A journalist’s job is like a double sided coin when it comes to big news days.
One side good, the other side bad and today is a prime example of how this statement couldn’t be truer.
I started the day with some amazing news from our friend Mr. Iwata over at Nintendo, speaking to us through Nintendo WiiU Direct. It was a great moment for announcements for Nintendo and the WiiU that just set the stage for levels of awesome you wouldn’t believe possible.
Mr. Iwata greeted us kindly and spoke of changes to the WiiU that will be coming soon. Namely updates to speed up the software load up when starting to play as well as the load speeds getting back to the Home screen. One of the biggest announcements made for the console was the revival of the Virtual Console, a program that made its fame on the Wii and 3DS respectively.
The Virtual Console will be available with limited game selections starting in Spring, offering the NES and SNES catalog, which could be limited itself as the original VC on Wii took time to compile the entire catalog of games. Nintendo is also celebrating their original Famicom release with a free VC title each month till July, the original release month of the Famicom. Now the greatness of this announcement also brought forward a few questions, such as “What if we already bought select titles on the Wii?”
Thankfully they were answered. You will be given a discounted price in which you will be able to buy the previously bought title. The discounted price is of .99 cents. That is a great discount for games you have previously bought, however the fact that you paid for them before and then paying a small fee to transfer them seems a bit like a slap in the face but in reality this was the only complaint of the morning.
Mr. Iwata then shared with us information on upcoming games we could see previewed or mentioned at this years E3. The lineup included A new Super Smash Bros game for both WiiU and 3DS and a newly designed Mario game. Not many details were given about these titles other than that they do exist and are being worked on. However he then gave us a treat with previews and sneak peeks at 5 upcoming titles.
Wonderful 101 showed us a new trailer in which we got to meet a few of the 101 who may just be the front runners of the team. We were given a glimpse at the huge level designs and the even bigger invading aliens trying to destroy the world. The Viewtiful Joe style within this game, the creative transform style, and the larger than life battles just screams play me.
Oh and another thing. 101 waterslide fun time. Just saying.
Next up we were given a sneak peek at the development team behind Bayonetta 2, a much anticipated sequel among the fans. We were given clips of the team in action, talking about making the game Boss Level difficulty from start to make the game much more difficult and how the levels they are bringing are original and have not been seen in the first. The team wouldn’t really release anything more about it but rest assured, Bayonetta will be warmly welcomed by us all.
Two quick entries in here that were only given teasers were the collaboration of the Shin Megami Tensei series and the Fire Emblem team bringing their franchises together in some currently unknown fashion. One could only speculate the true results of the game, but I have my money on a Fighting Game. Next we saw a bit of beauty from the creators of Xenoblade, who showed us some powerful looking monsters and weapons in a undisclosed world that just looks breath taking on so many levels. The monsters were huge but the giant mech was equal in size, displaying a powerful sword while lobbing off what looked to be a dragon’s head. Both titles make me a little more excited to get a WiiU.
The big finale of the announcements came in the form of a Green Tunic wearing child who wielded the Master Sword. That’s right, Legend of Zelda made a huge announcement that was so monumental, it split into two. The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD was announced, many screen shots were shown of the home island in comparison of the Gamecube release and the expected WiiU screens. It was an absolute turn around in terms of look and style. They also promised that the game would be enhanced in ways that would improve upon the original playthrough. This was exciting enough to spark the LOZ fan within me Squee with joy, then they made the announcement of a new Zelda title to be released on WiiU. No real details were given, but the creator spoke of changing up the things they were taking for granted, including the specific ordered of dungeons. What this could mean, I don’t know for sure but I have hopes that the new LOZ will be doing something spectacular. Fingers crossed on this one.
And now to the Flip side: The bad news of the day hit us all in the gaming industry very hard. THQ/Atari filed for bankruptcy and began closing up their doors with an auction selling off many of their premium title games/teams.
With the loss of many greats in the industry, and some being shifted around this news affected me in a way that I can’t quite explain, other than I know I will be feeling this for some time to come.
Within the auction, here was the final score:
• Homefront: $500,000 (Crytek)
• Metro: $5.8 million (Koch Media)
• South Park: $3.2 million (Ubisoft)
• Relic: $26.6 million (Sega)
• THQ Montreal: $2.5 million (Ubisoft)
• Evolve: $11 million (Take Two)
• Volition: $22.3 million (Koch Media
That’s the breakdown folks, and it is a rough one. Crytek (Crysis Fame) acquired Homefront, which could possibly mean a reboot of the game that for some reason everyone disliked. Never played it, don’t have an opinion.
Konch Media (Better known as Deep Silver) who made Dead Island walked away with two big parties, Metro and Volition (Red Faction/Saints Row Fame). This could mean the Saints games become lower quality than what they are now, or the acquisition of these new companies would improve DS’s strengths.
Ubisoft walked home with two new licenses as well, the Upcoming South Park game Stick of Truth and THQ Montreal. This is a power play, I feel, on Ubisoft’s part as it shows its willingness to envelope some of the more ambitious sectors.
Sega joined the auction and picked up Relic, the developer of the Warhammer 40 K games. Is this a positive or negative motion for the games to be released under the series name or will Sega pull out an amazing title with what they have to work with? Maybe Sonic could show up and Run around the Warhammer board. I am only slightly kidding about how I’d like to see that.
And finally Take Two studios, the men and women who worked on Max Payne 3 acquired Evolved games, the studio who brought us Malice some years back.
The most upsetting news of the night? Darksiders creator Vigil was not bid on by any company/team. The game series that has some great potential was strung out in the rain and left to freeze. I sure hope soon someone comes forward looking to purchase the Vigil license. They could always team up with Epic Games to make a much darker, grittier Darksiders game. Just saying. ** Update Bayonetta creator Platinum Games tweeted that they would be willing to buy them, but only when they are cheaper.
I have to say hearing of how a childhood company closed really hit home. I feel a twinge of pain at how I’ve come to know the brand by name and slowly watch as it tries to stay afloat. This resolution had been coming for years now, many people saw it but can we really ever be prepared for such a loss?
News is a fickle mistress, one that I dance with on a daily basis it seems. We all just have to take it one day at a time guys. So to celebrate the life of THQ and Atari, I want to hear about your favorite gaming memory from either company. Tweet me @respwnpoint and let me hear it.