Between all the blaring heavy metal music, impromptu Pat Benatar concerts, and five hour-long John Carmack manifestos, you could be forgiven for thinking that QuakeCon is not a place for serious business. And you'd be right. Well, mostly.
Fortunately, we were on hand in an effort to collect whatever scraps of news might fall from id's table, and we came away surprisingly sated. So, without further ado, here's what happened.
Doom 4 Nowhere to be Found, Check Back Next Year -- It was the perfect storm. John Carmack tweeted that he was working on a little something special for QuakeCon, and Todd Hollenshead – who is incapable of lying – said we'd see Doom 4 this year. One eternity in a room with John Carmack later (rumor has it that he's still talking), and here's what we've seen of Doom 4. See it? Right there? Oh, is that a blank space? Huh. Imagine that.
We say “Project Natal,” you say “Xbox motion control camera doohickey,” right? In theory, it’s a gamer’s geekiest dream come true. You throw a punch, and your character on screen follows suit. Buttons? What are those? Soon, you could be hugging Gordon Freeman’s crowbar and fending off headcrabs with your own two hands. Fallout 3 production director Ashley Cheng, however, thinks Natal’s true potential lies far outside the realm of videogames.
“Seeing it in action, I was totally blown away by it. It seems wasted on games, really. Microsoft should open the NATAL API up like Apple does with the iPhone/iPad. Let anyone make a NATAL ‘app.’ I bet someone makes a killer app that has nothing to do with gaming,” the Bethesda developer wrote on his blog.
A couple weeks ago, we would’ve laughed at this. Then we saw Iron Man 2. Mark our words: if someone makes an app like that, they’ll become a millionaire. Even if we have to buy the app one million times ourselves.
Sometimes, Fallout 3 creator Bethesda does things we like – for instance, develop excellent videogames. But other times, Bethesda does things we’re not quite so gung-ho about, like attempting to halt the development of someone else’s potentially excellent videogame. With that in mind, we bet you can’t guess how we felt about the Bethesda’s lawsuit against Interplay, which aimed to nip the struggling publisher’s Fallout MMO in the bud before it’d even taken its first steps.
An overjoyed Interplay investor, however, recent let it slip that Bethesda had a change of heart for whatever reason, leading the publisher to drop its lawsuit altogether. Hooray!
“Bethesda dropped their appeal of the lawsuit with Interplay and a secret deal was struck (maybe they will release the terms of the deal soon, probably so). Anyways, this is awesome news for Interplay stock. The appeal by Bethesda was dropped yesterday. I'm assuming part of the deal was that Interplay drop their countersuit against Bethesda,” said the investor.
“At any rate, this will likely mean that V13 will be moving full steam ahead, terms of the new deal not yet known but the fact that the game will be made is nothing but good news for Interplay.”
Shame, though, that steam engines are still pretty darn slow. Oh well. At least we’ll have Fallout: New Vegas to keep us company while we wait.
Asyoumayhavenoticed, we developed something of a healthy, foaming-at-the-mouth appreciation for Bethesda’s modernized take on the Fallout universe. But that doesn’t mean we’re not equally stoked for Obsidian’s turn in the driver’s seat – especially considering that they’ve essentially reunited the original Fallout team for another shot at post-apocalyptic perfection.
But enough intro-based dilly-dallying. It’s time for you to wait on something else, instead. That thing being Fallout: New Vegas itself, which is now officially scheduled for a “fall 2010” release. It’s the fall of Fallout, or something. Hopefully, it’ll rock, or else it’ll kick-off the winter of our discontent.
…Yeah, okay, that was awful. Moving on. Bethesda and Obsidian have passed along a teaser trailer to whet our appetites for more irradiated fun in the dry, unpleasant sun. Check it out here. Then tell us what you thought after the break. Or don’t! It’s not like we’re lonely or anything.
If you just dropped a massive chunk of change on Doom creator id Software, what would you do next? Huh? Did you just say “Buy Valve”? No? No takers? Yeah, we’re not exactly waving our hands about and shouting “called it” on this one either. But, according to the latest stink-raising piece of scuttlebutt over at Eurogamer, Bethesda could very well be in the market for the house that Gordon Freeman built.
“However, it's also worth watching closely what happens to Steam in the coming months. Unconfirmed industry scuttlebutt suggests that Zenimax - the parent company of Bethesda, which made headlines back in June when it acquired legendary PC studio id Software - is still on the acquisition trail, and has been making eyes at Half-Life creators Valve across the bar,” reads the article.
We’ve contacted both Valve and Bethesda for comment, but so far, our questions remain unanswered. We’ll be sure to let you know if we hear more.
Another day, another videogame-related legal battle. This time, it’s Bethesda that’s putting on its hockey mask and revving up the litigation machine while Interplay attempts to avoid paying an arm and a leg in return for what Bethesda calls “willful infringement.”
The gist of it goes like this: Current Fallout publisher Bethesda says that Interplay never acquired the proper rights to re-release earlier Fallout games digitally or in any other form. Interplay, who sold the Fallout series to Bethesda back in 2007, has been distributing Fallouts 1, 2, and Tactics for quite a while now – apparently against Bethesda’s will.
Bethesda’s also taking aim at Interplay’s still-unconfirmed Fallout MMO, supposedly codenamed “Project V13.” As part of an agreement, Interplay was supposed to have raised $30 million and entered “full-scale development” on the game by April 4, 2009. Bethesda contends that Interplay failed to reach this milestone, thereby terminating the agreement.
