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Snippets of the Game Industry – Week 6, 2013

snippetsweek6

Welcome dear readers to week 6 of 2013, and our weekly snippets of the game industry. This week the emphasis is on strategy and horror, with a twist of dark..out? What? Anyway… As usual, our picks are vast and varied, but why take our word for it? See for yourself!

Peter "Wraithkal" Christiansen

Peter

Resident Evil 6 is officially a failure.
What happened, CAPCOM? You used to bring greatness to horror gaming fans everywhere, with (almost) every new Resident Evil game. But all good things must come to an end, and if this franchise continues down the road that Resident Evil 6 (RE6) started, I almost hope that the next one will be the final Resident Evil game; the next new title that is, not the upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations console port. No two reviews were in agreement on anything when it came to RE6, except for one thing: it was a mediocre game at best. The fact that it was part of a franchise with a history of great survival horror didn’t help sale either, as they ended up reflected the negative criticism – the game only shifted little under 5 million units in 2012; even less than the – in my opinion – highly underrated Resident Evil 5 (6 million) and far worse than CAPCOM had hoped. But at least it was better than Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (right? right?!).

Release pick: Fire Emblem Awakenings (3DS)
That’s right, I picked the same game as Dave (spoiler alert). What can I say? It was a dull week for releases and we both enjoy solid turn-based strategy (TBS) games, so there. Now if only I had a 3DS, so it would be more than a mere ‘I would pick up this game, if I could’, but alas,  that’s life. It’s also a shame that we don’t see more TBS games these days, on non-Vita/3DS systems, because I still remember a time when this was a popular genre… Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, Advance Wars and so on. Ah well, at least 3DS owners will have a brand new Fire Emblem to enjoy this week! The rest of us will just have to keep dreaming…

Thomas

Thomas

A Game of Trolls – “Ithaka of the Clouds” announced.
Jonas and Verena Kyratzes have just announced their new game Ithaka of the Clouds, which makes me insanely happy. You see, last year’s The Sea Will Claim Everything was my personal game of the year, it made me homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist and it is proof that, when they actually try, video games can make you a better person. It also made me quite sad because it failed to gain a wider audience and commercial success, but maybe the next one will see to that. There will be an Indiegogo campaign for the project soon, so keep your wallet ready and be sure to support another wonderful journey into the Lands of Dream.

Release pick: Darkout (PC)
After a successful crowdfunding campaign and a busy beta, survival sandbox game Darkout was released into the wild this week (apparently it’s so fresh that the devs haven’t even updated their homepage). Yes, it’s one of those games that have you scavenging, building, and surviving while time just flies by and oops, you suddenly spent hours upon hours on such a simple game. While our collective sandbox itches should’ve been scratched a long time ago with games such as Minecraft, Terraria, and their myriad of clones, this one stands out just by virtue of looking pretty awesome. I like its style, and while I’m not a big fan of the genre, Darkout managed to get me interested.

Darkout Official Trailer – New PC / Mac Sandbox Game

Dave

Rayman Legends goes multiplatform, gets delayed til September.
Buckle up folks, this one is going to be a doozie. So weeks away from its launch, it turns out that Rayman Legends is going multi-platform, hitting the 360 and PS3 as well as the WiiU. However, due to some internal Ubisoft policy (and speculation about Microsoft’s policy on not allowing games released on another platform first onto their system), the WiiU version is going to be delayed so the game can be released on all platforms simultaneously.

The thing is, that they have not begun work on the other versions yet, so the game that was due out this month on the WiiU is being pushed back to September. As you can imagine, those that were anticipating the game are feeling angry or disappointed (Destructoid has a post highlighting some of the more heated reactions). Heck, even one of the developers has allegedly posted his thoughts over at Neogaf, and the whole thing in the span of a day or so has turned into a PR fiasco for the publisher.

So my thoughts? Well I was looking forward to playing this game over at my buddy Kenneth’s place. We’ve been slowly making our way through Rayman Origins and that game is a delight (as everyone has discovered over time, turning it into a bit of a cult classic). He’s also showed off the demo of Rayman Legends to me on the WiiU and that got me really excited to play the game (as anyone who’s experienced the Black Betty stage will attest to).

Now I’m not the most business minded person, so I really can’t talk about whether Ubisoft’s decision is right or not from a financial standpoint, but let’s look at a couple of things regardless. Rayman Origins was released in the 4th quarter in 2011. Upon release, while being a critical success, gaining great review scores across the board, it was a financial flop, selling 50,000 copies across all console platforms in its first month. With the release on Steam, and its lower price in many sales, combined by word of mouth, the series must have made a profit as Rayman Legends wouldn’t have been put into production otherwise.

So now while they were slated for a February release for Rayman Legends (a relatively dry period compared to the end of the year, especially on the WiiU), they’re pushing it back to just before the 4th quarter of this year. Not only do I see the same thing happening (especially because September is the month that Grand Theft Auto 5 releases), but the amount of ill will they’ve created with their fanbase is likely to have an effect on the game’s sales too.

It’s hard to not be cynical about changes of this nature, especially when the company’s response is to release an exclusive demo, but at the core of all this outrage is the desire for many fans to play a game they thought they were getting, and now have to wait for because of a business decision, no matter how beneficial or destructive that decision turns out to be.

Release pickFire Emblem Awakenings (3DS)
Well it looks like I made a snafu last week when in my release pick I mentioned that my main choice was between Ni No Kuni and Fire Emblem Awakenings. Turns out it released in the US on the 4th, which puts it for this week, and allows me to cover it!

I’ve played a couple entries in the Fire Emblem series. I find most strategy RPGs too complex for my tastes (such as Final Fantasy Tactics or anything by Nippon Ichi), but I still enjoy the gameplay a lot of them contain, and really with its rock/paper/scissors approach to combat, Fire Emblem is a little easier to jump into than most. This 3DS offering sells itself as being the most accessible to new players, and as i’ve played the re-release of the original game on the DS, and the Gamecube version, the ability to pair up units for bonuses now is quite intriguing.

This game pick segment is a bit of fantasy as we don’t allow money or lack of platform to influence our choices each week, but a 3DS is on the cards for me sometime in the future, and I can see myself picking this up.

Nintendo 3DS – Fire Emblem: Awakening Trailer

So what say you dear reader? What one piece of gaming news this past week did you find the most interesting? What game release would you buy? What are your opinions on our picks? Don’t be afraid to make your voices heard in the comments, and we’ll see you next week (You may have noticed that this outro is the same every week. This is of course because it remains relevant. So there!)

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