The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.
Huge mega-shocker: Microsoft is making a new Xbox
It looks like Microsoft finally realized that Sony announced a new PlayStation back in February, as the small computer software developer has officially declared that it is working on a new Xbox. Of course, this is the video game industry we’re dealing with, so Microsoft didn’t actually say anything other than that they’ll say something in the future—May 21, to be exact. On that day, the company plans to hold a “special press event” to “mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment.” In other words, all we’ve got is empty marketing speak for now (and probably for later). The sort-of-announcement comes via Xbox Live’s human avatar, Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb, who posted about the event on his blog, along with a handy countdown clock that you can camp out in front of. You’ll be able to stream the event on Xbox Live and Xbox.com, or you can watch it on Spike TV if you don’t have enough Axe Body Spray and Ultimate Fighting in your life.
Details are scant at this point, but Kotaku was kind enough to sift through all of the rumors and wild speculation to compile a list of what they do and do not know about the next Xbox. Some highlights from the safe bets: It will probably use Kinect, the controller will probably look the same (or similar), and it’ll have fancier insides. Thrilling, right? Well, one of the most persistent rumors is that it will also suck out your brain and use it to turn a spastic supervillain into a mad genius, but that might just be the plot of Batman Forever. Either way, we’ll find out on May 21.
Xbox Live and Pizza Hut team up to kill America
Speaking of Microsoft, it launched a new Pizza Hut app on Xbox Live last week that you can use to order food from your Xbox. As reported by Polygon, the app features Pizza Hut’s entire menu and can be paired with Facebook so you can tell your friends about the ridiculous thing you’ve done. On the one hand, this is really no different from ordering pizza with your computer, and it is cool in a “wow, the future!” way to use Kinect and summon crappy food to your door by waving your arms around. On the other hand, there’s something terrifying about the idea of playing Call Of Duty for eight hours and then ordering a P’Zone without even putting your controller down. Is this how people felt when the internet or phones were invented? “Why do you need to call when you can just send a telegram to the Pizza hut?” Because I want my P’Zolo now, Grandpa!
XCOM shooter returns from the land of wind and ghosts
Well, that was fast. Last week, I reported that all traces of 2K’s planned XCOM shooter had been scrubbed from the internet, possibly so that it could be rebranded as something other than an XCOM game. It turns out the opposite is true. As reported by Rock Paper Shotgun, the game is now The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, a third-person shooter. The Bureau is being developed by 2K Marin—the BioShock 2 people—and it retains the 1960s setting from the earlier trailers as well as the stylish suits that the agents wear while they blast aliens. The big difference is that now it’s going to play a little bit more like what people expect from the real-time strategy series. This is certainly good news for fans of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but what about first-person shooter players? Why won’t anyone make games for them anymore? Sure, the existence of yet another Call Of Duty leaked last week, but is this enough? Is it ever enough? The Bureau will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on August 20. Finally, we can put an end to this multi-year saga.
Nintendo realizes that nobody is buying the Wii U
In a recent financial briefing, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata busted out best Gob Bluth impression and announced that the company had made a huge mistake when it came to its latest console, the Wii U. He explained that the system had built up a fair amount of sales over the holidays but hadn’t been able to maintain a foothold as the year progressed. His reasoning for this drop off? That Nintendo has “not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U.” In other words, people don’t know why they should buy it, so they’re not buying it. I’m not the CEO of an extremely successful video game company, but I think giving someone a reason to buy your expensive new thing should be the first priority when releasing an expensive new thing. Iwata even mentions that some consumers incorrectly believe that the Wii U is just an add-on for their existing Wii, a misconception probably fueled by the time Jimmy Fallon said almost that exact thing on his Late Night show. He also lamented that the system still doesn’t have a game like Wii Sports that instantly teaches you why it’s fun and worth buying. Again, I’m not a rich and handsome video game CEO, but…maybe I should be? I have to believe I would’ve seen these problems coming.
Also in that financial briefing, Nintendo announced that it would be skipping its traditional press conference during June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (or “E3” to its friends). Instead, it will be holding smaller, more focused events and online broadcasts (like the “Nintendo Direct” series that recently featured the Link To The Past 2 reveal). The big three console makers traditionally hold events early in E3 week where they announce all of the big stuff they’ll be doing that year, but Nintendo acknowledges that it is “not planning to launch new hardware,” so it seems like the House Of Mario is trying to avoid being overshadowed by PlayStation 4 and whatever Microsoft calls the next Xbox. Of course, this is the company once saw fit to reveal the Wii Vitality Sensor during its E3 keynote, so who knows what Nintendo is ever thinking.
Ratchet And Clank: The Movie is a thing that may soon exist
Once again proving that Hollywood will never run out of ideas, assuming those ideas consist entirely of video games and comic books to adapt, Rainmaker Entertainment (the studio behind Escape From Planet Earth) has announced that it will be producing a movie version of Ratchet And Clank. As reported by Variety, the movie is set for release in 2015 and will try to maintain the games’ level of humor (but probably not the cheeky sex pun titles). The studio also plans to retain many of the same voice actors as the game.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re going to make a marathon of it and see this with the World Of Warcraft movie, Paul W.S. Anderson’s Castlevania movie, and the Need For Speed movie with Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. Unlike those, which will never come out (okay, Need For Speed might), Ratchet And Clank already has a teaser trailer. I guess this means that maybe it will? I just hope they manage to resurrect Dennis Hopper and get him to play the villain. He did such a good job the last time someone tried that. Casting him as the bad guy in a video game movie, I mean. Not resurrecting him.