I know, awful awful pun. I shall punish myself accordingly by eating this blueberry muffin. Anyway, we’ve got us some news!
- Wasteland 2‘s Kickstarter surpasses all expectations, especially mine. Let the blood sausage festival commence!
- Obsidian is forced to lay people off and cancel a next-generation project. I’d like to blame that Bethesda-New Vegas- Metacritic contract shenanigans, but the reality is slightly more complicated.
- Through a truly unexpected twist of fate, Giant Bomb winds up back inside the GameSpot offices from whence they came. Awkwaaaard~
- Incidentally, GB’s Dave Snider wrote an excellent column about finding work in games media. Well worth a read for even the most discouraged would-be content creator.
- Speaking of interesting columns, Joystiq’s Rowan Kaiser breaks down the year that Western RPGs… well, broke down. Also a fascinating read, even if you disagree about when PC RPGs hit their Golden Age.
- Mass Effect 3‘s ending makes such a splash that it bypasses traditional spoiler alerts. While I don’t spoil it myself, I do go over what it means for BioWare if they don’t address the criticism post-haste.
- Baldur’s Gate gets an enhanced edition, Microsoft gets a new Peter Moore, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Let the Bio Beware’ »
Responding to questions over layoffs and a project cancellation, Obsidian has revealed their agreement with Bethesda regarding the development of Fallout: New Vegas. Specifically, Chris Avellone tweeted that “FNV was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t.” New Vegas scored 84, thus – in spite of over $300 million in sales – the bonus was not paid.
Hello and welcome, everybody! It’s that time again. GDC occupied a lot of the news this week, but among that we have the following:
- Valve’s marketing director clarifies that they are not working on a Steam box… for now. Actually they left off the “for now” part, but let a man dream :3
- Peter Molyneux leaves Lionhead and Microsoft to start his own company once more. Shine on, you awesome fibber. Shine on… or go on to develop social/iOS games like other gaming legends.
- Blizzard offers a rather hefty
bounty returning bonus for players who bring friends back to World of Warcraft…
- …which doesn’t quite distract from their announcement that Diablo III will not have PvP at launch.
- A quartet of big names – Will Wright, Sid Meier, John Romero, and Cliff Bleszinski – offer various insights on the state of the industry, ranging from concerns about self-referential development to homeless simulators. It makes sense in context.
- Tim Cain gives a postmortem on Fallout, sharing the dirt on how the now famous post-apocalyptic RPG almost never saw the light of day. Short answer: blame Windows NT. Watch the whole thing if you can, it’s enlightening stuff.
- Two men make more or less the same complaints about Japanese games, with vastly different levels of tact (and authority), I suggest the big picture might be a bit more complicated, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – There He Goes Again On His Own’ »
Note to self: if Recettear is any indication, EasyGameStation’s Chantelise is worth a look. It’s never too late to enjoy indie RPG goodness. But I ramble, this isn’t about me and my compulsive Steam purchases, it’s time for the news! Here’s what we’re covering:
- SCE’s Shu Yoshida explains why the Vita stumbled in Japan, and how for the US/EU release this time shall be different! We examine why it probably won’t be different at all, Steve.
- Jack Tretton confirms we won’t see any PS4 developments this year, freeing them up to
wait for Microsoft to release their specs focus on the Vita.
- Meanwhile, EA plans some unusual marketing schemes for Mass Effect 3, including launching early copies of it via weather balloons into the stratosphere. Quoth Sarcastic Hawke, “What could possibly go wrong?”
- Brian Fargo of inXile Entertainment announces a Kickstarter plan to fund production of Wasteland 2. And here I figured it’d take months to test the limits of Kickstarter’s power.
- The Guinness Book of World Records crowns, by popular vote, Call of Duty: Black Ops as the best videogame ending ever. I wish I were kidding.
- One of BioWare’s more accomplished writers strikes out on their own, Bobby Kotick gets elected to Coca-Cola’s board of directors, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Step One: Secure 3Gs’ »
Nothing like a week of updates to make a guy feel like he’s treading old ground, but hey, anything worth talking about is worth talking about again. Tonight’s discussion topics are as follows:
- The Bethesda-Interplay legal mess comes to a close, with Zenimax paying $2mil for Interplay to stop harassing Fallout and claiming the MMO’s going to make it.
- GSC Game World announces on Facebook that development of STALKER 2 is somehow still underway. Why do all the beautiful things in life have to be undead?
- Zynga acquires another executive from EA. Poor Zynga… their stock’s lackluster performance has caused them to mentally regress to last year.
