Five Video Game Giants We Won’t See At E3 2015


Yvan lists The Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3 for short) is just around the corner where we’ll be able get hands-on experience with the latest that gaming publishers have to offer. Sadly, throughout the years, there have been casualties whether it’s due poor sales, moving onto mobile platforms, or simply going bankrupt. It’s not all bad though, as a lot of your beloved franchises have been reborn through other publishers.

Here, we list the bigger casualties from years past which we sadly won’t be seeing at this years E3.

acclaim logo

Acclaim

If you were a kid playing video games in the 90’s, you’d recognise the Acclaim logo (although it kind of looked like it was meant to say Acclaim) from games like Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, as well as the Turok series, a slew of WWF and Simpsons games. Acclaim were around during the 3rd generation of consoles, making games for the NES all the way through to the PS2.

In September 2004, Acclaim filed for bankruptcy and were left with over $100 million in debt. But it doesn’t end there, Acclaim saw the light of day again. Originally known as Acclaim Entertainment, the “Acclaim” name was purchased for $100,000 on August of 2005. In 2006, Acclaim was reborn as Acclaim Games. 

Unfortunately this was Acclaim by name alone, so many of the beloved IPs that they had once brought to life was in the hands of other developers. However, Acclaim Games managed to release 14 titles before Playdom acquired them in May 2010, and only three months later Acclaim Games closed their doors.

Midway Logo

Midway

Starting in the video game industry with pinball games and arcade machines, Midway eventually found themselves working on making games for home consoles, known for working on games like Joust, Tapper, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, Rampage and Total Carnage.

In the year 2000 (during the 6th generation of consoles), Midway was ranked the 4th largest-selling video game publisher. By the end of the 2000’s, Midway’s worth plummeted, where 87% share of the company was sold for $100,000.

By February 2009, Midway Games filed for bankruptcy, where Warner Brothers purchased most of Midways assets, including Mortal Kombat.

thq logo

THQ

Starting as a toy company in the early 90’s, moved onto making video games in 1995.  Having a number of their own IPs, like Saints Row, Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000, Red Faction and others, as well as having licensing agreements with WWE, Nickelodeon and Disney.

In August of 2010, THQ revealed the uDraw, an accessory for the Nintendo Wii that would allow users to draw on the tablet accessory and interact with their television. The uDraw accessory was eventually released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 but unfortunately for THQ it was a commercial failure, and is considered to be the main causes to why THQ declared bankruptcy in December 2012. THQ declared bankruptcy with many of the companies IPs being purchased by Sega, Koch Media, Crytek and Nordic Games.

Lucasarts logo

LucasArts

If you had a PC or Mac in the 90’s then you should know who these guys are. Famous for their point and click adventures, such as Sam & Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle and the Monkey Island series. Most of these point and click games worked around the idea of observation, problem solving and puzzles.

It was also involved in making a number of Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, al under the Lucas umbrella. Unlike most other companies on this list, LucasArts didn’t go bankrupt, but were acquired by The Walt Disney Company in October 2012.

However, all games that LucasArts had been working on (including a number of Star Wars games) had been put on hold. In April 2013, LucasArts would cease operation as a video game developer and any future games would be developed by Disney Interactive Studios or licence through third-parties.

Shortly after, in May 2013, it was revealed that Electronic Arts would develop any futures Star Wars games, including Star Wars Battlefront.

Sega Logo

Sega

This one hurts a little. Once a hardware manufacturer, ranging from the third generation of consoles, with the SG-1000, to the sixth generation of consoles, with the shortly lived Dreamcast.

Sega has had it’s fair share of commercial failures ranging from the Mega Drive/Genesis add-ons (32X and Mega CD/Sega CD) to the rushed launch of the Sega Saturn as well as it’s new competitor into the market, the Sony PlayStation.

Sega’s last console, the Dreamcast, was released in November 1998 in Japan, and almost a year later in western markets. Unfortunately the Dreamcast’s sales was not enough which changed Sega’s focus to make software on other platforms.

Sega has since become a third party developer, making games for both home console, PC and mobile platforms, but has since moved their focus away from physical media releases after lacklustre sales of some of their major releases from last year like Sonic Boom and Alien Isolation.

In May of this year, Sega announced they would not be attending E3 2015.

With the majority of our bigger titles launching later in 2015/2016, particularly those from our AAA studios Relic Entertainment, Sports Interactive and Creative Assembly, we are concentrating our efforts for some of these major announcements after our relocation. Instead, we will be collaborating with our various business partners for this year’s E3 show.

