Bon Jovi Weighs In On Cobain Guitar Hero Controversy

Speaking to the BBC, rock star Jon Bon Jovi says he understands where Courtney Love and former Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are coming from regarding the use of Kurt Cobain s name and likeness in Guitar Hero 5.

Cobain can be used as an unlockable character to sing any song on the game, with viral videos of Cobain as Flavor Flav making the rounds on the Internet.

“I don’t know that I would have wanted it either,” Jon Bon Jovi told the BBC.

“To hear someone else’s voice coming out of a cartoon version of me I don’t know. It sounds a little forced.”

Bon Jovi went on to say he declined appearing in the game, and now seems relieved he did so.

“I had the paperwork, they wanted me to be on that game and I just passed,” he said.

“But no-one even broached the subject with me that I would be singing other people’s stuff. I don’t know how I would have reacted to that. I don’t know that I would have wanted it either.”

This comes off the heels of a very impressive debut for The Beatles: Rock Band, this year’s direct competitor to Guitar Hero 5.  Sales of the Harmonix-developed Rock Band are far exceeding expectations and critics calling the game a very moving, honorable tribute to The Fab Four.

We will keep you posted with any updates as they come out, including any movement on Guitar Hero maker Activision’s part in relocking Cobain s character, per Courtney Love s request.


Sony’s Kobayashi Talks ICO, The Last Guardian

Sony’s Japan Studio VP Yasuhide Kobayashi let loose a few details at this week’s DICE Summit Asia regarding the critically-acclaimed ICO and hotly-anticipated third game in the trilogy, The Last Guardian.


ICO sold about 270,000 units in the US, but Kobayashi explained his belief that it could have performed better: “If the packaging was designed differently, we think it would have sold more – in fact on the internet many people have said that the Japanese version was better.”

And it was then that he referred to the ICO team’s latest project, The Last Guardian, and revealed that the name of the game was selected specifically to appeal to the North American and European markets.

Is Kobayashi giving just a little too much credence to the box art? ICO is considered by many a classic, and the Japanese box art that accompanied it doesn’t look like it would have given it any better a shot in America.

As for The Last Guardian’s naming, Kobayashi went on with somewhat bitter-sounding remarks about the US and European markets, criticizing consumer sentiment that has gamers playing the same old game, just in different ways.

“The concept of a game shouldn’t be complicated,” he said. “For instance, those people in the US market are very happy to release a game that is something similar to something that’s come before, because they think it is easier for people to understand.”

“But actually we don’t like this – it’s like you’re simulating, following suit, combining two titles into one. It seems the definition of a new title is different in the US and Europe to Japan. It means a new genre, that’s what we call a new game.”

Japan’s glory days as the world’s most innovative territory has long since passed, with Western studios creating the majority of sales and interest from around the world, but we still find Kobayashi’s comments surprising considering some of the territory’s games that are trotted out year after year (how many fantasies have been the final one ).  Thoughts

Assassin’s Creed II Pre-Order Bonuses Eventually Don’t Matter

From Kotaku:

During my recent interview with Assassin’s Creed II creative director Patrice Desilets of Ubisoft Montreal, the man who said he doesn’t relate to the motivations of obsessive collectors said that no gamer will be locked out from accessing all of the content created for the game, including the pre-order maps marketed just through select retailers.

“Eventually everyone will have the entire game,” he said. “I made sure of that. Because I’m Canadian, I don’t have the same shops as you do. So I wanted to make sure I could at least someday play everything in the game. Eventually there’s going to be, okay, let’s unlock everything.”

We wonder how retailers will feel about the extra content eventually coming out for all gamers. Sure, Gamestop and crew already have the dough in the bank thanks to the pre-order, but as digital distribution becomes more prevalent, there has to be something that fully differentiates bricks-and-mortar stores from the pack.

Brandweek Names Hyundai VP “Grand Marketer Of The Year ’09”

Joel Ewanick, VP of marketing at Hyundai, was recently named the grand marketer of the year for his work in turning around the car company s brand.  The honor was given to him by the editors at Brandweek, who chronicle his ability to turn the company’s brand around from a one-time punchline to a trusted automaker.

