Well, it seems that my usual unbridled optimism has proven incredibly misguided. As Nappi pointed out in his comment to the previous post, Gamespot has posted an update on the Activision/Vivendi situation, and it is unfortunately not good:
"The only franchises that Activision Publishing will release are based on Crash Bandicoot, Ice Age and Spyro, as well as Prototype and one other game that has not yet been announced," the representative said. "We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing."This leaves Brütal Legend without a publisher, and in an uncertain situation at the moment, as far as I'd know. Let's hope this news isn't as bad as it seems, and that Double Fine will have little trouble finding a new publisher for this game.
Update by Tingler: Sierra have given a quote to gaming blog Destructoid about the Ghostbusters game, which reads simply:
"It is not cancelled and will not be cancelled."They sound very sure of that. This means that there's definitely hope for all the other games, including The Rockin' Game Brütal Legend. Don't lose hope yet!
Update #2 by Jason: "Brütal Legend is fine," says DFAN.
Update #3 by Thrik:
Variety has provided some more details which imply that Brutal Legend has been completely dropped by Activision Blizzard, and not simply forgotten about or sold under another Activision Blizzard brand as many have speculated:
"Double Fine ... is very close to sealing a new deal to release the game. I don't know who it will be, but I understand that it may not be a traditional publisher. It could be a more "unique" arrangement."That's all we've got, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that digital distribution is on the cards here. The most likely candidate would be Valve's Steam, which has been burning off plenty of copies of Psychonauts for some time now.
Hopefully an actual in-store release will still occur though, because clearly this is a big game that deserves more than to be exclusively distributed via downloads.
In case you're still sobbing about Brutal Legend, prepare to get out another box of Kleenex - as guessed, Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People has slipped again out of July. The release date is now a mere speculmate at August, simply because that's next month.
But don't worry too much. According to IGN and clarified by Emily on the Telltale Forums, the game is finished and has been sent to Nintendo for approval. Once that's been given it will quickly be released. Not long to go now, then! Light on the horizon!
It's old news that Activision and Vivendi, two of the biggest publishers out there, have begun the process of merging together into an uber empire of hugeness. The effect that this has had on Double Fine's Brütal Legend, itself a Vivendi funded game (under their Sierra banner) has been irritating but minimal: the merger has caused some stalls (that have apparently caused rocker King Diamond to be told that he will be "gotten back to" with regard to voiceover work for the game), and inevitably delays.
But today, Gamespot reports that several of Vivendi's in-development games are being re-evaluated as a direct result of the merger, with a few of their projects apparently set to be axed in an effort to "streamline" Vivendi. As a high profile game, Gamespot of course notes that the publisher's press release on the matter made no mention of Double Fine's upcoming heavy metal action/adventure. A few months earlier, Activision Blizzard executives had required some games on Vivendi's slate to be re-pitched by its developers for re-evaluation. At the time, Tim responded to the situation with the following encouraging words:
I'm sure Activision is reviewing all the games--that only makes sense," said Double Fine boss Tim Schafer. "But I haven't been asked to go anywhere or pitch anything special. Anyway, like you said, Brütal Legend speaks for itself! Anyone messes with our game, Ronnie James Dio will put a hex on them.And really before you get too worried it should be said that this news, like the merger in general, will probably end up having no negative effect on the development or existence of Brütal Legend, but still, my heart can't take this. After all the drama and grief Schafer fans had to go through with Psychonauts (which itself was a victim of Microsoft's own "re-evaluations"), you'd think the gods would cut us a break.
While we're waiting for the full info on Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, why not have a read of the Comic-Con Q&A on episodic content featuring both Telltale and Hothead. Sadly Ron Gilbert didn't make an appearance on the Hothead side, but the developers still talked about DeathSpank.
And then they all got into a big argument over the correct amount of time within which to release episodes in. Have a read.
