Amidst all the panicked hubbub of the holiday season, EA slipped Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 into stores last week -- or at least, most of it. Not included in many unlucky game boxes was a mega-crucial 0.0001% of the game experience: the last digit of the Red Alert 3's CD Key. Uh-oh.
Fret not, however, if you're planning to commandeer and consume a copy of the game, because EA's brightest minds have put their synapses into overdrive in order to whip up a work-around.
"There is currently a work-around that may allow you to bypass this issue. Since you have the first 19 characters of the code already, you can basically try guessing the last character," said a note on EA's customer support site.
Yes, they're serious.
"To do this, simply enter your existing code, and then for the last character, try the letters A-Z, and then the numbers 0-9. You should eventually get the right combination, and be able to play the game."
EA: Its head isn't in the game. Seriously, there's no excuse for such shoddy work from one of gaming's biggest publishers. Get your act together, guys.
After EA dribbled its drop into the bucket, it was only a matter of time until other mega-publishers hopped in line. Proving the previous statement's veracity, here's THQ.
According to prettymucheveryone -- save for, of course, THQ -- the publisher plans to pack five studios onto the chopping block this week, bringing its total posse down from 16 studios to an economy sized 11.
The development studios being given the go ahead to stroll toward the light are Paradigm (Stuntman Ignition), Helixe, Locomotive, Sandblast Games and Mass Media.
Additionally, Juice Games (known for, uh, racing title Juiced) will remain open, but will lose roughly one third of its staff.
Our prayers are with those who find themselves unemployed. Good luck, everyone.
Coming right after "guns" and just before "violence" on the list of things one should include in a non-cover-based game with projectile-firing ordinances, there's the easy-to-operate first person viewpoint. Apparently, space-faring MMO Tabula Rasa just got the memo -- plopped into its lap by a non-electronic, 1997 carrier pigeon*. Said Graphics Programmer John "Johnny Death" Styles:
"First, what is better than blasting some Bane with your trusty shotty? How about blasting some Bane with your trusty shotty in a first person view? With a FPS view, you can finally get all up-close and personal with your favorite lobster. Just wear your bib because things get pretty messy."
And there's more. If you thought Wolfenstein 3D had trusty shotty groping at the FPS market's spinal cord**, this next doozie will blow your mind. Working scopes. Bam.
Sarcasm aside, however, we have to give JohnnyD and co. props for their final announcement.
"There is nothing better than walking around in a hulking mass of metal and firepower. That is, unless you are sitting in the cockpit of one. Yes, that is right! Click zoom yourself into a cockpit of walking death and lay waste to your foes. Try not to step on your squad."
Garriot's space odyssey was probably snooze-worthy after designing that.
A press release from Valve has heralded the imminent arrival of the Steam Cloud; the ability to access your Steam savefiles and controller configs from any computer. Left 4 Dead will be the first title to have the Cloud functionality, and Valve has said they'll be retrofitting their back catalog with the feature.
According to Valve, the Steam Cloud will "just work." By this they mean that gamers won't have to do anything to get their saves and options into the Cloud; it will all happen automatically. Similarly, when a user logs onto their account on a new computer their data will be downloaded for them by default.
Valve president Gabe Newell explained the philosophy behind the Steam cloud, saying "For some time now, Steam has allowed gamers to log on from any computer in the world and access their applications ... Steam Cloud is a natural extension of the portability Steam affords gamers and developers, and we intend to expand its feature set as it is used in Left 4 Dead and other games coming to Steam."
Left 4 Dead launches on 18th, with the demo (which includes Steam Cloud) coming later this week. Are you psyched? Let us know after the jump.
How cool would it be if you could tidy up your long-to-the-point-of-swaying-in-the-breeze toe nails and save $50 million? Because that's essentially what EA did today in the process of announcing its quarterly earnings.
Everyone's favorite 37.5% of the industry laid-off 600 employees -- a mere 6% of its workforce. Apparently, that'll save the company a whopping $50 million.
"These are challenging economic times around the world, and it's impossible for any business leaders to predict the future," said spokesperson Mariam Sughayer. "However, EA has made good progress in improving product quality, building a holiday lineup of titles that is extremely strong, filling our new IP pipeline, and expanding our Direct-To-Consumer and online businesses. As well, our talent remains the best in the industry."
If nothing else, Spore was a major success -- serving 2 million marginally happy customers over the course of three weeks.
Check out the full press release on EA's investors' site, if you'd like to overwrite your childhood memories with numbers. So many numbers.
