The Bulletin

Metal Gear Solid V

Kiefer Madness

The voice of Solid Snake gets replaced, and the Xbox One gets more confusing.

By Sam Barsanti • June 10, 2013

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

Some guy from 24: The Game to star in Metal Gear Solid V
Kiefer Sutherland in a previous video game appearance

Kiefer Sutherland in a previous video game appearance

I mentioned in the comments a few Bulletins back that David Hayter, the voice actor who played Snake in the entire Metal Gear Solid series, would not be returning for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Last week, in a pre-E3 event, Konami announced who would be replacing him: Kiefer Sutherland. Citing a desire for a more “subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements,” series creator Hideo Kojima hired this guy not only to provide Snake’s voice, but also to perform the motion-capture scenes for his face. Hayter, who has been pretty vocal about his disappointment over being fired, responded to the announcement on Twitter with a not-so-subtle dig by comparing Metal Gear Solid V to New Coke.

Of course, this is Metal Gear we’re talking about, so I have no idea what could end up happening. Kotaku wrote up one conspiracy theory, which says that the New Coke line was a reference to Hayter still being involved in some capacity, and this is all a trick to make his reappearance as Solid Snake more exciting, akin to the reintroduction of Classic Coke. I’m a Hayter fan, but c’mon, that’s crazy. Or is it?

Microsoft finally answers (some of) your Xbox One questions
We will never get tired of using this picture

We will never get tired of using this picture

Things have been a little shaky for Microsoft’s Xbox One, and the console won’t even be in stores until later this year. First, the company announced the system without actually telling us much about it. Then, people started worrying that the new Kinect would record them while they eat Cheetos in their underwear. Thankfully, Microsoft has decided to stop being so secretive and is now ready to answer some of your questions…by raising further questions.

First off, the good news: The new Kinect is not constantly spying on you and reporting back to the Decepticon base with all of your personal data and Cheeto preferences in order to take over the world. According to Microsoft, “you are in control of what Kinect can see and hear.” You can turn it off whenever you want, and you aren’t forced to use it when navigating menus or playing games. See, the Xbone isn’t so bad!

Oh, wait. The bad news. Late last month, Microsoft said the Xbox One wouldn’t necessarily require an internet connection, but one “potential scenario” was that it would need to make an online check once every 24 hours. Believe it or not, just as I predicted, that “potential scenario” is the actual scenario. In a post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft tries to make this sound like a positive feature—and not a barrier for people with less-than-ideal Internet access—saying, “With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours.” And while you can’t play offline (even single-player) after this 24-hour period expires, “you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-Ray and DVD movies.” That’s nice of Microsoft, right? Allowing you to watch TV without having to connect to the internet and prove you’re not a software pirate? See, the Xbone isn’t so bad!

Xbox One family

Oh, wait. The other bad news. As you may recall, another “potential scenario” that Microsoft apparently considered was that you’d have to pay an extra fee in order to play a used game that had already been installed on someone else’s console. Microsoft has announced that it won’t be charging anyone a “platform fee” to allow people to transfer ownership of a game…but the actual plan is so much more complicated that I almost wish it were. All Xbox One games will be available digitally or in stores on the same day, and they all need to be installed to your system for you to play them. But once they are, you don’t need the disc anymore (a welcome departure from how the 360 and PlayStation 3 work). Anyone on your console can play any of your games, and you can also designate 10 family members who can play your games on any console. That all sounds pretty good, but when it comes to used games, things get quite a bit shakier. On the official Xbox site, Microsoft explains that it “designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers.” What that means is that each publisher has the ability to decide if a game they release can be traded in. Also, note how it says “participating retailers,” which is a nice way of saying “GameStop” and not necessarily “Crazy Jim’s Discount Video Game Warehouse,” as retailers will have to sign up with (and presumably be approved by) Microsoft before they can buy and sell used Xbox One titles.

Trading games with your friends also requires jumping through a few hoops. You won’t be charged any fees, but you and the person receiving the trade need to have been on each other’s friends lists for at least 30 days, and each game can only be traded once. Also, publishers can choose to opt out of that entirely, just like with used games. So you can only trade in certain games at certain stores, and you can only borrow certain games from friends that have proven that they are really your friend. But what if you just want to borrow a game from somebody? Or you have a long weekend coming up and you want to stop at a Redbox for a game rental? Unfortunately, neither of those will be options “at launch,” according to Microsoft, but it is “exploring the possibilities.” Hey, at least the Xbox One won’t actively spy on you! According to the people who would be doing the spying!

