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 411mania » Games » Columns

Working Title 06.23.12: 2012 Working Title Halftime Award Nominees
Posted by Jordan Williams on 06.23.2012

Now with a 90% larger screen! Because that's what you asked for!

Welcome to the #1 Column that knows it's the end of June...which means that...

It's time.

It's time for the 2012 Working Title Halftime Awards. The awards that award the games that come out in the first half of the year that tend to get forgotten late in the year. Usually these awards have been pretty great and varied.

But holy shit the first half of this year was pretty goddamn barren. Like...the last two years have been fairly evenly stacked when it comes to releases but the first half of this year was just...I dunno...lacking?

But we here at Working Title persevere like always! A day late and a dollar short!

I guess before we get into this I should do a Working Backlog.

Working Backlog


The 2012 Working Title Halftime Award Nominations (Part 1)

The pickings have been pretty slim this year but there are still games and characters that deserve some recognition from a poor little blog/column like this. So what is nominated for Game of the Year So Far? How about the biggest badass of the first half of the year? These are just the nominations and the actual winners will come out in the next issue.

We've been through this enough times, but for the sake of continuity let's go over the rules one more time.

All Nominated Games must have been released by the First week of December 2011 to the 2nd Week of June 2012

I choose the nominations because I say so. Feel free to vote on whatever in the comments...but I get final say because, again, I say so.

Winners of The Manliness Award and The Baddest Bitch Award will have the award named after them until the end of the year.

Winners will be automatically nominated for the same award (if applicable) during the 2012 Working Title Year-End Awards

The Batman Baddest Dude Award for Manliness

This is longest running award in Working Title history. It's basically the best male character in any video game so far this year. This award has been held by such badasses as Kratos, Batman, Solid Snake, and for a brief period it was even held by Packie of GTAIV fame. Who is up for the award this year?

Max Payne

The man is perpetually drunk and strung out on pills and still manages to be able to walk into a crowded room and shoot every single person in the face. When he finally decide to clean up and fly right he becomes even MORE lethal. Max Payne has always been seen as one of the bigger badasses in video games but his adventures in Max Payne 3 might be the ones that finally tip him over the scale. The man dangles from a helicopter and shoots rockets, goes on a boat chase, a bus chase, a zip line shoot out, and accurately snipes motherfuckers from a moving helicopter. It bears mentioning again that he is drunk off of his ass and has a stomach full of pills in almost every single one of those sequences. Goddamn.

Javik (Mass Effect 3)

Javik is on the list primarily because he has the uncanny ability to take all of the fucks in the universe and divide them by zero. In doing that he creates a black hole of which all fucks are then sucked into. Disagree with that? Go out the fuckin' airlock. Simple as that. Javik sticks by his rules and sees thinks in black and white but when you are the last person of your species dropped into the very war that caused the end of your species and see the same mistakes being repeated again you can't help but be a bit of an asshole. Plus he is the only person in your party that has enough balls to talk shit about Shepard to his/her face.

Poison (Street Fighter x Tekken)

After spending years hiding behind Hugo Poison finally got the step out on his own in SFxT and proved that he wasn't just the beat 'em up fodder that he was in previous games. Hugo might be the muscle behind the job but Poison can more than hold his own. The only catch is that Poison will kick the shut out of your body AND your ego. I mean there is just no sugarcoating it...we all know the big secret. You never want to be beat up by the wrestler's MANAGER. It just makes you look like shit.

What secret did you think I was talking about?

Jackie Estacado (The Darkness II)

Usually being a ruthless mafia boss is enough to get a nomination, but when you are a ruthless mafia boss that is infested with the pure embodiment of evil that can heal you from any wound and rip your enemy to shreads it just tips the bars a little bit more in your favor. Hell, just playing as him shows what kind of power he has. Who else on this list can dual wield two machine guns while slicing off the head of a mook with one tentacle and throwing other mooks around the room with the other? Go ahead. I'll wait.

Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect 3)

Garrus now joins the Batman and Kratos on the list of characters that have been nominated for this award twice in two separate games. You've hung out with Garrus now for three games. There really isn't much else I can say to cement his spot on the list.

No. Really. There's nothing else I can say.

The Dormroom Dominator Award

I originally came up with this award when I was still in college and since those days are long I have always figured I should change the name of this award to something else. The bad part is I can't figure out another name for it that doesn't sound as cheesy as the name it already has. So I am now taking submissions on what to rename this award. With that being said this award is for the game with the best multiplayer experience. It used to be filled with nothing but Shooters and the like but last year it has expended to games that are traditionally multiplayer but also have a metagame element to it as well.


While I personally don't care for Skullgirls, there is no denying that the game that started literally from nothing has garnered a ton of fan following online as well as in the fighting game community. While it is still trying to carve out an indemnity in the rapidly growing fighting game genre it still has been getting enough play on line to warrant nomination despite what I think.

Trials: Evolution

Trials: Evolution has a multiplayer mode...but I don't see it as a multiplayer game. This game is about you versus the physics and it's a Dormroom Dominator simply because when you finally finish one of these goddamn levels there is no worse kick in the gut than to see that someone on your friends list finished it with a faster time than you did. From that point on you are just hellbent on trying to best that time to the point where Trials will consume your life and make you personally wish harm on the assholes that created it.

Fuck this game.

Diablo III

A long awaited game by Blizzard with a huge multiplayer following. You expected this not to be nominated?

Street Fighter x Tekken

While this is the current whipping boy of the FGC there are still people who have love for SFxT, and seeing as it is Capcom's premiere fighting game this year it is getting a ton of play online AND at tournaments (although the people streaming it would like you to think otherwise). I've been really critical of Capcom pretty much all year long so far and while that's not going to let up (Keep on reading') I can at least attempt to give it a nomination for the people who are playing the (completely broken and gem-fucked) multiplayer.

Mass Effect 3

From one whipping boy to another, people have been hating HARD on Mass Effect 3 but I actually found the multiplayer in the game to be pretty goddamned fun. Of course it is like the Horde Mode we have seen beaten to death but for some reason Mass Effect 3 makes it works on a sort of cool level. On the lower levels you can easily go in and just dick around and still make it out alive but with most co-operative games once you crank up the difficulty it becomes a whole new monster that actually values communication and team synchronicity and I am a total sucker for co-operative games that actually force you to be co-operative. That and games that actively encourage me to head-butt anything that gets in my way.

Not a Bang, but a Whimper Award

Now everyone can't be a winner and I think this year doesn't have a shortage of games that could've been awesome but instead ended up being pretty damn lame. For whatever reasons these games failed on a critical or financial level after being hyped for a long time. What caused them not to live up to expectations? Who knows? The one thing we know is that these games should've been a lot better than what they ended up being.

Street Fighter x Tekken

I wasn't joking when I said that this game is the current whipping boy of the Fighting Game Community. The bad part is that it's not a title it DOSEN'T deserve. Street Fighter x Tekken can be held up as the shining example of everything Capcom has been doing wrong for the last two years. It's a rushed game with a sloppy implementation of its mechanics, a broken fighting system (even for a Capcom game), and probably one of the dirtiest DLC scandals to hit in a long time. Even ignoring all of that stuff the game itself is just lacking the soul and fun that the other Capcom fighting games have had. For a game that should all accounts be one of Capcom's biggest releases of all time it's fallen so flat that if Fighting Games do go into another dark age SFxT will be the pointed at as the harbinger.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I honestly can't even tell you if FF13-2 is a bad game. I didn't play it. I got about 3 hours into to FF13 before I gave up on that, too. The reason this game is here though isn't because it's bad or that I think it's bad. It's here because it's forgettable. Final Fantasy games used to be an event. When a new FF game hit the streets it was cause for celebration and everyone stopped and took notice. For 13-2 it just seems like this game was shoved out under the radar and then forgotten the very next week. A Final Fantasy game should NEVER be forgettable. That's why it's on this list. Final Fantasy deserves better than to just be forgettable.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Sigh. I wrote an ENTIRE COLUMN about how I thought this game could be great and how Capcom could save this and so on. What happens? The game is shit. Worse than shit. I can pretty much say that ORC was the worst game that I have played this year and I am not happy about it at all. Everyone else seems to agree that this game did not live up to whatever expectations it had...and even THOSE were low. The worst part though? This is actually one of Capcom's bestselling games at the moment. This game could've been the proof of concept that got everyone on the side of a more action-oriented Resident Evil but after playing this all I can do is look at Resident Evil 6 and feel a bit like that game might be nominated for this award in 6 months.

