Archive for the ‘BioWare’ Tag
* Despite the push behind The Old Republic, a Janco Partners analyst has proposed that the Mass Effect would make a more profitable MMO for EA.
* Bethesda have revealed that Brink will contain 102 quadrillion unique characters appearances, as well as over 26,000 lines of dialogue (a refreshing high number for the company behind Oblivion).
* Crytek reported around 50 lay-offs, a large hit for the company behind Crysis.
* Sadly, we’re told not to expect a Super Meat Boy 2. After the trials of making the first, Team Meat wants to wash its hands and move on.
* On the plus side, though, there is finally a level editor for the great indie hit.
* Deep Silver, it has been reported, needed Square-Enix to distribute Dead Island.
* Ubisoft have released details about the new Assassin’s Creed game, Revelations.
* The Ages of Empires Online beta is available for download, but best hurry or you will miss the boat.
* Increased game sales of its video games division have partly offset the decline of media giant, Warner Bros.
* EA have reported stated that it expects Star Wars: The Old Republic to be ready and released before March 2012.
* Mass Effect 3 will expand its target market and increase its commercial appeal to a wider audience.
Before, I linked the Jedi progression trailer and now I present the overview of the Sith progression. Apparently, the Sith like to look like Slipknot rejects. Enjoy.
* Epic Games will host a two day set of tutorials on the Unreal Development Kit at the East Coast Game Conference.
* Dungeon Siege III has been delayed, now releasing in late June.
* Hi-Rez has switched Global Agenda to a F2P model with those of us already having paid getting “elite agent” status.
* Funcom’s Call of Cthulhu-esque MMO The Secret World, announced four years ago, is officially on the back burner.
* Myst Online is now released as open source, fulfilling promises made as far back as 2008.
* The Call of Duty versus Battlefield 3 marketing war is estimated to end up costing US$200m. This truly is the war to end all wars.
* GameStop are opening a Facebook store. The new system allows sales and pre-orders done via the Facebook interface.
* It’s been reported that Apple has rejected PopCap’s experimental label, Unpleasant Horse, from the App Store on grounds of “maturity” issues.
* Multiplayer has, sadly, been ruled out of Mass Effect 3, but the details are looking good.
* Wrestling star The Rock wants to star in a Black Ops film adaptation. Given his last foray into game-based films, I hold little hope for great artistry.
Minecraft is leaving beta this year, with plans to release the final version on 11th November. This coincides with the release of Skyrim by Bethesda. Many may be disappointed by the fact that the final release won’t look much different from the beta (which itself is not a whole deal different from the alpha), but assurances are that development will continue. Other reports are that beta 1.5 will add weather effects.
Busy week this week, see you after the weekend.
Video games in the early nineties rarely portrayed sexuality. Early examples such as 1973′s Gotcha by Atari or 1982′s Custer’s Revenge are crude and often marked by immaturity or worse, but it has acquired an increasing presence in the medium since the mid- to late-nineties. The usual cries sexism, pornography or objectification has come from the usual conservative or identity politics groups, and arguments that have been dead since the days of the Meese Report continue to snap at the heels of game in a largely ineffectual way.
Video and computer gaming continued to explore these concepts and eventually explored more varied themes as well as darker ones. Sometimes, it went into the utterly tasteless but, I would argue, not as frequently as did cinema; most of the time, it was a tasteful affair, even when the media portrayed it otherwise (Mass Effect is a famous example of this).
A different response gained the attention of games journalists recently. A certain gamer, Bastal, posted on the BioWare forum, claiming to represent “straight male gamers” and wrote about his problem with the fact that several male characters were flirting with him.
His complaint was shot down very quickly by David Gaider, a writer who worked on Dragon Age II. Gaider argued that the romance options were designed with as wide a group in mind and there are still options available to everyone, regardless of gender/sexuality combinations. This is all well and true, but I think a lot of Bastal’s critics ignored a fundamental flaw in Bastal’s argument that renders a lot of the debate moot.
Bastal speaks of the minority groups he claims are being excessively catered for as acting as if they have a right to such. He wrote:
The idea of privilege is ridiculous. The “privilege” always lies with the majority because if your goal is to make a game that will be liked by as many fans possible, then it makes sense to focus on that largest group. Why should one fan’s enjoyment be more important than five others? It’d more accurate to call “privilege” the idea that some minority group gets special preference for political points. If you really want to be all-inclusive, then I don’t see why homosexuals should get special preference while leaving other minority groups out.
