Last week’s 360 Weekend Warrior was basically an E3 extravaganza, filled with big-name news and announcements. This week is a lot more subdued, as we deal with the aftermath of E3, as well as talk about some notable new things in store for our favorite games.
Oh, and we talk about perceived racism and videogame legislation as well. Find all of it after the jump!
Welcome to the fifth installment of the Xbox 360 Weekend Warrior. Last week’s 360 Weekend Warrior was basically an E3 extravaganza, filled with big-name news and announcements. This week is a lot more subdued, as we deal with the aftermath of E3, as well as talk about some notable new things in store for our favorite games.
Oh, and we talk about perceived racism and videogame legislation as well. Yeah, this week was pretty weird because of those topics.
That said, this installment of the Weekend Warrior should be a lot shorter than the previous one. Let’s jump right into it!
Post-E3 qualms: people wished it was better
Despite a pretty awesome showing for Xbox 360 fans, many in the gaming industry found this year’s E3 to be a lackluster event… and they weren’t afraid to make that thought known.
Michael Pachter said that E3 would become extinct, Ubisoft executive director Alain Corre wished it was situated at a better time and place, and Acclaim Chief Creative Officer David Perry just thinks E3 this year was “broken” and “an embarrassment.”
That said, the ESA still plans on bringing E3 to the world next year. Whether it’ll be good or not depends on what the ESA’s cooking, so we hope they make something tasty for retailers, consumers, and game companies alike.
Link: Pachter: E3 to become extinct soon
Link: Ubisoft: time and place for E3 not appropriate, needs to be bigger
Link: Acclaim Chief Creative Officer: E3 is broken and an embarrassment
Link: ESA: there will be an E3 next year
The power of downloadables: new game info, free films, and XNA goodness
What’s up for Xbox 360 fans who love their downloadables? A lot, it seems. Let’s break it down into manageable chunks.
Portal for XBLA has been detailed somewhat, and while there are new levels coming for the game, there won’t be any added story, sorry to say.
Link: Portal for XBLA gets new content, but no extended storyline
We know that some exclusive Fallout DLC is coming to the Xbox 360, but there are definitely questions that’ll come with such an announcement. Unfortunately, Bethesda is remaining mum on the exclusivity deal they’ve made.
Link: Bethesda not talking on Fallout 3 DLC exclusivity deal
In new game news, The Puzzle Quest expansion is now out for people to download, and it promises some additional hours of questing and new items for you to pick up. Furthermore, demos are coming for Madden 09 and Facebreaker, so you should probably watch out for those.
Oh, and there’s going to be at least two episodic games coming out based on the upcoming Watchmen movie. The games are supposed to be prequels though, so we’ll see how that pans out.
Link: Puzzle Quest’s Revenge of the Plague Lord expansion pack to hit XBLA on July 23
Good news for those who are in the beta for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix! Capcom has changed their minds about not releasing a patch. They’re also extending the beta up to September 5. Here’s to hoping the upcoming patch for the beta will improve the beta-playing experience some.
Link: Madden 09 demo for Xbox 360, PS3 out soon
Link: Facebreaker demo coming to PS3, Xbox 360 on July 31
Link: Watchmen episodic games announced for XBLA, PSN, PC
Link: Capcom to release beta patch for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Link: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix patch detailed, beta gets extended
We’re also seeing some unfortunate delays this week. Word out on the street is that Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Burnout Paradise’s Cagney update are both getting delays. Sadness.
Link: Burnout Paradise: Xbox 360 Cagney update delayed again
Link: Bionic Commando Rearmed Japan launch delayed
The Xbox Live Video Marketplace is also getting some love today, as it will be getting seven free short films in the fall. Most of these films are comedic in nature and will be made by notable Hollywood directors who are more commonly known for their horror titles, so it should be interesting to see how it’ll all work out.
Link: Xbox Live Video Marketplace getting seven free short films this fall
XNA Game Studio users also have something to be happy about this week, as Microsoft has released preliminary information on the prices and rates for the Xbox Community Games Initiative. With this initiative, budding homebrew game makers can sell their games to the 360-loving populace, and hopefully make some money off the games they create.
Link: XNA Creators Club Games: prices and details
Lastly, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace business manager Alvin Gendrano noted that there was power in Xbox Live. Specifically, he mentioned that good downloadable content for games can extend the life of a game and curb the used games market.
Link: Microsoft’s Alvin Gendrano: Good DLC can curb used games market
Notable news and views from people in the industry
Let’s begin this next section with some notable news for Xbox 360 fans. We’ll follow it up with some important views from people in the industry, paying special note to one analyst who says we need an actual Xbox 360 price cut.
First off, we have word that one of the greatest guitar players in the world is making his way to Guitar Hero: World Tour, with three tracks cleared for use. Related to this is a rumored track list for the game.
Link: Make way for Jimi Hendrix in Guitar Hero World Tour
Link: Rumor: Guitar Hero World Tour’s list of tracks
In literature news, Epic Games and Del Rey have announced a three-book deal for the Gears of War universe, with the first book set to come out on October 28, 2008.
