The Bulletin

Darth Vader, Lando Calrissian, and Boba Fett

EA Strikes Back

Star Wars finds a new home, Eternal Darkness returns, and Mecha Nazis attack.

By Sam Barsanti • May 13, 2013

The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.

Star Wars video game license frozen in carbonite, hung on the wall of EA’s desert palace
Knights Of The Old Republic

Several agonizing weeks after LucasArts collapsed into a pile of empty robes, we finally know who will be making video games about battle droids and cantina bands. It’s none other than the internet’s favorite publisher, Electronic Arts. As announced in a blog post on EA’s official site, the publisher and its studios now have the exclusive rights to make Star Wars games, and a handful of notable developers are “already brimming with design ideas.” The post mentions DICE (best known for the Battlefield series), Visceral (Dead Space), and BioWare (Mass Effect). They all could make cool Star Wars games, and one of them already did. But it doesn’t sound like any of this is very far along. I know everybody out there is wary of EA these days, but this is Star Wars we’re talking about. It’s not like that can get any worse, right?

Eternal Darkness creator wants your money so he can make Eternal Darkness again

“Spiritual successor” is an odd term. At best, it’s about returning to the themes or other ideas behind a previous work and expanding them in new and interesting ways. At worst, it’s about shamelessly offering up the same ideas in hopes that people won’t realize you have nothing new or interesting to say. That brings us to Denis Dyack, the outspoken president of what’s left of the Silicon Knights studio, who has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for Shadow Of The Eternals. He’s hoping to raise $1.5 million and is billing it as a spiritual successor to his 2002 action-horror game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, which you probably could’ve guessed from its name, or the teaser trailer above, or this demo from IGN. What I’m saying is that it looks a hell of a lot like that game from 11 years ago. You’ve got the blond girl reading a scary book, the transition from book to game level, the multiple historical settings, a Poe quote at the beginning, and even some familiar sound effects. I’m not complaining, since Eternal Darkness was easily one of the best GameCube games, but let’s just hope Dyack is actually planning to bring something new other than prettier graphics.

One of the interesting things about the crowdfunding approach for Shadow Of The Eternals (as pointed out in this Joystiq article) is that, due to the developer being located in Canada, it is ineligible for Kickstarter and therefore doesn’t need to adhere to Kickstarter’s rules. What that means is that if the game doesn’t reach its goal, you won’t necessarily get your money back. Considering that it hasn’t even reached 9% of its goal (as of this writing), maybe that’s scaring some people off.

New Wolfenstein reboot features the rise of the robo-reich
Wolfenstein: Mecha Hitler

The video game industry recently came to a realization that the rest of the world discovered, say, 67 years ago: Nazis are played out. They’re not cool anymore. Killing them used to be fun and exciting, the sort of thing that people would storm a beach in France to do, but now they’re totally lame. Like, the lamest. I mean, a few of the Call Of Duty games even had zombie Nazis, as if combining two overused villains would freshen up either one. What’s next, an alternate history where Germany won World War II and now rules the Earth with an army of evil Gestapo robots?

Oh, hey, that’s the exact plot of Wolfenstein: The New Order, the latest attempt to breathe new life into a series that dates back all the way to 1981. As revealed by GameSpot, The New Order is being developed by MachineGames, a studio founded by former employees of Starbreeze (a studio responsible for The Darkness and Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, among others). The sequel brings series hero B.J. Blazkowicz to Europe in 1960, where he must find a way to stop an army of robo-Nazis that have taken over the world. It all seems heavily inspired by the Mecha-Hitler fight from the end of Wolfenstein 3D, which is a decent inspiration as far as Wolfenstein goes, so hopefully this works out better than the last time someone tried to reboot the series. While nothing beyond an initial teaser has been released, GameSpot also has a video of a guy excitedly describing the cool stuff he saw when he played it, so that’s something.

