Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?
"Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know Bittorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC."
"Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy."
And finally, when questioned about a PC port for our jump-suit clad selves of the future:
But along with giving me one extra reason to cry myself to sleep at night -- as well as driving a nice, fat stake into GFW's termite-infested coffin -- Bleszinski's comments raise an interesting question: What's worse? Tearing open a game box only to find the sour scent of DRM sulking its way into your nostrils, or never being given the chance to purchase (or "rent," for the more bitter among you) a game at all?
When Mythic proclaimed its intent to only credit Warhammer dev team members who were on board at or around the game's launch, it more or less shot controversy a lashy eyed "Oh, I'm digging you" look. But seeing as Mythic has bigger battles to fight, the developer decided this was one sh***storm it couldn't afford to weather. Thus, the Warhammer Online developer has provided -- but not credited the writers of -- this list of steps to resolve the crediting controversy:
In-game and manual credits will be reserved for the launch team.
Mythic will create an online database listing the name and title of everyone who contributed to a project, regardless of current employment status. Additionally, the studio will make best efforts to provide this information for its previous online games
Step three, which apparently wasn't important enough to make the list, involves partying-up with the IGDA to "promote fair and accurate trade reporting across the industry."
Overall, though, we couldn't be happier with Mythic's decision. Great job, guys!
Well, avid addicts, so much for modding real drugs back into Fallout. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines dropped a bomb, saying that mod tools aren't "on Bethesda's schedule right now."
"Folk probably took for granted that every time we make a game, there’s a mod tool," he said. "We explained to folk that it takes a lot of time and effort to get that tool ready for release, and it’s not on our schedule right now. We need to get the game done and out. It’s not to say we won’t do it. It’s that right now we have an enormous amount of work to do, for three platforms and all these different languages to get it out around the wall. Right now, we can’t say definitively 'there will be mod tools, and here is when they’ll be out.' That work remains to be done."
Don't worry, though. Bethesda doesn't plan on wringing your wallet dry with monetized DLC in place of a modding community. Hines did, however, applaud the idea (jokingly, we hope).
"That’s a good theory, by the way. And probably on some level it would work… but from our standpoint, whenever we do an Elder Scrolls game and release those mod tools, it takes a ton of work and effort. This is a bigger undertaking for us, and one we’ve not yet scheduled for."
"We have our own little blog we run from Bethesda, and every week we’re out there interviewing people from our mod community – so it’s clearly something we support, something we take interest in and something we place value in and spend a lot of time highlighting good mods. It’s just the tools take time. They don’t magically appear. Someone’s got to write help files for what all the scripts do, and get it released as a consumer product. Because it’s not in that state otherwise. Developers will make do with anything."
There those game developers go again -- wrecking things for everyone. How dare they?
Indignant rage aside, are you still excited about Fallout 3?
Some people started suing it, knowing fully what it was, alleging that Electronic Arts concealed SecuROM in Spore's shadow, and that it's "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations."
In addition, this anti-DRM crusader, Melissa Thomas, is calling EA on "deceit and concealment" due to the fact that SecuROM cannot be uninstalled, even if Spore is wiped clean off your hard drive.
The suit demands more than $5 million, to cover legal fees and the money showers that all legitimate Spore owners will receive when/if the hammer falls in EA's direction. But that would be far too convenient, and can't take place simply because... (Return to beginning of article.)
Stop us if you've heard this story before: A semi-small dev team, formed in the mid-90's, lovingly crafts two 2D RTSes before upgrading right into the third dimension. The next RTS in their flagship series isn't quite as well-received as the previous two, but still flies off the shelves and perches itself on top of the sales charts. So what do they do next? Why, craft an MMO with the assistance of an extremely lucrative license! Got any guesses as to who we might be talking about?
That's right, Ensemble Studios.
Yes, Blizzard and Ensemble, after a quick make-up job, could probably star in The Parent Trap: Gamer's Edition (A Brett Ratner Film), but cribbed answers from each other's track records are only the beginning.
As early as 2006, Ensemble began work on a Halo MMO. Here, however, we're willing to wager that any similarities to Blizzard's MMO-opus are more than mere coincidence. Sadly, we'll never know what Ensemble had planned for this decidedly PC-oriented jaunt through Halo's universe, because it's been decomposing in Ensemble's recycle bin for nearly a year, according to a thorough analysis by Gamasutra.
