411 Games Fact or Fiction 02.14.12: Attention Seeking Politicians, Diablo 3, Psychonauts 2, and More!
Posted by Daniel Anderson on 02.14.2012
Is Diablo 3 close to release? Will we see the end of politicians trying to tax games? Will Psychonauts 2 come out? 411's Todd Vote and Sean Garmer debate these topics and more!
Hello everyone. My name is Daniel Anderson, and this is my second week of doing Fact or Fiction. I want to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day, and just want to say, forget flowers or chocolate, a video game is a much better gift for your significant other. Of course, I am single so you take my relationship advice at your own risk.
Today's Fact or Fiction edition features Mr. Anti-RPG and The Copy/Paste master Todd Vote going up against fellow new 411Games writer Sean Garmer. And yes, I did throw in the RPG question especially for Todd. Let's see what all they had to say.
1: After hearing Xbox Live General Manager Alex Garden's explanation that any Xbox Live security issue is related to key logging, social engineering, and phishing (but not a security breach), you still feel safe with Xbox Live's security.
Todd Vote - Fiction: Are you trying to tell me there is nothing that Microsoft can do about these email phishing scams? It seems to me that it would benefit them to change the way that whole deal works. There has to be a better way to control the passwords on email addresses. Admittedly, I am not the most tech savvy guy out there, but there has to be something that can be done. It really sounds like they are just trying to brush this off, and that is not cool no matter how you look at it.
Sean Garmer - Fact: Mainly because I do not go on Xbox.com for anything. So, I do not have to deal with the key logging and social engineering that happens from people trying to login via xbox.com. The phishing scam happens to people that are so happy to get a message from somebody that they not only answer it, but give them their personal information as well. The stuff happening with the FIFA games is absolutely ridiculous, but will continue to happen as long as EA continues to have the "Ultimate Team" in these games. Personally, I think they shouldn't even allow gamers to purchase extra card packs with real money. The way EA did NFL Blitz (2012) where you buy card packs with points earned only in the game is the way to go. Besides, are you really playing FIFA 12 if you are only buying cards, and not actually playing soccer matches. After I renew my year subscription to Xbox Live, I'm probably also going to take my card off my Xbox and then go to a store to buy points from now on. I think that is the easiest way to combat the security issue. Just take your card off Xbox.com and go to a store to buy points. The stupid thing is that home consoles should not have to go through this crap. However, with people always trying to hack into stuff, there is only so much you can do. If a hacker really wants to they will get into your system, and the only thing you can do to stop it is keep your card information off your Xbox 360..
0 for 1: It does sound kind of like they are blowing it off, but I am not sure how a company can prevent someone from giving out their private information when we are still plagued with people who still send money to a "Nigerian Prince" when asked to.
2: With Notch's recent tweet about wanting to get Psychonauts 2 made making headlines, you think we will eventually see the game sometime in the future.
Todd Vote - Fiction: I'm not sure what Notch can do to get Psychonauts 2 made. I mean is he even connected to Tim Schaffer, or Double Fine, or the studio that put the original Psychonauts out? There are so many factors in getting this game made, I don't see how Notch sending a tweet about offering to fund the project is going to suddenly get the ball rolling. There is still plenty of legal tape to cut through, I'm sure. While it would be nice to see a game that pretty much everybody claims to want, I think we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves.
Sean Garmer - Fact: Tim Schafer got people to pledge one million dollars for making a new point and click adventure on the internet. If you have loyal fans like that, and someone like Notch that is willing to put up the money, why the hell not? I loved the first Psychonauts and Schafer's last two games: "Brutal Legend" and the Sesame Street game for Kinect. I am gonna be super excited to hear anything else about Psychonauts materializing on the internet. I think we will see the game happen now that there is definite interest and the game industry will be better for it.
0 for 2: With a new point and click game being made from donations the possibility is there. I think, if the rights issues are worked out, will we eventually see a Psychonauts 2.
3: With Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller proposing a 1 percent tax on violent video games, we will see other lawmakers try similar taxes despite the court rulings in the California case.
Todd Vote - Fiction: We covered this in last week's 4PC, here is what I had to say on the subject there: While we are at it, we should also add a 1% tax on every movie sold that could be considered violent, a 1% tax on every TV on DVD set that could be considered violent. While we are at it, there was an episode of Diff'rent Strokes back in the day that dealt with Arnold being touched inappropriately. Perhaps, by this same logic, materials that deal with children being molested should have to add a 5% tax each and every time they are sold. Should Fox News be fined every time they show violent content, which would include when they show footage of said violent games to get their points across? Going one step further, every time a politician says something stupid like that, we should just go ahead and operate, with the intentions of removing 5% of their brains. To quote Mr. Randy Orton, "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"
Sean Garmer - Fiction: No, I do not think this is going to be a growing trend by lawmakers. For one, this Oklahoma thing will not pass because it is too vague. When T for Teen games are considered violent (which is equal to telling 13-year-olds that they cannot watch anything besides PG movies) the lawmakers have no idea what they are doing. So, we are supposed to charge an extra tax on video games that are M rated? Would everyone be ok with telling Mr. Fourkiller he has to pay an extra tax for buying a R rated movie? The people that are involved in law need to focus on making this country better, and not on who is buying M rated games. The fact that I even have to talk about this law being made makes me wonder what lawmakers are really doing in all these meetings.
