January 2013 in Review: Devs in motion, future tech and THQ’s demiseWritten by: / / No Comments
Whoever said that January was a slow time for the videogame industry? Your uncle? Well then you tell your uncle he’s a liar because there were enough shake-ups to last us until June with more than the year’s fair share of sad news, exciting announcements and intriguing developments, not to mention a bevy of fantastic downloadable games and a good crop of excellent retail titles to keep us entertained.
What were the top headlines during the month of January 2013, however? And what did El33tonline bring to the world of videogames this month?
Take a trip down memory lane and get ready for a head rush with our round-up of the biggest, best and most important headlines of January 2013:
Top Fifteen El33tonline Headlines in January 2013
The Demise of THQ
Without a doubt, the saddest and most immediately far reaching news in January was that of the collapse of THQ as property bidders including Koch Media, SEGA, Crytek, Take 2, Ubisoft purchased most of the company’s most valuable assets, following a court ruling denying THQ’s move to sell itself whole to a third party.
It was only a matter of time before the bids were approved and THQ was broken up into its component parts, including Vigil Games which wasn’t purchased in the auction leading to the closure of the Darksiders developer.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Vigil’s staff, however, as roughly 35 of the developers were snapped up by Crytek to form Crytek USA, although the Darksiders intellectual property is still up for grabs.
In honour of THQ, El33tonline EiC Lisa wrote a great tribute to the publisher and its developers – read that here.
The rest of the THQ fallout can be viewed in the following stories:
A New Generation of Pocket Monsters
January 2013 was a good time for Pokemon fans with the news of an all-new generation of the diminutive monsters and the announcement of Pokemon X and Y for 3DS, which will this time feature full 3D graphics, as well as new features and Pokemon.
What legendary Pokemon are included in X and Y? Get their names and images over here.
New Contenders to the Hardware Race
This month also played host to the showcase of a few new handheld console contenders with Nvidia’s ‘- Project Shield’ and Razer’s ’Edge Pro’ device, while Valve also – revealed its partnership with mini-PC maker Xi3 to create computer dedicated to streaming and gaming.
Will any of these hardware plays have an impact on the Big Three of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft? If anything, it’s going to be interesting to watch how each console and device tries to find a place in the market
The March to E3
Perhaps it was non-news, but it certainly got industry watchers buzzing when Xbox frontman Major Nelson – posted up a teaser clock counting down to E3, with speculation surrounding the announcement of Microsoft’s next console at the annual industry event.
Is this when we’ll get our first glimpses of the next Xbox? All rumours point to ‘yes.’
Sony’s Move Towards Strict Anti-Piracy (Anti-Used Games) Measures
Another piece of news that had gamers and the industry at large up in arms was the reveal of a technology patent filed by Sony that could (very) effectively act as an anti-piracy measure for its future consoles and devices… as well as a keen way to put the used game market to the sword.
PlayStation 2 Put to Rest
Sony Computer Entertainment once again made headlines with the bittersweet news that production of the the company’s PlayStation 2 was to be discontinued worldwide.
While sales of the console will continue for some time as retail channels are cleared of older product, and modern gamers don’t really have much use for the PlayStation 2 having moved on to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it still felt like the end of an era as this titan of the industry was finally being put to sleep for good.
Lara Croft’s Adventures Head Online
So maybe this is just news because El33tonline is desperately looking forward to the game’s release, but – news of multiplayer in this year’s Tomb Raider was a big reveal for us!
Technically, the news was revealed in late 2012, but we still got the – first official look at Tomb Raider multiplayer in January… so there.
And the Next LEGO Game is… Impossible?
The LEGO series of action and adventure games continue to chug along under the guidance of developer TT Games, but the latest upcoming LEGO title paves the way for exciting mash-ups and collaborations in the future… think fighting games and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
The announcement of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a triumph for the simple fact that DC Comics owner Warner Bros. was able to broker a deal with Marvel owner Disney in order to developer a game based in the Marvel universe!
It’s sure to be a fun game in its own right and we look forward to playing it with all of the colourful characters… but imagine the possibilities of the future as Marvel and DC character collide in upcoming games. Dream a little dream with us.
