Friday, 8 May 2009

And so much for June too.

A couple of posts ago I was disillusioned with the quality of May's games, while at the same time looking forward to June. Well, thanks to last-minute sneaky business tactics, those games might be no longer optional. These two games I'm about to talk about I was really excited about, as you can see if you go all the way back to my Most Wanted List. The first is Ghostbusters: The Videogame and the second is Batman: Arkham Asylum.
(This is all your fault)
This first one wasn't the first to slip but it has me the more annoyed, as the game was already done and will be released in June in the US. It's Ghostbusters, which is one of my favourite films.
Despite the film being a Sony property, Sony didn't give a shit about the game back in 2008 when Activision dropped it. It didn't give a shit when Atari picked it up and carried it on for every format except the Sony PSP. Spider-Man is a far more lucrative license that's even more closely connected to Sony (the PS3 logo is in Spider-Man's font, for example) and yet all the games based on it have always been multi-format. Sony just didn't care.
Suddenly, a month before release and just after ex-Sony head Phil Harrison arrived at Atari, they suddenly give a shit about a game based on a 25-year-old film. Ghostbusters is now PS3 and PS2 exclusive until later in the year. The PSP version comes later. And only in European territories.
I mean, huh? There are so many things here that don't make sense. Why wait until a month before release? Why only push for the PSP version now when it's too late to arrive for the timed exclusivity? Why only in PAL territories? Why are Atari claiming that Sony's support will "allow them to reach more customers in Europe" when they were doing perfectly fine without Sony's help and actually will now be reaching about 64 million less customers than they were before? Why do Sony think this will do anything but piss off Xbox, Nintendo and PC gamers, magazines, stores, and the developers?
Still, us PC gamers have the last laugh because we can import it from the US without fear of region-locking. And even with tax and international delivery rates it's still cheaper than the PS3 version

(You're a bastard too.)

Which brings me on to my second game, which I accept a lot more... providing the reasons behind it were honourable. It's Batman: Arkham Asylum, it was due to come out the same day as Ghostbusters, and once again this decision was only made a month before release (is that day cursed or something?). And unlike Ghostbusters, there's no importing as it's worldwide not coming out until "Late Summer 09". Nice of you to be specific, guys.

Once again just like Ghostbusters, the reason for this seems down to last-minute business shenanigans, with Square-Enix taking over Eidos (the game's publisher). Eidos had been really ramping up the hype (both PCZ and PSM3 have it on their latest covers, demos in stores), so I doubt they would've gone with this choice themselves.

If Eidos/Squeenix are to believed that the game was held back "to make it as perfect as possible" (I thought it was perfect already) then I don't mind too much - more development time means a better game (unless you're 3D Realms of course). On the other hand, maybe they wanted it at a more lucrative time of year... but publishers aren't driven by money, surely?

Oh well, at least I've still got Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings on the Wii.


- Chris Capel

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