Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts



Watch Dogs PR stunt brings the bomb squad out

I like turtles
May 28
// Abel Girmay
Between sending brass knuckles for the Godfather II release, sending out $300 checks to represent greed for Dante's Inferno, and sending copies of Mass Effect 3 into space, you have to wonder how fun the world of games PR can...

Here's one good and one sad GTA V related story

The sad story is REALLY sad
Sep 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
First the good news by way of Breakfast Television: Two teen brothers helped attempt to save the life of an elderly man trapped in his home due to a fire. 17-year-old Colten and 16-year-old Luke were on their way back home af...

Volition weren't fans of THQ's porn star marketing push

There will be over 100 tracks spanning seven radio stations too
Aug 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Volition's associate producer Kate Nelson spoke with Edge Online about all things Saints Row, and specifically brought up how the team weren't fans of THQ's marketing push using porn stars. “I did not always love how mu...

Gearbox artist slams Dragon's Crown character design

May 01 // Jim Sterling
As one might expect, Hamm's comments have drawn considerable heat from Dragon's Crown fans, particularly on NeoGAF. Gearbox's own history of female design has been brought up multiple times in response to the criticism, with Borderlands' Mad Moxxi and Duke Nukem Forever's entire existence providing alleged examples of similar female objectification.  Images such as the one above have been used to refute Hamm's point, though to be fair, it's worth pointing out that Hamm is responsible only for Gearbox's environmental art, and her own designs of female characters are both tasteful and quite excellent. Still, gender issues are treacherous waters, and it's inevitable Gearbox's history would be part of the splashback.  That said, it's also been argued that Gearbox's designs as they stand can't be compared to Dragon's Crown's overtly exaggerated characters.  "Nothing in Borderlands posted so far is remotely in the same ballpark," said one NeoGAF poster.  Indeed, while Moxxi clearly has her breasts on show, she is at least sensibly proportioned and her costume actually fits the context of her character. She's not going out to battle dressed in that attire, she's supposed to be an entertainer and the owner of a bar with a deliberately titillating aesthetic. That's not to say she's designed inherently "better" than Tamikani's characters, but it's hard to compare the two in this particular discussion.  In any case, the Dragon's Crown debate rages on, even as those who claim to be tired of it continue to post in forum and comment threads every time it comes up. Indeed, this shows no signs of going away yet.  Still, this is probably the most advertising a Vanillaware game's ever gotten.
Dragon's Crown photo
The boob wars continue
The Dragon's Crown "thing" shows no sign of stopping, with vehement and sometimes venomous opinions flying this way and that. To bring you up to speed, Vanillaware's upcoming brawler features a big-boobed Sorceress, the desig...


The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women

Marketers didn't want the opinions of smelly girls
Apr 09
// Jim Sterling
Naughty Dog has revealed it had to force the hand of its focus testers in order to get them to acknowledge a female perspective. Originally, The Last of Us was exclusively using male gamers to gauge audience interest, until t...

