I doubt anyone's missed one of the most popular stories this week. The "Arkham" series is continuing with a third entry, "Batman: Arkham Knight," coming from Rocksteady to cap the trilogy. It seems the "Arkham Origins" prequel from WB Montreal is not going to be considered a main part of the story, though it was enjoyable. So what's going to be the hook in this latest release? You're getting behind the wheel of the Batmobile! Adding a driving mechanic is an interesting twist that could take the series to a whole new level of awesome. Rocksteady has said this will be their last Batman-related title as they will be moving on to other properties when it's finished. The story will take place one year after the (spoiler alert) death of the Joker in "Arkham City." Gotham's remaining villain's are colluding to take down the world's greatest detective. The new areas of Gotham open the map to about five times the size of "Arkham City," and is split into three islands. Confirmed villains include, but are not limited to, Scarecrow, Penguin, Two-Face, and Harley Quinn. A Facebook tease of Hush has been removed, but you may as well include him as a rumored villain. It's possible he's connected to the new villain, Arkham Knight, created by Geoff Johns specifically for the game. Voice work has the normal list of stars, notably Kevin Conroy returning as Batman. Others include Nolan North (Penguin), Wally Wingert (Riddler), Tara Strong (Harley Quinn), and Troy Baker (Two-Face). Check out the release trailer here. You now have ample reason to look forward to October 14, 2014. But, if you haven't gone next-gen yet, you'll be needing to buy an XBox One or PS4. The game is not expected to be ported down to PS3 or 360.
We also have a date on another detective story. "Murdered: Soul Suspect" has been confirmed for release June 6th on PC, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, and XBox One. Previews of the game have been mediocre, but the premise of a murdered detective trying to solve his own case is at least promising.
Amy Hennig, the writer and creative director of the "Uncharted" series, has left Naughty Dog. A public reason for her departure hasn't been given. Rumors are she may have been pushed out, but a Sony representative only says "Amy has made significant contributions to the game industry and we appreciate all she has done for Naughty Dog. The development timeline of Uncharted will not be impacted." Some sources are claiming Neil Druckman and Bruce Straley, the directors of "The Last of Us," have forced her out but those claims haven't really been substantiated. On the contrary, Naughty Dog has broken their usual silence about internal matters to assert that this was not the case.
"Working at SCEA for the past 19 years has been the most rewarding experience of my career." -Jack Tretton
While Hennig's departure is newsworthy, even more so is CEO Jack Tretton leaving Sony. You'll remember Tretton from his many E3 presentations in an always fantastic suit. Tretton has been with Sony since the launch of Sony Computer Entertainment America in 1995, playing an integral role in the launch of four PlayStation consoles. His official end date is March 31, 2014 and his role will be filled by Shawn Layden, currently the executive vice president and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International. Layden is also a veteran of the company, having spent 15 years in various roles for Sony.
A new update for the XBox One started rolling out this week. There are a plethora of changes, some notable and some mundane. Here are the highlights: quicker access to friends, party chat is on by default, in-game invites, "recent players" list, Twitch streaming, Dolby Digital 5.1, improved voice command of volume controls, SmartGlass improvements, accessory support (including the headset adapter and media remote), browser improvements, and more.
Microsoft has trademarked two new "game software" titles. We don't know yet what "Tentacles: Enter the Mind" and "Ori and the Blind Forest" are, but the general assumption is that they may be the first indie titles coming through ID@Xbox. More information about the program is expected at GDC in San Francisco March 17-21.
Ubisoft's delayed next-gen launch title "Watch Dogs" has a new release date. After being held back from its November release, the new schedule is May 27, 2014. This game's delay was a disappointment to many early adopters and it's great to finally see when we can play the ambitiously open-world game.
That's all for this week. Enjoy your weekend and come back on Tuesday for next week's early edition.