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The Human Side of the O'Donnell/Bungie Lawsuit
Posted on Thursday, September 10 2015 @ 09:43:43 PST

With the recently concluded O'Donnell/Bungie legal scrap ended in O'Donnell's favor one thing established reportage on the matter seemed to only consider en passant was the human story.  O'Donnell's being turned on by coworkers he'd known for years.  Tom Buscaglia, an attorney who specializes in Computer Game and Technology Law, wrote piece shedding light on just that, "The Story Behind the Story," and it's definitely worth a read.

I'll not offer any kind of point-for-point consideration of his post except to say it is worth a read but I will make a few general notes.
  Bungie apparently hoped to bleed O'Donnell dry by dragging the legal process until he could no longer continue.  Their counsel for the case are well known for that sort of tactic. They attempted to extort an agreement out of him by withholding pay until he signed off. A curious request by Bungie's attorneys to allow Activision to review the final award prior to release...I'll break list for some ruminations... Seeing as O'Donnell's dispute was with Bungie and Harold Ryan why would Activision have such an interest and why would Bungie's attorneys make such a request?  I'm sure someone more informed on the law could explain these things as perfectly non-sinister in nature but there's something about the whole business above and beyond what was done to O'Donnell.  To my admittedly undereducated mind there appears to be more going on here than meets the eye.

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Bethesda Jumps on Season Pass Bandwagon
Posted on Wednesday, September 9 2015 @ 09:19:39 PST

Well, it finally happened.  Bethesda's doing the season pass thing.

In their announcement, "Fallout 4 - Launch and Beyond," Bethesda details their post-launch plans for Fallout 4.  On the positive side they promise regular patching to add new features and fix bugs.  They plan to release the full suite of Creation Kit tools they've used for the game itself.  It's much appreciated, especially after CD Projekt RED reneged on similar promises this year (though, who knows, they have a strange habit of saying they won't do something and then doing it) meaning The Witcher 3 likely won't be competing with Bethesda for modder's paradise.

Now for the negative - the season pass.

"Since we’re still hard at work on the game, we don’t know what the actual DLC will be yet, but it will start coming early next year."

Okay.  This statement is either a strong attempt to discourage anyone from buying the pass, or a flat-out lie.  It's September.  The game will be on store shelves in less than two months.  Anything coming out 'early' next year would have to already have its design documents finalized if it's anything on the order of Operation Anchorage or Dead Money.  Content creation on the base game is over by this point.  However, there's a surprising positive bit amid the negative:

"Based on what we did for Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim, we know that it will be worth at least $40, and if we do more, you'll get it all with the Season Pass."

So there's that much going for it - the season pass will actually work as such so there won't be a small mound of content sitting to one side that the pass doesn't cover for no discernible reason like Borderlands 2.

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Pre-Orders: A Relic of a Time Gone By Turned Malodorous
Posted on Tuesday, September 8 2015 @ 15:07:45 PST

Pre-orders date to the days when games shipped exclusively as content on physical media.  With the need to print discs or cartridges came scarcity of a physical good.  That scarcity in turn meant that a particularly desired or niche title might not be available at launch.  Hence the pre-order; pay a portion of the price and be put on a list of guaranteed recipients on launch day.  Downloading a whole unit of software from servers as even a practical possibility largely didn't exist at all or was exclusive to the PC and for the most part only applied to either very small indie titles like the Exile trilogy or small bits of additional content such as custom WADs for Doom.  Nowadays nearly anything can be gotten entirely digitally, with the optical drives heading in the same direction the 3.5" floppy drive went nearly a decade ago.  Getting something the size of GTA V (60 Gigabytes, so large it would need a triple-layer Blu-Ray to hold it all) on Steam no longer requires prohibitively expensive internet access for most consumers.  Between the loss of scarcity through digital marketplaces and improved accuracy in gauging interest for stock keeping purposes the pre-order no longer serves its original function.

