Archive for April 5th, 2013

Tom vs Bruce: Nemo’s War

, | Games


And the results are in for the Nemo’s War Tom vs Bruce, in which me and Bruce Geryk played a year in the life of Captain Nemo. The graphics (pictured) may not look like much, but the soundtrack is amazing. The game starts here.

Grant Bowler is a dick and other things I learned in Defiance

, | Games


When you die in Defiance, you can rez yourself every so often. If you’ve self-rezzed recently, then other players can rez you so you don’t lose any of your spacebucks. It’s very forgiving. Death is a non-event, partly because it happens so rarely and partly because it doesn’t matter one whit when it happens. Basically, if you have any questions about how Defiance works, just imagine Borderlands as an MMO without a subscription fee and without Gearbox’s loving care.

So there I am, doing one of the story missions alongside the creepy Grant Bowler character model (pictured), fighting more of those bugs — there are only about two or three kinds of things you shoot in the first 20 hours of Defiance — and I get killed. I’m crawling around on the ground, bleeding out, my vision fading. And there’s Grant Bowler. Grant Bowler played Richard Burton next to Lindsey Lohan’s Elizabeth Taylor. Grant Bowler played Randian hero slash steel baron Hank Rearden in the Atlas Shrugged movie that no one saw. Grant Bowler played someone named “Cooter” in True Blood. And now Grant Bowler is standing on top of me, plinking away at bugs, not rezzing me. I bleed out and die and have to pay 180 spacebucks to rez myself.

In Gears of War: Judgement, even Colonel Loomis, the a-hole officer who all but twirls his mustache as he court-martials the pluckily heroic gears, will rez you during the last mission. But Grant Bowler? He can’t be bothered. Thanks, Grant. I hope you’re more helpful to your companions on the Defiance TV show, which starts next week.

The more important thing I learned in the Defiance game is that you can make an entire open world around shooting a gun and not much else. As long as there’s enough shooter, and enough guns, you don’t really need anything else. Defiance is, in many ways, an absolutely miserable half-assed amateurish attempt at game design that I can’t stop playing.

Peter Moore says EA can do better

, | Games


In response to The Consumerist’s 2013 Worst Company in America poll, which appears to be on-track for an EA “win” for the second year in a row, Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore defends EA and points out that some of the poll responders may be uninformed or overstating their case. He concedes that EA “can do better” but suggests that EA catches more flak because of its enormous success.

Some of these complaints are 100 percent legitimate – like all large companies we are not perfect. But others just don’t hold water:

– Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.

– Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.

– Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.

– We’ve seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for EA because they disagree with the choice of the cover athlete on Madden NFL. Yes, really…

– In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we’re not caving on that.

EA is currently facing off against Ticketmaster in the bracket.

Waren Spector talks about his time in the house of the mouse

, | Games


Warren Spector reflects on his time at Disney to GamesIndustry International and talks about Junction Point, Oswald, and what’s next for him now that he’s no longer in the Mickey Mouse Club.

Well, I’ve learned that I don’t play politics very well, that’s for sure, and I’m not great with bosses, generally. I’ve learned that anyone in the game business who thinks they understand how big, publicly traded companies work because they’ve worked for EA or something have NO CLUE. Disney’s a BIG company, and things change when you have that many divisions and employees. I spent a lot of time saying to myself, ‘There has to be a reason for this… There has to be a reason for this…’ I just didn’t get how a lot of decisions got made – but I think that was my problem, not Disney’s. Overall, the company’s pretty amazing.

The closure of the studio? I don’t know that I learned much from that, to tell the truth. I don’t really understand it, but it is what it is. Junction Point had a good eight year run. We built a great team. We worked on a bunch of cool stuff, even if a lot of it didn’t see the light of day (Sleeping Giants… Ninja Gold… some other stuff I can’t talk about). And we shipped two triple-A titles which, Metacritic notwithstanding, sold better than any games I’ve ever worked on and about which I received more – and more heartfelt – fan mail than I’ve ever received. I’m good with all that.

StarCraft more popular than the NHL

, | Games


Congratulations, Blizzard! StarCraft beats the NHL. I guess that’s something, right? Mike Morhaime and Itzik Ben-Bassat told PC Gamer that they could see their eSport favorite support a full 24-hour broadcast channel five years from now.

We were just told the other day that by numbers, StarCraft is bigger than the NHL. If you look just as the last month, we had several live broadcasts, MLG Dallas with record breaking concurrent viewers. Even the Heart of the Swarm release was really successful, with high viewership numbers.

The numbers this year are double the numbers of last year, and we hope to see this trend continuing. If we’re able to double these numbers again next year, we’re getting into very interesting mass market entertainment numbers – especially in the US.