Tags: Bioware

Trouble in the Secret World

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Secret World Cover

It’s no secret that (via GI.biz) Funcom is disappointed with the sales their new MMO The Secret World has drawn in. Only 200,000 copies since the game debuted at the end of June. They recently opened up the world to everyone for a weekend in hopes that people would come back, but it doesn’t seem like it paid off as much as they would have hoped.

In an e-mail sent out to players who signed up for the free weekend but didn’t decide to purchase the game after Funcom asks:

What would make YOU buy The Secret World? Let us know!

With a link to a survey to take about the game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does sort of seem like begging. I understand that after a weekend of more intense server activity than the game typically sees you would want to retrieve all the data possible from anyone who was on the service, what worked, what didn’t and so forth.

But it just seems odd to me that they would phrase it in such a way that they are asking you what you want to buy. It’s like a prostitute propositioning you on the street corner while walking back from the food store. Ok maybe not, but it’s still awkward to be incredible upfront and desperate for people to buy your game. I understand that they want to make a game that people will talk about and play persistently, and of course make some of the money back from what was no doubt a long and costly dev cycle, but just a questionnaire saying something like, “How did you like your experience!” would be sufficient.

And all of this close to the news that (via GI.biz) BioWare GM Matt Bromberg doesn’t know if switching to Free to Play will save Star Wars: The Old Republic…

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The Mass Effect FPS that almost was

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OK as if more weird things couldn’t have happened with Mass Effect it would revealed in Geoff Keighley’s Ipad app The Final Hours of Mass Effect there was at one time a team based FPS created in the Mass Effect universe. It was called “Mass Effect Team Assault” and you’ll  never have your hands on it.

Keighley reports that they were looking to “to create a standalone multiplayer experience in the Mass Effect universe that would mix the play styles of Unreal Tournament and Battlefield 1943 — and likely be released as a downloadable game.”

It was apparently in development for four months and was created due to the lack of the engine being able to support a co op mode. As one could imagine this was the genesis for the co op mode we see in “Mass Effect 3” today. From what we’ve seen it definitely stays in line with the Mass Effect aesthetic and it could be interesting the use bionic powers in first person. Also it appears from further shots that vehicles would have played a part (no Mako please), mining was also no where to be seen.

It’s hard to say if it would have been any good  but gosh darn would it have been interesting to play.

Source and more images: Kotaku

Buy the Final Hours of Mass Effect

Mess Effect: Do we have the right to ask for a new Mass Effect 3 ending?

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Over the last couple months Bioware has gone from golden boy to internet whipping boy. We’ve seen the harassment of a Bioware employee, outcry over same sex relations, anger over day one DLC and now outcry to change the “Mass Effect 3” ending.

Currently the “Retake Mass Effect 3” online petition has put its efforts into donating at the current amount $53K to Child’s Play. A great gaming based charity so I’m happy that at least the movement is using a positive outlet to show their disappointment. Again this is infinitely better than harassment. Much like the online movement to get information on the development of “Half Life 3” by playing “Half Life 2” it’s good to see the internet using its power for good.

But the question still remains and they even state it that Bioware should have the right to give us the ending that they want. If we want games to be art should we allow them to let us down? If things are tailored to everyone who is angry about it do we get a vision that isn’t authentic to what the creators want? Should criticism and review be the proper way that we voice our praise or should developers learn to bend to their audience.

Currently I have yet to make to the ending so really I can’t judge I may join them on the streets soon enough but I wonder if much like a reviewer should stand by their opinion if they should stand by their ending. I love “Mass Effect” and I don’t want to grow to hate it over a bad ending.  “Bioshock” didn’t have the best ending but I love the sum of its parts so is this ending something I’ll just have to compartmentalize to live with the rest of the trilogy. Not to say we can’t be critical. As consumers and critics we have every right to call developers on their shit but can we make them take it back? Should this be expected in this art form any more than we can expect Paul McCartney to apologize for Wings or the show Wings to apologize for Wings.

I wonder if Bioware because has built up so much bad blood over the last year between “Dragon Age 2” (which wasn’t great) to day one DLC and microtransactions that it makes them so easy to hate now. Is this just what happens when your favorite indie band starts writing pop songs and you refuse to like whatever they do based on the fact that they are now construed as sell outs. Bioware might be the Green Day of game publishers. They used to be punk rock and now they have broadway musicals. Right now the amount of hate is having the adverse effect on me. I’m finding myself more sympathetic as the hate piles on. They have given in to some gross business practices but I still like this kind of game a mediocre “Mass Effect” for me is still better than a lot of what comes out but I’ll admit this Mass Effect has been the one to suck me in the least. I won’t and no one else should be shy about saying that. There shouldn’t be sacred cows as much as there can’t be over entitled consumers.

I think gamers should learn to manage their expectations and think of how this could set precedents to come. Games are becoming more and more mainstream and we have to decide if we want they to still challenge and possibly anger us or be infinity focus grouped. Where would this end? We complain that we don’t get finished games and then we expect developers to go back and redo games.

We may have to pick and choose our battles but remember that by voting with our dollar if we hate a value proposition is our best way out. As I for one am not buying the DLC because I don’t find it necessary so should anymore mad at it. Understandably we are invested in this universe. But when employees are harassed or homophobia is spewed it can negate our argument. I would say to those giving to charity keep being positive with what you do. But let’s remember now we want art and not all art is good all the time.