Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

Microids Pleads Against Sony Practices for 3rd Party Developpers

256px-microids_logoThis is a very interesting letter and I urge you to read it because it is enlightening.

Microids is French developer famous for their high quality Point & Click adventure games. They created Amerzone and the Syberia series among others. Some of those games never made it to the United States for several reasons (some of which are explained in this letter) and now the development of Syberia 3 hangs in the proverbial balance.

The letter shows some of Sony’s practices regarding royalties and censorship. It is a little frightening.
So without further ado here if the official letter as posted on their website:

A letter to players and professionals of the video game industry
Paris, April 17, 2009 – Following the countless messages and questions from fans which followed our announcement on April 1st regarding the launch of Syberia 3, Emmanuel Olivier, President of Microïds, gives more details on that announcement.

“Syberia 3 is not an April Fool’s joke. The game is highly expected by the community of fans of adventure games and fans of Kate Walker and it will be launched, it is one of our most strategic projects at Microïds and we have been anticipating it for a long time.

It will be released on PC for sure, however, on PS3, this could actually turn into an April Fool’s joke because SONY is the only decision-maker on this point, as strange as it may seem to some people.

Benoît Sokal, the author of Syberia and Syberia 2, has mentioned several times in the press that he would only participate in a sequel to his masterpiece if he had enough financial means to design and develop an exceptional title. Today Microïds is ready to invest in this ambitious production. But everyone knows that to amortize the development costs of a major video game with that level of quality, it is essential to develop it for multiple platforms, PC and consoles.
However Sony Computer Entertainment has already censured Microïds in 2003 by denying that Syberia was released on PS2 in the United States though it had previously been released in Europe on that console. The same refusal happened for a dozen other Microïds titles for the U.S.

Beyond this censorship of the authors and their producers who believe in their creations and who take the financial risks when building up productions for the console without knowing whether they will be approved or denied by SONY in the last minute, the exorbitant royalties demanded by SONY to manufacture the games on its consoles seriously hamper the financing ability of independent producers. Microïds has paid more than 15 million Euros of royalties to SONY for its entire catalog, which represents 55% of the Microïds turnover for this platform. April Fools? Well no! It is unfortunately the “rule of the game” imposed by SONY.

The revenue shortfalls due to the PS2 games we were not able to sell in the United States, a highly significant territory, coupled with the excessive royalties paid to SONY for the European territories, have so far prevented Microïds from having the ability to reinvest in an ambitious sequel to the Syberia series.

So today we launch an SOS to all fans of the Syberia series: let us rally to support the independent creation and convince Sony to change its rules. Send all your messages of support to:

SYBERIA 3 on PS3, an April Fool’s? It’s up to SONY!”

Emmanuel Olivier

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , | Leave a comment

Borderlands New Art Style Screenshot


Back in September 2007 Game Informer released the first infos on Borderlands, the new project from Gearbox Software. The developer is responsible for most add-ons and ports of the original Half Life as well as developing the Brothers in Arms series.

Borderlands is set Sci-Fi FPS with some RPG elements set to release on September 1 2009 on PC, 360 and PS3.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | 360 News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Batman Arkham Asylum Collectors Edition Details

Eidos confirmed details for the upcoming PS3, 360 and PC game which is set to release June 23.
The box will contain:

  • 14″ Batarang replica!!!
  • Making of DVD
  • Full Color Manual (you have to pay for this??? sheesh)
  • 48 pages Arkham Diary
  • Code for the Crime Alley challenge map

All this will be packed in a nice hard box shaped like the Batarang and price at $99.


April 17, 2009 Posted by | 360 News, PC News, PS3 News, Video Game News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Fantasy XIII Demo Gameplay Footage

final-fantasy-xiii1 recorded footage from the much hyped demo for Final Fantasy XIII that is included in the Advent Children collector edition in Japan. Of course this hit YouTube within 10 minutes!

I have to say that I wasn’t too excited about Final Fantasy XII and the trailer for XIII was ok but nothing thrilling (the one for Versus on the other hand was amazing). So I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Well I am pretty excited now! The demo is impressive to say the least.
The setting looks really nice and very reminiscent of Midgar
The combat lets go of the annoying (to me) active FF XII system and goes back to more oldschool play
The soundtrack sounds really nice as well
The characters look fun (aside maybe from the black guy with the stupid Tweety in his afro…..)

Overall, like I said, I am now eager to see more.
I pray that they give us the original Japanese voices with subtitles otherwise I may have to skip another potentially great game. Onegai!

