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 discuss the unfortunate trend in Assassin’s Creed, more frustration with Sony, Bungie’s lack of appearance at this year’s E3, the next Michel Ancel led game, and tomorrow’s Call of Duty announcement.
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.
Where’s My Call?
Previous “reports” indicated that the next Call of Duty would be revealed at the end of April. It didn’t happen. A rumor a few days ago hinted at a Friday night announcement related to Call of Duty Online. It didn’t happen. Now, we hear that during the Activision Blizzard earnings call tomorrow, something will be said about the future of Call of Duty and some other outlets are “confirming” an imminent announcement as well.
With EA and DICE using Battlefield 3 to consistently and regularly take shots at the Call of Duty franchise which – we cannot forget – dominated their Medal of Honor and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 last year, the vast FPS gamer fanbase is waiting to see what game will succeed Black Ops. Players are currently enjoying the new Escalation DLC which adds the Hollywood-infused ‘Call of the Dead’ zombie mode map, but the world is certainly more eager to find out how and what Activision, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software are doing (without a new game engine, mind you) to put out a product that will best Battlefield 3 and more importantly, offer something different than Modern Warfare 1 & 2 and Black Ops which are often criticized for being too similar.
Been There, Done That
Just this past week Assassin’s Creed Revelations was revealed to be, unfortunately, not the next numbered entry in the series, but actually a continuation of the story in Brotherhood with a little bit of Altair thrown in. Though the game promises to include new mechanics and features, it doesn’t change the fact that Ubisoft continues to retread a time period that has been explored not once but twice. It seems like Ubisoft has transitioned the focus of Assassin’s Creed – what was once supposed to carry the appeal of new time periods and protagonists – into a vehicle where each new numbered entry would deliver the engine to put out two subsequent “side-titles.”
Do you think that Ubisoft has lost sight of Assassin’s Creed’s original appeal and has transitioned the series into one that aims to release annually, or does getting to know each character over a longer period of time help to increase the complexity of the game’s overriding narrative?
If there’s one thing that really pisses me off about the way Sony has handled the attacks on its networks, it’s that Sony hasn’t been very transparant from the start, and continues to be opaque even now. Earlier this week they announced that service to PlayStation Network was going to return soon, only to dash those statements aside by admitting at the end of the week that they had underestimated the size of that task.
Gamers may appreciate that Sony’s going through some tough times, but just how willing are they going to be to stick with Sony when they start to feel like they’re being jerked around. The biggest mistake Sony made was to not inform customers of the breach immediately after discovering it, and Sony is still showing gamers that transparency is one of their biggest issues, a sign that perhaps this still isn’t the company gamers want to return to.
Fans have eagerly been anticipating Bungie’s next title, and with the world’s biggest video game expo (E3) roughly a month away, fans of the developer were sitting on pins and needles waiting for a little peek into what Bungie will create after their immensely popular franchise, Halo. This anticipation was dashed this past weekend when Bungie announced that they would not be at this year’s E3, and thus presumably not revealing their new game.
Bungie began development on their new title after the launch of Halo: Reach last September, so with about 8-9 months of development time, we hoped that they would have something to announce. That being said, I’d much rather have Bungie hold off on revealing their top secret project if it means that a future reveal will give the game a better first impression. Whatever they’re working on should be revealed in the coming months, but speaking as a fan of the developer who will be attending E3 2011, Bungie’s new game was easily one of the big reveals I was most looking forward to.
Activision and Bungie could still potentially pull a rabbit out of their hats and show off a gameplay clip, or at the very least reveal some info on the game, but nobody should hold their breath.
Rayman was one of my favorite video game characters growing up. He always seemed to be the underdog when it came to company mascots, never standing a chance to compete with Sonic or Mario, and that is what I loved about him. The goofy, limbless, gibberish-speaking protagonist traversed worlds filled with some of the strangest creatures this side of the Mushroom Kingdom, and sold millions of copies on multiple platforms to boot.
Unfortunately, at some point or another, designers at Ubisoft decided that they would take another direction with the Rayman series, uprooting Rayman from his platforming past. The Raving Rabbids spin-off has been profitable enough for Ubisoft that no less than five have been released in as many years, with a 3DS version on the way.
Last year’s E3 brought news that Michel Ancel, after leaving the Raving Rabbids revamp, would return to lead a new project for the series titled Rayman Origins. It has been a long wait, but it looks like we might finally get our fix of old school Rayman action this fall. At least, let’s hope so, because it’s about time they finished Beyond Good & Evil 2.