God of War: Bros Before Hos

Mar 11 // Jim Sterling
As far as the in-game content goes, I'm hard pressed to be too offended by Ascension, personally. I certainly don't begrudge anybody the right to be offended by it, but at the very least, I'd say the scenario as presented more or less fits with Kratos' character. He's a violent, and rather unpleasant protagonist, who has been sacrificing defenseless men and women since the first game, let alone invulnerable women who can fight back. His is a world of Greek Gods and mythology, a world already famous for treachery, amorality, and characters generally considered none too nice. It's also worth mentioning the Trophy itself is more of a reference to the aforementioned ally with whom Kratos speaks. The "Hos" are indeed a reference to the female villains, but the Trophy is not a direct reference to him beating them up. It was poorly timed, and an utterly insipid use of an equally insipid phrase, but it's important we correctly frame the context here.  This is not to say the imagery contained within the game isn't potentially distressing for some audience members, but then again, that's why games have warnings, and I think anybody jumping into the God of War series at this point has a full grasp of the content it displays. Again, this is not to say those with a problem should be shouted down or silenced, simply to say that this is what God of War is.  It's perfectly acceptable to have a "hero" we may disagree with, who may even be morally repugnant to us. I recently fell in love with the House of Cards trilogy -- the original UK show -- and found Francis Urquhart a thoroughly compelling protagonist. I find his morals dismaying, his ethics alarming and his politics utterly terrifying. He's a hard conservative with contempt for the poor, he's a murderer, a backstabber, and altogether dangerous to know. Yet, he's also charming, and deliberately takes the viewer into his confidence, breaking the fourth wall to turn us into his sympathizers whether we like it or not -- a fact he gleefully points out. It works with horrific effectiveness, causing us to constantly examine who we're rooting for and why we're so enthralled with a man we find so utterly despicable. When games attempt this, I can't help but be excited.  However, games are always hamstrung by the fact they are, of course, games. Francis Urquhart may force us along for the ride, but we are only on a ride -- belted in, strapped up, and passively following along. Is it impossible for gaming to give us an Urquhart? Not at all. It may be harder, but it's not impossible. In fact, it's been done several times over.  Anti-heroes with questionable morals aren't exactly new to videogames. Saints Row 2 puts players into the booties of a psychopathic manchild, a character we would have to view as a villain protagonist at best. His or her idea of retribution is shockingly disproportionate, and not once is it ever portrayed as a bad thing. Volition Games was able to get away with this through sheer audacity, ramping up its narrative to such utter extremes that we have to laugh along with its ridiculousness. We are disarmed by the silliness of it all, and it allows us to be willing accomplices in our avatar's endeavors without feeling too guilty.  Humor isn't the only method of successfully presenting a villainous protagonist, of course. For all its documented problems, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was at least a fascinating exercise in allowing players into the lives of two thoroughly irredeemable human beings. Amoral at best, dangerously insane at worst, Kane and Lynch are excellent examples of playable characters whose actions, however complicit we are in them, remain nonetheless disagreeable. We're not supposed to like, or feel sorry, for these characters. We're aiding them, we want to see how their story ends, but the game frequently reminds us that they're scum, true lowlifes who essentially survive, but never get to live.  It's all about the presentation in the end, and this is where God of War: Ascension really fouled up. The problem with Trophies (and Achievements) is that they have increasingly become punchlines, pithily named pop-ups appearing at the end of any major chapter in a videogame. Playing through any narrative campaign, we expect to hear the familiar chime accompanied by a witty summary at the end of any major boss fight or cutscene. For the player increasingly steeped in Xbox 360 and PS3 gaming, a significant event in a story feels almost naked without it. This, however, is clearly presenting an issue in some scenarios. Without the "Bros Before Hos" crack, Ascension provides a shocking, potentially disturbing, sequence -- one that is in keeping with Kratos' questionable brand of heroism. With it, the whole thing is presented as a joke, which can then be taken as a mockery of violence against women. It is not, however, the first time a game's content has been undermined by Trophies.  Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (and be warned we've got spoilers coming) features a character by the name of Pigsy, who naturally inspires a slew of porcine puns in the game's Achievements/Trophies. Phrases like "Swine Flew" and "What a Pig" all pop up through the course of the game, hoping to inspire a cheap smile with a little light wordplay. This is relatively inoffensive stuff, until a late chapter that attempts to tug at our heartstrings, and fails through no fault of the writing itself. Essentially, Pigsy dies in an attempt to save the heroes from a group of enemy death machines, a moment played not for laughs, but for tears. Pigsy was something of a joke character up until that point, but comes through in a fairly archetypal display of self-sacrifice, one that's really not badly done. Until, of course, the Achievement "Smoky Bacon" pops up, reducing the entire scene to a joke. At that moment, any attempt to build an emotional response from the audience is lost, any sense of sadness immediately shattered. Pigsy's death, far from being a noble display of affection and respect for his allies, is now a gentle goof, complete with punchline.  Can you imagine your response to The Lion King if, when Simba discovers his father's body in the ravine, a subtitle displaying the message, "MuFAILsa" popped up? Or perhaps if, in Final Fantasy VII, that famous death scene was punctuated with the phrase, "Anyone fancy a kebab?" It would ruin the entire atmosphere, and bring you out of any feeling the content was trying to evoke from its audience.  This is the risk posed by Achievements and Trophies, though it needn't always be a detriment. Portal 2 used the system as part of a joke, in which its main antagonist announces "the part where he kills you," followed by a chapter note confirming this was indeed the part where he kills you, followed then by an Achievement popping up called -- you guessed it -- "The Part Where He Kills You." Perfectly timed, and a very clever way of using something unique to games to enhance the narrative experience. This was a joke only a game could make, and it needn't just be for comedy.  There's a prevailing attitude that Achievements and Trophies are meaningless -- pointless distractions that are best ignored. Indeed, you can even turn off notifications for them in most cases. However, some people like them, others find them largely acceptable, and altogether there's a clear point to be made in their impact on the way we approach and respond to games. Without that Trophy in Ascension, and its use of a pathetic and tacky sentiment, I dare say Sessler would not have been so damning in his appraisal of the game. Without that Achievement in Portal 2, a good joke would not quite have been hammered home. These systems are a part of gaming now, linked closely to the experience, and should be respected -- a savvy developer can exploit them to great storytelling advantage, while an ignorant one can unwittingly create a faux pas.  It's one extra element to consider when your game contains shocking or questionable content, even more so when your antagonist is a Kratos, a Lynch, or a Saints Row gang leader. Presentation is key, and if games want to keep evoking that masterfully malevolent Francis Urquhart -- which I hope they do -- they'd best seriously consider how all elements of a videogame, even the throwaway ones, can effect that presentation.
Bros Before Hos photo
On dubious morals and dubious presentation
In what may be considered a storm in a teacup, not quite gaining the same traction as other controversies, God of War: Ascension has caused a bit of a stir with a "misogynistic" Trophy, an award you get as part of the main ca...

