Review Of The Year 2014: April

In a twist that always manages to catch some people unawares, April started with April 1st and made fools of a good few people. Some were better than others, like the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge, Optimus Prime landing in Titanfall and the fake leak of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon III: Vietnam War 2. (Genius because the original Blood Dragon was actually announced on April 1st for real)

Some people just take it a little bit to far though, and while it was really obviously a prank, the Frostbite Engine Twitter account’s digs at the Wii U were just lacking in class. Even EA COO Peter Moore stepped in to say it wasn’t funny.

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Once the dust settled from April Fools’ Day, the dust settled on southern and central England as Wales. Literally. Saharan dust hitched a ride on a weather system and flew in through Europe, abusing open border laws and even leaving a fine sprinkling of dust on the PM’s car! It’s the kind of nightmare scenario which UKIP have been warning us about all these years!

March’s good weather continued with only a few disruptions, as the average temperatures across the UK were almost 2 ºC higher than usual. Scotland got the best and the worst of it, as Aboyne in Aberdeenshire plunged to -5.2 ºC on the 20th, but then just a day later, it was a positively summery 23.1 ºC in Inverailort in the Highlands.

In the wider world, the Ukrainian and Crimean crisis continued, despite Europe getting really tough and imposing monetary sanctions on Russia, but not so tough that Russia would turn off the gas supplies. Ebola-related deaths in Africa passed 100 while there was also a continuing ignorance of the rise of ISIS.

After all, the UK government was busy granting minority status to Cornish people, server admins and people with passwords were worrying about Heartbleed, the world faced up to an actual end to Windows XP support from Microsoft, a Manhattan court dealt with the fallout of a stenographer who really hated his job, and not a day went by without someone calling for David Moyes to be sacked… right up until the day he got sacked.

moyes

It was actually a relatively quiet month for games, compared to March, with LEGO The Hobbit and The Elder Scrolls Online two of the bigger releases, the latter of which saw both Peter and Blair embarking on their first MMO adventures. Titanfall finally released on the Xbox 360, Octodad: Dadliest Catch sauntered onto the PS4, Goat Simulator was a surprisingly silly hit and Trials Fusion brought its brand of brutally tricky motorbike platforming to the PlayStation for the first time. Oh, and not a single person complained about getting Mercenary Kings on PS+.

There was much more activity in the news though, with Civilization: Beyond Earth announced, Rockstar said that heists would be coming to GTA Online later in the spring, which in hindsight may have been a little optimistic. After months of silence, Driveclub had a kind of re-announcement and got a release date in October (also optimistic) and Sony finally admitted that they were doing a PS4 release of The Last of Us.

Speaking of Naughty Dog, having left the company in March, Amy Hennig wound up at Visceral Games to work on something Star Wars-y. Meanwhile, Art Director Nate Wells was another big name to leave the company, and people wondered if this would have an impact on Uncharted 4. (SPOILERS: It really, really, really, really hasn’t)

Sony announced that they had passed the 7 million sales mark for the PS4, while Microsoft could only say that they’d shipped 1.2 million Xbox Ones to retailers in 2014, as they cut the price of their Titanfall bundle to £349 in the UK. The PS4 was also bolstered by the long awaited release of firmware update 1.70 on April 30th, but the positive reaction to this merely served to counter balance the frustration at players having had to endure scheduled PSN maintenance on Easter Monday.

And no, the timing of that wasn’t an April Fool’s prank…

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