In this roundup, we wonder why Jenova Chen thinks games aren’t good enough for adults, do a double-take with EA’s generous proposition to indie studios, stare at some Resistance: Burning Skies screenshots, make our reality TV debut with SOE’s Bullet Run, dock at Star Trek Online‘s new starbases, and wholeheartedly agree with Pachter statement about used games.
Let’s round it up!
Video Game News
1. SOE Announces New First-Person Shooter ‘Bullet Run’
Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), and developer ACONY, have announced they are releasing a new online game (no big surprise there), Bullet Run. This free-to-play first-person-shooter pits teams against each other in a reality TV game show style death match arena ala Smash TV or Running Man — even a little like Hunger Games. It’s set in the near future, the reality TV game show, Bullet Run, has players not only killing each other, but being rated on style and attitude, which will garner them fame. The “Contestants” will have plenty of customization options and will be able to choose from various equipement, weapons and play styles to keep the audience focus squarely on them. ACONY Founding Partner and Marketing Director is promising the same attention to Bullet Run that AAA titles get. Hoping to bring some originality to the FPS market Frank Trigub, the other ACONY Founding Partner, says, “We believe the sexier, media-driven storyline sets it apart from other FPS games and will continue to attract new players who might be tired of the same military shooters.” With a variety of customization options and several arenas to play in, a system that utilizes showmanship to progress, combined with being free-to-play, Bullet Run might just end up being what FPS fans have been missing.
While we wait to hear on a release date, here’s a list of some key features as a little teaser:
- FPS Meets Free-To-Play – Free for download for the PC. Additional content is available for purchase in the in-game marketplace.
- Reality TV Game Show Storyline – Players will have to fight for stardom or settle for 15 minutes of fame. Cameras and commentators capture all the intense FPS action, where style and showmanship earn “Heat” and fame on the road to stardom.
- Eight Kill Skills – Unique abilities can be trained and unleashed during combat. Each brings in cutting-edge technology for players to use in their match and are unlocked as contestants earn Heat. These include damage heals, berserker mode, enemy-trapping robots, aerial ammo attacks, devastating mini-gun action, and more.
- Active Reload – Bullet Run moves fast, and your guns need to load even faster. The game offers an Active Reload feature. When you hit ‘reload,’ a circular interface appears. If you hit it just right, your weapon loads much faster. But be precise; if you don’t hit the mark, your gun will jam.
- Six Killer Arenas – A thrilling assortment of game maps for players to explore and dominate including industrial landscapes, tropical islands, desert wastelands, and more.
- Fast-Paced Multiplayer Combat – Up to 20 contestants can battle on each episode in one of two game modes: Team Deathmatch or Dominion.
- Character Stylization – Players have access to hundreds of ‘vanity’ items to customize their characters and style, earning boosts and experience points in the in-game Style system.
- Weapon of Choice – Thousands of potential combinations per weapon from silencers and muzzle brakes to scopes, stocks and more allow players to fine-tune their weapon to match their gameplay preferences. Additionally, weapons decals and paint jobs will provide players true personalization.
- Bring on the Heat – In-game progression is rewarded through exciting play; the more Heat, the more fans. The more fans, the more players level up their Fame. Taunt, slay, and humiliate opponents, increasing Heat and unlocking new skills and weapons.
- Character Progression – Gain access to unique items and weapons as your character advances to new levels of fame (experience); you can also earn in-game currency to help improve and learn new skills.
- Killing Community – Add friends, join them in matches, and chat privately via the ComCenter.
- Additional Features – Nemesis System to identify the contestant constantly blocking your path to stardom; Taunt System with custom animations to help pump up the crowd; Quickplay option; Reload minigame, and more.
2. ‘Heavy Rain’ Creator Not Too Interested In Next-Gen
With the buzz of next-gen being a popular topic at water coolers, chalk this guy up as the only person not interested in next-gen technology. In an interview with CVG, Quantic Dream boss and Heavy Rain creator, David Cage, has revealed his disinterest in the migration to future systems, which comes as a surprise considering the work put into Heavy Rain, literally pushing the limits of the the PlayStation 3, and the potential to do much more with a next-gen console. Apparently, he feels pretty content with what’s available.
“We invest a lot in technologies and tools. We’re a very tools-centric company, with about 40 engineers all working on technology right now. But to be honest, I’m not that interested in technology or the next generation of consoles. If we could continue with PlayStation 3 for another five years it would be fine with me. I think the main challenges are on the creative side than on the technical side. Are there technical things I can’t do on PS3? Honestly, no. The limitation is much more about the ideas we have. When you look at the past, you realise that the technology evolved [much] faster than the concepts we rely on.”
Cage isn’t completely against them, however, as he later stated, “I suppose it is interesting, in a way. It’s more stuff to play with, I guess.”
3. thatgamecompany Boss Says Games Aren’t Good Enough For Adults
Game developer and thatgamecompany co-founder, Jenova Chen, has a very interesting opinion on games. His biggest issue is that “computer games so far is they are not good enough for adults.” Some might beg to differ, while some might agree if you take into account the criticism games have received on being an artform. Perhaps that’s why they don’t get the respect they deserve? In an interview with Gamasutra, Chen elaborated on this idea.
