Posts tagged Activision
Coming at you better late than never, it’s a new episode of the Silicon Sasquatch Podcast! This week, the guys discuss the fall of THQ, the challenges faced by the now-defunct publisher, and the repercussions for the industry.
Something has been happening to Call of Duty for quite some time. What used to be a series lauded for its strong, poignant experiences has changed into something else entirely.
The latest entry in the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops, encapsulates those changes perfectly in a single moment:
This is the last thing you see in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Your embattled hero, having survived countless high-adrenaline firefights and explosive narrow escapes, lands safely in the comforting embrace of the United States military. Battleships and men in fatigues line the horizon as the sun sets against a billowing American flag. Crunchy guitar riffs lend a tempo to the scene, which climaxes when three fighter jets swoop low in formation.
You can practically smell the testosterone.
Editor’s note: Frequent Silicon Sasquatch podcast guest (and PC enthusiast) Spencer Tordoff has more than a few things to say about his experiences with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. With our review now live, we felt his commentary would be the perfectly compressed chaser to our long-winded critique.
I’d like to preface this by saying I have no interest in Modern Warfare 2′s multiplayer component. The betrayals of Activision and Infinity Ward have come and gone; the damage is done, and for once I feel like I have nothing to say on the topic.
However, the single player portion continued to intrigue me. I loved the campaign in Call of Duty 4, as well as the previous Infinity Ward-crafted stories of Call of Duty 1 and 2. Procuring a copy of the latest game to continue the Modern Warfare storyline felt like a good idea, like an olive branch offered to a quarrelsome friend.
What more can be said about the so-called largest entertainment launch in the history of mankind?
It’s tempting to boil down Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to a vaporous obligation, an experience that divides gamers into the haves and have-nots. But that’s putting blind faith in a product based on its advertising blitzkrieg. Aren’t we supposed to be discerning consumers?
The climate around Modern Warfare 2 is now adequate, a month after release, for a steady-handed dissection of gaming’s latest chart-topping champion — far removed from the pre-release hype. This critique won’t convert the detractors or embolden the fanatics, but it will hopefully read as an alternative education on the latest Call of Duty, a game that flirts with failure as much as it tastes success.
Core gamers have taken up a new pastime as of late: Whining. Early and often.
Starcraft II won’t allow LAN play? Lord almighty! Modern Warfare 2 on PC moves away from dedicated servers and costs $10 more as well? Goodness gracious! Left 4 Dead 2 is coming out sooner than Valve fans want it to? Heavens no! Forza Motorsport 3 has content locked away behind a VIP-only velvet curtain? Oh, the humanity!
These complaints are rather justified. Game publishers and developers are making moves motivated by the bottom line, and as a result they begin to strip content and features away from gamers grown accustomed to these luxuries. Getting consumers to pay more for less is smart business, but bad for public relations. The complaints are fully warranted.
But the problem I see is that it is nothing but complaints as of right now.
The all-glorious Friday is upon us once again, so being the casual day it is let’s just get down to the news. No introductory hyperbole from me this time–a shame, I know.
Guitar Hero 5 is coming and it has songs (surprise!), free-to-play MMO Free Realms has racked up quite the player base in its first few weeks of existence, Valve’s sneaky with its surprises as usual, and Mass Effect 2 footage is available for your viewing pleasure.
Though the game has been known about for a while now, Activision today tossed out a few official scraps of details on the upcoming Guitar Hero 5. Players will be able to tackle the game’s tracks with any instrument combination they see fit. Want to sing through a song with three other friends all using microphones? Go ahead.
It’s an interesting mechanic to put into a rhythm game–certainly one that isn’t “authentic” as far real bands go (though, yes, these games aren’t meant to be taken literally). And while we’ve been somewhat biased in favor of Harmonix’s Rock Band titles (or, at least Nick and Doug have), I personally find the gameplay freedom Neversoft’s offering to be great. Add-in the beginnings of a solid-looking track list and the new instant difficulty/instrument swapping, and the next Guitar Hero game might turn out to be one actually worthy of the franchise’s name.
I’d like to apologize to our readers for a late Daily Recap. Our goal is to post these summations of the day’s news in a timely manner, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen. Yesterday a plethora of Windows Update-related problems and a strangely spotty Internet connection got in the way of my non-paying job.
Also, the two-hour season finale of Lost didn’t help much.
Thankfully, it seems, Wednesday was relatively calm as far as news goes: DICE learned from its console prejudices, Blizzard reaffirmed its next MMO is not World of Warcraft: Part Deux and Microsoft bolstered its Platinum Hits collection.
In a bit of site-related news, today was our most active day ever in terms of unique page views. We can attribute such a solid boost in numbers to Nick’s wonderful review of Peggle for the iPhone (apparently one of the first online, even before the big-name blogs and sites), as it was our top story for the day.
So, we want to extend a ginormous gracias to those of you who read Silicon Sasquatch daily and continue to direct your comrades to our corner of the web. We promise to keep bringing you things of a decidedly awesome and videogame-related nature.
Now, it’s time for the real news: Atari gets cold feet, the telenovela that is Midway’s financial woes gets juicier, we get to know Modern Warfare 2 a bit better and Valve’s Team Fortress 2 team takes a “bow.” (You’ll get the pun in a bit.)
More earnings statements, game announcements, and a touch of the whimsical. Time for today’s news roundup!
Just a couple of days ago, Electronic Arts announced its quarterly and yearly financial statement; today, Activision followed that up with its own release, and the returns are very impressive. Activision-Blizzard posted a $981 million net revenue in the first quarter of this year — no, that’s not a yearly figure. That beats the publishing giant’s own projections for the quarter by more than $100 million, and has caused the company to raise its revenue expectations for the 2009 calendar year to $4.3 billion.
“Our better-than-expected first quarter results were driven by strong global consumer response to the Call of Duty and Guitar Hero franchises and Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, despite challenging economic times,” Activision CEO Robert Kotick said.
Of course, as happens from time to time, some games that were rumored to exist were confirmed in the financial release. Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, and DJ Hero were all confirmed in the report, and Guitar Hero: Van Halen was made official later in the day. GH5 is a follow up to 2008′s Guitar Hero: World Tour and 2009′s Guitar Hero: Metallica (our review of which is here.) Band Hero is going to be family friendly, and DJ Hero will feature hip-hop, R&B, electronic, techno, and dance music and a turntable peripheral.
Spider-Man may be able to swing from a thread through the skyscrapers and high-rises of New York City, but his videogame adaptations haven’t typically been as nimble.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe and Spider-Man 3 were largely broken and uninteresting, universally considered average to terrible by multiple media outlets. For fans, 2004′s Spider-Man 2 has been the perennial example of how to make a quality game about their favorite web-head.
But true believers may want to shift their praise-gaze to a new entry in the franchise, as Spider-Man: Web of Shadows—last year’s attempt by Treyarch to ensnare a successful Spidey formula in their web—is the best Spider-Man game yet released.
Unfortunately, that’s not saying much, as with even one great improvement comes a great mess of problems. Gamers and fans beware; this is quite the videogame paradox. (more…)