of Duty with exclusive betas, DLC, and marketing rights for now, and I can see why that seems like the safer, more profitable strategy.
Still, the allure of a super successful shooter franchise for PlayStation doesn't seem to have totally waned over at Sony. With Guerilla hiring for a new team to work on "networked gaming" and other acquisitions and diversifications surely on the way, they may finally get their wish of having a Halo equivalent in the ecosystem one day. That said, it probably won't be MAG 2. If Sony were to dig into any of its previous FPS IPs in an effort to make something today, Killzone and Resistance would likely be better picks due to the relevance they still have with many gamers new and old. It's never fun to hear for fans of MAG, but the odds are not looking good for a sequel to the little shooter that could. To put even more salt in the wound, we should also remember that the Battle Royale craze has already come and likely seen its peak in popularity with games like Fortnite. For another MAG to come out it would need something a little more than the "we have giant lobbies" hook. That was pretty cool ten years ago but wouldn't really be very impressive today.
Whatever happens or doesn't happen with MAG going forward, it'll always be a game that is remembered fondly by those that really gave it a chance way back in 2010. It was ambitious and surprisingly well-made all things considered. Despite it not really amounting to what it was clearly trying to, MAG was a fun experiment if nothing else. And perhaps a fun memory is what its better off staying.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
Sony Santa Monica has largely been synonymous with the God of War franchise since the first game released back in 2004. That was reinforced with 2018's God of War that saw huge critical acclaim and sales for the company. The sequel to that game, Raganork, has been announced to come this year (though that seems unlikely at this point), but it's not the only thing the company has cooking up.
On their official Twitter, Santa Monica has put up a listing for a Lead Writer job on a new unannounced project. This actually isn't the first time we've heard of them working on something else, as at the beginning of the year they were also hiring for an Art Director for a title. It's unclear if these job listings are for the same project or not, but it seems likely unless the company is working on a few smaller games alongside Raganork.
Whether this is a new IP or a God of War spin-off is anyone's guess at this point. It's hard to parse how far along a project is without knowing its scope and the nature of game development means people come and go frequently, but with these positions being looked for, the odds are whatever this is is probably a good ways off.
HOT JOB: LEAD WRITER
We're looking for a master of storytelling to join our team on a new unannounced title as a Lead Writer!
— Santa Monica Studio Is Hiring (@SonySantaMonica) March 11, 2021
It's been something of a big day for the Xbox brand as well as Xbox Game Pass. Bethesda is now officially a part of Microsoft and their games will be slowly added to the service as time goes on. 20, in fact, of their classic catalog came today. But it seems as if there is more coming to the service, and a cryptic email may have you wondering what else is coming soon.
The official Xbox Game Pass Twitter posted an email from the tongue-in-cheek PR leaker Melissa McGamepass. There she talks about a new game confirmed to be coming to the service, not related to the other announcement (presumably meaning the Bethesda announcement). She goes on to ask if anyone else has been hearing a "mysterious signal" and if she is an "anomaly" in that.
As some have pointed out, it seems to be hints towards Outriders, as that game has plot points revealing around finding a mysterious radio signal and a superpower-giving anomaly. However, that comes out April 1st, so it seems somewhat unlikely. But there's not a lot else that matches up with the wording, though it's also possible the wording isn't that important or really hinting at anything specific. For now, it's a mystery.
There's probably a hint about a game in here somewhere honestly we can't even keep up with all the announcements lately pic.twitter.com/Qz6LmX1Cs4
— Xbox Game Pass (@XboxGamePass) March 12, 2021
When one thinks of MMORPGs in this day and age, you almost assuredly think of either World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy 14. It's largely a two man show for many in the genre today, but they aren't the only two shows in town, and there is another that's managed to get a pretty sizable audience for itself with The Elder Scrolls Online.
Based on Bethesda's hugely popular fantasy world, Online released in 2014 and has since seen a lot of updates and expansions. As revealed by ZeniMax Online Studios Studio Director Matt Firor at the roundtable discussion regarding the Microsoft purchase of Bethesda (which you can see in full through here), the game has now exceeded 18 million players, and over 3 million of those were from 2020 alone. He also acknowledged that the game had a lot of issues when it originally released, but said they have done a lot to address those problems in the near 7 years the game has been on the market.
The Elder Scrolls Online is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. PS5 and Xbox Series X/S native versions are also planned, though do not have dates as of now. ZeniMax Online has also stated they are working on a new AAA IP, but as of now no details have emerged about it.
Next month will kick off with the long awaited Outriders from Square Enix and People Can Fly. The game promises lots of aggressive action for both solo and multiplayer play, and you can try it right now if you want. The game has a demo, which has been downloaded and tried out by a lot of people. It's also something the developer has been taking a lot of notes for feedback on, and now we have an update to address some of that.
As you can see below, the team has released an update that looks to tackle a few issues that players had. Maybe top at the list was a motion blur toggle that many will be welcome to have. Alongside that is also some improvements for matchmaking as well as addressing bugs and crash issues some had. Right now the update is only available for the PlayStation and PC versions, but the Xbox versions will be getting the same treatment shortly. You can see the full patch notes below via the game's official Twitter.
Outriders will release April 1st for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC and Stadia. The demo is available now on all those platforms with the exception of Stadia.
The Outriders Demo has been updated on Steam, PS4 and PS5!
A similar patch for Xbox is currently going through testing. We will let you know as soon as we have news about it's release.
