Posts Tagged ‘Activision’

Guitar Hero Gets the Axe

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Is Guitar Hero now axed from your party game playlist?

(CNN) – The stock price for Activision Blizzard hit a sour note Thursday, the day after the video game company said it was abandoning “Guitar Hero” and focusing on battle games such as “Call of Duty.”

“Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its “Guitar Hero” game for 2011,” said Activision, in its fourth-quarter earnings statement Wednesday.

241Email Print Shares were down 10% Thursday after the company posted its quarterly earnings and released its forecast for 2011, which was below what analysts were expecting.

Investors may not be happy, but analysts say the company is making a move that’s necessary to stay competitive.

“These guys are smart and they realized that the packaged goods business is going away,” said said Todd Mitchell, analyst for Kaufman Brothers, referring to games such as “Guitar Hero,” which is loaded via a compact disc and uses mock plastic guitars. “They want to shift to a digital model. It was a choice they made to exit businesses they felt were subpar profitable.”

Despite its brand recognition, “Guitar Hero” sales have been on the decline, said Mitchell. So Activision is focusing on games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” which can be played online against online opponents.

A few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine “Guitar Hero” getting ditched. The game took the video game industry by storm after it was launched in 2005, reaching $1 billion in sales within a 26-month span, according to Activision.

[Full article at CNN.com]

BG’s Top 5 Games of 2010

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I’d have to say that 2010 was a hell of a year. I’m almost sorry to see it end with all of the fun we had this past year but I can honestly say 2011 is already shaping up to be another great year.

We’re already lining up our 2011 Gamettes and the contest for our 2010 Gamette of the Year is still in full swing and will be running until January 16th so don’t let the thought of some new geeky hotness distract from the lovely ladies who are already on the site.

Don’t think we forgot about our Top Five of 2010 list, either. We know some of you probably wish we would but tough noogies,  you get one!

So without further ado or fanfare, here’s our top 5 game picks for 2010 in no particular order:

That's five assassins. That's ten "ass-es" and five "ins".

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: This one comes could almost be our top pick for 2010 with its damn near perfect mixture of story, action, and multiplayer goodness. There’s very little wrong with this game but some of what is wrong can bring the fun to a screeching halt.

Following the exploits of Ezio Auditore, ACB brings some of the best single player action we’ve seen all year. As an Assassin in 16th century Italy, Ezio is a solid badass with an arsenal of moves and weapons at his disposal that serve to decimate opponents while you hack, slash, and stab your way to revenge. The missions can be a bit frustrating but fortunately, there’s a very forgiving checkpoint and autosave system that will help ease the pain of the more treacherous tasks Ezio has in store for him.

The multiplayer *can* be a blast. Short, furious matches where patience is rewarded more favorably than the quick and dirty kill. Points are based on the quality of the kills you make so you might get 3 primo kills and beat out the guy with 12 kills. As you level up your multiplayer character, you get access to more equipment and perks which can change the way you play in multiplayer.

The downside of the multiplayer is the wait times. There seems to be something hinky about the way Ubisoft’s matchmaking works and you may end up waiting 20 minutes for a 10 minute match which can seriously eat into your session time in what would otherwise be an excellent time saver. In the end, the weird match setups can be forgiven as this game is very Busy Gamer friendly. If you have 30 minutes to play, you can get a substantial amount of enjoyment from this title.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare: The BG Reckon Crew has expressed their undying (pun intended) love for the western shoot ‘em up that is Red Dead Redemption. While there have been several DLC updates for the game, Undead Nightmare made it a whole new game. There’s a very real feeling of desperation when you begin as ammo is much more scarce in this DLC than in the main game and the storyline actually picks up during an earlier point in the main game, meaning that if you’ve already beat the game, you’re going to be seeing all those familiar old places in a whole new light.

New weapons and outfits are just the capper on this DLC. Undead Nightmare also adds some new multiplayer but where the game shines is the new single player missions. As in the original, missions can be time consuming and you’re definitely going to want to see what happens next so busy gamers should approach the DLC with that in mind. And just like in the main game, once you’ve beaten the main story, you can continue to play well after the final credits roll. Whether it’s hunting sasquatch (seriously) or just gunning down zombies, there’s plenty to do once you’ve finished the storyline.

We play primarily for the sheer amount of headbands in Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops: Amid all the turmoil that’s been going on with Activision and Infinity Ward, the Call of Duty franchise has managed to launch another winner in the series with Developer Treyarch back at the helm this year. Along with revamping the popular Nazi Zombies mode, Black Ops manages to land another one-two punch with a fantastic story and incredible gameplay. Not only did the single player campaign manage to keep me on the edge of my seat, the multiplayer modes available do not fail to satisfy.

