Subscribe to the latest updates from the Articles category

Articles Archives

I've been waiting days to cover this story because I wanted to better frame my approach. See, 3.4 million copies of a game are some pretty lofty numbers. Sure, maybe that's a poor number for say, a console Zelda release, but it's still a profitable number. Tomb Raider's original popularity may never be matched, but since the 90's the franchise has been pretty pathetic in sales numbers, failing to even top 1 million.

In comes a highly touted and well reviewed reboot of the whole franchise. It moved 3.4 million physical copies across all platforms, the most the series has moved since the 90's. In addition, if you add digital sales, you're likely looking at a number north of 4 million total sales. That ranks it as the 3rd best selling game in the series and probably when it's all said and done, potentially the 2nd best. That, to me, seems like a very successful reboot. The fans are raving, the critics are raving, people bought the product, and things seem fine.

Until we find out that Square lost money on the project. So much so they themselves called it a failure. So, what's wrong?

Valve is perhaps the most beloved publisher / developer in the world right now, and for good reason. The constant influx of quality games, fabulous customer relations and a business model that does not feel like giving a blowjob to 500 pound rednecks named Buck in the back of a convenience store for games are all very positive things. However, Valve has set themselves up for the biggest backfire in the history of gaming, and it's called Half-Life 3.

Just today we have seen a new stream of rumors concerning the imminent announcement of Half-Life 3 (source), and I wholeheartedly expected my fleshy insides to tingle with excitement. Instead, all I felt was last night's leftover lunch becoming much less solid and much more brown. The truth of the matter is simple - Valve is pushing it. There's only so much teasing that the gaming community is willing to absorb, and giving the rapid (SEVERE UNDERSTATEMENT) decline in overall customer satisfaction with the industry, even the goodwill that Valve has amassed among its fans is starting to wear thin in this particular regard. However, that is not the crux of the issue, a "it's ready when it's ready" mentality is not necessarily a bad thing, and it won't matter once we have a release date and eventually sit down to play the game.

It's no secret by now that EA's support for the Wii U platform and the 3DS is practically non-existent going forward. That isn't to say they haven't released "any" games for the platforms, but it's well known they are keeping major franchises away from the systems previously and will continue to do so moving forward. Even games that were fully running and ready to go out to the production line, such as Crysis 3, were shelved due to Nintendo and EA essentially not getting along.

Lets set aside, for a moment, that EA has been making some questionable decisions in terms of how they are running their business. Let's also not place entirely all the blame on EA themselves. We will get into this in a moment, but Nintendo is responsible heavily for rifts with EA. However, the better question is, could we finally reach a point in the future where Nintendo and EA's relationship is just like what it is with Ubisoft? It always possible, and I have some sure fire steps that need to be taken on both fronts to make this a reality.

If there's nothing I love more in a video game than a high level of immersion, it's a good spine-chilling/goose-bumping moment. As I'm sure you've figured by the image, I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z. I'd rush home everyday from the 1st grade to some point in middle school to always catch the show when it aired on Toonami and I loved every episode. 

Once I moved to Kentucky around the 4th grade, I'd have to buy the Majin Buu saga on VHS and after that, I'd eventually stop watching it altogether. But one day in my Senior year of High School, out on a whim, I decided to start rewatching the series via YouTube and was assaulted with nostalgia. Then, it eventually happened, I got to the scene where Goku became a Super Saiyan for the first time and was overwhelmed to the point I had goose-bumps everywhere. I decided to play a few DBZ games and each time the scene came up I'd get those same goose-bumps, still do in fact.

Sometimes a game does a really stand out moment of creating a scene which fills you with Goose-Bumps, be it the final battle with Nyx in Persona 3, or any dark and spooky water-themed area in a game, because no matter how small the puddle is, a 60ft monster is waiting inside it to attack you, thus making you nervous and giving you goose-bumps. So tell me, what is you favorite goose-bump/spine-chilling moment in any video game/anime?

