Features// SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: January

Posted 25 Dec 2013 17:00 by
January being January, there wasn’t much interesting going on this month. The hot topic, as it would continue to be for the early part of the year really, was the brewing new console war between Sony and Microsoft.

Both parties were remaining fairly tight-lipped at this point however, leaving rumours about when their shiny brand-new consoles would be revealed and how powerful they would be mostly unaddressed. What teases.

Nintendo, on the other hand, were far from keeping quiet this month, hoping to turn the fortunes of the ailing Wii U around by kicking off the new year with a slew of new big name announcements.

Revealing that work was underway on the next 3D Mario game, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. instalments, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed release dates for games including Monster Hunter Ultimate, Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 as part of their efforts to bump up the console’s software library throughout the year.

Not content with just promising new games however, Nintendo also revealed more information about the Virtual Console service being released onto the Wii U. They then capped their January off by announcing two new Pokémon games. Which is always nice.

Details were kept scarce but the new critters and revamped fully 3D graphics were enough to get fans of the series salivating ahead of its worldwide launch – a first for the series – later in the year.

It wasn’t all good news and hopeful gazing towards the future this month however. Sinking ship THQ’s best efforts to stave off bankruptcy and closure were ultimately thwarted and the company was forced to disband and auction off its IP library.

Fortunately things ended on a somewhat optimistic note as the dying company’s president Jason Rubin was able to confirm that many jobs had been saved during the buying-out process. After the dust settled THQ’s Homefront franchise was picked up by Crytek, SEGA got the Warhammer 40,000 videogame rights, Take-Two added the WWE license to their library of sports titles and most of the remaining franchises went to Nordic Games.

And on a smaller scale but no doubt no less distressing for those involved, games development veteran Warren Spector announced the closure of development studio Junction Point following their Epic Mickey series’ failure to wow the general public.

As usual January wasn’t exactly packed with new releases. DmC, the reboot of Capcom’s Devil May Cry series, was probably the month’s biggest new game.

After months of angry fan backlash about the game’s new direction and drastic character redesigns DmC may have surprised some people with the largely positive reviews it received upon release. Whether or not the damage had already been done to DmC’s reputation or it was simply a victim of quiet January business however, it didn’t quite live up to Capcom’s expectations sales-wise.

Other notable offerings this month included the beautiful looking Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – which proved to be more than just a pretty face, earning both strong reviews and sales to match – and Anarchy Reigns, an ultimately disappointing effort which made up for a mediocre single player experience with a somewhat less mediocre multiplayer mode.

Spong’s Industry Insights feature series kicked off the new year with an interview with David Jaffe, perhaps best known to modern audiences as being one of the minds behind God of War, and continued throughout the month talking to other games developers like Split Milk’s Andrew Smith, Ubisoft’s Theo Sanders, RedLynx’s Antti Ilvessuo, Gordon Midwood, UK publishing veteran Andy Payne O.B.E. and the inimitable Peter Molydeux.


Big Name Releases Due this Month
- Anarchy Reigns
- Assassin's Creed Double Pack: Assas...
- Dead Rising 2: Off The Record
- DmC: Devil May Cry
- Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
- Ninja Gaiden 3
- Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon Ci...

Read the Rest of Our Video Games Year in Review 2013
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: January
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: February
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: March
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: April
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: May
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: June
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: July
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: August
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: September
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: October
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: November
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