Weekly News Round-Up 8/3/10

The ApocalyPS3

This week much raging did take place, because for an entire day, the Playstation Network became unavailable to users of any PS3 that was not a slim version, due to an internal clock error, aptly dubbed the “apocalyPS3”. Apparently these consoles registered 2010 as a leap year and thus rage quitted on themselves, rendering many PSN trophy-enabled games unplayable. The issue apparently resolved itself, according to the official Playstation blog, without an update needed and it has been reported that some users lost trophies and even saved game files – we feel for you folks! Many cynics and conspiracy theorists were quick to rise up and claim it was a secret plan by Sony, initiated in order to force people to buy the new slim version of the PS3. While this is clearly crazy talk, from malleable metal headwear enthusiasts, there are increasing doubts as to whether Sony can continue to compete with other online gaming services/marketplaces. Either way, Hitler isn’t a fan.

Insanity Ward

On March 1st, after a slew of rumours and reports of security turning up at Infinity Ward and other such things, it was discovered, first via a Facebook update reading “Jason West is drinking. Also, no longer employed.” That the aforementioned co-founder of Infinity Ward was let go by Activision, the parent company, and shortly after Vince Zampella, the CEO suffered the same fate. Activision announced that it was taking the franchise in a new direction. Apparently the two heads were talking to other companies, looking to take their own direction with Call of Duty, as the contract between the two companies is due to expire this autumn. Naturally Activision, and it’s head Bobby Kotick didn’t want them messing around with their gold mine and promptly fired them on grounds of breach of contract due to insurbordination– at least that’s the reason they give. The craziness didn’t stop there however, Zampella and West bit back, filing a lawsuit claiming Activision simply did it in order to avoid paying them the (what clearly must be) substantial royalties from MW2. Since then, it has been reported that Activision are now frantically searching for documents linking the two with EA.

Activision are clearly looking to go the mile with CoD, having already announced a non-FPS version to be released by newly founded Sledgehammer games, the next instalment to be developed by Treyarch and another “unkown” developer to make yet another. Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith wrote in an internal memo, which was leaked, that Infinity Ward was still essential to the franchise, so we’re just gonna have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out. Personally I find it hard to believe that the heads of Infinity Ward deserved such a fate; the landscape could have been a whole lot different if they had smoothly transitioned to a company they felt more comfortable with. Unfortunately, it looks as though Activision are going to drive a once great franchise into the ground by overselling and bastardizing it.

Portal 2

Thank the lord, more and more Portal 2 news has been leaked recently; Yes, the eagerly awaited sequel to the genius little 2007 game, is in full swing for a reported Christmas release this year. Amongst a whole host of other tid-bits, it’s been discovered the unique puzzle game will have multiplayer coop which could make for some very complicated and intricate sections, and looks to be a standalone title, meaning an even more fleshed out game hopefully – awesomeness. If you want to read the rest of the spoiler-filled details, look here.

Recently Valve updated the original game, with some audio files, some encoded, some are morse code, which players could listen to via the radios in certain sections through a mini game. These files sent many fans on a treasure hunt ending in a series of images. Along with other confusing information, Valve also updated the ending sequence, you can see that here. Personally, I cannot wait – I’ve found Valve rarely disappoint and you’ve got to give it to them for constructing such complex little games for its hardcore fans. And oh yes, in other Valve news, Steam is officially coming to the Mac, presumably along with TF2, Half Life 2 etc so rejoice!

Tax Breaks

Last week Shadow Arts minister Ed Vaizey MP, restated that the Tories, if elected would seriously look at fiscal support for the UK games industry, stressing the importance of the industry in the current business landscape. He explained that the industry needs the help that any other industry does, and that’s tax and regulation reduction. He went on to say that other countries do indeed receive active support from their governments so much of the UK’s talent is being bled to other countries and thus it’s his “absolutely number one priority” to “level the playing field”. This comes shortly after Brown, the Prime Minister promised to look help support the industry in much the same way, after praising its importance in terms of the global industry. Although this appears to be a case of everyone jumping on the bandwagon prior to an election, it’s still nice to see that this is something they reckon it’s worth lying about; at least it’s a little more of the recognition the industry deserves.

And Finally…

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was released this week, and being a fan of the franchise since Battlefield 2, I’m loving the hell out it – it’s a whole lot more strategic and the environments are beautiful and literally, explosive. Anywho, if you want to pick it up, but are stuck in your stubborn noob-tubing Modern Warfare 2 ways, take a look at this video and get yourself in the right mindset! Oh, and Not-so-weekly picks on Tuesday!

March 7th, 2010
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