Atari (US) Checks Itself
This came out of nowhere (although the signs were there), but when Atari (US) announced its intention to file for bankruptcy in order to essentially remove itself from the control of French parent company Atari S.A., while selling off classic franchises and the Atari logo itself to do so, we could be counted amongst those surprised by the news.
A Very Special Halo Birthday
It’s not very often that you get to celebrate a great story like that of Keagan Gillespie and his very special Halo-themed birthday, but Reach For a Dream and Xbox South Africa made it happen. Heartwarming.
Wii U Confidence Sky-Rockets, But is it Enough?
Following the launch of the Wii U in late 2012, you couldn’t fault Nintendo for being at least a little worried about the reception of its latest home console – gamers didn’t exactly flock to stores to buy one, despite its features and impressive launch line-up.
In a move to instil confidence in the Wii U, Nintendo recently went and announced a whopping selection of upcoming first- and third-party games coming to the console this year and in the near future – it’s an enormous list, with news of feature-rich system updates, too.
Disney Loses a Little Magic… and Warren Spector
Another bit of side game industry news arrived with the announcement that Junction Point Studios (Disney Epic Mickey) had been shut down, leaving game industry legend Warren Spector without a position to fill at Disney Interactive.
Not to worry, though, as Spector’s future in game development is unquestionable and in his farewell to Junction Point, the developer promised us that we’ll see him in the future. What the future entails, not even Spector knows.
A Huge New Avenue for the Console Market?
The Chinese market is potentially enormous for console manufacturers and while a limited ban is currently in place on machines for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for fears of national safety, that ban might just be lifted leaving the floodgates open for videogames to find a new revenue stream.
Zynga Loses Another Top Talent
The fortunes of casual online game developer Zynga have waxed and waned since the company was founded and went public on the US stock exchange, as top talent from around the world flocked to its various studios… and then slowly began to leave. The latest Zynga departure is arguably the company’s highest profile in the games industry – Brian Reynolds – but it’ll be exciting to see what he comes up with next.
The Release Date Announcement Heard Around the World
And finally, the release date gamers the world over have been clamouring for – the day we’ll be able to play Grand Theft Auto V. Looking forward to September already.
Miscellaneous other stories also caught our collective eyes this month – here’s a quick round-up of more notable headlines from January 2013:
El33tonline Features in January 2013
What kinds of regular and unique features did El33tonline share with you this past month? Here we go:
Letter from the editor: A tribute to a lekker oke we call OL
“Oltman started working here at El33tonline in October 2009. We got to know Oltman when he won a competition on the site and sent us a really awesome email saying thanks for the prize. It was obvious that he had a real passion for videogames, and we thought to ourselves ‘now that’s somebody we’d like on our team!’“
Top 5 Friday: My favourite JRPGs of all time
“It was only during high school that I began to seriously embrace the JRPG genre. This was during the PSone era when Western RPGs for consoles were fairly thin on the ground and Japanese games such as Final Fantasy VII, The Legend of Dragoon and Dragon Warrior VII were all the rage.”
5 reasons I think gamers judge games prematurely
“Would you agree that it’s only once a game is out and you have actually played it, that you’re able to form a final and accurate personal opinion about that game? Would you agree that no amount of pre-release information, misinformation or hype should colour your thoughts about an unreleased game?”
5 games I played this past holiday
“2012 was filled with so many awesome new gaming releases, but as every gamer knows there are only so many hours in each day and we inevitably end up with a backlog. The holidays are a great time to dig into this pile of games that has collected over the past 365 days, and so that’s exactly what I did!”
Top 5 Friday: PS2 RPGs I wish I’d played
“The PS2 would soon become home to a number of remarkable RPGs including the likes of Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts, although two of the system’s greatest role-playing games – Persona 3 and Persona 4 – would only be released towards the end of the decade!”
5 reasons I’m excited about 2013 right now
“It seems just a short while ago that we were all looking back at our favourite games of 2012. We then turned our heads to 2013 and began discussing our most anticipated titles for the next 365 days. And now it is 2013 and the countdown to the release of many of those titles has begun in earnest now!”
