11
Jun
Gameloft

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 may be hoarding up gamers' attention right now with their E3 promises of mind-blowing graphics, but Gameloft is teasing phenomenal visuals that will fit inside your pocket. Asphalt 8 Airborne is due out this summer, and at only 99 cents, you might not be able to find more polygons for your buck.

Asphalt1 Asphalt2

Asphalt4

Consumers have dropped $59 for visuals like these for years now, and while the next console leap is ushering in a sizable upgrade, do they compensate for the $58 difference in price? And that's assuming the price of next generation games remain the same. Again, just look at the trailer below and tell me it couldn't pass as a Wii U game, at least.

Okay, okay, content matters. Airborne brings with it a new physics engine, and given the name, expect tracks to be laden with ramps putting that engine to the test. The game also supports both synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer while introducing two new game modes: Gate Drift and Infected. The former challenges players to drift through as many gates as possible, while the latter is a glorified game of tag. Also, Takedown mode is returning for this release.

Screens don't tell the whole story, but they do hint at beautiful times ahead for Android gamers. Still, exercise caution. Asphalt 7 also promised impressive visuals, but it didn't quite deliver.

Asphalt3

Gameloft wasn't finished there, either. Its reveal of Brothers in Arms 3 may not include a trailer, but the game still looks like quite the upgrade. The last entry was released in 2010, so this sequel has been a long time coming. The new controls will deviate quite drastically from the previous two titles, as gamers will now find an on-rails shooter where players can swipe to move from one position to another. The game is still very early in development, so there aren't many details currently available.

Stay tuned for more BiA3 info, as well as a pinned-down release date for Asphalt 8.

BIA1 BIA3

BIA2

Sources: Gameloft (1), (2)

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. He now lives in the City of Bridges, adjusting to the presence of actual snow. His phone of choice is the HTC One.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    I'll believe those graphics when i see it... unbelievable.

    • Himmat Singh

      Well, I'd like to imagine the graphics in the trailer and screenshots are a tad over-exaggerated. The actual graphics should be still very good, but a bit toned down compared to this.

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    I'm afraid Gameloft did deliver on Asphalt 7's graphics, but only for iOS. I really wonder when we'll see developers go all out on Android like they do on iOS, instead of disabling a few effects. Is Android that hard to optimize for, are they lazy, or does the heavy Android core making gaming not so smooth right now to have all the fancy stuff enabled?

    • NuLLnVoiD

      I'm not a developer but I've read enough to know that is is over simplifying the problem developers have. In layman's terms, on iOS, they have to optimize for the current OS and maybe the one before it. They only have to work with iPhone, iPad & iPad mini. In Android, they have many versions of the OS, going back to Froyo if they choose and literally hundreds of devices with different hardware configurations to consider. It phenomenally more difficult to make one game, this complex work across this many different issues without having some bugs. Sometimes, turning off a feature or lowering the eye-candy is the only way to make it work across the most number of devices. It's certainly not due to laziness.

    • Drew M

      I think the reason is that all iOS devices have PowerVR gpu's. Developers can cover them all with one texture compression algorithm and the same opengl extensions. The high end gpus in Android devices are just as fast if not faster, but developers have to take advantage of the differences in the hardware. So developing for iOS is a little more like developing for a console, while developing for Android is more like developing for the PC.

      • Sean Lumly

        Indeed. Thankfully this is changing with the upcoming OpenGL ES3, which supports the extension for ASTC texture compression, which is quite an incredible performer, insanely flexible, and a standard. I hope that GPU manufacturers support it, as it will take away at least one pain-point of porting games.

  • FrillArtist

    Pricing it at 99 cents is just a small part of the story. How much do you reckon they will charge for IAP? That's where the real story is at.

    • Himmat Singh

      A7 cost $0.99 from the start and the IAP was completely optional.

      • ChainsawCharlie

        Until about half way through. To get past that difficulty spike you need to either grind or pay.

    • NuLLnVoiD

      I played for days on A7 and never spent a dime. The IAPs only applied if you really wanted to slide through and not put any effort into it. If A8 can deliver on that same model, I'd happily drop a buck for it. Hopefully, they worked out the graphics issues that seemed to plague A7 (It made me want to go back and play A6 more often).

  • Ahmed

    are you sure this isn't a PS4 or X1 game?! It looks unbelievably good.

  • Nabil L

    I don't understand a word, but you can see here that the graphics are going to be AWESOME! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj2iy8Z76k8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Sean Lumly

    This is precisely why Android as a gaming console can pose serious threat to existing consoles. Not only will the 'console' cost much less, the games will as well. Plus, Google Play offers 100% free online-play, distribution across a wide variety of devices (especially mobile), and full backwards compatibility, almost guaranteeing that your purchase will live beyond the devices used to play it.

    While the graphics certainly aren't as good as the current consoles, year-on-year they are getting better, and as this game demonstrates, they are comparable to last-gen consoles. But aside from the graphics, the benefits above make it competitive in the market. And of course, there's nothing stopping android from running significantly stronger, desktop-class hardware.

    It's no wonder that Unreal engine, Frostbite, and Unity can now target high-end desktop all the way through to low-end mobile. The only remaining piece is for large developers with popular franchises to target Android, and provide settings that can scale very well, depending on the executing hardware. If not, companies like Gameloft will beat them to it.