The fact of it is that there is no should here. It’s BioWare’s game and they are under no obligation to make the game appeal to any individual or sets of individuals. They should try to make the game to their own design ethic and, ideally, should make it profitable. Metacritic user scores indicate they have have failed to impress people, but that is simply over the thought that the sequel was dumbed down.
They are, ultimately, a private company with with privately owned intellectual property. The privilege lies with whoever Bioware chooses to privilege in their games. For all this, though, I think the other reason that Bastal’s argument falls flat is there was probably no thought in the mind of the writers of really catering for gays per se. A long time before this, Fallout 2 allowed for homosexual and bisexual characters and suffered no such complaints largely because people will play different characters from themselves more often than they would try to create characters who are simply themselves projected into the game. If Bastal thinks these sexuality options were implemented to draw in homosexual gamers, I doubt he is entirely correct.
I take Mass Effect as my example here. I really don’t think that the inclusion of Liara was aimed at being inclusive and more at the idea that a fair number of people like seeing members of the sexually-preferred gender getting on with each other. If nothing was wrong with this then the idea that idea that there should be a wider palette in Dragon Age II definitely qualifies as acceptable.
On the other hand, some might complain that the prevalence of non-heterosexuals seems a little too high. Certainly, this criticism might appeal to me if every other character were throwing themselves at my feet (a criticism I do have for the staunchly heterosexual game The Witcher, which does get a little tasteless), but this is not what is happening. While the presence of such a high number of non-heterosexuals would seem unusual, it hardly breaks suspension of disbelief. There are a lot of background assumptions that can be made as to why this presence is there. They could be biologically geared more towards bisexuality in a way species not too distant from our own are in real life (I am speaking of our fellow hominidae, the bonobos) or cultural factors could come into play. It can be explained within the game world more easily that the fact that women in their sixties still have the body of an 18-year old.
The newest trailer from the upcoming Star Wars MMO that shows an overview of Jedi progression.
Quick cap news
* League of Legends developers, Riot Games, announced that 100% of sales on the Akali character would go towards relief in Japan. Also, a rare copy of Final Fantasy Tactics is being auctioned by Play for Japan.
* Value have upgraded Steam’s VoIP system by using the SILK codec most commonly found in Skype, increasing bandwidth but allowing much greater quality.
* Crytek are still pretending that they think DRM is at best “a minor inconvenience” and about trying to stop piracy, using simple arguments that have already been knocked out.
* Darkspore gets delayed for another month, but news of an open beta should keep the waiting bearable. New date is 26th April.
* Bioware have warned that SWTOR beta scams have been appearing on the net. Watch out any would-be beta testers that you aren’t getting a raw deal.
* Battlestar Galactica Online was BigPoint’s biggest game launch so far and success was attributed to strong community involvement.
* UKIE welcomed the new budget benefits being offered to UK developers. The benefits are designed to increase investment and encourage smaller developers to grow.
* EA are getting rid of physical copies of manuals in favour of electronic-only copies.
* Deep Shiver has given a very convincing reason why the child violence in the trailer of Dead Island is acceptable. However, there were assurances that there would be no children in the game.
* Finally, the Torchlight MMO will not be charging a monthly subscription, with developers Runic Games arguing that model is no longer viable.
In a twist of fate, Gearbox announced that Duke Nukem Forever will be delayed a little longer. This means everyone can stop the “it’s finally going to be released” and switch to the “it’s fated not to be released” jokes. Randy Pitchford later explained the delay as trying to bring the game more up to scratch. There was a reveal of a tongue-in-cheek game which lead to the usual sort of responses that most of us are tired of, and once again, Penny Arcade states the obvious and wins my heart.
Also, Peter Molyneux has once again followed his old tactic of slamming his last game to make his next look better. This after Molyneux had already apologised for leading game journalists on a merry chase half the time. Game journalists themselves were unsurprised by his interview. Molyneux also, strangely, claimed that Minecraft was the best game he played in the past ten years, giving rather unusual reasoning, which implies a distinct lack of gaming on his part (not that Minecraft is actually bad, I can just think of a lot better). This shows that Molyneux can occasionally ramble on semi-coherently about games that are not his.
The updated trailer for the upcoming latest instalment in the Mass Effect saga.