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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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  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]