Patch notes thread: pic.twitter.com/YlRSdJtx7z
— Outriders (@Outriders) March 12, 2021
General Patch Notes:
– Made improvements to cut down on the time it takes to Matchmake [PC, PS4/5]
– Made other minor improvements and fixes [PC, PS4/5]
— Outriders (@Outriders) March 12, 2021
Additional PC Specific Patch Notes:
– Improved subtitle display and synchronization during the "Bad Day" quest [PC]
— Outriders (@Outriders) March 12, 2021
Additional PS4/PS5 Specific Patch Notes:
– Fixed store links on the "Buy Now" button in the Lobby [PS4/5]
– Fixed bug that was causing an audio desynchronization in cutscenes [PS4/5]
— Outriders (@Outriders) March 12, 2021
Square Enix will be announcing the next Life is Strange title on March 18th at its digital showcase. In the meantime, the Steam pages for Life is Strange 1 and 2, and Life is Strange: Before the Storm released a "glimpse" at the next protagonist (see above). A new cast, new story and new power were also promised.
Rumors about the next Life is Strange have been circulated since this past January. Insider Emily Rogers reported that Deck Nine of Before the Storm fame would be working on the sequels since Dontnod and Square Enix parted ways "a long, long time ago." A more recent rumor on ResetEra revealed that the next title would be called Life is Strange: True Colors and that the new protagonist's name is Alex.
Alex's power is apparently about reading minds with characters having different colors showcasing their emotions. It also seems there will be a heavier focus on music than the first game. While the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt, it did note that the sequel would be announced "pretty soon."
Stay tuned for more details next when Square Enix Presents goes live on March 18th at 10 AM PT.
Crash Bandicoot has finally arrived on current-gen consoles with the release of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time on Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and Switch. Check out the launch trailer below to see it in action. Thankfully, PC players won't have to wait too long to get their hands on the platformer.
Activision and Toys for Bob have announced that PC version will release on March 26th. It will be exclusively via Battle.net for $39.99. Graphical improvements and PC-exclusive features have yet to be outlined so stay tuned for more details on the same in the coming weeks.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time launched last year for Xbox One and PS4, providing a true sequel to Naughty Dog's original trilogy. It sees Crash, Coco and friends attempting to save the multiverse from Neo Cortex and N. Tropy, utilizing the power of the Quantum Masks along the way. New Flashback Tapes, N. Verted levels and playable characters like Tawna and Neo Cortex are also included. Check out our review for the game here.
Techland has announced a developer update for Dying Light 2. It will take place on March 17th and those who join the game's Discord can see it first. The official tweet didn't show much else, except what seems to be a Volatile emerging from the shadow.
Dying Light 2 has had its share of problems ever since its delay last year. Reports emerged of the game's development being in disarray while writer Chris Avellone was dropped due to sexual harassment allegations. Narrative designer Pawel Selinger would also leave the company in January, following which another report detailed the apparent mismanagement of the studio and its lack of direction on Dying Light 2.
The game is currently in development for Xbox One, PS4 and PC but will also be coming Xbox Series X/S and PS5. With the Collector's Edition being previously leaked, perhaps there will be a new release window or gameplay footage. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.
We've got a few words to share with you about the Dying Light 2 development process.
Be sure to be with us next Wednesday.
— Dying Light (@DyingLightGame) March 12, 2021
February 2021 has been very good for Nintendo with the company having the best-selling title of the month with Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury and the Switch topping hardware charts again. However, it was a strong month for video game hardware sales in general. Sales were at $406 million, which is a 121 percent increase compared to last year.
As noted by NPD analyst Mat Piscatella to VentureBeat, "This is the highest total for a February month since the $468 million reached in February 2011. Year-to-date hardware spending totaled $724 million, an increase of 130% compared to a year ago." The Switch conquered in terms of unit and dollar sales for the month while also being the highest for any platform in the month's history since February 2009 with the Wii.
In terms of lifetime dollar sales, the Switch has already surpassed the Nintendo DS and ranks as the overall seventh best-selling platform. It's also the company's second best-selling platform in US history. Despite Nintendo having the advantage with its established supply chain, the PlayStation 5 still performed very well. It ranked second in unit and dollar sales for February 2021 and through its four-month period, it's already the fastest selling platform in US history.
The NPD Group has released its February 2021 report on video game spending in the United States. In the software category, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury was the best-selling title for the month, taking the number one spot over Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella revealed (via VentureBeat) that despite Nintendo titles not having their digital sales tracked, the Switch exclusive is already the second best-selling title of 2021 year-to-date.
A surprising success in February was Tarsier's Little Nightmares 2. It debuted at sixth place in the charts while also being the fifth best-selling title for Xbox (10th for PlayStation). Then there's Persona 5 Strikers which debuted in third place on the overall top 20 and ranked as the third best-selling PlayStation title for the month. The action RPG is also the ninth best-selling game of 2021 year-to-date.
Check out the full top 20 below, which is ranked on dollar sales. Overall consumer spending for the month was very good, reaching $4.6 billion (a 35 percent increase over the same period last year). Stay tuned for more details on US video game hardware sales shortly.
- Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury*
- Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War
- Persona 5: Strikers
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Madden NFL 21
- Little Nightmares 2
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
- Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- FIFA 21
- NBA 2K21*
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars*
- Ring Fit Adventure*
- Just Dance 2021
- Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
- Immortals: Fenyx Rising
*Digital sales not included