Who am I? I'm a guy who plays video games, talks way too much about comics and movies, likes Godzilla and Robocop, and lives up in Wisconsin. And yes. We get that much snow. Why should you read my blog? Because when I write I have fun, make up bullshit lists, and when I do get a little serious with some blogs I try to be insightful and use resources and facts to try and back up my opinion as much as I can. And if you don't follow my blog, I'll send you a picture of a sad kitten who wants some love.
Also, I tend to debate a lot and get up on a soapbox a bit from time to time. I like to debate for the sake of debating and I tend to find it fun to get other peoples perspectives on things, and sometimes I like to play devil's advocate a bit just for the sake of it. Basically, don't take me so serious sometimes even if it seems like I am being serious.
(I’m writing this in the style of a frontpage news article, because why not. Maybe it’ll get frontpaged that way or something)
It looks as if an ugly “feature” from Halo: Reach has managed to creep its way into Halo 4. The infamous “daily online XP limit”, a function that cuts off your ability to gain XP and rank up, appears to be a thing that still exists in Halo despite it being almost universally disliked when it was discovered in Reach.
Multitudes of Halo 4 gamers have complained about hitting the XP cap in (relatively) short amounts of time, and I can attest that I’ve smacked into this lovely thing a couple of times myself. Just by scanning the Halo 4 forums, and by doing some basic math, it seems that if you play a solid 5 or 6 hours of War Games exclusively you’ll slam into the XP cap. However, it seems that the fast-track towards hitting the XP cap is via the title's new Spartan Ops mode which can dish out large amounts of experience points and can be completed pretty quickly with a group of competent teammates.
On top of not gaining experience for playing multiplayer games, it seems as though the XP cap totally blocks you off from gaining any experience what so ever. Meaning that if you hit the daily XP cap and then complete one of your Spartan Commendations afterwards (for example: splatter x amount of people), the experience you’d get from does not go towards your next rank and that commendation’s XP is permanently lost.
I have a few issues with a stupid XP cap like this. Firstly, it punishes people who enjoy playing your game. Yes, to some it still seems like it takes a long time to hit a relatively lofty XP cap, but no two people are the same and I can personally attest that on a Sunday with nothing else to do it can be pretty easy to lose track of time. Secondly, there seems to be no justification for a thing like this considering there are no higher-level items that give you any substantial advantage. Thirdly, to me it seems pretty contradictory to have an arbitrary XP cap in place and then turn around and promote “Double XP” with your buddies over at Mountain Dew and Doritos, which is only going to speed up people’s chances of smacking into said arbitrary XP cap.
Halo 4 is still a great game and I’m having an absolute blast with it but effectively telling your player base to stop playing your game isn’t a smart thing to do, especially when Black Ops II is out there clamoring for all of your time.
In the gaming community the words “doomed” and “failure” might as well be considered slurs, profanity, or just a stupid troll comment, especially when talking about something that has yet to hit store shelves. People tend to over (or under) analyze something and declare it “doomed” well before it’s fair to say that whether or not something has indeed failed. The Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita are probably the best two examples of this; the 3DS was declared “doomed” by some after its few early struggling months only to promptly turn itself around, and the Vita has been labeled a failure by some even though the system has yet to see a major holiday sales season (granted, it does need to turn around soon).
My point is that gamers like to speak in hyperbole. Personally, I don’t care for it and, while I do enjoy speculation and looking at probabilities, I don’t enjoy jumping to very extreme conclusions. Yet as I’ve looked at the game DmC: Devil May Cry and look at everything surrounding it I can’t help but ask myself one question – is DmC a game that is destined to be labeled a failure?
Now before you start scrolling down and typing hateful things at me or proclaiming “DOOOOOOM”, hear me out on this. First off this isn’t going to be a blog focused on talking about why the changes to the game itself may or may not have been a smart decision, nor is this going to be some stupid brouhaha over Dante’s hair being black. This isn’t about if the game is destined to fail in the eyes of fans, that’s far too difficult to tell, this is more about whether or not the game is destined to be viewed as a failure in the eyes of Capcom.
Capcom’s reasoning behind the DmC reboot is that they want this franchise to further break through to the western markets. I, for my part, think that actually translates to “we want this to sell like Call of Duty” given some of the stupid things they’ve said in the past about other games. Obviously DmC won’t sell to the levels of a big budget established franchise shooter, but when I hear “continue to crack into the west” I assume that their expectations are to surpass previous titles. So, expectations for DmC might be somewhere in the 3-6 million ballpark range? That definitely tops the previous entries in the series and, if you ask me, fits the definition of “continued breakout”. Obviously that number I threw out there is a guestimate, so please take it with as many grains of salt as you please.
