If you fix it, they will come, apparently. After a somewhat sloppy launch, PC RPG The Witcher managed to stick its landing with The Witcher: Enhanced Edition – a re-release (or free patch, if you purchased the original game) that weeded out the game’s bugs in a motherly, primate-esque fashion, while also re-bewitching players with as many new features as possible for a world where kitchen sinks have yet to be invented.
“So what’s all the buzz about? Well, according to our latest sales data, The Witcher has sold more than 1,2 million copies around the world! 'More numbers,' you might say, but let me finish before J Because of those numbers, The Witcher has jumped onto the list of the 100 bestselling PC games in history,” said CD Projekt marketing coordinator Karol Zajaczkowski.
“Not bad, huh? Nevertheless, bragging is not the most important thing here. What’s important is the fact that we would like to thanks all of you - our fans. We did it once before with the anniversary movie, and we just can’t stop thanking you for making The Witcher a popular choice among PC games. You are the real proof that sometimes going upstream, no matter what people say, is worth taking a risk. Without you, none of this would be possible and none of our dreams would ever come true.”
So, did you help buoy Geralt and co. to the top of the heap? If not, consider yourself grounded from the above helping of the warm-and-fuzzies until you've contributed some words of encouragement and a totally manly ass-slap to one of PC gaming's greatest -- yet somehow under-the-radar -- success stories. And hey, you'll even get a pretty decent game out of the whole deal too.
Some game developers and publishers are vehemently opposed to used game sales, and for them, Amazon's announcement of a new used-game trade-in program is nothing to jump for joy over. For everyone else, it just might be.
The Good More options is always a good thing, right? The obvious comparison here is to GameStop, and Amazon bursts out of the gates with over 1,500 eligible titles. But the real surprise is how the trade-in values compare. Amazon appears to be offering more than both GameStop and Game Crazy on most titles. For example, Little Big Planet (PS3) fetches $29 at Amazon versus $26.25 at GameStop and $22.73 with Game Crazy. In that same order, Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360 pulls in $26.50, $24, and $22.73 respectively.
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?
You hear that, GameStop? Capcom thinks you’re all washed up. Maybe it’s time to let the younger, prettier, and – most of all – immaterial new generation start helping you across the street, because your time’s running short. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Capcom VP of strategic planning Christian Svensson explained why.
“Absolutely. No question in my mind. Digital distribution on PC ties directly into our strategy," Svensson replied when asked whether or not digital beats retail. “We will probably do as much digital selling as retail in the current climate,” he later added.
“To that end, on the PC side, I’ve spent the past year building up a digital distribution channel that has about twenty different partners. We’re ready on the console side, and we were the first Japanese publisher to do anything on Steam.”
Just in time, too. Our collection of game manuals was starting to get a little out of hand.
Developer Creative Assembly’s new-er RTS, Stormrise, isn’t a simple, no-strings-attached type of girl like its sister franchise-in-arms, Total War. No sir – while Total War only aims to please (and succeeds, by the look of things), Stormrise won’t relinquish the key to its post-apocalyptic chastity belt without a little wining and dining first. However, whereas Windows XP’s reliable charms might’ve brought the princess back to your castle back in middle school, Stormrise wants – nay, needs – more.
"Stormrise has been designed for DirectX 10 and Vista only right from the start," said Stormrise lead designer Artem Kulakov."Vista only. DX10 only. No fallback option. We have never suggested this or hinted at it, so it shouldn't be a surprise."
But why bet the success of a new franchise on a pie-in-the-sky setup that only 25% of PC gamers can even access? Short answer: consoles.
"DX10 has offered a lot of advantages over DX9," Kulakov added. "First of all, DirectX 10 allowed us to simplify the rendering engine. It matches capabilities of next generation consoles better than DX9, which is important for us considering that Stormrise is a multi-platform title. We had fewer driver-specific compatibility issues with Stormrise compare to our previous games released with DX9."
Person-with-bad-idea-during-a-recession-says-what? Consoles and RTSes (especially those of the obscure, generically titled variety) are notorious for their inability to play nice together. Really, it's like putting all of your eggs in one basket with a gaping hole in the bottom; the expected outcome is as clear as day, so why even do it?
This morning Asus showed off one of their newest gaming related products, the Eee Stick, which is intended to get more people into gaming. The Eee Stick will come in many different colors, and oh yeah, they look and act exactly like a Wiimote.
