Franchise fatigue? Ubisoft’s never heard of that, apparently. With Assassin’s Creed 3 on the way, Gamasutra sat down for an interview with Ubisoft North America executive director Laurent Detoc, in which he insisted that the idea that there can be too many sequels simply isn’t true. So does that mean we’ll see Assassin’s Creed 8, 9 and 10?
“I hope we will,” says Detoc. He goes on:
“I also hope we’ll be able to branch out from within the franchise. It’s very simple to me: There’s no such thing as not being able to annualize a franchise. If it’s good, people will come.”
I get that this guy is talking from a business standpoint. Obviously, a game studio head wants to crank out yearly sequels for a profit – but surely, everyone remembers what happened to some of Activision’s franchises recently, yes? People do get fatigued and move on from franchises. We’ve seen it time and time again.
It seems like some of these studios should worry more about how to offer something new and less about how to crank out the same thing every year. The reason some are excited about Assassin’s Creed 3 isn’t because they’re dying to see what happens to Desmond — it’s because the game finally represents a shot in the arm for the franchise, after several years of re-hashing some of the same ground.
What do you guys think? Is this WTF worthy? Or am I just overreacting? Call me crazy. Do it. Go!
It’s already June, Sushians, and you know what that means: another installment of What Are You Playing, the recurring post where you get to tell us what currently occupies your PC or console and what you think of it.
May saw a couple big releases, namely Max Payne 3 and Diablo 3, but given that we’re also in somewhat of a draught from now unti September, this is also a good time to catch up on your backlog.
Personally, I’ve been getting back into Battlefield 3 a whole bunch, especially since it’s just had another huge patch which has fixed some of the glitches that the last patch brought on and has tweaked some things that needed it, like suppression and a number of weapons. It’s nice that DICE is committed to upkeep on their game, but this just shows how unprepared Battlefield 3 was when it launched in October of last year. The game has changed in a lot of fundamental ways and I expect it will continue to do so with all the DLC coming out over the next year.
Enough about me though, what are you guys playing? Something new, or maybe catching up on the backlog?
Welcome to the June Power Rankings page update. If you’re new to this feature, it’s our running list of the top 10 games of 2012, pitted against each other in brutal fashion. Think Wizard Chess, only not as cool. Really, that’s not a fair comparison, since nothing is cooler than Wizard Chess, but the point still stands — these games are fighting for their lives.
Just like the last update, we see some more moving and shaking as new contenders arrive, and old games fade away.
While I like to think that I am a savvy consumer, the truth is that I don’t always make the best purchases when it comes to games. Sometimes there’s that one franchise that, even when I know the game will most likely be a steaming pile of crap, I still need to pick it up just in case.
Time and time again that franchise has been Spider-Man, which hasn’t had a really good game since Spider-Man 2 (Shattered Dimensions was pretty decent, but nowhere near that level). I’ve tried them all, from Spider-Man 3 to Web of Shadows, to the aforementioned Shattered Dimensions and the horrible Edge of Time. With the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie tie-in game, I might just get fooled again. The new Web Rush mechanic sounds really cool, and the Batman: Arkham City inspired fighting might just spruce up the sections of Spider-Man games that have traditionally been the weakest link.
Before you get to judging me, think back and see if there are any gaming series that draw you in every time, even if history says you should save your money. What are they, and why do you keep going back?
There are no secrets in the video game industry, which is why we knew about Dead Space 3′s co-op mode almost a week before its official debut at the E3 press conference. Even though we knew it was coming, we didn’t know what it would look like, so the six-minute on stage demo was enough to get a good idea. Here’s that demo so you can watch for yourself:
So what do you guys think? Is it a little too action packed for your taste? How will Visceral Games maintain the horror with two people running and gunning? How does new character John Carver compare to Isaac Clarke? Speak up!
Just like last year’s E3 press conference, Microsoft had a bit of a lackluster showing with nothing but sequels, media boasting and Kinect showings. Did Sony do a better job in 2012 than 2011 of capitalizing where the competition falter?
We’ve been teasing it for weeks and now we’re finally here: the big Episode 50 celebration, the Drunk Cast! I’ll skip my usual jokes about the absence of friend of the show Nick Comardo and just let you enjoy the craziness.
This is also our E3 2012 predictions show, so we manage to squeeze in some forecasting about what the big three and the publishers will do next week. We also talk 38 Studios, Infinity Ward’s redonkulous salaries and Bungie’s contract with Activision. In addition to that we have a couple bro-downs and Eddy not so humble-brags about his accomplishments over the last year.
By this point you’ve probably stopped reading and are listening to the cast, but don’t forget to rate it on iTunes when you’re done. We’ll see you all post E3 for The Hangover Cast 2.
