BigBen Week 2024: we take stock of all the announcements

Like every year, BigBen Week took place in Paris, France. The opportunity to discover Nacon’s next releases. Tests, previews and interviews, we look back at this 2024 edition.

This edition was not rich in content, but there was still something to get your teeth into. Starting with the next two big releases from Nacon, Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown and Greedfall II: A Dying World.

Greedfall II: The Dying World

Greedfall II: A dying world

With Greedfall II, Nacon is betting a lot. This opus aims to make players (re)discover the universe. Don’t panic, you don’t need to have spent 50 hours on the first game to be able to play this one.

The continent has been ravaged by overpopulation, pollution and a deadly disease, Malichor. In the first opus, we took control of a colonist, who came from the Old World discovering the island of Teer Fradae, a promised land which seems sanitized from Malichor. In this second opus, it’s the opposite. Players will take control of a native of the island, who will travel to the mainland.

The game was unfortunately not testable, but the development team still presented the gameplay to us. In terms of graphics, the game is beautiful. The play of lights and the color palette are pleasant. The environments resemble the first opus, but remain new. The gameplay presentation showed us the start of the adventure with the customization of the character and their first steps in the story. The game begins on the island of Teer Fradae and players enter an initiatory phase, to take charge of the game. Here, the biggest change lies in the combat mechanics. It has been completely revised to offer a more tactical experience, with a phase where time stops to properly plan your attacks.

The game does not have a specific release date at the moment, it is planned for 2025. In the meantime, you can find our interview with Sébastien Di Ruzza, design director at Spiders.

Tie Break: the official game of the ATP and WTA

Starting this summer, Nacon’s tennis game will compete with Top Spin 2k25. Tie Break is already available in early access, but its presentation at Big Ben Week allowed us to get our hands on this new tennis game. The demo allowed us to play different big names in tennis, at Roland Garros in particular. Getting started is somewhat confusing at first, but you adapt to the mechanics quite quickly. The game is fluid, dynamic and the controls are simple. As with other sports titles from Nacon, the main aim is to create games accessible to all. The game will be available on August 22, 2024 on PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch and Xbox.

Pro Cycling Manager 2024

It was also an opportunity to discover the new opuses of the Tour de France and Pro Cycling Manager games. The main new features in Pro Cycling Manager are sponsor management. In short, the desire of the Cyanide development studio is to push the “sports director” aspect as far as possible. This year, and this is new in the series, players will be able to manage sponsors and sporting objectives. Be careful though, if you don’t meet the pre-established objectives at the start of the season with your sponsors, they risk letting you go.

Tour de France 2024

For Tour de France 2024, Cyanide remains in its approach of making accessible games. We find the main mechanics of cycling in the game. Endurance, speed, health, adaptive terrain, but the game maintains a “fun” aspect, far from simulation. In terms of handling, you have to pay close attention to the health of the runner, whose endurance declines very quickly. You will have to optimize your race.

The graphics are disappointing, however. A point of honor was made on immersion, with haptic feedback in the controller, but the graphics leave something to be desired. The big new thing is the multiplayer mode. In this Criterium mode, players will be able to create six-player multiplayer games. For the sake of fairness, all riders will have the same performance rating, whether you take a Pogacar or a second division rider. The runner’s choice is therefore purely aesthetic. A desire from the studio to make the game more fun, more accessible and to finally be able to face other players. The parts are customizable and are shortened stages of the circuits in order to be able to chain the parts more easily.

The game will be available on June 6, 2024, and you can find our interview with Matthis Gras, product manager at Nacon.

The best, Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown

The most enjoyable game to play was probably Solar Crown. We already tested the game during Gamescom 2023. The gameplay has not changed greatly, but the game has been refined in certain aspects. Already visually, and then, especially technically. We always end up with a realistic game pushed for multiplayer. A “The Crew” with Nacon sauce. For the gameplay, nothing new compared to Gamescom. As a reminder, Solar Crown unveils a new map in the saga, Hong Kong. Reproduced on a 1:1 scale, it took almost three years to create. We were also able to speak with Sébastien Waxin, racing brand manager at Nacon, to learn more about the game.

The flop, Rugby 24

Rugby 24, probably the disappointment of the event. Expected mainly by oval fans, the game is long overdue and the wait is likely to continue. The excitement surrounding the 2023 Rugby World Cup would have been the perfect time to release the game, but development would have lagged behind. The main reason, the titanic work to scan as many players as possible in the world. Rugby is a very regional sport, so certain championships were harder to access. European championships and players are covered, but it was more complicated for Pacific teams for example. The developers are currently scanning players from the Pacific League, Super Rugby.

We couldn’t get our hands on it, but a video demo was available. For the moment, the game is clearly still under development, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. The stadiums are empty and the graphics are not up to the standard of sports games such as FIFA, NBA 2 K or Madden. In terms of pure gameplay, it’s difficult to form an opinion without picking up the controller. However, the game’s mechanics currently do not seem to be much different from previous games. The positive point remains the players. We feel the desire to make a realistic game, especially with photogrammetry. Perhaps the studio spends too much time on character creation.

Other new features…

Ambulance Life

Other games were presented, such as Ambulance Life: A paramedic simulator, Ravenswatch and its new chapter “Fall of Avalon” and Cat Rescue Story. The first is the new game in the Life range where players will be able to put themselves in the shoes of an ambulance rescuer. The second is an update to Ravenswatch including a new map, new enemies and new ways to play thanks to customizable Challenges. Finally, the last game, Cat Rescue Story, is aimed at young people and invites players to renovate a shelter, collect cats and take care of them.

Nacon also presented a new range of accessories, notably with the Evol-X controller for Xbox and its RIG 900 MAX headset.

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