The stories for this week:
- Activision Executes Layoffs and Closes Studio
- Dragon Age DLC on Launch Day
- Epic Mickey Unveiled
- NPD September Numbers Next Week
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Brutal Legend Highlight Loaded Week
Activision Executes Layoffs and Closes Studio
Activision laid off people from two of their studios. 7 Studios, who Activision picked up earlier this year, lost about 30 people from their workforce. Shaba Games, makers most recently of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, was totally closed down with everyone laid off.
For those that know the story, 7 Studios was the company that was working on Scratch the Ultimate DJ for Genius Products. That game of course was seen as a competitor to Activision’s upcoming DJ Hero game. When Activision bought up 7 Studios, Genius brought about a lawsuit saying Activision bought 7 Studios in order to delay the release of their game as well as get access to peripherals for the game. At this point as far as I know there has been no announcement of a game 7 Studios is working on, although Activision has noted it will work in the music genre.
The loss of Shaba Games is sad. Although there last game wasn’t fantastic, it was certainly above average. My only worry is if this is not the end of Activision slashing it’s developers. Raven saw shrinkage recently and if Singularity fails I could see Activision closing them down even with the fantastic X-Men Origins: Wolverine having come out this year.
Source: Colony of Gamers
Dragon Age DLC on Launch Day
In what was probably the biggest gaming discussion explosion of the week, BioWare announced that two DLC offerings will be available when Dragon Age: Origins releases on November 3 on these shores. One of the offerings is free with any new purchase of the game. For those that get it used, it will cost you $15/1200 Microsoft Points to download the “Stone Prisoner” DLC.
The other DLC is where the major contention came from. The “Warden’s Keep” DLC will include a new dungeon/quest along with new abilities and a host of items for $7/540 Microsoft Points. The problem is that the general public is thinking this as a possible “DLC is located on the disc, you’re just unlocking it” situation. Signs are pointing to that not being the case though since the game itself has been done for months and has been through QA and has been in major reviewer’s hands for a few weeks now. The guess is that DLC making had begun during the QA process after the gang got a bit of a rest finishing the game. We’ll find out soon enough if this is true or not.
Source: Colony of Gamers
Epic Mickey Unveiled
I’m not sure about the name, but Game Informer unveiled the game as their cover story for the new format November magazine to go along with the web relaunch of the site. The game will be Wii exclusive and coming out in 2010. The other good news is the developer is Junction Point, Warren Spector’s new group. There were sketches of a steampunk Disney situation that leaked a while ago and this is obviously the game those were made for.
Word is Oswald the Rabbit (Walt Disney’s pre-Mickey creation) is the main villain who is trying to take back the world that Mickey stole from him. He fills the world with ink and Mickey uses a paintbrush to right what Oswald has done wrong. The game sounds cool and very Okami. It could be a landmark game for the Wii, much like the amazing Kingdom Hearts collaboration with Square-Enix became one of my favorite series of all time. I’m a big Disney fan and can’t wait to see the interior of the magazine which should be on stores next week.
Game Informer also has a hub site for coverage that will have things uncovered on certain dates. The link is below in the source section. One is already available (Spector talking about his love for Disney) and one opened up yesterday.
NPD September Numbers Next Week
I try not to point out NPD numbers too much in this column, but this is a special case. Next week the September numbers will be released and the PS3 is most likely going to come out on top (but by a small margin) in console sales. This will be the first time the PS3 has ever been on top of the sales chart outside of the week it had before the Wii release three years ago.
That’s the good news for Sony, the bad news is that it is sounding like Batman: Arkham Asylum may be the only title on the PS3 to appear on the top 10 sales chart.. Obviously, Halo 3: ODST will be on top with supposedly 2.5 million copies sold over two weeks. Other games of interest are combined sales of Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band with who came out on top. It is also rumored that Madden 10 sold well in September. Should be interesting next week and expect Sony to spin its hardware sales win like a top!
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Brutal Legend Highlight Loaded Week
The wallet threat level goes deep into the red this week, especially if you own just a PS3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PS3 and Tim Schaefer’s Brutal Legend on 360 and PS3 drop this week. In addition to those top tier games are some games that were scheduled for last week, but coming this week like A Boy and his Blob and Afrika. Also of special note is the Fallout 3: Game of the Year edition that comes out this week. It includes the original game and all 5 DLCs for $59.99. If you haven’t played the game or want to get the DLCs for relatively cheap, be sure to pick this up.
As many of you know, I’ve covered the major two games coming out this week here on this column multiple times. I’m truly excited to play both games (Damn you Nick for getting Brutal Legend early!) and don’t know which game I’m going to play first.