This is freaking brilliant. Warhammer Online, as with any MMO, is home to a number of -- in this case, preternaturally quick -- gold spammers. But unlike those other MMOs, whose developers only emerge, spit a "Get off my lawn!" at the gold-amassing fiends, and then stomp back into their lairs, far too uncaring to actually latch the gate behind them, Mythic is taking a different approach.
"Since WAR launched we have been banning these jerks like crazy," Mythic co-founder Mark Jacobs wrote in his blog. "As of Saturday Night, we had banned about 400 of them. My CSRs have a zero tolerance policy. We don’t wait and let them stay in the game and ban them en-masse, my guys ban their useless, time-consuming butts right away. We have a strike team whose sole job it is to get these guys off our servers as quickly as possible."
But that's not even the best part. Jacobs continued:
"This weekend, we unveiled a new wrinkle in the fight against them, the public ban message. Players on our Phoenix Throne server have been treated to special messages when a gold seller/spammer is banned. I’ve given them a wide leash to come up with creative messages to tell the entire community who has been banned and we keep it within the Warhammer universe."
"Messages like 'Tchar’zanek has ordered the slaughter of [Spammer] and all others of his kind who weaken the Raven Host by providing wealth and power to the unworthy' have been seen all weekend. We will continue this policy and expand it to the other servers. We are in for a real fight against these bottom feeders and it will be a long and costly battle but it’s one we are going to take to them and this is only the first step."
We don't know about you, but we've never tossed our hard-earned dollars into a spammer's alchemic pot, and we sure as hell aren't starting now. Now if you'll excuse us, we must return to killing everythingthat moves and rooting through fresh remains. Ah, nothing like an honest day's work to set the mind at ease.
The chipmaker claims that Fusion for Gaming can enhance a computer’s performance by up to 10%. Although it might actually prove to be handy, the chances of it being worth as much as AMD’s rhetoric suggests are slim to none. The beta is only meant for Windows Vista 32 and can be downloaded here.
We remember it like it was roughly five years ago. Our wave goodbye. Their shocked silence. Our shoulders gloomily slumped as we trudged out their door. Their faces pressed against the cold glass, rain-like water pouring dramatically, but mostly because the fire alarm was malfunctioning. It was the day we discovered Steam -- our final farewell to a helpful cadre of GameStop employees. And today, it looks like our departure -- along with that of most other PC gamers -- is finally hitting GameStop right in the pocketbook.
However, that doesn't mean GameStop plans to drop PC games without a fight.
"[GameStop's PC game sales] are down probably more than I had anticipated," GameStop SVP Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra. "...We had planned for it to be down. Again, the number of new titles we have on PC is down probably more than what I had anticipated it would be down -- but I don't see that as a threat or a signaling, we're not backing away from it at all."
"A year ago we had 350 stores that didn't carry PC merchandise and today, that number hasn't grown any... [bit] the PC market is definitely still very alive, and a portion of our business that we're hanging onto."
Speaking of the digitally distributed elephant in the room -- the straw currently slurping up his company's PC sales -- McKenzie noted:
"Our position with our publishers is that we're not afraid to compete with them -- against that digital distribution model. We can offer it. It's really another choice for the consumer, as long as they're not making that choice an unfair advantage for them, where they're able to sell it earlier or they add something into the game that we can't get our hands on for our consumer."
McKenzie, you so just lost your place on Dan DeMatteo's Facebook friends list.
That's the last time we press an ear up against this grapevine; sometimes, we'd rather a rumor soothe us with sweet, sweet lies than bludgeon us with a harsh truth -- that truth being, of course, a nebulous delay for the PC edition of Mirror's Edge.
Today, EA sent out a press release that trumpeted the hotly anticipated first-person free-runner's upcoming console release. For those fortunate fuc-- fellows, the game will be bouncing onto shelves November 11. And, as a spot of Mrs. Dash for you wounds, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can also look forward to a demo of Mirror's Edge featuring "the prologue of the game including the tutorial and a segment of the single-player story mode."
We'd also parrot back the bit about how players who pre-order a console version of Mirror's Edge will break the chains off of exclusive demo content in the form of a ridiculously awesome time trial, but we don't want to upset you any further.
The PC version of Mirror's Edge, meanwhile, will launch "later this winter." Why? EA wouldn't say. However, we prefer to think it's because EA loves us, and people only hurt the ones they love.
Speaking of which, does anyone know where we could find a nice, sturdy tire iron, a plane ticket, and meticulously detailed directions to EA's offices? We want to tell EA how much we love them, and coincidentally, a tire iron is the perfect "thiiiis much" measuring tool.