The issue is that there’s a lot going against DmC that points to it not meeting any expectations of growth, and perhaps even shows signs that the franchise might actually regress.
Devil May Cry and games of similar likeness are all part of a specific place in action games called “hack and slash beat ‘em ups”. Believe it or not, even though you may recognize a lot of games from this genre, most of these games don’t put up sales numbers that are considered overly impressive in modern day gaming. These games are actually fairly niche games, to be honest, and just simply don’t have that much of a mass audience appeal. Here’s a list of recent notable games that fit within or close to the same genre as Devil May Cry and here are the quantities sold that go along with them.
--Devil May Cry 4 [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 2.73 million
--Ninja Gaiden 2/Sigma 2 [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 1.73 million
--Dante’s Inferno [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 1.85 million
--Bayonetta [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 1.89 million
--Ninja Gaiden 3 [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 0.32 million
--Heavenly Sword [PlayStation 3] – 1.57 million
--Warhammer 40k: Space Marine [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 0.80 million
--God of War III [PlayStation 3] – 4.46 million
--Castlevania: Lords of Shadow [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 1.24 million
--Darksiders II [Xbox 360/PlayStation 3] – 0.87 million
(All numbers come from VGChartz, so whine all you want about that. And yes, I know, Space Marine was slightly more shooter than beat-em-up, but I threw it in as a “close enough”.)
Obviously everything is in the eye of the beholder but, to me, none of these numbers are exactly eye-popping, and some of the games I listed here are even considered “heavy hitters” for their genre. There are a few trends you’ll probably notice here, not hitting one million sales isn’t exactly rare, and breaking two million sales is relatively rare. You’ll also notice that there isn’t much of a disparity between games made in Japan versus games that come from western developers; sales in this genre don’t seem too impacted much at all by what region a game comes from. Yes, you can point to God of War III all you want but I’ll counterpoint that the numbers balance out substantially when you remove GoW from the equation, which makes God of War an outlier that defies trends of the genre in general.
If Capcom expects DmC to further the franchises crack into the western market you’d assume they’d mean “sell on par to or better than Devil May Cry 4”. Because, well, you can’t really say your game has furthered your establishment in the west if less people are actually getting the game. But shooting par against DmC’s predecessor alone might be difficult, for a reason beyond just “industry trends”.
There are still a lot of Devil May Cry fans that are fairly alienated thanks to the DmC reboot. Those fans might not invest in a game they have no real passion for owning and might opt to rent it or Gamefly it instead of dropping sixty dollars. It’s obviously difficult to quantify the number of fans/sales that have been lost due to the controversy surrounding the reboot and how that will impact the sales numbers pulled in by DmC itself. If you asked for my guess on how large this alienated fan base is my answer would likely be “enough to make a dent”.
I might even go out on a limb and say that the number of fans lost might be more than the number of fans gained by the new look of the game, or at the very least be a push. My foundation for this hypothesis is based around the typical sales trends for DmC’s genre as a whole. Given that Devil May Cry was already one of the top dogs in terms of sales for hack-and-slashers, I doubt that there’s a very large pool gamers that buy these types of games who aren’t already interested in the franchise from which DmC can tap into to replace the lost/alienated fans. Then there are also fans of these types of action games who may have established that Devil May Cry simply “isn’t their thing”. Obviously the other x-factor in play are gamers who are being brought into this genre thanks to DmC, however the odds of that x-factor being important seem to be slim.
The fact that the name “Capcom” is going to be slapped on DmC’s box might be a negative x-factor that comes into play. While this seems to be a thing more so for internet savvy gamers, there are gamers who will avoid DmC simply because they’ve chosen to avoid Capcom in general. Capcom’s reputation isn’t as stellar as it once was and people have grown a bit sick of Capcom’s antics, such as their abuse of DLC amongst other things. This would probably be an appropriate time to mention that DLC for DmC has already been confirmed and we’re still three months away from the launch of the game, which means Capcom’s corporate fingers are probably deep into this game too.
