It's a great time to be a gamer. The first generation to grow up with gaming is in its 30s and 40s now, and there's an amazing variety of games being produced. There are far more gamers over age 18 than under it nowadays, so naturally there's a growing number of games developed with adults in mind. As mentioned last week in my fellow Cheat CC writer Robert VerBruggen's column, Outrageous and Unconfirmed (read it here http://www.cheatcc.com/extra/oau_southparkattacksea.html), the nation of Australia is finally catching up with that fact by proposing an 18+ rating for games. (Previously, games had to make a rating of 15+ in order to be sold in the country.) Let's cross our fingers for our Aussie gaming brothers and sisters—they may soon have access to a bunch of awesome games in non-censored format.
We've got a couple more stories about adult-oriented games in TWD this week, as well as a teensy NGP rumor to round out the column.
Barbarians Gone Wild
To anybody who watches the world of MMORPGs, it's no surprise that Age of Conan is switching from being subscription-based to free-to-play (with the ability to purchase certain kinds of content). After launching with an impressive number of subscribers, the game's player base plunged massively due to a so-so launch and a lack of things to do at higher levels. Though the game reportedly has improved since launch, it's had a difficult time attracting subscribers. Age of Conan is doing more than going FTP, however: it's also going from a Mature ESRB rating to being completely unrated.
Age of Conan has always been a bit of a maverick in terms of ratings; most MMORPGs go for a Teen or lower rating in order to capture an audience of families that play together. In the spirit of the original Conan novels, Age of Conan features more sex and graphic violence than its fellow MMOs, and going unrated will let the game take that even further. The press release announcing the game's changes states that "going Unrated gives the development team freedom to stay even more true to the original works of Conan author Robert E. Howard, and use even more of the barbaric, brutal and sexy setting that is Howard's Hyboria." If nothing else, the game's relaunch will make a splash as curious gamers log in for free in order to check it out.
Don't Pass This Down to Sasha and Malia
United States President Barack Obama visited Poland this week. He was given a variety of Polish cultural items as gifts during his visit. Amongst the prez's swag was a Collector's Edition of The Witcher 2, Polish firm CD Projekt's latest RPG that has been burning up the Metacritic charts with a composite rating of 89.
The Witcher 2 is strictly for adults, as is obvious by the game's M rating and ESRB description, which truthfully states that the game features "blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, and use of drugs." There's also a large amount of politics in the game, and if Mr. Obama ever settles down to play it once he's out of office, he'll probably get a chuckle out of the fact that every politician in the game is a right honorable bastard. Of course, he'll also figure that the game's lead character, Geralt, has it pretty easy. Geralt may have a lot of complex moral choices to make, but being a Witcher doesn't hold a candle to trying to lead the modern world's most powerful nation.
Veni, Vidi, Vita?
The name "Vita" has been associated with the next portable PlayStation device since January, when it was suggested that the device was code-named Vita. We know now that NGP (Next Generation Portable) is the device's code name, but Vita has crept back into the rumor mill as the possible final name. There's a picture circulating of the NGP on an E3 broadsheet, with "Vita" emblazoned across the top. We'll see if this one is true at Sony's E3 conference.
In fact, E3 is only a week away. As a game industry news geek, I'm super excited. Not only do we get a bunch of cool announcements at E3, there's always at least one hilarious PR disaster. We'll see you next week for the official Pre-E3 Weekly Dish.
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.*