Unlike the Modern Warfare entries of the franchise, the single player story felt considerably longer. This isn’t a bad thing as I’ve felt the stories being told in the previous entries was almost too short to enjoy but it’s something to keep in mind when trying to get in some quick gameplay. The scenarios have a tendency to grab your attention so the real danger isn’t that you can’t get in quick games but that you won’t want to turn it off once you get going.

New multiplayer maps, weapons, and gears have added an entirely new facet to the frenzy that has become CoD’s multiplayer sessions. Games are quick to come up though if you’re trying to find one specific type of map or game type, you may find yourself waiting a little longer. Try not to get too caught up in the Nazi Zombies multiplayer. You may find yourself missing hours from your life.

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty: Twelve years in the making meant a lot of expectations for this sequel. We all know, however, that sequels just happens to be one of the things Blizzard does well. Thus, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Wings of Liberty landed and not only surpassed our expectations but ended up being a hit with people who hadn’t even played the original.

As with most of Blizzard’s products, WoL hit the markets with some phenomenal music, voice work, and gameplay. A solid sequel to the story told in the original and the add ons, Wings of Liberty managed to captivate our attention all over again.

With two more expansions in the works (Wings of Liberty covered only the Human campaign, the Protoss and Zerg campaigns are yet to be released), the Starcraft franchise is officially back in business. While the single player campaign could be a little time consuming, the multiplayer is still the same frantic pace as the original and can make for some quick, sometimes frustrating, matches for those who are gaming on a schedule.

Time will tell if the two add ons will generate as much interest but it’s a good bet that Blizzard has yet another hit on its hands.

This screen shot will mean absolutely nothing to you unless you play the game...

Game Dev Story: Yeah, I’m throwing an app up here on my top five. That’s why it’s my top five and not yours. Available for iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Android, Game Dev Story is one of those games that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

The scenario is this; you’re a new game company creating (what else?) games for the various devices on the imaginary market. While many of the “consoles” you create games for bear some resemblance to real life devices, you are able to create your own console and program for it. You choose from categories that set the tone for your game (Robot Fighting or Animal RPG Sim anyone?) and then go to market with it.

It’s a clever little game that can be played at length or with just a few minutes a day and you won’t regret any of the time invested… unless you do something like forget to walk the dog or feed the kids or something. The greatest part of this game is that it is portable and easy to click a few times and then sit back to see what happens. In all honesty, this has been one of the few games that I’ve felt compelled to buy from the very get go and the first time I played it, I realized a few hours of my life had disappeared as I tried to tweak my programming team and figure out which games were the money makers.

I imagine this game will see some improvements as time goes on but as it stands now, it’s a great game if you want something a bit more portable to entertain you during your down time.

There it is, folks, our top five picks for 2010. If you haven’t had the chance to play them yet, we highly recommend them all. Before you run off to pick them up though, go vote for our Gamette of the Year because every time you don’t vote, I kill a kitten.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Lego Black Ops

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Target down!

No Activision is not working on another edition of the side-scroller platforming series in Treyarch’s new version of the Call of Duty franchise, but YouTube user Keshen8 created a stop-motion title with Legos depicting a FFA match in Black Ops. In a short ninety-eight second video, every weapon type has been included even a comedic moment where a janitor uses a paintball gun. The video was released just yesterday and has already reached over thirty-three thousand views.

Keshen8 has over fifty thousand subscribers and has over eighteen million hits on the Tubes. His most popular video is a trailer for The Dark Knight with Legos.

Gamers lend support to widow of heroic developer

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Brian Wood & wife Erin

(Yahoo.com) – Brian Wood spent his life thrilling millions of faceless gamers, but his last moment was spent saving the lives of those he loved most.

Wood, a 33 year-old lead designer at popular game developer Relic Entertainment, was on his way back to his Washington home when his wagon was struck by an oncoming Chevy Blazer being driven by a 21 year-old woman believed to be driving under the influence. With his pregnant wife Erin in the passenger seat, Wood swerved his car to put himself directly in the path of the oncoming SUV — a decision that ultimately cost him his life, but protected his wife and unborn child from harm. Two other passengers riding in the backseat of the Blazer were also killed.

“All the policeman say that if we had hit the car head-on all of us would be dead,” Erin Wood told The Province. “At the very last second (Brian) braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV and not me and the baby, and that is the only thing that saved us both.”

