The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.
New Grand Theft Auto V trailer introduces its three protagonists
Grand Theft Auto IV is the game that caused my first Xbox to flash the dreaded Red Ring Of Death. I’m hoping its sequel won’t kill my new Xbox, but it might, so I’m going to avoid that situation entirely by not letting myself get excited for Grand Theft Auto V. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t watch its new triple-trailer that introduces the game’s three main characters. Besides, it’s not like anything really cool happens in this video. Other than that armored car theft, and the airport runway chase, and the police helicopter, and that old man getting choked, and…damn it, I’m excited. But hey, I have a good reason to be: Grand Theft Auto V returns to Los Santos, the Los Angeles parody from 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (which was great), and it’s the first open-world action game from Rockstar since Red Dead Redemption (which was super great). GTA5 doesn’t come out until September, so that gives me plenty of time to save up for a new Xbox when this game breaks my current machine.
Call Of Duty, a series that gets a sequel every year, is getting a sequel this year
I made an offhand joke about it last week, but Activision has released a teaser trailer announcing a new Call Of Duty. The trailer shows various different warriors from throughout history, all wearing masks, before ending on a modern soldier pulling a skull-painted balaclava down over his face and a reveal of the title, Call Of Duty: Ghosts. It all seems to point to the character Ghost from Modern Warfare 2, who, despite having zero characteristics beyond the skull mask he wore, was the game’s breakout character. All we know is that Ghosts is being developed by Infinity Ward, the studio behind the original Call Of Duty as well as the Modern Warfare titles, but the end of the trailer promises that it will be a part of Microsoft’s New Generation event on May 21.
Hey, I can see your eyes glazing over from here. You think you don’t care about a new Call Of Duty. You think you’ve played one, so you’ve played them all. Well, who knows how this will turn out? Maybe Ghosts will totally change everything you know about first-person shooters and nothing in the world will ever be the same? I’m calling it right now: In 30 years, people are going to talk about Call Of Duty: Ghosts the same way they talk about Tetris and Super Mario World. Don’t you want a first-class ticket on that hype train?
Boring space game to become exciting TV show
EVE Online is an interesting beast. If you’re not familiar with the space-based massively multiplayer online game, it’s all about space economies and micromanaging fleets of starships via a series of increasingly complex menus. To all but the most patient would-be Malcolm Reynoldses, it is exhaustingly boring. But to its credit, EVE Online is extremely open-ended, and the developers at CCP prefer a hands-off approach to directing players. They have a wide berth to collectively build and rework the economies, institutions, and power structures of the EVE universe. That opens the door for elaborate factional politics and Machiavellian scheming that wouldn’t be out of place on HBO’s Game Of Thrones.
It’s fitting, then, that at the recent EVE Fanfest in Iceland, CCP announced that it would be creating a TV show based on actual in-game events that were brought about by the players themselves. As reported by Rock Paper Shotgun, the show is still in pre-production, but Baltasar Kormákur, director of the Mark Wahlberg vehicle Contraband, is involved. From here, the EVE TV show could go in a lot of different directions. If they base it on my experience of the game, we’ll have a few hour-long episodes about Captain Samdar Barsantian piloting the universe’s dinkiest ship from spaceport to spaceport before ultimately being killed in a tutorial mission. If they base it on something like Massively’s list of EVE’s top 10 “Ganks, Scams, and Heists,” the show could end up being pretty cool.
Lawsuits for everybody!
People file lawsuits for any number of reasons. Maybe they’re desperate for money, maybe they just want to complain about something, and maybe, just maybe, they’ve actually been wronged. Last week, the video game industry saw all three (but I’ll let you decide which is which).
First up are two studios, Sega and Gearbox, which are being sued by a man named Damion Perrine over the discrepancy between early prerelease footage of Aliens: Colonial Marines and the final product. As reported by Polygon, Perrine believes that Sega and Gearbox (the publisher and developer, respectively) purposely misled consumers about the quality of the game and then placed an embargo on reviews until the morning of its release, preventing critics from warning the public about how terrible it was. Now, most game demos come with a disclaimer about how they’re not “representative of the final product,” so this probably doesn’t have much weight, but can you imagine the precedent it would set if Perrine won? “Okay, some of this looks new and exciting, but to be honest, it’s just going to be like last year’s Call Of Duty.”
Next on the docket is EA, which is being sued by Robin Antonick, the lead designer on the original John Madden Football game. As explained by Game Informer, he believes that every subsequent game in the series (and there have been quite a few) is built off of source code that he developed in 1988. It’s the video game equivalent of the copyright issues that have followed Superman for the last 70-ish years. This case will go to court in June, which means it’s being taken seriously, which is potentially very bad news for EA. And things were going so well for EA, too!
Finally, Warner Bros. is being sued by the creators of Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat over their appearance in Scribblenauts. According to Kotaku, the suit argues that the characters were “shamelessly [used] by name to promote and market” Scribblenauts. Now, I unconditionally love Keyboard Cat, and I thought it was funny when he popped up in the game, but really it’s just a cat playing a piano—I can see someone arguing that it’s more of an homage than copyright infringement. But the Nyan Cat case is a little shakier. The Scribblenauts character is a cat with the body of a Pop-Tart shooting rainbows out of its butt, which is hard to mistake for anything but Nyan Cat (or the form a vengeful ghost would take to haunt a Kellogg’s executive). I hope they drag this out a bit, because it’s funny to hear people describe internet memes in a courtroom.