iGR Industry Impact #1
Welcome to iGR’s newest weekly editorial Industry Impact. The concept is rather simple, and it’s a great way to catch up on the biggest stories of the gaming industry. We’ll collect those stories for you, and weigh them based on their impact that they have on the gaming industry as a whole.
EA Games and DICE reveal Battlefield 4 –
The hugely popular multiplayer focused FPS made a big splash this console generation with Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. The former converted many would be CoD fans to a larger scale shooter, and the latter attempted to borrow some of the aspects of CoD to directly compete with the FPS titan. Battlefield 3 has had great success with it’s premium service that offers all it’s DLC installments at a discounted price, and it will more than likely extend the service for Battlefield 4. The reveal of Battlefield 4 was handled in what’s becoming an industry standard for large game announcements.
- Teaser trailers
- A “leaked” partial trailer to whip the industry into a frenzy
- An exclusive reveal event for media outlets
The first two aspects of that plan worked famously. The teaser trailers that released prior to Battlefield 4’s official announcement gave us hints to new game play aspects that will be included in the new installment. The second trailer released prior to the announcement teased naval combat. Which is a welcome addition to the already robust vehicle selection in the Battlefield series. The more than likely orchestrated “leak” that occurred prior to the DICE reveal event showed the first thirty seconds of the seventeen minute single player demo that was shown at the official announcement. These two aspects worked rather well to create the buzz EA and DICE were looking for.
As for the reveal itself I found it somewhat strange that EA and DICE chose to focus solely on the single player campaign. As mentioned earlier Battlefield is renowned for it’s multiplayer suite, and gamers are typically underwhelmed by the series’ attempts at single player campaigns. Those in attendance also referred to the fact that the presenters were uninspired and stoic. The demo itself contained seventeen minutes of a single player mission titled “Fishing in Baku“. The standard fare SNAFU that inevitably happens in every military shooter occurs, and four soldiers defeat an entire military unit in tremendous fashion. It’s tough for the genre because story and graphics are really the only areas that the FPS has left to improve upon. The graphics on display in the demo were fantastic, but again the story was the same uninspired experience we’ve had twenty times before in the military shooter. As of now the pre-order platforms offered are Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. It’s my belief that Battlefield 4 will also be going next gen on the Playstation 4, and soon to be announced NextBox. EA and DICE did a great job building anticipation for their next Battlefield installment, but failed to fully capitalize on their momentum they worked so hard to create.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain announcement –
The Metal Gear Solid franchise has one of the most loyal fan bases in the gaming industry. That loyalty is mostly due to generation spanning quality that Hideo Kojima has been able to produce. The last major installment in the franchise was 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and the gap between releases works to combat franchise fatigue (unlike certain yearly release franchises). Konami employed their own clever tactic in creating anticipation for their subsequent title reveal. Back at Spike’s Video Game Awards Kojima showed a clip from a project titled “The Phantom Pain” that started the rumor mill months before the eventual confirmation of Metal Gear Solid 5. Just weeks ago Kojima went on record stating his worry that Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes‘ (another code name for what turned out to be MGSV) subject matter would be too mature for some demographics. Another clever tactic was Kojima showing up to the GDC reveal wrapped in bandages. The theatricality helped add to the buzz created back at the VGA’s. A new trailer accompanied the reveal, and six minutes of game play followed. The MGSV reveal went over a great deal better than our other game announcements this week.
Yoichi Wada Resigns as CEO of Square Enix –
Yoichi Wada has stepped down after posting more than disappointing earnings losses, and a heavily adjusted revenue forecast. This will mark the end of a decade long Presidency at Square Enix for Wada. Yosuke Matsuda is set to replace Wada moving forward (Matsuda is the current CFO with Square Enix). Sluggish sales figures in the Western markets were one of the main contributors to the considerable loss posted. Many recent releases in the Western market include Sleeping Dogs, Hitman Absolution, and the Tomb Raider reboot. All three titles received critical acclaim, but they failed to meet the sales figures needed to turn profits. Tomb Raider alone reportedly cost over one hundred million to produce, and needs to sell another two million copies to turn a profit. With these facts in mind Square Enix has decided to aggressively restructure.
Activision GDC Tech Demo –
Earlier this week at GDC Jorge Ramirez took to the stage and showed an intriguing piece of footage. It seems that Activision’s R&D has been busy for the last few years working on possible next generation facial modeling (among other things). The tech demo showcased incredibly realistic facial modeling features. Facial features like wrinkles, nostril flaring during speech, and squinting were hauntingly realistic. During his speech Ramirez stated this kind of modeling may be attainable next gen. This isn’t the first incredible example of facial modeling shown recently, but this specific example along with Quantic Dream’s showing during the Playstation 4 reveal have no doubt been the most impressive.
BioShock: Infinite release –
After an arduous development cycle that began approximately five years ago, BioShock: Infinite has released to amazing critical acclaim. This doesn’t surprise me considering Irrational Games and Ken Levine’s track record, but the amount of adversity that the developers overcame to release a gold standard product is surprisingly impressive. To put it into perspective let’s look at the timeline from the first Bioshock: Infinite teaser shown, to it’s release just this week. The teaser trailer debuted in July of 2010 when Infinite was rumored to be two and a half years into it’s development cycle. The first delay came in May of 2012 and pushed the release back until late February of 2013. In December 2012 that date was extended to accommodate for further polish before release. The date selected was 3-26-2013, which as we all know ended up being the actual release date. It’s nice to know that publisher Take Two Interactive gave Irrational the time they needed to produce the best product they could. BioShock: Infinite has received a 96 on it’s metacritic score making it one of the highest rated titles ever.
Here’s our scoring scale for Industry Impact:
- Industry Changing
With one relatively large SNAFU, the resignation of a CEO, a cleverly orchestrated game reveal, game changing facial modeling, and a franchise defining release – this weeks Industry Impact is:
Impressive (over forty Couric’s)
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