Poor, poor EA. You know, I do kind of feel bad for them at this point. Between all the stuff with Mass Effect, trying to launch an much-maligned digital store and Battlefield 3, they really have been getting the short end of the stick recently. Not that they don’t deserve it, but still, it must suck to be the new punching bag.
As another addition to EA’s recent list of slip-ups, a rumored fact sheet for Battlefield 3 Premium has appeared, listing everything that should be coming with the service. As I speculated on The GamerSushi Show, it is a “season pass” of sorts, getting you access to all the DLC and a few goodies for a flat $50 fee. Here’s a quick and dirty read-out of what you get:
All Battlefield 3 DLC (up-coming and previously released) with two week early access
Unique in-game knife, dog-tags, soliders camos and gun camos
Stat reset option
Server queue priority
Exclusive events, double-EXP events and videos
5+ unique assigments
Additional bonus content
In addition to all that you also get some new platoon decal options and the ability to save Battle Reports. Battlefield 3 Premium is shaping up to be pretty decent, considering that all told you get a $10 discount on the DLC. What do you guys think? Are EA and DICE going back on their Call of Duty ELITE trash-talk by offering up a similar service? Will you be picking this up?
This unusual first-person horror game has been making waves recently, so it kind of behooves me to post it here for all of you to see. The game is called Among the Sleep by an indie studio that goes by the name Krillbite and in it you play a two-year old child who encounters monsters after everyone else has gone to sleep. Krillbite recently put up a short gameplay video, so check it out!
I’m not a big fan of horror games per se, but the concept might be enough for me to check it out when it releases. What do you guys think of Among the Sleep? Is it on your radar now?
Is it really already time for another E3? No matter how hard I try to avoid it, the calendar confirms that another round of the Electronic Entertainment Expo is upon us, this time hitting us with all of its buzz June 5-7. For our hobby, this is the equivalent of a holy week, one of those high festivals that requires our time, celebration and perhaps even woe. Although that last one is probably more apt if you’re waiting on a Half-Life 3 announcement.
So, with E3 right around the corner, we thought we would ask you guys what your E3 predictions are. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from this year. Now that Nintendo’s unabashedly broken the next generation ice with the showing of Wii U, this is a year where people are anticipating similar reveals from both Sony and Microsoft. Despite the numerous claims to the contrary, I tend to fall in that camp as well. But then you never truly know.
In terms of specific announcements from other notable developers, I expect a Dragon Age 3 tease of some sort from Bioware, since their other big franchise has laid down to rest for the moment. I also expect something new out of Valve, since they have no releases lined up after CS: GO and Dota 2 this year. I’m also banking on another entry to the Metal Gear Solid series.
So what about you guys? What do you expect or hope to see from E3 this year? Tell us your E3 predictions. Go!
I forget when something qualifies as “over the hill”, but I think at this point the podcast is probably there. As benefits our advanced age, this week’s show is full of ramblings; without Nick on the cast to rein us in with a game we tend to go off on any tangent we feel like. Like episode 48, the result is a shorter podcast but I think that we have some pretty good discussions.
What do we discuss, you ask? We talk about a large variety of things all the way from EA removing official Battlefield 3 servers to Diablo III’s launch day woes and even how BioWare is floundering with the relationship they have with their fans. There’s also a couple of Day Z stories, some ranting about how we’re all too old to enjoy longer games, and whether or not games can (or should) qualify as art.
So! You know the drill, friends. Listen. Rate. Be fruitful and multiply. See you next time on our big five-oh shindig!
0:00 – 3:00 Intro
3:01 – 8:35 Diablo 3 launch day woes
8:36 – 10:30 EA removes official BF3 servers
10:31 – 13:44 The new new EA
13:45 – 18:13 Diablo 3
18:14 – 27:03 The future of Dragon Age
27:04 – 33:07 Padding games and getting old
33:08 – 36:51 Minecraft xbl
36:52 – 39:36 Walking Dead episode 1
39:37 – 49:29 Day Z stories
49:30 – 57:00 Should games be art?
57:01 – 59:04 Outro
It was only a matter of times once things started going south at 38 Studios earlier this month, but it appears that the employees at both that studio and Big Huge Games have been laid off.
Ever since 38 Studios bailed on paying employee salaries to pay back their debt to the state of Rhode Island, the company had been looking for outside funding but apparently they failed to find it in time. Without another loan from the state, 38 Studios shut its doors today with this unceremonious email:
The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012
The trouble apparently stemmed from the fact that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the studio’s first published game, did not sell nearly as many copies as hoped. Reckoning sold 1.2 million copies but needed to move 3 million to be considered a success. That’s a rather high target, especially for an unproven IP with very little marketing from EA’s part.
