Ask Me Stuff

Every Wednesday I ask you to Ask Me Stuff. If you have a burning question about the games industry, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it this afternoon.

I'll be doing this every Wednesday from now on. (Hopefully.)

Now, fire away with those questions.


    Mine is just going back a few weeks... Good Game Books Comp. It was drawn on 21st Dec, I'd expect you not to rush them out before Christmas as it was the Holiday season and that's completely understandable.

    Still not overally concerned over the matter, but should've I expected delivery of the book already? Nothing has arrived at the moment, or has anyone received their copy?

      Sorry to bug you also David, but I've yet to receive my collectors book for BOY and his BLOB comp.

        @Kane.T I'll chase the distributor for you and find out.

      @oggob Sorry for the delay. I'll get these out this week.

        Like I mentioned, it's no huge concern, it was the holiday season!... just checking to see if I should have received something by now...

        I look forward in doing no work next week waiting for something to arrive! :)

    Space Sims?

    Why the lack of love from the game industry?

    Why is it so hard to make a modern update to the old Frontiers First Encounters, that did amazing things with procedural system/planet generation back in 1995? I'd even settle for an updated Freelancer or Freespace.

    Apart from Jumpgate Evolution what've we got to look forward to, space sim wise, in 2010?

      Agreed: I'd love to see some new Space Sims, although my bias is towards a new X-Wing or TIE Fighter game - Preferably ones that don't re-hash the battle of Yavin or Hoth (again).

      My theory is that space sims became too complicated and increasingly alienated the audience that had enjoyed the likes of Wing Commander.

      Like the flight sim, space sims still exist in a niche populated by dedicated fans. But I'm not sure they're ever going to see mass popularity again.

      Part of the challenge will be working out how to make a space sim enjoyable on a console. Perhaps a Wii version of X-Wing might be something LucasArts should look at...?

        I couldn't see an X-Wing/TIE Fighter style space sim working on PS3 or 360, largely just because of the 'sim' part. Another Rogue Squadron title would work, providing it wasn't just a re-hash of the 2 Gamecube releases.

        I'd have to disagree, apart from the X series which has always been unnecessarily obtuse and Eve online which, even though complex, is also very successful most of the other space sims of recent times have just been horrible games. Poor voice acting and hackneyed plots, user vicious interfaces and on rails mission structures. They've never approached the complexity of flight sims or even a game like Civ IV.

        To my mind the problem has been more one of incapable and unimaginative developers spoiling the genre for the rest of us, but it's interesting to hear your perspective as its probably closer to the general public's perception than my own.

        From your lack of reply on the other part of my question I'm gathering that 2010 is going to be another lean year for space sims? It's funny that 4x games like Sins of a Solar Empire, Sword of the Stars or RPG's like Mass Effect or even titles like Dead Space do very well being set in space with space ships and basic themes similar to space sims but no one wants to do a good AAA first person/vehicular version.

      I'll throw a rumour onto the pile... but perhaps Starhawk?

      Rumoured to be Warhawk in Space for the PS3, sure it will be changed abit as there are a bunch of things in Warhawk that wouldn't actually work all that well in Space.

      Certainly could end up with alot of dog-fighting though...

      Otherwise I'd be happy for a new G-Police or Colony Wars! Studio Liverpool (Psygnosis) make it happen! :)

    Do you think the trend of 0-day DLC is going to be ultimately good or bad for the industry?

    Any news on a new Hitman? I really enjoyed this franchise.

    Also heard about the new Assassins Creed coming out, but still playing as Etzio. Do you know anything about this? Will it be an expansion of the current game as DLC? Seems to make sense... those Italian cities are pretty full on.

      I wouldn't anticipate much news on the fifth Hitman game until Io has wrapped up development on Kane & Lynch 2.

      All we know about the next Assassin's Creed game is that it's in development, it's expected this financial year (Apr '10 - Mar '11) and will feature multiplayer. I suspect it won't be called Assassin's Creed 3.

        According to wikipedia,

          On January 13, 2010, Ubisoft revealed that a new game tentatively titled Assassin's Creed II Episodes would be released sometime between April 2010 and March 2011. [59] While not an expansion pack to Assassin's Creed II, this game will again feature Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and will include a new online multiplayer mode.

