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 problems Nintendo is facing, the Mass Effect movie, THQ putting an end to the Red Faction franchise and the story of Soul Calibur V.
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.
When Sony unveiled the pricing for the PlayStation Vita during their E3 press conference, everyone immediately looked to Nintendo for a drastic move involving their 3DS price tag. Now, some two months later, Nintendo has announced not just a huge price cut for the 3DS, but a rewards program to compensate its early adopters — but is it too little too late?
The Nintendo 3DS always felt a little off from the very beginning. Everything from the launch titles to the finicky 3D made it seem less like another handheld platform and more like gimmick to experience old games in a new way — which it kind of currently is.
Now that the Vita is nearing release, and the 3DS has been given a more logical price tag, will we see a real handheld war this Fall? Will Sony and Nintendo be battling it out for the chance to take up pocket real estate right next to your phone and your keys? Or is Nintendo left with nothing but an affordable parlor trick?
Consumers learned this week that Nintendo would be dropping the price of its 3DS handheld by a whopping $80. Everyone had figured that a price drop was on the horizon, but nobody could have guessed that it would be hitting less than five months after the system’s launch. The handheld has been less than successful for the Big N, and it’s even forced Nintendo to drop their estimated year-end profits by 82% in addition to its executives taking pay cuts on their salaries.
Nintendo is in rough shape at the moment, but could this be the beginning of the end for the company? Chances are that Nintendo will recover from their recent string of poor sales, but if things don’t change, then Mario may be looking for work elsewhere. Since Nintendo is no longer making a profit on the actual 3DS system, the future of the company’s financial welfare this year rests on just how much software they can move on the Wii and 3DS.
Hopefully, Nintendo has learned from their mistakes, because if the Wii U launches as prematurely as the 3DS then we may be playing Pokemon on our iPhones.
Don’t Tell Me, Show Me
When attending San Diego Comic-Con last week, I was tasked with covering film and television panels for Screen Rant, but I made damn I could attend the first ever Legendary Pictures panel and I lined up several hours early for it. The presentation covered four high concept fantasy and sci-fi films that are only in early pre-production and one of those four films was the adaptation of Mass Effect (the others were Pacific Rim, Paradise Lost and The Seventh Son).
BioWare’s Casey Hudson took the stage, alongside screenwriter Mark Protosevich, and they spoke about Mass Effect being a great game to adapt to film, a rare game that contains the needed elements, from story and characters, that would allow for a quality film… And that was it.
No news on time lines, casting, test footage, etc. We already know the film is coming – it’s been in the works for 3-4 years now. When video game movies suck as much as they do, we don’t want to hear about how yours will be good. Show us. Prove it. We’re sick of our favorite video game franchises being turned to live-action crap, so if you’re going to do this, do it right and show us when there’s something to show. It’s about time the video game genre took over Hollywood, but for the right reasons.
Earlier this week, THQ announced the untimely end of the Red Faction series, referencing low sales as the reason for the series discontinuation. THQ blames this on Red Faction being a niche title, but niche title or not, the reason for the series’ failure sits squarely in the lap of THQ themselves.
In an effort to emulate the success of Call of Duty franchise, THQ began to shift the development focus on their in house titles, which leads to titles like Red Faction: Armageddon turning into stop-and-pop shooters as opposed to the well regarded open world fun that was Red Faction: Guerilla. It leads to a poorly executed single player campaigns like we saw in Homefront, and the unnecessary inclusion of multiplayer in the upcoming Metro: Last Light. This dip in quality results from THQ trying to appeal to as many people as possible, without realizing that there are still markets for games without multiplayer and without trying something different.
If THQ (and all publishers for that matter) keep trying for mass-market appeal they’re not only going to start seeing a decline in sales and quality, but also end up tarnishing the names of some of their most beloved franchises. We don’t have time for loads of generic titles.
Soul Calibur V – Returning Heroine As Villain?
Even with the new trailer and new characters revealed for Soul Calibur V this week, there’s still a ton of speculation as to what the game will contain. What other characters will be revealed? What will the plot be? Oddly enough, I think there may have been some hints in the trailer, if you know where to look.
The trailer begins with zooming in on the character Pyrrha, with a woman speaking about how she and someone else are going to “live forever.” Then, just as the camera closes in on Pyrrha’s face, the woman says “My dear-” before you hear Patroklos cut in with shouting Pyrrha’s name. Now, this is just a theory at this point, but the focus on Pyrrha seems to indicate that the unknown woman was talking about her. But why? Well, those familiar with their Soul Calibur history will know that Pyrrha and Patroklos are brother and sister. Specifically, the children of long-time heroine, Sophitia. And who else would want this girl to live forever than her own mother?
If there’s any truth to this, it’d definitely be one of the more shocking twists to the series. Sophitia was always a pure hero, and was actually partially responsible for the defeat of Cervantes back in the original Soul Edge game. She did take a bit of a dark turn back in IV, with being forced to work for Soul Edge to protect her daughter from it. If this little theory is true, and Sophitia was tempted enough to willingly work for Soul Edge, it’d mark a very bleak turn for the series, and prove that no one is immune to Soul Edge’s evil.