Do you remember the days when we only used one term to describe a console’s power? Twenty years ago, what people saw as “bits” were all that mattered and we could tell when one console was better than another simply by looking at the games. One needn’t any more insight than his own eyes to see that Donkey Kong Country was more advanced than the arcade’s Donkey Kong or that Sonic the Hedgehog could do more than Alex Kidd in Miracle World.

Fast forward to today and how do we compare consoles? Jargon. Twenty years ago, people didn’t debate the relative merits of a “Customized 6502 CPU” and a “Television Interface Adaptor Model 1A” because a system’s power could be easily described by marketers as “bits,” and every generation self-evidently doubled the power of the last. But those days, as you certainly know, are gone.

These ever-improving graphics were always one good reason to buy a console, but alongside visual improvements, each generation’s new technology brought us bigger and better ways to play our games. The new Mode 7 technology of the Super Nintendo, for example, allowed racing games like F-Zero and Super Mario Kart to take off, while the jump to 32 and 64-bit consoles allowed for full 3D gaming, which was a monumental advancement in its own right. During this time, advancements in technology went hand-in-hand with advancements in gameplay, but when the core fundamentals of a video game have reached their limits, companies look for other, less essential ways to improve the experience.

Head past the jump to keep reading!

Fans of the Might series and WayForward in general have reason to celebrate; for their 23rd anniversary, they're releasing the first sequel ever in the Mighty series! All of your favorite Mighty Switch Force characters will be back for download this Spring in North America, Europe, and Australia! And, of course, there'll be a lot of actiony puzzle-solving!

You excited? I excited. You excited?

Did Nintendo accomplish anything with the Wii besides being a money-raking, disruptive piece of hardware? Last time on nextract, I mentioned that at some point the Wii could offer up any kind of game one might imagine themselves wanting to play. To which a reader replied: 'You don't seriously believe that?' 

Yes, I do. And inside, I attempt to explain why.

SXSW may have been last weekend, but we've still got a good week until the title hits our local stores and mailboxes. College may have gotten in the way of me sharing this story, but let me just say that if you're a fan of Luigi's Mansion back on the GameCube, you'll love Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Dark Moon is pure fun and its filled with that classic Luigi's Mansion gameplay, humor, and level design. So let's hop right into the demo!

I live in New York, and one of my favorite places in the city is Rockefeller Center. Aside from being the home of shows like Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, it's also a large shopping complex; in fact, one of those stores is Nintendo World. I go there every now and then when I'm bored just to look at things and play some demos, and while I was there a week or so ago I saw something cute.

As I was leaving the store, a boy around five or so came running towards the display window, pointing and shouting back to his parents, "Look, it's a Super Mario!" As adorable as that was, part of me considered correcting him and letting him know that his name was actually just Mario, and that there was only one. What kind of dick am I? I was immediately ashamed that I even considered interfering with this kid's pure joy, and I tried to ask myself why the name he called Mario was any of my concern in the first place.

More after the jump.

What makes Nintendo tick? Is it like the beautiful pendulum swing in Mario 64's Tick Tock Clock? Why allude to that? 

Last time, we looked at what Nintendo did to make some successful, innovative content in the past. We saw that their interest in non-specifically Japanese things and slightly Western things helped them achieve creative, mainstream success. We also questioned whether "modern Nintendo" was a little too invested in technology in creating new, innovative hardware and software. …Are they? The former and latter styles of innovation say something about Nintendo's philosophy. For an answer on what makes Nintendo "tick," let's discuss the Wii and Nintendo 64 years…

Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Grant Kirkhope, a sound designer best known for his work on the soundtracks to Rare titles from 1996 to 2008. Grant Kirkhope has since been nominated for several awards in composition for his more recent work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which has gained him some recognition in the film industry, though many retro game fans still recognize him today as one of the geniuses behind games like Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata and GoldenEye 007.

During the interview, we discussed several aspects of his career and life, such as the closure of 38 Studios, Microsoft's acquisition of Rare, "Mingy Jongo," the current state of the gaming industry, and of course Mr. Kirkhope's methods, opinions and future in sound design and soundtrack composition. Head past the jump to read all about it!