PopCap announces Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time

I need to make sure my girlfriend isn’t in the room before I write this section. See, she didn’t stop playing the original Plants Vs. Zombies on her iPad until she had beaten every level and unlocked every achievement. While it was an impressive feat (and one that I could never accomplish), I worry that if she finds out a sequel is coming this summer, I’ll never see her again. Either way, yes, PopCap is finally ready to release Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, a sequel to their lawn-based tower defense-style game, in July. Other than the release month, we don’t know much about PVZ2, but its subtitle seems to suggest some kind of time travel mechanic. From there, it’s a safe bet to assume the game will be about you traveling to the future and using cute cartoon plants to defend your house from an army of mecha-zombies that are also Nazis.

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  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    I thought Penny Arcade was the bottom of the barrel, crowdfunding-wise, but I hope you all have better sense than to invest in Dyack’s work.  I mean, it would be wonderful if that turned out well and he returned to form, but he will inevitably get lost in his head, destroy people’s lives, and waste millions of dollars (as he has done multiple times at this point).

    If a stretch goal was “Dyack loses producer or studio head status,” we could talk.

    • PugsMalone

      Does Nintendo own the rights to Eternal Darkness? They should just make a sequel if they do.

      • Sam_Barsanti

        I believe they do, and to its “sanity meter” thing. 

        • neodocT

           But didn’t insanity also use an insanity meter? I mean, I didn’t have the balls to actually play the thing, but was under the impression that it did.

        • KidvanDanzig

          There were other games that used a similar mechanic, such as that Call of Cthulu first person adventure game (which is really good if you liked the Penumbra games) that Bethesda published. I remember a lot people being pissed cuz they shut down that studio.

      • Matt Gerardi

        Nintendo does own the rights to Eternal Darkness. It seems fairly obvious—but definitely not confirmed—that they were working with either Silicon Knights or Precursor to develop this game as a sequel, but the project fell apart. There’s really no other explanation for why the game would be coming out on Wii U other than that it was already in the works for it. 

        • KidvanDanzig

          for a crash course in what happened with Eternal Darkness II, this Kotaku article (unusually good, largely due to the freelance writer) lays out the whole thing - http://kotaku.com/5955223/what-went-wrong-with-silicon-knights-x+men-destiny

          Apparently Silicon Knights (read: Dennis Dyack) were doing with EDII what Gearbox is widely suspected of doing with Borderlands, which is secure a contract for another game (in SK’s case, an X-Men game, in Gearbox’s, Aliens: Colonial Marines) and leech the funds from that project onto what they really wanted to be doing. Only in SK’s case they didn’t have a contract for their favored child and it ended up being a cash furnace.

    • Sam_Barsanti

      And the studio is just looking for money to fund the “first episode,” so even it gets the money and that comes out, who knows if any others will? I certainly don’t blame people for not busting out their wallets.

      • DrFlimFlam

        Many projects are short-sighted about that. They get the money, they can hardly finish the first thing they promise, and then they’re out of money again. You’re just taking out a loan with a different kind of interest.

        I thought Defense Grid 2 in particular overreached. I gave them like $15 and got the DG expansion AND DG2. Now they’re saying they have someone willing to front DG2 proper, which is great, but the hardcore fans basically already have the game.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      Multiple times? I thought he only did that once so far.

      Also, it looks like Dyack is jumping ship from Silicon Knights to a new company called Precursor Games, which is made up of employees and assets bought from Silicon Knights, which is all weird and sketchy as far as I can tell.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ
        • Other Chris

          Fantastic link. Thank you.

      • DrFlimFlam

         Anyone who gives this man any money deserves to have their assets seized.

    • TheKingandIRobot

       Why is Penny-Arcade the nominal barrel bottom?  I hadn’t heard anything bad about their crowdsourcing stuff before.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        I’m not dumb, so I know they (for their previous one and this one) aren’t actually connecting costs to gifts ($7,500 got you a 1-day internship, and you have to pay travel).  That’s fine.  I also wish that only people who needed capital did crowdfunding, but I don’t think it’s necessary to enforce.

