2012 in news: May sees Diablo III release, E3 hype

Thursday, 27 December 2012 14:16 GMT By Patrick Garratt

May was all about Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, E3, Diablo III, Max Payne 3, 38 Studios going bust and Danny Bilson leaving THQ. Get the fifth part of our 2012 news retrospective right here.

May was a busy month, a tone set by the reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. More than 300 people were reported as working on the game, which was to have a near-future setting, branching story and a bumped-up zombies mode.

For every month in our 2012 retrospective, hit this.

May was a busy month, a tone set by the reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 in the first week. More than 300 people were reported as working on the game, which was to have a near-future setting, branching story and a bumped-up zombies mode. Amazon pre-orders shot past those of Modern Warfare 3 on the back of trailers and an ad placed in the Champions League Final.

Several other major stories were active in May. The launch of Diablo III was a constant. Final trailers, new features, insane analyst estimates, Inferno mode slavering and claims the action-RPG had more voice-acting than any other Blizzard title led into midnight openings for more than 8,000 retail outlets.

Inevitably, the game’s servers collapsed. As Diablo III is only playable if the player is connected to the server, widespread log-in errors provoked unrestrained outrage. Blizzard was forced to publicly apologise. Servers were still flaking out at the very end of the month.

Despite furious fans, the game – which shipped without pre-release reviews – sold 6.3 million units in its first week.

You’ll never take our three-dom

Hype for what would be a relatively slow E3 built throughout May, beginning with a round of what wouldn’t be there rather than what would. Valve, Blizzard and THQ confirmed they’d miss the LA expo, and Sony refused to give any hints as to whether The Last Guardian would show up (it didn’t). It was now generally accepted that next-gen consoles other than Wii U wouldn’t be shown until 2013.

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Konami confirmed live press conferences.

As ever, some of E3’s announcements leaked. We would get more Castlevania and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. There wasn’t too much pre-show rumour as, in hindsight, there wasn’t a massive amount to talk about. Talk did emerge in May of Sony signing off on a major cloud deal, the announcement of which was to come at the show: the Gaikai buy wouldn’t be confirmed until July.

The E3 demos of MGS Rising, Far Cry 3, Metro: Last Light and Gears of War: Judgment were all teased in May. Battlefield: Premium was announced before the show.

Square Enix caused one of the biggest controversies of the month with its nun-worrying E3 Hitman trailer.

While we went through the motions of covering the road to what would prove to be a pedestrian E3, Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios went bust. Talk of financial difficulties emerged mid-month. The studio was said to have missed a $1 million loan payment which then apparently cleared, but it was all too late. Kingdoms of Amalur was described as a “flop” and staff wages weren’t met. Events looked fatal by the end of the month. MMO Copernicus would never be.

Schilling wasn’t the only one experiencing set-backs. BioShock Infinite was pushed back from October to February 2013, apparently over networking issues. Microsoft show InsideXbox was cancelled in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Namco’s Introversion stumbled a little as it crept towards launch.

THQ’s troubles refused to disappear. Devil’s Third was dropped by the publisher and silver-haired impresario Danny Bilson left the building.

It wasn’t all gloom in May, though. May Payne 3 launched to high reviews, and both Assassin’s Creed III and Lost Planet 3 got their first gameplay footage. Company of Heroes 2 was confirmed and previewed, as was The Elder Scrolls Online. FIFA 13 got first mentions, and Funcom MMO The Secret World geared-up to its July launch with more than 1 million people signing up for the beta. Hitman: Absolution, Dishonored and DmC: Devil May Cry all got release dates.

Next-gen rumours were as active as ever in May. The next Xbox was in manufacturing, apparently, and PS4 was mentioned on an SCEA CV. Epic unveiled Unreal Engine 4 and a Skype jobs listing talked about the next generation of Xbox. Remedy starting hiring for new machines. Beyond Good & Evil next-gen quotes pushed the faithful into the expected frenzy, a situation egged on by an environment video. EA confirmed it was putting $80 million into next-gen dev.

Next: June. Get April’s round-up here. Hit this for every month.