The Games of 2013 – El33tonline’s Great Big Release List
“We’ve collected together a mighty list of games due to release in 2013, as well as games that we haven’t heard from in a while all bundled together with titles that we know for certain (well, 99 percent certain) will be revealed as the year goes on.”
Monday Musings: Will the Wii U’s remote play feature mean less dedicated dual-screen games?
“The latency of the GamePad’s screen is less than many TVs and the controller allows for both dual-screen gameplay and remote play. As far as the latter feature is concerned, there’s certainly no handheld on the market that can compete with the GamePad in terms of number of buttons and the quality of graphics on display.”
5 things I don’t like about Borderlands 2
“I’ve spent countless hours completing missions in Pandora, slaying skags, psychos and scarier things that definitely go bump in the night, and I’ve enjoyed enticing fellow vault hunters to jump inside the crusher at Ellie’s place (it’s perfectly safe, give it a go). I’ve taken Tiny Tina’s fiery skag-pet for a ‘walk’ (while trying to make sure that Dukina didn’t get too jealous), battled the mighty Saturn and numerous dangerous constructors too.”
Are we as gamers too pushy? And why do the developers allow it?
“Obviously it’s a major commitment for a publisher to choose to invest in a gaming title which is often crafted by a development team for years. Even though we can’t begin to understand the kind of research that goes into deciding to financially back a title and its developer, we can only imagine that it’s a decision that’s not taken lightly at all.”
Continue reading: Opinion Piece: The Fall of Darksiders
“And, by now you’ve probably found out that Darksiders creator Vigil received no bids and is being forced to close down, and are wondering how nobody wanted to pick up the developer of two fantastic and critically acclaimed games. The thing is, if you look at it a bit harder, it actually makes more sense than you’d think. Here’s how I see it…”
Community Focus: Marius Nell showcases his vast game collection
“I am a gamer. I am a gamer, a collector and a lover of all things entertainment related. My passion, my pride, my hobby, my addiction. For many years I have spent countless hours challenging enhancing and honing my skills. So allow me a moment to share my passion:”
El33tonline Guess the Game Features in January 2013
El33tonline’s Guess the Game features continued well into 2013 with a great collection of new challenges from both Pieter and Tom – go on a journey and try to remember all of the games in these brainteasers!
El33tonline Reviews in January 2013
El33tonline brought a massive amount of game and accessory reviews to our readers this month. Don’t believe us? Take a look:
DmC: Devil May Cry Review (PlayStation 3)
“He may be a little more rough around the edges and have a different hair colour, but his witty humour, cockiness and self-assured nature is exactly the same. In fact this new re-imagined Dante to me is the epitome of the character and I look forward to seeing him appear in many new Devil May Cry titles in the future.”
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PlayStation 3)
“Best of all, legendary JRPG developer Level-5 teamed up with anime masters Studio Ghibli to create a game that not only looks beautiful and tugs at your heartstrings, but one that also boasts compelling gameplay to complement its astonishing audio-visual presentation.”
Rabbids Land Review (Wii U)
“Rabbids Land retains the silliness of the Rabbids but a lot of the humour is becoming stale while the gameplay of the mini-games is bordering on dull. There is some fun to be had for a party of four people, but even then there are better options around, even on the very young Wii U.”
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review (Wii U)
“If you’re looking for a fun arcade racing game in the vein of Mario Kart for your fresh Wii U then look no further; Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed might have an unwieldy name but the game is silky smooth in your hands and a feast of fun and challenge. ”
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale Review (PS Vita)
“While it’s taken a while to come to fruition, the platform holder has finally produced a rival to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series with PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, a brawler that features an excellent cast of characters and dynamic stages inspired by some of the most iconic franchises in PlayStation history.”
Anarchy Reigns Review (PlayStation 3)
“Anarchy Reigns seemed to include all of the personality and over-the-top action we had come to expect from Platinum, but weeks turned to months and after two release delays and a Japanese launch in 2012, the studio’s next action game, and its vision for a ‘Multiplayer Brawler,’ has hit the West. In the wake of Vanquish and Bayonetta, is this ‘the next’ Platinum Games action title we’ve been waiting for?”