- BioWare reveals that Mass Effect 3 will require Origin and will not be available on steam. Also, they broke their arm in a boking accident.
- Workers at a Foxconn plant in China threaten mass suicide over low pay and poor conditions. Industry leaders feign shock that they’re still doing business with Foxconn.
- Ars Technica gets a closer look at the Wii U, and learns surprisingly little.
- Diablo III gets a console version, a Gaikai rep makes a silly assumption about the Big Three, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Is This the 50′s or 1999?’ »
And I thought to myself, “maybe I should wait a day on this Bethesda/Interplay settlement story, see if more details emerge Monday.” But then I thought “nah man, let’s go with it. What’s the worst that could happen?” My fault for assuming this was going to drag on, I guess.
Anyway, the aforementioned settlement’s details have been revealed, with ZeniMax paying Interplay $2 million dollars in exchange for returning the full rights of the Fallout name to Bethesda. Thus, Interplay has no further license to continue with Fallout Online.
It’s just not a week in the industry without some long-forgotten property being dug up, only to be reburied just as abruptly. Times like these are hell for anybody that was born in time to appreciate the 90s. In tonight’s episode:
- Interplay and Bethesda reach some kind of settlement which allows Interplay to continue pretending to develop Fallout Online. The judge was kind enough to deliver the settlement notice to the cardboard box Interplay is currently working out of.
- The ESA reaffirms their support of SOPA, whereas Epic Games – a member of the ESA – actually comes out publicly against it. It’s… complicated.
- Vox Media plans to launch a gaming news website, and goes on a talent-poaching spree to staff it. So how many articles about Japanese dating sims can we expect per month? This is important.
- Speaking of Japan, Japanese retailers preempt Sony by offering in-store price cuts on 3G PS Vitas. Sony, if you’re hiding Monster Hunter on us, now would be a good time to show it.
- Social game Shenmue Towns is shut down, dashing the hopes of all five people who were aware Shenmue had a social game.
- By contrast, X-Com makes a surprising comeback in all its brainy, strategic glory as X-Com: Enemy Unknown. Take that, Shooter Season 2011!
- Kaz Hirai is announced as Sony’s next president, the iOS gold rush (and pending disappointment) continues, we deal with E3 and 2012 speculation, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Trading Places in Development Hell’ »
It all comes down to this: Courier vs. Courier, Trouble in the Rubble, the Exchange on the Interchange. Lonesome Road starts with no fanfare other than questions lingering since Fallout New Vegas began. Ulysses, the original courier slated to deliver the fateful Platinum Chip, offers you nothing more than the reason he turned down the job. The Road itself offers more, from the usual DLC bonuses to a suitably epic climax, guest starring a friendly face from the Mojave. While the content certainly has its high points, it commits you to a linear slugfest and short-changes the narrative where it should have put the most effort. It’s engaging in the beginning, but for content that promised answers it’s not well prepared to give them. Continue reading ‘Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road – Staff Review’ »
Happy Halloween, everybody! Hope you’re all full on candy already, because we’re fresh out. We do, however, have plenty of delicious DOOOOOOOOOOOM to go around! Help yourself!
In today’s obesity-causing episode:
- Shooter Season 2011 rolls on as Battlefield 3 launches to great scores attached to surprisingly critical text. Also, install to your hard drive or the game looks like this.
- Nintendo announces a sizable loss for the year, that may have largely been a fluke in currency exchange rates. Clearly, doom is just around the corner.
- Zynga’s new properties are eating into their existing userbase, while one of the company’s officers leaves for Las Vegas. Given Nevada’s unemployment rate, somebody’s in a gambling mood… or they didn’t like what they saw at Zynga.
- Sony states that the PSN hack “woke up dormant customers,” perhaps figuring such a statement might distract people from the Vita’s cumbersome saving mechanism.
- Bethesda loses its preliminary injunction against Interplay, and so development of Fallout Online can continue in the magical fantasy world that only Interplay inhabits.
- EA, who once claimed Origin was not a competing service to Steam, starts picking up publishers to commit to Origin. Look, EA, just… let’s not do anything crazy, okay? Put Mass Effect 3 back down and let’s talk.
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Doom For Everyone!’ »
Howdy-howdy! Slowly getting back to a working schedule, though still suffering connection issues. Making some progress on my end, or at least narrowing down the problem. But enough about my griping, we’re here for the news! News, and the joy of shows about time-travelling quad bikes on YouTube.
