Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was released on April 1st and Ubisoft announced that the game includes in-game advertising. This is something that is expected to become big business in the coming years and I am in no way surprised to see this happen in such a huge release, but given that gamers are notoriously picky and hard to please, I feel that some may find this advertising to be a real issue.
I can't see what is wrong with a game-world containing advertising, just as we would see in real life, but if it isn't used subtly it could cause quite a fuss amongst the gaming community. If in the next Resident Evil the travelling salesman offers you a coke as well as a multitude of weaponry, or Master Chief sports a Ray-Ban branded visor in Halo 3, I'm certain many people won't see that as subtle and immersive advertising. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully the advertising will blend into the game environments and increase the realism of future games, but when money is involved anything can happen.
Molyneux just can't help but hype up his games
Peter Molyneux has been at it again. Not content with the ton of hate mail he received over Fable not living up to the hype (despite it being great game) he has revealed the first details on his next game: Project Dimitri. Now, you'd think he would have learnt his lesson by now, but clearly that isn't the case. Apparently Project Demitri "allows anyone who plays the game to relive their life, their entire individual life," according to Molyneux.
Think about that for a moment. You can live out your entire life. While no concrete details were confirmed, this sounds extremely ambitious. Does this include getting up in the morning and shaving? How about getting to the train station to find that there is only a limited service running and that you'll be late to work by an hour? How about when you are sacked for repeatedly being late? I can't see how the game will possibly allow all these everyday activities, but I can't wait to find out exactly what the game is all about. The man certainly knows how to build hype.
Xbox 2 support from everyone we expected
With E3 now so close you can smell it, the pre-show hype is starting to build. Microsoft has announced a list of big names who are all supporting their next console. This list includes Namco, Rockstar, Capcom and Konami and pretty much everyone else you would expect. None of the names are real surprises, with Square-Enix noticeably missing from the list, but still, we can hope for some big announcements at E3. Hopefully a number of these supporters will be developing exclusive games for the next Xbox, which, particularly if from Japanese developers, will make the console a lot more desirable.
Obviously Microsoft's own internal teams are working on games for the new console, with Rare expected to make a big impact on this next-gen hardware. While they have their haters, few people could deny being excited about an Xbox 2 perfect Dark, Killer Instinct or Blast Corps. Conker Live and Reloaded demonstrates that the firm is still very capable technically, so fingers crossed that their next-gen output will bring back their glory days.
The biggest game announcement of the week was undoubtedly Burnout: Revenge from EA. Thankfully in development by Criterion (not by another team like rumours had suggested), Burnout: Revenge looks to build on last year's game. I find it hard to see how Criterion could better Burnout 3, which I consider to be one of the best arcade racers ever made, but I am certainly looking forward to see what the new game offers over its predecessor.
Visually the new game looks far grittier than before, but other environments are said to offer distinct looks, so hopefully some of the vibrant colour seen in Burnout 3 will make a return. In Revenge you'll also be able to perform 'Take-Downs' on traffic as well as your opponents - as if the last game didn't include enough carnage. I have always wondered how the series has got away with a low PEGI rating. Burnout 3 only received a PEGI 3+ rating, the lowest rating there is, yet the game rewards you for deliberately causing other cars to crash. Sure, you don't get to scythe down innocent pedestrians, but I can't help seeing a double standard here.
This week's releases
Xbox owners finally get to play one of last year's biggest PC games: Doom 3. The Xbox port retains the stunning visuals of the PC version and includes an exclusive co-op gameplay mode, playable via system-link and Xbox Live. PC gamers also get their Doom 3 fix this week with Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. An expansion to last year's game, Resurrection of Evil gives gamers an all new single-player campaign and new multiplayer game modes and maps.
Also worth a mention is Digital Jester's TrackMania Sunrise. The sequel to the track-building original game has had a visual makeover and includes a number of new game modes, making it an essential purchase to fans of the first game and anyone who wants a fun and original racing title. SWAT 4 from Vivendi is also available for those of you who want more than endless blasting from your first-person shooters. With a strong single-player campaign and even better online gameplay, SWAT 4 deserves some success even in this week of strong releases.
- Billy Blade and the Temple of Time (PC)
- Doom III (Xbox)
- Doom III: Resurrection of Evil (PC)
- Mission Barbarossa (PC)
- Soldner Marine Corps (PC)
- SWAT 4 (PC)
- TrackMania Sunrise (PC)
That's all for this week. I'm off to purchase some deodorant, a new Nokia mobile phone and an AMD processor. For some reason I feel like I need to buy them. Come back next week for The Sunday Supplement brought to you by Mars, the official sweet of Pro-G.