        Basically, they’re using it to fundraise lazily.  They didn’t pick a real project, they didn’t make a real budget, they didn’t make real gifts, and they don’t have any real goals.  They’re using its visibility and it offloading costs to raise money.  So, they’re coasting on the effort of Kickstarter’s creators and the people who made real projects.  If everyone did that, the sorting function would be useless and projects would be entirely dependent on the creator’s existing social network.

      • UnknownKadath

         They have had two kickstarter campaigns (that I’m aware of).  The first was to remove ads from the website, and it raked in north of half a million dollars.  That was the whole goal – fund the site without ad revenue.  People objected that this was contrary to the idea of kickstarter.  The second, which is going on, is to bring back the podcast.  The goal of the kickstarter was $10.00, which was viewed as some as an attempt to game the system – they would get all the funds, and they knew that their fans would kick in thousands of dollars (currently $87,000 – to do podcasts).  The stretch goal for $75,000 is that anyone who pledged $55 or more gets a little bit extra. 

        Khoo is a brilliant and ruthless businessman.

      • Ghostfucker

        Yeah the Penny Arcade Kickstarter is the most blatant cash-grab I’ve seen on the site. At this point they’re so thoroughly surrounded by fanboy sycophants and buffered from reality that they’ve become stuck so far up their own asses they probably don’t even realize how ugly their actions actually are.

    • The_Misanthrope

      Truly, Dennis Dyack is history’s worst monster!

      I guess I’m not completely sold on this kind of scapegoating.  It always seems the internet hive-mind develops some sort of party-line on these matters and that’s the end of it; there’s no redemption, no coming back.  Certainly, Dyack shares a lot of the blame for the failure of Silicon Knights, but they were never a fiscal giant to begin with.  When smaller studios go off and do original IP, it seems like they are leveraging their own future livelihood.  And the three big IPs that SK (and Dyack by extension) is responsible for–Legacy of Kain, Eternal Darkness, and Too Human–were not small potatoes; they were both intended to be multi-chapter epics (LoK even had alternate timelines!). 

      So I guess Dyack’s real sin is that he never thought small.  The funny thing about creative gambles like this is that the narrative changes completely depending on how the gamble paid off. claim  If you do well and get critical acclaim and/or financial return from your risky venture, you’re a creative genius!; If it goes the other way, you’re a fool who chased his vision down the sinkhole.

      That said, I’m not all that eager to jump on board this project for my own reasons.  Dyack seems to have a weakness for the shiniest, prettiest engine and my laptop is not what you would call powerful.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        In addition to not being the nicest person, I think his sin was never surrendering his vision.  When other people’s money is on the line, that’s a problem.

        People would forgive Richard Garriott, Fumito Ueda, and Yu Suzuki in a heartbeat, because they made 1 mistake (that lasted 3 years and millions of dollars or whatever).  They thought they could do something and couldn’t.  Dyack has NEVER demonstrated that he could manage in a “normal” fiscal environment.  Given that it’s harder now than it was then, he’s aiming for another bankruptcy.

        • EmperorNortonI

           Well, Richard Garriot hasn’t demonstrated that he could survive in an environment post 1995 – I have trouble thinking of anything after Ultima VII that wasn’t marred by some level of fail, largely due to an uncompromising vision that was beyond the technical limits of the market at the time.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          @EmperorNortonI:disqus True, but he didn’t have the sort of subsidies Dyack did when he succeeded.  Suzuki couldn’t handle the Playstation 2 generation, Ueda the Playstation 3.  I just don’t think they’re failed in the way Dyack is.

          @The_Misanthrope:disqus You’re not wrong, but, yes, it’s both.  The internet has jerks and Dyack is a bigger jerk.

      • KidvanDanzig

        Dennis Dyack’s sin was committing de facto fraud and using significant resources provided by his publisher to make things outside of their contract - http://kotaku.com/5955223/what-went-wrong-with-silicon-knights-x+men-destiny

        He basically took money out of the til to fund his hobby. By all rights he should never work in any sort of management capacity ever again.