Shadow Of The Eternals developers cancel Kickstarter, pretend everything is fine
Shadow Of The Eternals

It’s another week, which means it’s time to check in on the crowdfunding efforts of Shadow Of The Eternals, the spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness that plenty of people claim to want but very few want to pay for. Last week, I mentioned that the project was well short of reaching its funding goal, but now things are looking even worse for it…unless you listen to what the developers are saying. In a post on the official site, Precursor Games announced that it would be suspending its Kickstarter campaign for Shadow Of The Eternals and refunding all of the money that people had pledged to it so far. The post mentions “new exciting opportunities” and that the Kickstarter will be relaunched in a few weeks, which suggests that something has happened behind the scenes (perhaps a partnership with another studio that will front some of the costs), but it could also mean that Precursor wants to save face and is going back the drawing board. Also, the developers say in the post that they have “seen more support from our community than we had ever hoped for.” Aside from, you know, funding the game they wanted to make.

New game from Call Of Duty creators doesn’t sound that much like Call Of Duty
Respawn Entertainment

Since The Bulletin comes out on a Monday, it’s rare that I get to talk about news that isn’t a couple of days old. Thank God for printed media, though, and its tendency to leak out information ahead of publication! A poster on the NeoGAF message board accidentally obtained an early copy of Game Informer’s July issue. As a result, we now know what Respawn Entertainment—a studio started by two Call Of Duty developers after they were fired by Activision—is working on. It’s Titanfall, a sci-fi shooter that centers on the use of giant robots called Titans. It looks like the game is only coming to PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. There are more details at that NeoGAF link, but some of the most encouraging signs are that the developers say they’re going for a “District 9 or Blade Runner vibe” and that they’re trying to make Titanfall more welcoming to newcomers than Call Of Duty usually is. That sounds cool enough to me, so hopefully we’ll see some videos or screenshots once Titanfall is actually announced—which could be any minute now as E3 is set to begin.

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67 Responses to “Kiefer Madness”

  1. Cloks says:

    In other news, Charles Martinet is being replaced as the voice of Mario by Colm Meany.

    “It’s me, it’s fooking Mario.” 

  2. lokimotive says:

    Xbox One sound so bafflingly convoluted. In practice, for the majority of people, I’m sure it will be fairly intuitive and easy to use, but Microsoft still seems stuck in the idea of forcing people to use their products as narrowly as possible.

    • Simon Jones says:

      Looking at it, it’s actually a bit friendlier towards the consumer than Steam is.  So we’ll see how that goes.

      • Now there’s an idea. If most XBone games cost under $30, people might be willing to overlook all this negativity. Will that happen? Almost certainly not.

      • Captain Internet says:

        You can play all your Steam games offline without the client needing to validate itself every 24 hours, so not really. 

        • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

          But if you don’t go online every 24 hours, how are They going to know you’re changing your underwear daily?

        • Jackbert says:

          I think he was talking about sharing games with friends, something Xbone lets you do to a limited extent and Steam does not let you do at all.

        • Girard says:

          I find Steam requires me to connect regularly to ‘refresh’ my log in information. It’s not every 24 hours, of course, but there have definitely been times when my spotty connection has meant Steam locked me out of my game library.

      • CrabNaga says:

        I hope this primarily digital-distribution shift of console games (I mean you can buy disc copies but it seems they work solely like installer discs with licenses you need to attach to your Live account) pressures Steam into implementing a used games marketplace. Maybe they can set up deals with publishers/developers, and say if somebody sells Borderlands 3 to some stranger for $30, the publisher gets $5 from the sale and Steam gets like $1 for the transaction.

        Of course this would probably hail the end of huge Steam sales, since people would be able to get the same discounts for games while still giving the publisher a cut. I guess it would be a pretty big controversy over what model works best for everyone involved (the publishers/devleopers, the players, and Steam).

      • Fluka says:

        Well, as this rather biting Polygon editorial argued last week, the difference is that Steam is not the only platform on PC.  There are other Steam-like platforms, you can buy stuff directly from developers, pay-what-you-like in the Humble Bundle, get things DRM-free from GoG, etc. etc.  It’s not a closed ecosystem.  (Well…or at least it’s a *less* closed ecosystem, until Microsoft decides to screw everyone over.)

