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The Weekly Wrap – Dead Island’s disastrous launch, US sales fall again

Saturday, 10 September 2011 13:18 GMT By Nathan Grayson

Convention season has taken its toll. With TGS looming, we’ve lost Pat. He is, as you all know, dead. Or without Internet. We, however, must soldier on. Here’s the week’s biggest stories and what they all mean.

Dead Island’s “Feminist Whore”: The Tip of the Iceberg

What happened: Oh boy, where to start? If you had an unusually nice time these past seven days, it’s because Dead Island was actually acting as a lightning rod for all the negative and unfortunate things in the universe. First, the first-person zombie hackstravaganza nearly stalled at the starting line, accidentally releasing developer code on Steam instead of the finished product. One patch later, though, everything was fine, right? Only a few deaths by stress-induced heart attack. No big deal. And then: “Feminist Whore.” Sure, it was buried under a mountain of unfinished code, but the gaming industry’s quite good at making mountains out of molehills. And bigger mountains out of those mountains.

What it means: As horrifically distasteful as that skill name is, I’m not of the opinion that it in itself is a big deal. It’s placeholder text that – in all likelihood – came from one coder. You can’t judge the work of an entire team based on the actions of one idiot. Now, the discussion the whole incident sparked? That’s another story.

Yes, the gaming industry seems to constantly think it’s one thump away from knocking sexism flat, but it always springs right back up – ready for another round. As our own editor-in-chief of correctness and rightitude Brenna Hillier pointed out, sexism’s pungent aroma wafts through every corridor of this industry. And certainly, that’s an issue – but it’s not the only issue.

Most interesting – at least, to me – is the direction the resulting discussion took almost immediately. Boobs. Butts. Etc. Physical features. Detractors rallied around the fact that male characters frequently sport chiseled jawlines and biceps that gleam so brightly they make the sun go blind. Without a doubt, the industry – entertainment industries in general, really – sex up characters. Fact is, exaggeration catches people’s attention. If something’s physically appealing, it forces the primal wolf creature inside all of us to stand up and take notice. So we leverage that. While the gaming industry’s more guilty of relying solely on physical attributes where female characters are concerned, it’s hardly a one-way street.

But, to me, that’s not really what the phrase “Feminist Whore” evokes at all. I mean, that’s not sexy. It’s downright disdainful. It’s not sexism; it’s bile-soaked hate-fueled misogyny. That, I think, is the larger problem here. In many dark corners of the gaming industry, there’s a latent – almost reflexive – rage toward women. It’s not rational, and it’s certainly not fair.

It is, however, extremely damaging – not to mention a very stubborn cork on a bottle bursting with potential creativity. I know one female writer who purposefully avoids adding bylines to her articles not because she doesn’t want credit, but because the second her readers see a female name attached to a videogame article, they attack it like frenzied goddamn sharks.

So you can write off the issue of hypersexualization all you want – honestly, it’s probably not going anywhere – but outright hating women? There’s no justification for that. It’s fucking despicable.

NPD: US sales fall 23 percent yoy, Deus Ex tops charts

What happened: NPD dropped its monthly report, which – these days – I imagine to be delivered by a pale, hooded man flanked by a procession of crying orphans. Crying orphans with diseases. Sales fell again – 23 percent this time. The sky, however, didn’t come down with them.

What it means: Again, not too terribly much. You know the drill: gaming industry blah blah blah transition blah blah blah online blah blah blah iPhone gaming. On top of that, August is generally a slow month, and – without Madden there to offer a sportsmanlike ass-slap to the industry’s collective backside – the summer drought turned downright glacial.

Of some interest: 3DS sales shot up after the beleaguered platform’s price plummeted. Hopefully – at least, for Nintendo’s sake – Mario 3DS and Mario Kart can keep that momentum going. And honestly, my heart would shatter if Shigeru Miyamoto’s infectious grin melted into a frown. It’s some divine entity’s gift to facekind. We simply can’t let it down.

Nintendo confirms 3DS circle pad peripheral

What happened: Speaking of that last thing, this really doesn’t bode well. Nintendo confirmed the existence of a 3DS analog stick peripheral that could only be described as an affront. An affront to what, you ask? Everything. At the front of the line, though, is common sense – whose calls Nintendo hasn’t returned in ages.

What it means: For better or worse, Nintendo’s gone against the grain since the dawn of time. With the 3DS, though, it’s been marching further and further from the beat of its own drum – often to its own detriment. First, it hopped on board with the 3D trend in general, then it put the two-screened, three-dimensioned handheld’s price into freefall shortly after PSVita trotted out a $250 price tag of its own. And now, it’s tossing in an extra analog stick – though admittedly, Nintendo’s been incredibly vague about whether or not this is a Monster Hunter-only thing. Regardless, if another stick isn’t included in the 3DS’ inevitable hardware revision/upgrade/sidegrade, I’ll eat a hat factory and personally send condolences to the families of all I’ve devoured.