Gotta love Klyka, man. Anyway, let’s get at it:
- Sony is reportedly beginning work on game concepts for the yet-unannounced PS4, with an expected release window of 2014…
- …while Microsoft looks to debut the “Xbox Next” at E3 2013. Also, Fable will get a chance to disappoint people on the Next.
- A Gamasutra interview on Rage sparks… rage. The writer responds, arguing that being potentially blacklisted for a pointed question or two is kind of an overreaction.
- Blizzard offers up a side of Diablo III free with $180 worth of World of Warcraft. Such a deal! Blizzard, throw in Warcraft 4 or the rest of Starcraft II and we’ll talk.
- Speaking of tie-ins, Mass Effect 3 teams up with Battlefield 3 to prop up the latter gain early access to the ME3 multiplayer demo. Maybe they’re hoping BF3‘s multiplayer mojo will rub off or something.
- Namco Bandai is set to publish Ni no Kuni in Rest-of-the-Worldia, Yoshida says more about FFXIV, Batman: Arkham City opens up fresh DLC wounds, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – New Generation, Same Tricks’ »
Hello hellooooo! Here’s hoping this brisk fall evening is treating you well, and you’re not smarting from not-insubstantial gambling losses like I am. As mentioned I’m still struggling with Comcast-related internet woes, which were enough to delay but not permanently forestall the news. So let’s get on it, shall we? Today’s lineup covers the following:
- Square Enix dropped a Final Fantasy-sized bomb by revealing the latest updates for Final Fantasy XIV, including a phase-in for the subscription service. Cue panic and ridicule.
- That said, the changes do sound pretty swank, and the full list is worth reading if you’re so inclined. The larger question is, who’s in a gambling mood?
- Speaking of wailing and gnashing of teeth, Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer mode has caused quite a stir. Best guess: the co-op missions are likely just supplements to the main plot and risk feeling somewhat unnecessary. Further evaluation requires building consensus.
- Netflix tries to call backsies on that whole Qwikster thing, in the process raising the question of whether we’re even ready for nationwide video streaming. Short answer, no. Long answer, are you out of your mind?!
- Zynga comes up with Project Z, also known as “our back-up plan in case relations with Facebook turn south.”
- Rovio overvalues itself even more, Obsidian hires Tim Cain, Sega confirms Valkyria Chronicles 3 isn’t getting localized, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Square Enix Goes Double Or Nothing’ »
Straight from Bethesda’s official blog comes the release date for the final planned DLC for Fallout New Vegas. Lonesome Road will go live on all platforms starting September 20, taking players into the storm-wracked Divide in search of the original Courier Six and long-awaited answers.
Bethesda also announced add-on weapon and equipment packs, to be released the following week on the 27th. The Courier’s Stash gives players access to content bundles previously limited to pre-order bonuses: Caravan, Mercenary, Classic, and Tribal Packs, each with their own sets of gear. Gun Runner’s Arsenal throws in several unique weapons, mods, ammo types, and crafting recipes. Courier’s Stash is priced at 160 MS funbucks/$1.99 on PSN and Steam, while the Arsenal costs 320 MSP/$3.99.
Come one, come all, we got all the news you have time for and then some! Well, okay more like all the news I can squeeze into a 15-minute podcast. And, well, actually it’s more like news and analysis and WHATEVER YOU’RE NOT THE POLICE OF ME!
In today’s cavity-fighting* episode:
- Minecraft studio Mojang, which I took a stab at pronouncing, finds itself sued by ZeniMax over use of the word “Scrolls.” I wish I were joking, and so does Bethesda.
- Someone looks to hand Rovio a fat sack of cash for purposes yet unknown. Who could benefit from Rovio owing them money? Oh, where to begin.
- 3DS analysis: Reggie discusses where it stumbled and the plan for going forward. Yeah, who among us could have predicted that launching without Zelda could be a problem?
- Meanwhile, Sony refuses to blink in reaction to the 3DS price cut. All they have to do is not run stupid advertising. How hard could it be, right? …guys?
- Reggie also makes passing mention of “watching what happens in Europe” when asked about Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. Deliberate troll or accidental? You decide!
- What doesn’t worry me: Lonesome Road‘s delay. What does: the possibility of being unable to convey my confusion over whatever Ulysses’ deal is.
- As promised last week, I offer a semi-postmortem on the recent market insanity and what lies in store for us down the road. Bottom line, brace yourselves and get popcorn.
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Mr. Keynes’ Wild Ride’ »
As many Couriers are aware, the final planned DLC for Fallout New Vegas was originally slated to release back in July. In a post on the official forums, senior producer Jason Bergman stated that “due to circumstances beyond our control, Lonesome Road won’t be out this month.” The team is reportedly working to release it ASAP, but no timeframe was given.