There are few other factors that could be going against DmC as well. They are minor, but perhaps at least worth mentioning. DmC is scheduled to be released in mid-January, and I don’t know about you but I know a lot of people like to let their wallets get a little rest after the holidays leave a hole in them. A few, arguably larger, titles are also set to release shortly after DmC is supposed to hit shelves in what is becoming a progressively more jam-packed first quarter of 2013. Specifically, Dead Space 3, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, and Aliens: Colonial Marines are all within a few weeks of DmC. Whether or not a gamer is in “holiday bank account recovery mode”, those are all titles that might make some people opt to save their $60 bucks for something other than DmC.
And it should also be worth noting that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a game that is definitely going to take up housing in the same neighborhood as DmC, is scheduled to be released about a month after DmC. While it’s totally possible to just purchase both games the gamer-on-a-budget might be forced to choose between the two, especially with some of those other previously mentioned noteworthy titles sandwiched in there. Considering that Revengeance carries a franchise name that most would consider to be much larger than Devil May Cry, has received pretty high praise during events where it’s been playable, and it has the Platinum Games name attached it’s hard to say that there isn’t a chance Revengeance won’t steal some sales from DmC as well.
Everything I’m talking about is purely speculative, and honestly I’m not one who enjoys saying something is dead on arrival. Obviously we don’t know what Capcom’s true goals for this game are, because despite everything they’ve said publicly they could just be blowing smoke up our collective asses (it is Capcom, after all). But when I try to objectively look at the game, the trends for its genre, when the game is being released, and the circus surrounding the reception of the game, I have a hard time seeing how it won’t be some kind of disappointing in the eyes of the talking suits at Capcom. And if my fully speculative analysis of all of this comes true I really wonder what might happen to the Devil May Cry franchise. Worse than that, if DmC doesn’t light up sales charts I wonder what will happen to Ninja Theory. Heavenly Sword sold “okay” for them and Enslaved was pretty much a flop, if they stumble (again) sales wise, this time with a much more established name brand, I don’t know if they can survive it.
Like I’ve said, clearly this is all speculative and when the game actually gets released things could go numerous different directions. I’m simply curious if Capcom is setting themselves up for nothing but a disappointment.
Marvel kicks into its post-Avengers "phase two" of its movie universe with Iron Man 3. The story, from what I've heard, is that this movie is a loose combination of the "Extremis" and "Armor Wars" storylines from the Iron Man comics.
So, it seems like Tony is experiencing some post-traumatic stress disorder in wake of the events that transpired in The Avengers. That seems reasonable, almost dying via a nuclear explosion or nearly being trapped on the wrong side of a cosmic wormhole might do that to a guy.
After being essentially Easter egged into the previous two Iron Man movies, we finally get to see The Mandarin on the big scream & played by Ben Kingsley none the less. For those of you who aren't familiar, Mandarin is Iron Man's archenemy. Going off the trailer, it seems like Mandarin is (at the very least) running a terrorist group - probably the same "Ten Rings" terrorist group that captured Tony in the first movie.
I'm curious how they will portray Mandarin in this movie. In the comics his main power comes from ten magical rings he carries (which are briefly shown in the trailer). I'm curious if they'll actually carry over the "magic versus technology" aspect of Stark/Mandarin for the movie or if they'll do something that gives Mandarin a psuedo-magic that makes him a worthy adversary to Stark. It could honestly go either way, maybe he gets a dose of the Extremis-serum or perhaps his magical rings are still magical and alien in origin - which would tie in to the greater Marvel universe, considering Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy are things that are happening.
I'm also curious if I saw traces of the storyline where Iron Man's suit becomes self-aware. There are a couple of shots in the trailer that show the suit operating without Stark in it. However the trailer also shows Stark building some sort of mental controller for the suit, so perhaps the suit is simply acting on his thoughts even when Stark isn't consciously trying to operate it.
Oh, and just for those of you who might have gotten confused - that red/white/blue armor you see in the trailer isn't Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn), or Captain America for that matter. It's the War Machine armor, and it's apparently been given a makeover by the US Government or something. I totally expect Tony at some point in the movie to make a Captain America joke, however.
Crossovers are a magical thing that seem to work best in the media of video games (okay, comics tend to make it work too). Recently there’s been a slight renaissance in crossover titles in the likes of Marvel vs Capcom 3, Project X Zone, or even Professor Layton X Phoenix Wright, so in honor of that I decided to revisit a classic throw-down from back in the day that was aimed straight at the heart of 80’s action nerds – RoboCop vs The Terminator.