Link: Gears of War novels revealed by Epic Games and Del Rey
Business news brings us word of another offer from EA for Take-Two. As usual, Take-Two is urging stockholders to stay resolute, calling EA’s offer “inadequate.”
Link: No dice: Take-Two execs slam EA’s fifth buyout offer
One of two stories regarding Resident Evil 5 this week, this first one deals with the game’s blood and gore. Simply put, Capcom will ensure that enough mayhem and death gets into the game to satiate everyone’s primal needs with RE5. As for the second article? You’ll find it a bit below.
Link: Capcom: blood and guts here to stay in Resident Evil series
THQ shared some new details regarding Saints Row 2. According to the devs, the game will allow you to fight in an underground fighting ring, commit insurance fraud, and spray sewage on buildings and people. Yep, that last bit is certainly nasty.
Link: Saints Row 2 gets MA 15+ in Australia, features hinted
We also have some good and bad news courtesy of Ubisoft. The good news is that Ubisoft is doing well financially, at least in terms of first quarter sales. The bad news is that they’re delaying Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Link: Ubisoft scores good first quarter sales, Splinter Cell: Conviction delay confirmed
Now it’s time for the important people of the week, beginning with a very special analyst named Todd Greenwald.
What’s so special about him? Well, he sees the Xbox 360 price cut for what it is, a simple switching of the SKUs. Sure, it adds value to the US$ 349 model, but what Greenwald is calling for is simple: a REAL price cut. Related to this, Microsoft’s Don Mattrick explains the actions of the company, saying that Microsoft is offering consumers a choice, which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself… but a cheaper Xbox 360 would be nice to have too.
Link: Analyst: Xbox 360 needs a real price cut
Link: Microsoft’s Mattrick on the varying 360 models: ‘consumers like choice’
Next up is the previously staunch defender of the Xbox 360, Peter Moore. This time, he’s got a different opinion of the console war, and he says the Wii’s going to win out.
Link: Peter Moore: Wii to win console war with half the market
More Major Nelson speak this time, with word regarding the Xbox Live Experience. According to him, using the experience is optional, meaning one doesn’t actually have to use the new system if they like the old one better.
Link: Major Nelson on the new Xbox Experience: ‘You don’t actually have to use it.’
This time, we’ve got some fighting words from WildTangent CEO Alex St. John. He predicts that consoles will be dead by 2020, leaving the PC as the winner of the console war. Chances are, you don’t agree with that, do you?
Link: WildTangent CEO predicts game consoles will be dead by 2020
QuickJump Musings: Why must Politics and Gaming collide so often?
For our musing for the week, we’ve got three articles to go through. The first is a rather silly one as it relates to political correctness. The second and third are your usual political in the sense that they’re actual legislations put up to help govern people.
In response to journalist N’Gai Croal’s earlier assertion that no one black was working on Resident Evil 5, Capcom’s Jun Takeuchi said that black people were working on the game. We suppose that to some people, shooting black zombies is some kind of racist abomination, and I can understand that sentiment.
Following this, we have some legislation. First off, New York Governor David Paterson has signed a bill that “establishes an advisory council to conduct a study on the connection between interactive media and real-life violence in minors exposed to such media,” and requires that:
new video game consoles to have parental lockout features by 2010, and mandate that games sold at retail disclose the ratings obtained from the gaming industry’s voluntary rating system.
The second is a similar bill passed to the U.S. Senate that asks to “prohibit the distribution or sale of video games that do not have age-based content rating labels [and] prohibit the sale or rental of video games with adult content ratings to minors.”
Again, these pieces of legislation are understandable and, to some extent, sensible. The problem is that, in the three cases, there seems to be a reactions to something that, otherwise, shouldn’t be an issue.
In the first example, we’ve shot zombies before in video games; race shouldn’t be an issue because we’re fighting dead people in a land that is predominantly filled with black people.
The second is the regulation of video games. So long as the regulations are fair and don’t violate freedom of speech, some form of regulation ought to be good. The problem here is twofold: that politicians are quick to react to videogames as a menace, and that gamers are quick to react to videogame regulation as a violation of personal freedoms.
Obviously, we can’t solve any of these problems here in this article, but a possible revelation here would be that the worlds of politics and gaming wouldn’t have to collide so much if there was more acceptance; that some things that are seemingly racist aren’t racist, for example, or that videogames need some sort of regulation if they’re to grow up as a form of art and expression in this day and age.
In any event, some acceptance would make it easier, at the very least to have politics and gaming coexist rather than fight. It saves taxpayers money, it saves people grief, and it saves writers like me from having lengthy QuickJump musings. What do you think?
Link: Takeuchi: black people are working on RE5
Link: New York Governor David Paterson passes video game legislation
Link: U.S. Senator Roger Wicker introduces videogame rating legislation
In any event, that’s the Xbox 360 Weekend Warrior for this week. Check back again next week for your daily dose of news, views, and ruminations on all things gaming. Oh, and doughnuts. We think there might be doughnuts next week, too!