I'd like to direct your attention to Telltale Fans, an upcoming web site whose subject matter should be obvious. While a curse seems to have befallen past endeavors of similar visions, I have the utmost confidence in the vitality of this one. Frankly, Telltale deserves a fan presence undiluted enough that it merits their friendship.
Anyway, break a leg you
Yeah, that's right, we're getting details on Episode 2 before Episode 1 is even releaed. IGN got a sneak peak at the second of Strong Bad's five upcoming episodic adventures. Titled Strongbadia the Free, the episode features... Well, even the small amount they reveal might be considered spoilers, so just visit IGN's preview if you want the scoop as well as a speck of info on the third episode. Woah, now.
Those of you waiting for info on the release dates and price info for Strong Bad will just have to keep waiting, though it's becoming pretty unlikely that July ain't gonna happen. Stay tuned and keep the faith.
By reading The Pumpkin Post, you could learn about this interview with Bill Tiller by Kezins. Tiller supplies lots about the current progress of both A Vampyre Story and its first sequel, as well as a bit about two - count 'em, two - unannounced adventure games we should expect to see from Autumn Moon in the future. It seems that to reflect the crazy amount of activity going on at the studio there has been some significant expansion:
To accommodate doing three games we expanded from five people in house to eleven in house people. And we about that many out of house now too. We also now have a business manager and president, and he has really helped us grow and get more organized, and soon will get us involved with investors to help expand the business even more. We also have a new background painter, rigger, programmer, writer and two engine programmers. So it has been an incredible last six months and exciting things are starting to happen at an alarmingly rapid pace.It is also suggested that we should expect an appearance of the game at this year's Leipzig convention in August, which may coincide with a site redesign.
Anyway, do read it all, because you will learn much. Plus, there's a new screenshot!
"We're certainly going for the clay look with this," Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors told The Associated Press. "Clay presents a challenge if you really get into the detail of it. For example, adding fingerprints in a medium where there aren't any is one of the discussions of how far we should go with the game's detail."
"Grand Adventures" will allow gamers to play as both Wallace and Gromit, engaging in zany entrepreneurial schemes and tinkering with kooky contraptions. Connors said "Grand Adventures" will feature more physical and situation-based comedy and would likely follow the distribution model of Telltale's episodic video game series "Sam & Max."
Source: Associated Press
The Telltale Games Store has now been updated with a preorder page for the boxed version of Sam & Max Season Two, which is expected to ship August (that's next month, by the way). Those who already bought the whole Season will of course be getting it for FREE (apart from shipping of course) and should be getting an email through shortly - I've got mine already.
Apart from the five episodes, there's a bonus region-free DVD with:
• A concept art galleryAnd of course, and extraordinarily cool exclusive cover by Steve Purcell.
• A brand new outtake reel
• Production notes from members of
the Sam & Max design team
• Twelve desktop wallpapers
• Cutscene video reels with 4+ hours of commentary tracks from the developers
• Promotional trailers for all five games plus the cinematic teaser that kicked off the season
• "Sam & Max Nearly Save Christmas,"
a 20-minute holiday special
• An MP3 soundtrack sampler
And that's not all! There's also the welcome return of the pointlessly collectable Case File and the fantastic Season Two Soundtrack (which also has it's own exclusive jazzy Steve Purcell cover).
Oh, and if you're planning on getting both the soundtrack and case file, maybe you'd like to do this instead, where you get both of those and the fabulous poster showing the Season Two artwork!
We now return to QVCMojo...
GameTrailers' enjoyable Star Wars gaming retrospective continues with Episode VII, which covers the 'Expanded Universe' games (which technically Jedi Knight, The Clone Wars, and all the ones which aren't direct film adaptations are, but we'll forgive that). This means Shadows of the Empire (the last big gap-filling Star Wars gaming extravaganza that TFU is also doing) and the two Knights of the Old Republic games.
(sniff) Sorry, I just remembered KOTOR II's ending and that the next game is a MMORPG.
And speaking of fan-angering MMORPGs, the next episode is on Star Wars Galaxies.