From Brandweek:

“We kept saying, Why aren’t you buying a car right now? You say you want to buy one, but you re not doing it!” says Ewanick, the vp of marketing at Hyundai Motor America.

Ewanick notes that at the time car dealers were offering some of the best financing deals anyone had ever seen. We pressed, and we pressed.

Finally, he hit pay dirt. It turned out they were in a fearful state. And once you understand that fear, then you can come up with something like Assurance.

The Hyundai Assurance plan, ushered in with splashy Super Bowl commercials, makes a simple promise: If you finance or lease a new Hyundai, and then lose your job, you can return it. The company later upped the ante in Academy Award ads by offering to make loan payments for three months if consumers financed or leased a Hyundai before the end of April and subsequently lost their jobs. In July, Hyundai kicked into fifth gear with the Assurance Gas Lock offer, which promised that if the owner of certain new models pay more than $1.49 a gallon at the pump, Hyundai will pony up the difference for a year.

Sales of Hyundai cars have steadily improved in an era of weakened sales across the board, and consumer perception of the car maker is at an all-time high. Congratulations to Mr. Ewanick.

Saturday Is Talk Like A Pirate Day

From Big Download:

Saturday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a sort of informal holiday when people say, “arrrr!” a lot. To celebrate the occasion, TellTale Games and LucasArts are letting Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate lead the way with some awesome deals on Monkey Island games.

Lucasarts is providing steep discounts on its Monkey Island games to celebrate the occasion, with the first episode of their new episodic game Tales of Monkey Island given away for free for a limited time.

This looks like a great way to tie in a game with a rare real-world occurrence (sadly, not too many pirate-related days, anymore) and push users into a string of episodic games by giving away the first one for free.

Who Killed Toby?

From BrandFreak:

The whodunit board game, made by USAOPOLY via a Hasbro license and a deal with NBC Universal’s consumer products division and the show’s producer, Reveille, launched recently at Borders, Barnes & Noble and other retailers. It puts the paper-company employees of the Emmy-winning NBC comedy in the office on a Saturday of course they’re grumbling about overtime to figure out who offed Toby, the head of human resources.

The Office had its new season premiere last night, with Toby safe and sound (for now).  The game features locations and characters from the popular NBC show, and is an unorthodox way to broaden a brand s reach from outside just television.

Shows like Dexter and True Blood are branching out into our kind of games as well, with the iPhone version of Dexter already out and multi-console plans in the works for True Blood.

Halo 3: ODST Midnight Launches At Gamestop

Gamestop will be holding midnight launches for the Halo 3: ODST launch on September 22 at 3600 stores nationwide.

The launches are usually accompanies by trivia, game tournaments, giveaways and more, and bring out hundreds of local hardcore gamers waiting in line to be amongst the very first to play the new Halo title.

So if someone calls out sick on September 23, you can blame the folks over at Gamestop.

Weekender AFK: The Red House

With all the negative news coming out in the past several weeks (months, years), it s sometimes a good time to relax and try to get along with your fellow citizen.

This advertisement for The Red House does that with irreverent (but good) humor courtesy of North Carlina-based Rhett & Link.

From AdFreak:

“We’ve always been fascinated by bad local commercials,” says Rhett McLaughlin. “There aren’t many make that any mainstream companies who would be willing to give us the latitude and money to make the ‘Red House’ commercial that spoofed racial stereotypes or the TDM Auto Sales spot featuring a Cuban gynecologist-turned-used-car-dealer. But MicroBilt did, and now they’re coming back for more.”

Video Of The Day: It’s A Small World

From AdFreak:

This charming ad from Y&R New York might be one of the better car commercials of the year. But it’s not a car commercial. The tiny vehicles race around in service of the LG enVTouch smartphone.

We weren’t sure how the phone would factor in but it’s ends up being a clever inclusion in an exciting, well-executed ad.

AFK: Play-Doh Is Always Safe

Today’s AFK is a colorful look at the world of Play-Doh and gives us a very creative yet disconcerting look at the non-toxic children’s clay.

From UglyDoggy:

Probably the most clever campaign I have ever seen for a product like Play Doh. And the cutest one, in a “Tim Burton” sort of way. These ads talk to parents directly, reminding them -at the same time- about the thousand of possible things you can make with the product but, even more important, it also reminds them about how safe it is to play with it.