What do you guys think of 38′s mass layoff? What’s you opinion on the situation in general?
An unintended side-effect of the long-standing legal battle between former Infinity Ward head honchos Jason West and Vincent Zampella and Activision is the reveal of the specifics behind Bungie’s contract with the publisher. Brought to light as part of the court-case, the 27 page agreement between the Bellevue, Washington studio and Activision details the plans for the studios’ new shooter, code-named Destiny.
There’s plenty of legalese in the document but the basic gist of it is that Bungie has signed on for a four game deal, the first of which is set to drop in 2013 for the Xbox 360. Subsequent games will be released on the next generation systems (aggravatingly, the agreement calls the 360 successor the “Xbox 720″) including the PS3 follow up and PCs. The games will be spaced to come out every other year with additional content packs called “Comet” filling in the gaps. Destiny is not strictly a “sci-fi” game but rather a “sci-fantasy” shooter. What that means exactly isn’t clear, so we’ll have to wait for a more specific reveal on that. The contract also stipulates that Bungie is working to revive their classic Marathon franchise.
Bungie’s official response, entitled “Well, that just happened” all but confirms this as fact, promising that the official reveal is coming soon and we’ll be seeing them starside in 2013.
What do you guys think about this? Is it unfair to Bungie to have their secret work revealed without much fanfare? Is this a low blow by West and Zampella’s lawyers to expose another developer? What do you think of the working conditions Bungie is under in the contract? Thoughts on what “sci-fantasy” means?
Diablo III will probably go down as having one of the most successful launches of the year sales wise. Even if Blizzard’s server farm probably melted during the initial 24-hour rush, there’s no denying that a lot of people wanted to play the new hack-and-slash RPG. What’s curious about this is that Diablo III hit the streets with no launch day reviews.
While it can be argued that Blizzard, along with Valve, could get away with not needing day-one reviews, the case can still be made that the rush to review is damaging to both the industry and the consumer. It’s something we’ve talked about before here on GamerSushi, but VG247′s Patrick Garrat takes another look at this concept from the perspective of Diablo’s launch.
As games are becoming increasingly reliant on an Internet connection, pre-release review events are done in a controlled environment so things like latency, server issues and all sorts of errors don’t crop up. Games like this are reviewed in a vacuum and that harms the consumer’s impression. Launch-day reviews can be damaging in this case. Remember Gears of War 2, and all of its great scores, none of which mentioned the horrible net-code that plagued users for weeks? Remember any of the Battlefield games that launched with no connectivity, effectively killing the only reason people bought the game? This is stuff that doesn’t get addressed in a pre-release review session.
The big presence behind all of this is Metacritic, where a studio’s future is made or broken. There’s been a couple cases for breaking away from using Metacritic as a measure of success, but Diablo III is the first step towards actual change. If Blizzard was willing to distance themselves from this model, maybe other publishers will follow suit.
So what do you guys think? Does Diablo III’s successful launch mean that we can eventually move away from Metacritic or is this a case of Blizzard being Blizzard? Do you think that day-one reviews are a detriment to a game’s success? What do you think about the article in general? Go!
For awhile, we’ve been talking about ways to start getting more video content up here at GamerSushi. A lot of you have followed us over from SFF, so you know that video production is something that we really dig. So here’s a new thing we’ve been working on: Trailer Trash.
In a situation where many publishers would have left their customers twisting in the wind, Blizzard has once again proven why they’re one of the most respected studios in the business.
Bad news struck potential Australian Diablo III players yesterday when GAME announced that they were going into administration and wouldn’t be handling any copies of the long awaited hack-and-slash RPG because of payment issues with their shipping companies. This left a lot of angry people with pre-orders than were good for nothing.
For a while it seemed that nothing would be done about the pre-orders that were now lost, but Blizzard stepped in and announced that they would be honoring all Diablo III pre-orders from GAME dated before May 15. Yes, eager to help their fans stare at a menu screen along with everyone else, Blizzard posted on their forums that if people affected by GAME’s closure bought Diablo III off Battle.Net before May 21 and sent Blizzard their pre-order receipt before June 20 they will be refunded the whole amount for the game.
Pretty decent of Blizzard to step up and offer a solution instead of just letting all those unsold copies of Diablo III sit around. At the end of the day they’ve got their money and people have their Diablo, so it’s a fair trade, I have to say.
What do you guys think about this turn of events? Pretty impressed with Blizzard? Anyone on here affected by the GAME situation? Go!
Naughty Dog’s first post-Uncharted game, The Last of Us, is still on approach for the end of this year, promising to bring Naughty Dog’s signature cinematic style to a post-apocalyptic father/daughter tale. Even though the Earth is supposedly covered with whatever sort of zombie has been cooked up for this game, the real danger in these situations is other people, as is aptly demonstrated by the Truck Ambush trailer which shows the hard choices a man has to make after the world has gone to hell.
