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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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    Steam Machines will finally become a reality before the end of the year. Valve’s living room PC systems will release in November, the company announced today. Well, I say Valve’s – the idea behind Steam Machines is that a number of manufacturers will offer variously priced systems. Alienware and Falcon Northwest are among the dozen […]

  • Telltale veterans form new team, announce teen thriller Oxenfree

    Oxenfree is a supernatural teen thriller from some of the team behind Telltale Games’ award-winning adventures. New indie Night School Studios unveiled Oxenfree at GDC 2015. It tells the story of a group of friends who accidentally open a “ghostly rift” at an overnight party on the coast. Night School, which is made up of […]

  • PS4 global sales now stand at over 20.2 million

    The PS4 has sold 20.2 million units worldwide. Sony announced the new PS4 sales milestone at GDC 2015 today. It’s a hell of an achievement and salt in the wounds for Microsoft, which hasn’t updated us on Xbox One sales since it shipped “almost” 10 million back in November last year, and has fallen back […]

  • PS4 VR headset Morpheus out in 2016, capable of 120 FPS – video

    Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus has some impressive grunt. Virtual reality and Morpheus were the heart of Sony’s GDC 2015 presentation today, ahead of its newly announced first-half 2016 comemrcial launch. SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida detailed the headset’s impressive capabilities, notably the fact that it can handle 120 FPS VR games. The PS4 […]

  • Papo & Yo developer making a VR game about dinosaurs

    Some days you write a headline and it makes you so happy that that you have to do a little chair dance, you know what I mean? Papo & Yo developer Minority Media, whom I would personally go to the wall for after they cut out my heart and stomped on it via the medium […]

  • Wasteland 2, Shovel Knight and more in big ole bunch of indies coming to Xbox One

    Xbox One owners are about to receive a pile of great new indie games. At GDC 2015, Microsoft revealed a list of new indie games headed to Xbox One. Some of these titles have already released on other platforms, so it looks like Microsoft has really relaxed the parity clause of ID@Xbox – or perhaps […]

  • Here’s an indie VR game made with Unreal Engine 4

    GDC 2015 is blowing up with indie games, VR and Unreal Engine 4, so here’s a video combining all three. Loading Human is a virtual reality adventure from indie developer Untold Games. It’s in the works for Mac and PC, and Sony has given an early green light for Project Morpheus, too, so expect it […]

  • GTA Online: Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode coming next week

    Heists aren’t the only thing coming to GTA Online next week: players can also expect Adversary Modes, new Daily Objectives and other Freemode activities. GTA Online’s Adversary Modes are new PvP modes which feature a range of competitive challenges and will unlock as players progress through Heists. Here’s a rundown straight from Rockstar: Come Out […]

  • Syndicate is the latest free game download on Origin

    The latest free title to be added to EA’s Origin service is 1993′s Syndicate. For a limited time, you can download the game for free and keep it, much like previous titles such as Theme Hospital. The isometric, real-time, tactical-action game was developed by Bullfrog Productions and released in June 1993. It is a favorite […]

  • Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen now available

    The Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will run you $7.99 and builds upon the existing lore, characters, and storyline. Have a look at some new screenshots in the gallery below.

  • Shadowrun Online gets a name change and release date

    Shadowrun Online developer Cliffhanger Productions has announced the game’s name has been changed to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown and a release date for April has been set. The new title was formed via the developer and its Kickstarter backers, with the goal being to let those unfamiliar with the game know by the title alone […]

  • Amazon hosting Rockstar and 2K Games sale

    Amazon is hosting a Rockstar Games and 2K Games sale with discounts Max Payne titles, Bully and more. Here’s just some of the offerings listed: Manhunt 2 PC Download $3.00 Max Payne 3 PC Download $4.00 Bully: Scholarship Edition PC Download $3.00 LA Noire Xbox 360 $2.95 L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition PC Download $6.00 […]

  • Destiny weekly reset video shows off Inferno Crucible gameplay

    We have a gameplay video featuring Inferno Crucible gameplay featured in the Destiny weekly reset for you. In it, Arekkz Gaming gives you a look at Inferno Crucible and goes over the various intricacies. You can read up on the weekly reset through the links.

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Episode 2 available from today

    Episode 2 for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is now available. If you’ve purchased the Complete Season, you’ll be able to download Episode 2 on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Steam players should see the episode go live around 9-10pm PST, and Xbox 360 owners should be able to download very early tomorrow morning, per Capcom […]

  • Here’s a sneak peek video for Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

    Fatshark Games has released a sneak peek video for its upcoming Games Workshop title, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Vermintide is a FPS, co-op action title coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and its set during the End Times of the Warhammer universe in the city of Ubersreik. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video shows Ascendance DLC early access weapon

    As you know, Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now you can watch a trailer for the weapon. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun “on the fly,” and it also includes the OHM-Werewolf […]

  • March PS Plus games include OlliOlli 2, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, more

    March PlayStation Plus titles have popped up on the PS Plus page. Noticed by NeoGAF user skynidas, the titles include: OlliOlli2 (PS4/VITA) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4) Counterspy (PS4/PS3) Papo & Yo (PS3) Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (PS3) A notice has also been posted on the EU PS […]