    I think that the console race will get very interesting in the coming years.

    • Alan Shearer

      All they (google) need is a type of universal contoller api for both first and third party controllers, which is easy for the user to connect and the developer to implement in their games, and BOOMSHAKALAKA!

      • Sean Lumly

        Actually, Android already has such an API (InputDevice which can specify a Joystick or a Gamepad), and HID gamepads/joysticks are supported as of 4.2. However game support is currently poor; probably due to the lack of popularity. I expect that game developers will increase support now that more and more gamepad-enabled devices are filtering into the market.

        • Alan Shearer

          The API already exists as I described? That is good news. So, um, devs, wtf? get on the ball!

          • Sean Lumly

            My thoughts exactly :)

    • Primalxconvoy

      I agree, but not all games are fully backwards compatible while others can get removed from the marketplace.

    • GraveUypo

      not so sure about the "console" being cheaper.
      my cellphone was twice as expensive as a ps4 at will be at launch. if you're refering to nexus devices or other subsidized stuff, well, they're not really an option for everyone.

      also there's a immense gap in gameplay quality. i'd say money for money the best android games would be worth 10 bucks if console games are worth 60. at $1 or $5 they're a great deal, but they're pretty much junk food of the game world, can get you by in a pinch but you can't live on it.

      • Sean Lumly

        I'm referring to consoles like the Ouya, Gamepop, and the Madcatz M.O.J.O, all of which will likely cost around $99...

        Yes, there is certainly a gap in quality, but the gap is shrinking, and may be small enough to justify the much lower price for the non-hard-core gamer. People seem to like these mini-consoles...

        I'm not suggesting that the graphics/games are as good as the next-gen consoles. I am suggesting that they don't have to be for these things to sell, and potentially sell in volume. This is reason to keep ones eye on Android as a legitimate gaming solution with a potentially bright future.

        And if there is a market, we might see companies compete with specs rather than just price, at which point the quality gap may disappear entirely. Remember, the only thing stopping Android from running on a system with a desktop GPU are drivers.

        • Michael McIntosh

          those don't compare to the latest round of android super phones.

          • Sean Lumly

            They don't have to be to sell.

          • Michael McIntosh

            They do if they want to:

            "pose a serious threat to existing consoles"

          • Sean Lumly

            By which you're implying that superlative specs are a necessary characteristic to compete. It's ironic that you posted that on an Android website, whose very success in the mobile space was afforded by the low/mid range devices, that sold at lower prices, but in far higher quantities. Interestingly Android's success will skyrocket in the near future as more people from developing countries buy yet more low-range devices -- a factor that the competition isn't prepared for as the focus on dominating the high-end.

            I think that specs are an important characteristic for competition, but other aspects like price, distribution, number of competitors, bundling, software features, marketing, etc, are also very important. I do not think that specs alone sell devices.

            That said, I think that if there is a market for these low-powered Android consoles, we may see more of them in the future, with increasing specs and more developer support. A market saturated with these low-power devices would inevitably mean more dollars spent in play and fewer dollars spent on powerful gaming console. That's what I mean by competition.

            The question is: will these Android consoles continue to sell, or are they just a passing fad? Time will tell.

            ** Oh, and one correction to your original reply: The Tegra 4 in the Madcatz M.O.J.O. outclasses current smartphones in OpenGLES 2.0.

        • GraveUypo

          oh don't get me wrong, i'd love to see a successful android gaming console. but we'd need better games than what we have now.

          and i mean in gameplay mechanics and general controls, not graphics. racing games where you don't even control throttle? give me a break.

          • Sean Lumly

            Indeed. I think that things will slowly improve: just as they did with Android. At first people were complaining how bad it was compared to the competition, and soon afterwards the market could barely keep up with its progress.

            I think that better games are coming. At least there are many more controllers in the market, so with a little luck, we'll see more games supporting them. Yes, throttle in racing is key! :)

      • GuilRosmer

        Keep in mind that when referring to an Android powered phone versus an Android powered "console"; the phone has much more in terms of hardware. The phone has two of my most expensive pieces in it, the screen and battery - neither of which will be included in the console. The console also won't have cheaper components, such as gyroscopes or accelerometers and ect. to measure movement or tilt as its only ever going to sit on a table.

        I do agree that the price of games will go up once Android gets a footing in the "console" gaming scene, though. Higher quality and larger game production that isn't focused around quick play on the game will certainly up the development and end-user cost considerably.

  • theching14

    gameplay reminded me of the old hot wheels game on the play station

  • Krzysztof

    WOW THESE GRAPHICS ON ASPHALT ARE BEAUTIFUL! Shame it will look like that only on iOS.

  • MasterMuffin

    So Brothers in Arms 3 isn't actually the next generation of BiA, but rather a copy of Frontline Commando with the BiA name to make it Gameloft's?

  • No One

    WOW

  • joser116

    I hate how the trees look.

  • loadofbs

    i call bullshot

  • S. Ali

    *Only on IOS

  • GazaIan

    But what about the physics? The only reason I can't enjoy a lot of mobile games is because the physics absolutely suck.

  • https://plus.google.com/108584227119264495665 David Castro

    is it me, or the graphs look waaay more good that any Wii (original) game did :o