Ninja Gaiden 3

I think Tonobu Itagaki was a piece of shit as a person but obviously he had some chops when it game to developing and producing games because it's obvious that whomever is controlling the Ninja Gaiden license needs to take a sledgehammer to the kneecaps after this atrocity. The new aged Ninja Gaiden games were the benchmark for "hard but rewarding" gameplay and action but this game is just...bad. They dumbed it down. They made it easier than even the easiest lego games, and they slapped on one of the worst multiplayer modes since Wolfenstien. Not good at all. People had a lot of look for in a new Ninja Gaiden game and now they are just going to have to look somewhere else.

The Die in a Fire Award

This award has always been for the game, person, or thing that just needs to go ahead and chuck itself into an active volcano. Usually it's a game that sucked really bad or a fad that we don't really care for. But this year it's different. There are only two things that need to die in a fire this year so far. That's why there are only two nominations.

Gamers vs. BioWare: Take Back Mass Effect!

When ME3 was released we already had the masses chomping at the bit for any reason to shit on the game because of how Dragon Age II was accepted. You would've thought after that that BioWare would've not served that reason up on a red, blue, or green tinted platter. While I personally didn't hate the ending as much and I think the whole Take Back Mass Effect drama was WAY overblown I still think that it is one of the worst stories in gaming so far this year from BOTH sides. BioWare needs to die in a fire because they handled this incident POORLY. Countless times through development and AFTER development they kept clinging to the line that the endings were different and they weren't going to be these binary choices and when they turned out to be exactly that they stuck to the "NUH UH. THATS NOT TRUE" line. They were too stubborn to go back and say "Our bad" until Take Back Mass Effect was a worldwide headline.

And in that of itself Take Back Mass Effect needs to die in a fire because while the intention was noble all it did was put gamers under a microscope that we didn't need to be under. While us in the know figured we were just speaking out against BioWare and were trying to call them on bullshit the way we conducted ourselves (hijacking a charity, demanding refunds, filing Better Business reports, and metabombing a pool to make EA the worst company in America) just showed the world that for all of the big talk we spew about gamers not being the basement dwelling stereotype all we did was show them that we can't handle a basic human feeling called disappointment.

Both sides were wrong. Both sides are equally worthy of being tossed into the flames.

Gamers vs. Capcom: Downward Spiral

In 2010 it was Nintendo. But it seems now Capcom has been the main focal point for pretty much all of my hate and rage when it comes to being critical and this year did not start off of a good note. Capcom has hit a bad time in its life. They are scrapping games left and right and now when they do release a game they have THE WHOLE WORLD chanting the Street Fighter Mantra of "It'll be broken first and then they'll fix it". It's easy to think that all of this hate is stemming just from how they completely shit the bed with Street Fighter x Tekken but the truth is Capcom has been going down this path for a long time. It's just now it's because some egregious that you can't help but to look at them and wonder if they are going to be around too much longer if they keep squandering what little faith people have left in them. This week we've seen community leader Seth Killian leave, we've seen interviews from Ono saying that Capcom doesn't give a fuck about its workers and works them to the bone. All Capcom sees are dollar signs and fuck everything else. The thing is at the end of the day you have to put out a product that's good enough to have people buy it and come back for more. Capcom is rapidly letting everyone know that they don't have a CLUE what they are doing and if they keep it up they might die in a fire for real.

And they would have no one but themselves to blame.