Interplay, however, claims that everything’s fine and dandy as far as the agreement’s concerned, and that Bethesda had no reason to terminate. Bethesda, meanwhile, also takes issue with Interplay’s unapproved Project V13 funding agreement with Masthead Studios. To this, Interplay simply replied that V13 is a different project, separate from its Fallout MMO.
And that’s only the short version of this extremely convoluted tale. If you’d like to know more and have nothing better to do for, oh, the next 4,234 years, you can read all about it here.
The cement’s settled, the paint’s dry, and the bomb has dropped and blown it all to pieces – Fallout 3’s finished. So, what’s next for Bethesda? Well, based on a comment made last year, we were kind of hoping for a new Elder Scrolls game. However, during a panel at QuakeCon, Bethesda’s Todd Howard revealed that Bethesda has other plans.
“Don't look for a new Elder Scrolls game in the near future,” Howard said when asked about Elder Scrolls V. "We are working on our next big game but we are not talking about it."
In a blog post clarifying Howard’s comments, Bethesda boss Pete Hines noted that ZeniMax Online (a branch of Bethesda’s parent company) is working on an MMO, as that’s its area of expertise. Thus, if the oft-rumored Elder Scrolls MMO is more than just wishful thinking, ZeniMax Online’s the one working the forge – not Bethesda.
So, what’s taking up so much of Bethesda’s time that the Elder Scrolls have been shelved until God-knows-when? Beats us. Do you have any guesses?
Every gamer has a story. A story assembled from countless in-game experiences, a collage of victory, defeat, heroics, and villainy. There is, however, a schism in the way these stories play out. Ask someone who’s lived out their gaming days in solitude and they’ll tell you of superhuman feats, epic dramas, and non-player characters who may not have been real boys, but were certainly close enough that Geppetto would’ve been hard-pressed to tell the difference. Pose the same question to multiplayer-centric gamers, though, and you’ll get an earful of teamwork, commitment, practice, and good old fashioned competition.
Neither side, of course, is wrong to enjoy games for their respective reasons. It’s merely a case of different strokes for different folks. However, what happens when single-player and multiplayer modes get married and pop out a child? Well, if you ask developers like BioWare and Splash Damage (who are working on fusing multiplayer and single-player with Star Wars: The Old Republic and Brink, respectively), they’ll tell you such all-encompassing modes are just The Next Big Thing. And they may very well be right about that.
Forgive me, then, for objecting to this holy matrimony.
Clicking the read more link is a single-player experience, but reading and responding to the article is multiplayer! These are important distinctions (no they're not).
Last time on Fallout 3 DLC theater, the Enclave went out with a suitably climactic bang, and next time, you’re showing aliens why they abducted the wrong armed-to-the-teeth Wastelander. And right now? A swamp. Put up against Broken Steel and Mothership Zeta, Point Lookout’s subject matter seems a bit snooze-worthy, doesn’t it? Like, if you had to choose one of them to take to prom, Broken Steel would be the really hot one, Mothership Zeta would be the easy one (Taking you back to the “Mothership” on the first date? Yowza.), and Point Lookout would be the nerdy one with the frazzled hair and the taped up glasses.
What Point Lookout lacks in appearances, however, it makes up for with personality. In fact, thanks to an excellent, well-paced plot and some fairly meaty side missions, I’d say Point Lookout is Fallout 3’s best piece of standalone DLC yet. Here’s precisely why Point Lookout is so great, arbitrarily broken down into four convenient points!
1. Location, location, location – Back in my day, DLC reused asset after asset – enemies, buildings, weapons – from its respective main game, and I liked it! But Point Lookout’s approach ain’t half bad either. Most notably, the swamp and the Wasteland are distant cousins at best, with the swamp containing more green in one plot of land than the Wasteland has in its whole 16-ish mile span. On top of that, the foggy bog is littered with brand new enemies (malformed, inbred locals that spout all sorts of campy dialog), weapons and clothing (double barrel shotgun + Confederate cap = the Mickey Mouse souvenir hat of the South), and characters. It’s also all very pretty in an “I’m really glad they haven’t invented feel, taste, and smell-o-vision yet” sort of way.
You've come this far! Why quit now? Read the rest after the break.
Let’s set the stage here: It was the last hour of the last day of E3. My feet were cramping, my back felt like Batman’s after a run-in with Bane, and the concept of sleep was itself a very dream-like, unrealistic thing to me. I wanted to be done. “One appointment left,” I grunted. “Let’s get this over with.” That appointment was for Bethesda and Splash Damage’s new shooter, Brink.
Presentation starts. “Hi, welcome to our demo of Brink blah blah blah.” Ugh, why’d I come to this? “So we’re on a boat.” Tee-hee, T Pain. “We’ve combined single-player and multiplayer using an ever-evolving mission system that breaks your main objective down into smaller objectives. Accomplish them however you see fit, alone or with friends. Also, there’s an overarching, Mirror’s Edge-ish plotline running throughout the whole thing.”
Ok, now I’m listening.
So, here’s how Brink works: You’re part of a team – either resistance or security forces – and each level presents you with an objective. In order to make your big mission less impossible, each level’s objective is broken down into smaller pieces, which dynamically change depending on countless factors in battle. Some of these pieces must be tackled by certain character classes, which you can morph into at will using computer terminals scattered throughout the game world. For instance, an engineer might be needed for a bit of his trademark tinkering, so the game will immediately notify everyone of this gaping hole in their team structure. Thus, completing the mission is as simple as transforming and rolling out. No extra hassle.
You're on the brink of knowing all about Brink. Why stop here? The rest is after the break.