THQ's Cory Ledesma didn't come out and say that used game buyers are the scum of the earth, but it's hard not to feel like you've just been given a verbal wedgie if you've ever shopped at Gamestop or bought a used game off of eBay.
"I don't think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything," Ledesma told Gamasutra. "So if used game buyers are upset they don't get the online feature set I don't really have much sympathy for them.
"That's a little blunt but we hope it doesn't disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game's bought used we get cheated."
And therein lies the point of debate. While Ledesma and those who share his opinion feel that the used game business cheats publishers and game developers out of hard earned profits, it's based on the assumption that a used game sale is taking the place of a new game sale. To some extent that's probably true, but across the board? Not likely.
Ledesma's comments come on the heels of U.S. analyst Micheal Pachter claiming that DLC codes are having very little effect on Gamestop's bottom line. There's also been some talk that THQ plans to raise the price of online access to $10.
Metro 2033 wasn’t just within spitting distance of greatness; it was so close, it could have reached out and given greatness a wet willy. So each and every time the game’s clunky shooting and shoddy AI reminded us that its living, breathing world wasn’t actually living or breathing at all, our hearts broke a little. With any luck, though, the number won’t be the only thing that changes in Metro 2034.
“We're going to be doing a 3D version of that on Metro 2034 - the sequel. And there will be some engineering costs there, but that's in our lowest cost centre in the world. Those games are unbelievably reasonable, they're built in Kiev,” THQ's core games VP Danny Bilson told CVG during a discussion of 3D tech.
This is the first time Metro 2034’s been mentioned in any official capacity. Unfortunately, aside from its name and the fact that it’ll be another 3D showcase, our knowledge of it is within wet willy-ing distance of nothing. If there’s any justice in the world, though, the game will get the Tin-Man-from-Wizard-of-Oz treatment: a bit of oil for its rusty, stiff shooting and a brain for its lackluster AI. That’d be just about the best thing ever, we think.
Last year’s Red Faction: Guerilla was the best kind of pleasant surprise, literally blowing away our expectations with its go-anywhere, destroy-everything approach to sci-fi rebellion. The fact that the main character bore more than a passing resemblance to Jason Statham also didn’t hurt. The fact that he swung a two ton hammer around like it was made of paper mache, however, did. As in, it hurt enemies. A lot.
And now the game’s getting a sequel, which has us doing a thematically appropriate happy dance in the form of a modified (read: awful) version of the dance seen in M.C. Hammer’s “Hammer Time.” Due for release next March, Red Faction: Armageddon sees an ancient race of aliens drive humanity underground. Playing as Darius Mason, grandson of Jason Statham Alec Mason, you’ll lead a resistance movement against your spiky, toothy foes, reconstructing old technology and using something called a “Magnet Gun” as you go.
Exciting, right? Well, yes and no. Armageddon sounds like it’ll be more like the first two Red Faction games in many ways (underground mine setting, etc.), meaning it probably won’t follow the open-world format established by Guerrilla. Problem is, Guerrilla was at its best when you were driving cars through buildings, hammering foes like they were crooked nails, and just generally wreaking havoc. Take all that away and you have a set of barely above-average shooter levels.
Right now, THQ is describing Armageddon as a “shooter,” which – combined with the underground setting -- has us a bit worried. Hopefully our fears will be put to rest during next week’s E3 conference, but for now, why not watch the game’s trailer and judge for yourself?
Remember Company of Heroes? For those in need of a refresher, it's an absolutely fantastic World War II-based RTS from the genre-geniuses over at Relic. Unlike before, though, when the game took a few potshots at the company of ones and zeroes known as your bank account, it's now gone completely free with Company of Heroes Online! Well, mostly completely free, anyway.
See, as you outwit and outfight opponents, you'll earn upgrades for your army – kind of like experience points in an MMO. However, if you'd like to make your band of brothers harder and better a little bit faster, you can spend a few real-world dollars to get a leg up on the competition.
We know what you're thinking: “How in StarCraft's name will they balance this?” Well, we're still pretty skeptical about it ourselves, but from the sound of things, upgrades are tailored less toward giving you better armor and firepower and more toward opening up new options and playstyles. In other words, so long as you know what you're doing, even if you live in a cardboard box house and model the latest sackcloth chic for a living, you could still dominate Richie Rich in Company of Heroes Online.
“Maintaining play balance is extremely important and is a key focus for the team. We aren’t ready to speak in-depth about specifics just yet, but we are looking to maintain fun and fair competition through a variety of methods including free upgrades, earned in-game 'currency', and intelligent matchmaking,” the developer wrote.
