Sorry BioShock fans, you'll have to sit back and wait for February 26, 2013 to roll around before getting your hands on BioShock Infinite. Take-Two Interactive on Wednesday announced that the upcoming first-person shooter from Irrational Games is being delayed until next year, with creative director Ken Levine adding, "We're doing things that no one has ever done in a first person shooter."
Take-Two Interactive today announced that Rockstar Games now expects to launch Max Payne 3 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles on May 15, 2012 in North America and three days later internationally. PC gamers will join the fun on May 29, 2012 in North America and June 1, 2012 internationally. The new release dates represent a two-month delay compared to the originally slated launch in March 2012, which is minor in length but falls at a time just after Take-Two's fiscal fourth quarter comes to a close.
Yep, another Duke Nukem Forever story. But this time around, Duke might just cross the finish line he's been inching toward all these years. Why? Because, according to anonymous sources that spoke with Kotaku, everyone's favorite stripper-tipping ass-kicker is finally getting a much-needed change of scenery. So long, 3D Realms. Hello, Gearbox Software.
Gearbox, in case you've been living under a rock specifically designed to ward off only the best games, most recently churned out co-op smash-hit Borderlands. The developer's also responsible for Brothers in Arms, and was – at one point – designing a Duke Nukem spin-off called Duke Nukem Begins.
The craziest part? We could be taking a demo of the game for a test drive as soon as later this year, since Gearbox is picking up where 3D Realms left off development-wise.
When reached for comment, all parties involved refused to confirm or deny anything, although Take-Two acknowledged that it still retains publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever – even after the dismissal of its oft-publicized lawsuit against 3D Realms.
However, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford gave a not-so-subtle hint that we'll hear more about Duke's development switcheroo at the Penny Arcade Expo, which takes place at the beginning of September.
Translation: Get excited. Duke's back, and he may very well be better than ever – which, in this case, means “a videogame that human beings can actually play.”
While Duke Nukem’s half-brother Max Payne may be world-renowned for his time-slowing prowess, Duke obviously taught him everything he knows. After all, when matched against a tumultuous 13-year development cycle, Duke’s year-long development-impeding court case seems like it went by in the blink of an eye. For gaming’s favorite perpetually gumless ass-kicker, it was just another American legal system-shaped bump in the road. Now, though, it’s time to get back to business.
"The above action, including any and all claims that were or could have been asserted by the parties, is dismissed with prejudice in accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement executed by the parties on May 14, 2010," reads the filing that ended the suit.
So, with the legal battle dismissed, is the Take-Two/3D Realms divorce a done deal? Or have the two companies kissed and made up? There’s no way of knowing just yet, but The US Trademark and Patent Office currently lists Duke Nukem as a 3D Realms property, which seems to suggest that 3D Realms got to keep the kids. And, seeing as development on DNF never actually ground to a complete halt, we’re guessing the tortoise will just keep right on chugging along in spite of the hare – who, in this metaphor, represents “common sense, normal game development standards, and the entire videogame industry.”
We’ll attempt to contact both 3D Realms and Take-Two on the matter, though we doubt either side will talk until it’s good and ready. But, you know, E3’s a nice time for announcements. Just putting that out there, 3D Realms.
Oh the life I’ve lived. I’ve skipped across the tops of skyscrapers with the ease of a child playing hopscotch. I’ve busted out of prisons that were said to be inescapable, that were patrolled by minigun-toting mechs, among other things. I’ve completed the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. I’ve slain Balrogs (of bothvarieties). I’ve covered wars, ya know.
The moment I remember best, though? I was sitting in a small apartment, on a couch made more of dust than fluff. Minutes earlier, I’d gunned down some 20 mafia goons, but that didn’t matter. She leaned on my shoulder, half-asleep, and we watched an old black-and-white rendition of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on a teensy television. For more than an hour.
And that’s when I thought, “This game is incredible.”
That game was The Darkness, an Xbox 360 shooter from Starbreeze studios. Sure – as I implied earlier – the game certainly had me behind the barrel of a gun (or a giant hell-borne tentacle-snake) more often than not, but even among countless epic shootouts and swelling operatic scores, that mundane moment with main character Jackie Estacado (you) and his girlfriend dozing on a couch stands out the most. It was simple. It was quaint. But most of all, it was entirely believable.
Most of it’s either legal jargon or refutations of previous claims, but this week’s news from the frontlines of the battle between Take-Two and DNF dev 3D Realms does contain a couple interesting nuggets – foremost of which being that Duke Nukem Forever isn’t dead after all. We knew the world seemed a little too intact for the apocalypse to have occurred.
According to 3D Realms, development on Duke Nukem Forever continues to chug along. However, the company apparently "released the majority of its employees working on the development" because of a "lack of funding to sustain the high level of development." Sounds the game won’t be out for a long time. Shocker.
Meanwhile, another Duke game, titled Duke Begins, was also revealed, and has apparently been in development since 2007. The game was being handled by another “well-known videogame developer,” but development screeched to a halt in April 2009, right in front of May’s giant, nearly lethal Duke Nukem Forever pileup. 3D Realms claims Take-Two stopped Duke Begins’ development in order to harm 3D Realms and the Duke franchise, thus “pressuring [3D Realms/Apogee Ltd.] to sell the Duke Nukem franchise rights to Take-Two for less than their true value."