LucasArts' utter failure to promote Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings at E3 does not mean that the game is in (more) trouble, according to the probably-not-lying San Francisco based game studio when GameDaily inquired about the game's status. Here's the whole piece since it's not that big:
During our E3 demo with LucasArts this morning (Clone Wars, Fracture and Force Unleashed), DailyGame was able to confirm that the Indiana Jones videogame first shown at E3 2006 is still "very much" in development.It might also be worth mentioning that Lucasfilm is supposed to have significant presence at next week's Comic-Con, where according to rumor they'll be unveiling their Crystal Skull home video plans.
Rumors have swirled that the Indiana Jones game for PS3 and Xbox 360 had been cancelled, either because it missed the window tying it to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, or because recent layoffs had put development on hiatus.
That's very far from the truth, says LucasArts.
Apparently, the Indiana Jones PS3 and Xbox 360 game is "very deep into development," with a team "working very actively" to bring the game up to a form for public/media consumption. And, because the game shares an engine with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which ships this fall, such a display may not be as far off as you might think.
The progress the development team is making has apparently been paying off in strides, as one LucasArts representative told us that "the game looks great." With any luck, we'll be able to determine that for ourselves in the months ahead.
Yeah, it turns out we weren't joking about it, even though maybe we should have been. The Tingler and I went ahead and put together a Mojo podcast about Insecticide, accomplished by using two tin cans, a piece of yo-yo string long enough to cross the Atlantic, and a pair of Talkboys. The end result is every bit as awkward, self-indulgent and unfocused as you'd want from something out of Mojo. The general idea was for it to be just two guys shooting the breeze about Insecticide, and I hope it succeeds in increasing your interest for the game if it happened to be low.
The fact that we've never done this before and had no idea what we were doing will probably be evident enough when you listen to it, but wait until you hear that the only option you have to get it is this ~60MB download (68 minutes). Well, actually The Tingler attempted to sex things up by also making this video version (which features gameplay videos and screenshots to complement the audio) for the folks into huge file sizes. I only watched enough of it to verify that it wasn't in fact just a DVD rip of Weekend at Bernie's Part II, but what I saw seemed awesome. I also believe that a few minutes were shaved off of the video version after Thrik and Remi whined about the podcast being just barely too long for them to watch on their iPhone during church, or something.
Anyway, enjoy, if that is the appropriate word, and please do leave your feedback!
It sure seems like the long rumoured EA/Bioware / LucasArtrs MMO set in the "Old Republic" has been confirmed.
...EA CEO John Riccitiello has confirmed that the Bioware MMO is tied to Knights of the Old Republic and hinted towards a stronger involvement with Lucasfilm.
Speaking to Portfolio.com, Riccitiello proclaims, "We've got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development."
"And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about, in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it."
When pressed for clarification as to whether this referred to a Knights of the Old Republic MMO, Riccitiello answered, "Yes."
So, there you go.
Previously, trying to visit the URL of Mata Hari's official web site from the recent trailer brought you to a nonexistent destination, but now it's finally launched. It's a lovely site (click the flag on the top-right for the English version), and features plenty of new screenshots and concept art, along with the trailer and other things. Best of all, the English version of the game is now confirmed. Be sure to check it out, and let's hope their "Fall 2008" estimation turns out to be more accurate than not.
Also, don't ask me to explain which of the five companies I've seen associated with this game are actually the developer and publisher respectively. Anyone want to clear this up for me?
Over at their recently launched Sam & Max Wii page, Telltale has put up a trailer and some new screenshots. The trailer is awesome, but none of these glimpses of the port actually show gameplay, and so we continue to be deprived of Sam's hand in action. Judging by the screenshots and the footage though, the game hasn't lost anything in the translation.
In case you hadn't noticed, E3 (or what passes for E3 these days) is currently in progress.
Unfortunately while LucasArts are there, they seem to have not done anything notable themselves just yet. The only thing of interest was a new trailer in the middle of Nintendo's conference for The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels. Marvel as two grown men make tits out of themselves by doing what we only ever do in private or with one of those expensive replicas!
