That Call of Duty Premium Service Was a Long Time Coming: For all you Call of Duty fans who are up in arms about the recently-announced premium service: what were you expecting exactly? This is the same publisher that ran the rhythm genre into the ground. The same publisher, in fact, that regularly charges $15 for map packs and gets away with it. And frankly, they've been talking about this for years now.
That's where this industry is going though. Between Project $10, micro-transactions and "premium services," large publishers are looking to mitigate the ballooning costs of AAA development any way they can. If you don't like it, then hey, it's not like you have to plunk down $60 on a new copy of Call of Duty year after year...
Transfarring?: Trust the Japanese to come up with goofiest name possible for the feature that may end up defining both the NGP and the PlayStation 3 going forward. It rolls off the tongue, but it also sounds like something out of the Newspeak Dictionary. Pretty soon the English language will be made up entirely of PR jargon.
I call it a "defining" feature because Transfarring seems to pointing to a world in which identical games are released simultaneously on PS3 and NGP. In this world, Transfarring would make it possible to play, say, Metal Gear Solid Rising on the PS3, then switch over to the NGP during a commute. A cool possibility that would have the side benefit (for Sony) of encouraging customers to buy two copies of the same game.
A brave new world, in other words, of selling the same game twice. We'll see what Sony has to say on the subject during E3.
2012 Will Be A Great Year for Mecha Fans: I've gone on at some length on my podcast about what a great year it's been for RPG fans, but what about mecha fans? If you're a fan of giant robots and even more dakka, the year 2012 will include the Chromehounds-like Armored Core 5, the Zome of the Enders HD Collection and possibly even the Kinect-enabled Steel Battallion update. And that's to say nothing of import-only gems like Super Robot Taisen OG for the PlayStation 3 and the console version of Gundam Extreme Vs (whenever it's finally announced).
The only thing that would make it better? A little more news about the MechWarrior reboot announced way back in 2009. But alas, that project is looking more and more like vaporware with each passing day.
Second Star (Trek) to the Right: Maybe you noticed that Paramount announced a new Star Trek game earlier today? It's not getting a lot of buzz, probably because Star Trek games have rarely been very good, but I think that'll be changing pretty soon. As it happens, I wrote the cover story on it for the latest issue of GamePro, and I happen to think that it's looking pretty great.
This is probably the first Star Trek that I've actively anticipated since A Final Unity.
Quote of the Week I
"It is a long-debated principle that a civilisation shouldn't be measured solely by its most prosperous. Even in the often asinine culture of game development, we think the same attitude should be applied to game studios. The truth: BioWare made poor content in 2010. Its Dragon Age Origins DLC policy was an unequivocal mess. A disaster. A monetisation strategy built on boredom. A year-long scattering of digital content that, much to the relief of EA, doesn't come attached with a refund policy." -- Develop on why BioWare didn't make its list of Top 100 gaming studios (or the Top 200).
One of the few consistent measuring sticks for studios in this industry is Develop's annual Top 100 list of developers. This year, BioWare missed out completely on the Top 100 list, which ought to be a shock to the system for a developer heretofore regarded as one of the top studios in the industry. Time to face facts though: Dragon Age II was grievously flawed (even if I did enjoy it for the most part), and much of their DLC output has been mediocre at best. Mass Effect continues to be held in high esteem, but with huge releases like Star Wars: The Old Republic on the horizon, BioWare really needed a shock to the system to get things back on track. Hopefully this listing does just that.
Quote of the Week II
"Our biggest mistake, I would say, with PSP was we were just so happy to provide the PS2 gaming on the go, and we kind of stopped there" -- Sony's Shuhei Yoshida on the mistakes Sony hopes to avoid with the NGP.
I sincerely hope that the NGP doesn't make the same mistakes as the PSP, but something tells me that developers won't be able to pass up the allure of quick and easy ports. See above: Transfarring.
Quote of the Week III
"You're going to play [simulation] games and shooter games and that's all the choice you're going to get. It's sad." -- Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter on the narrowing pool of game genres.
On the Internet, we say, "Quoted for truth."
One Quick Question
JUST LIKE THE MOVE: Any idea what happened to Sony's "Sorcery" project? Seems like it dropped off the face of the earth after E3 2010 -- Donald Theriault, Twitter
You remember Sorcery, right? It's a Harry Potter-esque title unveiled during E3 2010 meant to show off the capabilities of the PlayStation Move. Naturally, we haven't heard much of anything since then, and Move-dedicated games seem to be few and far between. My guess? Despite shipping some 8 million Move units, Sony never really had a plan to support their new peripheral on a long-term basis, and have now moved onto bigger and better things. I don't think we'll be seeing it during E3, or much of anything from the PlayStation Move, for that matter.
As Seen on Twitter
"Thanks, EA, for naming your download service 'Origin,' reminding us of the company you destroyed. Next up: Microsoft naming its next-gen console "Rare Ensemble." -- GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd, saying what we were all thinking (@fiddlecub)
One Last Thing: Did you know that you can get Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for free? Yeah, you should go do that now.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as GamePro Weekly: E3, PSN, Call of Duty (cont'd)