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:
- Guitar/DJ Hero, True Crime and Many People Get the Axe
- Crysis 2 and Master Key for Authentication Leaked on PC
- Activision Announces New Call of Duty Developer Beachhead
- Gawker Changes Look and Feel of Sites, Bad Decision IMO
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Dragon Quest VI (DS) This Week
Guitar/DJ Hero, True Crime and Many People Get the Axe
Activision swung the axe hard this week, although most of what they did was not entirely surprising to me. I’ve been lucky enough to review almost all the Guitar Hero games that have come out. I found them to be enjoyable even after Harmonix left to make Rock Band. The problem is that unlike FPS games the peripheral music rhythm game was going to have a finite shelf life.
As each iteration came out, both on the Activision side and Harmonix/EA/MTV side with Rock Band, it became abundantly clear that you would have to choose a side and possibly spend a lot of money to get new equipment for the games. Sure, you could live with your World Tour or Rock Band 2 instruments (the first time both brought out drums and mics in addition to the guitars and the first available cross use), but as each new version came out it usually was accompanied with better instruments or, in the case of Rock Band 3, an all-new instrument in the keyboard.
The simple fact is that following the music rhythm games could be a costly proposition and I think as newer versions came out, people were less interested. They felt overwhelmed by the amount of money they’d have to lay down in order to be “up to date” with everything. It was a good move by Activision to stop the making of Guitar Hero. I also foresee Harmonix axing Rock Band sometime in the future. Trust me, the sales of Rock Band 3 were not that much better than Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and they have the ability to move in other directions such as their hot game at the moment: Dance Central for the Kinect.
The other sad losses on the Activision side was that DJ Hero is done for, but once again I think the necessity for a peripheral really hurt the sales and I don’t think the second game was any more popular in sales than the first. True Crime also got the axe along with the developer that was making the new title based in Hong Kong. Word is that the game was either close or absolutely done, so canceling it this late in the game is a huge surprise.
It is obvious that Activision is going to concentrate on their cash cows: Call of Duty and Blizzard’s games. I know lots of people have problems with Call of Duty, but there is no sign of its sales dwindling. I noted that FPS games (and really shooting games) were a different breed. They are constant sellers and are usually just a $60 shot a year or so and people seem to eat them up. Face it, they’re here to stay and I’m not sure that Activision putting more Call of Duty games is going to kill the series or not.
Crysis 2 and Master Key for Authentication Leaked on PC
This has to hurt quite a bit. Word is that Crysis 2 and the Master Key that allows online authentication has been leaked to the usual warez sites many weeks before the release date of the game on March 22. The good news is that the game is also coming out on the 360 and PS3 and it was going to be a good judge of just how popular a PC game can be when there are console alternatives to play. Now that test may not be as great as it could have been. I have no idea how the game is going to turn out and I haven’t played the earlier games because I don’t have a powerful enough computer to play them. Certainly when I get a new computer that is one of the games I plan to pick up, I heard really good things about the game and hope this sequel is just as good.
Will be interesting to see if EA can put some kind of kill code on people playing the game out there.
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun
Activision Announces New Call of Duty Developer Beachhead
Along with the axing of Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and other things, Bobby Kotick also announced that a new developer has been created called Beachhead that will do something with the Call of Duty series. No word on who is tied to this group, whether another group like Raven, Sledgehammer or even Infinity Ward have been renamed or really anything. It will be interesting to see what plays out. Before the rumors of both Sledgehammer and Raven being brought on to help Infinity Ward with the next CoD game it was believed that Sledgehammer was working on a new game in the series. Rumors persist that the project was put on the back burner. Hopefully we’ll find out soon what is going on.
Gawker Changes Look and Feel of Sites, Bad Decision IMO
I’ve not been a big fan of the Gawker sites as a whole. I have special disdain for Kotaku and Gizmodo for shenanigans they’ve pulled in the past related to press events and the like. However I still read both because they do have some good information and in the case of Kotaku when they brought on Stephen Totilo I felt it might be a seismic shift in the feel of the page.
Out of the blue on Monday, Gawker and all of its sites had a new look and feel. The way they were set up is that key stories would be shown on the left, allowing them to use larger pictures and more text. On the right frame there were the major stories or what I am guessing is the most hit stories. Luckily they left a classic version that you could flip to by hitting the newspaper picture on the left frame. However it didn’t make things much better.
I just recently did some looking at what I would consider big stories and the amount of people commenting in them seems to be greatly reduced, maybe a sign that people aren’t liking the new look too much. I certainly hope they either flip it back or re-think their new look. I think they’ve alienated a lot of readers, even Penny Arcade commented on it today with the fact that at least Tycho has pulled all Gawker sites off of his bookmarks. I can only guess the higher ups at Gawker made this decision and all the sites had to conform. Bad decision and it could really hurt Gawker in the end.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Dragon Quest VI (DS) This Week
Really the biggest release is Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. If Capcom does as good a job on this game as they did on Street Fighter IV I think it will be awesome. I’m not so sure I’m big on the final boss given the fact it will probably be a super difficult fight, but I am certainly interested in the game. Dragon Quest VI is also released on the DS finally this week.