The good news here is it may not mean the end for Sega at E3.

Sega will have at least one game at E3, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which will be published by Nintendo.

Homefront: The Revolution Revealed


A New Conflict

The future of THQ‘s ‘Homefront’ has been announced by Crytek and Deep Sliver, taking the Korean invasion to near future Philadelphia in Homefront: The Revolution.

You’ll play as a civilian who has taken up the fight with the resistance, charging into battle with improvised weapons and bolt cutters. The game’s format has also changed from the original, rather than a linear shooter The Revolution takes the form of an open world guerrilla FPS, much like Far Cry 3. The game will be playable completely solo or in four player co-op.

A reveal trailer has also been released, showcasing the new look enemies and unique visuals.

As yet there is no release date, but Homefront: The Revolution will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Jayden Perry ©2014

OXCGN’s South Park: The Stick of Truth Review


So come on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine.

I’ve been excited about this game ever since it was announced back in 2012 by THQ, who announced the first delay and set the release date for April, 2013. Shortly after than, THQ had declared chapter 11 bankruptcy and Ubisoft had then bought the publishing rights, which caused the game to be delayed yet again, and to be scheduled for release in December, 2013, in time for the holidays, only for the game to be delayed again in late October, 2013 that it would be released in March, 2014.

Well, there are no more delays, South Park: The Stick of Truth is finally out.

With changing publishers and multiple delays, does this new South Park game end up like the turd throwing simulator, Duke Nukem Forever, or is it the South Park game we’ve truly been waiting for?

South Park - SoT8
South Park in all its glory, and it’s completely open for you to explore.

The Stick of Truth isn’t the first South Park game to be released, with a number of underwhelming releases in the Playstation era, like ‘Chef’s Luv Shack’ and ‘South Park Rally’, followed by a few downloadable only titles like ‘South Park Lets Go Tower Defence Play!’ and ‘South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge’, all of which have never done the franchise justice.

This time, we finally get the South Park game that meets the same level of quality as the TV show, the music, the voice talent and the art style all are so much like the show, sometimes you’ll forget you’re playing a game and just watching an episode of South Park. There are even moments where you might feel that you’re just watching a cutscene, but low and behold, there is your customised character, nothing is pre rendered and just gives the game that first feeling of a true South Park game.

Your family have just moved into South Park and your character doesn’t seem to know or remember why they moved. Your parents quickly  instruct you to go out and start making some new friends amongst the community. Once you leave your own home, you are quickly introduced to one of your first companions, Butters, who happens to be a who instantly becomes friends with you on Facebook, which is commonly used and referred to in the game. You eventually meet Cartman, grand wizard of the Kingdom of Kupa Keep, who inducts you into his kingdom to fight against the elves. You must choose one of four classes, Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew, each with their own unique, but very similar abilities. Once you have picked your class, you are on your way out to regroup the other kingdoms members, because the elves (Kyle’s faction) have stolen the Stick of Truth and you are on a mission to get it back.

South Park - SoT6
You have four classes to choose from, Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. All have their own novelty moves moves, but all are too similar.

You see, once you leave Kupa Keep, you can (almost) do whatever you want in South Park, to the point where you’ll almost get lost exploring it to it’s entirety. All your favourite characters from the TV show are there, all with their own side quests and rewards. Whether it’s entering randoms peoples houses and rummaging through their bedrooms and kitchen cupboards, including the houses of Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle and noticing all the references to episodes past. For anyone who watches South Park, this really is a delight and is great fan service.

South Park - SoT1
The contents of Cartman’s wardrobe. So many items from so many seasons.

“…you can (almost) do whatever you want in South Park, to the point where you’ll almost get lost exploring it to it’s entirety”

Getting to the gameplay, the RPG style reminds me a lot of the SNES game, Super Mario RPG, with it’s timed attacks and blocks, and it’s layout. The biggest argument against the turn based gameplay is that your characters abilities, regardless of what class you roll, are all too similar and don’t really offer much variety. Your special moves that use Power Points (PP) get better as you level, but even then, you’re capped at level 15 and you’ll most likely only use 1 ability over and over.

The real fun comes with the other characters who accompany you through your battles. Whether  it’s Jimmy singing you a ballad to buff your party, Cartman overloading his V-chip, or Butters turning into Professor Chaos and spinning the wheel of fate! The existing characters of South Park are a lot more fun to play and offer a lot more variety than then stock standard four classes you can choose from in the beginning.