        Though, if you’re talking about trading or reselling, that *is* quite difficult and rare, mostly due to the fact that it’s so easy to just make a copy before you give a game up.  So point taken there. For me at least, that’s balanced out by the rather incredible sales, which makes PC gaming affordable.  And rather than buying something for $60 first and selling it for $55 later, and losing the game, I can buy it for $5 and keep it.  No loaning, though, which is a problem.

        • zebbart says:

          I don’t condone pirating and with Steam prices would never need to consider it, but couldn’t you just ‘borrow’ the game from your friend Mr. Utorrent and then either delete or buy it if you want to play it for more than a week or whatever you think it would be if you actually had your buddy’s disc? Maybe the lack of Steam integration makes that insufficient, but it’s still an option for sampling games of friends (and you could have a personal rule of only ‘borrowing’ games that your friends do have an recommend to you) that will be much harder to replicate on X-bone.

        • Merve says:

          Green Man Gaming actually allows you to trade in some games for store credit worth a fraction of the original purchase price, since not all games it sells have Steam/Origin/Uplay keys. Here’s hoping that other digital distribution services follow suit.

        • Fluka says:

          @zebbart:disqus Oh sure, there are ways to get around it.  LifeThe internet finds a way.  *Official* lending is still almost non-existent, though.

          @Merve2:disqus I figured there was someone out there doing it…  Again, the advantage of a variety of PC options!

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Yes, we PC gamers truly are a master race. I’ll see you guys at the carefully orchestrated mass rallies!

        • Fluka says:

          @HobbesMkii:disqus Shhhh!

      • @CrabNaga:disqus : At least where I live, there’s NEVER really been a used PC games market. That was true even in the pre-DRM CD-ROM period of the 90s.

        • Girard says:

          Yeah. The dollar rental place in the town I grew up actually rented our CD-ROMs in the mid-90s, which was really weird (but cool!), but beyond that I’ve never seen used or rental PC games anywhere.

    • Girard says:

      I think Nintendo really set the tone for this generation of consoles: baffling and overcomplicated even to veteran game players, vaguely disappointing, and weirdly bereft of games.

      • lokimotive says:

        The whole thing kind of reminds me of that whole poorly thought out ‘multimedia entertainment console’ shtick that was taking place in the early to mid 90s, exemplified by Phillips CD-i. It was just a whole bunch of nonsense shoved into an ugly black box that you put under your TV. They did nothing particularly well, and the CD-i is only noteworthy now for some truly awful games that had licensed Nintendo characters.

        I don’t think the WiiU or the Xbox One are as truly wretched as those things were, but I can’t help but be reminded of them when I see marketing campaigns like this. “Hey! You and your family are sure going to have a rocking good time hold this incredibly bulky controller! It’ll be just like board game night! Everybody, gather in the living room and rock into each other on the couch!” (Also, I just have to mention how truly stomach churning that music is. I realize it’s the default soundtrack to advertising right now, but it seems incredibly inappropriate in that ad).

  3. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    Only the Proles will eat cheetos in their underwear in front of the Xboxone. Members of the Outer Party such as myself will be sipping Victory gin and munching on some of our weekly 20 gram chocolate ration.

    Does anyone here read all of that information up top and think “Yeah, I’ll have one of these in my home thank you”? This could only be some sort of humanity test. If you willingly buy a new xbox, you’re kicked out of the gene pool. Xboxone: now with Bobbittizer technology!

    • Captain Internet says:

      If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for up to 24 hours

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      I will definitely be buying one. I completely don’t understand the hysteria about the new features. The ability to play games that my friends own without buying them sounds freaking awesome! I also have no issues with the used game market crashing and burning.

      You want to be concerned about webcams watching you, you should be far more worried about desktops and laptops with webcams getting hacked. The Xbox forces you to update the O/S before going online, but when’s the last time you updated your webcam drivers? Exactly.  If I were a hacker I wouldn’t go after a closed system like the Xbox, I’d hack laptops running exploitable versions of the webcam software.

      As for Microsoft watching you in your underwear? If they want to pay someone to watch me game, they’re welcome to it, but I suspect they have better things to do.

      • Army_Of_Fun says:

        The ‘family’ plan does sound cool but we have yet to get any details on it. It might be that a family consists of one account holder and 10 sub-accounts that have limited functionality.

        I generally don’t buy used games but I understand their effect on supressing retail prices over the shelf life of a game. Without a used game market, it’s very possible game prices will not decrease at the rate they have.