Developer: Gearbox lied to SEGA, 2K over Colonial Marines

Feb 19 // Jim Sterling
"Gearbox was taking people off the project to put them on Borderlands 1," he says of his time on the job. "This was before the big art style change happened on Borderlands. Our team was getting smaller by the month, making it very difficult to get the game made. Ironically several of the team members were ex-3D Realms people who were saying [paraphrasing] 'Finally, we're going to Gearbox to make Aliens, and we're going to ship a fucking game!' Hah." According to our man with the inside track, it was later learned that SEGA actually canceled Colonial Marines, deciding to cut its losses after such a long development cycle.  "At some point in 2008, SEGA temporarily pulled the plug on the game," he said. "They caught wind of Gearbox shifting resources (despite still collecting milestone checks as if the team were full size) and lying to SEGA AND 2K about the number of people working on each project. This led to the round of layoffs at Gearbox in late 2008." The developer confirms he later spoke with people attached to the project at the beginning of 2012, and learned they actually didn't expect the game to ship in February, given its current state. It would appear staff on the game knew the thing was a bust, and were prepared for a fresh delay. Obviously, that never happened, and now we're here. Naturally, and like so much about this situation, information was provided on the hush-hush and cannot be taken as factual evidence of any wrongdoing on anybody's part. It is, however, yet another perplexing piece of the puzzle, one reflective of other things we've been hearing over the past week. Meanwhile, as SEGA and Gearbox both maintain a poker face, these whispered words are really all we have to go on.
Gearbox lied photo
Anonymous Aliens whistle blower blows whistle anonymously
It's fair to say the Aliens: Colonial Marines story has been a fascinating one. From the years of hype, to the negative reviews, to the later confusion over who actually developed the game, there's a lot of mystery and contro...


Gearbox 'looking at' an explanation for Colonial Marines

Pitchford claims there are 'stakeholders' to think of first
Feb 19
// Jim Sterling
After breaking his radio silence this morning to respond to lots of praise for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford went on a bit of a blocking spree, cold-shouldering yours truly and a number of other people...
Bungie on PC shooters photo
Are mouse & keyboards, control over saves, and health packs a thing of the past?
A lot of news on Bungie's new shooter Destiny has come out this morning, and while it looks like an interesting game, there hasn't been a PC version announced by the Halo developer. Something said by the studio...

So ... who the hell DID make Aliens: Colonial Marines?

