Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five writers take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to give their opinions on some of the most compelling and controversial recent news stories of the game industry. This week, we attack Saints Row: The Third, Duke Nukem Forever, Super Street Fighter IV skills, the 3DS launch and an overcrowded fall video game release schedule.
Our readers are as knowledgeable and opinionated as our own writers, so here is the place for all of you to discuss these stories as well as any others that may have piqued your interest throughout the week.
A possible EA mishap may have revealed the Battlefield 3 release date of November 2nd. Assuming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 also debuts in November as per annual series tradition, that would mean November 2011 would see – wait for it… – the release of Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Mass Effect 3. Is your mind blown? Mine is worried.
Let’s not forget, this is just after the release of Batman: Arkham City and there are still potential November release dates for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and X-Men: Destiny (albeit these two do not look good from first looks). This is too much awesome for one month and I’m saddened I won’t be able to enjoy each of them to their fullest extent because of the overcrowded fall release schedule.
The Duke is Dead
The question that has been nagging at the back of my mind this week wasn’t about studio closures or PC hackers, but Duke Nukem Forever. Not just the hilarious delay video, but the validity of the character in today’s world. As someone who grew up playing Duke Nukem 3D whenever my parents weren’t around, Duke will always have a special place in my heart as the original king of raunch. But considering just how much gaming in general has progressed since then – just take a look at LA Noire – I’m really not sure how much a modern Duke would resonate with me. I found the comedy of the game funny when I was 11, but can I really find Duke hurling feces funny today without embarrassing myself?
With Gearbox purchasing the rights to the franchise name, we have to think that Duke Nukem Forever is just the beginning. Bulletstorm combined humor with gameplay in a successful way, but will we still be talking about it in a few months? I’d wanted more than that for Duke, but until we see Gearbox’s future plans for the series, I can’t help but think that the upcoming game may be the last chapter in Duke’s story.
After gracing the cover of Game Informer and releasing some new screens and details featuring some very bizarre weapons, Saints Row: The Third‘s marketing culminated in the reveal of a trailer featuring a first look at real in-game footage. Unfortunately, said trailer played out more like one big joke than an actual reveal, containing nothing more than a swift punch to the crotch. Surely this solidified the Saints Row series as one that will never abandon its comedic roots, but was it the right move for Volition?
In a games industry where the average consumer must weigh so many options before putting down $60, is it smart for a game developer to take a huge risk and hope that its humorously timed beat strikes a chord with enough people? So far, response has been positive to the game’s first trailer – praising its bold choice and loyalty to a joke – but will that translate into competitive sales?
I’ve always been one to believe that you can do anything you put your mind to and this week I read a story that exemplifies just that mentality. I really want to take a second to praise Mike Begum — also known as Broly — for his outstanding skill as a Super Street Fighter 4 tournament player despite having a physical handicap that would prevent most people from playing games, let alone mastering one.
I think his story is one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard come out of the gaming industry and I only hope that it will help convince other gamers to play to their strengths and never give up on anything they want to accomplish in our outside of gaming.
Feel the Burn
The 3D handheld took a huge blow this past week when the PSP managed to outsell the 3DS in Japan. Did anyone see this coming? Actually, considering the amount of problems the 3DS has had since launch, it makes a lot of sense. I do not know how Nintendo plans on justifying all the issues that have cropped up: black screens of death, short battery life, headaches from extended use, limited/dated online capabilities and a poor launch line-up.
If anything should alert Nintendo that drastic action needs to be taken – this is it. The sales should be remaining steady (it’s a Nintendo portable system!), and Nintendogs + Cats should not be a first-party “killer app.” I’ve been concerned about the 3DS since before its launch; my fears have been confirmed. How did Nintendo, of all companies, make a blunder this large? Or is it really not that big of a deal until we see how the NGP compares?