Roundup; 27th Jan – 2nd February 2013

Fahrenheit - I still like it.

That Was The Week That Was…

So, another week has gone by.

We kicked off the week with the sad passing of Normand Corbeil, composer for Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls. He passed on after a short six-month battle with Pancreatic Cancer, as reported by his son. It’s a real shame when musical talent like this passes away, especially at the comparatively modest age of 56, so like others, I can only thank him for being there. His musical score for Fahrenheit in particular was brilliant, and it still remains a curio title worth investigating if you can get a hold of it. (Source; 8bitfix)

We also came face to face with the greed of Fox Network, who lifted the unique arrangement of Jonathan Coulton’s “Baby Got Back” cover. With obviously few legal protections for covers and his close ties to the video game world, with material like Still Alive, Fox seemed to think he could be steamrollered over. Of course, the gaming community bit back by repeatedly and regularly pointing out the blatantly obvious copycatting involved here, and so Mr. Coulton took the step of re-releasing his cover, and donating all the proceeds to charity as well. Which was a super classy thing to do. (Source; JoCo’s Blog)

On Tuesday, we watched as the inevitable happened; Disney chose to shut down Junction Point – of Epic Mickey stature – due to extremely poor sales of Epic Mickey 2. This meant Warren Spector also lost his job, which is a shame as the man clearly is no fool. It is a wonder how Epic Mickey and Epic Mickey 2 saw the light of day, but that said, it’s never nice in this climate to see people lose their jobs even if they did a slightly sub-par job of the overall finished product. It was Disney’s last AAA-focused games studio. (Source; Joystiq)

Then came a bit of fuss with the Wii-U sales; not quite as Nintendo had hoped, and we watched as Eurogamer predictably attempted to force the opinion that “Nintendo are teh d00medz!”, of course not pointing out that sales of the Wii-U were comparatively higher than the PS3 and X-Box 360 sales in the same release time window. Judging the success of a new console by the rollercoaster success of the Wii isn’t terribly smart, and Nintendo are still predicting a substantial profit for the year. All Nintendo need to do for more sales is get us more games. (Source: Eurogamer)

Also, EA’s first fail of the week came courtesy of Visceral’s Steve Papoutsis, who said of Dead Space 3; “The fact that we’re allowing you to control the game with a mouse and keyboard immediately makes the game feel different.” If there’s one thing you learn in the gaming world, it’s not to piss off the PC Gaming Elite – I submit Dark Souls as evidence – and this was a direct statement. I completely understand that PC Optimisation these days can be quite expensive, and Dead Space 3 has cost a fortune to make, but was this really the best way of saying, “We couldn’t really afford this. Sorry!”? (Source; Shack News)

Wednesday saw more EA news as they shuttered the Medal of Honor brand completely, following below-expectation sales of Warfighter. “Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved”, said EA COO and general tit Peter Moore, clearly unaware that widespread panning does not count as polarization. Whilst I’m not really that into war-themed FPS games, Medal of Honor definitely had market presence and it will still be sad to see such history dissipate into the ether. But that’s what EA does best. (Source; Eurogamer)

Another cut happened at UbiSoft, but perhaps one of the nicer kind. Remember that awful torture scene in the E3 demonstration of Splinter Cell: Blacklist? It’s gone. Whilst we obviously can do some pretty mad things in video games, torture is still one of those really dodgy areas. No-one really liked it and it prompted a big discussion in the gaming world about just what is acceptable – especially with the whole Lara Gets Touched Inappropriately debate as well. In both cases, the scenes have been cut. Because we argued for it. So score one for us maybe? (Source; Polygon)

On the other hand, one cut that might need to happen is US Senator Lamar Alexander, who this week proclaimed; “I think video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people.” Forcibly urging myself to not correct the grammatical quality of that (ARE a bigger problem, plural quantity means you use the term ARE. ARRRRGH!), perhaps this guy should do some reading on the subject. You know, that there’s no direct evidence for him to go onto television and make such a loaded, factually unproven statement? (Source; JoyStiq)

On Thursday, the news we kind of expected happened; Capcom are considering rebooting the Resident Evil series. Not that I would have a real problem with that – technically they’ve rebooted it with the Chronicles games before – but series producer Masachika Kawata said this was to get back to the heart of the series. Hopefully this means a return to the humour and wit of the series, rather than desperately trying to compete with first-person shooters by adding more guns and explosions. All we need is zombies. (Source; The Escapist)

But making light of an awful situation, HMV staff were collected up to be told they were to be fired. In the process, they hijacked the HMV Twitter account and posted about what was happening. Perhaps in the greatest example of how HMV clearly didn’t understand the march of the Internet, their marketing director (who wasn’t being fired!) was quoted as asking, “How do I shut down Twitter?” If that doesn’t explain how HMV misjudged and handled the powerful rise of online shopping, then very little else will. (Source; Twitter)

Friday saw even more EA fail, as it transpired that on release, Dead Space 3 will have ELEVEN separate DLC packs available for purchase. Not all are necessary, no, but that the overall total of these packs comes to just shy of $50 as well as the news last week that resources would be offered for sale as well, it wound many gamers up in entirely the wrong way. Which is a fair point, because eleven separate DLC packs on a games release is, even if you like DLC, a little excessive and rather taking the piss, no? (Source; Beefjack)

Then came datamined details of forthcoming co-op missions and modes for Mass Effect 3, as discovered by the CleverNoob forums – a source that has been eerily on the ball when it comes to datamining and predicting upcoming additions to games. Whether or not this will give Mass Effect 3 a second wind is yet to be seen, but on the other hand, it is perhaps nice to know that they haven’t yet completely murdered off Mass Effect 3. No matter how many people may be wishing that BioWare and EA had done so… (Source; CleverNoob)

Brian Blessed was confirmed to be voice acting in the upcoming Paradox re-release of War of the Roses. That is, of course, if they have the money to spend on microphones that won’t immediately break through his booming sexy voice. Doing the voice over for a trailer, as well as in-game acting work and annoucements, Paradox has its fans and clearly this gives them a lot of attention. Just to hear Brian Blessed’s booming tones throughout a medieval war game, I would totally buy that. I am such a fanboy. (Source; DigitalSpy)

And to round the week off in style, the rumour mill began to churn as Sony were said to be planning a PS4/Omni unveiling later this month. With Nintendo primed to reveal most of its heavy-hitters at E3 including Zelda, Metroid, Smash Bros., Mario Kart and a proper new Mario game, and Microsoft ready to reveal all at E3, perhaps this is a sign of the times. Edge reported this will also mean it gets released this year; but as usual for Sony, it isn’t likely to see Europe until 2014. At least some things never change… (Source; Edge)

And so that was some of the main highlights of the week. It’s been quiet of late, comparatively, but it’s still a bit early in the year. As we move into March for so many game releases, and the hype drive begins for E3, surely things will get moving.

Anyway, see you back here same day next week for more recapping of the weeks interesting news snippets. Right now, I am so going to be in bed.

Peace and cupcakes!

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