RoboCop vs The Terminator is something that, on paper, should be the ultimate recipe for success. It pits The Terminator, a machine hidden under the appearance of man, against RoboCop, the human hidden under a machine. Terminators break the law in order to complete their objective, RoboCop’s objective is to prevent the law from being broken. It’s amazing that these different sides of the same coin came from two completely different minds in Hollywood, and I don’t think you could find better juxtaposing characters even if you tried.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the people who made this game tried.
RoboCop vs The Terminator (Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo [Reviewed]) Developers: Virgin Games (Sega Genesis), Interplay (SNES) Publisher: Virgin Games Release Date: November 3, 1993
RoboCop vs The Terminator is loosely based on the four-issue comic book series of the same name that was written by Frank Miller (yes, that Frank Miller), who also wrote the basic stories for both RoboCop 2 & RoboCop 3. There are slight differences in how the story is presented from the SNES version to the Genesis version, for clarification everything I’ll talk about here is in regards to the SNES edition.
The story for this title opens up in the future after Skynet’s takeover. A resistance fighter named Flo discovers that the cybernetics technology used in creating RoboCop becomes one of the foundations for Skynet’s creation (wait what?). Flo decides to travel to the past and destroy RoboCop in Old Detroit, because we can’t have a Terminator plot without some sort of paradoxical time-travel issue being thrown into the mix. Skynet obviously takes issue with anything besides itself trying to re-write history, so it sends a couple of Terminators back in time to stop the resistance. Apparently Skynet finally learned that sending just one Terminator back in time doesn’t work.
(Note: I’m going to fully spoil a 20 year old story now)
Meanwhile back in Old Detroit RoboCop is doing his traditional duties, which apparently in this game consist of walking down streets gunning down street thugs & hookers while twirling his comically large (and awesome) hand gun. Eventually Flo confronts RoboCop but is gunned down by the Terminator in a drive by shooting (drive by termination?). As she’s dying Flo tries to explain to RoboCop what’s going on, but for obvious reasons RoboCop doesn’t understand (though, I imagine Prime Directive #3 is screaming at him in his head). RoboCop, after a slight distraction from fighting a faulty ED-209, tracks down the Terminator and blows him the f*ck up, cuz, y’know, the Terminator didn’t get the ”come quietly or there will be trouble” memo.
RoboCop (somehow) finds out that another Terminator has managed to infiltrate the OCP headquarters in Detroit. Since stopping the apocalyptic rise of the robots most likely falls under the “Serve the public trust” directive, RoboCop goes to stop him. While in the OCP building RoboCop plugs himself into the building’s security system to stop the Terminator but apparently falls into a trap set by the Terminator/Skynet as his mind is digitalized into the system and his body becomes a tool for the rise of Skynet.
RoboCop apparently keeps his sentience while in the computer system and witnesses the rise of Skynet and the fall of humanity (because Alex Murphy’s mind wasn’t already messed up). Sometime in the future (we’ll all safely assume during the John Connor resistance) RoboCop rebuilds himself using an abandoned Terminator factory and decides to take the fight to Skynet, because Skynet clearly didn’t stay out of trouble. Robo storms his way into Skynet’s base, kills all of the dudes, destroys Skynet’s CPU, and then helps in the rebuilding of humanity.
And that’s the whole crappy story.
Graphically, RoboCop vs The Terminator isn’t bad for the era it came out in. Though, to be honest, I’d have to say that the Genesis version of this title blows the SNES version out of the water in terms of visuals (Note: please click here to read Akiba55’s retro review of the Genesis version). The SNES version also lacks pretty much all of the blood and hilarious violence that the Genesis version has. Since I mentioned hilarious violence, and this does involve RoboCop, here’s the (slightly modified) ED-209 scene from the first RoboCop movie.
Musically, RoboCop vs The Terminator is pretty good. The first few levels have pretty good music, but honestly the later you get into the game the more some of the musical choices get a little grating and less enjoyable. Specifically, all of the music for the sections set in the future are simply atrocious. To compare it to the Genesis version again I’d give the SNES version the edge, only because the music in the Genesis version is god awful even in comparison to the weakest themes in the SNES version.
RoboCop vs The Terminator plays like a shooter/platformer hybrid, because we all know that since RoboCop is such a brisk walker and avid jumper he makes an ideal candidate for a platformer. I openly laughed at some of the platformer parts I came across during the game. Some sections made sense, like standing on a thin wooden bridge too long would cause it to break and fall, because RoboCop weighs a ton. Then there were other times where I had to jump up and grab onto ropes/wires with my hands and shimmy across large gaps (because RoboCop totally does that a lot too), and the ropes I’d be using would never break. Oh, and apparently fire hurts you in this game. Because everybody who’s seen RoboCop knows that fire is his fucking kryptonite.
