Welcome to Joystiq Weekly, a "too long; didn't read" of each week's biggest stories, reviews and original content. Each category's top story is introduced with a reactionary gif, because moving pictures aren't just for The Daily Prophet.
Oculus Rift now has a pretty cushion-y parent company, the comparable Project Morpheus potentially has Sony's developers behind it, and Microsoft might be toying with their own ideas for augmented reality. The common consensus seems to be "let's reach the future, even if it means strapping displays to our faces."
We're starting to wonder what Nintendo's non-wearable health technology is going to look like. If it's not something to block out our primary reality, and if it's planned to launch through Nintendo's fiscal year of 2016, will it be something to supplement devices we already own? Maybe we'll face a line of AdventureTrek treadmills, where we run and jump our way through iconic Nintendo universes. Maybe it will involve a Pokemon MMO played with pedometer devices like the Pokemon Pikachu, with dungeon raids consisting of a dozen people throwing their devices into dryers for the best possible attack speed. Or maybe neither of those ideas! Because they're garbage.
What isn't garbage is the slew of news, reviews and original content we've lined up for you in this week's Joystiq Weekly. Even if you don't care about VR, there's news of a legal tussle between 3D Realms and Gearbox over Duke Nukem, a hint of The Last Of Us reaching the PS4 and a review of Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea Episode Two. There's also video features from GDC for Fantasia: Music Evolved, Goat Simulator and Videoball, in case you like moving pictures with your words. We've summarized all that and more for you to delve into after the break!
- Oculus VR won't be short on cash anytime soon, because Facebook bought them this week for $2 billion! If it seems odd that a social media giant would want a virtual reality company, Oculus explained that it believes communication drives platforms - with Facebook's billion+ accounts, we imagine that's a sensible host for conversations. Keeping in line with Oculus' scooping of talent, Valve R&D head Michael Abrash also joined the VR company this week as its chief scientist.
- Not everyone's pleased with Facebook's purchase, and unfortunately the list of dissatisfied figures includes Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson. Notch has canceled Minecraft for the Oculus Rift, describing Facebook as something that "creeps him out" and citing wariness from what happened with Facebook's social gaming scene.
- While Minecraft might not support virtual reality, Project Cars will! Developer Slightly Mad Studios announced plans to support Sony's Project Morpheus this week, calling it a "perfect fit" for racing games.
- Just because The Last of Us launched on PS3 doesn't mean it can't reach current generation hardware - after all, a port would seem like a small feat in comparison to fighting through hordes of fungal zombies. The port may be due for an outbreak this summer, according to comments made by a Sony Eurasia executive.
- 3D Realms and Gearbox can't seem to decide who owns the Duke Nukem license, so of course they're taking the dispute to the legal realm. After Gearbox sued over "unauthorized" use of the IP, 3D Realms has filed its response to the complaint, including supposed evidence that 3D Realms still owns the IP.
- How do you fill a drought in your home console's lineup of games? If you're Nintendo, you start porting titles from a handheld that launched in 2001! Game Boy Advance games will start filing onto the Wii U's Virtual Console on April 3 for $7 apiece, starting with Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Metroid Fusion and Advance Wars. Hey, at least they're excellent choices, right? Keep in mind, DS games will eventually join the Wii U's Virtual Console as well.
- Plenty of people are enjoying Titanfall, but unfortunately that player base includes a bunch of cheaters. PC players will be saved from that nonsense though, thanks to Respawn Entertainment's anti-cheating system, FairFight. Essentially, it puts the cheaters together in their own pool so the rest of us can enjoy the standard experience. Think of it like the kids' table during holiday get-togethers, only with not-so-cute participants.
- If you've been putting bets on brick-and-mortar retail shops going out of business in the era of Amazon and digital distribution, don't put your money on GameStop this year. With $9.04 billion in sales, 2013 was GameStop's all-time high for market share. The gaming chain thanked the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for its boost, adding that its digital and mobile business has also surpassed $1 billion.
- Somewhere, perhaps in an alternate dimension, there's a Bioshock game made just for you. In this dimension, there's Burial At Sea Episode Two, the second piece of DLC for Bioshock Infinite. Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell's venture with Elizabeth played out much more favorably and a bit more stealthily than Booker's rampages. Episode Two's stealth-like exploration also leads to revelations concerning connections between the series' staple locales and characters.
- If you think comprehending adventure game logic is tough, imagine conquering it when the puzzles are set in a world hampered by dementia. Weekend Editor Sam Prell sorted his way through Ether One's journey of a troubled mind, finding the story "both heartbreaking and horrifying, as well as intriguing and enigmatic."
- Is the Kinect's voice command navigation not cutting it for you? Maybe Harmonix's upcoming Fantasia: Music Evolved will help ease your mind about the mandatory Xbox One pack-in. Weekend Editor Thomas Schulenberg joined Richard in surviving GDC, where they demoed the
Mickey Mousemusic simulator and shared why they're excited in our video preview.
- Action Button Entertainment's Videoball recalls a time when sports games were more about arcade gameplay and less about up-to-date rosters. In our video preview, designer Tim Rogers chats with Richard about what inspired the idea as well as the likelihood of Videoball's announcer channeling NBA Jam.
- Coffee Stain Studios' break from the Sanctum series turned into a score-chasing game of destruction called Goat Simulator. Editor-In-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann and Coffee Stain's Armin Ibrasagic cover how the game came to be before deciding which animals qualify as goats in our video preview.
- If you're still scratching your head and wondering how the Oculus Rift came to be worth a $2 billion acquisition in the first place, Richard wrote up a retrospective on the VR headset's origin story. Can you believe the project started off as a $250,000 Kickstarter campaign? I mean, when you realize that Oculus VR then collected $2 million more than it asked for ... okay yeah, maybe you can believe that.
Many gamers associate a style of adventure games with the phrase "Metroidvania," a marriage of Metroid and Castlevania's names to emphasize the exploration-based progression of the genre. Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi is fond of the term, but during a presentation at GDC, he explained that it might be more appropriate for it to read as "Zeldavania." Igarashi referred to The Legend of Zelda as a big influence for his direction of the Castlevania series.
- Some people see Animal Crossing as nothing more than a list of chores, but the involved responsibilities resemble those we find in our daily lives. That's no accident, either - in our interview with series creator Katsuya Eguchi and Animal Crossing: New Leaf Director Aya Kyogoku, we learned about how the series was always meant to host a second home for players.
- The second week of Titanfall's blazing war with giant robots is mostly going to plan, with our State of Service update showing the game's servers in good standing across all platforms. Of course, we're still waiting to see how the Xbox 360 version will fair once it drops on April 8.
- Ludwig, Sam, Senior Editor Jess Conditt and Contributing Editor Danny Cowan hunkered down for another episode of the Super Joystiq Podcast. The group wraps up GDC before diving into Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes and Ether One.
[Image: Oculus VR]