There’s no word yet on what crowds Asus hopes to get with their Eee Sticks, but it is clear that they’re looking to make their own stake in the casual gaming crowd.
Currently there’s no word on pricing or availability.
Street Fighter IV may claim to have lived out its early days on the street, but that’s a damn lie. In reality, the current king of fighters spent less of its time scrounging together street cred and more picking up virtual credits in the backs of arcades ploughed flat by herds of rail-thin DDR players.
However, a quick look at the wreckin’ machine’s boxy guts reveals a shocking secret: It’s a PC. Runs Windows and everything. So why delay the game’s PC punch-out until after consoles take it for a ride?
"Well the answer is the game's not done," Capcom VP Christian Svensson said after calling accusations of piracy-avoidance “completely absurd.” "So, to put things into perspective, the Street Fighter IV team is working on two things right now. They're finishing the PC SKU, and people are like, well the arcade was the PC, how hard can it be? Well we had all of these additions for the console version in terms of content that didn't exist on the PC. All of that needs to be rolled back in.”
“All of that takes time. The testing on PC in particular is a very, very time consuming process. Testing and optimisation versus obviously when we're working on console or an arcade board for that matter, it has a known configuration that we can optimise for out of the gate," he explained.
“Your next question to me is probably, well why don't you just hold the console versions until the PC is done? The answer is the unfortunate financial realities of making our numbers within certain financial years or quarters drives when we have to actually get some stuff out of the door.”
“The other part of this is while the PC is an important part of our business today, the forecast does not justify holding back the lion share of the revenues that comes from consoles to make it happen.”
Comic-book conventions are wonderful spectacles of geekery, and major Cons are the only place to get exclusive access to behind-the-scenes previews and sneak peeks at your favorite comic book or upcoming film. But for us, the biggest attraction at these sweaty gatherings is the Cosplay: fearless nerds showing off their love for genre characters with marvelous homemade costumes. This past weekend, we roamed the halls of San Francisco's Wondercon to play Cosplay paparazzi. The cosplay harvest wasn't as bountiful as last year's San Diego Comic-Con (where we snapped up four hundred photos), but we still found some delightful gems (and familiar faces) at this local event. Keep an eye out for no fewer than four Rorschachs from the upcoming Watchmen movie, sexy slave Leia, and the most amazing Transformers costume we've ever seen!
Six years after its original release, Command & Conquer Generals has – like a human-controlled competitor at a GameStop Mario Kart kiosk – finally crossed the finish line. Frankly, we would’ve just started a new race.
But we’re not nearly as generous as EA, who has decided to append Command & Conquer Generals with a level once considered too controversial to be deployed with the rest of the game. Why? Because of this little number:
“Players were given command of the Toxin Tractor, a slow-going farm vehicle modified to spray a deadly corrosive agent, and ordered to eliminate a town that had been ‘corrupted beyond salvation’ by the USA's propaganda. While the mission was ultimately removed from Generals, the Toxin Tractor was available in other campaign missions, as well as in multiplayer and skirmish modes.”
Murdering civilians? Detestable! Sorry, EA, but we draw the line at the undiscerning slaughter of friendlies who are actually packing heat, thank you very much. We pick on those who – to the near-sighted – are more or less our same size.
But how about you? Will you be picking up this tiny (and free!) slice of history? Were you even alive when C&C Generals first came out? God, we’re so old.
Console gamers have been melting faces and bashing skulls under mountains of plastic peripherals for years, but what about those of the PC persuasion? Where are our seemingly Skittle-riddled, Fischer Price-friendly hunks of electronic bliss?
They’re in the future. Like jetpacks.
First up, Street Fighter IV – apparently afraid of being associated with this week’s feature flop – is laying low until summer. Well, probably. Capcom vice president, business development and strategic planning, Christian Svensson’s exact words were: "Let's say summer."
The game will likely come bundled with some “sticks and pads” – if you catch Svensson’s meaning. (We assume he means arcade sticks, though “Mad Catz” were also mentioned. This is why videogames confuse old people.)
In other, slightly vaguer peripheral-related news, Intel basically confirmed the existence of Guitar Hero World Tour on the PC. The King Kong of processors passed along a press release that acknowledged the game, and then just sort of stopped, as though the employee writing it finally reached the end of his/her Quake Live queue and abandoned their work to--