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Holiday Retrospective – What happened in August 2011

Friday, 30 December 2011 09:02 GMT By Brenna Hillier

For a large percentage of our audience, August 2011 is the month their capital city went violently insane. For the rest of us, there’s this.

New in August 2011

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Age of Empires Online

No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Madden NFL 12

Tropico 4

Bodycount

Driver: San Francisco

August was a busy month. At the year’s premum fighter tournament, Las Vegas’s EVO, reigning champion and favourite Daigo was bested by Fuudo. At Quakecon, John Carmack’s keynote was as fascinating and as baffling as we have come to expect from one of the industry’s legends. PAX 2011 attendees received pledges of free games.

And there was some other little event, wasn’t there? Oh yes – gamescom. Pat’s two cents, delivered at the end of the show, is that gamescom is doing what E3 isn’t. Check out all our coverage from the massive show – over 550 exhibitors; 275,000 visitors; and serious over-crowding – in one convenient link – or just hunker down for the highlights ahead.

Digital Frontier
Five months on from the system’s launch, Nintendo promised premium DLC support for the 3DS, although implementation was still a few months off, as well as for the upcoming Wii U.

Blizzard made something of a bold (and controversial) announcement during a Diablo III splurge, outlining plans for an auction house where players can buy and sell in-game items – for real money. The free-to-play revolution was visible elsewhere, too, with Microsoft again making noises about bringing more freemium titles to Xbox Live Arcade.

On a related note, Valve began testing Steam’s trading system, which would eventually let players swap in-game items – including those acquired through random drops – for premium virtual goods including full games.

Valve put $1 million up for grabs in its very frst DOTA 2 tournament at the game’s gamescom reveal – Riot responded instantly by unveiling a $5 million prize pool for the second season of League of Legends.

The Vita swam back into headlines, with Sony revealing the handheld console can be used as a controller for the PS3 – evoking development ideas similar to those attached to the Wii U’s controller set up. Johnny went hands-on with the new console. Sony announced price cuts for the PS3 during its gamescom presser, too.

DOTA 2 footage from the gamescom tourney.

The NPD Group, still failing to account for digital sales in its monthly reports, announced a partnership with EEDAR to increase its tracking capabilities. We’re still waiting for the results.

Google+ added support for games with promises of spam control. Facebook said it was going to makes games less spammy. Log into both social networks immediately and judge their success.

True or False?
Warner Bros. put a ring on Grasshopper’s latest effort, the rumoured Lollipop Chainsaw, after a reported case of love at first sight.

Square Enix gladdened hearts fans by snapping up the rights to the United Front-developed True Crime: Hong Kong, after Activision shuttered it. The game will release in 2012 under an unrelated title.

Back in the headlines again, Blizzard trademarked Mists of Pandaria, and then got a little bit defensive when everyone promptly guessed it’d be the next expansion.

Borderlands 2 was finally revealed as officially a thing, after months of everyone having to pretend we didn’t know precisely what Gearbox was up to regardless of what they told us. A Game Informer cover spilled plenty of details, and Johnny took a gander at it at gamescom.

Valve had another big reveal, with Counter-strike: Global Offensive. The multi-platform shooter is planned to bring together the two disparate Counter-strike communities in one tournament-friendly setting.

Borderlands 2 teaser.

Carbine trumpeted in its heretofore top secret new MMO, Wildstar, which Pat saw and was genuinely impressed by.

During its gamescom presser, EA announced FIFA Street. One the complete other end of the spectrum, Atlus made Persona 4 Portable official.

Nintendo made a patent for something called a “Massively Single-Player Online Game”, which baffled us utterly (until the reveal of Dragon Quest X. Now we’re just moderately baffled).

Deadly Premonition creator Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro hinted he hopes to get a publisher on board plans to turn the cult favourite into a series.

Releases
Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, lovingly developed at Eidos Montreal as a successor to the classic 90′s PC favourites, was hands down the biggest release of August. Reviews were absolutely sterling, and critical praise aside, the buzz was simply tremendous. Anything anybody anywhere had to say about the game was handed around and pawed over as gamers welcomes the official kick off of the release crunch.

One of several trailers accompanying
the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Driver: San Francisco had a comparatively quiet launch. Although it reviewed strongly, drawing unexpected praise for its delightfully fun if inarguably silly premise and addictive multiplayer, it slipped under the radar.