So that's the plan, anyway. Execution, obviously, may turn out to be an entirely different story. Still though, we'll certainly be keeping an eye on this one, and hopefully we'll have a chance to play it sooner rather than later, though no specific release date beyond “fall 2010” has been given just yet.
While console fans squabble over who gets to don the money crown and declare themselves winner of the console wars, us PC gamers sit back and actually enjoy our games. Yep, we’ve got it pretty good. But everyone once in a while, a game series like Legend of Zelda or God of War comes along and knocks everyone’s socks off – ours included – but we can’t partake of the goods because Nintendo and Sony’s mascots only show up on their respective home courts.
Darksiders is a somewhat elegant solution to that problem. See, it basically is Zelda and God of War put together. And it’s a great game, to boot!
“We are really excited to have the opportunity to bring Darksiders to the global PC audience. We feel that the growth of digital distribution and PC online communities creates a great environment for our game. We are working really hard to make sure that key features such as user-defined resolutions, interface and both keyboard and game pad control sets are all up to the standards for today’s discerning PC consumer,” said David Adams, General Manager of Vigil Games.
The game’s out this June. Nothing like the apocalypse to liven up those summer doldrums, eh?
Rebellions are messy business, but so long as you’re the one junking up the place, they can be pretty fun. This is especially true if your “junking” tool of choice is a giant, building-busting hammer. Don’t believe us? Just try playing Volition’s 2009 sleeper hit Red Faction: Guerrilla.
Don’t dally around on Mars’ infinitely destructible surface for too long, though. In a recent investor call, THQ announced a sequel to Red Faction: Guerrilla, which is set to drop during the publisher’s fiscal 2011 – which begins on April 1, 2010.
We think it’s fairly safe to assume the game won’t be kicking out the supports from under our free time until after June, however, since it’s on tap to be unveiled at E3 2010. Here’s hoping this gives developer Volition plenty of time to expand its arsenal of avian weaponry. After all, the Ostrich Hammer was a nice start, but even punting people into orbit using a large, flightless bird gets boring after a while.
We love the PC as much as more than anyone ever, but even we’ll admit that consoles play host to some top-notch games. Two of our recent favorites? Resident Evil 5 and Red Faction: Guerrilla. However, for those of you who haven’t started roaming the street corners, searching for some console lovin’, there’s still hope. Both games are making their PC debuts this September.
First up, Resident Evil 5’s shambling our way on September 14, with support Nvidia’s 3D Vision hardware. You’ll also have access to new costumes, and an upgraded version of the game’s Mercenaries mode.
Red Faction, meanwhile, is computerizing the revolution on September 15. Unlike its undead-obliterating cousin, Red Faction’s not really bringing anything new to the PC. Who cares, though? It’s a game that allows and encourages the systematic destruction of a small country’s worth of buildings. You’ll buy it, and you will never regret anything ever again.
So, what are your purchasing plans? Resident Evil, Red Faction, both, or neither?
If you thought Empire: Total War and Dawn of War II were forcing the sun to beam a little too brightly over the RTS landscape, here’s some cold reality to yank your bloom setting back down to normal levels. Speaking with Crispy Gamer, THQ VP Julie MacMedan said that, if her beleaguered benefactor can’t offload Rise of Nations/Legends developer Big Huge Games within “the near future,” the studio won’t be giving anyone a rise ever again.
“In addition,” read the statement, “THQ informed the staff at its Big Huge Games studio in Timonium, MD, that it plans to close the studio if a sale is not completed in the near future. These actions were unfortunate but were necessitated by the difficult economic environment.”
THQ recently laid-off 600 employees, and was given a 50-50 chance of survival by Dr. Analyst. Really, it’s every man for himself at this point.
Big-name sequels charting well in their first month of sales? No way. Also clown-in-your-cake surprising is Fallout 3’s staying power (the game first launched in October!), for which we use the only portion of Left 4 Dead that didn’t also claw its way into the top 20 to give a hearty thumb-up.
Check out the full list:
World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $38 (Average)
The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $19 (Average)
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II / Relic / $49 (Average)
World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $37 (Average)
Not only that – it’s also over-taken World of Warcraft on the PC sales charts! (Anyone? Anyone?) In fact, according to NPD, Dawn of War II has quietly commandeered a place atop most every PC sales chart in existence: US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia – you name it.
Naturally, publisher THQ – who’s definitely feeling the heat emanating from the economic laser slowly inching toward its region (wink, wink) – is pleased as punch, whatever that actually means.
“We have built ‘Dawn of War’ into a premier PC gaming franchise based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe,” said Brian Farrell, THQ president and CEO.
“We are pleased with consumers’ strong response to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II across many of our key markets and believe the game’s success clearly demonstrates our primary objective of delivering high quality games with strong global appeal.”
We, for, er, a few, welcome our new RTS overlords. How about you?