Category Archives: Projects

“Bioshock: Infinite” cover to appeal to non-gamers

Bioshock Infinite Cover Art

Creative Director at Irrational Games Ken Levine recently addressed  the choice of box art for Bioshock Infinite, which has faced criticism from many.  Levine explained that the cover art was designed to appeal to people unaware of the game, as opposed to fans who’ve been following the title since its announcement.  Levine assured fans that Irrational games will provide alternate cover art that can be printed out.

Walking the tightrope between business and art always seems to be an issue with media.  It’s easy to cry “sell out,” but you need only look at history to discover that the quality of your work doesn’t mean a good life.  Can I blame Irrational Games for trying to appeal to the type of person who will spend $60 because the cover has a gun, fire, and the American flag?  No.  Will the box change the content of the game?  Also, no.  This is not the worst cover art ever made for a game.  (This is.)  However, what could have been great has resigned itself to mediocrity, a blemish on what seems will be an amazing game.

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“Hitman” app causes controversy

Hitman Facebook App

Early Tuesday morning, Facebook featured the “Hire Hitman” app as a tie in to the recently released Hitman: Absolution.  The app allowed users to set up “hits” on their friends, allowing the user to identify the target through a number of predetermined descriptions, such as “her small tits” or “her muffin top.”  Sqaure Enix took the app down in response to “community feedback.” and apologized.

The video game industry has always been sketchy when it comes to promoting their products.  Whether it is mock protests or horrifying baby commercials , it’s safe to say gaming companies can make bad choices.  However, I believe this app wasn’t a completely bad idea.  “Killing” your Facebook friends could be a funny joke with a certain crowd.  The issue is that they presented the option to make fun of your friends for their appearance.  If the app allowed the user to write out their own description, then all the blame goes to the people using the app.  By shoving the option to insult your friend’s breast size in the user’s face, Square Enix took it a bit too far.

Second “Walking Dead” game features TV actor

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Terminal Reality Creative Director Drew Haworth announced that Norman Reedus, actor in AMC’s The Walking Dead, will voice his character in the first-person shooter, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.   The game is set to come out next year.

Man, I bet people are excited we are finally getting a Walking Dead game!  Oh, wait.  As far as I am concerned, Survival Instinct is unnecessary.  Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead is a genius game in its own right, and an amazing adaptation of the zombie comic/television show.  It did something new with the overused genre of zombie fiction, focusing on survival outside of killing zombies, such as making allies and not starving.  Sadly, I fear that Survival Instinct will overshadow Telltale Games’ masterpiece.  After all, we can’t get enough of those original zombie shooters!

Nintendo launches Wii Mini in Canada

Wii Mini

Starting Nov. 30, Walmart stores in Canada began selling the Nintendo Wii Mini, a $99 alternative to the normal Wii.  Along with the price cut, the Wii Mini does not support online features and cannot play Game Cube games.  It is only available in Canada at this point.

I can already hear the cries of children who will be getting this instead of the other recently released Nintendo console.  However, despite that possible mishap, this honestly is a great alternative for parents who don’t want to worry about their kids messing around online.  Why it is a Canada-exclusive system until after Christmas?  Who knows, but I think it’s safe to say the Wii U will cover their non-Canadian bases.

Microsoft sends Xbox 360s to long-time users

Early last week, Microsoft confirmed that they are giving away special edition Xbox 360 consoles to people who’ve used their Xbox Live service the longest.  The bundle also included a free year of Xbox Live.  The service originally came out in 2002 for the Xbox.

Whenever I hear about some sort of crazy deal going on in the game industry, I tend to question the motives behind such charity.  In this case, I think it might be just that.  I guess you could say marketing and PR, but who is going to argue with the people mailing out Xbox 360s to people just for brand loyalty?

A (belated) Happy Birthday

On Nov. 16, legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto celebrated his 60th birthday.  Miyamoto is responsible for various classic game franchises, including Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong.

For my seventh birthday, I recall my favorite gift being a copy of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color.  I spent countless hours with the game, giving it more attention than anything else.  This was long before I knew who Miyamoto was, let alone that I shared a birthday with the video game icon.  Here’s to us, and our forty-year difference.

“DmC” caps at 30 fps

DmC director Hideaki Itsuno justified the video game’s lower frame rate in a recent statement.  Currently, the game caps at 30 frames per second, half that of its predecessor, Devil May Cry 4.  According to Itsuno, the game’s design fills in the blanks where you would perceive the lowered frame rate, making it appear smoother than it is.

This game has caused drama since its announcement, splitting the fanbase in half over issues ranging from character design to gameplay.  This setback is nothing more than icing on the disappointment cake.  If there is anyone still excited for DmC, they won’t be turned off now if they haven’t been already.

Official Playstation Magazine closes

According to Game Informer, Playstation: The Official Magazine will be ending production with their Holiday 2012 issue.  The magazine’s publisher, Future US, also announced the closing of Nintendo Power in August, with the last issue coming out this December.

As an avid fan of print journalism, it pains me to see so many video game publications biting the dust.  There’s not much to say on the subject, but this post goes out to all the print journalists, gaming or otherwise.

Ubisoft offers discounts to storm victims

On Monday,  the Assassin’s Creed Facebook page posted two discount codes directed specifically toward customers being affected by Tropical Storm Sandy.  The deals entitled fans to both 50% off any game except Assassin’s Creed 3 and 15% off anything from the Ubi Workshop website.

The people at Ubisoft really know how to turn lemons into lemonade.  They take one of the worst natural disasters to hit the east cost in a long time, and they turn it into good PR and profits.  I find this kind of thing tasteless and underhanded, but can I really criticize a well-timed discount?

“Curiosity” set to launch Friday

Peter Molyneux’s first of 22 experimental projects, titled Curiosity: What’s Inside The Cube?, will be released Nov. 7 on iOS and Android devices.  The app features a box which players can chip away at to get to the core.  The box is universal to everyone who gets the app, so if someone else chips part of the box off, it will count towards your progress.  However, the core of the box holds a secret Molyneux describes as life-changing, and the only person who can see this secret is the last person to chip away at the box.  The app also allows you to buy upgraded pickaxes that more efficiently chip away at the box, with the most expensive costing $50,000.  22Cans, the indie game developer headed by Molyneux, will create 21 experiments similar to Curiosity: What’s Inside The Cube, as well as one full game.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with Molyneux is aware of his tendency to over-hype his own products.  It could be argued that his own fame is a result of this hype.  For all I know, he could have found the cure to cancer and put it in the app, but I just don’t see the contents being worth the price of admission, let alone the upgraded pickaxes.  Personally, if I wanted to waste money, I’d buy a lottery ticket.