UPDATE: There are several new trailers for The Force Unleashed now up from the show, including:
1. Battle with the bad-ass super horned rancor, with a surprise appearance by Dark Jedi Maris Brood (who's got an action figure y'know, not that I've bought it or anything).
2. Battle with the weird "junk titan" that looks like it walked off the set of Galaxy Quest
3. A walkthrough in the TIE Fighter Factory, which sadly makes starfighters and not new copies of TIE Fighter.
4. Some general videos of the Wii, PS2 and PSP versions in both multiplayer and single-player.
The first three can be seen here, and the videos of the non-LucasArts developed version can be seen here.
Fracture has also been shown off, and two large gameplay walkthroughs can be seen right here. Now you can make up your mind whether it's going to be any good or not, if you haven't already!
Still no Indy.
Just a quick reminder that the Secret History article devoted to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is going up at the end of the month (assuming nothing goes wrong, which it will), and we need you to send in your reader opinions. I don't mean to scare you, and this could be pure coincidence, but my great grandmother didn't send in a reader opinion for our MI2 article, and she's dead. Just throwing that out there.
Also, like with the past article we are willing to accept reader-submitted editorials (or whatever the heck you want to call them...just some piece related to the game in any way that's too lengthy to be called a reader opinion), provided they don't suck. So even though I'm giving you rather short notice, please feel free to work on something along those lines if you've got something more verbose that you think people need to hear about Monkey Island 2.
I'd also remind you to play the game that features this web site's namesake, but the fact is that if you haven't played this game already, you should be put to sleep. Be sure to replay it this month in celebration though.
As JP posted on the forums (but not here, for whatever reason), Telltale's appearance at this year's Comic-Con will be where they announce their remaining "mystery license" for which they'll develop a new episodic series:
On Saturday [the 26th], Comic-Con will hosts a Telltale Games panel where the creators will announce plans for a third episodic game series to join their Sam and Max and Strong Bad series.So keep an eye out for that.
It doesn't reveal anything crazy, of course, but it's still pretty awesome, and features the real version of the box art. Also, check out this magazine ad for it. Look for the Wii version of Sam & Max: Season 1 sometime this fall, marking the duo's first appearance on a game console (not that they haven't tried in the past).
Also don't forget that the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Homestar Ruiner, is still due for simultaneous release on WiiWare and PC sometime this month. Hopefully we'll get some pricing and scheduling information sometime soon, but in the meantime, get excited for all the Telltale goodness (which remember also includes the unveiling of a whole new game), that's coming your way in the near future.
Update by Gabez: all a-shiver about Telltale's mystery new licence? Speculate away on our forums!
Entertainment Weekly exclusively has a new, and it must be said pretty cool, trailer for The Force Unleashed. It's more of a proper film-style trailer than previous videos, which have mostly focused on the technology, interviews or gameplay. This one seems to be about the story.
A lot of previously-rumoured characters and locations are revealed in this trailer, such as Princess Leia, the Emperor and the Death Star. Could it be - gasp - a decent Star Wars game? It'll be at E3 next week, so hopefully we should have some answers.
UPDATE: GameTrailers has it now too, in SD and HD and for download too.
Contrary to earlier reports, those hoping to see Brutal Legend shown at this year's E3 will be disappointed — it isn't happening, according to MTV.
The delay's supposedly a result of the publisher, Vivendi, who you may have heard are in the process of merging with the venerable Activision and will weirdly become known as Activision Blizzard.
Reassuringly, there're apparently no issues with the development status of the game. It's still being produced, and Schafer hopes there'll be a new media release shortly after E3 once the publisher merger is more of a memory. We're probably talking months rather than weeks here, of course!
It's looking increasingly likely that the 2008 release date will end up falling into 2009, sadly.
UPDATE: Tim reveals the reason behind this decision.
