Welcome to another edition of the Game Ranter Banter. Five of our 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, the Game Rant team discusses the protagonist of GTA V, Epic Games ripping people off even more with Gears of War 3, a Need for Speed TV commercial, the return of Rainbow Six and the GoldenEye re-remake.
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.
Nice to Meet You
After the first Grand Theft Auto V trailer was released earlier this week, many clever gamers took to the editing room to try to decipher just who is narrating, and potentially starring, in this Rockstar Games sequel. Many names were tossed around, from Tommy Vercetti (Ray Liotta’scharacter from Vice City) to the unnamed protagonist of GTA III, all the while I was wondering why valuable time was being devoted to deciphering this meaningless puzzle.
For my money I hope that Grand Theft Auto V delivers a new character in a familiar setting because that’s what Rockstar does so well: introduce gamers to a fully fleshed out world and let them experience it through the eyes of a new and interesting character. Yes, getting to catch up with any of the characters from GTA’s past seems like fun, but it would pale in comparison to meeting someone new.
Think back to your first moments with Niko Bellic and his cousin Roman -- sure they were annoying at first, but by game’s end you cared about them more deeply then you ever thought possible. Now wouldn’t you want to experience that again?
Check Out the Brass of Epic's Season Pass
Epic Games recently announced that they'll be releasing all of the maps from the Horde Command Pack, as well as two old school maps from the original Gears of War, as free DLC for Gears of War 3 later this month. This is great news for anyone who hadn't planned on purchasing the new add-on, but those who had already pre-purchased this content through the Season Pass should feel like they just got ripped off.
Had Epic Games announced prior to the Horde Command Pack's release that they'd be making all of these maps free, then there's no way they would have had nearly as many people purchasing the Gears of War 3 Season Pass. Sure, us suckers still get the new upgrades in Horde, character and weapons skins, and achievements — all which can only be used if this add-on is purchase — but that content alone doesn't justify the money that fans of the series paid for this add-on.
They've intentionally deceived fans who have already given them their $7 for the content, and that's not okay. This move is a giant middle finger to those who trusted Epic Games, and even though free maps are great, it instantly diminishes the value that was originally placed on the Season Pass and Horde Command Pack.
Season Pass holders are upset and they have a right to be, but we'll just have to chalk this one up to a learning experience.
A Better Prize
This week, Electronic Arts announced a new promotion for its upcoming Need for Speed: The Run that asked fans to "Like" or "Share" the game's Facebook page, thereby contributing points to the unlocking of a new television commercial directed by Michael Bay. Within a matter of days, the necessary 250,000 points had been accumulated, and the commercial is now available for everyone to see. But is early access to television advertising really worth the effort?
I can understand using a Facebook campaign for, say, unlocking a code that, in turn, unlocks a specific car in the game. (After all, Electronic Arts has an exclusive on the Porsche license.) Or, maybe, a code that unlocks some sort of in-game bonus -- currency, perhaps. But advertising? For that matter, not just advertising, but advertising that was always going to run on television regardless of what happened with the Facebook campaign. I honestly can't understand why anyone would bother.
After watching the "head 'em off at the pass" Rainbow 6: Patriots concept gameplay video, I am walking away impressed. As a long time fan of the series (and the novel it was based on), I'm glad to see Ubisoft getting back to some simple basics, at least in terms of the story.
When Ubisoft officially announced the title and I read the synopsis, I was actually impressed. It was something that was getting back to the realm of what Team Rainbow does, stop the bad guys. Rainbow Six: Vegas had a pretty good driving story set in a pretty awesome location, but unfortunately, the narrative ended up petering out somewhere near the 3rd act. As for its sequel, man, I cannot even tell you what that game was about, the story ended up being so forgettable.
Patriots bringing an old fashioned domestic terrorist group that has to butt heads with the elite of the elite? Sign me up. As long as the gameplay sees only a few refinements and that the developing team doesn't go overboard with adding micromanagement. That's what made the series so great in Vegas, an emphasis on shooting with an easy to manipulate team management system.
I'm definitely looking forward to more information on it and even more to the release in 2013.
GoldenEye 007: Unloaded (Our Wallets)
Four major titles came out last week as full-priced retail games. There was Uncharted 3, Sonic Generations, Lord of the Rings: War in the North and the one we'll talk about, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. The latest GoldenEye game is a remake of a remake, an HD upgrade of last year's Wii exclusive and a modern retelling of the N64 classic but with current James Bond star Daniel Craig as the lead, barely.
Craig's likeness is used in the game, as is his voice, but we're not sure why. He barely talks during the game. With the price tag Activision put on this release, they should have paid him to do more, but that's not the issue (read our GoldenEye 007: Reloaded review) - the problem is the aforementioned price of the game.
With the competition last week, and what's coming out this week, not the least of which is another Activision shooter called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, how can they get away with charging a full $60 for Reloaded? It's fun but it's also absolutely not worth that much money, especially with its offerings vs. Call of Duty and Battlefield 3. Not all releases need to be so expensive - offer a fair price and more people may buy and play. There's too much coming out at too expensive a price for gamers to get them all, so if you want for people to spend their time on your game, make it worth spending their money.