Point is, it’s all been uncharacteristically reactive on Nintendo’s part. Sadly, in the tech world, if you’re not leading, odds are you’re following your way right off a cliff. This goes double in the current gaming climate, where mind-bogglingly rapid change rules the day. At this point, Nintendo simply seems out of touch, especially when you consider that the 3DS’ game lineup – still its greatest Achilles’ heel – continues to look like a couple blades of grass peeking out from beneath miles of scorched earth. Sorry, folks: Ports of multiple-generations-old classics and a couple not-surprise appearances by Mario aren’t going to cut it. Not this time. Oh, wait, Imagine Babyz is coming out in October. Nevermind, then. We’re saved.

Dragon Quest X unveiled, Wii U version announced

What happened: “Is this the end of Dragon Quest?” asked nobody after Dragon Quest IX sold more units than there are inconveniently placed hairs in all the world’s drinking glasses. Unsurprisingly, Square Enix took the wraps off Dragon Quest X. What made quite a few people double-take, however, is what was underneath.

What it means: Say what you will about Dragon Quest’s core gameplay sticking to the most basic of fundamentals, but recent years have seen Square Enix take some pretty huge risks with its Japanese flagship. Dragon Quest IX was the first main series entry to go exclusively handheld and hand the spotlight over to multiplayer. DQX, though, makes that look tame by comparison. Foremost, it requires a constant Internet connection and further “usage fees” beyond your initial chunk of change. In other words, it’s an MMO – but, you know, only on Nintendo platforms. If I can’t unlock a flying pig mount, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

This comes as an especially King Slime-sized surprise given that the taste of Final Fantasy XIV’s faceplant is still so fresh in Square Enix’s mouth. But if there’s any way to force Japanese players to embrace, well, anything, it’s Dragon Quest, so perhaps crazy old uncle Square hasn’t lost it just yet.

No DLC for Bastion because it feels “complete”

What happened: The Kid remembered DLC from back in the days before the Calamity. Simpler times, those were. Probably better, too. And now all that remained was this memento, caked in ash. Then he hit it with his giant goddamn hammer.

What it means: OK, so I really hate it when interviewers ask developers “Is your game going to have DLC?” I don’t mean to rain on your Captain Obvious parade, but fucking duh. Everyone does DLC these days. “Will your game have graphics?” is an appropriate follow-up. And that’s precisely why it’s newsworthy when a game doesn’t – especially for all the right reasons.

For instance, I love Deus Ex with all my heart and a bunch of other vastly more confusing organs, but its upcoming DLC is basically content that got hacked off the original game to be sown back on at a later date. That’s terrible. Bastion – love it to death or wish death upon everyone who’s overhyped it – at least gave players everything up front. That’s absolutely the right mindset to have, and I’d really like to see more developers come back around to Supergiant’s way of thinking.

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5 Comments

  1. The_Red

    Awesome wrap, specially the “affront” part as well as the Bastion’s whole “What it means”.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Elrood

    I can still remember the time, when you could buy a game, which is complete. Sure devs sometimes made an addon, but for the most part these addons really added something to the game.

    Games aren’t cheap. Releasing overpriced snippets of the game afterwards, is just wrong. Especially if these mini-addons where made before the game was released.

    And what’s up with this stupid trend to release a game when it’s not finished? Releasing a beta is fine, but seeling it as a so called “golden game”? Really? At least there are patches. But if this continues I fear that it will just get worse. It might take longer and longer before our games are even playable.

    (sorry for my excessive use of “realease”)

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @2

    Games will always have bugs there will never be a way around that unless we create some type of compiler that checks code and looks at algorithm flaws. With Dead Island this is a Publisher issue, they push out games when it should have been tested more thoroughly. In the game industry at least EA or Nintendo, lets say, they have testers within the development and then they have testers with the publishers who test the game in its more stable version, make sure the development made the game functional and met their milestone in order for the dev to get paid.

    People shouldn’t be bitching about the 37 fixes the game had for the first patch it was only 30 MB so the patch was just full of tweaks. There are bigger issues with the game like I dunno the game not saving. I have lost 4 hours from that bug. That is a show stopper and a bug if found, you grab everyone and their mother to find, replicate, and then verify. If EA or Nintendo found this bug in their game, no one in the development team would go home until its been fixed.

    BTW games were never shipped complete, all of them had come to the reality of budget and have had content cut, its just the reality of the beast. Difference is now that everyone has internet connection they can put this cut content on another pipeline and get it to the customers.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. The_Deleted

    The Feminist Whore rant is blowing smoke. I’m sure most of us have a sense of humour that a lot might consider ‘near the knuckle’, does it make for bad people because of a the preference for off colour jokes?
    It depends on the intent.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Strange Sultan

    xcuse me, what does ” Feminist Whore ” mean ?!!!! is it the same as ” whore ” ??!!

    #5 4 years ago

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    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]