Archive for THQ

R.I.P. – Rest In Pieces, THQ

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by Rabidgames

Look at them vultures, hacking out the tastiest chunks of meat from THQ’s fresh corpse. Well, that might be a bleak view, but let’s face it: Hundreds of people are going to join the dole queue soon – including those working for Darksiders dev Vigil Games. Yep, it’s a shame, especially because most people affected by THQ’s bust are not even remotely to blame for it … thanks to our share holder driven free markets, it’s always the poor who get to bite the dust while the fat cats responsible for the mess keep drinking their finest wines in their châteaus …

Alright, alright, let’s slowly walk away from Rabidgames’ socialist agenda … back to THQ and the repercussions of the official funeral party; first, there is a silver lining beyonf the tombstone – neither Activision nor EA will probably get their greedy fingers on promising series!

The big winners aka the most saturated vultures seem to be two big players: Ubisoft managed to acquire South Park: The Stick of Truth, Obsidian’s upcoming dungeon ‘n jews RPG as well as the rights for rather unkown titles such as 1666 and Underdogs (formerly developed by THQ Montreal). Take Two bought the rights to a shooter nicknamed Evolve – and if the rumours are true, also the lucrative WWE games licence (WWE ’15 by 2K does not sound too shabby now, doesn’t it?). Another winner is Koch Media; the publisher most known for the Anno series and the critically underrated Dead Island managed to buy the franchises Metro and Saints Row!Yes, Saints Row went to a rather unknown publisher. That’s interesting, isn’t it? You would have thought the big guns would be more interested in THQ’s flagship …

Oh yeah, the internal record sum of $26.6 mio. was paid by Sega for the games from developer Relic, probably the coming Company of Heroes 2 was responsible for the steep price – but it could have been the Warhammer licence, too. Crytek bought Homefront 2, a game they are already developing. Sadly, Vigil Games and the Darksiders series did not find a buyer although Platinum Games seem to be interested to turn Darksiders into another Bayonetta clone.

Rabidgames wonders: Now, what does all of this mean? Fuck knows! Maybe some games will be late, maybe some series will be canned or heavily altered. Who knows. And one more question: What about hibernating franchises such as Destroy all Humans, Red Faction, and of course, Summoner? At the end of the day, it’s still a shame to see THQ torn to pieces. There are many fond memories of days spent with your games. Farewell, dear old friend.

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THQ or An Obituary

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , on January 12, 2013 by Rabidgames

It’s official now. THQ as we know will die. Soon.

And it’s a shame. Yes, THQ was never known for releasing polished games, and yes, the DLC disease was rampant lately, but still, there are not many publishers left who dare to stray from the beaten path these days (Bethesda and 2K come to mind) … and THQ were good at that.

Be it the only series which succeeded in capturing the spirit of the old wacky GTA, Saints Row, the amazing and unique Summoner games, the destructible environments of the Red Faction games, killing things as riders of the apocalypse in Darksiders, blowing up the earth in Destroy all Humans or the claustrophobic feeling in Metro, it remains to be seen if other studios dare to allow unique concepts.

Ironically, part of the reason of THQ’s demise is the fact the publisher turned mainstream, away from experiments: Mind you, Rabidgames is not even talking about the main reason, the udraw disaster. No, Rabidgames is talking about a game such as Homefront, where even millions of units sold (for a mediocre Call of Duty clone) are not enough. Rabidgames is talking about Red Faction: Armageddon – come on guys, it’s not a surprise a game fails utterly if you take away everything people loved in Guerilla, is it? And then there are the little things THQ did to alienate their fan base: 40 weeks of DLC in Saints Row The Third or fixing the online servers for the WWE games years late. But yeah, the biggie still is the udraw crap which killed off THQ.

The fans are responsible, too. We are always talking about how sick we are of Call of Duty and the ever same stuff. But what do we do? We don’t buy Darksiders 2, no, we end up buying the same old shit once more. In fact, THQ announced not to do any more Darksiders games since part 2 sold terribly. If we complain about THQ’s demise, we have to take a look into the mirror as well and ask ourselves “what do we want?” before starting to cry.

