The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.
Major League Gaming to create ESPN-style video content, because everyone loves talking heads
ESPN has long been the go-to TV channel for Americans who would rather watch a sporting match than America’s Next Top Dancing Chef Celebrity. Now, I don’t know much about sports, but I do know that it’s 2013 now, and in order to hook the current generation of nerdy young men, you have to go a little further than “all sports, all the time.” One way to do this is by embracing a hot new trend called “video games.” That’s why Major League Gaming, as reported by GamesBeat, has decided to produce its own shows. They will feature all of the bone-breaking highlights and insightful commentary you’ve come to expect from SportsCenter, but instead of talking about Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, or Third Sports Guy, they’ll talk about whoever got the most epic headshot in that day’s professional Call Of Duty match. Then, since the guy’s handle will be something stupid like xXpwnzillaXx, the hosts will look at each other and think the same thing: “I have to fire my agent.”
Also, lest you think this will tarnish the purity of professional video gaming, the GamesBeat report points out that Major League Gaming is not-so-subtly positioning this as an excellent opportunity for advertisers to get on the money train, since the average viewer of an MLG event watches about three hours of ad-ready content. I can’t wait until we see someone sit down to play StarCraft in one of those ridiculous NASCAR jackets covered in sponsorship patches.
Insomniac Games announces new Ratchet And Clank for PlayStation 3
Better pump the brakes, Sony fans. You’re probably clearing space on your entertainment center and rolling up controller cords so you can stick that musty old PlayStation 3 back in your closet and make room for a hot new PlayStation 4. But wait! One of the PlayStation’s most beloved duos is coming back to give the PS3 a nice sendoff…after the PS4 comes out. As announced on the official PlayStation blog, Ratchet And Clank: Into The Nexus will be coming “this holiday” to the soon-to-be-outdated PlayStation 3, and it will be a traditional single-player platformer. This seems like a specific reaction against the multiplayer-focused Ratchet And Clank: All 4 One and the tower defense-like Ratchet And Clank: Full Frontal Assault.
Now, as you may recall, neither the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 are backward compatible, so you can’t play any 360 or PS3 games on them (including downloadable ones like Ratchet And Clank: Into The Nexus). With the PlayStation 4 set for release some time in November and Into The Nexus coming some time “this holiday,” it seems especially weird that Sony would want to release a new entry in a popular series for its old console right around the same time that it expects people to buy its new console, but I think it’s allowed one or two weird decisions after the last few months that Microsoft has had. Hey, speaking of…
Meet the new Xbox boss, probably the same as the old Xbox boss
Last week, I mentioned that Julie Larson-Green, the head of Microsoft’s Windows division, was the most likely candidate to replace the dearly departed Don Mattrick. (He’s not dead, he just quit.) Of course, since we’re dealing with Microsoft, it wasn’t nearly that straightforward. Rather than simply replace Mattrick, Microsoft has overhauled its entire corporate structure—in fact, this restructuring has been cited as one reason that Mattrick bid the company goodbye. The specific details of the overhaul are complex and mostly unrelated to the Xbox (also: boring), but the important parts are that Larson-Green has been put in charge of the new Devices And Studios Engineering Group, which covers “all games, music, video, and other entertainment,” and that there is also a new and separate Operating Systems Engineering Group, which covers all of Microsoft’s various operating systems, including that of the upcoming Xbox One. In other words, one group is in charge of the actual console and another group is in charge of its dashboard. Hopefully this doesn’t cause any disconnect between the two, since I don’t think the Xbone can handle any more complications.
We probably won’t see the ramifications of this for a while, so let’s take this moment to see how the internet is reacting to it. For that, we look to a respected outlet for reasonable coverage of the video game community, The Atlantic Wire, which recently posted an article titled “Gamers Can’t Handle The New Female Head At Xbox.” The article casts people who play video games in about as positive a light as you can expect from a headline like that. Pulling the most openly sexist comments from sites like GameSpot and N4G, the article suggests that players, as a bloc, are terrified of a future in which all video games are “dedicated to baking and knitting.” Now, I don’t want to dismiss any of the horrible stuff these commenters are saying, but I would like to point out that not all people who play games are like that, and that this is not “standard gamer talk,” as the article claims. On the other hand, I would like to sarcastically thank these comment-thread idiots for giving people evidence that makes all of us look bad. Nice work, idiots.
Obsidian almost made The Ultimate Video Game
Do you ever think up crazy dream video games? Like, you take your favorite elements from your favorite titles and picture how they would look all mashed together. Well, some folks at Obsidian (the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas and the upcoming South Park: Stick Of Truth) did exactly that. As revealed by Kotaku, the never-released game was known as Backspace, and it would’ve been a mix of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect, Borderlands, and System Shock 2. Also, and this is just me making a guess, there might have been some Pearl Jam in there. Apparently, Backspace’s combat would’ve worked like a sci-fi version of Skyrim with guns, and you would’ve been able to travel between multiple different planets and one massive space station hub inspired by The Citadel from Mass Effect. You would’ve played as a cyborg with a robot arm and psychic abilities who can turn completely invisible in order to avoid enemies and also travel through time, in case you didn’t think there were enough cool things.
According to Kotaku, Backspace never really moved past the “let’s brainstorm every cool thing ever” stage, and Obsidian says that it’s still “on the shelf somewhere,” suggesting that it might actually be developed someday. Of course, that would be a long way off, so the developers could end up having to add even more cool things from games that come out between now and then. Maybe it could use some of Titanfall’s mechs, or Pikmin 3’s army of adorable flower creatures?