Where have you been all week? South America? Don’t worry, we don’t judge – unlike some people. Here’s everything you need to know in one convenient place.
What happened: Duke Nukem Forever showed up tardy to the party. Again. But it’s only by a month this time, which is still a pretty big improvement over the game’s previous release date of “hahaha, seriously? You’re joking, right? Oh man, you should see the look on your face right now.”
What it means: Conspiracy theories! It’s a publicity stunt, of course. Why? Well, why would you even ask that? We said “of course” in such a casual and dismissive way that it must be true. Sarcasm aside, let’s be honest here: if you read into something too closely, you’re just jabbing yourself in the eye with a book. Odds are, this is about general polish and possibly incorporating some feedback after mixed responses from the press. And seriously, why would Duke Nukem Forever need more delay inspired infamy? It’s been hard enough to convince people that they’ll be able to buy this thing as is. Who markets their product by saying, “You should be worried about spending money on this”?
What happened: Nintendo released its dual-screened, tri-dimensioned dynamo from Japan’s confines, finally letting the rest of the world have a taste of the “look ma, no glasses” future.
What it means: To butcher a line originally uttered by an animatronic sci-fi muppet, “begun, the portable war has.” As for who will come out on top, it’s anyone’s guess at this point – if indeed there is even a “top” anymore. The portable market’s become wildly diversified in the past couple years, and – since each major player has its own ace in the hole – a definitive “king” may not be in the cards. Once again, Nintendo’s doing its own thing (perhaps to a fault), and people are eating it up. Granted, only time will tell whether or not 3D’s “just a gimmick,” but we pose this question: does it matter? HD used to be a “gimmick.” Now it’s a standard. Funny thing about revolutions: much of the time, we don’t even notice them until we can’t live without them.
What happened: Crytek once again hopped atop its soapbox to defend Crysis 2’s console focus. Similarly – elsewhere in the world – CD Projekt waved away accusations that The Witcher 2 has been “dumbed down,” and Eidos Montreal revealed that Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s PC version is far from the lead SKU.
What it means: Lately, it’s been all the rage to give powerhouse PC franchises console makeovers, only to then claim that nothing’s actually changed. Everybody wins, basically. But does that philosophy hold water, or is it just a hole-ridden bucket of marketing speak? Well, the results have been mixed. Most recently, Dragon Age II has been relegated to the status of industry whipping boy over its disjointed, unfocused design and general lack of substance. The original Dragon Age, of course, was very much inspired by the classic PC RPGs of yore. DAII, though? Not so much. However, Crysis 2 – despite its lack of graphical customization options – has managed to retain its predecessor’s core elements with a fair deal of success, and Human Revolution looks to be taking its cues from the original game – not some arbitrary notion of what a game for a particular platform should be. Obviously, that’s the ideal. A great game should be great regardless of platform. Reality, however, isn’t so kind, and sometimes sacrifices must be made. But they can definitely be minimized through careful work and consideration – a factor we can only hope the BioWares of the world will begin taking into account.
Hotz on South American “vacation,” lawyer fights back
What happened: Lies. Intrigue. Backstabbing. Car chases. Wait, no, the other thing: nothing. George “Geohot” Hotz went on vacation. Sony made a catty comment about it. But that was enough to get the ball rolling, and rampant, out-of-control speculation took it from there.
What it means: Well, the vacation’s basically a moot point, but a few of the circumstances surrounding it are worth noting. For one, Hotz’s less-than-straightforward approach to dealing with Sony (see: the PSN account and hard drive issues) make him look justifiably rebellious at best and downright suspicious at worst. Sony, however, isn’t doing itself any favors either. At this point, it’s making no bones about demonizing Geohot as both a symbol of a larger movement and as a human being. It seems, then, that regardless of who “wins” in the eyes of law, everyone loses here – Geohot by being difficult and generally suspicious, and Sony because it’ll have essentially hacked one head off a hydra. In other words, this “problem” is far too multifaceted to attack head-on. Jailbreaking won’t go away because you sued one guy. At this point, nobody’s figured out a “right” approach to dealing with jailbreakers, but one thing’s for sure: this isn’t it.
What happened: The Resident Evil series is taking a step off its well-worn path into multiplayer territory. Fortunately, the game seems fairly unique irrespective of that, pitting Umbrella Security Service Squad members against US spec ops forces and forcing both sides to deal with good old-fashioned zombies.
What it means: Resident Evil’s been growing a bit stale lately, so it’s nice to see Slant Six attempting to freshen the pot. Also, multiplayer’s “in” right now, so Racoon City’s reception could have a pretty major impact on the where Resident Evil as a whole – traditionally a single-player-focused franchise – heads next. Lastly, this continues Capcom’s trend of gambling major franchises on Western developers, following titles like Dead Rising 2 and the Devil May Cry series revamp. Granted, a fresh perspective can never hurt, but here’s hoping that doesn’t come at the cost of homogenization and a slow erosion of Capcom’s unique flavor.