Month: April 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Week 4 of April

Welcome back gamers, another week is down, and furthermore we made it through another month.  News has been ramping up for the summer months, and reflect on the months that have passed.  Let’s take a look back and see what’s happened.

Nintendo released finanicial reports for Q1 of 2012, and the game industry veteran showed a loss.  The Japanese based publisher reported its full year financial report for the period ending March 31, 2012. Recording a ¥43 billion (£328.7m/$531.1m) net loss despite ¥647 (£4.925bn/$7.976bn) billion in sales, this makes sales down 36.2 percent from the year prior.  Despite the promising 13.53 million 3DS units sold, there was a weak performance in software over the holiday season.  Looking forward, Nintendo is optimistic with titles that currently development.  Currently, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is expected to be a top performer, along with Animal Crossing 3D and a new Brain Age title.  Lastly, the next reporting period will also include the first three months of the Wii U which is Nintendo’s next generation console.

Madden 13 will be lacking a feature that was originally promised for Playstation versions.  Sony had planned to allow players to transfer data between their PS3 and their Playstation Vita.  EA had to renege on having this feature stating earlier that the franchise mode on the PlayStation 3 version of Madden was “too crazy to bring to the Vita at the moment.”  There are plans to utilize the touch controls on the Vita featuring swiping the back touch for pocket avoidance moves, drawing hot routes from the line, and using the Vita’s Six-axis tilt to angle kicks.  This could impact the performance of the Madden franchise on the Playstation consoles, however this does put it on a level playing field with other consoles.

Batman: Arkham City Game Of The Year Edition has been announced and will be on shelves May 29, complete with DLC Harley Quinn’s Revenge.  Kirsty goes to into full details of the game in her article.  Harley Quinn’s Revenge will take players back to the city of Gotham from the perspective of Batman and Robin.  In doing so, the strengths of both heroes must be used to investigate Harley’s plan and shut the gates on the urban mega-prison forever.  In addition to experiencing a new storyline, fans can explore new environments and face-off against Harley’s all new gang of thugs.  Batman Arkham City GOTY will be available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Ubisoft confirmed that Rayman Legends is in the works after an internal video was leaked.  In a statement to DigitalSpy, “An internal video showing images of Rayman Origins‘ sequel has leaked over the Internet.  “This video was intended as a purely internal demonstrative video, and in NO way represents the final game, the final console or their features.  This video was destined for internal production teams who often create game prototypes with work in progress development kits.  Ubisoft confirms the development of Rayman Legends handled by Michel Ancel and his team in Montpellier.”  A sequel to Rayman Origins has been rumored in the past few weeks, and will be feature new environments and characters.  There is no additional news regarding the game’s release.

That’s it for this week, stop back to Zero1Gaming for the latest news, reviews and more!  Don’t forget to see how Ubisoft will send to you E3!

Weekly Wrap Up: Week 3 of April

Welcome back gamers, another week has come and gone with announcements and anticipation of large titles this past week.  Let’s go take a look at what happened in the headlines.

Last week, EA accidentally leaked that there would be an addition to the Crysis franchise out next year.  This leak was confirmed and information became official for Crysis 3 due out in spring ’13.  The game is set in the year 2047 in New York City after its been place under an environmental dome.  Inside the dome, there is said to be seven distinct and treacherous environments.  The game is currently available for pre-order.  The suggested retail price is $59.99 and there are a variety of pre-order arrangements.  For a full run down of what the pre-order bonuses will consist of,  stop by Kirsty’s article from earlier this week with all the details.

Blizzard has opened the flood gates this weekend.  In anticipation of the release of Diablo III and the current testing of the game in its beta state, Blizzard for the weekend has unlocked the beta servers for open testing.  The testing is a stress test to see if the game’s servers would be able to handle the number of players logged into  the game.  The beta started on April 20 around midday and will remain open until 6:00 pm GMT.  During the beta, player classes will be unrestricted, but players’ levels with cap out at Level 13.   Blizzard left a warning to those who would be participating that technical issues were to be expected. “It’s very possible that players connecting to the stress test could experience issues with the service,” the firm said. “While not ideal, this is exactly why we’re having a stress test. We want to catch and analyze as many bugs as possible during this stress test period, so that we can try to ensure a smooth launch.”  The closed beta will continue to run after this weekend and is scheduled through May 1.  All beta testing will close two weeks prior to the May 15 launch.