  • Sci-fi horror game Caffeine will release on Xbox One, PS4 alongside PC – new trailer

    Caffeine creator Dylan Browne has announced the Unreal Engine 4 game will be released on Xbox One. The game will be published through Microsoft’s Indie Program. As previously announced, it is also coming to PC and and now PlayStation 4. Caffeine is a sci-fi horror game which stars a young boy who has been abandoned […]

  • Xbox 360 Preview program invites going out this month

    Much like the Xbox One Preview program, starting early this month, invites for the Xbox 360 Preview program will start rolling out. Select invitees will be able to join program directly from their Xbox 360. A special Xbox Live message will be sent, directing users to head over to their Settings page. Further instructions are […]

  • Tron: Legacy director in negotiations for Gran Turismo film

    Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is said to be in early negotiations to direct the Gran Turismo film. This is according to the Hollywood Reporter, which states Michael De Luca is still slated as one of the producers alongside Matt Milam, Dana Brunetti, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin and Elizabeth Cantillon. Plot details are still unknown […]

  • Fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation is available for download

    The Trigger, which is is the fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation, is available to download from today. In it, players will “compete against the clock” across three new maps in Survivor Mode. Set before the events of the main game, players step into the shoes of Sevastopol Station’s Ricardo who will do what he […]

  • HBO Go app now available on PlayStation 4

    Sony has announced the HBO Go app will be made available for download later today for PlayStation 4. The app works just like the PS version. Now you can watch True Detective, Game of Thrones, Veep and more through your console. Information on installation is available through the PS Blog.

  • Skyrim mods no longer restricted to 100MB in size

    Bethesda has announced a beta for Creation Kit update 1.9.33, lifts the 100MB size restriction for Skyrim mod makers. The beta is for both Skyrim’s PC launcher and the Creation Kit which will allow for unlimited file sizes. Here are the notes: Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods […]

  • Mad Max release date set for September, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions canned

    Mad Max from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been given a September release date, along with the new of a last-gen cancellation. The axing of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were announced via Game Informer. Mad Max is the magazine’s featured game for the April issue. Avalanche, according GI, nixed development on […]

  • MGS 5: The Phantom Pain out in September, Kojima “closing the loop” on saga

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be released in September, according to an IGN Italy video, which also features Hideo Kojima discussing “With Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally “closing the loop” on the Metal Gear saga. The video has since been removed, but an image cap of the date is posted above. […]

  • Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Energy Car Pack now available

    The Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is available now, alongside the free car for March. The free car is the Acura Integra Type-R, and the Rockstar pack included the following vehicles: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC 2015 Subaru WRX STI 1996 BMW 850CSi 2015 Jaguar XFR-S 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert […]

  • 3DS firmware update kills web browser exploit

    Nintendo has issued a 3DS firmware update which fixes a web browser exploit that was being used to run pirated Game Boy Color ROMs since January as well as inject code within downloadable games. Another piece of code, per Eurogamer, changed the setting on the handheld to make it region-free. The exploit was only available […]

  • Unreal Tournament video shows updated textures on Outpost 23

    The latest footage from Epic’s new Unreal Tournament has surfaced, and it shows off the game’s first high-textured map which is called Outpost 23. As you can see from Zaccubus’ video, its the same are which Epic showed in the flythrough video from last year, only with updated textures and some new areas outside. The […]

  • Final add-on for Sunset Overdrive arrives in April

    The final add-on for Sunset Overdrive, Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines, will be released in April. On April 1 to be exact. No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke from Insomniac Games either. Below, you can watch a fist-look at the new story, area, and traversal mechanic.

  • Heroes of the Storm playable at EGX Rezzed

    Heroes of the Storm will be playable at EGX Rezzed. This will be the first UK public hands-on with the online team brawler. Blizzard will also host giveaways and friendly tournaments at its stand. Tickets for all three days of Rezzed are still available, and you can purchase a pass through the official website. EGX […]

  • PES 2015 Data Pack 4 coming next week with Winter Transfers, new faces

    Data Pack 4 for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has been dated, and it updates the game with Winter Transfers, new player faces, and additional stadiums. The latest free update contains real-time player transfers made within the January window, and player ratings have also been updated. Additionally, a number of improved likenesses to key players will […]

  • Here’s the changelog for Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5

    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]

  • Game of Thrones, Mortal Kombat X, Batman mobile games on the way

    Warner Bros. has announced free-to-play mobile titles spanning its DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Game of Thrones properties. The following five new games under development are: Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios: The game blends fighting and card collection with cinematic gameplay and Fatalities. Play as both classic and fighters, and if you own the […]

  • Win! Beta access to new MMORPG Skyforge and DLC worth $70

    We have ten Wrath of the Gods Founders Packs to giveaway for new RPG Skyforge, worth over $70. All you need to do to win a Wrath of the Gods pack is enter your details in the form below and we’ll pick 10 winners at random on Thursday, March 5, after 3pm GMT. Skyforge is […]