TROUBLE CITY

MCP: GAMING NEWS ROUNDUP - 05.24.07

Master Control ProgramIan ArbuckleComment

MCPA while back, BioWare launched a contest for writers seeking employment which challenged up-and-comers to write a short module in the Neverwinter Nights toolset showcasing their abilities. The winner wasn't guaranteed a spot in the BioWare ranks, but it was a cool chance for any amateur to get his work read by company men. They've got another contest running from now until July, with the same general requirements, but this time they're looking for world designers. The line is that they're dipping into the community for talented folks to work on their upcoming, as-yet-untitled MMO. I wish more job hunts were conducted in this fashion. Alternatively, I wish I were creative enough to in the relevant areas to take advantage of these contests.

A little more madness, allegedly from Jack Thompson. Instead of dealing with him directly, though, I'm going to treat the guy as an abstract concept and consider only his point, which seems to be that Microsoft should take steps to ensure that Halo 3 is sold only to a mature audience. Though less high-profile in the ultra-violence department than Grand Theft Auto, the Halo games have a well-established under-17 audience. The game is sure to sell millions of copies; many of those will find themselves into the hands of minors. As far as the argument goes, it's at least not batshit insane. Poorly phrased, but not as entirely misguided as the abstract concept of Jack Thompson has gotten in the past. A self-regulating industry is far preferable to the alternatives. (For the record: I'd argue the arbitrary cutoffs for the ESRB ratings, but that's neither here nor someplace else.) If a heavy-hitter like Microsoft dabbles in audience control, waves of some type are sure to happen. Waves are fun to watch.

I'm not sure how (probably ancient ninja training) but this sure snuck up on me. A fighting MMO based on Kung Fu Hustle, one of the most fun flicks of the past few years? Sounds like fun, with the caveats that the "massively" part of the acronym is in question, the game is slated currently for Asia only, and, well, this: "While Kung Fu Hustle will be free to play, players will be able to purchase extra lives and hundreds of virtual items for a nominal fee." That's mad genius marketing, if people can handle the arcade pricing model at home.

South Korea is slated to receive a Sony video-on-demand service accessible through their brand new 80GB PS3s next month. The Gamespot story has Korean telecom provider Hanaro in talks to provide a version of their existing HanaTV service on Sony's console. I'll be interested to see if the model mirrors Microsoft's Video Marketplace or if it emulates more closely ala carte television services. Either way, it's pure theory for us in North America, as Sony has announced no plans to bring the service across the vast ocean.

You're liable to have heard already, but in the interest of making Nick roll his eyes: Guitar Hero III has been officially announced. A few songs from the setlist have been leaked, including "Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins, "The Metal" by Tenacious D, "Paint it Black" by The Rolling Stones, and "My Name is Jonas" by Weezer. Check the link for rest of what little is known. Notice one thing, though: in the Guitar Hero games there is a distinction between "Song Title" as performed by... and "Song Title" by... The former is a (usually decent) cover version; the latter is the actual master tracks from the band. Looks like GHIII will have a lot more original performances, which is minor news but still inflates the ol' heart.