iGR Industry Impact #2
Welcome to iGR’s second edition of Industry Impact. We collect the largest video game news from the past week, analyze it, and grade the collective impact these stories have had on the industry. This week held two new big game announcements, tons of rumors, and the departure of a certain individual from Microsoft Studios.
Most gamers have found their way to Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series in the past few years, and most of them have been more than happy with the quality of the two previous installments in the Arkham franchise. Batman: Arkham Origins beings a few changes to the table. First and foremost, Rocksteady is no longer developing the Arkham series (at least not this iteration). That task has been given to WB Games Montreal. The new development retains Rocksteady’s proprietary Unreal Engine to power the game, and that’s one very important aspect to help us sleep at night. The art direction of the previous Arkham games seems to also be intact. The 30’s style architecture Gotham is so well known for isn’t going anywhere, and that’s another fact that helps to melt our nerdy hesitation. WB Montreal aims to use the formula, or infrastructure Rocksteady established, and heavily expand upon it in Batman: Arkham Origins.
Word on the street is we’ll be less confined by our environment this time around. That’s due to WB Montreal treating us to Gotham proper. Batman will be grappling, gliding, and fast traveling with the help of the Batwing. The Batman that will inhabit the fiction of Origins is by no means green, but he hasn’t experienced the threat of villains like The Joker, Two Face, Poison Ivy, and most importantly The Penguin. The Penguin is an integral antagonist in the Origins story, and ol’ Cobblepot will be running an illegal arms dealing ring from within The Final Offer (Penguins floating fortress). That’s not the only change WB Montreal has in store.
The setting form Batman: Arkham Origins will be during the Christmas season. Snow and all means of Christmas decorations will accompany Gotham’s Gothic setting. It sounds like WB Montreal has a good grasp on what makes the Arkham games such great experiences. It sounds like they’ll be staying the course with the overall game play aspects, and offering a more open world for Batman to explore.
Adam Orth may have done somewhat irreparable damage to Microsoft’s next gen Xbox marketing strategy with his Twitter Tirade that left many feeling betrayed, angry, and insulted. Microsoft leapt into damage control mode in record time and released a statement assuring consumers that Orth wasn’t a spokesperson for Microsoft, and that his rant was not the position of Microsoft itself. It was unfortunate timing for this turn of events in the wake of several other negative rumors surrounding the next Xbox. The inflammatory comments came on the cusp of the “always on” rumors heating up, as well as the Kinect 2.0 being integral to the next Xbox.
Orth has now left Microsoft Studios. No word if this departure was voluntary, or forced, but his fifteen minutes are officially over. Amidst this announcement we also have reports that Microsoft has pushed it’s rumored Xbox Event back to May, just three weeks prior to E3.
Namco Bandai Games and From Software pulled the veil back on Dark Souls 2 this week with a 12 minute game play demo. The subsequent day a new trailer titled “despair” was released showcasing the level of isolation you’ll be subject to on your journey. The Dark Souls franchise has an ultra targeted and dedicated audience. In a recent Q&A session with NowGamer Yui Tanamura, Dark Souls 2 Co-Director talked about some of the aspects that were still left unanswered after the game play demo. Many of which help to put the aforementioned audience at ease when it comes to the direction of the next installment to the Dark Souls franchise. To name a few, the difficulty won’t be decreased to target a larger audience, the frame rate issues that plagued the original Dark Souls have been ironed out, and Namco/Bandai haven’t put pressure on From Software to target a new audience. All great news for the growing hardcore RPG franchise.
Virgin Gaming has released a new Xbox app that offers both free and paid tournament access to games like NBA13, NHL 13, Madden 13, and Fifa 13. The participants will be vying for their share of $100,000. Your cut of the money depends on your standing in the persistent leaderboards Virgin is implementing for the service. A large update to the service is already scheduled for May 2013 that will add “premium tournaments”. Shooters seem likely to be the next genre added to the competitive fold. It’s too bad there aren’t more MOBA’s on console as they are one of competitive gaming’s staples on the PC. However, it’d be a rude awakening to console MOBA players the first time they clashed with established PC groups.
Here’s our scoring scale for Industry Impact:
- Industry Changing
Even though this week didn’t offer any industry altering news, it had a few caveats that hold importance on the gaming landscape. Two successful franchises announced new installments, the quickly crowned most hated figure in gaming has fallen to obscurity, and gamers can become more hostile, and introverted than ever while earning real money on the couch. Here’s the verdict:
Solid (like a rock)
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