Obligatory Valve Fan Flailing
For the sake of objective, professional reporting, I will get the Valve fangirl squee out of my system first before reporting anything else. The most speculative piece of news this week, the one that has the industry picturing Gabe Newell with a perfect trollface, was the relatively mundane tweet “Ellen is going in Tuesday for a new game and more Portal work” by John Lowrie, husband of GLaDOS voice actress Ellen McLain. This could mean anything, from simple Portal related merchandise to the promised Portal 2 DLC to the outlandish possibility of a third installment in the beloved cake-based series. Valve has made no comment on the singer’s return to work.
They have, however, promoted their upcoming appearance at Gamescom 2011 in Cologne, Germany. Defense of the Ancients II will be revealed to the public for the first time at Gamescom, coinciding with the beginning of the their ‘international’ DotA 2 championship. Sixteen of the world’s top DotA teams will be competing over the five day convention, from August 17th to the 21st, the winner walking away with one million dollars. Fans who cannot attend the convention can watch the competition online in English, Chinese, German, and Russian for free. Valve gave an update to fans, saying that DotA 2 will be available on Steam for PC and Mac “later this year,” which could mean anything given Valve time. Hopefully we will get DotA 2 and Portal information soon.
Law and LOLs
We start this week with a story of crime and stupidity. When twenty-year-old woman from the UK thought her boyfriend had cheated at an unidentified computer game, she did what any reasonable, rational woman would: she ran him over multiple times with her car. Fracturing his skull, he was left with permanent brain damage that drove him out of his job. During her sentencing this week, she was given a restraining order keeping her from the ex for at least two years, along with a three year ban from driving and eleven months in a young offenders institution.
Of course, cases like this are balanced out by the presence of intelligence held by the judges and justices. We all applauded when the Supreme Court struck down the California law that would have banned the sale of violent or offensive video games to minors and imposed fines for violations, but the Justices wanted us to know that this was not an easy decision to come to. The newest Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan, said that she understood why California lawmakers wanted to pass the statute but could not square it against the First Amendment. “Precedence is very important to me,” she said, adding that the court is “extremely protective of the First Amendment and extremely protective of speech.”
We have covered the stupid criminals and the intelligent judges, so we must move to the middleman, the lawyers. Marcus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft, hopes that the recent lawsuit by Bethesda Softworks is just that, a case of “lawyers being lawyers.” He was sued by the creators of Elder Scrolls because his latest creation, Scrolls, has a name similar enough to theirs that they fear his sales will be made solely because of its close relation to theirs. The name alone is not the only similarity, apparently close enough both aurally and visually that Bethesda feels Scrolls needs to have a name change before it goes on sale. Despite Scrolls being a card battle game and Elder Scrolls being an adventure RPG, we will see how close the similarities are in court.
More Card Games
Who loves card games more than anyone? Japan. The new PSP game, Weiss Schwarz Portable is based off the popular card game and set in a Japanese high school. Along with a standard group of trope characters, the game also adds in a handful of cameo characters from other popular anime series. Nanoha, Haruhi, Index, Angel Beats, Fate Stay/Night, Macross and Idolmaster are all included, though creators dash the ronery hopes of otaku everywhere by revealing that you cannot date the licensed characters. The release date for this weeaboo card fest is November 23rd in Japan, but given its limited range, it is improbable to result in any release outside of glorious Nippon.