GameTrailers have now posted the sixth episode in their ultimate Star Wars Retrospective, following the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series, arguably the coolest Star Wars games out there. The next in the series will be on the contenders to that title - the Knights of the Old Republic series, as well as Shadows of the Empire.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is basically a continuation of the series in all but name (then again, so was Obi-Wan), as well as the next big cross-media Star Wars event after Shadows of the Empire, so I'll also link to a number of pre-E3 previews for TFU: Eurogamer likes it but has some concerns about player freedom, and IGN have a look at the characters and story, and then the game itself.
Additionally, Amazon are listing pre-orders for Nintendo DS Lightsaber stylus pens, as well as the mighty Robot Chicken Star Wars Special, both to be released this month. And I believe there's a new film coming out too.
You cannot resist, my son.
Okay, so against our better judgment The Tingler and I may be attempting to put together some sort of intangible phonetic recording (what some of the more hip kids on the internet might refer to as a "podcast") for the first time ever in Mojo history. The subject? Insecticide - that sort of adventure game about bugs that's currently being released for the PC, and which you may not be as excited about as you should due to the somewhat wonky nature of its public exposure.
Well, as people who've played the game and know it to be good, we want to change that, but we need your help. What do you want to know about Insecticide? What topics would you like us to discuss? What, in your mind, would make for an interesting listen on the subject of Insecticide? Post your ideas in the comments below so that our resultant efforts might be something that's only mostly awkward and weep-worthy, rather than entirely.
Amazon.com has got a product page for what appears to be a complete boxed version of Insecticide for PC-DVD. While about a year ago it was suggested that a retail release would follow the downloadable episodes eventually, this is the first I've actually heard of this, and I find it a bit fishy since the second episode hasn't even been released yet.
Anyway, Amazon claims the game will be shipping on July 8th for the price of $19.99, so I guess we'll find out if this is real soon enough.
UPDATE by Tingler: Yes, it's wrong.
As Benny pointed out on IRC, Insecticide Part 1 is now available for download on Steam! Hopefully that's a help to people who are more comfortable with the digital distribution policies of Valve's services over the other current alternatives.
Telltale? You're next, right?
Update: The game is now available from Direct2Drive and Gametap!
There actually hasn't been any shortage of previews of Sam & Max: Season 1 for the Wii, but I've never bothered mentioning them because they haven't told us anything we didn't know before, nor did they even offer screenshots.
Thankfully, today's preview from IGN has a trifle more to say, such as mentioning that there will be unlockable concept art and character bios. Also, they provide what seems to be the first four genuine screenshots from the Wii version. Unfortunately, none of them showcase the cursor so you can't see Sam's hand icon in action just yet, but something tells me that if you visit Telltale's main page and click "Watch the trailers" on their new Season 2 flash banner, you might get a horizontally rotated sneak peak.
Oh, and I should also probably inform you of this new Strong Bad preview, this new Strong Bad Q&A, and this Dave Grossman interview up on the Telltale blog.
An MTV reviewer who was initially anti-Fracture has had his opinion changed after a hands-on play test.
What you do with a skeptic like me is put me in the tutorial. And the tutorial level of “Fracture” is good, one of the more fun first levels I’ve played of a game in a while. The tutorial is a training ground that leads into a fight in and outside a prison (that conveniently has exposed patches of dirt!). The earth-moving weapons are introduced one at a time. You’re encouraged to use each one in grand fashion. You’re raising mounds of dirt that lift massive turrets into energy shields that destroy them. You’re blowing up large towers. You’re creating deep ditches to let you walk under a wall...Read the rest here.
You basically do nothing in “Fracture”’s tutorial level that feels subtle, and that’s why it feels so good.
As noted on Grumpy Gamer, you can read an epic, seven page interview with Ron conducted by Chris Remo at Gamasutra. This is hardly Remo's first rodeo, and so the resultant excellence of this interview can hardly be surprising.
In any event, Ron shares many things about his Grumpiness, his thoughts on the industry, and of course DeathSpank, so do read the whole interview.