Feb 14 // Jim Sterling
Anonymous Allegations from Gearbox developer In 2012, an anonymous writer claiming to be a former Gearbox worker posted on message board to reveal the Colonial Marines campaign had been outsourced to TimeGate. According to the early allegation, dug up recently by Superannuation, Gearbox had refocused itself toward multiplayer a long time ago. Hate to say it, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high for Colonial Marines. I used to work at Gearbox, and the development of that game has been a total train wreck, going on what, 6 years now? Gearbox isn't even making the game, except for the multiplayer. Primary development was outsourced to TimeGate Studios, which has a less than stellar past.I hope it proves me wrong, as I still have alot of friends still working at Gearbox, but I am expecting it to be average at best. While the comment went unnoticed at the time, its resurfacing seemed to explain a lot.  SEGA denies Colonial Marines was outsourced Dark Side of Gaming ran a story in which a SEGA rep was quoted as denying the outsourcing of Colonial Marines. According to Matthew J. Powers, the other studios involved in production merely "helped" Gearbox as it worked on both the solo and multiplayer portions.  Absolutely not, the game has been developed by Gearbox Software. Other studios [like Timegate] helped Gearbox on the production of single and multiplayer. Of course, as the story developed, it became wholly likely that not even SEGA knows who did what.  Randy Pitchford tells IGN TimeGate made up to 25% of A:CM A recently published IGN interview with Randy Pitchford, put out just before the controversy began, had the Gearbox CEO claim TimeGate helped with maybe a quarter of Colonial Marines. He said the studio was just as much a collaborator on the project if you took all of Gearbox's preproduction work out of the equation.  Houston-based TimeGate Studios, meanwhile, worked on “probably about 20 or 25 percent of the total time,” with Pitchford noting that “if you take preproduction out of it, their effort’s probably equivalent to ours. Now, it’s not fair to take preproduction out of it, but that says a lot about how much horsepower those guys put into it.” The interview also broke down the contributions from other studios. According to Pitchford, Demiurge helped Gearbox with networking and multiplayer options, while Nerve designed the multiplayer maps. Pitchford presented all this as Gearbox wanting to give customers more for their money, packing in more content rather than selling it as DLC.  Colonial Marines has a DLC season pass costing $29.99. Anonymous 'ex-Gearbox' dev spills the beans on Reddit Things got really interesting once an alleged developer took to Reddit and revealed some shocking, if true, details about A:CM's development. It's a story that involves Gearbox dicking SEGA around, pushing off its campaign to TimeGate, favoring Borderlands 2 over Aliens, and rushing at the last minute to fix an utterly broken, serviceable game. It's juicy stuff. First off, due to me breaking NDA, I can't provide any proof that I'm not just talking out of my ass. But I figure you'd be interested in hearing what I have to say regardless. I've been on the project for around a year and a half, so some of the following are things I've heard from more senior guys. Pecan (the internal codename for ACM) has a pretty long history. SEGA, GBX and 20th Century FOX came to an agreement to produce an Aliens game around 6 years ago, after which SEGA almost immediately announced it, long before Pecan had even started production. The game has been in active development in the past, only to be shelved in favor of another project (Borderlands, Duke, etc), and each time it was resumed it would undergo a major content overhaul. SEGA, naturally, wasn't super pleased about the delays, but GBX got away with it for a long time and the contract between SEGA and GBX kept getting augmented to push the projected release further and further back. The last time it was resumed, GBX outsourced a good portion of the game to outside companies. Initially, the plan was for TimeGate to take the majority of campaign, GBX would take MP, Demiurge and Nerve would handle DLC and various other focused tasks. This decision was made mostly so that most of the developers at GBX could continue working on Borderlands 2, while a small group of LDs, coders and designers dealt with Pecan. Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no fucking way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan's Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can't remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension. About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 shipped and GBX turned its attention to Pecan, it became pretty apparent that what had been made was in a pretty horrid state. Campaign didn't make much sense, the boss fights weren't implemented, PS3 was way over memory, etcetcetc. GBX was pretty unhappy with TG's work, and some of Campaign maps were just completely redesigned from scratch. There were some last minute feature requests, most notably female marines, and the general consensus among GBX devs was that there was no way this game was going to be good by ship. There just wasn't enough time. Considering that SEGA was pretty close to taking legal action against GBX, asking for an extension wasn't an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping. Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in an incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn't cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn't because GBX didn't care, mind you. At a certain point, they couldn't risk changing ANYTHING that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get. Beyond gameplay, the story has been raised as an issue several times. I can't really comment without feeling bad beyond saying that the script was approved by 20th Century FOX, and that the rush to throw a playable product together came at the cost of the story. Campaign does a pretty bad job of explaining a lot of the questions raised at the start of the game, and so hopefully there will be DLC to flesh that out a bit better. I'll answer some questions, but I have to run soon, so it may take a while for responses. Alleged TimeGate developer throws Gearbox under the bus The original Reddit poster would later be responded to by a different anonymous user, this one claiming to be in the employ of TimeGate. Defending his studio against implications of laziness, the poster said Colonial Marines' campaign turned out so badly thanks to terrible supervision from Gearbox.  Just to clarify, Everything Timegate did was under clear and explicit direction from Gearbox. Gearbox had creative control of everything that occurred at TG. In addition, Gearbox was responsible for firing some of the most talented people (and internationally recognized as such) TG had employed, all of which were snatched up immediately by competitors. It was Gearbox's shitty oversight of the project that led to the product you all now have before you. I wouldn't expect you to understand, considering you're probably some QA who has no idea what goes on outside of his department. But TG had absolutely no control of what was produced, they did exactly what they were asked to. You should be furious with Gearbox for assigning such shit quality creative directors to the project. According to another anonymous poster, the game's ever-changing story didn't help TimeGate either.  The script was rewritten too many times. Demiurge working on Wii U version, now rumored to be indefinitely delayed The final chapter in the story so far places Demiurge as the studio behind the Wii U version of the game, with Kotaku alleging an indefinite delay on the upcoming release. Writer Jason Schierer made the claim, though notes it's not confirmed.  We heard from a tipster about a month ago that the Wii U version had been "postponed indefinitely." We reached out to Sega, and they denied it. I'll let you guys fill in the blanks there. :) And that's us up to speed on the Aliens: Colonial Marines story so far. Personal feelings on the game aside, it's one hell of a story, and I think that, when/if the truth finally outs, it'll make for some fascinating reading. It's already quite engrossing with just what we have!
Colonial Marines madness! photo
A rundown of all the known (and not-so-known) events so far
Aliens: Colonial Marines has turned out to be more than just a bad game. It's a confusing story of allegations, outsourcing, and potential deception on a considerable level. The biggest mystery to come out of this debacle is ...

