Rare Reveals Canceled Conker Game As Project Spark DLC Also Cancelled

It’s no wonder that Conker the Squirrel drinks as much as he does given the amount of bad luck he’s had.  After debuting in the cult classic Conker’s Bad Fur Day at the tail-end of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan and having it remade for the original Xbox as Conker: Live and Reloaded, things have only gone from bad to worse and back again for Rare’s adorable little jerk.  On September 28th, 2015, Rare revealed concepts and artwork for a new Conker game that was planned to be developed for the Xbox after the release of Live and Reloaded.  Called Conker: Gettin’ Medieval, the game would have had a focus on multiplayer and set in medieval times with various reimaginings of characters from the Conker series.  The game wouldn’t have been focused on Conker himself, but rather the world that the Conker series is built around with its representation of Death taking the central role instead.  Perhaps the game would have gone more into the background of the Conker series, such as explaining why the Panther King has such a hatred of squirrels in the first place.

The reveal of this cancelled Conker game coincides with the recent cancellation of another Conker game.  Project Spark had episodic DLC based around Conker called Conker’s Big Reunion.  Along with the announcement that Project Spark will be dropping microtransactions with its next update for an entirely free model, it was also announced that the remaining episodes of Conker’s Big Reunion, along with all other episodic content planned for Project Spark, has been cancelled.  If you’ve made any purchases of or on Project Spark on or after July 28th, 2015, you can refund it for Microsoft Store credit equal to your money spent.

It’s a sad day for Conker fans, but maybe Playtonic Games can reincarnate him as Barry the Bad-Mouthed Badger or something once they’re done with Banjo-Kazooie successor Yooka-Laylee.  What are your thoughts on these two canceled Conker games?  Which would you rather have put back into development if you could?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

EDITORIAL: Decoding IO Interactive’s HITMAN spin

Since its announcement and teaser trailer at this year’s E3, IO Interactive’s upcoming HITMAN has had fans scratching their heads. Due in part to some obtuse non-explanations by the game’s devs, coupled with relative radio silence for the past month or so, there’s been very many theories and very little facts to explain what this next Hitman title is going to be like. Will it be episodic? Will it be a pay-now-then-pay-again-later model, a la Destiny? Will Agent 47 finally master the art of the knock knock joke? With all these questions and no answers swirling around the industry, the game’s developers gave a Q&A today on their website to allay some of these concerns. Unfortunately, the Q&A only seemed to confirm some of our biggest fears about the upcoming game.

You can see the full Q&A at that link posted above. Here are a number of highlights, as well as some reasons why I think these developments are bad news for fans of HITMAN:

Though the full game isn’t launching at release, by buying the game on Dec. 8th you are purchasing all HITMAN content released throughout 2016

“What we release on December 8th is not the full game. It’s a sizeable chunk of it. Throughout 2016 we’ll release more locations and missions until the story arc is done and finished. All of that content is included in the $60 price. “

This is both good and bad news, from my perspective. It’s good, in that IO Interactive/ Square Enix aren’t expecting fans to pony up 60$ for an incomplete game and then nickel and dime us for additional content that should have been in the game at launch. Bad, in that first-day purchasers won’t have a 60$ worth of game in their possession after paying the full retail price. Also bad, in that reviewers won’t be able to accurately assess the entire game: just the first big chunk of it.

HITMAN will be episodic-like, without IO Interactive wanting to commit to the ‘episodic’ descriptor

“…there are some episodic elements to the story in the sense that it’s delivered in chunks over time, so experiencing the story will probably feel episodic. But there is also a ton of other content including live events, which have nothing to do with the story. We’ll also be improving and changing the game constantly whilst you’re playing it. Our ambition is to have a stream of content available from December 8th until the story arc is finished.”

Perhaps the reason IO Interactive are trying to distance the game from the ‘episodic’ moniker is that, generally, you pay for episodic games one episode at a time. Usually you can also buy a season pass, which gives you a discount – but having that option is always nice, since it’s pretty annoying to have to pay money for content you won’t even have access to for months. It’s a little annoying that, based on this Q&A, it seems IO Interactive/Square Enix are trying to ‘spin’ their way out of admitting that HITMAN will give an episodic experience for a full-game price.

HITMAN will release with a digital copy first, and only later provide hard copy

“…we’re leading with digital, so it’s ‘digital first’. At some point in 2016, we’ll release the game on a disc.”

This is also potentially troubling, since it sounds like a physical release won’t even come out in 2015. It’s obvious to many gamers that, more and more, the industry is becoming all about digital releases. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that fans are more likely to preorder digital copies, since by preordering a digital release on Steam or on PS4, you have the lovely option to ‘preload’ your game. It also likely saves the company on the overhead expense of creating the physical product itself.

So on the whole, these are concerning developments regarding the state of HITMAN upon its release. Stay tuned for more news regarding HITMAN (I have to use all-caps because that’s what the game is officially called) as we get closer to the game’s launch date.

Why Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Should Have Been Completely Different

Resident

I’ve got no problem with Resident Evil Revelations 2 (or Revelations 2, for ease), apart from that girl who points at everything like she’s just seen E.T. for the first time… and the fact that Barry has slightly better voice acting (Jill sandwich for life), but Revelations 2 seems to me an opportunity sadly wasted.

Let’s face it; Resident Evil is HOT right now. With Resident Evil HD edition officially achieving the title of the fastest selling Capcom game ever to grace the PlayStation Network, now is a great time to celebrate all that original Biohazard horror and bring back old favorites like Barry Burton, right? Well, yes and no.

Strategically, the recent releases were a golden idea; first, you’re hit with Resident Evil HD, an admittedly terrifying experience regardless of its age that just the other day, had three grown men cowering to the plinky-plonky music of typewriter-laden safe rooms (I was among these ‘men’). Then there’s Revelations 2, which brings you back to modern day ease and a more comfortable (and less atmospheric) experience. Though, when I first heard that Revelations 2 was an episodic game experience, I was excited, nay ready, for something fresh and new.

When reading first impressions and user reviews, I was a tad disappointed at the lack of tropes that I’ve tended to associate episodic gaming with. The traits of the excellent Telltale games appear to be absent in Revelations 2, and while these traits are not a necessity in episodic games, I feel that implementing some of them could have presented new opportunities. It got me thinking ‘if any game could benefit from moral choices that led to multiple endings, resident evil is it.’ Imagine if the bowel-stopping horror was combined with split-second choices that resulted in putting either yourself or your buddy character at serious risk?

Resident Evil one went a good way to inspiring this thought train. Between the gasps of uncontrollable horror, I was able to identify the kind of actions that led to the game’s multiple endings. Revelations 2 was a fantastic opportunity to bring multiple routes back to Resident Evil. That’s not to say that the thought of making hard decisions on top of the general horror game stress doesn’t terrify me, but that’s the point, right?

Just imagine seeing ‘this action will have consequences’ after every seemingly innocuous decision, or having the game tell you that Natalia (the buddy character that menacingly points at things) will ‘remember this’ whenever you do something morally suspect. Features like this would also allow you to influence the buddy characters in the game, like the way Corvo’s actions can change Emily’s view of the world in Dishonoured.

Just a thought; what do you think? Comment below.