The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.
Fez II still canceled, Phil Fish (probably) still mad at everyone
It’s a story as old as time: Video game developer builds reputation as loose-cannon rockstar who says whatever he wants, video game media person also decides to be a loose-cannon rockstar who says whatever he wants, developer cancels video game. Our own John Teti wrote up the showdown between Phil Fish, the guy who created Fez, and Marcus Beer, a guy from GameTrailers who calls himself “Annoyed Gamer,” but the important part is that Fez II is no longer in development. Fish has been relatively quiet since the fight (which is to say, he hasn’t been canceling games or jumping into Twitter feuds), but Joystiq managed to speak with some people close to Fish who were able to shed some light on just how abrupt this cancellation was. Renaud Bédard, a programmer who worked on the original Fez, says he found out about Fez II’s demise at the same time as everybody else, when Fish made his announcement on Twitter. Marie-Christine Bourdua, a producer at Polytron (Fez’s development studio), said “it was weird and special to learn [about the cancellation] that way, but I respect and trust Phil a lot, so that’s totally fair that he decided that and he has his reasons.” Really, “weird and special” is probably a good way to describe anything Fez-related. Joystiq has a few more statements from Polytron, all of which seem surprisingly positive about how this will affect the studio, which is a nice change of pace for such a weird and special thing that happened.
New Star Wars: Battlefront not coming for a long, long time
During June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Electronic Arts showed a teaser trailer for a reboot of the Star Wars: Battlefront series coming from DICE—that’s the studio behind Battlefield, which heavily inspired the Battlefront games. It seemed like a perfect fit, and it helped EA rebuild some of that internet goodwill they’ve been shedding since forever. Oh, but what is life as a Star Wars fan without crushing disappointment? During a shareholder meeting, as reported by Polygon, EA estimated that Battlefront would most likely be released alongside the upcoming Star Wars sequels, putting it somewhere around the summer of 2015. That is a long way off. How hard is it to replace M16s and helicopters with bowcasters and landspeeders? To be fair, EA only signed its exclusive deal for Star Wars games in May of this year. So if anything, this is probably good news. In my experience, the best part of being a Star Wars fan is anticipating something cool coming in the future, because once you actually get it, reality inevitably sets in.
Super Smash Brothers fans want to see Nintendo Of America’s president beat up Pikachu
During its 2004 E3 press conference, Nintendo introduced its new marketing VP, and it was one of the coolest things ever. Why? Because this new corporate hire was a man named Reggie Fils-Aime, and he took the stage by saying “My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games.” It was the coolest thing ever, and it singlehandedly made Nintendo into the massive success that it is today, I choose to believe. (More on that massive success later.) Reggie has since been named the president and COO of Nintendo’s American operations, and he’s always on hand at press conferences to say something cool. In fact, he has been so embraced by Nintendo fans that more than 200,000 of them have signed an online petition asking the director of the upcoming Super Smash Bros. fighting games 3DS to include Reggie as a playable character. This isn’t one of those White House petitions that force the president to weigh in, which is unfortunate because I think Obama’s endorsement would make this a lot more likely to happen.
This week in game consoles that nobody is buying: The Wii U
In April, a Nintendo financial briefing revealed that things did not look good for the Wii U. CEO Satoru Iwata pinned the lack of sales on having “not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U.” Well, if Wii U is any indication, Nintendo still isn’t doing a very good job of that. Also, as reported by IGN, Nintendo only sold 160,000 Wii U consoles worldwide from the beginning of April to the end of June. That’s pretty bad, and to illustrate how bad that is, IGN also reports that the original Wii sold 210,000 in the same timeframe. Yes, the Wii U is being outsold by a console that everyone on the planet already owns. Even old people! Maybe Nintendo should adopt Sony’s approach from E3 earlier this year and market their system by pointing out all of the things it does that the other systems don’t. It’s backwards compatible! It plays Mario games! It…uhh…does other things! Nintendo!