The Isabella Baddest Bitch Award for Womanliness

You know that award for the most badass male character? The first one? This is that award but strictly for female characters. A few years back I tried lumping men and women into the same category but the girls never got as many votes and frankly at the time there weren't too many good badass female characters around. But now with the recent upturn in female characters that are worth a damn at least I get to nominate some ladies to take the award.

Lupo (Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City)

About the only thing worth a shit that came out of ORC was the fact that it gave us some interesting characters to plug into the Resident Evil Universe. Up until this point the only real Umbrella agent we saw a lot of was HUNK and even then it was usually not in a major story capacity. In ORC we get introduced to some of his peers and the one that stood out the most to me was the leader of the Wolfpack Lupo. I like that even though what they are doing is downright evil that she still has the sense to get the job done and not leave a man behind. Plus I like villains (or in this case villain-protagonists) who think they are doing the right think. She didn't have to sexy herself up like Ada Wong nor did was she as badass and protected by plot armor like Jill, Rebecca and Claire. Lupo was there to get the job done. She's pretty much the female HUNK.

Poison (Street Fighter x Tekken)

After spending years hiding behind Hugo Poison finally got the step out on her own in SFxT and proved that she wasn't just the beat 'em up fodder that she was in previous games. Hugo might be the muscle behind the job but Poison can more than hold her own. The only catch is that Poison will kick the shut out of your body AND your ego. I mean there is just no sugarcoating it...we all know the big secret. You never want to be beat up by the wrestler's MANAGER. It just makes you look like shit.

What secret did you think I was talking about?

Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw)

Juliet Starling by all accounts is probably a terrible female character. She's an airhead ditz who seems, looks, and acts fake. She's a bad stereotype of the high school cheerleader and really doesn't serve much purpose other than to have something pretty to look at while you play Lollipop Chainsaw. However...bitch has a fucking chainsaw. It's been a long standing rule here in Working Title that if you have a chainsaw you are automatically nominated for something. I am not breaking that rule.

The Cast of Skullgirls

I really tried to narrow this down to just one of the girls, but I figured I might as well go with the entire cast. From Painwheel to Double they all have something to like about them. So if you like sexy nurses ninjas or cat girls who love to give head here is your chance.

The Left Field Hit Award

This is the award for the game that seemingly came out of nowhere. It's either and Indy game or a game that wasn't promoted as an AAA title that ended up exceeding expectations. These games usually end up being the ones more niche players get into or they are the games that everyone forgets came out this year at the end of the year so they are left out of discussions. Not going to happen here.

Here's the sort of funny thing about this list of nominees though. Outside of Skullgirls and Dragon's Dogma I have not played a single game on this list. This list of nominees was actually brought up by one of the members of The BroForce Gaming Team. So there won't be blurbs for them.


Asura's Wrath

Dragon's Dogma


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Workaholic's Choice Game of the Year So Far

And we are finally here for the big one. Game of the Year So Far is the best game of the year...so far. Redundancy aside there actually wasn't a lot to choose from this year as evident by some of the more obscure titles in here. To put it simple there wasn't as many big AAA titles or games that I feel were GOTY(SF) worthy so I had to do a bit of barrel scraping. Either way here is your list of nominees for Game of the Year So Far.

Over the years I used to write a blurb explaining why each game was here/was nominated...but last year I noticed that if the game really deserves to be Game of the Year than you shouldn't have to plead a case for it. Therefore these aren't going to have blurbs either. You already know in your little black heart what you think Game of the Year (So Far or otherwise) should be. You don't need a 5 line blurb to convince you.

Max Payne 3

Mass Effect 3

Trials: Evolution

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Diablo III

And that does it for the nominees. Like I mentioned in the rules feel free to vote or suggest others that should be nominated. If I really did forget one or if there is a game/character/whatever that should be nominated go ahead and let me know.
Next issue we will have the winners! Yay!

Until next time, I'm Jordan Williams…and Namco is doing Smash Bros, Saints Row 4 is confirmed, and now Mass Effect 3's Ending DLC comes out next week? Shit is about to get real.


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