        The bigger issue for me is the requirement to dial home to MS once every 24 hours. What if MS’ servers are down? What if I want to play an Xbox One game 5 years in the future? 10 years? 20? I can plug-in my NES and boot up River City Ransom any time I feel like it. Bringing an Xbox One to my father-in-law’s cabin to help kill time when it’s raining is a non-option due to complete lack of internet.

        • In the event of a prolonged outage (like the PSN hack) or a permanent server shutdown, I hope that MS has some kind of firmware patch that can be downloaded via PC and loaded on the Xbone with a memory stick.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          THIS.  I spend a fair bit of my life away from internet, so any platform that forces me to be online constantly (and face it, dipshits, once every 24 hours and “constantly” are the same damn thing) is a no-go.  Christ, if Sony doesn’t address this, there won’t be a platform this gen that works for me.

    • duwease says:

      That stuff doesn’t bother me really.  I’m not concerned about the Kinect camera surveilling me, and I don’t buy used games anymore in a bid to support the devs.

      However, not sure if I’ll get an Xbone yet.  It’s going to come down to the games.  I got a 360 because the PS3 lineup paled in comparison to what I could get in the first couple years on Xbox (esp. factoring in Xbox Live Marketplace).  Nowadays, though, it seems PS3 has the exclusives I prefer and what Xbox has that I want, I can just play on PC instead.  Plus that whole “You don’t have to go through the process of buying a month’s worth of online access and then cancelling it every time you get an urge to play multiplayer” is a big bonus for the PS4.

      But yeah, we’ll see how the games go.  If PS4 keeps up what PS3 is doing game-wise, I’ll get that.. and it seems likely.  But then again, it seemed awfully likely Sony would dominate this generation after having all the games in the PS2 era and they found a way to drop that ball, so we’ll see.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Maybe some people will confuse the PRISM logo on the side of the console as a Pink Floyd homage.
      Also: What is underwear?

      PS: In better kickstarter news:

      • Xtracurlyfries says:

        You can build a Reprap variant for around $600 if you’re feeling brave and want to source the parts yourself.  Lots of great info out there on how to do that.

    • Fluka says:

      XBone’s using Bobbittizing technology now?  GOD, it’s like they don’t even think women USE their consoles!!!

      But seriously.  There are a lot of people who don’t read gaming blogs who are extremely excited for the new machines.  In the airport yesterday, I was sitting next to a guy who was chatting on his phone about saving money for the new Xbox.  This thing will almost certainly make a ton of money.  (Mind you, I was also later seated in front of a women changing her baby’s dirty diaper on the in-flight tray, so this is not a statement the console’s quality.)

  4. Jackbert says:

    So am I the only person who doesn’t like David Hayter? I mean, he’s pretty expressive (for video games), but his damn inflections make him sound like a chain-smoking Valley Girl.

    • CrabNaga says:

      I noticed that the guy who plays Raiden in Revengeance tries to mimic a lot of the same inflections during the various codec calls. It’s a little unnerving. 

      • Sam_Barsanti says:

        Well, Raiden has lived his whole life trying to be Solid Snake, you can’t really blame him. 

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “Ohmygooooddd. I can’t believe you said that? How dare you? That’s like so totally mean? Why do I sound like every sentence is a question? Somebody bring me my medication?”

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      Dude, don’t be Hayting.

    • NakedSnake says:

      For better or worse, Hayter’s overblown, too-hardcore-for-you  (but with a soul) cheesiness is basically a series staple at this point. Nobody can pronounce ” … ” quite like him.

    • rvb1023 says:

       I don’t think they are done entirely with Hayter, but Hayter became more over-the-top as the series went on, not more subdued with age as you might think. Plus, a new voice actor for Naked Snake was going to happen in order to separate him from Solid.

      • Jackbert says:

        Yeah, in 1 and 2, he sounds endearingly cheesy, but in 3 and Peace Walker, he crosses the line towards annoying. Either he’s getting worse with age, or he can’t play Naked Snake. Can’t speak to his performance as Solid Snake in 4 though.

      • Sam_Barsanti says:

        I joked about it up there, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hayter turns up in MGSV as Solid Snake. Someone else voiced old Big Boss in MGS4, right? So it’s not that crazy for Kojima to want someone else to voice slightly less old Big Boss.

