Skip to main content

Stay Classy Brink

This new trailer for Brink shows off the class system along with all of the various things you’ll do while switching up between the classes. I played this at last year’s E3 and the ability to switch classes on the fly was definitely welcome to someone like me who has the attention span of a six week old puppy. Hopefully the game’s missions will be interesting enough to allow you to remain as a less glamorous profession and not force you to switch classes just to feel like you’re contributing. I’m also hoping that the AI is competent enough to make the single player aspect worth it as I have no desire to play with a room full of randoms. On the plus side, I actually know how to be a medic so I’m sure there will be plenty of XP left on the table should I want to jump in with more combat oriented chaps.

Read More

Ubisoft Announces Rocksmith

So, yeah. Rocksmith. Personally, I can’t think of a better time to release a music game with Rock Band in flux, Guitar Hero sailing off to the land of Broken Toys and Power Gig selling five copies to friends and families of the developer.

The hook with Rocksmith, according to a story at the Hollywood Reporter, this is a game about teaching you how to play guitar more than it is a simple “party game.” In fact the game ships with a real guitar — and a $200 price tag.

Ubisoft is banking on the fact that people/gamers will take the time to actually learn how to play the guitar using its software.

I swear between this and the We Dare fiasco it’s like Ubisoft is trying to lose money. I just don’t get it.

Maybe I am completely misreading the trend here but…this one’s a head scratcher.

Read More

Atom Zombie Smasher Now on Steam

That news headline will either make you think, “Sweet!” or, “Um, Bill? Atom Zombie Smasher?”

That’s right. Atom Zombie Smasher. I received a friendly email today saying that since I bought the game I now had a free Steam copy waiting for me and while I cannot say your copy will be free…it IS just nine bucks.

I’m just as tired of zombies as you are, not to mention the zombies themselves, but this adds a cool spin on it. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll get your nine dollars’ worth.

So head over to Steam and take a look and end up nine dollars poorer.

Read More

NPD Data Hates iTunes

Well, not really iTunes, but the point made by EA’s corporate communications’ Tiffany Steckler is an apt one when she says to CNN Money:

“Using NPD data for video game sales is like measuring music sales and ignoring something called iTunes. We see NPD’s data as a misrepresentation of the entire industry.”

I could not agree with Ms. Steckler more. Much like how we like to talk about Metacritic and how PR misuses it as a resource, NPD sales tracking is equally as silly when you want to look “big picture” and not hard sales and to use that as a true guide to total sales is disingenuous.

NPD Data fails to track anything that isn’t sold over the counter. This includes WiiWare, XBLA, PSN, subscription based games, Facebook games, downloaded PC games, etc. To say that removing those sales figures skews the stats a bit is an understatement and to see companies start to say so I think is a good thing.

Read More

L.A. Noire PAX Preview

Nothing like a little shilling on a Monday but today we posted an informative preview of L.A. Noire over at the Mothership.

It’s a good read so give it a look. I think Justin raises a few important questions in this piece but I’m still eager to give this game a go. Here’s the point I am referring to:

While it makes sense not to have superfluous quests during a case – you do have a murder to solve – the open world segments do have one potentially upsetting flaw. Despite playing the role of a law-abiding and morally just police officer, you still have the ability to destroy property and mow down pedestrians without causing a scene.

That could rip you out of this game’s world if it’s not handled properly. Still, most of this sounds really slick, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Read More

Transformers MMO Incoming

No High Scores

Word came down today that Hasbro has teamed up with Jagex developers of the free to play MMO RuneScape, to create a Transformers MMO. I’ll skip the PR hyperbole trimming as that’s Bill’s cup of tea, but there was a lot of the word “iconic” being bandied about. I love the Transformers, as my basement and office cubicle can attest to, but this announcement leaves me absolutely cold. I’m assuming the MMO would be very similar to something like DC Universe Online where you’ll play some Autobot or Decepticon grunt fighting for control of some remote piece of Cybertron with the occasional appearance by Optimus Prime or Starscream to make it feel “authentic”. I’m sure this is just me being cynical, but I’ll pass. Heck, with my current Transformers collection in the hundreds, and growing, I’ve got everything I need for a massive multiplayer battle already.

Here’s the official PR speak if you’re interested:

Iconic AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS Set to Battle Online in 2012

PAWTUCKET, R.I. – March 14, 2011 – Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) announced today that it has signed a strategic development agreement with Jagex Limited to jointly create a new online game based on the globally iconic TRANSFORMERS brand. Under the agreement, the two companies are slated to launch the TRANSFORMERS online game in 2012 in North America, Latin America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Jagex, based in the United Kingdom, is one of the largest independent game developers and publishers in the world with a dedicated global user base of millions playing its more than 40 online games. The company’s flagship game, RuneScape, is the world’s most popular free-to-play MMOG.

“Hasbro’s decision to align with Jagex speaks to the quality of their award-winning development and publishing team that boasts an outstanding track record of delivering innovative and fun online games capable of reaching millions of gamers across the globe,” said Mark Blecher, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Gaming and Media at Hasbro. “We are extremely excited to create a dream team that combines TRANSFORMERS brand stewards with Jagex development experts to deliver an epic TRANSFORMERS gaming experience to fans in 2012.”

“TRANSFORMERS is one of the most iconic brands in the world and we are delighted to team up with Hasbro in order to bring our shared vision to reality,” said Mark Gerhard, CEO at Jagex Games Studio. “There is a huge appetite for an online TRANSFORMERS game and we will utilize every bit of our development and publishing expertise to deliver a dynamic and action-packed game that TRANSFORMERS fans will find irresistible.”

Read More

Prey 2 Officially Announced, Set for 2012

So it looks like Prey 2 is a go. Not sure how much this moves the meter with you folks but everyone seems to be talking about this so here’s the quick PR.

March 14, 2011 (London, UK) — Bethesda Softworks today announced that Prey 2, the sequel to the popular 2006 game, is scheduled for release in 2012 and will be available for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows. First details on the game will be revealed in the May issue of PSM3.

Prey 2 is being developed by Human Head Studios, the studio that created Prey, the original award-winning game. Prey 2 is being built on the cutting edge id tech engine from id Software.

“We are thrilled to be working with Bethesda on Prey 2,” said Chris Rhinehart, project lead. Prey 2 will provide gamers the opportunity to explore a new facet of the Prey universe, one that offers fast-paced action in an open, alien world. We’re excited to show gamers the title we have been working on and hope they will be as excited by this title as we are.”

Read More

Good Old Games Makes The Witcher 2 DRM Free

I loved The Witcher. Such a great, great solo role-playing game. With today’s official announcement that will release a DRM free download version of the Digital Premium Edition of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings there’s no reason to not get excited about this one. Well, unless they screw up the sequel and it ends up being terrible but other than that there’s no reason.

This remains one of my most anticipated games of 2011.

PR time…

Good Old Games: is announcing that it will be the sole DRM-free distributor of the Digital Premium Edition of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. As a sister company to CD Projekt RED, the development house behind The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, GOG has been offering preorders for the title with exclusive downloadable content, but in a change of pace today it’s what they’re not offering for download that may pique a gamer’s interest.

GOG’s copy of The Witcher 2 will not contain any DRM, unlike all other versions of the Digital Premium Edition.

“DRM is not an effective way to combat piracy,” said Managing Director Guillaume Rambourg. “Our main concern has always been the user’s experience with the titles they purchase, and DRM effects that experience in a negative way, which is why we’ve been absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to distribute CD Projekt RED’s incredible RPG. We’re also pleased that we’ve been able to stick to our guns with The Witcher 2 and release it DRM free to all of our customers around the world.”

GOG will be hosting a live Q&A with CD Projekt RED Senior Producer Tomasz Gop and GOG’s head of marketing & PR Trevor Longino. The Q&A will be on Friday, March 18th, at 19:00 GMT and during the Q&A, Tomasz will be revealing some exclusive “Making of the new Geralt” concept art and discussing the changes in the fighting mechanic from the original game. Preordering The Witcher 2 is free on GOG ( and doesn’t compel the person preordering a copy to purchase it then, and everyone who does so by Thursday the 17th will receive a password to enter the UStream channel. There, they will be able to ask questions about The Witcher 2 and GOG live, and everyone whose question is chosen to be answered will receive a free game code good for any regular GOG title.

Read More

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark #60

No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise /

It’s a busy, busy week for Jumping the Shark 60. We were missing Danielle, who had a work function, so that sucked. But Tom Chick was back with us after an extended absence and it’s always great to have Tom on. This week we had an extended discussion about Tom’s GDC encounter with Starcraft II lead designer Dustin Browder as well as a pretty detailed look at the Rift MMO. With spring training finally here, that means baseball games, and Bill got deep into The Show. I wrapped up my red ringed 360 saga and spent a fair chunk of time talking Dragon Age 2. By this point Brandon gave up any hope of having time to talk about what he’s been playing, so we dove into our topic segment: DLC.

iTunes Link
Direct Download

Since The Straw drove out from the far off land of Ohio this week for a quality weekend of boardgaming here in Indiana, I skirted my editing duties, leaving editing our group Skype recording on Brandon’s lap. Big props to Mister Binky for picking up my slack and for putting up with a week that is probably a bit less than stellar in terms of audio quality. I haven’t listened to the show yet, but Tom’s Skype connection was a little spotty in the early going and I had some background noise going on in parts as my dad was in town, visiting. Hopefully the content makes up for that. Enjoy!

Read More