Rumors have been rampant about the possibilities of publisher Valve and tech power house Apple teaming up to tackle the gaming world.  This week, that story was laid to rest when Valve co-director Gabe Newell told Seven Day Cooldown no one has met Apple CEO Tim Cook, though he admitted the consistent rumors are causing quite a confusion.  “We actually, we all sent mail to each other, going, ‘Who’s Tim Cook meeting with? Is he meeting with you? I’m not meeting with Tim Cook’,” he said. “It’s one of those rumors that was stated so factually that we were actually confused.”  Newell did admit he wished the rumors were indeed accurate.  “No-one here was meeting with Tim Cook or with anybody at Apple that day. I wish we were! We have a long list of things we’d love to see Apple do to support games and gaming better,” he added.  “But no, we didn’t meet with Tim Cook. He seems like a smart guy, but I’ve never actually met him.”  The stories were Valve would bring a gaming aspect to Apple’s TV device.

Back home here at Zero1Gaming, we opened our own doors to bring more to the team.  This week, we brought aboard four new members to the team; who will soon be bringing their own content and views on gaming to the fronts of our site.  Let me introduce you to, Walter ‘Mac’ Elmore, Mike Dalgleish, Nick Marshall, and Chris Sanderson.  All four of these guys have a passion for gaming, the industry as a whole, and have the capability of staying update to date on the latest from the gaming world.  Keep an eye on Zero1Gaming as their headlines will be hitting the press soon.

That’s it for this week, check back to Z1G for the latest news, reviews, and more!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 2 of April

Welcome back gamers. Another week has come to a close. News has been running rampant this week, release date, new projects rumors, and feature galore. Let’s go back and see what exactly happened this week.

Popular game developer Bethesda announced that they will release content for Skyrim later this month that supports the Kinect.  Available for free as a title update planned for release this month, Skyrim on Kinect will introduce more than two hundred voice commands. These commands include Dragon Shouts, Hotkey Equipping, Follower Commands, and all Menus (Items, Magic, Map, Barter, Container, Favorites, and Skills.)  Additional features added to the game includes special map functions, additional hotkey options, and the ability to sort inventory items.  A full list additional features will be listed later this month.

Rockstar earlier this year revealed that Max Payne 3 would be coming out in May and the likelihood that would be it from the developer for 2012.  This week’s rumors raise hopes of more from another popular franchise.  According to one employee at Rockstar North Studio, he seems to think that Grand Theft Auto V will be set to release in October this year as he added the title onto his ‘made-titles’ list on his CV.  Joystiq.com featured an image on their article covering the matter which clearly shows GTA V having a release date of October, since the news broke the image has been pulled from the original source.  The fact that GTA V has a potential for an October release falls in line with previous GTA releases, which has been traditionally a holiday release.  Rockstar has made no comments regarding a release date to GTA V.

Sony is forecasting a hefty loss at the end of Q1 this year.  A record setting £4.02 billion net loss is expect from the May 21st statement which will reveal where the company is truly sitting.   Early reports suggesting that Sony will be cutting up to 10,000 jobs as a result of the loss.  CEO and former Playstation boss Kaz Hirai has said that he is willing to take “painful next steps” to stop the downfall with a bounce back operating profit of £1.39 billion this year.

Nintendo earlier in the week registered the domain supermario4.com.  It is currently unknown whether this is a security step, since there is evidence of a possible  upcoming announcement regarding everyone’s favorite plumber.  In January, Nintendo announced they were hard at work on a 2D Mario game, this could be Super Mario 4.  If this turns out to be the case, it’ll be the first time since the NES that the Mario franchise has had numerical installments.  As for the URL, it currently redirects to Nintendo’s main page.

That will do it for this week, check back with Zero1Gaming for news, reviews, and more!

Gowns to Guns – A Look At Female Video Game Characters.

Gaming has been always something of a male dominant hobby, there’s no denying it. With many males being the main characters of games and even more males playing the games conversely, we’re seeing more females enter the ranks in both players and characters and are starting to form a league of their own. In this article, I will be discussing the rise of female video game characters and consider both the male and female gaming communities’ thoughts of the way these female characters are portrayed.

Before we do that, let’s start when female characters were introduced into games. Females within a video game started off as the ‘damsel in distress’ type. Look at Princess Peach through out of the Mario games for instance, always getting kidnapped and poor Mario having to chase after her going through multiple castles. In saying that, without these females always getting kidnapped; we wouldn’t have a backbone to some of our games, but was this deemed as portraying females as being inadequate to look after themselves?

Fast forward a few years and female characters are becoming more and more independent and less vulnerable, in other words, totally kicking ass. A few of the first woman that were seen as this type were Samus from the Metroid series and Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider games. Now where Samus remained a respectable female within the gaming world without flaunting too much of the goodies, shall we put it, Lara Croft was the opposite, excelling in showcasing her femininity. In all fairness, Samus was being shown to us in 2D where Croft was in 3D, so was this the turning point on how female characters were going to be shown to us?

