Thursday, 25 June 2009

Merge For The Kill!

Developers, merge and form Devastator!

Sorry for the crappy Transformers reference, I'm just trying to put a lighter spin on June Merge Week as it's beginning to be known.

First Bethesda purchases id Software yesterday, today EA staples together Mythic and Bioware. Tomorrow Valve is becoming 2K Steam.
So what does this mean for us? That some great developers aren't as independant or free from publisher messing around as we'd hoped? I think that should be obvious now. Ensemble Studios never made a bad game that wasn't successful, and Microsoft destroyed them. Irrational Games sold their souls to 2K to make Bioshock a success, the game paid for it, and they're not even allowed to touch the sequel. Westwood and Bullfrog got devoured whole by EA, and all they'd done was make great genre-defining games. Lionhead have lost Peter Molyneux and must surely be on their way out. Rare is now making casual games and 360 avatar clothing.
I'm more interested in what will happen with the games. I doubt Bioware will change much, but poor Mythic feel like they've just been trodden on. I'd hoped EA were past this stage. Bioware have already made their mistakes.
It's the id Software buyout that has me raising my eyebrows. They've been with Activision for years, and it's obvious they don't like what that publisher's become now. Even Rage is still down for being EA published instead. I'll give John Carmack some due for being honest, but mostly to this quote:
"We're not going to change the kinds of games we make…. It allows us to accelerate the growth of our internal studios, so we can focus on making all of our internal games as opposed to working with external partners where there has been a step down in quality..."
Heh. Not liking the look of Wolfenstein either, John? Still, about damn time. Doom 3 came out five years ago, and all we've had since then are ports. Rage isn't due out until next year, and it's looking... unexciting so far. Maybe if id stop worrying about making a new engine from scratch for every game and hoping to rely on licensing to keep them going (which backfired with the D3 engine), and instead work on making games, maybe they wouldn't be selling out. And hopefully now they'll stop getting Raven to make their games...
Oh, and 2K Boston's days are numbered. You know I'm right.


  1. Are you attacking Raven? What's wrong with Raven? Raven made Jedi Outcast and SoFII. Those are two of the best FPS games ever made. Leave Raven alone, or I shall break thine legs!

  2. Jedi Outcast was good, apart from stupid stealth sections, boring plot, and any bit that was actually a FPS instead of the lightsaber-arm-hacking-off-use-grip-to-casually-chuck-stormtroopers-into-chasms bits.

    SoF2... I really disliked. It bored me to tears. The first SOF I enjoyed, but not the second. Voyager Elite Force was good too.

    Raven are a good developer. Not great, just good. Wolfenstein will be good. Singularity will be good. That seems to be enough for them.

  3. Raven, the Tottenham Hotspur of developers.

  4. S'funny, I didn't think the plot was any worse than any other FPS; the guns were standard fair but I still used them for some sections; and as for the stealth sections... it's one of the few games where I actually enjoyed those, as I was sneaking around behind stormtroopers and force-gripping them to death...
    I haven't played The Force Unleashed, but so far Jedi Outcast was the best game I played that gave me a feel for the force and allowed me to skillfully wield a lightsaber.

    I'll leave the SoF2 rant for another day...

    Wolfenstein I haven't had time to form an opinion of yet, but Singularity looks boring for some reason.

    Quake 4 any good? (I might have actually bought it at some point but I keep buying games and stacking them up in a corner "to play later when I have the time)...

  5. Quake 4 is good. Just good. :P Fun, yes, definitely worth a dabble in your spare time, plus the multiplayer is basically more Quake III Arena, which is a good thing. The moment a PCZ preview noted that it was a sequel to both Quake II AND Quake III was when I was sold.

    Singularity I thought looked boring until I saw the trailer on PCZ's new coverdisc and discovered that it's C&C Red Alert: The FPS.

  6. I liked the first half of Quake IV but it was another game I played to finish, simply to get it finished.

    SoF2 made me feel like a naughty teenager with keys to the gun cabinet, and a giggling schoolgirl at the same time. I'm sure you can imagine the conflict as I tried to get in my own pants while simultaneously slapping my face while protesting a little too much. The only bad thing was that you couldn't turn the gun on yourself at the end.

    Singularity looks interesting, though I fear the time manipulation will probably just be a gimmick that soon tires leaving little else to fuel progression.

    Totally with DD on the JK:JO, K? TTFN BFFs