Meanwhile, Codemasters Guildford’s flagship Bodycount turned up to – underwhelming praise, shall we say? Stace had a crack at it and was as tactful as possible.

Madden NFL 12 finally got out the door, just in time to technically land a summer release, following strike action which delayed it out of its usual annual window. Everyone felt precisely the same about it as every other yearly entry, and it sold like hotcakes.

The NPD Group’s August report had Deus Ex: Human Revolution at the top of the charts, but the other big names released too late – or too quietly – to make a splash.

It was a bad month all round, actually. Sales jumped a measly 3% over July, and fell 23% year-on-year.

Marketing and PR
During the London Riots, footage from ground zero dominated media for weeks. One example showed a young man, already injured, being robbed of his PSP – Sony representatives quietly replaced the console and games, but we caught ‘em at it and told everyone.

Someone at Starbreeze got the wrong end of the stick and mentioned a reveal of Project Redlime at gamescom. We had been expecting the secret project – know confirmed as Syndicate – to turn up at every major event for the past year, so it’s entirely possible a debut had been planned and then pulled. Regardless, nothing came of it – yet.

Appalling video from the London Riots.

Ubisoft back-pedalled again on its always-on DRM, this time promising to leave it out of Driver: San Francisco. The back and forth over From Dust’s DRM resulted in the publisher issuing refunds to dissatisfied PC gamers.

Having itself made some catty comments on Battlefield 3′s console versions, Activision came out firing against EA’s “public mudslinging“. EA’s next volley, the rather mild and sensible comment that it doesn’t need to outsell Call of Duty, made it look positively rational.

We got our first proper look at Steel Battalion at gamescom, and found the Kinect mech sim to be good.

Business
Speaking to shareholders about the 3DS’s price cut, which disappointed early adopters, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the company hoped to avoid mistakes made with the Gamecube. The executive also halved his salary, taking personal responsibility for slow sales. It wasn’t all bad news – Ocarina of Time became the troubled console’s first million seller.

Sega posted a poor quarter, having lost over $28 million, but Namco Bandai revealed increased revenue and profit.

Activision also had a strong quarter, with above-expectation revenue of $1.1 billion, while Take Two suffered losses – but significant sales milestones for both L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption.

Indies don’t have to make financial reports, but Mojang did reveal that Minecraft had passed 3 million sales – three months before it would officially come out of beta.

Hatched, Matched and Dispatched
Sly Cooper and inFamous developer Sucker Punch finally made the leap from contractual exclusives to full-blown first party studio, purchased by Sony. The developer expected to continue on as usual.

Steel battalion trailer from gamescom.

An organisational shuffle saw EA ‘s top brass play musical chairs. Former EA Sports chief Peter Moore became COO, while EA Games boss Frank Gibeau jumped a rank to the head of EA Labels. In the same switcheroo, EA Games studio’s under the BioWare moniker were promoted to full label, coming under the umbrella name EA BioWare. Oh, and EA acquired Bight Games.

Less delightfully, a death knell was sounded over L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi, with the studio’s assets being sold off and the company going into administration. Nor were publisher-owned studios safe from the headsman’s axe – THQ gave three full teams the chop and dumped MX vs ATV Alive.

Steve Jobs resigned from his position as Apple CEO. We weren’t totally certain why, but we now know he was extremely ill.

Ball’s in your court
A nasty dispute between EA Sports and NCAA players looked likely to cost the publisher over $1 billion.

EA and Valve continued their slow duel over Steam’s terms and conditions, which apparently block the publisher from doing something it desperately wants to do to its own games – direct patching and DLC sales are the prime suspects. During August, the two companies’ ongoing difficulties meant Battlefield 3 would not appear on the Steam. Valve said it wanted to get EA back on board.

And on the homefront, we ran a competition to send a couple of you to Sweden with Pat, to see Battlefield 3 and chat with DICE.

For a few days running Pat favoured us with a full history of the original Xbox, celebrating the consoles anniversary. Read the whole thing – parts one; two; three; and four. This set of editorials wwas among our most popular features this year, and are still well worth a read.

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14 Comments

  1. Se_7_eN

    Am I the only one tired of these “Holiday Retrospective” articles?

    I hate going elsewhere for news, but it looks like I have to :(

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Quasar

    yes, gtfo

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Talkar

    I think they are an awesome idea!

