In the wake of E3, controversy struck the gaming industry. But it isn’t all bad news in this week’s Gamer Pulse – the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and its developer, Kojima Productions, are expanding their horizons in a big way. Duke Nukem Forever was finally unleashed upon the world as well. The most important thing to take out of this week is the return of the old “evil” EA, the publishing house that devoured beloved companies such as Maxis.
- For those jaded by Activision’s management of the Call of Duty franchie, DICE’s upcoming Battlefield 3 has become something of a messiah. Industry analysts are putting a lot of faith in Battlefield 3 as being the first serious challenger to Call of Duty‘s prevalence in the FPS universe. EA made an announcement this week that sent the Battlefield 3 community into crisis mode. The “Physical Warfare Pack” was announced earlier in the week. This downloadable content would give players who pre-ordered the game several critical upgrades out-of-the-box: day-one access to one of the best shotguns in the game, an exclusive light machine gun, armor-piercing shotgun rounds, and a flash suppressor accessory for snipers, described as “the essential weapon mod for teamplay Recons at the front.” The initial announcement of this pack also mentioned that it would be exclusive to players who had pre-ordered the game, an announcement that sent gamers into a fury, with gamers across different gaming websites organizing letter-writing campaigns and boycotts of the product. Not long after, a “clarification” was posted on the official Battlefield 3 blog, stating that the Physical Warfare pack would be made available, for free, to all users sometime after the game was released. The gaming community has since quelled its rage. An expansion, similar to the Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam, called Back to Karkand, was also announced.
- In other EA news, Crysis 2 mysteriously vanished from Valve’s digital content distribution service, Steam, this week. The gaming community pointed the finger at EA, assuming that the title was removed from Steam to draw customers to EA’s new distribution service, Origin; however, the company retaliated, claiming that Valve was responsible for the title’s disappearance, citing a possible violation of Steam regulations. While we’ve yet to receive final clarification on this mystery, it’s important to remember, as we announced in Gamer Pulse a few weeks back, that Bioware’s upcoming Star Wars MMORPG, The Old Republic, will be able digitally exclusively through Origin. Another anticipated EA product, Battlefield 3, has yet to appear for pre-order on Steam as well. We will update you with further developments on this possible EA withdrawal from Steam as they become clearer.
- Duke Nukem Forever has finally arrived in gamers’ hands and, for the most part, reviewers have been unimpressed by the title. The PC version of the title currently sits at an underwhelming 44.89% on Game Rankings, a metacritic service that aggregates reviews from a variety of different outlets. The Redner Group, a PR firm responsible (well, formerly responsible) for handling review copies of Duke Nukem Forever and, assumedly, other 2K Games titles, took to Twitter to announce their disappointment with DNF‘s treatment by reviewers, saying:
TheRednerGroup: #AlwaysBetonDuke too many went too far with their reviews…we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.
2K Games, justifiably furious, responded to the outburst, saying:
2KGames: 2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by @TheRednerGroup and confirm they no longer represent our products.
If you own a PR firm and are looking for new clients, 2K Games is probably in need of a new outlet for handling their titles.
- Remember that pay-to-play Call of Duty: Elite service we announced a few weeks back? An Activision representative gave an update on the current number of registrants for the beta testing phase of the service – Dan Amrich happily reported that over 2 million users have already volunteered to participate in beta testing for Call of Duty: Elite.
- Let’s end the week on a good note, yes? For those of you who rank among the devotees of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and Kojima Productions in general, some great things are happening. Recently, HD ports of Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker were announced for the PS3. Some gamers felt a bit bummed over the exclusion of the original Metal Gear Solid title. Kojima Productions offered a bit of solace this week, stating that a MGS HD would require more attention than its PS2 counterparts because of the “low polygon count” in the original game. Basically, if Kojima Productions wants to update the classic PS1 title, they’ll need to do a bit more than just update graphics – it would be a full-blown remake (perhaps an opportunity to launch the new Fox Engine, developed by Kojima Productions?). Kojima also announced that all future Metal Gear Solid titles on Sony consoles will feature cross-platform compatibility thanks to the studio’s new cloud storage system.
That’ll do it for Gamer Pulse this week. Wizard World Philadelphia is this week, so I, along with some of the other staff, will be scouring the convention hall for reportable goodies for all of you. In the meantime, check out Robb Orr’s INFAMOUS 2 review (spoiler alert: he really liked it). As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned to Comic Booked!