          Sorry about the double post. I accidentally hit submit comment before I was done.

            Huh. I somehow missed that elaboration on the original announcement. Sounds like the equivalent of GTA's Episodes From Liberty City. Intriguing...

    Why do different video game retailers score different exclusive special editions?, like GOW for example, or AC a while ago, wouldn’t it be more profitable to give all the retailers the same special edition?. Plus how does a company like EB go about getting the extra swag someone else doesn’t?. Is it actually the developer that decides who gets what?

      My money's on the distributor...

      Gobbo's right, it's the distributor's decision. Developers would get no say in the matter.

      EB goes to the distributor of the next big AAA title and says "if you give us an exclusive Super Special Edition, we'll pre-purchase X units."

      Or possibly more likely:
      Distributor says "Hey retailers, we've got a Super Special Edition, whoever pre-purchases the most units gets it as an exclusive" and starts a bidding war with the winner claiming bragging rights.

        Malorion is pretty much on the money here. Retailers know consumers are attracted by special editions and preorder bonuses, so anything the publisher/distributor can offer the retailer (especially as an exclusive) will incentivise them to purchase more stock.

    Any info on PC system requirements info for Aliens vs Predator? I can't find anything elsewhere

    MAG is set to be released at Dick Smith (at least) with a headset - is that being sold elsewhere? Is it an official Sony one or like the COD headset?

    Hey David, what's the best way to go about getting a job in the games journalism industry?

      Start your own blog and update it regularly. Practice writing all the time. Send some samples of your work to an editor, making sure the sample is suitable for the media outlet. Keep doing it until someone offers you work.

        Cheers David. Thanks for the tip.

    Hi David,

    Any word on an Australian release date for the Sith edition of The Force Unleashed?

      Thanks for reminding me to follow up on that with LucasArts again...

    Hey David,

    Mass Effect 2, What console was it build on/for? Pc or 360? im still umming and oring which version to buy and i wont want to get something that was ported if i could have gotten it on something else... What do you know/recommend?

      I believe Bioware has focused more on simultaneous development this time around, although they did make a lot of changes/improvements to the delayed PC version of the original game.

      I suspect, however, that if anything is a lead platform it would be the Xbox 360 version. Mass Effect 2 will sell many more copies on console than PC, so it's crucial Bioware get that version right.

      I've not seen the PC version at all, so I cannot comment on how it shapes up.

    Hi, is there a release date for Batman Arkum Asylum GOTYE and what the bonus content will be Thanks.

      Not yet, and not yet!

      Oh, and I'd expect the GOTY edition to simply include all the DLC on the disc. And yes, that would include the PS3 exclusive DLC coming to the 360 as well.

    I think we've touched on this before, but what's your position on regional pricing for digital downloads on Steam (and to a lesser extent D2D)? Seeing as Bioshock 2 has been put up at $us79.99 & AvP is $us65, whereas the US price for both is $49.99, does this suggest the Publishers/Local Distributors care more about what the bricks & mortar stores think?

      It happens because publishers treat Steam as they would any other retail outlet. Their argument is they cannot say to one retailer, "Hey, it's ok for you to sell our game for X amount less than your competition".

      Yes, they care more about what bricks and mortar stores think because that is still where the vast majority of their sales come from. As Steam sales become more significant, publishers are going to have to address the pricing discrepancy. It's going to be an interesting challenge for them

      Curiously, some publishers don't change Steam pricing - EA, for example, are selling Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age and Left 4 Dead 2 to Australians at the same price as they sell to the US.

    Just a question I asked last year, hopefully you might know the answer this time. Does Nintendo have plans to release an F-Zero game on the Wii?

      They certainly haven't announced anything, as far as I've heard. A title like F-Zero is something that Nintendo would make a big deal about, so as to appeal to those 'core' gamers who just aren't interested in numerous mini-game rehashes.

      Their two big titles for this currently seem to be Metroid: Other M and the new Wii Zelda at the moment. Last I heard, Other M is supposed to drop sometime this year, and I'm pretty sure we won't see the new Zelda title until 2011. After that, who knows?

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