Robo can shoot his weapon in any of 5 directions; up, diagonal up, forward, diagonal downward, and straight down. Normally the mechanics for shooting work pretty decently albeit there were a few times where shooting in the diagonal directions got a big frustrating for me. There’s a handful of weapons you can acquire during the game as well. You start off with RoboCop’s Auto-9 handgun obviously, other weapons I found included a rapid fire rocket launcher, an ED-209 machine gun (!), and a laser-pistol version of the Auto-9 (for the levels set in the future). Overall I felt that the rocket launcher was clearly the best weapon available. In one related bit of hilarity, I don’t know if it was a sprite-glitch or intentional but at the start of each level RoboCop pulls out his handgun from his leg just like in the movies, however my starting weapon one time was the 3 foot long rocket launcher… which RoboCop still pulled out of his leg. Oh, and thankfully the gun-arm from RoboCop 3 is nowhere in sight despite this game coming out the same year as the movie.
It should also be noted that this game is hard – arguably too hard, like “you need to cheat in order to make it even” hard. Lots of enemies have unnecessarily high amounts of health, like to camp near ledges and refuse to let you get to their level, and respawn the moment they go off-screen. Losing a life sends you back to the start of a level and you also lose the weapons you acquired, even if they were carried over from a previous level. While you can shoot projectiles out of the air, a multitude of projectile attacks I came across came at angles I could either not shoot at or successfully jump over – essentially making it an unavoidable hit. I take no shame in admitting that I had to look up some passcodes in order to advance to some of the later levels in this game, because there’s just enough artificial difficulty in this game to make it more tedious than fun.
I’d give this game a healthy 4.5/10
It’s hard to say whether or not I’d recommend playing this game. If you’re a die-hard fan of RoboCop or Terminator I’d say at least give it a play session, but don’t feel like your “die-hard” status is going to be revoked for not completing this game or even liking it. To be honest, even if you’re a die-hard Terminator fan I don’t really know what about this game would appeal to you besides the name on the box because this game really feels geared towards Robo’s fans. RoboCop vs. The Terminator is more or less just a RoboCop game with aspects of Terminator thrown into it. A Terminator is an early game boss but they progressively become more or less glorified grunt troops as the game goes on and truly lack the intimidation factor that a Terminator should have. And while Skynet is the main badguy of the game, I really feel like the Terminator aspects of the game could easily be turned into their own stand-alone items and it wouldn’t affect the story of the game what so ever.
RoboCop vs The Terminator is a fantastic idea that could quite easily work if you get the right people involved. I’d go as far as saying I’d like to see this franchise get a 21st century resurrection with a more polished presentation and a (much) better plot. Well, as long as they use classic Peter Weller-era RoboCop and not that shittier looking new one they’ve been toting around for that remake.
...but I have a few things to say about Electronic Arts.
Since I've had a few blogs that have apparently been pretty good according to others, I figure it's time to splash a little "controversy" into the mix and get my flame-repellant suit on!
In case you’ve been living under a rock for a while in the video game world, Electronic Arts has become the go-to punching bag on an almost daily basis and is lampooned constantly by journalists and gamers alike. Now I’m not here to defend EA and claim that they aren’t a crappy company, I’m just pointing out that a lot of the companies around them are just as crappy and that the hate for EA is as overblown as Bill Clinton during his presidency.
Electronic Arts has seemingly reached the point where they can do no right. If they release a sequel to a game people like and keep a game true to its predecessor, people complain that EA isn’t innovating enough. If they release a sequel and try to expand upon the predecessor, they get ripped on for forcing new things into a game. If the sequel doesn't live up to the, usually quite lofty, expectations of gamers then it becomes EA's fault because they clearly must have rushed the product (even though mediocre sequels litter all forms of entertainment, rushed or not rushed). And if they release a new project, everybody immediately expects this new project to be ruined with numerous sequels or worse yet don’t buy the game.
You can write this off as simply the internet being the internet, but the fact is that EA gets lambasted constantly for things that are actually industry-wide issues. For example there’s the complaint that EA does nothing except pump out sequels. Yes, EA does put out a lot of sequels, but so does everyone else. In fact here are threeseparatelinks to the Top 10 highest selling games from 2011. Guess what, every single game is a sequel and only two of them were published by EA. Activision has multiple studios dedicated to pushing out Call of Duty games on a yearly basis, Microsoft started up a new studio just to keep making Halo titles, Valve pushed out two Left 4 Dead titles in less than a 12 month span, Capcom slapped Devil May Cry on a brand new game just to catch your attention, Ubisoft wont give Assassins Creed any sort of breather. Sequelitis is a disease that runs rampant through every single major developer and publisher in this industry.