Wearing a tank top that was fitting to say the least, a pair of shorts and the ability to handle duel-wielding pistols, there is no denying that Lara Croft was appealing to the eye, but when did this start? Yes, she showed up some of the male characters as she took on the various climates, animals and puzzles; which displayed her as an independent woman who could take care of herself. Then again, was she being seen as more of an eye candy than this independent woman? With suggestive cut-scenes showcasing Lara’s physique and with the third person view (Guys, do not lie that you didn’t have the sneaky peek at her rear-end while she ran!), was this really the way to introduce females into the gaming world – as sex symbols almost and very little innocence to be seen coming from their personalities?

Since then, we’ve only really seen more and more of females being showcased as ‘eye candy’ in the video game world. Games like Bayonetta and the continuation of the Tomb Raider series has kept this image of females being created with minimal clothing and ‘boosted’ features in our minds. So what do we think about this?

Speaking as part of the female gamers community and on my own behalf, I can see this image going down one of two ways with females. On the one hand, some may be offended by the fact that females are only being portrayed as these sex symbols and nothing more, but on the other hand, those of us who don’t think highly of ourselves in appearance and don’t have much confidence in ourselves could perhaps enjoy playing as these characters as a way of fulfilling some emptiness that we cannot seem to gain in our own personal lives. After all, isn’t that what video games are meant to be about – being able to be whatever you want to be in a fantasy world?

With that in mind, do the males like these characters or just want them off their TV screens? My first thoughts would be that all males would love these attractive women being able to handle guns and take on missions that you would normally be seeing male protagonists doing, but is that honestly the case? I decided to ask a couple of males on their thoughts on the matter and I was taken aback with their responses. The response from them was that they didn’t like the way that females were being showcased as sex symbols and would prefer to see someone more realistic, to a certain extent, being used.
With the recent release of Mass Effect 3 concentrating more on the female Shepard side of the story, instead of male Shepard, regarding advertising of the game before release, are we beginning to see the start of a more respectable female video game protagonist? One that doesn’t require to wear minimal clothing and have accented features (*cough* boobs *cough), but one that can still maintain
that level of ass-kicking that previous females have accomplished in the eyes of gamers and remain noticed as a female. As for Fem Shep starting this somewhat new image of female video game characters, we’ve still to see what the new Tomb Raider game is like. With the reveal of the new game being announced at last year’s E3, the game looked nothing but spectacular along with a more ‘grungier’ Lara however still the same person we’ve grown to love over the years underneath the more covered up body. This image is not just being recognized throughout main characters as well, Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth helping you with her offering you guidance and help when needed. Is this something that games of the future are starting to pick up on and recognize that the gaming community is after when they’re playing games?

What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you like the females that are show off more skin or prefer them to be covered up and more respectable? Leave a comment below.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 1 of April

Welcome gamers, we made it to the end of another week.  It’s now April, spring is in the air, and gamers were working on their screen tans putting in the hours on their favorite titles.  Let’s take a look at the news that made headlines this past week as well.

Bioware announced a free DLC for Mass Effect 3 earlier this week.  This summer’s DLC will have additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. “We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With theMass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effectuniverse.”  Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added, “We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”

This week, we followed-up a report that was made back in December regarding a Sony equivalent to Super Smash Bros.  It’s been leaked that  All-Stars Battle Royale is the answer Sony has to compete against the popular Nintendo fighting franchise.  The upcoming Sony exclusive will feature: Fat Princess, Kratos, Sly Cooper and PaRappa the Rapper, Sweet Tooth of Twisted Metal, Nathan Drake of Uncharted and Colonel Radec of Killzone.  It’s even been rumored, that Playstation 3 “Michael Commericial” was a teaser foreshadowing  project by SuperBot Entertainment.  There is no date announced for the release of All-Stars Battle Royale.

wcia_bracket_2012_round5.pngEA is known for being behind some major game releases, and will sell millions of copies of their most popular titles.  Because of this, EA has won several prestigious awards, the most recent is the Golden Poo award.  This award is handed out by  The Consumerist for the worst company in the United States.  The statement that goes along with the awarding of the award is as followed:

After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America’s avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank.

To those who might sneer at something as “non-essential” as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It’s that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death.

For years, while movies and music became more affordable and publishers piled on bonus content — or multiple modes of delivery — as added value to entice customers to buy, video games have continued to be priced like premium goods.

There have even been numerous accusations that EA and its ilk deliberately hold back game content with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date. It’s one thing to support a game with new content that is worth the price. It’s another to put out an inferior — and occasionally broken — product with the mindset of “ah, we’ll fix it later and make some money for doing so.

That does it for this week, stop back to Zero1Gaming for gaming news, review and more!