I don’t know about the rest of you lot, but this week felt like the longest of my life. Halfway through Monday I reasoned with myself that surely, surely today was Thursday. It wasn’t. But the thought of bringing you all the week’s news was what kept me through. That wasn’t very convincing, was it? Oh well, this week we’ll be looking at a disastrous game launch, some updates from Hollywood on pending film adaptations, a gaggle of new gameplay videos, Dead Space 3 rumours put to rest, an epic troll from PETA and a sprinkling of reviews from your favourite place on the internet. Dive in after the jump.
A Troubled Launch
Despite getting a wave of glowing reviews, EA’s new SimCity game has had horrendous server issues since launch. For the first few days a ton of customers were unable to login to the game at all due to the load on the servers, and problems have persisted throughout the week. EA has had to resort to disabling what they call “non-critical gameplay features” in an attempt to make the servers playable. That didn’t really work either, though.
Things have only gotten worse as the week has gone on, making this possibly the worst game launch in history. Amazon.com has temporarily pulled the game, but SimCity has still been given a 1-star rating by over 1000 customers. EA has also confirmed that they will not be giving any refunds due to the issues, inciting a wave of internet rage from angry consumers. If that wasn’t bad enough, other players are claiming that after managing to get online, their work has been deleted after server outages. For what it’s worth, the European server appears to be a lot more stable (for now), so South Africans looking to purchase the game this weekend needn’t be quite as wary. This is in spite of initial reports by EA that European servers were experiencing similar problems.
This is all due, once again, to an anti-piracy measure that forces players to login. This will no doubt be another failure in a long history of anti-piracy measures that will do pretty much nothing to actually stop piracy, but screw over the people who paid.
If I can just climb onto my soapbox for a second here – is anyone actually surprised by this? I know about as much about game servers as I do taxidermy, but surely by now publishers can anticipate this kind of thing happening? It seems every single time a highly-anticipated server-based game is launched, there are major issues – I mean it happens literally every time. Rent more servers than you think you need (a lot more) for the first couple of weeks of launch, and scale it back from there. This shouldn’t be (that) difficult. End rant.
SimCity isn’t the only game giving PC players headaches; Tomb Raider has also been causing issues for those with GeForce GPUs. Apparently running the game in maximum settings has resulted in “major performance and stability issues”, not something you want when you’ve shelled out several thousand rand on a case-melting video card. GeForce was quick to point the finger at developer Crystal Dynamics, saying they weren’t given a final build of the game until it was too late. They did however add that the problem would be resolved as quickly as possible, so expect a patch any day now. That being said, the game has been praised highly by critics, earning a more than impressive 94 here on NAG, and has managed to sell over a million copies in the first couple of days.
All the Eye Candy
Oh man there were a lot of great videos released this week. This was the week for game trailers, and there is all kinds of sweet stuff on the gaming horizon.
The next instalment in the Call of Juarez series, Gunslinger, brings it back to an Old West setting with the usual dose of action and RPG style progress. It sure does look mighty purdy:
Not in the mood for tumbleweeds and six-shooters? If you’re feeling a little more eclectic, check out the new trailer for the smart-mouthed Deadpool. It looks like fun, but I’m reserving judgment until release, we’ve all been burned by horrible comic-book video game adaptations before.
Perhaps you’re a soulless robot-person living amongst the humans and you like your trailers serious, violent, and more to the point. I present you then with the Gears of War: Judgment launch trailer, two weeks ahead of the game’s release on March 22.
Still not happy? Did you not see the freakin’ chainsaw? I give up.
Video game movies have been, let’s be honest, crap. But many still have hope for the Legendary films-produced World of Warcraft film, to be helmed by Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones. The film was originally supposed to be handled by Spider-man director Sam Raimi, but he later pulled out to do Oz: The Great and Powerful.
Now, in a recent interview, he expressed his frustrations with working with Blizzard and their mismanagement of the project. Basically, Raimi and a colleague wanted to re-write the script, and only after nine months of work were they informed that Blizzard had veto power, and their re-write had to be scrapped despite being approved by the studio. So expect the WoW movie in the next 3-100 years.
Hollywood has also taken an interest in Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot, and production company GK Films is hoping to do the same thing with a film. They’ll be working closely with the developer to create a storyline in the same vein as that of the game – a young Lara Croft being thrust into a dangerous situation and forced to adapt. The movie will apparently take place on a “mysterious” Japanese island. No word yet on who the leading lady might be, but I think Angelina Jolie as a 21-year old may be a bit of a stretch.
Dead Space 3
Some rumours were circulating earlier this week that EA had given up on the Dead Space series and were going to stop investing in Dead Space 4. This is due to Dead Space 3’s lacklustre performance at retail, although exact sales figures have yet to be released.
EA however has said these reports aren’t true, and that they are “proud of Dead Space 3” and the franchise “remains an important IP to EA.” In the past, however, president Frank Gibeau has said that you need an audience of around five million to keep putting money into “an IP like Dead Space”.
In the meantime, EA is rolling out their “Awakened” DLC for the game later this month, promising the franchise’s “darkest chapters”. Judge for yourself with this launch trailer:
Don’t Feed the Trolls
This doesn’t really fit under any particular heading, but I just had to include it. Animal rights activists and experienced trollers PETA have protested the practice of whaling in Assassin’s Creed 4, calling it “disgusting”. Ubisoft responded by saying, “We do not condone illegal whaling, just as we don’t condone a pirate lifestyle of poor hygiene, plundering, hijacking ships, and over-the legal-limit drunken debauchery.”
This was the week for reviews here on NAG, and they are very much worth checking out.
First up, check out Walt’s glowing review of Tomb Raider here (spoiler: he kind of liked it).
Then take a break from that AAA stuff with Rogan’s review of indie title Anodyne. This is a game which seems to have polarised critics, so see which side of the fence NAG came down on here.
Finally, see what happens when you combine one man, one set of headphones and all the coffee that exists. Check out Wesley’s ridiculously in-depth review of the Razer Carcharias headset here.
Have an awesome weekend everyone.