Much of Fallout‘s peculiar style comes from its tongue-in-cheek treatment of SCIENCE! – yes, the allcaps-exclamation is an important distinction – as imagined through the lens of nuclear age wonder and Cold War paranoia. Old World Blues, the latest Fallout New Vegas DLC, doesn’t so much as run with this concept as drags it into a rocket pointed at Mars. Although dialogue is somewhat bloated, Blues‘ rampant craziness is a welcome change of pace from the gravely serious Dead Money and Honest Hearts. And if that’s not enough for you, then know that this is still a fun, well-balanced adventure with more ground to cover than any Fallout DLC to date. Continue reading ‘Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues – Staff Review’ »
With the release of Fallout: New Vegas, it seems Bethseda is trying answer what fans wanted when Fallout 3 was released: a setting familiar to long-time fans featuring established factions and dozens of callbacks to Fallout 1 and 2. On a more fundamental level, Fallout: New Vegas builds on its predecessor in a number of ways, from basic improvements to game mechanics to a far more twisty, open-ended plotline, but it also has a number of unique issues. Even this far from release, New Vegas has bugs that range from the annoying (frequent freezing) to the catastrophic (quest failure), and has a few issues in setting and art direction left over from earlier Fallout games. Taken as a whole, New Vegas is an extremely enjoyable experience, but as so many have said so frequently of this series, it could really have used better bug testing. Continue reading ‘Fallout: New Vegas – Staff Review #3’ »
You know it’s procrastination when you find the urge to replay games you don’t even own anymore, so you go trolling Amazon looking for deals. Uh, or so I’m told. Yes, that’s convincing. Right, on with the media: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Makai Kingdom PSP, Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues, Persona 2 Innocent Sin, and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Continue reading ‘Mass Media 07/12/11’ »
Bethesda announced via official blog that Old World Blues, the next downloadable content for Fallout New Vegas, will be released on July 19. Prior to release, New Vegas will see a title update to provide support for the content and to address performance and stability issues.
No word was given on a timeframe for Lonesome Road, the final planned DLC originally set to launch sometime in July.
Mandatory viewing for all Deus Ex fans.
Howdy folks! Getting busy around here before E3, but we still have time to wrap up the news. Let’s break it down:
- Groupon joins Zynga, PopCap, etc. in preparing to go public, despite not actually making a profit. We should make a drinking game out of this.
- A huge preview build for Deus Ex: Human Revolution got leaked to the internet. To everyone’s surprise, nobody minds. File that under “did not see coming.”
- Interplay teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, as they seemingly have for years now. But don’t worry, Fallout Online is gonna be here any day now!
- Dueling digital distribution services: Gamestop automatically charges for re-downloading “insurance,” which its competitors give away for free…
- …while EA launches its own DD network coincidentally named after one of the studios it absorbed. Oooh, awk~waaard.
- E3 pre-conference projections: Nintendo’s new hardware, Sony’s image problem, and Microsoft’s Kinect… stuff.
In addition we have some late-breaking news that didn’t make it into the recording: NPR and NECN.com reported that not only was Nintendo hacked, but they were hacked by the same group that’s been plaguing Sony recently. No data was stolen in the Nintendo hack, but the group, calling itself Lulz Security, has claimed responsibility for an attack on Sony Pictures that resulted in a million more users’ personal information.
From where I sit there’s actually a fairly clear line between exposing a company’s lackluster security procedures – which Sony is clearly guilty of – and releasing sensitive information for all to see. The second Robin Hood starts shooting random people and telling them to blame the authorities for failing to protect them, he’s lost the argument. I don’t see the Nintendo hack changing the game much, although I’d put money down that these ongoing hacks are going to draw more attention than LulzSec might like. Much as it pains me to admit, life isn’t Shadowrun, and when the feds come knocking the game’s pretty much over.
And now, on with the actual episode. Enjoy!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Pre-E3 Warmup With Electronic Old Men’ »
Between what’s in the Fallout bible and what made it to the games, it’s easy to forget how much of Fallout‘s established world remains unexplored. Enter Honest Hearts, a slice of post-war tribal politics aimed at filling in a few of New Vegas‘ blanks. The content doesn’t quite have a strong narrative thrust, and Zion National Park, though pretty, is lacking for environmental diversity. Still, it’s backed by some very interesting elements that tie smartly into the larger picture, and, more importantly, is more of what New Vegas did right: room to explore, people to deal with, and choices to make. Continue reading ‘Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts – Staff Review’ »