Meet the New Capcom, Same as the Old Capcom
When Capcom was forced to cut their earnings expectations in half back in April, the move was partly blamed on the “decline in quality [of their franchise games] due to excessive outsourcing”. This comment was directed towards both Ninja Theory and Slant Six Games, the mediocre developers behind the underperforming DmC and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, along with Spark Unlimited, the budget developer contracted to produce the presumably abysmal Lost Planet 3, which is to be released next month. In response to these poor results Capcom pledged to cut a slew of previously unannounced externally developed games, while moving the majority of their productions in-house in order to maximise quality – yet it would appear that old habits die hard.
Capcom has this week announced a reboot of the Strider series, simply called Strider [so as to engender the greatest possible confusion, while also whitewashing the Genesis and arcade classic from the annals of history]. This announcement caused a great amount of initial excitement up to the point where gamers discovered that this would not be an internal development undertaken by Capcom, but rather had been farmed out to Double Helix Games.
Double Helix are perhaps best known for two high profile game reboot flops in the form of Silent Hill: Homecoming and Front Mission Evolved, along with Microsoft’s poorly received forthcoming freemium reboot of Killer Instinct for the Xbone. The studio’s net historic output averages a mere 60% on Metacritic, and curious gamers would have to travel back in time to the year 2000 in order to find a single one of their games which [barely] averaged over 80% – which is not a particularly good strike-rate considering the fact that they have developed fourteen unique software titles subsequently. In short, this is business as usual for Capcom, as they contract out yet another one of their popular legacy franchises to one of the cheapest guns-for-hire in the industry. Perhaps this Strider reboot had simply spent too much time in development to cancel it off the back of Capcom’s less than stellar results, yet this is an exceedingly poor look for a company that is supposedly turning over an new leaf. At any rate, Strider deserved better.
A Failure to Kinect
Sony have long stated that their PS4 would not initially cost them anywhere near as dearly to shoulder as the PS3, which led to a number of ill-informed plebs calling bullshit on such claims; afterall, how could Sony manage to produce a PS4 capable of completely blitzing the Xbone in terms of its technical specifications, while selling the console for one hundred dollars less, and yet keeping material costs down to the point where selling the hardware itself was almost cost neutral? If anything, this was the one remaining ray of light for Microsoft’s ardent defenders – “imagine how much money Sony must be losing, they’ll totally go out of business!”
Well, such thinking certainly did not take into account the fact that Microsoft priced their console to generate profit from day Bone, nor of course did Microsoft do themselves any favours by designing themselves a five billion transistor APU that was so big and hot that it led to manufacturing yield problems, but, as it turns out, perhaps the biggest anvil around the neck of the Xbone is the invasive and unwelcome Kinect which ships with every unit. In fact, according to an Xbone developer who recently hosted a verified Q&A on Reddit, the accompanying Kinect almost costs Microsoft as much to produce as the Xbone unit itself!
“The majority of the masses care only about the console, except that the success of the Kinect carries much more weight to us. The sensor costs almost as much as the console to make. The goal with having a Kinect ship with every Xbox is to guarantee to game developers if they implement Kinect features into their games, everyone who has an Xbox will be able to experience it. I often see people dismiss the Kinect instantly because they haven’t seen it work like I have. It is an integral part of the Xbox One experience.”
A five hundred dollar experience which most gamers do not want or need – but thank goodness that Microsoft have saddled themselves with this Albatross.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Microsoft land, Xbone chief product officer, Marc Whitten, this week bemoaned the poor job that his company has done in communicating to gamers what the Xbone console is all about [would one be mistaken in thinking it is about TV?].
“I think it’s pretty simple. We’ve got to just talk more, get people understanding what our system is. The thing that’s really gratifying is that people are excited about the types of features that are possible, and it’s sort of shame on us that we haven’t done as good of a job as we can to make people feel like that’s where we’re headed.”
Here is a crazy thought – perhaps Microsoft should have refrained from making a big show about how they just had to junk all of their console’s digital features when they pulled their Xbone 180! Corporate tantrums are all very amusing, but that was the very definition of cutting off their nose in order to spite their face.
Finally, just in case the profound laziness engendered by increased online integration needed any more evidence, Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 Studios has this week revealed that Xbone release title, Forza Motorsport 5, will be shipping in a half-finished state, and that before Xboners can even play the game, they will have to download half a game’s worth of content. Three cheers for the digital future!
[BREAKING]: In light of Microsoft’s complicity in allowing the NSA and Obama to spy on American citizens via Skype, Outlook, and Hotmail, Microsoft has this week stated that they will not allow government agencies to peep at gamers via their Kinect spy device [unless the Obama regime is able to make doing so legally permissible]. Apparently gamers are supposed to trust Microsoft because of reasons…
“Absent a new law, we don’t believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data, and we’d aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so.”
Microsoft may want to work on some more convincing weasel-words.
Go Fuck Yourself with a Splintered Broom-Handle, Nintendo!
If Lusireaders needed any excuse to feel like utter pillocks for buying into Nintendo’s ailing Wii U console, then this is it. After an absolutely pathetic weekly update schedule regarding game releases on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, Nintendo has finally dropped Earthbound, a game that many Wii U owners have been looking forward to – but what the fuck is this? The game has been arbitrarily overpriced at ten American dollars and/or ten Euros depending on one’s area of residence, making it a full one dollar more expensive than Nintendo’s own stated maximum pricing for SNES games on the American Virtual Console, and a full two Euros more pricey than any other SNES game on the European Virtual Console – why the fuck is this?! Is it because it is overly arduous to wrap the Earthbound ROM in a simple emulation program? Is it because Nintendo has had to manufacture an extra large Earthbound cartridge to upload to their eshop? Is it because of Nintendo’s unparallelled largess in offering free access to the game’s original strategy guide in the form of a browser document that loads far too slowly to be of proper use to anyone? Is it due to the concerted effort that Nintendo has made in uglifying the game’s original graphics, so as to prevent spastics from throwing a fit every time the game’s flashier spell animations play out? Or is it because the bean-counting Nipponese-usury-whores at Nintendo cottoned-on to the brilliant notion that because Earthbound is a title that is highly desirable to a mid-size niche audience, it is now OK to charge more than the maximum Virtual Console price, because consumers are just going to buy it anyway?
Go fuck yourself, Nintendo!
Emulation is a better proposition than this horseshit, and ten dollars is better spent on a new indy title for one’s Vita. As for the Wii U, this is the sort of carry-on which makes one consider with great earnest the proposition of selling Nintendo’s dust-gathering nag and be done with it, as this opportunistic money-grab has exhausted any goodwill one may have harboured towards this greedy and cloistered pack of fools and incompetents.