Abort! Abort! Undo! It's been a week of missteps in the game industry, as Deep Silver and Ubisoft both had to correct some rather embarrassing errors. We've also got Crytek talking back to an anonymous blogger and August's top ten sellers in North America.
Wait, That's Not the Retail Edition
Zombie brawler Dead Island released this week, but there was a little hiccup with the Steam version of the game. Instead of receiving the retail PC version, Steam customers discovered they were playing a development version of the game, with bug testing, no-clipping, and other odd things enabled. It was certainly not optimized for PC, and was not intended to be the release version, a fact that was confirmed by reviewers who had received the proper PC version of the game. The correct version was released several hours later, but not before publisher Deep Silver had plenty of egg on its face over the blunder. Gamers who have this incorrect edition should be sure to log into Steam and replace it with the correct version ASAP, especially since save games created in the development version aren't compatible with the retail version.
To make things worse, one female character's attack, called "Gender Wars" in the complete game, was found to have a temporary title in the development code that was quite insulting to women. Deep Silver stated that the insult was the result of a single individual working for the developer, Techland, and did not reflect Deep Silver's opinions in any way. For its part, Techland offered up a public apology for the incident, saying it was a major lapse in professionalism and that the line of code was "disturbing" to other Techland employees. It should be noted that the insulting line of code was found only in the mistakenly-released development candidate, not the correct final version of the game. It's too bad Techland and Deep Silver can't blame any of this on the zombies.
Ubisoft Scraps UPlay for Driver: San Francisco
Charging used game buyers a fee to play games online is one of the latest weapons game publishers are levying in the war against used game sales. Ubisoft had planned to do so for Driver: San Francisco, but ran into a bit of a snag. The pass codes that allowed a game's original owner to play online for free were misprinted on many copies of the game, meaning that legitimate first-hand customers were unable to get online with the game.
Rather than further annoy valuable customers by requiring them to go through an online or mail-in process to obtain their free key, Ubisoft simply scrapped the fee altogether. This means that used customers will be able to play online for free, but keeping the good will of first-hand customers was apparently deemed more important than punishing used customers, which is nice to hear. Will Ubisoft rethink this kind of payment scheme in the future? Unlikely.
Don't Cry About Crytek
Anonymous blogs alleging poor working conditions at various game companies are pretty common these days, but company executives usually decline to respond to such blogs. Not in the case of Avni Yerli of the German game and technology developer Crytek. When a blog showed up on Tumblr alleging that Crytek was treating its employees like disposable pieces of meat, Yerti spoke up in his company's defense.
Along with the usual corporate line that Crytek values its staff, Yerti had specific criticisms of the allegations made in the blog. He noted that any laid off employees had received above the minimum severance package required by German law, and that while two former employees had sued for bigger packages, they had lost in court. He also denied an accusation that Crytek is moving to an office with seventy fewer seats, saying that the new office actually has more room for staff than the previous office.
There's no way to tell if the anonymous blogger is actually a former Crytek employee or simply an internet troll. Unlike in some previous cases like the infamous "EA Spouse" blog, Crytek employees don't seem to be coming out of the woodwork to tell horror stories that back up this particular blog. I'll keep an eye on this one and see if anything more comes of it.
August Software Sales: Dance Revolution
With almost no major releases in August, the video game market was left wide open for the taking. Deus Ex: Human Revolution took the top sales spot, followed by a bunch of dance games, movie tie-ins, and Call of Duty: Black Ops (is there anybody left who doesn't own Black Ops?). The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D made the top ten, becoming one of very few 3DS games so far to do so. Here's the top ten list for North America:
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*