We love our moms. They're really super great. Hell, we love moms in general (especially yours). But moms loving StarCraft II? Two hobbies will become one, if producer Chris Sigaty has his way.
“We’ve trying to make sure that it’s perfectly balanced for e-sport, but look — I’m going to try to get my mom to play this game," he told MTV Multiplayer. "I mean, I know she can’t [micromanage] at the level that these pro gamers can, so we’re actually experimenting back in the opposite direction… so that even the layman can come in and get a grasp of these cool things in the game.”
So how will Blizzard snap some of the sharper edges off StarCraft's fire-trail fast gameplay? Sigaty wouldn't elaborate beyond wanting to "make it much easier for [non-gamers] to explore whether it would interest them.”
While this new disproportionately large quadrant of Blizzard's target audience certainly has the potential to wreck things for everyone else, we choose to remember WoW. If anyone can take a tiny, hole-the-wall niche and stretch it into a Grand Canyon -- while still keeping gameplay deep and challenging -- it's Blizzard.
Dust hasn't even began to think about settling around Fallout 3's cushy new spot on store shelves, but developer Bethesda already has the coordinates set for its next megaton's drop date. According to publishing exec Paul Oughton, Bethesda plans on releasing another title in its sprawling, freeform Elder Scrolls series of RPGs -- in only two years, no less.
"At the moment we've got Fallout 3 for this year and potentially there's a new Elder Scrolls title in 2010," said Oughton.
So, there's the "what" and "when," but how about the "where"?
"At the moment we're not that interested in the Wii. We're going to stick to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC," he noted, giving gamers everywhere one less thing to worry about.
Considering Fallout 3's boundless expanses, as well as Bethesda's potential plans for dog armor, d'awwwwdorable dog feet pajamas, and other downloadable things of the like, 2010 sounds like the perfect time to unravel a new Elder Scrolls. We do have one question, though: how can you follow up expeditions into and subsequent ass-kicking of hell itself? Kind of nuked the fridge there, we think.
Are you absolutely, er, perishing to play Left 4 Dead? Well, Valve has your back. Simply plunk down $5 on the undead murder simulator and you'll unlock a free demo on November 6 -- five days before everyone else.
"This pre-order promotion applies to all Steam PC pre-orders and all Xbox 360 and PC pre-orders from participating retailers in North America," read the press release. GameStop is the only confirmed retailer at the moment.
The demo will serve up both single player and co-op modes for 1-4 players. Since the demo's spewing a bubbling concoction of content, there is, of course, a catch: the demo -- like a zombie Undead American with a live grenade jammed down its throat -- will only be active for a finite amount of time.
"The demo concludes on November 18, when Left 4 Dead will be made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam," notes the press release.
All told, though, we're pretty excited about this. Oh sure, we could give Valve a stern talking to for falling into the retail trap of giving preferential treatment to pre-orderers, but it's Left 4 Dead, guys. No matter how sordid the method of delivery, if we snag some hands-on time, we'll be too disgustingly over-joyed to care.
According to an announcement from Blizzard, World of Warcraft got bigger. We didn't see this coming or type up this article five months ago or anything! So, commence with the throaty gasps and whatnot. We'll be out not knowing about Star Wars: The Old Republic and, uh, not working here yet. Peace.
"It's been very rewarding to see gamers around the world continue to show such strong support for World of Warcraft," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "We remain fully committed to responding to that enthusiasm with a high-quality, constantly evolving game experience."
Jump past the break to see what qualifies you as a subscriber from Blizzard's look-at-all-the-ants perspective. Just, you know, if you're curious.
We can't help but feel for Fallout 3. When it's not having drugs pilfered right from under its nose, it's getting booted out of India. But, as the most oppressed and censored game since Barbie Murder Adventures (later toned down to the more family friendly Manhunt 2), it'd be anticlimactic if Fallout 3's launch week trotted in unhampered. Good thing, then, that Bethesda seems to have made one vocal Washington D.C. resident a little hot under the collar with a series of controversial promotional materials.
However, today's Fallout 3 ad removal is a tad perplexing, as it simply asks websites to cast all official Fallout 3 trailers into their Recycle Bins -- with no explicitly stated relation to the D.C. fiasco. Says the email from Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines:
In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Our guess? Precautionary action -- brushing Fallout 3's "threatening" imagery under the rug to avoid more controversy. Great job on defending Bethesda's interests, though, (ESRB parent organization) ESA! So, who will the ESA tangle with next in its daring and valiant mission to "protect [game companies'] legal rights and legislative interests"? A quardiplegic kitten that licks people when its angry? An ally?