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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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  • 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, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain Day 1 and Collector’s Edition revealed

    Konami has officially revealed the release date of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain alongside the game’s Day 1 and Collector’s Edition. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release September 1, worldwide, as previously leaked. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PC Steam […]

  • EU Club Nintendo: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack back in stock

    Club Nintendo members in Europe can once again pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack. For 3000 Stars, members of the program will receive the double-CD soundtrack which features 89 tracks with liner notes from Ryo Nagamatsu and 12 sheet music excerpts. It also comes with 16 Milk Bar Musician pieces. […]

  • HTC apologises over “confusing” Half-Life VR comments

    HTC has misspoke when it talked about Half-Life coming to VR headset Vive. HTC chairwoman Cher Wang has apologised over the comments she made yesterday about the possibility of Half-Life coming to Vive, the VR headset it’s manufacturing with the help of Valve. Sources close to Valve, have indicated to the BBC that the developer […]

  • What do Heists and Daily Objectives tell us about the future of GTA Online?

    Daily Objectives could be more important to GTA Online than Heists. These theories and more, from a giddy Matt Martin. Yesterday Rockstar dropped a bombshell. Not only is it releasing Heists next week – the mythical 4-player missions for GTA Online – but it’s also going to be introducing daily challenges and more modes to […]

  • Breaking down Hardline Premium, is it worth it?

    Having been announced just a few days ago, the Premium service for Battlefield Hardline has been a topic of constant debate among the Battlefield community. Many look at Hardline as a Battlefield off-shoot that will just tide everyone over until Battlefront comes out in the fall. EA has other plans however, announcing a $50 Premium […]

  • Watch Dogs sold more than GTA 5 and FIFA 15 in Australia in 2014

    Watch Dogs outsold GTA 5, and FIFA 15, at retail in Australia last year. According to data obtained by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) from the NPD Group Australia, last year’s year retail sales charts look a bit different in Australia. The top-selling game was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, followed by Watch […]

  • Watch PC footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from GDC 2015

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new gameplay video available that shows a bit of action from the PC version. The video below was captured from Nvidia’s GDC conference live-stream. Developer CD Projekt RED was on hand to show off The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s graphical prowess running on a PC. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • Dying Light: Hard Mode and Ultimate Survivor Bundle out March 10

    Dying Light’s second DLC drop, the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, and the free Hard Mode, have been given a solid release date alongside a new trailer. Dying Light developer Techland has confirmed that the Ultimate Survivor Bundle, the game’s second DLC drop, will release March 10. The DLC is part of the season pass, but will […]

  • Exploration puzzler Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4

    Ether One, the first-person exploration game that puts you in the minds of other people to help change events of their past is coming to PlayStation 4 this year. Ether One is coming to PlayStation 4 this year, developer White Paper Games announced at GDC 2015. A retail version will also be available alongside the […]

  • Larian “murdered” Divinity: Dragon Commander to focus on Original Sin

    Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian talked very candidly about the business side of development and the many unfortunate events that took place for the game to come out as it did. Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke gave a post-mortem on the troubled development of Divinity: Original Sin, and how it managed to overcome all of […]

  • Firewatch probably has the most natural dialogue of any game to date

    Firewatch developer Campo Santo has revealed the first ever gameplay footage of the upcoming exploration game. Firewatch is the first game from super indie studio Campo Santo. The game is set in the Wyoming forests where the player will be exploring the environment and act as a fire lookout. The game features extensive voice-acting as […]

  • White Night launch trailer is a noir thriller trip

    White Night is here, not long after it was revealed and with a mysterious launch trailer. White Night, the black-and-white survival horror set in 1930s Boston, has revealed its launch trailer. White Night is mix of old-school horror, exploration and puzzling solving in an eerie, noir setting. The game’s main mechanic is light. any object […]

