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
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
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.