Admittedly I wasn’t a huge fan of Uncharted 3, but The Last of Us is still on my radar because I know Naughty Dog has it in them to deliver a really tight story-driven experience. It will be interesting to play a family man as opposed to the wise-cracking Nathan Drake and I’m sure there will be a lot of tense moments to go with it. What are you thoughts on the trailer? Do you want more?
The long-awaited day is here, Sushi-ans! After 12 long years, the wait for Blizzard’s epic hack-n-slash dungeon crawler is here, and Diablo fans all over the world can slay the minions of hell together. Diablo 3 is upon us, which means that some of us are sitting at work itching to play.
My plans is to get home tonight, purchase Diablo 3 and start all the pre-loading business as soon as possible. And who knows, maybe I’ll have a chance to hop in for some co-op with my brothers before bed. In terms of characters, I fully intend to roll a Monk. After my time with the beta, that class seems to be what I prefer over the others, and gave me the most satisfying skills/gameplay combination.
What about you guys? Who out there plans to pick up Diablo 3? What character are you going to roll? Go!
By now, we all know about Double Fine’s landmark Kickstarter campaign, which netted them millions of dollars from gamers seeking a classic adventure game. Even though this has spawned a number of copy cat attempts and some obnoxious reporting from other video game websites (do we seriously count Kickstarters running short of their goal as news, now?), I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for an update from Tim Schafer about the progress of the project.
Well, here it is. If you’ll recall, part of the funding for the project was going towards a documentary of the game-making process, as filmed and created by 2 Player Productions. Funding the Kickstarter gives access to these documentary pieces, giving an in-depth look at every stage of development. But if you didn’t fund the project, fear not — Double Fine was gracious enough to release Double Fine: Adventure: Episode One for free.
While we don’t see a whole lot of the game in development at this point, it’s certainly a well made introduction to the entire series, giving a run down on Tim Schafer’s background in the adventure genre, as well as the reactions at the studio upon seeing the success of the Kickstarter campaign.
What do you guys think of Episode One? Who else backed the Double Fine Adventure? Go!
For years, fans have been clamoring for a sequel to Michel Ancel’s cult classic, Beyond Good and Evil. Even though the game didn’t enjoy huge commercial success, it’s developed quite a following from those that experienced this sci-fi adventure set in a truly engrossing world. A couple of years back, Ubisoft teased those of us that have been dying for a follow-up with a short CGI trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2, but since then, rumors of the game’s cancellation and subsequent re-start have been in wild circulation.
Where does this game actually stand? Last week, some new details popped up in a video interview with Michel Ancel, which was then translated at NeoGAF. Apparently, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is still in active development — for next generation consoles. Since then, even more news has come to light, first in the form of leaked screenshots, but then in the form of a leaked environment video, showcasing some of the game’s settings.
Just a few weeks after Trials Evolution shattered the sales records on Xbox LIVE, the Arcade version of indie PC darling Minecraft came and dumped a bucket full of Creepers on RedLynx’s success.
Just under a day after its official release, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition became the highest selling title on Xbox LIVE, with the leaderboards tracking some 400,000 players according to Major Nelson’s blog. While there are no exact sales figures available, a tweet from Notch, the owner of the company behind Minecraft, revealed that this version of the game was profitable in an hour.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though, as the makers of FortressCraft are a little bitter about Minecraft’s success on the platform that their game previously dominated. The website for FortressCraft suffered a pretty serious DDoS (Dedicated Denial of Service) attack on the same day that Minecraft hit Xbox LIVE. The man behind FortressCraft, Adam Sawkins, then went on a Twitter rant, saying some disparaging things about Notch, the Minecraft community and the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Any thoughts on all this craziness? How many copies do you think they sold to be profitable in under an hour? What do you think of the FortressCraft backlash? Go!
As much as it pains me to post this, GamerSushi’s preemptive Game of the Year 2012 BioShock Infinite has been delayed in 2013, Take Two Interactive revealed today. The new release date is February 26.
In addition to this sobering news, the game will be skipping all the major events for the remainder of the year including E3 and Gamescom. There’s no official reason behind Infinite’s delay, but Ken Levine did give a statement regarding the move:
When we announced the release date of BioShock Infinite in March, we felt pretty good about the timing. Since then, we’ve uncovered opportunities to make Infinite into something even more extraordinary,” said Irrational Games Creative Director Ken Levine. “Therefore, to give our talented team the time they need to deliver the best Infinite possible, we’ve decided to move the game’s release to February. That way, the next time you see our game, it will be essentially the product we intend to put in the box. Preparing for these events takes time away from development, time we’re going to use instead to get the best version of Infinite into your hands in February
Nothing too world-shaking there, but at least we know that Ken Levine is commited to giving us the best version of BioShock Infinite that he can, publisher pressure be damned.