Rayman Legends photo
Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends developers want their game out now!

Michel Ancel joins the cause!
Feb 12
// Jim Sterling
Continuing to prove it has no love for Ubisoft's decision to delay Rayman Legends, the dev team behind the former Wii U exclusive is campaigning for a swifter release date. Developers have situated themselves outside Ubisoft ...
Rayman Legends delay photo
Rayman Legends delay

Anonymous Rayman Legends dev angry about delay (Update)

Takes to forum to argue his studio's case
Feb 08
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Anonymous no more! It appears that this comment comes from Xavier Piox, the Ubisoft managing director who recently said that "gaming is no longer just for geeks." Errr... guess not. It's just a random dev who left th...
Rayman Legends delay photo
Rayman Legends delay

Ubisoft tries to explain Rayman Legends delay

Admits multiplatform decision pushed it back
Feb 07
// Jim Sterling
So, Rayman Legends has been pushed back to September, and news of the delay just so happened to coincide with its multiplatform announcement. As many disappointed fans suspected, the two are entirely linked, with Ubisoft hold...

Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina viewed as racist? [Update]

'Verbal Blackface'
Feb 04
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Mike Sacco no longer works with Cryptozoic Entertainment, seemingly as a result of his discussion over Borderlands 2. At first, Sacco stated, "I'm gonna confirm two things: That people tried to pressure Cryptozoic in...
Splinter Cell torture photo
Splinter Cell torture

Ubisoft was right to nix Splinter Cell: Blacklist torture

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right
Feb 01
// Joseph Leray
This week, a Splinter Cell: Blacklist producer confirmed that the game’s controversial torture scene, used as part of Ubisoft’s E3 presentation last year, has been removed from the game. “Definitely we are n...

Ni no Kuni Wizard's Edition orders issues abound [update]

Sound off if you've had issues with your order
Jan 25
// Dale North
[Update: As you can see from our comments section below, this has been a messy issue. It got nasty when word got out that one buyer got over 200 copies and is now selling them on eBay. Disgusting. Thanks to our readers for in...

