Welcome to Beyond Co-Op, a weekly piece that talks about industry stories that may or may not be related to co-op gaming.
The stories for this week:
- Ensemble Co-Founder Says Goodbye, At Least 2 Companies to Rise from Ashes
- Zombies Attack Austin, TX!...OK, Hackers Change Sign Wording
- NFL to Pay $28 Million to Retired Players for Unpaid Madden Royalties
- Three New Need for Speed Games Announced, Another Secret One in Works
- Prince of Persia Epilogue DLC Announced, Coming February 26th
Ensemble Co-Founder Says Goodbye, At Least 2 Companies to Rise from Ashes
Ensemble Co-Founder Bruce Shelley posted his final blog as a part of Ensemble Studios. With Halo Wars recently going gold, the closing of the developer is imminent. That’s the sad news, the silver lining in the cloud is that he says at least two companies will rise from the ashes. The first one will be the one tasked with working on upcoming DLC for Halo Wars as well as working on the online portion. No idea if this or the other company is the one that was rumored to be the major assets coming together into a new company or not. You also have to wonder if Microsoft’s recent layoffs will affect these companies at all or not.
Zombies Attack Austin, TX!...OK, Hackers Change Sign Wording
This is a pretty funny situation, although the television statement reporting it could have done some research and understood the Nazi Zombie reference is obviously from the recently released Call of Duty: World at War game. Of course, the government types have to piss on the hilarity of this all by saying this is a crime and how serious it is. Personally I’m willing to bet most people laughed at it because they obviously wouldn’t take it seriously…right?
Source: KXAN Austin
NFL to Pay $28 Million to Retired Players for Unpaid Madden Royalties
No huge surprise here since the NFL and NFLPA did allow retired players like John Elway into recent Madden games and not give them royalty payments for their appearance in the game. That’s a big no-no since a player is always part of the NFLPA even after they are retired. Granted, this is sports personalities getting more money, but you can also think about the really old players who played for pittance versus the players of today that sign multi-million dollar contracts.
Source: Games Industry
Three New Need for Speed Games Announced, Another Secret One in Works
There was a rumor not long ago that the Need for Speed franchise was finished, especially with the cutting of Black Box. Now we know better that many Black Box employees have been moved to another EA location and just this week EA announced three (3!) new Need for Speed games on the horizon and then later talked about a fourth secret one in the works. The general feeling from the announcements is that the rumor of the series death was more apt to be described as a reset of the series (whether that is good or not).
First up is Need for Speed: Shift, coming to the PS3, 360, PC and PSP. It will be a “hardcore racing simulation” game and is overseen by Michael Mann of Black Box and DICE Co-Founder Patrick Soderlund and will be developed by external developer Slightly Mad Studios. Now, EA did try to move into a more simulation centered game with ProStreet, but that was one bad game compared to the others. Let’s hope this one is better.
Next up is Need for Speed: Nitro, coming to the Wii and DS. This is being developed by EA Montreal and will have a unique visual style. They don’t want to sacrifice core series gameplay for the lower powered Wii and DS. The last one is Need for Speed: World Online for PC, a free to play online racer developed by Black Box and EA Shanghai that will be available in Asia this summer and North America this winter. Also announced was another secret game in the series with no word of platforms or anything. The first three games are probably coming out before the end of 2009, who knows on the fourth one. To me this seems like saturating the market too much and the high-selling days of the series may unfortunately be long past.
Prince of Persia Epilogue DLC Announced, Out February 26th
This is weird, but Ubisoft announced that there will be a roughly 3 hour DLC add-on for Prince of Persia that will come out February 26th on the PS3 and 360. The weird thing is that it is titled “Epilogue” and will have a story set right after the end of the narrative in the game. For those that have played and beaten the game you will know why I think this is weird, but I will stay away from spoilers about it here. In the DLC you will have a new enemy, The Shapeshifter, Eliza gets a new power called “Energize” that will fix broken things and you get a new sprint feature.
No price announced as of yet and the only other question I have is whether this DLC was actually going to be in the original game or not and they had to cut off the full game with the ending it got and deliver the DLC later. I think it’s a good thing to ponder and I am interested in this, but I’m just not sure how they continue the narrative and keep a connection with the next game for those that don’t buy this DLC.