“He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby,” she added.

But while Wood’s impossibly brave act left a permanent void in the life of Erin Wood, the same people who Brian strived to please with his work have returned the favor with a striking show of support for his bereaved widow.

A memorial trust was set up within days of the accident. Countless game developers, journalists and fans posted links on Twitter and Facebook, leading to literally thousands of supportive comments, messages and financial donations, prompting Wood to send an open letter to the gaming community to popular game blog Kotaku.

“Brian always told me about how close-knit and wonderful the video game community was, but I had no idea until this tragedy just how special a group it really is,” she writes. “From all the articles and comments, to the emails and donations, I am simply stunned and so touched by the love, kindness, and generosity shown to me and my family.”

At the time of his death, Brian Wood was working on Company of Heroes Online, a free-to-play version of Relic’s award-winning strategy game. It’s currently in open beta-test.

To help Erin, please visit the Brian Wood Memorial Trust .

Goldeneye: Ready to kill the scientists again

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

(Gamestop) – The Nintendo 64 shooter Goldeneye 007, a game heralded as pioneering the multiplayer movement, featured a one-shot-kill golden gun. Activision is bringing that gun back in the upcoming altered Wii remake, and along with it will come a golden controller as well.

Activision sent word that it’s planning to release a special Goldeneye 007 Classic Edition bundle that will pack in a copy of the game and a gold-colored Wii Classic Controller Pro. Activision did not announce a price for the bundle, but GameSpot sister site CNET is reporting the bundle will be available for $69.99.

Goldeneye 007 for the Wii will afford gamers a number of control options, including the ability to play using the standard Wii Remote/Nunchuk combination, the point-and-shoot Zapper peripheral, or the aforesaid gamepad.

As for the game, Goldeneye 007 for the Wii will include online multiplayer, a functionality its N64 cousin could not offer. In addition, players will be able to take part in 16 game modes, including Goldeneye 007 N64 favorites Paintball, Melee Only, and You Only Live Twice.

On top of that, players can square off against each other in the game’s adversarial modes, with the roster including eight characters from the revered Bond classic, as well as 40 other unnamed virtual soldiers.

The game is currently in development at Eurocom under the banner of Activision, the publisher that currently holds the license to create James Bond titles. A Nintendo DS version of Goldeneye 007, currently in development at n-Space, will also be released this holiday.

Get your licks, on Guitar Hero 6

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Gene Simmons to be the voice of GH 6!

(Gamespot) – In February, Activision said it was throttling back on production of rhythm games for 2010, reducing the release slate to DJ Hero 2 and a single entry in the proper Guitar Hero line. Gamers might have assumed that latter effort would be Guitar Hero 6, but new product listings on GameStop and Amazon.com suggest otherwise.

According to the retailers, Activision’s next foray into the music-game genre will be titled Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock when it is released on September 19. Both outfits have listed three SKUs for Warriors of Rock. They include a Standard version ($60 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii), a Guitar Bundle ($100 for each of the three systems), and a Super Bundle ($180 across the board).

Interestingly, the retailer listings suggest Activision has actually expanded its rhythm game plans from earlier this year. Activision Publishing president Michael Griffith told investors that 2010 would see fewer than 10 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in the Hero franchise, but the Warriors of Rock listings consist of nine SKUs on their own. Even if DJ Hero 2 is only available as a stand-alone game, that would put the SKU count at 12, assuming the record-scratching rhythm game comes out on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.

As for Warriors of Rock, the game’s subtitle may give some indication as to the game’s direction. In April, KISS frontman Gene Simmons proclaimed himself to be “the voice” of Guitar Hero 6, and with the term Warrior slapped on the game’s box, his storied musical career fits snugly into that description. The name also calls to mind Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, the first entry in the series to feature celebrity likenesses in-game.

Modern Warfare 2 release, some stores jumping the gun

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Modern Warfare 2 hits shelves today!

Modern Warfare hits shelves today!

(Gamespot) – As is often the case, the street date of a major game was broken a few days before its official release. Over the weekend, game blog Kotaku received word that several retailers in the Northeast and Midwest United States had begun selling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

However, unlike most preemptive sales, which typically happen at non-specialty stores, apparently the game was being sold under a corporate directive by the country’s top game-only retailer, GameStop. When contacted by GameSpot on Monday, GameStop’s vice president of corporate communications Chris Olviera offered the following statement:

“This past weekend, GameStop made the decision to sell reserved copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in select markets where other retailers had broken street date. Our decision followed many conversations with Activision and was an effort to protect our customer base. Today we are focusing on the launch of the title in 4,200 of our US locations and the New York City launch celebration that we are cohosting with Activision [and] Microsoft.”

