Diablo III has been causing quite the storm of controversy this week as Blizzard released details about that game that have some fans in a tizzy. Read on for that and more game industry tidbits.
More Diablo Than You Can Shake Wirt's Leg At
Blizzard has been talking to the press quite a bit, and not everybody likes what they're hearing. This week, several pieces of information about Diablo III were revealed: the game will feature an auction house that allows players to buy and sell rare items for real cash, there will be no offline play available, and mods of any kind will not be allowed.
The real-cash auction house will not be the only way to trade items with other players—there will be an auction house that uses in-game currency as well. For the cash auctions, Blizzard will take a flat fee from sellers in order to avoid having the system overwhelmed with junk, and a flat fee will also be taken off of all sales. As for the always-online requirement, Blizzard states that it wants all single-player characters to be able to enter multiplayer online play at any time, and the only way to ensure that a character is legitimate for online play is for that character to be connected to official servers from the start. Game mods will also be forbidden, apparently for similar anti-cheating reasons, though that decision is odd considering the extensive editor that came with StarCraft II.
There's naturally been a fair amount of controversy over all of these announcements, with some gamers repulsed by them and others unconcerned. I've got a lot to say about these items and the development philosophy behind them, so look for an extended editorial on the site next week. We may be seeing how this all shakes out soon, though. Blizzard reports that it is working hard to get Diablo III out before the end of 2011, though, of course, they are not yet making that a promise.
EA Enjoys Poking at Activision
Electronic Arts versus Activision playground battles are always amusing. EA's latest sortie is a statement that while Battlefield 3 will be going head-to-head against Activision's CoD: Modern Warfare 3 this year, players shouldn't expect an annual release schedule for Battlefield games. In an interview, Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach stated that rushing the development of new Battlefield games or subcontracting the IP to another studio would result in an unacceptable drop-off in quality.
These remarks poke at Activision, which has been using multiple studios to put out new Call of Duty games on an annual basis since 2006, leading to speculation that fans will tire of the series sooner than they might with a less-rushed schedule. That fatigue doesn't seem to have happened yet, however, so this particular jab probably isn't hitting home.
All I Want for Christmas Is a... Oh, Darn
Sony has announced that the PS Vita will not be available in North America or Europe this year, officially bowing out of the handheld race for the 2011 holiday season. The Vita should arrive in early 2012, and Sony hopes to have a solid software lineup available at launch. This leaves the 3DS to compete largely against the DSi this Christmas, meaning that it's likely to be a jolly holiday for Nintendo.
Catherine Sets Sales Record for Atlus
When the bizarrely-styled and very mature Catherine was first announced for Japan, many thought it didn't have a chance of being released Stateside. Not only did niche developer Atlus take the chance on Catherine, the company can report that, with over 200,000 games sold in the first week, it's Atlus' best-performing launch title in its twenty-year history. The game's strong sales are reportedly continuing, leading to hopes that Catherine could be a million-seller.
As an adult gamer and connoisseur of odd niche titles, I'm happy to see Catherine doing so well. Although the sexy pictures on the game's cover probably didn't hurt sales, Catherine also deals with a lot of issues not normally found in video games, such as fidelity, maintaining relationships, career problems, and other things that many adults struggle with. Hopefully the game's success will inspire other developers to create or localize games that understand that there's more to maturity than just sex and violence.
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.*