Crytek is best known for the power-pushing Crysis series, which tests the absolute furthest limits of the consoles on which each new installment is released. Interestingly enough, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has told IGN that he thinks it's time game developers do away with single player mode as we know it.

“I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away. However, I’m not saying that there will be no single-player experiences … it could be it’s called Connected Single-Player or Online Single-Player instead … Online and social can reignite single-player in a new type of context and provide benefits that will make you want to be a part of a connected story-mode rather than a disconnected story-mode. Sure, if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn’t make sense but if it’s offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it.” — Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli

Some of you may agree that a true single-player experience is a thing of the past, but to me, this only shows how out of touch Crytek apparently is. Last month, Crytek said that all they're looking for in the next generation is more power—something entirely unexpected and frankly perfectly fine given the nature of the Crysis series. But on top of the notion that power is all that matters, to suggest that single player mode as we know it should be considered a thing of the past is not the visionary plan he thinks it is, but rather it's simply crazy.

Head past the jump for more analysis.

I know many fanboys world over are reading the title of this piece and going “Nintendo be like Sony? That’s blasphemy. They should each do their own thing.” You aren’t wrong for having that thought process and in many regards I don’t want Nintendo to be like Sony. Nintendo doesn’t need to have GDDR5 RAM, a Share button, or even franchises like God of War and Killzone. That’s just not Nintendo’s style.  Rather, Nintendo should be seeing how Sony markets their stuff and take a few notes.

It’s no secret that I think Reggie Fils-Aime is a great leader for Nintendo of America, but it’s been awhile since he really stirred the pot with gamers. Remember when he burst onto the scene talking about kicking ass, taking names, and Nintendo is about making games? Those days are long behind us, as is the infamous quote about his body being ready. Reggie is a polarizing figure and a great PR savant, but what he hasn’t done well is the main focus of his job: Advertise Nintendo products to Americans.

Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate makes it's way to the Wii U and today I had a chance to sit down and play the recently released demo. It's definitely the best looking Monster Hunter experience ever crafted, but even then it's not the best show case of graphical fidelity. It's very "last gen", but still feels surprisingly pleasing. Of course all that matters is that the game functions and it functions well, and to that I say it's right there. You have two demo options, one for beginners and one for experienced players, and both last 20 minutes. You have a variety of weapon types to choose from which makes the demo itself highly replayable. There are a lot of the same bells and whistles from Tri, though I don't remember the camera lock being in the original release. While it's far from a true lock on system, which would almost make the game feel like a bit of a joke, it does allow you to center the camera on your target at any time in a rather quick manner, which does save time when trying to land blows.

The easy mode is, no joke, easy. Outside of the fact he can be downed in under 10 minutes, your maxed out with your potions and such. It's practically impossible to die unless you are really looking and letting him attack the crap out of you. The second part of the demo is much more challenging. I could go on and on about the two fights, but why bother? Wii U owners can experience it for themselves for free so there is no point in ruining the fun for you folks who haven't played yet. Just know the game feels as polished as it has ever felt, looks great for a last gen game, and they simplified things just a tad (aka, the temp camera lock is a godsend). I am impressed. The game may have just turned from a rental to a day one grab.

A long time ago, some time in 1992, someone at Nintendo thought it would be a good idea to stay after regular work hours and 'work up some fun' in the office and among employees. By this, I don't mean kinky fun, but rather the kind that leads to organic, masterful come-up-from-behind games. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening started out as a Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past port for the Game Boy, but the freedom of the working context allowed the team to turn the game into an original project.

And original it was. Dubbed in Japan Legend of Zelda: Dream Island, the game was written before Koizumi ever ventured into the markedly dramatic territory of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. No, Link's Awakening was rather a representation of interesting developments at Nintendo HQ. One where, despite the rigorous expectations of a Japanese task force, projects were formed on the basis of an up-and-coming company, a company of passionate developers and designers with a certain creative flow...