Weekly News Roundup: August 15, 2011

It’s been a pretty quiet week in videogameland, but there were a few things worth pointing out. So, let’s get right to it, shall we? 

Nintendo re-affirmed their commitment to avoiding any traditional online gaming system. Last week, it was reported that the Big N filed a patent application for a massively single player game. What on Earth does this mean? Just imagine: all the fun of an MMO without ever having to deal with another person. I imagine whatever Nintendo has planned will be a lot like .Hack, only, you know, successful.

Under no circumstances does this man want you to play games online with others.

As we correctly predicted, Origin will be required for all PC copies of Battlefield 3. That’s right, the company that complained that Steam was too intrusive is forcing all PC gamers to install and use Origin if they want to play Battlefield 3 on their PC’s, regardless of whether they purchased the game at Origin, or at one of the “100 other online services” who are happy to bend over and take it. Honestly, this whole thing is a little relieving: EA had not made a truely dick move in years, and I just can’t throw all my hate at Activision alone. It’s good to see EA is officially back in good form.

Now a force for evil

Age of Conan’s somewhat dramatic switch to a Free to Play model has proven undeniably successful. Funcom reported that over 300,000 new users signed up for the MMO after the game switched financial models, and the game’s revenue has apparently doubled in it’s first month. On an intellectual level, this all makes sense, but on a much more superficial level it flummoxes me that purveyors of mediocre products can make more money by giving nerfed versions of those products away for free.

If the game had starred Darth Vader as Lord Voldemort, none of this F2P nonsense would have been necessary.

In other news, Fable: The Journey may NOT BE ON RAILS, but it also won’t have swords or guns. The Kinect powered game will limit players to using mystical majickal powers, all while totally NOT FORCING THEM TO GO ON A PREDETERMINED PATH.

"Whatever this article says, just remember, IT IS NOT ON RAILS!"

Back in the old days, when The Unplayables first launched, we reported that Deathspank developer Hothead Games was working on a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy project. Only problem was that we had no idea what the project actually consisted of. Well, it looks like we finally know what that project is: a full fledged Guide for the iPad and iPhone, to be made available this fall. To be clear: this us not so much a game as an actual app version of the actual Guide. This has the potential to be really amazing, or really terrible, but either way, assuming they hit the right beats on “mostly harmless,” “towels,” “42,” and “pan-galactic gargleblasters” I think we will all be happy.

An app with animation and voiceover will almost certainly be better than this.

Just to prove that they really love us, CD Projekt RED has announced that a new and improved 2.0 version of The Witcher 2 for the PC is on it’s way. No word on what the new version will overhaul, but the good money is on improvements being made to the upcoming console version of the game making their way back to the PC. Plus, maybe some new DLC.

Still Witchin after all these years...

Finally, those FINE folks at Zen Studios released screenshots of the new Ms. Splosion Man pinball table scheduled for release sometime this summer. You can see a great shot of the table here. On a related note, the Spiderman pinball tournament ended, with high scores in the TRILLIONS. For my own part, I posted a respectable, but relatively meager, 200 million. Not really news, per se, but it does give me a great opportunity to say “Eat it, Jeff!”

Nuff said.

About Mike Cantor

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