1 for 3: We will see these bills proposed simply because lawmakers look to get their names mentioned and to make a scene, but not always to solve issues. I do enjoy the irony of a lawmaker with "killer" in his last name campaigning against violence though.
4: The large number of beta invites to Diablo 3 (100,000) means Blizzard is already stress testing the servers and we will see the game sometime in 1Q 2012.
Sean Garmer - Fiction: We won't see the game in the first quarter of 2012. It is more likely to be the second or even third quarter of 2012. Just because they stress test a beta does not mean that they won't find more bugs or issues in the game. Blizzard has a bad habit of delaying until they feel the game is perfect, and I think the summer might be a better time frame for the game to come out anyway. The good thing about the beta is the servers can be tested and maybe we will see the game come out sooner, but I still feel the summer might be the best time for Diablo 3 to come out.
Todd Vote - Fiction: While it could mean they are stress testing the servers, that in no way will reflect on the release date. I think if we were going to see this game in the first quarter, we would have already been privy to a release date. They would want to get that info out there soon enough so that they could start marketing, I think. I do, however, think that this puts a feasible release date into the second quarter, but we shall see.
2 for 4: The release date was pushed back after this question was written and sent out but I still would have said it would be after 1Q because Blizzard tweaks games, and there will be issues these 100,000 beta testers have found that the early testers didn‘t.
5: You are interested in checking out the Game of Thrones RPG.
Sean Garmer - Fiction: I have not read the books the series is based on and I have not watched the show because I can't afford HBO. So, right now, I could care less about a Game of Thrones RPG.
Todd Vote - Fiction: You lost me at RPG. Seriously, who screens these new guys? Honestly, I haven't even had a chance to check out Game of Thrones yet. But the idea of an RPG just loses all interest for me. If this were, say, some sort of action game, you could count me in. Good for fans of the property though.
3 for 5: I was hoping for an anti-RPG rant from Todd and he didn‘t disappoint even if it was shorter then I hoped for. On the topic, I have no interest in a Game of Thrones RPG because, while a popular show and book series, I do not think it would translate well seeing that the book's storyline takes place over several years and is told from different points of view. Just setting it in the world of the novels or HBO series is not enough to make me want to play it.
6: You are surprised EA did not require Syndicate to have an online pass.
Sean Garmer - Fact: When they required a season pass for SSX, I was very surprised to find out that Syndicate didn't get one as well. I think it is probably since Syndicate is a revival of an old franchise, and they want people to be able to play the game to its fullest capabilities. Also, I think they want to make this the next big EA franchise. So, by not having a season pass, people can play co-op or single player to their hearts content and tell the world about it. I think an online pass may have limited the amount of people that would purchase the game, and it was smart by EA not to include one. I really hate the online pass thing, but I have to give them props for allowing fans to be pass-free for Syndicate.
Todd Vote - Fact: Yeah, I really am. I know that the online pass has managed to bring in quite a chunk of change due to implementing the passes. I wonder if this move is indicative of the game lacking quality where EA expects a lot of used sales, or perhaps the other end of the spectrum. EA is expecting the game to be so awesome that nobody will want to sell it? Either way, this is a very curious move by the publisher.
4 for 6: Seeing as how, when faced with a fan outcry, studios have said EA required them to put in the online pass this greatly surprised me.
Bonus Question: I'm curious. With all the recent new releases such as Darkness 2 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (in just the last week) what games are you playing now?
Todd Vote - Ha-ha, I am currently making my way through Assassin's Creed 2. I know, I'm a few years behind everyone else, and a couple of games behind too. But better late than never, right? In addition to that, I finally picked up Gears of War 3, and will be getting into that soon as well. Plus, next week UFC Undisputed 3 releases.
Sean Garmer - I just beat Final Fantasy XIII-2 on Saturday morning and my review of the game should be up today on 411 along with this column. FF XIII-2 was a lot better than I expected and I hope the ending leads to a XIII-3 and not the rumored DLC "true ending." I also received Kingdoms of Amalur on Wednesday from Gamefly, and Rayman Origins on Friday from them as well. I've been playing those in between FF XIII-2. Rayman Origins seriously should have gotten more awards in 2011. Amalur is pretty cool so far, but I have to play it more to deliver a final verdict. I'm also reviewing NeverDead for another website and good lord that game is horrible.
Daniel Anderson: I have been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic and have recently found myself distracted by Kingdoms Amalur: Reckoning. Then again I am a R.A. Salvatore fan so I bought the game expecting to enjoy the story and so far I am not disappointed.
That wraps up this week's edition of Fact or Fiction. Todd and Sean went 4-for-6 this week, agreeing more than I thought they would.
I am going to try something a little different this week. If you have a question or comment please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a question you would like to see asked on next week's edition send it along with your name (first name or non-offensive screen name is fine) and, if it is good, I will feature it in next week's edition and you will be given credit for the question.
Until then, I will go and play some more Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and will see everyone back again next week.