What will happen next? THQ will be sold – and worse, some franchises will be sold individually. If rumours are to be believed, Saints Row, the WWE games, Metro, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War will be auctioned separately. If the vile rumours are true, EA is up for the grabs.

Rabidgames mourns: It’s sad. But there is hope – if neither Activision nor EA feast on the corpse of THQ, we might still get awesome Saints Row, WWE, Metro or even new Summoner games under new leadership.

WWE ’13 or A First Impression with an Attitude

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , on October 12, 2012 by Rabidgames

THQ might be in some trouble financially, but it does not stop them from renting a posh club in Brick Lane and showcasing WWE ’13 for the world to see there! Oh, and there was free food and drinks as well to enjoy! Rabidgames did enjoy all of the above.

Oh, okay, back to WWE ’13. THQ allowed journalists to simply sit at a console and to do whatever they want. Well, basically everyone did things in that order: Play some random game of WWE ’13 first, check out the Attitude mode, have a look at the refined Universe mode, fiddle around with the many Create a Whatever options, and then it was back to playing some more games of WWE ’13.

Alright, let’s start with Attitude: It was about time to relive the time when Vince McMahon reinvented his company – and WWE ’13 pays tribute to the era which gave birth to iconic figures such as Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. On a side note, it is rather strange that a PG oriented company, where wrestling, sorry, the sports entertainment sometimes resembles the Teletubbies, virtually relives its wildest R-rated years at the same time. Sorry, back to WWE ’13 again. In the showfloor demo, there was only access to the story titled “rise of the DX”. Thankfully, the heavily scripted Road to Wrestlemania is gone, and we get primary and secondary “historical” objectives to fulfill this year. By the way, the DX story consists of 12 matches with very different objectives (from win with a chair or win via DQ to hit the other guy with 2 signatures and a finisher). While there might be no unknown stories, it is still great fun to delve back into the past, getting to relive the stories which made great superstars such as The Rock, Steve Austin or Triple H. Furthermore, the Attitude mode unlocks dozens of unlockable content (ranging from Wrestlers to alternate outfits to extra stories for the Universe mode).

In WWE ’13, the gameplay itself is pretty similar to its predecessor, and yet, it can be quite challenging on normal! Well done, Yukes. Finally, we can control how we want our matches to be: You can now choose between quick, normal and epic matches. While a quick match is basically a squash, an epic match takes a long time and requires some tactical thinking. There are some cool new details as well: Throw HBK into the turnbuckle, and he’ll do his trademark flying around it, R-Truth shows his split-leg dodging, and so on.Remember the weight detection system (which was removed for inexplicable reasons)? It’s back in WWE ’13. Hooray. No more Mysterio bodyslamming Big Show! Speaking of the big folks, they really look like towers now.

The pin system has been refined as well: In WWE ’13, it’s possible to pin a groggy opponent after lifting him up. But careful – he can counter your pin with a pin of his own – which can be countered again! Sounds great, doesn’t it? Oh, and you can use a stored finisher to make escaping a pin easier, too. Furthermore, the limb targeting system has been improved – we can now choose between different moves here as well. There are also OMG moments now: Have finisher stored, watch out for that sign, lean back and enjoy devastating action! All those changes for WWE ’13 seem small one by one, but combined, they allow for a more fluid and intuitive feeling in and outside the ring.

The Universe mode was a beast in WWE ’12, and it has grown in even more this year! It is now possible to have three major leagues at the same time (sadly, there are no inter-promotional rating wars … sigh, if we had our good old GM mode back …), players can define which stories will be featured in their universe (and influence their outcome), and there’s also a statistics hub which highlights tons of data: titles won, weeks of title reigns, Royal Rumble performances etc. Plus, you can have shows whenever you want! RAW on Monday, ECW on Tuesday, whatever you want to create on Wednesday, a WCW PPV on Sunday? It’s all possible. Oh yes, Rabidgames will certainly spend most of his time with WWE ’13 in the WWE Universe once more …

While most of the Create modes are more or less the same, Create an Arena has been largely improved and enhanced: In WWE ’13, we can now create everything from the titantron, the lights, video walls to the ring itself. The popular Create A Wrestler mode has a special novelty as well: In WWE ’13, players can choose a body part which will be able to take quite a beating. On the downside, another body part will have to be weaker though, so beware. There are also many new moves to choose from. Another popular feature will be back in WWE ’13; you can create titles again. And this time around, those fancy, shining titles can even be used in the Universe mode!