Click through the first link if you’d like to watch more of the world’s slowest trainwreck. Or don’t. Either way, we’re sure Take-Two will say it’s all hooey come next week. And then 3D Realms will bite back the week after that. It’s like the damsel tied to the train tracks and the mustachioed villain switch places each week. But the train never hits anyone. Please, someone, put an end to the madness.
For a man supposedly on an anti-videogame "crusade," Jack Thompson hasn't really accomplished much. He attempted to give Bully the legal equivalent of a swirly -- and lost. He tangoed with The Sims 2 -- and lost. And most famously, he mustered every last bit of his legal prowess against the Grand Theft Auto series -- and, well, you know where we're going with this.
So, today, we'd like you to join us in congratulating Jack Thompson for taking a definitive step toward his goal. See, now that he's been permanently disbarred with no hope of reinstatement, maybe a real lawyer can finally hog the anti-gaming limelight. Hip-hip hooray!
Said the press release:
"Over a very extended period of time involving a number of totally unrelated cases and individuals, [Thompson] has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior, but rather uses other means available to intimidate, harass, or bring public disrepute to those whom he perceives oppose him."
The proceedings, which began in June, brought 31 counts against the man fondly referred to by gamers as "Whacko Jacko." He was found guilty of 27.
In addition to a cushy new spot in the unemployment line, Thompson has also been granted the mandatory privilege of paying $43,675.35 in legal fees to the Florida Bar.
The disbarrment will be official 30 days from now, assuming Thompson doesn't nab a retrial. Regardless, however, we doubt Thompson's questionably-sane ramblings are at an end. With the Internet at his fingertips, we're actually kind of looking forward to seeing what Thompson will do next. You know, in the same way we're looking forward to the inevitable day when our doctor diagnoses us with a nice infertility-cancer double-whammy.
It doesn't matter that you rarely, if ever, saw Scrappy-Doo get into a fight, because you always knew that given the chance, he'd be ready to throw down no matter who the opponent was. Apparently that same spunkiness doesn't translate into the tech industry. How many times did we hear about Microsoft promising a hostile takeover of Yahoo its demands weren't met? Skip ahead a few months and Microsoft is still Microsoft, while Yahoo is still Yahoo.
Now it's Electronic Arts who is backing down in its hostile takeover bid, who earlier this year took it unsolicited $2 billion bid public for rival game maker Take-Two Interactive, best known for the Grand Theft Auto series. EA tried unsuccessfully to buy Take-Two back in February for $26 per share, and after the offer was refused, EA tried its hand at strong-arming Take-Two with threats of a hostile bid, only to extend the deadline multiple times.
The hostile bid official ended in August, and now one month later, so too has EA's interest in the company. Perhaps Spore is doing better than the Amazon customer reviews would indicate?
Each year, we ask, "Was this the best year ever for games?" A good deal of the time, our answer tends toward "Yes," with a few nostalgia-maniacs vehemently worshipping 1998 instead. "Oh, they're just raving fanboys," I've always thought of those stuck in '98. "Their opinions are rooted in so much misguided subjectivism that even a bulldozer couldn't budge them."
However, a recent post at the always-interesting Sexy Videogameland gave me some insight into another, altogether more-acceptable reason for gamers' unyielding grip on the past. The post, by Leigh Alexander, of course, took a look at our tendency to play a game once, shove it into a nice, dusty shelf corner, and leave it there with no hope of excavation. Why do we do this? Especially when, as Leigh pointed out, many of us were happy to bury months of our lives in a single game back in the day.
But the answer's simple, really: You're reading this column.
As a bleeding-edge gamer, when you're not playing a game, you're probably reading about other games -- basking in the ever-brightening glow of a new title's hype -- and getting yourself psyched to play them. This column, with its daily dose of the latest gaming news, only helps propagate this trend.
Really though, does it matter? As Leigh pointed out, our consumer-focused society breeds hit-driven industries. Movies, TV, sports -- you name it. "15 seconds of fame" is an apt phrase. So we're just like other media. Big deal. But I think it does matter. I think games, by virtue of their interactivity, are meant to break the typical, rapid-fire hype cycle. And that's why so many gamers love 1998. The year was chock-full of top-notch titles, but gamers still spent hundreds of hours with their favorites -- testing boundaries and pushing limits. Why? The hype train as we know it hadn't quite picked up steam. Print was still strong and the Internet wasn't the all-knowing force that it is today.
And therein lies the problem. As the gaming industry grows -- as the press expands and the hype train takes on new carts -- it defies its own potential. Someday, games will shrug off the shackles of linearity, but will gamers stick around to experience those trailblazers in different ways? Or will our own anticipation for The Next Big Thing get the best of us?
Today's Roundup details a couple of initiatives that could grab at gamers' ankles and never let go, but will they work? Can't say. But for now, my commentary will have to suffice. It's all past the break.
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.