ZeniMax Falls Prey to Industrial Action
For the better part of a month rumours of Prey 2‘s demise have been floating about in the ether of game journalism scuttlebutt, so when ZeniMax, parent company to Bethesda and Id Software, announced earlier this week that the game was still in production, the fears of many an eager gamer were allayed – yet something seemed rather off about the announcement. ZeniMax stated: “Development of Prey 2 has not been cancelled but the game will not be released in 2012 as planned. The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards.”
The above statement has proved problematic for some, coming as it does from the company which oversaw the release of bugfests such as Rage and the Elder Scrolls series. Indeed, one is inclined to imagine that the ZeniMax QA process actually involves them putting bugs into their games in order to have them conform to the Bethesda gold standard, yet the meticulous unpolishing of Prey 2 still seemed unlikely to push the game’s release all the way back into 2013.
Well, as it turns out Human Head, the developer of Prey 2, has been on strike since November due to their intense dissatisfaction with the contract supplied by ZeniMax. According to an unnamed former Human Head employee (laid off after work on the game had ceased) the game was halted in order strengthen the developer’s bargaining position. Apparently negotiations had been going well until January of this year, after which time they proceeded to grow incrementally worse until the relationship between both parties completely broke down at the start of March. Given the way that independent developers are treated by the majority of publishers, it is not at all surprising to find such a stand-off taking place; one wonders whether similar tactics will be used more frequently going forward.
Fool Author Attempts to Sue Assassin’s Creed, Gets Review Bombed on Amazon
John Beiswenger, the litigious author of a shabby little book named Link, has this week made a blatant grab for cash on the grounds that the Assassin’s Creed series infringes upon his book by featuring a machine which allows people to experience the past lives of their ancestors. Such a grotesque display of opportunism was always going to earn the ire of Assassin’s Creed fans, and this week they came out in their droves to review bomb the Amazon page of Link, the 2003 novel facilitating this entire fracas. As of writing, forty-one out of the book’s fifty-one customer reviews are negative one star ratings, accompanied by review text which ranges in tenor from the indignant to the sublime.
LTNetjak writes: “Published in 1981, the short story “They Died Twice” by Alan Hathaway included, among other things, a machine developed for the express purpose of delving into ancestral memories. “Link” is a clear rip-off of this now 31 year old classic tale. While this reviewer would normally ignore such things as there is no such thing as a new idea, the author’s insistence of suing a company for essentially the same thing he did in 2003 deserves a low rating.”, and who could disagree with that?
This situation is apt to leave one slightly torn, seeing as it pits the financial interests of a flagrant opportunist against those of John Beiswenger; yet one does not see why it is not possible to cheer for the prospect of equal measures of injury being visited upon both parties, without first having to pick a favourite in this debacle.
Magnanimous EA Decides to Give Back the Games That They Stole From Children
Well it only took ten months, but this week EA have finally been shamed into returning the games that they have been actively stealing from the users of their obnoxious Origin service since its inception – Chris Privitere probably expects an apology. It is unclear what has prompted EA to move on the issue after all this time – customer satisfaction (not likely), or perhaps their slowly dying MMORPG The Old Republic – but at any rate it is now possible for the users of banned accounts to play their single player games in offline mode.
EA writes: “If you find yourself with a disabled account, please note that you can still play EA games in single-player mode. For PC games you will need to enable Origin’s offline mode to play games with a disabled account. Go to the settings tab in Origin (the gear icon) and select Go Offline.”
Given EAs slightly less evil stance on Origin, an individual of loose standards and undiscerning tastes may well expect that one’s position on Origin may in fact begin to soften somewhat; this is simply not the case. While one rejoices in the fact that the soft-minded peons who signed up for Origin are finally having their games returned to them, that does not change the fact that Origin itself is little more than an infection of bloated spyware that only a gormless twit would deliberately inflict his computer with.