    • Moonside_Malcontent

       Listen, Dyack is under no contractual obligation to just give away a new Eternal Darkness game.  There is, after all, no Sanity Clause.

    • Sleverin

       Yeah, I’m surprised PA had the fucking balls and massive audacity to pull their insane bullshit.  I usually don’t cuss on GS, but this topic seriously pisses me off.  “Pay us or be forced to look at ads.  Oh, by the way, it’s only for a year and we totally run our own conventions and are massively successful.  Oh, we want a million bucks.  So you don’t have to see ads.  No, we’re not absolute fuckwads who are just trying to steal your cash.  We are in fact complete total asswipes who are totally out of touch with reality and you should kiss our ass.”  I fucking hate them for their kickstarter campaign, that situation was a million kinds of deplorable.

  • PugsMalone

    Man, if only there were some Star Wars quote that would sum up my reaction to EA getting the exclusive license.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      “Threepio!  Shut down all garbage smashers on the detention level!”

      No?  Hmm….

    • Sam_Barsanti

      “I don’t know what all this trouble is about, but I’m sure it must be your fault.”

    • Fluka
      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        I hope NuDisqus(TM) adds a LOVE button for times like this.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      “Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL game development company!”

      [EA's headquarters fires a laser into Redwood City.]

    • DrFlimFlam

       If any of my spare ideas will help I’ll gladly donate them.

    • Zack Handlen

      “Do or do not. There is no [ERROR: SERVER PENDING]

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        Luke, pay 99 cents to use the Force!

    • neodocT

       ”Luke, you turned off your mandatory internet connection, what’s wrong?”

    • Squazz Muntbacker

      “I’m not much more than an interpreter, and not very good at telling stories. Well, not at making them interesting, anyway.”

    • nummymuffincookoobutter

      Have you tried spinning? Thats a good move.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    It’s amusing that, because of the sprite height limits in the Wolfenstein 3D engine, most bosses were WIDER than regular enemies, not much taller.  Check out Mecha-Hitler there…he’s a whopping 3.5 heads tall.

    • Xyvir

      Yeah, I thought Robo-Hilter had put on some wait, and, somehow, lost some height.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Disqus is weird and stupid.  I keep getting notifications for comments from months ago.

        • Citric

          Disqus Digest might be the dumbest thing in the history of the internet. “Here’s an email listing everyone you talked to yesterday, even though you already got notifications so there’s literally no reason to do this.”

        • The Guilty Party

          I like to stalk people in months and years old articles. My bad!

        • ProfFarnsworth

          Indeed.  I had to disable my account.  Then after cursing Discus and slaughtering a goat to the gods of Discus, I was fortunate to only have to rename my avatar to something shorter.

  • duwease

    It’s funny to see how despised the monolith that is EA is nowadays, because a part of my mind always remembers the sweeping, romantic company description on the old Apple IIe games, where they described at length how they were a fresh new company made for artists to be artists, and pics and blurbs about each individual “artist” that made the game.

    • The Guilty Party

      The whole EA hate thing seems more or less baseless these days.

      I mean, if you want to take some kind of moral stand against DLC, you can do that. You’ll have to hate a lot more than EA, but okay. But they publish some awesome games (and some not so awesome ones). The internet’s fetish for accusing them of being mecha hitler overlords of the game industry and voting them the worst company just comes across as childish groupthink.

      • EmperorNortonI

        I’m not at all aware of the Internet Zeitgeist on the issue, but I have my own idea for why EA is evil.

        EA buys game development studios producing quality product, and destroys them.  Over and over and over.  It cherry picks the best members of each team, and puts them to work on its monolithic franchises, and every time it leaves the gaming scene worse off than before.