Here is Part 1 of the first 40 minutes:

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Video Game News | Leave a comment

Persona PSP New Trailer

For those who missed it here’s the new trailer for the Persona remake on the PSP. Enjoy.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | PSP News, Video Game News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rediscover Arcanum in High Resolution

252px-arcanum_cover_copyIn 2001 Troika Games released Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, a classic PC RPG which sold fairly well and received good reviews with critics.
The game though wasn’t as successful as other bigger titles such as Baldur’s Gate, possibly because it was released within a little more than a month of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction which may have overshadowed the game.

Nonetheless it gathered a strong following due to its quality (aside from several bugs) and strong legacy. Indeed one of the staff working on the game was Tim Cain, who was responsible for the beloved 1997 Fallout.

Anyway I digress, after the last official patch (Ver. several bugs still remained. In comes Drog Black Tooth, a guy (group of guys?) who has been taking care of Troika’s baby for a while. He released several unofficial patches correcting bugs, helping balance the game, adding content that had been removed or never put in due to time constraint. He made a high quality soundtrack version of the game, higher quality maps. So on and so forth. All in all Drog Black Tooth is Arcanum’s Keeper.

And so the latest hit is that yesterday he/they released a High Resolution Patch which basically allows you to play at any resolution on modern monitors while keeping the scaling correct and the UI as intended. A massive feat to be sure!

Be sure to check out the goodies on Drog Balck Tooth’s website.

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April 15, 2009 Posted by | PC News, Video Game News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Eidos Montreal Working on Thief IV?

All it takes is a teaser and the internet is ablaze with rabid fans hoping for a sequel, with good reason. The developer posted on their official website an image announcing their new project.

eidosmontrealSecond Project of Eidos Montreal Soon Revealed

The fans quickly noticed that the font for the teaser is very similar to the one used in the Thief games… Add to this the fact that Stephane d’Astous, General Manager of the company, said in an interview for Deus Ex 3 that their other “AAA title begins with the letter ‘T'” and you can imagine the rest.


The Thief franchise started in 1999 when Looking Glass launched their first title in the series. The game was an instant hit (which I’m still ashamed that I haven’t finished yet…) and the sequel Thief: The Metal Ages, released in 2000, was even more successful.
Sadly after that things weren’t so good. Looking Glass studios shut down in 2000 and we had to wait 4 years to get the new game in the series.
In 2004 Thief: Deadly Shadows was developed by Ion Storm Austin to which several former Looking Glass employees had migrated.
But the game did poorly and fans were dissapointed. So the fate of the franchise seemed to be sealed… Until now!

Let us hope that it will be as fun and successful as the best titles in the series.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Video Game News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RetroBeats RPG Tour Year 1 – Phantasy Star Out!


For the second session of the RPG tour we look at Phantasy Star, a pioneer in making a sci-fi RPG, using a female as a protagonist and having a bigger emphasis plot.

The soundtrack was composed by Tokuhiko Uwabo who also composed the soundtracks for Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Castle of Illusion and Zillion.

Check it out on Retroware TV.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | retrobeats | , , , | Leave a comment

Wii Motion Plus Coming Out June 8

US-JAPAN-VIDEO GAMES-NINTENDONintendo announced today that their precision add-on to the Wiimote will be released on June 8, more than a month ahead of Wii Sports Resort which is due July 26.

The peripheral will not be useless for more than a month though since EA’s Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 are coming out a week later on June 15 and 16.

The Wii Motion Plus will be available for $19.99 on its own but also as part of the Wii Sports Resort bundle which will be priced at $49.99.
Hopefully we won’t get another embarrassing presentation by Regis & Co. at E3…

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, Tech News, Video Game News, Wii News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

World of WarCraft Noir – In For a Penny (by Selserene)

A few nights ago I was browsing WoW Movies to see if anything good was on there. Among the mountain of crap ego-driven PvP videos out there you can find a few gems.
Some actually good PvP videos, some fun videos and some…beautiful.

In For a Penny is of the latter. It plays out like a film noir typical of the 50s with an amazing soundtrack (including Bel Canto and Tori Amos among others) that fits the mood to perfection.
The series features this smooth criminal who gets sent to jail after being wrongly accused of murder. A few years later he escapes and tries to figure things out.

The whole thing is obviously in black and white, voiced very well (I’m game for a role) and the whole direction is very impressive.
Selserene created something special here and if you like oldschool noir murder mystery you would do well to check out this series.

If you give this but a few minutes of your time, you will be in for a pound.

You can get the high quality downloads (strongly suggested) through Selserene’s blog or directly on WoW Movies.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Random Musings | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment