Ben's Week In Review: November 25
The holiday season is already moving too fast for me, but nevertheless, I have to attempt to keep up. Here's a look back at the week, as usual.
See? IPs can be critical AND financial successes
Metal Gear Solid 4. Grand Theft Auto IV. Devil May Cry 4. Halo 3. Gran Turismo 5. Final Fantasy XIII. All these games have two things in common: 1. they're going to kick serious ass (Halo 3 already does), and 2. they're all installments in well-established franchises. The video game industry is rife with sequels and giant series, which is why the IP seems to be falling by the wayside. However, as Ubisoft said, the IP can indeed "live and prosper" if it's done correctly. They're using Assassin's Creed to prove that fact, and it's a good example; AC uses wonderful concepts and while not exactly ground-breaking, it's pretty close. Furthermore, it has already sold over a million copies, so you're looking at a critical and financial success. Another example of this is the recently released Mass Effect, so I don't want to hear this nonsense about how IPs are failing and dying. Yeah, big franchises still sell the most, but let's not forget that those games (look at that mini-list above) are typically FANTASTIC.
As a side note, I'd like to point out that Tim Schafer and Co. have managed to produce many critically acclaimed IPs in the past (Psychonauts, for one, and the upcoming Brutal Legend for another), but few of those can be considered financial blockbusters. Sure, a lot of cult classics, but not a whole lot of sales. Unfortunately.
Pretty sick of it, EA...pretty f-ing sick of it
Oh, look. Another example of an awesome game turned to crap by EA. Valve isn't innocent in this little mess, either (I'm pretty damn sick of that loudmouth dope Gabe Newell, too), but for the love of God... How can the world's biggest video game publisher be this bad at producing PS3 titles? Are they simply ignoring PS3 owners? Do they just not care? Are they assuming the games will sell just due to the name on the box? What's the explanation, here? Is there one? I was hoping The Orange Box would come out for the PS3 this year, but now I'll just have to get it for the Xbox 360 (let's hope that system can survive through both Mass Effect and this game). It's just so frustrating to continually see poor efforts from the publisher that, for all intents and purposes, is seriously attempting to corner the video game market. They had best not corner anything at this rate, because I'm rapidly losing all faith.
As for Valve, I really don't care. I could be completely wrong, but I get this sneaking suspicion they're all a bunch of archaic PC elitists over there...and if that's the case, they can all kiss my ass. What have you got besides Half-Life, anyway? You're not industry Gods, despite what the PC fanboys want to think, and there's no excuse for dumping off development of The Orange Box on EA (if that is indeed true). Heck, they probably did it on purpose, knowing EA would screw it up. Messy, messy. 'sigh'
Epic Games. THESE guys know what they're doing
While EA and Valve don't deserve any respect from me at this point, Epic Games can have it all. We got the big news that the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 had gone gold, and we'd be getting it on December 11! We're all totally stoked for this, and we applaud Epic for how they handled the situation: they never handed out a concrete release date for the PS3 version and said, "yes, it's definitely coming on this date." They said all along November was only a goal, and when Midway prematurely announced a delay, Epic was quick to stand up and say they were still working on it. You could tell the team desperately wanted to get this bad boy out before Christmas, and I'm willing to bet they worked their hides off to get it done. Lastly, they always were willing to provide the public with accurate and honest updates on this game, be it the PS3, PC, or Xbox 360 version. Yeah, that's right, honest reports. Isn't that just amazing? So it is possible!
Let's just say, Epic gets my Developer of the Month award. No, I've never had one before, but I'm gonna start, and Epic Games gets the first trophy. They make awesome games, they don't treat gamers or game journalists like crap, and above all else, they make good on what they say. Winner winner, chicken freakin' dinner. :)
11/24/2007 Ben Dutka