While all of the above sounds great, the star of WWE ’13 is an old friend who will return: Special Referee matches. Fuck yeah! And it’s not just the same stuff from the past, no, there’s a special referee bar which increases when you do proper ref stuff but decreases when you forget your impartiality and, let say, hit one of the guys with a finisher. Even better, you hit him, and when he dares to strike back at you, an official, you can now disqualify him. You bet the Special Referee mode will be awesome when playing with friends (oh, the bittersweet betrayal).

So, all is well with WWE ’13? Unfortunately, no, not really. Long hair still looks ugly, some moves still hail back from the PS1 era, and sometimes, the collisions are not properly calculated (yep, hitting someone literally IN the head is still in). And for some reason, some prominent characters (Hunter Heast Helmsley, Daniel Bryan come to mind) don’t look like their real life counterparts. Also, WWE ’13 seems a bit too fast for its own good. It’s alright if cruiserweights like Rey Mysterio or Sin Cara are lightning fast, but giants like Khali should be slower for sure. And of course, there’s much DLC stuff around the corner once more … But at the end of the day, it’s rather nitpicking. Rabidgames means, Special Referee will be back in WWE ’13, so the world’s, Yuke’s and WWE’s wrongs are forgiven (well, not turning Punk heel, and Sheamus, don’t get Rabidgames started with that booking desaster)!

Rabidgames smells what WWE ’13 is cooking: And it smells good! The look back to the glorious Attitude era, a deeper universe mode where we finally can make decisions, many, many small additions and improvements … and fucking Special Referee is back!!!! 2 November can’t come soon enough, and that’s the bottom line!

Is THQ dead?

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by Rabidgames

Rabidgames doesn’t know. Probably no one knows.

Between rumours THQ will soon sell itself to some mystery investors and cancel all 2014 games, and the company’s statements all of the above is pure bollocks, the truth is certainly obscured – at least for now. What is known is the following: THQ certainly awaits a rather dire future. Stocks have plunged from $28 to mere 50 cent (sweet irony THQ once published an awful 50 cent game). That weird udraw tablet experiment thingy bombed, as did Homefront and Red Faction: Armageddon

But why should we gamers care anyway?

Well, for once, THQ is the studio responsible for the great insane Saints Row series, the WWE formerly known as Smackdown games and also [insert your favourite THQ game, please]. And even a rather mediocre title such as Red Faction: Armageddon had some unique and individual ideas you rarely find in EA’s or Activision’s portfolio. Furthermore, Rabidgames has some sentimental memories because THQ has always allowed pretty the most outlandish games and scenarios: We all know the insanity of Saints Row, but what about the (originally) extremely funny Destroy all Humans, the ambitious RPG series Summoner (where both games were pretty different and equally great), the Red Faction series which was always bent on destruction … the list could go on.

So the company now wants to rethink its business model. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
However, the following statement from THQ is very remarkable:

“As we have previously announced,
we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids’ boxed games sector which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business.”

That digital thing aside, it sounds like music to Rabidgames‘ ears indeed: A publisher who decides to scrap all those low-quality casual kiddie games and to focus on core games instead? Well, thank you, THQ.
Please do it right though – please, for the love of gaming, don’t focus on annual updates of Saints Row and Darksiders, ok?

Anyway, let’s be honest – it could be worse. Half a year ago, the future looked even bleaker than now.
But by the end of 2011, life looked healthier for THQ: Both, Saints Row The Third and WWE ’12 sold way better than expected (maybe they did because both are “high-quality core games” – who knows?), the UFC game in the pipes seems to be ok (though Rabidgames doesn’t care) and Darksiders 2 should do well, too.

Also, Rabidgames definitely wants to see more outlandish and unique games like Insane (developed by Devil’s Third and Guillermo Del Toro) and – of course – that South Park RPG developed by Obsidian which sounds just awesome!

Hang on, THQ … if it is for the greater good Rabidgames will even buy your over-priced DLC!