There may be some behind-the-scenes awkwardness at Modern Warfare 2′s New York City launch, since Activision apparently ended those conversations by voicing its disapproval. “Activision has not given any retailer permission to sell Modern Warfare 2 prior to the Nov. 10 street date,” a spokesperson told GameSpot. “The company fully supports the November 10 street date.”

[Full article at Gamespot.com]

Now your Xbox Live Avatar can rock!

Friday, July 31st, 2009

GH5!!

Activision rhythm rocker will allow use of virtual alter egos as playable characters on Microsoft’s console.

(Gamestop) – Yesterday, Activision revealed the last batch of tunes from Guitar Hero 5′s 85-song setlist, but the publisher has plenty left to talk about with its upcoming rhythm game. For example, Activision today confirmed that the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 5 will incorporate Microsoft’s user-customized avatars.

In addition to the roster of Guitar Hero staples, such as Axel Steel and the army of create-a-character options, Xbox 360 players will be able to play as their avatars onstage, whether it’s behind a guitar, drums, or microphone. Don’t expect the avatars to indulge in a rock-and-roll lifestyle, though. The restrictions Microsoft imposes on how its gamer proxies are portrayed in XBL Indie games presumably apply to standard third-party publishers as well.

As with last year’s Guitar Hero: World Tour, Guitar Hero 5 lets gamers accompany playable tunes on the guitar, bass, drums, or microphone. The publisher is also lifting the restriction on the one-instrument, one-player rules that have defined the series. Instead, rhythm rockers will be able to use any combination of instruments for any given song, with Activision giving the example of two guitars and two sets of drums rocking out together.

Guitar Hero 5 will be available September 1 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii.

[Full article at Gamestop.com]

Activision chief warns Sony.

Friday, June 19th, 2009

threaten1

Bobby Kotick (Activision’s head honcho) stated to Sony recently, “I’m getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don’t make it easy for me to support the platform. It’s expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better. Games generate a better return on invested capital on the Xbox than on the PlayStation.”

Somewhat subtlely (or NOT!), Mr. Kotick says his company paid $500 million to Sony in royalties and other goods last year, which “probably still worked out at 400 per cent of the profit they made”. Actually, Sony’s games division lost $597 million last year, and Mr. Kotick seems to think it may have to risk more losses if the £299.99 PlayStation 3 is to develop.

“They have to cut the price, because if they don’t, the attach rates [the number of games each console owner buys] are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony.”

“When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support the console — and the PSP [portable] too,” says Kotick.

If Activision decided to stop supporting Sony (PS3 and PSP), then that would mean no Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, or DJ Hero for that market. Yeah that’s a big deal for all the PS’ers out there, can you say “Pwnd”?

With this being a “worse case scenario” of course, someone (Kotick) is obviously talking some real serious business.

[Source]

LEGEND-ary Tim Curry “Out Demons” Ronnie James Dio!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Tim Curry gets to play big baddy in Brutal Legend

Tim Curry gets to play big baddy in Brutal Legend

(Gamespot) – Earlier this month, Brutal Legend made its presence felt at the Electronic Entertainment Expo courtesy of a massive banner across the front of the Los Angeles Convention Center. As the show ended, it also made headlines for being the subject of a legal spat between current publisher EA and Activision Blizzard, which claims it retains publishing rights to the game.

Now, Brutal Legend is in the news again. First, EA sought to drum up publicity for the game by having its fans set a Guinness World Record for largest number of people playing Air Guitar at once. During the Download Festival in the UK, some 440 people and one official Guinness adjudicator assembled at the EA trailer to virtually and simultaneously play the classic Motorhead song, “Ace of Spades.” The previous record was 318 air guitarists, set in 2008.

In other Brutal Legend news Double Fine chief Tim Schafer has confirmed a major change in the game’s voice cast. “Ronnie James Dio is an amazing singer and truly one of the great figures of Metal, but as the character of Doviculus evolved, we realized that [actor] Tim Curry was a better fit for the part,” he told GameSpot. “Anyone who has seen his amazing performance as the Lord of Darkness in the movie Legend knows why we cast him in the role of Doviculus, Emperor of the Tainted Coil.” Curry (pictured in Legend) is also famous for playing the transvestite mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter in the cult musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Barring any legal delays, Brutal Legend WILL SHIP in October for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A Wii version of the game is also rumored to be in the works.










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