While there are a number of troublesome trends in the video game industry (as many of you have noted in the Mass Effect 3 DLC discussion), every now and then someone just gets it right. I think because of the anti-consumer nature of the industry at times, it becomes that much more potent when a company does something on our behalf, or something that goes against the grain.
Today, Sony launched a totally free version of Killzone 3’s multiplayer mode for download on PSN. Yes, Killzone, one of their staple franchises. You can play the game with friends, kill random strangers, and even rank up – although past a certain point you’ll need to pay money for continued experience and trophies. Again, that’s hours of entertainment for the grand total of free ninety-nine.
To me, this is a bold and brilliant move by the company that just a few years back tried to tell us their Heavenly Sword player was worth a staggering fee of $599 with a straight face. This is basically the equivalent of Microsoft announcing that Halo: Reach’s multiplayer was going free to play. Obviously, the business side of this is that Sony hopes that it will encourage gamers to buy DLC packs, maps and so forth, but I think the results will be interesting to watch. A number of MMOs didn’t become profitable until they went free-to-play, so I can only guess that this will have a positive effect for Killzone 3 as well.
What do you guys think of this decision? Would you like to see other companies pull something similar with their big franchises? Go!
I know, I know, this is another gaming industry trash talk article, but bear with me for a minute. Now that Bungie has said good-bye to Halo, Microsoft has taken up the banner, trumping up their upcoming schedule of Halo titles like the Combat Evolved remake this fall and Halo 4 later next year. Since Halo 4 features the return of Master Chief, Microsoft’s Corporate VP Phil Spencer talked with OXM about bringing back the O.G. Spartan and why Halo 4 evokes the spirit of the first Halo. I get that he’s promoting Halo 4, but the way he does it is kind of odd. Have a look at the quote, and see if anything strikes you as unusual.
“The key question for me in managing the studio and the creatives is ‘what is Halo?’, making sure Halo lives up to what I think gamers fell in love with [playing Combat Evolved],” Spencer told OXM at E3 after the new game’s official reveal.
“What does that mean? Playing Master Chief,” he said. “We kind of lost our way a little bit, I’ll say. And that’s why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that’s who you want to play.”
It’s the “we kind of lost our way a little bit” coupled with the fact that Mr. Spencer seems to think that Master Chief is what makes Halo Halo. Now that Bungie has officially parted ways with their old publisher, I think a little bit of resentment is starting to crop up in the 343 Industries office. Saying that Halo lost is way in ODST and Reach was a bit unfair, especially considering that Reach was lauded as the closest the series has ever come to emulating the magic of Halo: Combat Evolved.
I guess you could look at this from a story standpoint, but I just don’t think that gamers care that much about who they’re playing as in Halo, as long as the combat is fun and there’s co-op and multiplayer to boot. What do you guys think? Is Phil Spencer dissing Bungie, or does he geniunly believe that people want the Master Chief back really, really badly?
Recently, I’ve become a little obsessed with Play Arts Kai’s line of Halo: Reach action figures, having bought Emile and scouring the city for the past month for Jun and Noble 6, the other two available figures in the current series. While I haven’t really been that into gaming doodads, purchasing the Orange Knight from Castle Crashers during my trip to PAX Prime and picking up the Halo: Reach Legendary Edition has kind of kindled my interest in collecting various pieces of memorabilia.
My geography has once again put me at a disadvantage as Square Enix only accepts American credit cards, but I’ve tracked down a few distributors and I’m planning on getting the whole set. It’s interesting because before this I thought that buying statues related to gaming was taking my hobby a bit to far, but some of the things you can get are pretty freaking sweet.
Do any of you share my current fixation? Do you have any figures currently, or are you planning on getting some? What’s the farthest you’ve gone to acquire something like this?
One of the biggest criticisms leveraged against Halo: Reach was the astonishingly low quality of the multiplayer maps included in the retail version. The original offerings were either spaces taken from the campaign or Forge World creations and remakes of older maps. Even the Noble Map Pack, released by Bungie on November 30, didn’t measure up to the maps of the previous Halo games, though they were better than the base offerings.
Interestingly, Halo: Reach’s second map pack, the Defiant Map Pack, was crafted by Certain Affinity, who made the Blastacular Map Pack for Halo 2. The Defiant Map Pack includes two new multiplayer spaces and a Firefight arena, but what makes this particular DLC worth your hard earned space bucks? Continue reading Halo: Reach’s Defiant Map Pack: DLC Worth Paying For
It looks like we’re not done with Halo: Reach yet, as 343 Industries just dropped a trailer for the new multiplayer map pack, dubbed the “Defiant Map Pack”. Just like the Noble Map Pack, Defiant features three brand new multiplayer arenas, one specifically built for the Firefight gameplay mode, making this the first ever Firefight DLC. If you thought the Noble pack had some good looking maps, prepare to be amazed as one of the arenas features a Covenant carrier actually glassing the background as you play.
There’s no firm release date for Defiant yet, but the trailer does specify March 2011 as the intended target. What do you guys think of the new maps? Any thoughts on this announcement coming from 343 Industries and not Bungie?
I’m sure it’s happened to all of us: we beat a game, put the disc back in the box and set it back on our shelf, sure that it’s going to gather dust or end up as trade in fodder at GameStop. Yet something stops us from trading it in, and a while later, be it a few weeks or even a couple months, that game is back in your console or on Steam, once again sucking up your time.
Lately for me this game has been Halo: Reach. I started playing it on a whim about a week ago, and I’ve ranked a couple of times and have been investing more now in the Theater mode than ever before. I’ve even come to appreciate the Challenge system more, even after whining about it when I was stuck in the Warrant Officer hump a few months ago.
Has this phenomenon ever happened to you, and for which game? Go!
As a gaming nerd, I’m a big fan of statistics (though not nearly as much as Eddy), so looking at the accumulated kills of Grunts in Halo: Reach is a nice Christmas present from the folks at Bungie. Ever since Halo: Reach dropped back on September 14, the Noble Sixes of the world have been investing a lot of time in the sci-fi shooter, spending about twenty-four thousand years in game and earning nine hundred trillion credits in the process.
Of course, reading stats dry off a page is kind of boring, which is why Bungie whipped up a handy infographic detailing the genocidal, time-wasting nature of Halo players. I’ve posted the whole thing after the jump, so go take a look!