Man, as if next week isn’t already going to be crazy enough, it seems like developers are trying to get ahead of the game by putting out some new trailers on GameTrailers TV’s annual pre-E3 bash. Madness, I say!
In addition to LucasArts announcing Star Wars 1313, a mature third-person shooter that takes place on Coruscant, Konami and Mercury Steam have revealed the first Lords of Shadow 2 trailer. It doesn’t show any kind of gameplay, but it gives a glimpse into the direction of the next game, with Gabriel Belmont as the villain of sorts… and even hints at a new Belmont clan arrival.
But the crown jewel of last night’s trailers would have to be the Dishonored gameplay trailer. It looks like Bioshock and Half-Life 2′s bastard child, if that’s at all possible. View some sweet assassin kills and the crazy steampunk atmosphere below. Lords of Shadow 2 trailer after the jump.
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?
Two years ago, Final Fantasy XIII caused quite a stir among long time fans of the series. As the long-awaited current generation entry into the legendary franchise, expectations were high — and disappointment was even higher. While the game managed to have some quality gameplay mechanics that changed the formula for the better, the story and some of the design decisions seemed like an enormous step backward for the series. In many ways, fans have considered Final Fantasy XIII-2 to be a “do-over” or an apology for the lackluster Final Fantasy XIII. But does it go far enough to resolve fans’ woes?
One of the biggest problems that critics had with the Uncharted series is that wisecracking every-man protagonist, Nathan Drake, becomes a mass murderer on a war-crimes scale over the course of a game. Naturally, it’s a video game, so you can expect to be shooting dudes, but this aspect of the Uncharted games always rubbed people the wrong way.
For Naughty Dog’s next title, The Last of Us, they’re seeking to address this concern by making the combat tense and building up a good contextual reason for killing other people. In a post-apocalyptic world, the survivors you’ll run across aren’t afraid to use violence to achieve their goals, so you’ll well justified in defending yourself. Combat is also changed to be a grueling affair; instead of jumping from one firefight with dozens of guys to the next, The Last of Us aims to make encounters with just a few other survivors as tough an challenging as fighting through a whole level was in Uncharted.
Even Naughty Dog acknowledged the disconnect between the character-building cutscenes in Uncharted and the action sequences so it will be interesting to see if they can pull this off when The Last of Us finally hits. What do you guys think? Were you bothered by this particular problem in Uncharted? Do you think Naughty Dog will actually address it?
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?
It’s Episode 48 of the GamerSushi show! Despite the fact that there’s no game this week will still find a way to fill up almost an hour with our ramblings. Nick is busy with “jobs” so the Beard is not present; I guess you’ll have to make do with us moderately hairy folk.
We talked about a large variety of topics this week and just let the conversation take us where ever it wanted to go. It’s a bit less structured than a normal episode, but I think it still works pretty well.
That’s up for you guys to decide though. Listen to it, rate it, love it. Just one more episode until the big drunkcast! Maybe I’ll live tweet that one too. What do you say?
It seems that Bioware is in hardcore recovery mode these days. As much as I am still in love with this studio, it’s hard to deny that they haven’t made some missteps as of late — and have taken their share of lumps as a result. From the puzzling changes of Dragon Age 2 to the controversial end of Mass Effect 3, this once untouchable RPG producer is now back against the ropes in terms of their relationship with fans.
So it looks like the next step for them is to stop and take stock of Dragon Age and what it means to fans of the franchise. Bioware is going to take a few months to ask a number of questions about where they would like to see the series go — what places they’d like to see in Ferelden and beyond, what races they want to know more about and what kinds of things they’ve been dying to explore.
While this just appears as normal community management from Bioware’s perspective, it also seems like a bit of damage control after the reactions that the company has gotten over its last couple of titles. Although Dragon Age: Origins saw much critical acclaim, Dragon Age 2 is generally regarded as a step backwards in terms of the franchise’s scope, setting and themes. I know I’m just speculating here, but it really looks to me like Bioware is floundering a bit in terms of the direction it wants to take Dragon Age in the future. Obviously, what they’re doing here isn’t amounting to gameplay or story promises — but I do prefer artists to have a much more clear vision than they’re putting on display here.
What do you guys think? Does it look like Bioware is struggling here to reconnect with its fans? Or are they just doing their due diligence to make Dragon Age 3 as good as it can possibly be? 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?
Mass Effect is a series that took all of us by storm, drawing us in with its unique, deep sci-fi world and the hook of making your own Commander Shepard with your own story. The first game had a few issues but BioWare kicked Mass Effect 2 into overdrive, giving us a competent shooter/RPG hybrid that garnered numerous Game of the Year awards.
The third game in the series has raised the stakes, bringing the series big bad the Reapers into the galaxy, plunging every race into a war for survival. You’re tasked with bringing together all of the different races under one banner and taking the fight to Earth. Does Mass Effect 3 manage to tie everything together?
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?