Today the pre-order serves to sell a product that doesn't exist to a customer who has no real way to appraise its quality prior to purchase.  Even if the product is good the practice remains dubious for it insists upon an uninformed purchase.  To incentivize what is inherently imprudent behavior a set of content is either cut out and thrown in as a 'bonus' for early adopters or a bunch of inconsequential accessories are offered up as inducement.  Either way the inherently deceptive nature of it still stands.  Even if it's perfectly well-intentioned it still remains nothing more than an outdated holdover of a time and industry gone by.  However, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided shows how bad it can actually get.

Here's a link to the video offering it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01UgykSXiU

Now, let all that hideous nonsense percolate for a few minutes before clicking that down vote button if you have a Youtube account.  This is really what it's come to.  I can't think of a sleazier and more dubious pre-order scheme than this one.  No matter what bits and pieces of the game are getting cut out.  Given the 'total work' sensibility that drove not only Human Revolution, nor even the Deus Ex series as a whole, but is in fact a project which began with Ultima Underworld, continued through System Shock and Thief and saw spiritual children in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, this is beyond commercially dubious - this is an offense to art.  Please, if you're reading this, do not pre-order this game.  Signs point to it likely being good on release so buy it then.  If Square Enix wants to turn top shelf into down market it is in nobody's interest to enable it.

Here's a few more takes on the matter:
Totalbiscuit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo
Jim Sterling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7EI9YCsuBQ (Sterling reacts to the video with a mixture of violent twitching and spurting of blood from the mouth - overall an understated reaction)
Razörfist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ6KYeY-9sU (given Razorfist did both a review of Human Revolution which was overwhelmingly positive and a glowing overview of the entire series to date one can imagine the linked rant is...a little upset)

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Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics Return to GoG With Sale Offer
Posted on Wednesday, August 26 2015 @ 18:09:30 PST

CD Projekt has apparently come to terms with Bethesda again and have brought not only the old Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics releases up on GoG as before but have also brought other Bethesda titles aboard and they're all on sale with a bonus of Arena a...   read more...

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Airplay Debate Disrupted by Bomb Threat
Posted on Saturday, August 15 2015 @ 14:55:53 PST

A gathering hosted in Florida by the Society of Professional Journalists to discuss and debate the substantive issues of the Gamergate controversy in a formal context, understandable seeing as it's a controversy which centers around allegations o...   read more...

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The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Patch 1.08 Out Now
Posted on Friday, August 7 2015 @ 10:19:27 PST

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt 1.08 patch just released today.  While not as hotly anticipated as the 1.07 patch, it does provide some things users will be glad for, such as bugfixes for quests, and workarounds for those caught flat-footed by bala...   read more...

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The Last Goddamn Straw
Posted on Friday, July 17 2015 @ 12:40:23 PST

Gawker media.  There's a phrase that should make any self-respecting activist, advertising canvasser, editorialist, journalist, editor, or reader get a slight sense of dyspepsia.  The slight will become severe if the individual should e...   read more...

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A Revised List of Cautionary Notes and Concerns About Fallout 4; a Jeremiad
Posted on Monday, July 13 2015 @ 13:46:01 PST

Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed th...   read more...

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Leland Yee - Busted!
Posted on Thursday, July 2 2015 @ 17:55:33 PST

Leland Yee, famous for being the version of Jack Thompson with the ability to create law and not merely the rescinded ability to practice it, has pled guilty to racketeering.

The San Jose Mercury News has the scoop.  One could spo...   read more...

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The Burst of the Narcissistic Hipster Indie Bubble
Posted on Sunday, June 21 2015 @ 13:57:26 PST

In the 'art-game' feeding frenzy of the post-millenial years one name stood out above Blow, Fish, Cage, and even the Chinese Room for unmitigated egotism, pretention and vacuousness.  Work devoid of original ideas or meaning, work which ...   read more...

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