Master Chief And The Military-Industrial Complex

Sometimes, it takes someone from a different industry to provide a unique perspective on our mainstays.  Halo s main character Master Chief is, to all in the gaming industry, an ass-kicking super soldier with little regard for anything but the primary objective.

That’s what makes this interview with Neill Blomkamp so interesting. The director of one of this summer’s big hits, District 9, waxes poetic about Halo, a project to which he was attached that, so far, is in silver screen limbo.

From Rotten Tomatoes:

You said recently that you won’t get involved in the screen version of Halo if it does get made. Is that still the case

[Blomkamp:] One thing I’ve learnt as I’ve gotten older is to never say never. My instinct says that I probably shouldn’t work on Halo because it’s just a strange feeling to pour yourself into something and then have the plug pulled on it. Something in the universe is sending me some kind of message.

But the flip side is that the reason I wanted to do Halo in the first place, and the reason I was so energized to do Halo, is that creatively I love it. I totally love the universe of Halo on every level. Not only is it this epic space saga but Master Chief is such an awesome character. This guy – whether he knows it or not – is a victim of this military-industrial complex. It’s a totally compelling world to be involved in. So on a creative level I’d love to go back there, but I probably would say no.

Master Chief as victim is definitely a different perspective, and one that should remind us that our preconceived notions may not be the only way to look at some of our industry’s mainstays.

Don’t Drunk Dial

Kotaku is holding a shindig in Tokyo around the Tokyo Game Show this week, and they ran into a bit of a snag. Long story short, at the last minute the venue decided they needed more money to hold the event (but of course).

“Is this Matsumura-san This is Ashcraft,” I started.

“Oh right, the thing on the 21st,” he replied. His voice, slurred and slowed. “I want to know if you’ll be able to pay more than we originally discussed.”

It’s midnight. I’m standing in the kitchen, in the dark and cannot believe what this guy is saying. Through the phone, I can hear what sounds like women laughing and talking.

The proprietor then becomes awfully rude, and Kotaku does the right thing in canceling their reservation, instead switching venues.

Of course, their cancelation leads to a few apologetic phone calls, all of which is outlined in this blog post.

The moral of the story? Don’t drunk dial clients asking them for more money right before an event, got it

Major Publisher CEO Expects Wii 2 In 2011

From IndustryGamers:

Sony’s motion controller and Microsoft’s Project Natal have made a lot of waves since they were first announced. Still, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada said to the Financial Times that the motion controllers will have little effect on the overall console race.

Wada went on to note that he believes the industry slowdown is due to the lack of major releases by Nintendo during the first half of the year. Interestingly, he also thinks that Nintendo will release a new Wii with “with functionality more like that of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or Sony’s PlayStation 3.” He sees that console release happening by 2011 with perhaps a new controller.

Does anyone else think the 2011 timeframe may be a bit too late for Wii to really continue its popularity? The word of mouth about Wii’s limited library seems to be gaining some traction, leading to weakness in sales this year. It may be time for an HD-capable Wii with Wii Motion Plus included sooner than later.

Scribblenauts Teases On Facebook

From Joystiq:

The Facebook page for 5TH Cell’s Scribblenauts is teasing .  . . something. “Get your rooster hats ready!” a message posted on the game’s “Wall” reads. “We have a very special announcement coming very soon . . .” We have no idea what’s being announced, or even when, but it seems really early for a sequel announcement. Maybe another platform Or maybe something outside the game, like a contest. In any case, if you like Scribblenauts, 5TH Cell is going to tell us all something that will probably be delightful.

We’re huge fans of using social media to promote products and connect with audiences, and this is a great example of why it s important. Not only do you get the blogosphere cooking, but your fanbase gets ultra-excited and ready to put the word-of-mouth out there.

Take a look at how they re doing it by clicking over to Facebook.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Ships 2.5M

The rare trifecta of a great game coupled with a great license and pushed with great marketing is turning into significant, great sales for Eidos with Batman: Arkham Asylum.

From IndustryGamers:

Earlier this month it was reported that Batman: Arkham Asylum had sold close to 2 million copies in its first month. Today Eidos and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment officially confirmed that the game has shipped over 2.5 million copies since launch. Superhero games haven’t exactly had a great track record (with the Superman games being the worst of the bunch), but Arkham Asylum has been lavished with praise, garnering a Metacritic score in the 90s.

Of course, not every product has that rare confluence, and there’s no way to tell if one of these items impacted sales a lot more than another aspect; for example, a Batman game would sell well regardless of its quality. The question is how well, and we hope to answer that question in an upcoming feature here on the site.

WTF AFK: Best Buy, Why?

Kotaku points out a reader submission that shows Best Buy charging $130 for a PS3 home setup. Is this a television mounting or hiding wires in walls or anything of the sort? Nope, it looks like it’s setting up an online network and parental controls as well as installing the latest firmware updates. All things that would take even a newcomer to the video game scene mere minutes to set up.

Best Buy, WTF


[via Kotaku]

All You Need Is Love

From IndustryGamers:

Microsoft and MTV today announced that The Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” has become the fastest selling downloadable track in Rock Band history within just two days of its availability, “demonstrating the passion and power of more than 20 million Xbox Live members to rally behind this social cause while enjoying The Beatles iconic anthem of love and peace.” The majority of the proceeds (112 out of 160 Microsoft points, or essentially $1.40 out of $2.00) for each download is donated to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Tens of thousands of dollars have already been raised, and by purchasing the song, gamers are entered into The Beatles: Rock Band Download & Win contest for a chance to win one of the limited edition The Beatles: Rock Band Xbox 360 consoles and a Rickenbacker 325 replica guitar controller.

Great news for Doctors Without Borders and a definite milestone to recognize as digital distribution continues to make waves in the industry.

Toys ‘R’ Us Celebrates Halo 3: ODST Launch

The retailer-specific rewards continue with Halo 3: ODST and Toys R Us with a special offer that coincides with tomorrow s release of the newest installment of the Halo franchise.

From Joystiq:

Those willing to travel to the giraffe-approved retailer this Tuesday are eligible to receive an ODST action figure and a $20 gift card with their purchase of the title.

Will bricks-and-mortar companies compete with digital distribution through real-world items like the ones being offered above   And is this kind of promotion showing a bit of anticipated weakness for the first Halo game being offered without Master Chief as the main character

Video Of The Day: Beware The UPS Man

From AdFreak:

A donation to a college-savings program is a lot better gift for your child or grandchild than a canister of plutonium or a knife-throwing kit. That’s the message in these new spots from Red Square Agency in Mobile, Ala., for the CollegeCounts 529 Fund Campaign, a college-savings product managed by Van Kampen Investments.

Today’s video of the day should serve up a good laugh and some better advice for parents.