Forza Horizon: Rally Expansion Pack Review (Xbox 360)
“Turn 10 Studios is well known for adding content to their Forza titles but rather than simply adding another batch of new cars, Playground has added a whole new expansion to the Forza Horizon – the Rally Expansion Pack – which lets you compete in the Horizon Rally Championship with new tracks, new upgrades and new cars.”
Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U)
“While its primary missions and combat system leave something to be desired, Assassin’s Creed III is a beautiful, bold blockbuster that has more than enough first-class content to satisfy fans of the series or newcomers with a penchant for open-world adventure games.”
Halo 4: Crimson Map Pack (Xbox 360)
“Walking through the maps, you can’t help but notice the amount of detail in these new online arenas. Harvest and Wreckage in particular are treats to look around, with a monorail flying overhead or the chance to explore giant shipwrecks. The beauty of the new maps aside, the map design itself is a bit polarising. Depending on your playstyle and preference, you might either love them or hate them. ”
Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game (Xbox 360)
“If you are looking for about fifteen hours of kid friendly hack and slash fun, Rise of the Guardians is the game for you. If you are a fan of co-op action games with high intensity I can surely recommend Rise of the Guardians. Personally I am glad that I had the chance to add this game to my collection.”
FIFA Manager 13 (PC)
“FIFA Manager 13 is an excellent football management simulation and I can highly recommend this game to fans of the genre. If you are new to football management games and are interested in getting into it, I can also highly recommend this title because it’s easy to learn, fun to play and allows you to choose the level of detail you would like to be involved in. ”
Turtle Beach Ear Force XP500 (Xbox 360)
“The quality of the headset, the superior sound and extra features do put this unit head and shoulders above the rest, however, and if you’re into multiplayer or competitive gaming I would strongly recommend this headset if you can afford it – it will add a whole new dimension to your gameplay.”
Razer Electra Headset Review (PC)
“As a feature-bare gaming and music headset, the Razer Electra performs extremely well and lives up to the promises adorning its box. Bass is thick, comfort is premium and at higher volumes you’ll be forced to keep checking news alerts for any word of an apocalypse, because you definitely won’t hear it crashing down upon you while listening to music and game audio with the Electra.”
El33tonline Previews in January 2013
God of War: Ascension Multiplayer Hands-on (PS3)
“A major complaint against the God of War series has been the brevity in which the titles could be completed. If nothing else, the multiplayer campaign should keep gamers plugged in for far longer than they had in the past. It was time for the series to move forward and this seems like a solid step in the right direction.”
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Hands-on (PS3)
“I played the MGR: Revengeance demo on PlayStation 3 and tried to keep in mind that I was playing code that was over two months’ old. Despite the age of the code, the two levels that are included in the sample felt surprisingly complete and I didn’t notice any obvious bugs or technical issues.”
Top Ten Screenshots of January 2013
El33tonline collected together a might selection of screenshots and images featuring some of our favourite games this month – you can see all of them over here, but some of the very best can be found below:
Top Ten Videos and Trailers of January 2013
There were loads of great videos and trailers this month, and while you can see all of the ones we collected in January over here, you can browse over some of the very best moving pictures below:
Thank-you to Our Excellent Community!
Thanks to the excellent community for turning to El33tonline to keep up-to-date with their videogame news and headlines, and thanks for supporting our reviews, previews, features and competitions – there’s lots more to come, so stay tuned!
Special thanks for January go to our commenters including Pieter de Bruyn, Mathew Clarke, Lyle Arends, Graeme Norval, Nadine Franzsen, Marius Nell and many more, our Facebook p33ps including Khulani Ndlovu, Zhameer Hashim, Daryl Eksteen, Travis and Andrew Lima, Gilbert Roland and many others, as well our Twitter friends including Marykate Clark, Peloma Peralta, Erick Truter, John Tidwell, Gian-Paolo Buffo and more!
See you around in February everybody!