This is because sequels bring out your wallets faster than new titles. People are more inclined to spend money on something when they have an established familiarity with the product. That is why you most likely buy Cheerios instead of the bottom shelf generic brands that are the exact same thing, or why movies throw “from the director of” in as many previews as they can. It constantly perplexes me why gamers have issues with companies doing fairly logical things that are time tested money makers in order to get money when money part of the integral lifeblood that keeps the industry going.
Even with sequelitis running more rampant than syphilis in California porn, EA still does manage to push out new intellectual properties despite what others will make you believe. In fact here’s a list of new IPs EA has been the publisher of since the start of 2007;
Army of Two
Kingdoms of Amalur
Star Wars: The Old Republic
That averages out to over two new IPs a year, which isn’t a horrendous number at all when you factor in that gamers only have so much time they can spend playing games, let alone just EA games. This also doesn't include EA's revivals of Medal of Honor or SSX. Out of the fourteen games I listed above eight of them managed to get sequels and turn into franchises, so it's not like EA isn't aware of the fruits of putting out new IPs. And before you turn around and try to remind me that EA just pushes out sequels and drowns out the value of their franchises, I'd like to point out that this is a problem with lots of other publishers too and specifically mention that when Assassins Creed III launches later this year there will be as many Assassins Creed games alone as there are currently Mass Effect & Crysis games combined. Given that I'm also on the topic of whining about sequels, I'd also like to take a quick moment and call out the hypocrisy of whining about sequels but then complaining that Mirror's Edge 2 hasn't happened yet.
The Madden series is another one of those areas that EA gets criticized for when it's in fact a more industry wide problem. Sports games are generally an entirely different beast than traditional games when it comes to sequels because sports games dont rely on narratives and fictional characters, they rely on up-to-date rosters and emulating their game of choice as it is. While other sports games do occasionally get barbed on, it's mostly when Madden is brought up that the "sixty dollar roster update" line gets thrown. What seems to get ignored is that their competition in recent years tends to do the exact same thing; 2K Sports has put out yearly basketball games for the last 4 years as well as baseball games for the last seven, MLB The Show (probably the most well received baseball game on the market) has pumped out a new game every year for the last 6 years and was a successor to the yearly 989 Sports MLB games, hell even WWE has put out a yearly game since 2000. While Madden is by far older than any of these other franchises I've mentioned the gamer animosity towards yearly sixty dollar updates hasn't stopped other publishers from attempting, and succeeding at, the exact same things.
Then there's the other big issue people have with EA in regards to Madden, the exclusive NFL rights that the Madden games now carry. I'll be honest, I'm surprised the animosity from this has lingered as long as it has. For those of you who are unfamiliar, allow me to give you a quick recap. About seven years ago now, 2K Sports released ESPN NFL 2K5 and sold it for $20. Given the steep price difference between 2K5 and Madden 2005 that year ($20 versus $50), Madden took a hit in sales and forced EA to reduce the games price down to $30 in order to compete. After both 2005 games came out, EA Sports, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association reached an exclusivity agreement that effectively killed off any other NFL simulation games on the market. The following year the price for Madden 2006 returned to its previous $50 price point.
The problem is that people with revisionist history attempt to make EA look like the lone and primary bad guys in all of this. Many people believe that EA bought out the NFL license in order to bury their competition knowing that the 2K series was a quickly growing threat and that the return to the fifty dollar price point in the 2006 edition of their game was a reflection of that. While the hike back up to fifty dollars was definitely a dick move by EA, the exclusivity deal wasn’t necessarily a result of the dent 2K5 put in them the year before. The blame for NFL exclusivity falls more on the NFL themselves and not necessarily EA. The NFL was more interested in taking the license exclusive than EA was, and had been reportedly negotiating with EA about exclusivity before ESPN NFL 2K5 was even a thing you could buy.
