Nick's Gaming Blog

Gaming Newz (Circa Late Nov. 2012)

Hey kids, it’s time!  Time for me to cherry-pick gaming news items from various media outlets, most of which will likely interest nobody but me.  And, when you’re writing enticing and inviting introductory sentences like that one there’s no way you aren’t going to capture people’s attention.

Right?  Right.

1.  Rainbow 6: Patriots actually still kickin’ around in development

Tell me what you find more surprising: the fact that a Tom Clancy title (especially a R6 title) actually seemed like it wouldn’t see the light of day, or the fact that we, against all odds, willed ourselves to believe this was possible.

Guns? Explosions? Too cool for staring at the camera? YUP IT’S A CLANCY GAME, GUISE.

For sure, some of us remembered that we haven’t seen a Rainbow Six title since Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 “breach and cleared” onto our TV screens back in 2008.  You possibly also remembered that Ubisoft had more or less churned out a title per annum in the six or seven years leading up to R6V2.  So why the delay between games?  It’s just speculation, but I’d venture to say that Ubisoft might have realized that there was a lot of money to be saved (in production) by forcing the Ghost Recon and R6 fans to both buy the same game.  There’s also talk that a footage leak in 2010, possibly threw production schedules out of whack.

Regardless, a lot of people got scared in March of this year, when Patriots‘ Creative Director, Narrative Director, Lead Designer, and Animation Director were all taken off of the game’s dev team.  Nobody’s delivered the “straight dope” on just happened, but the ever-present rumor mill is speaking volumes: most are suggesting that creative director David Sears’ vision for the title was “unconventional,” incorporating Heavy Rain-esque segments, and having the player take control of the Patriots terrorist group at certain points.

But Ubisoft wanted something that was going to compete with Call of Duty…not experiment around with forms of story-telling within the FPS genre.

Well, the game’s not dead.  But based on what I just told you, you might wish it was.  Ubisoft is saying it’s set for a 2013 release, but that they’re allowing for the possibility of pushing it back for a next-gen console release.

2.  Final Fantasy XIV is dead, long live Final Fantasy…XIV?

Do you play the unmitigated disaster more commonly known as Final Fantasy XIV?  Then you’re likely aware that the game’s been shut down.

Do you not play Final Fantasy: Excessive Roman Numeral Fun-time?  Well, now you know not to start.  Not that you could if you wanted to.

There were quite a few complaints about a wide variety of issues, from technical glitches to convoluted and lacking tutorials.  Of course, these problems were exacerbated by the fact that Square Enix already had a functional MMORPG in their niche title, Final Fantasy XI.  Players that were expected to make the jump from Square Enix’s eight-year-old Final Fantasy XI caught wind of the boatload of bad press XIV’s Beta session was getting, and simply stayed put.

Roughly two years after Final Fantasy XIV came out, Square Enix pulled the plug, and have been working on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, ever since, which is roughly scheduled for release in mid 2013.  The revamped title looks promising, already having won Destructoid’s “Gamescom Community Choice Award,” but don’t just take my word for it, check out the preview recently released:

3.  The Bioshock Infinite “will they, won’t they” multiplayer debacle is over…we hope.

Many of us have been wondering when, if ever, we’d get our grabby paws on Ken Levine’s first game since 2007′s Bioshock.  Its been delayed more than a handful of times (the most recent, in May 2012, pushed the title from October 2012 to February 23, 2013), so that the development team could make some “specific tweaks and improvements,” according to Levine.  When Levine didn’t elaborate on these “tweaks” the Internet ushered in a bunch of rumors that a last-minute addition of a Multiplayer mode was fueling the delays.

Welcome to the game that has been my deadline-dodging “white whale” since Alan Wake actually came to fruition.

Then, in August of this year, we were informed that two modes of the Multiplayer mode (which was never officially announced in the first place, mind you) was being cut.  Regrettably, the exclusion of said mode did not cause the release date to leap forward by a month or two

Then, (as in, you know, now) a curious Twitter follower of Levine’s asked if there were any more multiplayer modes left on the table for Bioshock Infinite.  And Mr. Levine answered…“no multi,” he tweeted

So…that’s that…either Irrational Games spent a hearty amount of time on a mode that never (and probably thankfully) will see the light of day…or they actually were working on other features.

4. Developer of 007 titles lays off a “majority” of staff

Let’s take a look at my “recent James Bond entries” score card, shall we?

Skyfall: Great!

007 Legends: Not so great

Just to reinforce the point with several dozen critics at my back, the movie’s sporting an 81% on Metacritic, while the game has a 45% rating.  Clear on all of that?  Fantastic!

Given that information, it’s probably no surprise that the studio that previously employed roughly 200 people, has now downsized to under a quarter of that previous amount.  For those who can’t crunch those numbers unassisted, just know that it’s not good.  They attribute their…umm…situation to a “steep decline in demand” for console games.

Can we talk about that for a second?  Everybody got an extra minute or two?  Who am I kidding, if you’re here, you’ve likely got a disgusting excess of free time (not to mention, poor judgment).

Look, Eurocom, I feel bad for ya, really, I do.  I loved Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, thought Goldeneye 007: Reloaded was a great homage to that Nintendo 64 classic, and found your movie tie-in for Batman Begins to be halfway decent.  On top of that, I was looking forward to 007 Legends (and will probably still buy it when the price/quality ratio lines up more favorably) so let’s be clear…I’m rooting for ‘ya.

While the argument can be made that video game sales aren’t what they used to be (New York Times piece on such).  There’s a lot to be said for struggling to sell a game that is drowning in bad reviews…especially when it’s also released mere weeks before industry titans Microsoft and Activision unleashed their annual installment of their premiere franchises, Halo and Call of Duty, respectively.  Not to mention X-Com, Assassin’s Creed 3, Dishonored, and others.

You might say, “Well those other games are facing off with those aforementioned (provided you use the word “aforementioned”) behemoths (provided you use the word “behemoth”)…why isn’t 007 up for the task?”

Look, I tried to find a favorable image that cast 007 Legends in a semi-adequate light…but a golden ass in a graphically-average game is all I could come up with. Sorry.

Well, I could go into that, but let’s leave it at this: those other games aren’t “bad,” and their release date actually makes sense to me.  And that’s really the endgame, isn’t it?  It’s not that people have less tolerance for games in general, it’s that they’re less tolerant of mediocre ones…especially in an economy like this, and even more so when there are six or seven better titles fighting for your dollar.

But then again, nobody is going to come forward and say, “We made a bad game, and are now suffering the severe consequences of it.”

You want the truth, though?  This is mere speculation, but it is founded in the experiences of other studios that have dealt with Activision: I’d wager that Publisher Activision gave them a very small window in which to develop this title, was responsible for the horrible release date, and didn’t publicize the game enough.  Given a couple extra months, they could have plunked this game into the post-Christmas window, when there are less games launching and kids are walking around with Christmas money.  On top of that, you’ve got a much higher quality title on your hands.

5.  How the Hell have you already read nearly 1300 words…are you a masochist?

I’ll make this one brief, here’s the link to the ever-engaging Randy Pitchford, talking about why Gearbox Software didn’t put Borderlands 2 on the Wii U.

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