South Park Studios fighting THQ for IP rights

Legal stuff
Jan 22
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
South Park Studios has filed an objection in court to prevent the sale of South Park: The Stick of Truth in THQ's bankruptcy asset sale taking place later today unless certain conditions are met. South Park Studios wants the ...
Dead Island statue photo
Company apologizes after fan backlash
Dead Island has turned heads since its very inception, but Deep Silver bit off more than it could chew today with its latest promotion for the series. The publisher received a torrent of negative feedback upon unveiling ...

The biggest videogame controversies of 2012

Dec 20 // Jim Sterling
Retake Mass Effect In the eyes of some, Mass Effect is to videogames what Star Wars is to film. Such a comparison holds water when you take a look at the fanbase, especially its reaction to Mass Effect 3. This was the big finale, the culmination of a trilogy in which millions of gamers had invested their time, their interest and, yes, even their emotion. In many ways, its ending was guaranteed to piss people off, as nobody can put so much personal stock in a story and not feel disappointed by the way it concludes. However BioWare ended it, it'd never be exactly what individual fans envisioned.  Nevertheless, nobody was quite prepared for the backlash. Aside from the usual Metacritic mauling, petitions were erected to have BioWare change the ending. Business authorities were notified as fans accused BioWare and Electronic Arts of lying. Cupcakes were sent to the studio's office in protest. The biggest sticking point lay in how commercials promised fans that every choice they'd made in the series mattered, when in reality the ending all came down to one of three "choose your ending" options, like any other videogame.  The anger became focused into the "Retake Mass Effect" campaign, which eventually got big enough to where BioWare released new downloadable content in order to "contextualize" the ending. For some, this was the olive branch they wanted. For others, it fixed nothing. Even now, months after the game's release, the debate as to whether or not fans were ultimately cheated by BioWare rages on.  Are you right there, Phil Fish? There is a reason public relations is such a big sector of the game industry, and it's because game developers seem to have a habit of really putting their feet in their mouths. Phil Fish, already a controversial figure in the indie development scene, demonstrated just how badly things can go when you utter the wrong thing, after he said to a Japanese developer, "Your games just suck." Of course, he went and said this right before his project of many years, FEZ, was slated to launch on Xbox Live Arcade. Years and years of promotion and hype, undone by a single sentence. Pretty soon, whenever FEZ was mentioned, talk emerged on whether or not the creator was a racist. There were gamers who refused to buy the game, due to concerns over supporting a bigot, while others were simply angry that he'd so bluntly write off an entire sector of game development.  Chances are pretty good that Fish, for all his faults, is not a racist. His dismissal of an entire nation's games, however, was undoubtedly ignorant, and it's not hard to see why so many were offended. Nevertheless, FEZ performed quite well and enjoyed huge critical acclaim. Just a shame about that patch.  The diabolical disaster of Error 37 Diablo III was one of the most anticipated games of the year, and after making six million sales in a week, it was easily among the biggest successes. Nevertheless, the game's always-online requirements remained a sticking point, especially when the glorified DRM measure meant users couldn't get into the game on launch day.  Many gamers trying to log in were hit with "Error 37" messages, Diablo III's servers unable to handle the masses of would-be heroes frantically attempting to enjoy the game they just paid for. The whole mess illustrated the major problem with PC gaming at the moment, as paying consumers feel less like customers and more like lodgers, enjoying temporary stays in a game's world at the mercy of corporate landlords. Nobody owns the games they pay for, and handing over your $60 doesn't guarantee you the ability to play what you bought -- and that's kind of not cool. Street Fighter X Tekken X Disc-Locked Content On-disc DLC is not a new concept, but gamers are growing increasingly tired of having to buy "extra" content that was already surreptitiously sold to them. This weariness came to head with Street Fighter X Tekken, featuring as it did a full roster of playable characters hidden on the disc, waiting to be unlocked via later purchases of "downloadable" content.  Despite the usual load of excuses (separate budgets, multiplayer integration, etc.), Capcom's behavior in this instance was largely considered a case of going way too far. Full character models, along with prologue and ending movies, were all sat there like sleeper agents, and it came off as more than a little insulting.  Capcom, for its part, would go on to say that it'd be "re-evaluating" its DLC policies in the future, though admitted Dragon's Dogma would still ship with disc-locked content. It remains to be seen whether or not Capcom can continue to resist this tacky business practice, or if it'll go back to old habits once it thinks the heat is off.  Bayonetta 2 ... U MAD? Perhaps one of the more ridiculous outrages this year concerned Bayonetta 2, a game that simply would not have existed without Nintendo's support. That didn't stop "fans" being utterly disgusted that the sequel would be a Wii U exclusive, seemingly preferring to have no game at all rather than one bound to Nintendo's newest home console.  