Thus, the NFL exclusivity is something EA gets ripped on for and I never understood why. The NFL approached them in regards to exclusivity, so what was EA supposed to do in this case? Were they supposed to go “No, we would not like to protect our most stable franchise and provide a little extra job security in a very insecure industry”? Video games are a major business and in major business you need to be cutthroat once and a while. I don’t blame them for agreeing to NFL exclusivity because if EA didn’t agree to the exclusive license it’s very probable that the NFL would have taken their offer to one of EA’s competitors. Along with that if I was in that position and had that offer in front of me I’m pretty sure I would have taken the deal as well, just like every single one of you reading this probably would have.
Getting away from Madden, a more recent complaint I hear volleyed around anytime EA is talked about is how EA shoehorns some kind of multiplayer into every game. Admittedly it does get a bit annoying once and a while when you hear that everything has some other gameplay mode attached to it, but at the same time I’m not opposed to it automatically. For every couple of people who hate Dead Space 2’s multiplayer there’s likely another person who finds fun in it, so if that floats somebody’s boat then so be it. I’m a bit more okay with tacked-on multiplayer than I am with “easy modes” or “story-only modes” because, in my opinion, throwing in a separate multiplayer or cooperative mode doesn’t compromise the challenge or accomplishment of a game the same way easy-modes do and it’s a completely optional thing you can avoid completely.
But, for the sake of providing myself with more to talk about, I’ll just go along with this con that adding multiplayer to a game is an evil thing. Why does shoehorning in a multiplayer mode always seem to be primarily an EA complaint when it’s occurring in other places as well? Why is it that EA and Visceral Games announce that Dead Space 3 will have a completely optional cooperative version of their story mode and it’s a horrible thing, but when Valve slaps a co-op mode into Portal 2 they’re considered messiahs of gaming (and yes, I just compared EA and Valve). I don’t remember nearly as much complaining occurring when it was announced that Resident Evil 5 would support co-op gameplay, a move that oddly enough ended up saving that game in light of how terrible Sheva’s AI was in that game. In fact, right off the top of my head I could name Uncharted 2, Bioshock 2, Spec-Ops: The Line, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii as games that all had multiplayer shoved into them that all didn’t get ripped on nearly as much as Dead Space 2 or Mass Effect 3 did, all because those magical two “EA” letters weren’t involved. Adding to that, or maybe just confirming the hilarious double-standards of the modern day gamer, tacked-on multiplayer is somehow frowned upon yet when a single-player only game like Vanquish comes along one of the more vocal complaints I hear about the game is that there’s no multiplayer.
Now like I said earlier I’m not here to defend EA, and if you’re taking all of this as a pro-EA rant then you’ve apparently misread what I’ve been trying to say. I’m more or less just trying to point out that just about everyone else significant in the gaming industry is just as slimy as they are. Activision once openly admitted they only care about games they can exploit for every cent possible, this is probably what led to them single-handedly almost fully murdering the music-game market. Capcom used the 2011 tsunami disaster as a flaky excuse to make you buy Marvel vs Capcom 3 all over again (which I somehow got conned into!?), not to mention how many times they’ve resold Street Fighter 4 and make you double-pay for games with on-disc DLC. Then there's games like Max Payne 3, Mortal Kombat, and Borderlands 2 that all try to sucker you into paying for DLC before you ever know what it is.
The other reason I'm talking about this is because, quite honestly, I'm just sick and tired of hearing about it and I know a lot of other people are too. Sure you can say that maybe they should stop giving us stupid material to talk about or that we'll stop hearing about when EA changes there ways, but there's simply a tipping point where it's just too much regardless of the reason. I mean do we really need to talk about EA as often as ESPN talks about Tim Tebow? It's honestly gotten to the point where every bad thing that can be said about EA , and to a lesser extent, the industry in general, has been said multiple times over already. The other reason I've become simply sick of hearing about it is because anytime EA does anything someone objects to everybody who has any sort of gaming blog comes out from the dark corners of the internet and preaches into my ear like a Monday Morning Quarterbacks about how the entire gaming industry should be run (yes I'm especially looking at you, Destructoid). And the only thing that might bug me more than an uptight CEO telling me how the video game industry should be run is a doofus with an Xbox controller in his lap telling me how the industry should be run.
Listen, just because you play or review video games doesn't instantly qualify you to preach about how the big video game machine should be ran. I liken it to a sports statement, even though you're a good quarterback that doesn't mean you'll be a good coach. And even if you might have a voice that reaches larger audiences doesn't mean you constantly need to exercise that voice. This is the reason I don't rant or cBlog about the Devil May Cry reboot anymore, because I've said everything that needs to be said and after a while my audience will simply become sick of hearing about it. It's a simple thing that more sites need to exercise before they all continue to spiral downwards into a National Enquirer tier of shoddy tabloid writing.