      • Ghostfucker

        The backlash against EA (Actually, I don’t know if there was every a rosy period, so maybe just lash?) is indeed childish. On the other hand, EA is a legitimately terrible company that ruins talented studios over and over again and is responsible for pioneering some of the least customer-friendly developments in DRM and social gaming. None of which would matter if gamers were actually willing to stick to their guns and not buy games from publishers they deplore.

    • KidvanDanzig

      They had a good year awhile back, when they published Dead Space and (especially) Mirror’s Edge, but the market wasn’t too excited about their risk-taking. Go figure.

      • Xyvir

        I did have great fun with Mirror’s Edge. I just wish the combat wasn’t so clunky.  I should be able to run around like a crazy gymnast and parkoring these guys to death. Jumping and kicking them in the chest should knock them unconscious  I shouldn’t have to wait for them to get back up and punch them several more times. It should have been more about chaining moves together and fighting a bunch of easy guys at once, instead of sluggishly mauling one guy at time, or stealing a gun and sluggishly shooting them.

      • Everlastall

        I loved Dead Space 1 and 2, but EA did a bit too much influence on Visceral and screwed up parts of 3 even if I still enjoyed it a bunch. Sure, some of the blame can be put upon Visceral for not adapting well to the changes, but EA (understandably) wanted to appeal to a bigger market and that made things way more combat heavy and less, if not horror, than eerie and creepish environments and strategic gunplay. 
        I was still a good game all things considered, but EA’s influence on the part affected the franchise.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I don’t have a problem with DLC for the most part, as long as it’s added content after release.  Launch day DLC bugs me.

      As for EA, the problem for me is the combination of always-on DRM for games that don’t require it, and flat-out lying about the capabilities of your game.  When you say that Sim City requires an online connection for multiplayer and because it does most of its calculations on server-side, and then you find out the “multiplayer” is more like Facebook games, where you occasionally contact friends but don’t really play in tandem, and then someone comes out and proves that the server does NO calculations…that’s bothersome.

      • Groofus

        I really don’t understand peoples hatred of DLC. Sure if it’s launch day stuff or lets you pay for an advantage in multiplayer that can’t be obtained otherwise thats obnoxious but for the most part I’m very pro DLC. If i like a game why would I possibly upset about being able to buy new content for it and keep playing it without having to repeat stuff? I think that’s a pretty good deal.

      • ProfFarnsworth

        I agree.  I find that EA will boot me out of my XBOX 360 games when my internet connection (which is sketchy at best on my console) decided to stop during a single player game.  That can get incredibly infuriating as well when I get back on my console and try playing with out a connection only to be told that there must be a connection or else the world will die.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Tangent!

       I first heard about Candy Box! on a Facebook video game group I’m part of.
       A couple of my buddies challenged each other to write a song under the title, 30 Million Lollipops (throw them on the ground).
       They did, and they are awesome.  So here are a few excerpts from the 30 Million Lollipop Project:

    30 Million and one

    30 Million and two

    This one is a Google doc download for the mp3:

    30 Million and three

    • Xyvir

      Thank you for this. 

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      Objection! Candy Box never allowed you to throw lollipops on the ground, only a different, unspecified type of candy. Like most video game adaptations, these borrow elements of the original but completely miss the mark. I give them 7 out of 10.

  • Captain Internet

    Oh man, retro-future robo Nazis! Much better than magic Nazis and zombie Nazis, though I’m still waiting for Just Dance : Wehrmacht Party Anthems

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

         That game is tough.  It is very difficult to goose step to syncopated tuba.

      • Captain Internet

        Actually, if you look at the history of jazz in Europe, you’ll know that syncopation would be right out of any Nazi themed dance game. The story of Jazz is entirely one of liberation, (right up until the 80s, when it all went shit, but so did the rest of music). 

        If this new game has B.J. Blazkowicz as a jazz-loving Polish merchant of vengance, with a solid moral core and full knowledge of history, then it might be good.

        But I somehow doubt that’s on the cards.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          “jazz-loving Polish merchant of vengance”
             I’m getting business cards made with this.