Within moments of the game's announcement, folk were flinging shit around their cages in furious protest, sending such vile messages to Hideki Kamiya as, "I better see an Xbox release in future or I'll kill you," "FU*K you and fu*k YOU Platinum Games. Not buying games from you again. No respect for loyal gamers," and "Platinum studio is dead for me. Considering to cancel my MGRising pre-order too." The term "entitled gamer" is overused and often utilized in the wrong situation, but for this particular debacle, its certainly a term that seems to fit. Bayonetta's fans painted a truly despicable picture of themselves that day.  Doritosgate An image of Geoff Keighley sat, dead-eyed, next to a bag of Doritos and a load of Mountain Dew. It started as a generally humorous image, shared on social networks and used to poke fun at game journalism's increasing proximity to advertising agencies. Things took a more serious tone, however, when Eurogamer columnist Robert "Rab" Florence penned an article severely criticizing the way in which games media seem to hop gleefully in bed with industry PR. In particular, he picked at the British Games Media Awards, a ceremony in which game marketers essentially reward their favorite writers. Even worse, this year they had those same writers Tweeting advertising hashtags to try and win a PS3.  Things took a turn when Rab focused on one particular writer, Lauren Wainwright, who defended the hashtag contest. He noted how her defense of the practice led him not to trust her opinion, as someone who justified games media's complicity with product placement. Lauren would go on to accuse Eurogamer of libel, and her employer MCV got involved. Eventually, Eurogamer edited Rab's article to remove Lauren's name, and Florence quit his post at the publication in response.  This chain of events sent shockwaves throughout the gaming community, forums such as NeoGAF began shining a spotlight on a number of dodgy practices, and the media felt the heat. Some outlets wrote up new ethics codes, others promised to cut out publisher-paid preview trips. Many writers took hard, long looks at themselves. Then again, others wrote off the entire thing as unimportant whining, and didn't take the introspective opportunity. Whatever one's opinion, this was easily among the most tumultuous issues of the year, and something I personally haven't forgotten. The War Z and the war on telling the truth about things 2012 was so packed with kerfuffles that some studios had to wait until the last few weeks of the year to get their turn. Hammerpoint sung out twelve months of controversy with impressive gusto, releasing The War Z under a banner of lies. The game hit Steam with a list of features that weren't even in the game, promising multiple maps, skills, and up to 100 players per server. None of those were available at launch. Not only that, but customers weren't told they were playing a glorified alpha build that, frankly, was a mess.  The game itself was a huge disappointment. It was less zombie-survival MMO and more all-versus-all deathmatches with snipers talking out unarmed newcomers -- newcomers who'd survive for a few seconds and then have to wait four hours to respawn (unless they made a brand new character or paid Hammerpoint extra cash for an instant revival). As customers got pissed, Hammerpoint spent its time silencing dissent on message boards and attempting to portray complaints as the work of disingenuous fanboys. Valve, however, saw things differently, and actually pulled the game from Steam before offering refunds.  At the time of writing, more information continues to appear concerning the lazy and sketchy development of The War Z. This is a story that could carry us comfortably into the new year. 2012: The Year of Sexism The videogame industry is no stranger to social pressure, beset as it is by critics and pundits who wish to blame interactive entertainment for every ill in the world. This year, however, the heaviest of the pressure came from within. 2012 was undoubtedly the year gaming got serious about gender issues, which can be a good or bad thing, and the sheer volume of events that happened is staggering.  There really are too many things that happened to name individually, but a few of the biggest include Hitman: Absolution and a trailer depicting Agent 47 bashing the crap out of fetishized nuns, the attacks on BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler, a women threatened with rape after seeking funds for a video series on videogame gender tropes, and the PR missteps of the Tomb Raider reboot.   Tomb Raider was arguably the most high-profile issue, a seemingly genuine attempt by Crystal Dynamics to craft a strong female character that managed to offend by beating the crap out of her and promising murky implications of attempted rape. While the game looks on track to be quite good, the big mouths of executives and developers dug themselves into deeper and deeper holes, as they attempted to backtrack on earlier statements and go so far as to deny the word "rape" even exists in their minds. It all got a bit David Brent, to be honest.  Of course, while some gamers enjoyed having provocative debates over the problem of sexism in the game industry, others pushed back, angry that their escapism was being dragged into such heated discussion. Whatever your opinion, though, I think we can all agree it's at least a testament to the growth and continued influence of videogames that we can even have these discussions nowadays, where once any issues would be roundly ignored.  I mean, you can just ignore any controversy that doesn't interest you, right?  Oh right ... Internet. 
Biggest controversies photo
Twelve months of outrage
Another year, another round of videogame controversies! 2012 was perhaps one of the biggest years ever for scandal and strife, filled with sexism, lies, and ... Doritos?  We've compiled the most outrageous outrages of th...


