Category: Writings

December 19: Humble Bankrupt Zombies

Christ, what a mess! Click for a Kotaku roundup of everything wrong with The War Z!

Steam has removed The War Z from its store following a statement that confirmed (as many users had reported) that the game was a tad or two unfinished. Additional complaints of false advertising, systematized user bans, unfair forum rules, a copycat resemblance to DayZ, and a brutal no-refunds policy have piled up to create one of the most troubling (and borderline illegal) game “launches” in recent memory.

Valve has pulled the game from the store, are are issuing refunds because the developer won’t.

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December 17: Forsaken

Molyneux’s new God game isn’t doing so well. Click to find out why.

Separate interviews with Kotaku and Ars both revealed the same melancholy news: Peter Molyneux is having trouble raising funds on Kickstarter for Godus, his upcoming God game. Kotaku prodded his marriage life and Ars discussed his experiences with Curiosity.

The polarizing personality behind Fable and Black & White has just three days to raise the $100,000 left to make Godus happen. If the goal isn’t met, the contributors get their money back and the project will have to find a new fate elsewhere.

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December 16: Kick Me Kotick

An intimate interview profile with Bobby Kotick appeared in the New York Times yesterday, revealing a few more personal details about the often-hated Activision CEO than what we’re used to. What’s surprising is that the guy’s personal life is almost just as unflattering as his professional one. Fun newsy details from the interview are listed below:

  • Activision’s stock market value currently sits at $12.7 billion, nearly three times that of EA.
  • Despite overall game sales shrinking from last year, Activision has raised revenue for 2012 by 53%
  • Kotick refuses to let a Call of Duty movie happen, saying “movies based on video games rarely please devoted fans and could taint the brand.”
  • When police showed up to seize assets from the near-insolvent Mediagenic in 1990, Kotick tricked a depute into taking a cheaper PDP 11 computer than the more expensive IBM mainframe that the company owed.

A few fun gossipy details from the interview also surfaced:

  • Photoshopped images of Kotick wearing devil horns have stunted his post-divorce dating life
  • He uses a helicopter to pick up friends for basketball games
  • He’s a registered libertarian who voted for Romney

Use this information wisely, Internet.

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December 14: Redistributing the Wealth

Need more grit, realism and mortality in your escapist entertainment? Click the pic to try Red Orchestra 2 for free!

Red Orchestra 2 will be free this weeks thanks to a promotional campaign for the new Game of the Year edition. From now ’till Monday, all GOTY content will be  completely free for anyone with the patience to tackle the game’s quick deaths and steep learning curve.

Want even more despondent Russian fatalism for free? NVIDIA is giving away free download keys of Metro 2033 for anyone wholikes their Facebook page! The giveaway lasts from now ’till Christmas eve.

Think about it. Would you rather be purchasing Christmas gifts for despised relatives in order to perpetuate a false sense of self-worth, or pretending to be a desperate communist in oppressively difficult Soviet-themed computer games for free? I know my answer!

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December 13: Please Buy Our Game!

Considering how much Nathan hates Peter Molyneux, he still talks about the dude’s games a lot.

In a last ditch effort, Peter Molyneux and the gang will be releasing a demo of Project Godus tomorrow in attempt to petition for investor’s hard earned cashed before the projects Kickstarter deadline. The project has little over a week to achieve its goal but is only a little over halfway there. Maybe this will be a marketing technique other Kickstarter projects will adopt.

God of War: Ascension’s new multiplayer trailer gives a taste of what to to expect and it looks promising. The gameplay appears to retain all the various game elements, even down to the limited camera angles. Though the trailer is cinematic at heart, it may show some of the potential hysterics to be had in this hyper-violent series. Read more →

December 12: Stalking Stalker

Did BitComposer buy the rights to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. the game, Stalker the movie, or the book, Roadside Picnic? They don’t even seem to know.

BitComposer has announced their purchase of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, or something. An RPS news post is current riddled with post-phone call update confusion, but BitComposer’s official word seems to suggest that the license has moved out of the hands of the recently-passed-away Boris Strugatsk (author of Roadside Picnic, the mininovel S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes cues from) and into BitComposer, the German publisher that previously published STALKER: Call of Pripyat for the EU and US releases.

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December 11: Here We Go Again!

Click image for official GTAV page!

Blizzard revealed that they do have a functioning console version of Diablo III in their offices. Though it is not guaranteed that this means it will receive a public release, it is hard to see why not. Diablo III’s genre is very capable on a console.

Crytek’s Cevat Yerli talks Crysis 4 and other games with Rock Paper Shotgun. He admits that it will be aiming to set the bar again visually however at the same time making it more than accessible to lesser rigs. Yerli discusses why Crysis 1 failed to nab a larger audience but then claims with 3 it will approach both fronts so that it can gain wider appeal. Players will probably still complain they can’t see blades of grass that other players can, though. Read more →

The Mysterious “Steam Box” Vents More Questions Than Answers

By: George Weidman

Three days ago a short interview between Kotaku and Gabe Newell yielded a bombshell announcement: a confirmation that Valve will be competing with the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The interview clarifies the nature behind the rumors of a “Steam Box” hinted at back in March and sheds new lights on Valve’s recent efforts to make Steam more TV-friendly. But details are still murky as hell, and the concept itself is caked in contradictions. But brace yourselves– it’s the kind of concept that could potentially change everything, so it’s naturally a cause to question everything. Read more →

December 10: Boxes Can Confuse

The cavalier headline of an unusually uneventful day: Destructoid snagged an interview with Ken Levine about the self-admittedly bland box art of Bioshock: Infinite. In sum, Levine acknowledges the presumed cheesiness on the box and defends it by claiming that it’ll help sales. Because you know, games are expensive and easily selling them to the masses matters more than delicately pandering to the tastes of hardcore fans.

Let’s editorialize this news! My claim: it’s a well-intentioned but ultimately patronizing bit of marketing damage control. The game’s not being sold yet, so we don’t have any reason to assume that the product Levine is selling wont be any less cheesy than the box depicts. He also comforts concerned viewers (ie: the only people who care about boxes) by assuring them that the decision was made to appeal to more casual frat house consumers instead. Flattering.

It takes some guts and integrity to admit this stuff on camera, but it’s not good news. It’s just one more affirmation that big fancy games like Bioshock have now become too expensive to develop without corrupting something in the process, even if it is just the box. Remember that the first Bioshock’s box art didn’t exactly scream “thinking man’s shooter” either.

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December 9: The Singularity Begins?

Valve has just begun to penetrate into your livingroom. Details are still hazy, but you can find them by clicking the pic!

Valve has announced that they will be developing a livingroom PC that will be competing for set-top space with next-gen consoles. In a post-VGA interview with Kotaku, Gabe revealed the company’s plans for a Steam-loaded PC box that’ll make computer gaming more agreeable for a livingroom setup. We don’t know what kind of operating system the box will run, what kind of hardware it’ll sport or just how far on the “PC versus console” spectrum it’ll land in. In short, we still don’t know what product Valve is planning on selling.

The one discerning detail that confirms this won’t be a regular HTPC with a Steam sticker on it: according to the interview, “Valve’s hardware might not be as open-source or as malleable as your average computer.”

Both of us here at Bunnyhop keep a computer hooked up to the TV in the livingroom, and find it personally bewildering that more people don’t. Marketing a small-sized but powerful Windows PC with Steam loaded on and a controller or two included sounds like the readily obvious solution, but Valve may have something weirder in mind. Unconfirmed rumors of a custom Linux OS and a closed platform abound. Such products have only failed before.

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