        • AngryRaisins

          Weird thing that existed: Nazi Jazz.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_and_His_Orchestra

        • Captain Internet

          @AngryRaisins:disqus I can just see Goebels there giving the musicians lectures exactly like this on what jazz sounds like

    • HobbesMkii

      Featuring the Roll Call from Triumph of the Will!

      • Citric

        Mein Furher set to the tune of Ridin’ Solo

  • DrFlimFlam

    As a family, the FlimFlams have probably put something in the realm of 250-300 hours into that game across PC, Xbox, and iOS. So we’re excited about that one.

    I think EA is a solid choice, even though they’re apparently the Worst Company in America (tongue firmly planted in cheek). They have the most obvious development studios for the two franchises people love the most in Old Republic and Battlefront, and while they DLC you to death, they’re a safe and predictable studio that will treat the license reasonably well. We can’t say the franchise was really done right by this generation, so I have high hopes for the next one. After all, it might be that Battlefront and KOTOR3 is what forces me to buy into the next generation.
     

    • Fluka

      I’m hardly original in pointing this out, but it’s hard to see how much damage EA can do to the Star Wars IP at this point.  Particularly since we live in a world where videogames have recently featured a Darth Vader/Emperor techno dance-off.

      • DrFlimFlam

        Exactly. What could go wrong? An uninspired and half-assed series staring your very own Kratos anti-hero ripoff? A terrible motion control game? Cancelling Battlefront 3 and never releasing a follow-up to KOTOR, or for that matter FINISHING KOTOR 2?

        • Fluka

          The only disappointing thing is that Obsidian might miss their second chance at making a Star Wars RPG (even another unfinished one!), unless EA magnanimously agrees to act as publisher.

        • djsubversive

          @Fluka:disqus do they need to? I think Avellone said what he wanted to say with KoTOR 2, and they sort of got screwed by the publisher (as usual with Obsidian…). I would much rather see a spiritual sequel to Alpha Protocol. Or have Bethesda give Obsidian the Fallout franchise and let them make Fallout 4 (and/or New Vegas 2).

        • Fluka

          @djsubversive:disqus It’d be nice to let Obsidian just be able to roam free of preexisting IPs and external studio fuckery.  Will be curious to see how all this Project Eternity stuff plays out.  They’re essentially the Joss Whedon of game developers: they’ve had projects get screwed over so many times that you just have to wonder if it’s only bad luck at this point…

        • djsubversive

          @Fluka:disqus yes. I love a lot of things about Obsidian games, and I’ve noticed that a major recurring theme in a lot of their games is that choices always have consequences, and they’re not always immediately obvious. It’ll be nice to see how they can explore that (and everything else) in a world that they’re designing from the ground up, rather than taking another existing property and “Obsidian-izing” it for a sequel.

          and in New Vegas-related stuff, Chris Avellone discussing Dead Money’s design is an interesting read, if you haven’t seen it before.

          Also, have you joined the steam group yet, Fluka? We’ve got a bunch of people playing New Vegas for the first time for the Game Revue Club. You should join us. :)

        • KidvanDanzig

          @djsubversive:disqus they’ve said it’s the best pitch they’ve ever put together, so evidently Avellone does have more to say.

        • DrFlimFlam

           I did back Project Oblivion so I will be interested to see how that one turns out.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

        That linked video of yours is almost respectful of the source material when compared to this other clip from the same game:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg_FoEy8T_A

        edited to note that I am perfectly fine with Lobot as a DJ. That is all.

        • Fluka

          It’s really the exploding crotch feedback that pushes the whole enterprise to a whole new level.  I still kind of refuse to believe that this was a real game.  

    • aklab

      Same here! Between me and Mrs. Aklab and the two oldest, um, Aklab Jrs, we’ve probably put more time into Plants vs. Zombies than any other. And even though it’s a pretty simple game, I never get tired of it. My original popcap purchase came with 6 activations, and you’d better believe we’ve installed it and played it to completion on at least 6 different computers. 

    • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

      Yes, and this news brings us that closer to my dreamed about Pod Racer sequel developed by EA-owned Criterion.

      Pod Racer 2: now this is Pod Racing.

      • Sam_Barsanti

        A Criterion-developed sequel to Episode 1: Racer? I WANT THAT NOW MORE THAN ANYTHING. I think people forget how awesome that game was.

        • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

          You, sir, are a man of exquisite taste.

        • Xyvir

          I do not and have not forgotten. That game IS amazing. And I would LOVE a sequel. 

  • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

    I was on board for the ’09 Wolfenstein.  I enjoyed the sorta non-linear structure, where you had a bunch of destination levels accessed from a large hub city, and I had fun with the supernatural mechanics.  Nothing special story-wise, but I liked exploring that world.  Really, my only sore spot was from a particular boss fight about 2/3s of the way through where I glitched through the floor multiple times.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

      I actually think Return to Castle Wolfenstein (from… early 2000?) was one of the most underrated FPS’s in a while. It had a variety of levels and objectives, although it got stupid hard towards the end. But it was crazy ambitious and not-too-serious. The plot was LITERALLY about combining Nazi’s, robots, zombies, monsters, mad science, the occult, and technology into one UBERHITLER.

      • Captain Internet

        Well- as I recall, Return to Castle Wolfenstein took itself completely seriously. I think I’ve said this before, but it’s probably the most profoundly offensive game that’s ever been made.

        The original Wolfenstein 3D I look on as being adolescent fun. It had this breezy, juvenile premise: let’s make a game where you get to kill Hitler! That’s not risque. That’s not daring. That’s just stupid. Still, when I was the age that John Romero was when he was designing it, I also thought that kind kind of thing was funny- and to be honest, it still sort of is.

        But Return to Castle Wolfenstein came along several years later, and the people who wrote it were adults. By the turn of the millennium you had to have adults involved in building games, because the money required was so high. These people would have sat in long meetings, discussing money and projected sales for their game about arguably the most evil organisation ever in existence, and thought that they were doing nothing wrong.

        And in a design meeting, they would have sat there, and thought: so what can we add? Sure the Nazis were evil, but how can we raise the stakes? And someone must have said, “I know, let’s make them MAGIC Nazis!”. And there would have been nods around the table, and smiles, and winks, and they must have thought that they were really on to something there! And they would have spent time thinking prosaically about level layouts, and where to put the health, and how much damage the guns should do.

        It’s the shallow, unthinking detachment from the events of the Second World War that is what is so offensive. I am not going to compare it to the thinking that was prevalent in Germany, Italy and Japan at the time, because that would be just as lazy. But I do want to ask the question: is this how we should be behaving?

        Here in the UK we’ve a great history of satire- making light of serious issues. But satire has to have teeth. It has to bite, and it has to point at an unpleasant truth- because if it doesn’t, it’s just crass. Return to Castle Wolfenstein had none of that, and if this new game does I’ll eat my shirt.

        In before “whoa there, Hitler”

        Edit: say what you like about PHPBB but at least it formatted carriage returns properly (unlike Disqus)

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          I’m kind of torn on this sort of thing.  We keep going back to Hitler and the Nazis because he’s the worst monster of humanity in the past couple of hundred years.  If anyone made a game where you fight for the Nazis and massacre Jews, then I would be just as outraged, and insist it be shut down.

          But I really don’t have a problem with fictionalized versions of him, whether they’re sci-fi, alternate reality, or period-accurate WWII versions, as long as he’s the villain.

          I don’t see how it’s not a valid form of expression to have a “serious” game with a reanimated cyborg Hitler just because it’s not satirical.

          I think the reason people still get upset about games featuring Nazis is because a lot of people who experienced that time period first hand are still alive, and I totally understand not wanting to be reminded of it if you or your family lived through it.