Hitman: Absolution's death threat stunt goes very wrong

Latest marketing campaign terminated after two hours
Dec 04
// Jim Sterling
It seems controversy and Hitman: Absolution are destined are go hand-in-hand. Square Enix drew fire earlier this year for a trailer in which Agent 47 beat the crap out of fetishized nuns, and was criticized incredibly harshly...

Dishonored region-locked in Russia, just like Borderlands

Bethesda acts without honor
Oct 12
// Jim Sterling
Eastern European gamers are being diddled again, this time by Bethesda. Hot off the heels of Borderlands 2's controversial Russian-version region lock, it's become apparent that Dishonored is also using a locked version in Ea...

Modern Warfare 2 map removed after Muslim complaints

Allah's not longer in the toilet
Oct 08
// Jim Sterling
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has removed a map from its servers after Muslim gamers complained (in fairness, quite politely) of offense. The problem lies in two paintings hung in a bathroom in the Favela map, containing the...

Russian Borderlands 2 problems officially resolved

Russia and its neighbors get international version
Sep 20
// Jim Sterling
Borderlands 2 caused a commotion in the East when it was revealed that Russia and surrounding territories would be forced to buy a locked-down, Russian-only version of the game, despite not being warned before purchase. After...

Weird Metacritic user reviews tear Darksiders II to bits

Sleeping Dogs and Dark Souls PC also attacked
Sep 01
// Jim Sterling
[Update 3: A Russian speaking friend of mine went through the site and believes it to be a highly detailed troll. The cult is dedicated to keeping alive the memory of an old Soviet actor from the 50s, who they openly ac...

Hitman: Absolution adding depth to its 'sexy nuns'

Aug 16
// Jim Sterling
The controversy that surrounded Hitman: Absolution and its violent "sexy nuns" trailer has caused the team to add more content to the game, revealed director Tore Blystad. The Saints -- the PVC-flavored assassins that Ag...

EA backs away from real-life weapon endorsement

Aug 16
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts was in the center of a very odd controversy earlier this week when it was found to be promoting real-life weapon sales on its Medal of Honor website. The MoH-branded tomahawk has now been removed from sale, an...

Kamiya: PlayStation All-Stars is just an immoral rip-off

Aug 06
// Jim Sterling
Bayonetta and Viewtiful Joe designer Hideki Kamiya has given Sony a stern finger-wagging, criticizing PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for being nothing more than a rip-off. The developer went so far as to try and shame th...

Tomb Raider devs: 'Rape' is not in our vocabulary

Jun 30
// Jim Sterling
The Tomb Raider "R-word" controversy just won't quit, especially with Kotaku poking at it with a big stick. The outlet recently spoke to Crystal Dynamics' Karl Stewart, attempting to push him further on the whole issue o...

Console war infographic says Xbox 360 beats PS3

Jun 29
// Jim Sterling
As this generation draws to a close, literally everybody is asking who "won" the battle between the Xbox 360 and PS3 (nobody includes the Wii because that wouldn't be sporting). With that in mind, here's a delicious little in...

Tekken producer to fans: stop whining

Jun 26
// Jim Sterling
Namco Bandai's chief fighting game producer, Katsuhiro Harada, has had enough of the fans. After drowning in requests to revive characters and use original voice actors in the new Tekken, the developer took to Twitter&nb...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...