This game really is one really long, hilarious and well written episode of South Park, where Trey Parker and Matt Stone clearly have had a huge influence over the production of the game in it’s entirety. This isn’t another Simpsons of Family Guy game where it rehashes ideas from many, many seasons ago, this truly is a game worthy of the South Park franchise.

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Let’s see how you like dealing with Professor Chaos!

Pros:

+ The show might look like paper cut outs, but so does the game, and it does an awesome job of looking EXACTLY like the show.

+The humour might be crude, but it’s hilarious and not something a South Park fan should miss.

+ Not quite the largest open world game (and dare I say, one of the smallest) but still one of the most fun to travel through and explore.

+ All your favourite South Park characters are there, even one from beyond the grave!

Cons:

–  The battle system is a little too simplistic, with only a few abilities to choose from for each character and class.

– Limited customization and variety with class builds.

– Fights don’t vary much, while the boss fights are a little harder, they don’t really involve much strategy, and are more about timing.

TL;DR

It’s basically a virtual South Park with simple turn-base RPG gameplay elements, side quests and crude humour aplenty. This is not a Square-Enix RPG by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t believe that Obsidian were aiming for that. If you love South Park, you need to buy this. If you don’t like South Park, why on earth did you read this entire review?

8.5/10

THQ Pays Saints Row Tribute in Final Moments


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THQ Pays Saints Row Tribute in Final Moments

Pour one for the homies

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

saints row the third screenshots oxcgn #20Through this generation, we’ve seen many developers come and go.

Over the past few years, THQ has been in financial trouble, and declared bankruptcy recently.

A few days ago, their franchises were auctioned off to the highest bidders.

It’s a sad day for the gaming community, as the body of THQ was thrown to the vultures and picked clean.

Even in the midst of losing their jobs, the employees of THQ kept their spirits up.

Today was the company’s last day of operation, and in its final moments, they paid tribute to Saints Row.

See the final moments here

OXCGN’s WWE’13 Review


OXCGN’s WWE ’13 Review

Best In The World?

by Chris Fox

© 2012 Chris Fox

Like Christmas, Easter and my yearly long, hard look in the mirror, WWE has arrived on our consoles once again.

This time, WWE Champion CM Punk graces the cover and a whole new single player campaign based around the infamous Attitude Era is included.

The question is; does WWE ’13 raise the quality margin or is it simply a set of ditto marks under last year’s release?

Wrestle this way…

OXCGN’s EB Expo 2012 Snapshot 3: More Games


OXCGN’s EB Expo 2012 Snapshot 3: More Games

Yes, MORE games!

by Daniel Geikowski

©2012 Daniel Geikowski

You know the drill. The third and final day of the EB Games Expo saw even more game previews.

Although not as many as Day Two, we at OXCGN continue to bring you devout readers a sneak peek of upcoming games.

Game impressions are rated as follows:

Green: game looks fantastic, polished and basically a guaranteed winner

Yellow: game looks great, but there’s a bit of uncertainty or something that didn’t quite work right

Orange: game is shaping up, but needs some work. Continue reading OXCGN’s EB Expo 2012 Snapshot 3: More Games

OXCGN’s Darksiders II Review: Death Comes Knocking


OXCGN’s Darksiders II Review

Death Comes Knocking

by David Faulk

©2012 David Faulk

Death. The big sleep. The final curtain call. The inevitable. The end.

This is how Darksiders 2 begins.

Darksiders 2 is the sequel to THQ and Vigil’s mildly successful game Darksiders, which was released in early 2010.

It takes place during the events of the first game, with the most powerful of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, Death, riding to clear the sullied name of his brother, War.

Instead of taking place solely on Earth, Darksiders 2 takes Death all around the outer realms, from Angelic Outposts to the Land of the Dead, and practically everywhere in between.

Darksiders 2 review

OXCGN’s Darksiders II Event: ‘Death’ comes for us all


OXCGN’s Darksiders II Event 

‘Death’ comes for us all

by Chris Fox

© 2012 Chris Fox

THQ were nice enough to invite me to their European headquarters to show off their new game last Monday.

The place: sweltering hot London.

The game: Darksiders II.

The food: really, really good burgers.

The question on the lips of everyone present was can Darksiders II take the enjoyable exploration and even more enjoyable combat to the next level for this sequel?

It was time to saddle up with the four horsemen and find out.

Darkness II answers here