  • Free-to-play is “a significant part” of PlayStation’s digital future

    Free-to-play games on PlayStation 4 have seen enough growth that Sony is now considering the model a major part of its future digital business. Sarah Thompson, senior account executive for PlayStation’s free-to-play business said at a GDC panel that Sony has witnessed impressive growth in the free-to-play sector. “We’re really looking at this as a […]

  • Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter documentary releasing free on YouTube

    Broken Age making of documentary Double Fine Adventure will be made available to all. When Double Fine turned to crowdfunding, changing the industry forever, it promised to give an unprecedented look behind the scenes with a professional documentary of the whole development process of Broken Age. That documentary was initially restricted to Kickstarter backers, but […]

  • Gone Home console ports cancelled following Midnight City difficulties

    Gone Home won’t be made available to the console masses after all. Indie hit Gone Home was announced for console release almost exactly one year ago, and we’ve heard absolutely nothing since then. Turns out, that’s because it’s not happening: developer the Fullbright Company confirmed to Eurogamer that the ports have been cancelled. “Our publishing […]

  • Microsoft rang Mojang the day Notch joked about selling

    Minecraft developer Mojang was sold because founder Markus “Notch” Persson made a joke on Twitter. Ever wondered how Minecraft came to be a Microsoft property? It’s actually a pretty great story. Remember when Notch tweeted this? Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for […]

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection matchmaking update rolling out

    Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been updated to help fix its tragic matchmaking. Again. Now almost four months old, Halo: The Master Chief Collection was still pretty broken as of this morning, with rubbish matchmaking and plenty of other issues to go around. 343 Industries is still trying to fix it, and has today […]

  • Nvidia unveils Shield, an Android 4K Smart TV set top box

    Nvidia has named yet another product “Shield” in an attempt to render us all hopelessly confused. The heart of Nvidia’s GDC 2015 press conference was the Shield, a $200 Android set top box launching in May. Apparently the “world’s first 4K Android TV”, the Shield supports 4K content encoded with h.265. The box runs on […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront footage shown behind closed doors

    Star Wars Battlefront is being shown to retailers. Now we want EA to show it to us. Star Wars Battlefront is expected sometime this year, so it’s about time EA gave us a look at DICE’s latest. It turns out that while press and gamers have had to twiddle their thumbs, EA is showing it […]

  • Dragon Age lead creative moves onto mysterious new BioWare project

    Dragon Age creator David Gaider is leaving his baby behind. Dragon Age is a team effort, but Gaider was one of the key creatives behind the franchise, creating the setting of Thedas (which, I was recently amused to learn, is an acronym: “THE Dragon Age Setting”). He was lead writer on all three games and […]

  • Unity 5 available for free with “no fucking around”

    Unity 5 looks amazing, and you can download and faff about with it for free right now. “We’re not nickel-and-diming people. When we say it’s free, it’s free. We’re not charging a royalty, which I think is akin to looking for whales.” Unity Technologies announced the release of the fifth version of its popular, simple, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 may be the end of the series

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 released yesterday, and many fans theorise that it marks the end of the series. Five Nights at Freddy’s developer Scott Cawthon has released a new teaser image on his website, but rather than pointing to a new game, many fans believe the teaser signals the end of the series. The […]

  • Source 2 announced, will also be free

    Valve has formally unveiled Source Engine 2, the third major engine to go free to developers at GDC 2015. Source 2 is the successor to the engine Valve has been using since Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2. Valve didn’t have much to say about the technicalities of this long-awaited release. It is apparently focused on […]

  • SteamVR: Valve’s Lighthouse tech allows you to walk around while playing

    SteamVR’s key differentiator is a piece of tech allowing headsets to connect with other devices for extra accurate, room-scale tracking. Valve has announced a new bit of technology called Lighthouse, which it is making freely available to any hardware manufacturer. Like the extra tracking LEDs on Sony’s updated Project Morpheus, Lighthouse improves the headset’s accuracy, […]

  • Steam Machines, Controller, streaming box to launch in November

    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 […]