I think another reason people get uptight about EA is because of how EA handles themselves. Honestly they tend to stick to their own business model and don't let the outside world affect them too much, at least the outside world of gamers and consumers. They stick to their own way because they know that even if you complain you're still going to open up your wallet for the next big title they put out, regardless if that next big title conflicts with the something that gamer was complaining about and said they didn't want. And honestly, if gamers who have problems with EA can't live up to their own standards and keep their wallets shut, why should EA cater to those standards? In a way it's almost admirable how they stick to their guns, even if it ruffles the feathers of a few consumers (which, sometimes, includes myself).
Due to my last point I think that's why people get their panties extra twisted when EA does something they perceive wrong. This might also be why shit magically rolls uphill and lands on EA any time a publisher under EA does something that doesn't get universal praise, like all of Dragon Age 2 or the overblown controversy of the year in Mass Effect 3's ending.
Is EA a “good” company? Oh sweet mercy no they aren’t. Do they put out too many shooters? Perhaps, but again so is everyone else. Their online pass system is a little fishy and I can totally understand why people might have issues with that (though, I personally disagree). I'm also definitely not a fan of how EA seems to habitually purchase gaming studios and shut them down after they put out a single title that doesn't perform up to expectations. I also think their hopes of publishing “the next big thing” that rakes in mythical amounts of cash like Call of Duty or Halo has clouded their judgment a little and has led to unnecessarily high expectations with certain studios and games.
An old slogan that floated around Destructoid for a long time was “STFUAJPG”, for you uninitiated that means ”Shut the fuck up and just play games”. Truthfully I think that needs to be exercised more than a little when it comes to whining about EA and the industry in general. A lot of the industry sucks just as much as EA does right now and a bunch of you people slapping their meat hooks against your keyboards isn't going to make a damn of a difference in the industry as a whole unless you are all willing to finally start voting with your wallets. Until then, take a step back and chill for a moment and try to enjoy the things for a bit because they're still plenty of fun to be found in gaming even with all of the shit that's lingering.
Who knows, maybe you're nodding your head in agreement with me because of this rant. Maybe you're pounding your keyboard in frustration while reading this. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong (it wouldn't be the first time). If you take something out of this that helps you with your own opinion then I think my job is done here.
For those of you who are not aware, a remake of RoboCop is coming and it’s starring a bunch of people who seem to have decent resumes as actors. Despite the list of good actors, early leaks of the script apparently say it sounds pretty damn awful. My pal Trev described it as similar to what the movie Predators did, where it tried way too hard to convince you that this new movie was cooler and more badass than the original by basically shitting on the original. Apparently the new RoboCop will start out looking like a more modern/sleek version of the original 1980’s look, and after apparently mocking the original look of the character they revise him to look almost entirely different. Well ComingSoon.net posted two on-set pictures of RoboCop’s new look over the weekend, and I have to say it’s certainly… um… different.
If you’ve followed my blog at all in the past you’ll know I’m a pretty big RoboCop fan and the original movie is pretty high up on my list of favorite movies ever. My personal opinion about remaking RoboCop is that it’s completely unnecessary because the original movie is still plenty relevant and has aged better than anyone expected it to. But, personal preferences and opinions aside, I think this new suit looks pretty awful, not just in an “awful because it doesn’t look like RoboCop” way but awful in a “wow this suit looks cheap and unoriginal” way.
Aside from the thin red visor on the helmet the new suit looks completely different from the original design, if I wasn’t informed ahead of time that it was a RoboCop suit I would have had no idea what it was from. The suit looks like a mix between a Batsuit and one of the nanosuits from Crysis, with a touch of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie thrown in too. I’m going to assume (and hope) that this suit is going to get a lot of post-production CG enhancements to make it look better and more metallic, but even then I don’t know if this will make it look any better in my opinion. The material used to make the suit looks too rubbery, and almost reminds me of some of the cheap fake-muscle Halloween costumes you’d see at Wal-Mart. I think the biggest problem with it though is that the suit does nothing to make you believe that this person is a cyborg and not a guy in some knockoff Batsuit. The original outfit had exposed joints, pistons at his heels, and even a heating vent which all went a long way towards making the suit feel more ‘robotic’.
Despite how unnecessary remaking the movie is, I was actually excited for the idea of more RoboCop after I heard of the castings and the choice of director. But more recent news about the movie has made my enthusiasm for the movie drop drastically.