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The Foxhole Week (2011-6) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Starfox   
Saturday, 12 February 2011 13:04

And here we go for another set of weekly news as:

The Witcher Geralt toured the countryside in video, Duke Nukem seek a resolution to a long standing issue, Ubisoft doesn't want to choose between ATI and NVidia... they love both, Activision lost some weight but wants to eat more and Bethesda published (finally) the first screenshots for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim.

 

 


As part of their ongoing effort to present the next Witcher new in house game engine and its features, CD Projekt RED released this week a fourth developer's diary video (English subtitles) presenting some of the locations that Geralt will explore during is new adventures. And if you didn't already, I recommend checking the other videos available on the same page to those interested in the technology powering the game.

For those who still have to play the first game, didn't read the books or still wonder what The Witcher is all about, feel free to consult our review of The Witcher.

Meanwhile, CD Projekt RED sister company GOG.com sweeten the deal for pre-ordering the game from their site by adding to the already numerous free goodies an additional batch of exclusive concept art for the game.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will be released May 17th.
 



At least that's what Randy Pitchford (Gearbox Software CEO) thinks, participating in an interview with the gaming site Kotaku. While he bought the rights to the Duke Nukem franchise which insures that he can do whatever he wants to do with the franchise down the road, the whole Duke Nukem Forever thing had to get a resolution first and that's what Gearbox intends to do next May.
 

I bought the brand. I have plenty of time. I can do whatever I want to do down the line. But this has to be resolved, I need this as a gamer.

 

I couldn't agree more considering that the thing has been going on and off for twelve years. It's like being on a break with someone; someday you have to decide if it's for good or if you may rekindle the romance you can't just leave things in the air forever. Considering this, gamers shouldn't expect Duke Nukem Forever to be a rules breaker or an innovation bringer but rather a reminder of things past.

So will Duke Nukem rekindle the romance with gamers? Or will he definitely break up? That will of course be decided by the reception gamers will give to Duke after such a long hiatus and in turn it depends on the quality of the title developed by Gearbox. Randy Pitchford acknowledges that success is not guaranteed and doesn't think that this particular title in the franchise will be overwhelmingly profitable even if he refuses to consider that it could be a complete failure. However he already has some pointers in order to estimate the love of gamers for the old Duke:

 

If it does less than one million copies, that's bad, 1.5 million? That means there's something there, maybe only curiosity. If it does two million, you're there. 2.5 million? OK it wasn't just curiosity.


But even if DNF proved to be a failure, that wouldn't endanger Gearbox as a whole as the company is far to rely only on this (having several other projects and licenses -- like Borderlands, Brothers in Arms -- helps). It's just something that Pitchford (as a former 3D realms employee who worked on the Duke Nukem expansion "Atomic" before starting Gearbox Software) wanted to do. It appears to be more of a sentimental involvement rather than a pure commercial calculation.

The thing to retain however is that now that he holds the rights, Randy Pitchford obviously intends to do other things with Duke in the future, things that will depends on the reception given to Forever.


Amusing turn of events for the PC version of Assassin Creed Brotherhood by Ubisoft that should be released next month (March 24th). Depending on your hardware, you'll be able to benefit from some graphic card related enhancement but not all at the same time... AMD Radeon owners (officially I'm not allowed to say ATI anymore as of the beginning of this year but somewhere I don't care) will be able to enjoy the game on multiple monitors with the Eyefinity technology. Nvidia card owners will be able for their part to enjoy the game in 3D Vision.

Considering that Eyefinity and 3D Vision are pure gimmicks at this time, should we consider this pure marketing? I think I can. Nice to have the options though... For those few who will be willing to use them on each side.

And no... If you want 3D on multi-monitors, that's just not possible currently unless AMD and NVidia decide suddenly to work together and that for once would be a gigantic news.


This week, Activision has been pretty busy closing down no less than 7 development studios, most of them that were acquired only in 2009. Interestingly enough, some of the studios closed by Activision were actually working on casual games franchises that were deemed profitable by the very same Activision (like DJ Hero, Guitar Hero...) Apparently they were not as profitable as they made it sound or maybe the publisher financial heads are just gathering resources for their next move. 

At the same time, rumors emerge that the publisher would be interesting in acquiring Take-Two Interactive (GT series, Bioshock...) -- probably in order to ruin and/or abuse even more gaming IPs. If those rumors proved to be true and Activision aggressively moved to acquire Take-Two then the independent studio would probably fight back as it did when Electronic Arts attempted a similar maneuver a few years back.

Judging by forums in general, the ongoing events regarding Activision are not pleasing gamers one bit and they are right to be concerned. They know what it means for them. During the 4 last years, Activision was barely willing to do anything more than rehashing the same old IPs with no innovation and milking the gamer cow by pushing pricing to high levels (they were the first to break the $60 mark for a game).

As gamers do we really need Activision to get even more extended than they already are? My personal answer is certainly not. Not when they just buy studios to drop them two years later (still retaining the rights to those studios IPs, mind you) and get busy ruining franchises, turning them into mindless money factories.


As Silver pointed out on our forum, Bethesda just released the first screenshots for their upcoming The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Unfortunately the news arrive a bit late to be fully featured in this issue of The Foxhole Week. nevertheless, if you want to see those screen you may directly go to the page Bethesda put up on FLickr (because for some reason they don't appear to trust their own server it seems... go figure).


That's all for this week. No issue next week as I'll be taking a break. So see you in two weeks.


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