What do you guys think of the delay? Has this changed your fall gaming plans?
I can’t help it. I love a solid, good old-fashioned look at some gameplay. While these kinds of trailers are few and far between for the gaming industry these days, every now and then we’re given a treat of several minutes of footage that actually gives us a glimpse of what a particular title is going to look like.
Enter the world premiere of the Assassin’s Creed III trailer, which does just that. Here, we have small snippets of everything Ubisoft has been declaring about the game for the last month. Shots of epic battles, tree climbing, seasonal effects and combat against numerous firearm wielding opponents all abound in this new video, designed to get our taste buds ready for yet another entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. And dare I say, I’m excited about it.
What say the fine folks at GamerSushi? Yay or meh? Go!
Another month, another crazy thing to report from the insane realm that is EVE Online. We’ve talked about this startlingly player-directed space MMO on a couple of other occasions, and each time I hear these things I get a renewed interest in the game. Sure, the actual playing of it sounds boring, but it feels like it would almost be worth it to experience these epic scenarios.
If you’re unaware, the thing that makes EVE Online so unique is that developer CCP basically lets anything go down, as long as it doesn’t break the game’s terms of service. This means that some huge fluid narratives have taken place, from the take down of major in-game corporations to the loss of actual, real dollars in the form of ISK, which can be renewed for subscriptions or even other products.
The latest insane in-game caper? A player-organized movement to crash the whole game’s economy, which works just like an actual economy. This movement was called Burn Jita, with Jita being the major trading system, full of companies and frigates carrying anything from equipment to other ships or billions’ worth of ISK. The goal was to organize thousands of players in a huge ransack mission that would destroy/burn all these assets in order to upend the entire economy.
It’s been a little over a month since we asked this wonderful question of you fine readers: what are you playing?
As we’ve come through the spring, we now hit that nice little lull that allows us gamers to catch up on the things that have been eluding us for quite some time, or perhaps take a shot at titles we wouldn’t normally try out. Sure, we’ve got Max Payne 3 and Diablo III on the way, but generally speaking, the summer is a nice relaxing (or boring, depending how you look at it) time when we get to play what we want, rather than try to stay on top of an unclimbable pile of games.
Myself, I’ve got a baby to contend with these days, so it makes my gaming time limited to quick little bouts of Trials Evolution when I’ve got a few spare seconds, but in the near future I hope to dive into MGS HD and Team Ico HD. But before that, I’ve set my sights on two indie gems: Fez, which I’ve already begun playing, and Dear Esther, a curious title that has really captured my imagination over the last week. It’s actually downloading as we speak, so I’ll be sure to report in on my thoughts of the game soon enough.
So what about you guys? What are you playing this fine May?
One of the newest features of GamerSushi would be the Power Rankings page, wherein we pit the games of 2012 against each other every few weeks or so, in order to see who is leading the chase for that coveted top 10 spot. We’re pretty excited about updating this regularly, and we think it’ll be fun for you guys to get involved. Heck, your comments might even sway our rankings for the next go around.
Anyway, we’ve just given the page its first update, and there is already some moving and shaking going on.
One of the biggest stories in gaming over the last few years was the closing of Free Radical, the studio behind the TimeSplitter series, Second Sight, Haze and the oft-rumored Battlefront 3. The studio had a tumultuous time transitioning from the PS2 generation to this one, and their final game, Haze, received a pretty harsh critical reception.
Free Radical went silent after that, working away on Battlefront 3 for LucasArts. That game suffered through a turbulent development and was eventually canned by LucasArts. Screenshots and videos of Battlefront 3 keep coming out, and by all accounts it looked awesome. So what happened?
Eurogamer recently had an in-depth interview with Steve Ellis and David Doak, Free Radical’s two co-founders where they detail the journey of the studio all the way from splitting from Rare after GoldenEye to the problems with Haze’s development. It also explores the issues they had working with LucasArts on Battlefront 3. It’s only one side of the story, but given what the Free Radical guys say, they were hard pressed to find even a basic working relationship with the folks at LucasArts.
It’s a really good article, and I suggested you give it a read. It’s a bit lengthy but it gives a lot of background into the fall of one of the studios that gave us some of the best games of our youth. TimeSplitters is a franchise that I used to love back in the day and I remember being really disappointed by Haze when it came out. I didn’t play it, due to lack of funds at the time, but I wanted it to be a success. I just remember being really drawn in by the premise and the design of the main character.
What do you guys think of the article? Are you impressed that Free Radical lasted as long as they did? What do you think of their time with LucasArts? Go!