  5. Kilzor says:

    I think Kojima has got the right idea: there are literally dozens of “24” fans who weren’t already interested in Metal Gear, but now are!  Finally, having Snake yell “DAMN IT, CHLOE!” won’t just exist in the hallowed stories of my fan fiction.  It’s a win/win!

  6. Matt Koester says:

    I really don’t think connecting to the internet once a day is that big of an issue, especially next to the hurdles associated with sharing games and selling used games. I suppose the worst part is getting the coveted casual market to buy another kinect machine that costs more, being unable to play their old kinect games and having to hook their machine up to the internet, which, judging by the average wii user, is not something casual gamers like figuring out.

    • Jackbert says:

      The Xbox 360 does have part of the casual market, but it’s not the people playing Kinect. It’s the people who solely play sports games and shooters online, after buying them on release day. These people line up for the midnight releases of Madden in August, pop it in when they get home, and play it exclusively until the latest CoD comes out in November. Some might only play sports games and some might only play shooters, but neither of them are immersed in video game culture. Most importantly, they don’t read gaming websites. Therefore, they don’t comment on gaming websites, where this negativity towards the Xbox One is located. This negativity isn’t going to affect its sales because it isn’t being generated by the majority of Xbox One consumers. The majority of consumers for it are that slice of the casual market, that don’t buy used games and always play online. They bought Xbox 360s and they’re going to buy Xbox Ones.

      • Sam_Barsanti says:

        I think it might depend on what Sony does today, though. With no backwards compatibility, there isn’t much reason to remain loyal to either system, and if Sony can sell their system better than Microsoft has been, people might go for the PS4 instead. 

      • I don’t know that Microsoft can rely on its existing users (apart from the minority that have already pre-ordered the system). Video game consumers have never really shown much brand loyalty. The success of the 360 over the PS3 is proof of that. Whichever console offers the best value to consumers will be the one that succeeds in the long run.    

    • Pgoodso says:

      On thing it’s worth noting about the “non-hurdle” of assured internet access once per day is something Microsoft used to be kinda good about: serving the troops.

      Military personnel playing Halo or Call of Duty during off hours has been an interesting new paradigm that Microsoft was happy to exploit for marketing purposes, but I can tell you for a fact that, especially outside the US or Western Europe, most of those troops have never EVER been assured internet service at 24 hour intervals.

  7. Merve says:

    Speaking of the Xbone, this exists:

    Yup, life isn’t worth living anymore.

    • Fluka says:

      “This fall, Mountain Dew and Doritos are teaming up with Xbox to create an unprecedented experience.”

      *Eye twitches a little.*  

    • NakedSnake says:

      Haha, what possible incentive are they offering to even sign up? Out of curiosity (the only possible motive), I actually tried to sign up my dedicated spam e-mail address. Two things happened: (1) It was impossible to enter in a date of birth before the year 2000, and (2) there was an error, rendering the whole website more pointless than it already was.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      This is the exact kind of innovative brand synergy I, the consumer, am excited to see enter the market place!
         Whether I’m blasting the ‘gons with my deluxe 500 GB Chipotle Thunder XBOX One, or receiving my Kinect-mandated weekly Code Red enema, Microsoft and Doritos are teaming up to give me the best Snack-gaming strategy available!   

    • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

      Yeah, behind the counter of my local GAME there’s a bunch of litre bottles of Mtn Dew Code Red sitting beside Xbone preorders.

      No one here likes Mtn Dew over the age of 14.

  8. CNightwing says:

    I played 24: The Game and you know, it wasn’t that bad. The storyline was excellent, where by excellent I mean that it made a story up for the period between seasons 2 and 3 in which the terrorists caused an earthquake in LA by the careful positioning of explosives. I guess if it worked for Lex Luthor it’ll work for anyone. Gameplay was just fine, relatively standard stuff, but the highlight was when CTU was attacked and you got to play Kim Bauer, with the intention that you’ll sneak past all the bad guys and send out a warning signal or something. Of course, the most entertaining way to get through the level is to steal an assault rifle asap and blow all their heads off, since you know, you’re a trained daughter of a renowned counter-terrorist agent.

  9. KidvanDanzig says:

    Well, now at least Hayter’s free to pursue his true passion – begging people to see awful movies that he wrote

  10. Mr. Glitch says:

    What really bugs me about this whole debacle is how in 10 or 15 years, when Live has dropped support for it or shuttered altogether, the Xbone is going to be nothing more than a doorstop. I can only hope that MS removes this DRM nanny system sometime before that happens.