Tag Archives: THQ

2012 in review – Games? We got games…

To some, an epic battle of beast versus noble knight. To me? Monday morning.

Gamers have lived in interesting times in 2012.  From Doritosgate  to a new console from Nintendo, from Kickstarter letting star developers of yore crowd-source funds for niche titles to the NRA blaming pop culture (and, inevitably, video games) for inspiring real-life violence, to studios like Sony Liverpool and even publishers like THQ either closing down permanently or entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to that “Mass Effect 3” ending, there’s been no shortage of stories on the daily games blogs to make you say “…hmm”.

Perhaps this weird sense of flux is partially attributable to the waning days of this gaming generation? With the debut of a hand-held  iterative system like the PS Vita and the aforementioned Wii U heralding the onset of a new generation of home systems, it’s probably not unusual to expect some consolidation in gaming – especially with the competition from smart phones being an ongoing agitant and conspiring to win yet more eyeballs and minds from the traditional gaming monoliths of Sony and Nintendo (next to whom, implausibly, Microsoft are the peppy young upstart of the sector).  If you’re not fast enough to keep up, and can’t get attention quickly, your game’s in the bargain bins two weeks after release and your studio will doubtless be downsizing headcount left, right and centre.  Who would want to be a games dev?  Not me, that’s for sure.

It would be easy to get downhearted, but there’s always reasons to get excited about this hobby – titles which engage so much that they persuade an otherwise sane gamer to invest 51 hours of his life (and counting) into a fantasy universe without really denting the main quest line – if you’ve read this blog at all this year, you’ll be in no surprise when I tell you that “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” was my favourite game of 2012.

It’s not one which has featured much in the year-end discussion – that honour goes to the likes of Tell Tale’s “The Walking Dead”, ThatGameCompany‘s art-em-up, “Journey”, steampunk stealth fest, “Dishonored” and the revived “Halo 4” – but it’s the game which pulled me back in, hour after hour, level after level to discover the secret provenance and reason for my seven foot blue elven ranged scout’s mysterious resurrection from death.

"Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" is my game of 2012

“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” is my game of 2012

Lots of action, deep lore (with a story by R.A. Salvatore), charming music, a neat inventory system and an indefinable x-factor which compels you to keep forging ahead even with the likes of “ME3”, “Halo 4” and every thing that XBLA/PSN/Steam could offer calling you away – that’s what my game of 2012 offered.  “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” is the overlooked gem of 2012 and the title which I hope somehow sees a renaissance worthy of it’s central plot line on the soon-to-be-unveiled next gen systems from Microsoft and Sony.

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A week of Games.

It’s been a funny old week for gamers.

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We’ve lost and regained the loved/hated high street retailer Game in blink of an eye, with its future still uncertain.  Half the branches have been shuttered and the remaining portfolio is been split between the best performing locations of Gamestation and Game, with the business apparently being readied for a subsequent sale – prompting the return of GameStop to these shores?

In Sheffield, for example, we’ve gone from six stores to two – a branch of Game in the Crystal Peaks shopping centre and a Gamestation in the larger, presumably more expensive Meadowhall shopping mall.  What this means for me is that neither are now particularly near me and I’d have to make a special trip to two not-especially-pleasant shopping venues.  I see online and a couple of independent retailers in my future.  The Guardian‘s Keza McDonald has a great piece on Game, the market space now open for indy retailers and what it all means over at their Games blog.

The vultures, of course, have begun to circle…

On another note, embattled publisher THQ announced that they’ll be giving me what I wanted but in a totally roundabout way.  By all accounts, we will see another single-player action game in the “Warhammer 40K” universe but at the cost of their expensive and apparently too unwieldy 40K MMO, which has been shuttered. Developers Relic and Vigil are accordingly reducing headcount by over 100 staff – who would work in an industry that precarious?

Sony’s new console, meanwhile, may be called Orbis rather than PS4, will eschew any attempt to be backwards compatible and will eat any pre-owned disc that you attempt to put inside it’s ravenous, bio-mechanical, terrifying cyber-maw.

Or, if you want to be boring, the new console will lock games to PSN accounts, preventing trade-in and the second-user market which is even now destroying the video game business from within.  But I prefer my version.  It’s more Cyber.

Finally, in news which isn’t actually news to anybody who’s picked up a controller or installed a game to their hard drive in the last decade, EA are in the running for the coveted title of Worst Company In America…

Whatever you’re playing this weekend, you probably want to make sure it isn’t “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City”…

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More “Warhammer 40K: Space Marine” DLC incoming

Those lovely chaps at Eurogamer have excellent news – the DLC pipeline for their sadly-underrated “Warhammer 40K: Space Marine” game continues to gush forth exciting new content.

This is Captain Titus' happy face. Would you like to see him when he's ticked off?

Following the recent, free downloadable ‘Exterminatus’ co-op mode which recently showed up in-game once you updated the game comes a new ‘Chaos Unleashed‘ mode, a new enemy class and some new multi-player maps – for 800 Microsoft Space Bucks or the equivalent on your platform.

You can expect to see that in December – there’s also a new collection of bunch of Legion skins due at the same time for 240 MSP.

Any new add-on for this game sounds great to me and I’m kind of apt to support it as I really would like to see a sequel to this title – THQ’s recent words on the subject don’t inspire hope, but as my dear mum (never ever) says – ‘it’s not over until the belligerent inquisitor sings‘.

In which negotiation fails and radical alternatives to debate are called for...(via Game Craic)

 

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THQ’s Danny Bilson wants me to cry more.

Pictured yesterday, "Warhammer 40K" fans storm THQ HQ

Eurogamer today has a post with the news that I’ve dreaded since the release of “Space Marine” – the signs don’t point towards a “Space Marine 2” any time soon.

THQ boss Danny Bilson isn’t ruling it out entirely, but the sales don’t quite justify a sequel in the expansive territory of the “40K” universe – especially when the previously mentioned “WH40K” MMO may apparently share game play elements which overlap with the single-player game.

An MMO which is pick-up-and-play enough to appeal to the single-player fans of “Space Marine”? I can’t help but be intrigued by that as instance-based, always-on MMO traditions really don’t hold any interest for me.

I’ll just have to wait until 2013 to see if this bears fruition or is just so much PR fluff.

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“Homefront 2” – it’s happening

Despite selling a little less than they might have liked it to, THQ are pressing ahead with a second game in their “Homefront” series, this time developed by some blokes down the road from me, as detailed by those nice Eurogamer chaps.

“Homefront 2” is due in fiscal year 2014, from the dudes who brought you “Timesplitters”

Down the road meaning Nottingham, and the dudes in question are Crytek UK – who were previously Free Radical and responsible for the awesome “Timesplitters” series and the less well-regarded PS3 exclusive, “Haze”.

The game’s due sometime between April 2013 and March 2014.  Not played the first game – I confess, the John Milius, patriotism rah-rah-rah! factor put me off somewhat.  Perhaps this time around, we might venture outside the confines of the US to see how the world is reacting to the global meltdown?

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