“For adults to enjoy something, they need to have intellectual stimulation, something that’s related to real life. Playing poker teaches you how to deceive people, and that’s relevant to real life. A headshot with a sniper rifle is not relevant to real life. Games have to be relevant intellectually. You also need depth. You have the adventure — the thrill of the adventure — but you want the goosebumps too.”
thatgamecompany has attempted to embody that philosophy by thinking outside the box with their games. Chen’s latest title Journey was a game changer, receiving critical praise — even being referred to countless time as art. Perhaps he’s onto something.
4. EA Distributing Crowd-Sourced (Kickstarter) Games Free For 90 Days
Yes, those are pigs you see flying around outside. Electronic Arts is doing something that is supporting smaller studios, using Origin to help indie companies that have been funded through Kickstarter by waiving distribution fees for the first 90 days of release. All a studio has to do is be a successfully funded downloadable PC game. A few of the companies already on board are inXile Entertainment’s Wasteland 2 and Pinkerton Road’s Moebius. While EA still benefits from the transaction by getting a cut of the price by selling it through their distribution service, indie developers will get access to a much larger audience and have time to continue to gain income through the delay distribution fees. EA is being hella generous. Speaking of which, no word on if Hell has dropped in temperature.
5. EA Shutting Down ‘Dragon Age: Legends’
EA has been shutting down gobs of their online-enabled games this year and it has just been announced that their latest game to close its servers is Dragon Age Legends. Having only been around for a year for the launch of BioWare’s Dragon Age II, it’s still in it’s infancy. Regardless, they’re pulling the plug on the social RPG, but still offering a free downloadable version to fans, although it won’t feature any of its multiplayer capabilities.
6. Superbrothers/Jim Guthrie Working On ‘Sound Shapes’
The next big Superbrothers and Jim Guthrie team-up will be the upcoming Sound Shapes, the latest in a series of collaboration dating from a musical film back in 2005 called Children of the Clone and the latest being Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Like S&S EP there will be a focus on “synesthetic audiovisual style.” To learn more about this collaborative process between Jim Gutherie and the Toronto based studio, which includes beer, board games and, of course, Hockey, check out the source — otherwise, look forward to hearing more on Sound Shapes when it released on PlayStation Vita soon.
7. ‘Ghost Recon Commander’ Is Live
The new social game from Loot Drop has released their self-described “strategic combat experience that challenges everything you know about Facebook games.” Ghost Recon Commander is another of Ubisoft’s tie-ins, the most recent being the Assassin’s Creed Facebook game that released alongside AC: Brotherhood. Those interested can check out the game now.
In other browser based gaming news, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances, the MMO strategy game, is also ready to play.
8. ‘Battlefield Premium’ Is A DLC bundle
According to Battlefieldo, Battlefield Premium will bundle all of its current DLC for a onetime fee and will launch on June 4, 2012 alongside a promotional double XP event for PC gamers. All five of the expansion packs, as well as a few other goodies including items and new camo, will be included in the premium package. As another added incentive, Battlefield Premium owners will get early access to some upcoming map packs. Only one add-on has launched thus far, and the 5th is rumored to be launch sometime in March 2013, a little under a year after Battlefield Premium‘s release. Furthermore, it’s being said that this will be a service, in the same vein as Call of Duty: Elite.While most of these are still rumors (nothing has been confirmed), it is being reported by multiple sources and Battlefieldo is claiming it as true.
9. ‘Resistance: Burning Skies’ Screenshots
Nilhistic’s Resistance: Burning Skies has just released some screenshots of the Vita game. While the gameplay can’t be vouched for, as creator of the franchise Insomniac isn’t leading the project, it seems to have potential, it sure does look pretty. Check em out at the source.
10. Pachter Says Game Market Would Disintegrate Without Used Games
In the lastest episode of his show, industry analyst Michael Pachter made his feelings on blocking used games clear. He believes that action would seriously hurt the manufacturer practicing such methods.
“I think the industry will disintegrate; I think there will be no more video games if next-gen consoles don’t support used games. You hear that, Sony and Microsoft? You have to support used games. Why would the next-gen consoles not support used games? Sony doesn’t sell that much software; maybe 10% of sales are Sony products. Everything else, the other 90%, is third-party. Sony isn’t going to help its overall sales that much — let’s go with 1%, 2%. What does it actually cost [publishers] if people trade in used games and some people buy used games instead of new games? My guess is 5% of software sales, probably. Because most people don’t finish new games in a week. Most people take three weeks to a month to finish games. Not everybody buys a game the first day. You probably don’t get that many games traded in; in reality about 40% of games get traded back in.”
Pachter goes on to say that that 40% rarely come back in in enough time to impact a new release’s sale and summarizes that a mere 5% of the time someone buys a new game does it cost the publisher a new sale. Definitely not enough to punish those who have the patience or don’t have the means to purchase a new game the day it’s released.
11. Player Starbases Coming To ‘Star Trek Online’ For The First Time
Star Trek Online is gearing up to launch their next update, titled Season 6: Under Siege. With this new season comes the long awaited player starbases, which is Star Trek Online‘s version of player housing. Gamers will be able to start building and personalizing their starbases in sometime June. For more in depth details on this upcoming content, Lead Designer Jeremy Mattson shares his thoughts on the game’s dev blog.