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    We’re on holiday. It’s the only time of the year we get to stop. As I said previously, we’ll be back on the evening of January 1 European time.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Maximum Payne

    Yea I find it too little bit boring.
    You really don’t have to work on them :D

    #5 3 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    I think they’re quite neat :)

    and as pat said they’re on holiday what did you expect? =/

    #6 3 years ago
  7. ASBI

    I have a question that I wanted to ask since 2010 :P

    do u guys get paid for this ? is it some sort of job or just a hobby?

    Im not trolling or anything I just want to satisfy my curiosity :)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Patrick Garratt

    @7 – That’s brilliant :-D

    Yes, we get paid ;)

    #8 3 years ago
  9. teribithia

    Good story, but why the story is abot August, now it is the Dec 30, why not tell a story about the top 10 game in 2011. I search the TOP 10 game in Google not found any helpful news.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Noodlemanny

    @Pat
    Doesn’t look like your really stopping, at least not completely. It looks like your still monitoring the site and posting like you always do.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Patrick Garratt

    Yeah. Looking forward to get everything moving again properly, to be honest. We have to take the break because now really is the only time we can, but it feels so weird to not be updating fully.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Noodlemanny

    Got a bit of withdrawal?

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Deacon

    I think the Retrospectives are great. Nice to re-cap on the events of 2011. There certainly were some blinders.

    Must be really draining being responsible for something ’24/7′. I take great solace in being able to leave work on a Friday and (in most cases) not worry about it at all until the Monday.

    With that said, I’d work EVERY WAKING HOUR if I found a job in the industry.

    If VG247 ever needs a teaboy, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone better than I.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Gekidami

    I bet Pat is bored out of his fucking mind without having any work to do. :D

    #14 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    With Final Fantasy 15, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, it should come as no surprise to learn that Square Enix will be hosting a dedicated E3 2015 conference this year. The presentation will take place Tuesday, June 16 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/5pm UK. It will be broadcast […]

  • Final Fantasy 4: The After Years 3D remake releasing on Steam next month

    Final Fantasy 4: The After Years has been given a makeover and will be released on Steam of PC next month. You can now pre-order it on Steam and take 10% off for the time being. The game will be released on the digital service May 12 and will include trading cards and achievements. Thanks, […]

  • This Project Cars video shows off the racer’s multiplayer

    Project Cars developer Slightly Mad has released a new video giving you a look at the game’s multiplayer. The game is out next month, and if you would like to refresh yourself on the tracks included,  give this a look. While you are clicking links, here’s the minimum and recommended PC specifications which dropped last […]

  • Looks like Logitech is getting out of OEM mouse production business [Clarification]

    Logitech will no longer produce “low-end” mice, citing a decline in PC accessories. This story has been updated to include a clarification. According to a Reuters report, per MCV, the firm will instead focus on video accessories and streaming music, as its wireless Bluetooth speakers are now its best-selling product rage. This will help offset […]

  • Win! We have 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to give away

    Must have more MOBA? Win one of our 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys and see if you’re more Blizzard than LoL. Can’t wait for June 2? Of course you can’t. We have 1,000 closed beta keys for Heroes of the Storm to give away this week, allowing you access before Blizzard’s MOBA goes […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct airs tomorrow, April 24

    A Nintendo Direct devoted entirely to Xenoblade Chronicles X will air this Friday, April 24. The video showcase will start at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. After the showcase, a new Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation featuring the game will air. This is the second Xenoblace Chronicles X Nintendo Direct, but the first in English. The first […]

  • Blizzard will have 500 game stations set up at gamescom 2015

    Blizzard is heading to gamescom 2015 in August and it will have 500 game stations set up for attendees to get their hands on five of its titles. The developer will be set up in Hall 7 and those who stop by will be able to get hands-on with the latest content for Heroes of […]

  • PS4 price cut to £299 in UK

    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]

  • You have until April 30 to export your Green Day: Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 3

    Harmonix has announced that those looking to export their song collection from Green Day: Rock Band into Rock Band 3 can only do so until the end of the month. April 30 will be the cutoff date for anyone who wants to export tracks from Green Day: Rock Band into their Rock Band 3 library, […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight minimum, recommended, and ultra PC specs revealed

    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]

  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

    A new Overlord game is in the works, going by the previous teasing and this video – which teases the possibility of four-payer co-op. Or just four characters to choose from. We don’t know just yet – all we know is the team is asking you to “join the fellowship.” A new entry in the […]

  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]