        • Captain Internet

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus it’s a tough line to draw.
          War films of the fifties, sixties and seventies had a similar attitude, but they involved people who were in the conflict. I can’t blame them for being triumphalist. And The Producers becomes even funnier when you consider the person who wrote it.

          What I object to with Return to Castle Wolfenstein is that it had absolutely no angle at all- other than simply saying “oh yeah, you can shoot these people, right? But you’re bored of that, so we’re going to make them MAGICAL”.

          I hope that I’m just getting offended on someone’s behalf, but I think the debate needs a little salt occasionally.

          There’s definitely latitude here- it just seems that EA have less with the Star Wars licence than people are prepared to consider anyone should have with the Nazis. 

        • http://warren-peace.blogspot.com/ WarrenPeace

          I dunno, I can’t really find this offensive, since it’s been done so, so much. Nazis are such an easy villain that they’ve been used to the point of meaninglessness; they’re interchangeable with Marvel Comics organizations like Hydra or AIM at this point, and Wolfenstein is very, very far from the only example to use them without any awareness. It’s definitely worth taking a step back and realizing that they were real, not just generic uniformed baddies, and Hitler was an evil man who murdered millions, not a wacky, ineffective doofus. But we’re kind of a few decades too late to walk back portrayals of them as bad guys, as insensitive as it might be to anybody who still remembers the actual events.

  • Kyle O’Reilly

    I don’t understand YouTube celebrities like that Francis fellow or TotalBiscuit, et al.  Why do they exist?  Why, dear God, why?

    • djsubversive

      I don’t know, but I imagine it’s born from the same mindset that makes Let’s Plays so popular. Something about watching somebody else play a video game. Maybe it’s not available in your area, or you can’t afford it (or can’t run it). Maybe people are just fucking weird (they are. almost all of them).

      • Citric

        I understand why posting the ending of a game on youtube is so popular, since I find myself less willing to put in the effort to beat a jerk final boss as I get older.

        But the whole game seems a bit weird.

    • The_Misanthrope

       That was the point of that PvZ2 teaser?  I had no idea who any of those people were.  I just thought it was meant to be a slam against rabid fans or something and I was vaguely insulted since I did like the original and I’m not some wierd shut-in who strokes a PvZ plushie.

    • ChicaneryTheYounger
      • The_Misanthrope

        I find game Grumps to usually be the exception to all the usual LP tedium. 

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Yeesh. Yeah, I still don’t get why these people are “famous” or “respected.” Especially The prominent ones who are essentially just generic internet commenters. Total Biscuit, for example, never seems to provide any interesting commentary and has loads and loads of shitty opinions. 

        That video you linked was two obnoxious dudes being loud and obnoxious. /shrugs

        • ChicaneryTheYounger

          To each their own. I’m not going to defend Total Biscuit, he’s a self righteous ass who’s outright nasty to anyone critical of them, but I personally like the Grumps. Just two friends playing video-games and joking about them. Sure they’ve bad opinions, but they’re plain fun to watch.
          It’s not artistry, it’s sillyness, and I enjoy silly.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Fair enough. I actually really like some gameplay videos, but i don’t really “follow” anyone in that “scene.” Speedruns are cool to watch, as are professional dota streams. Oh, and this Amnesia video.

    • wzzzzd

      The only time I watch that sort of thing is when it’s a preview for a game that I’m excited about that I don’t get to try for myself. Even then I feel bad about it.

  • JokersNuts

    I love Eternal Darkness and really hope this happens.  I honastly wouldn’t even care if it was just a total remake of the same game. 

  • cookingwithcranston

    So Battlefront 3 may still happen? Although it would have to be built from the ground up and won’t probably won’t be nearly as promisingly epic as what was developed so far from formerly Free Radical Design before it got shelved, then scrapped.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      More Battlefront please. I asked nicely dammit!

  • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

    it bums me out that LucasArts is no more, even though they were pretty much already irrelevant 

    anyway, personally I’m looking to the new Wolfenstein