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.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    More of a personal question than towards the industry. Are you going to buy any of the upcoming motion controllers (Kinect/Move)? If so, what ones and your thoughts on them? Cheers!

    I myself have my sights set on the Move, *if anything*. I will probably wait to see some more games and what people think of it when it comes out first though.

      Based on the games I've seen so far, no. Only Ubisoft's Child of Eden looks like something I'd be interested in playing. I've had my fill of mini-game compilations on the Wii and dancing games don't appeal.

      I think there's potential for the technology to deliver games I am interested in playing - and the Forza Kinect demo is a good example of that - but they're not there yet.

    I want to know why there seems to be spate of these roll playing real life games at the moment, alla, heavy rain. Is this the future or can we soon go back to fragging hoards of zombies/demons/aliens/zombies/normal folk??

      One game (Heavy Rain) makes up a 'spate'? I suppose you might also be referring to Alan Wake--which is chock full of supernatural zombies.

      I'm not sure one game constitutes a "spate"...

      I'd love to see more developers tackle real world/real life scenarios. To me, it's a sign of the medium maturing. Too many games seem stuck in adolescent power fantasies involving spare marines and enormous swords.

        You can always use a spare marine ;^)

        I'd like to see some more games set in real-world locations. I loved the New York setting for Prototype, and used to love belting around Sydney Harbour in Project Gotham on the original xbox. Would love to play a sandbox game around Sydney.
        Would also like a decent space-game. I was hoping BSG would eventually lead to one, the Halo level looks intriguing, maybe Bungie will eventually do a space-fighter.

    Hi, first good coverage of E3. When is Age of Pirates: Captain Blood and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned being released?

    Also since these games are very similar do game companies get annoyed with each other when they are releaseing basically the same game?

    Do we know if the 3DS will be region free??
    Part of the reason why I refused to upgrade my DS Lite to the DSi or DSI XL was due to this.
    It was the only way I could play Super Robot Wars.

      Nintendo has not confirmed this, but given how, as you say, the DSi and DSi XL are region locked, I would expect the 3DS to follow suit.

    Hi Dave, for some time now we have seen retailers dumping stock on the Australian market at what I can only imagine is below cost. This doesn't fill me with confidence in the retail gaming market. Do you have any insight into how well (or not) the sector is going?

      The industry grew by 4 per cent in 2009, making last year the best on record. (See

      I don't have access to any figures for 2010, but I would suggest the sales we're seeing right now are normal for this time of year. It's possible, however, that the large amount of big releases in the first quarter of this year have contributed to stock clearing on a larger scale. In a typical year, those games would have come out before Christmas and excess stock would have been cleared through Jan/Feb. With so many big games slipping to Feb/Mar, excess stock is now being cleared later than usual. And it's coinciding with the annual end of financial year sales.

      But I'm just speculating there...

    Posted this in "Talk Amongst Yourselves" a bit late so here it goes again:

    Okay so I’ve reading up on the 3DS the past few weeks with hands on impressions and such and still haven’t found the answer to my biggest question. Is the 3D pop out of the screen 3D or is the effect recessed into the screen?

      I've heard that it was both pop out and recessed in:

      It takes a little while for the the guy to get to your question in the video, but when he's playing Mario Kart he says that most of it is recessed (the track and such), but some of it pops out (he mentioned stars). I think Face Ace is probably a pop out experience too, considering that faces are flying out at you constantly.

      My understanding from the articles was that it was capable of both.

      Sing and Peter are corect, it is capable of both.

    What feature, story, research or the like would you love to do with kotaku if you had the funds and time?

    For instance I would love to conduct a research project into personalities that rear their ugly head in the xbox live world and compare this behaviour to what it would be like if these people were in the same room with each other.

      I'd love to sit in on the process of classifying a game, from start to finish. It'll never happen though...

    What time does the PSN store update here in Oz? (roughly will do)

      Wednesday night.

        My experience suggests it is more like Thursday morning between 6 and 7AM...

          Thats more like what I thought it was.

          BC2:Onslaught on Thursday night then.

    What for you was the most exciting new IP that you saw/played at e3 2010?

      There wasn't much in the way of new IP, sadly. Last E3 I reported back on the "ten best original games" at the show. This year, I don't think I could fill that list.

      I liked Limbo (an XBLA puzzle-platformer with cool silhouette graphics) and Brink (Bethesda's team-based shooter). Rage (id's shooter/racer/RPG) and Homefront (THQ's military shooter) showed promise. Rock of Ages (from the Zeno Clash devs) and Journey (from the Flower devs) were certainly original. Does Epic Mickey count?

    What are Australia's chances of advancing to the next round of the FIFA World Cup? Do you think we can do it?

      Not very good. Serbia have to be favourites against us. Even if we can beat them, I doubt we'll catch up on goal difference with Ghana. Although, maybe Ghana will surprise everyone and beat Germany? Ghana and us going through to next round would be fantastic.

      I think you already know the answer to that question.

    Can you name some good split screen games for the 360(out now/soon/past few months)? There's Gears of War, and Army of Two was ok, splinter cell was decent, but I can't really think of anything else. Tried Blur, did not enjoy that at all.

      Left 4 Dead 1&2

      Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Borderlands, Lost Planet 2, Resident Evil 5, to name a few. Coming up there's Halo: Reach and Fear 3.

    In your opinion, having worked in the games industry for many years, what would Microsoft have to do to capture the Japanese market?

    When can we expect to find out about the peace walker comp


      Hopefully later today...

    I’ve noticed that Obsidian Entertainment get given a lot of original games to make sequels for (Neverwinter nights, Fallout, Dungeon Siege and Star wars KotOR)

    Two questions.

    1. Who actually pays to transfer to transfer the title to another company? Is it obsidian? Or the publisher? Or would the original developer just give the rights to the game to Obsidian so it can get made?

    2. What are your thoughts on Fallout: New Vegas?

      1. The owner of the IP (intellectual property) contracts the developer to make the game. In the case of KOTOR, Bioware developed the original game for LucasArts, who own Star Wars and were the publisher of the game. LucasArts then approach Obsidian to develop KOTOR2. In these cases, LucasArts funds the development.

      Dungeon Siege is a bit more complicated. Microsoft published the original and its sequel, funding development of both games at Gas Powered Games. Take Two then bought the rights off Microsoft and contracted GPG to make a new version for PSP. Now, Square Enix has acquired the rights off Take Two and contracted Obsidian for the third game, with Chris Taylor of GPG in some sort of advisory capacity.

      It's rare for a developer to own the IP its working on. Typically it's the publisher who gets that because they're the guys putting up the cash.

      2. I like what I've seen, which admittedly isn't as much as I'd like. It seems to have more of a sense of humour than Fallout 3, as you might expect given so many of the guys at Obsidian worked on Fallout 2. It's hard to tell, though, until I get the chance to sit down and play it for several hours. 15/30 minute demos don't really do a game like Fallout justice.

        I just hope the new setting doesn’t take away from the moments that really got me in Fallout 3. I remember when I was forced to steal all of a child’s toys just so I could buy scraps to eat and a few bullets. It’s what I’d have done to survive in a post apocalyptic world. But it didn’t stop me from taking a step back and asking “what the hell am I doing” Games don’t usually have the capability to make me feel remorse and guilt, but this was one of them.

          Sounds like you'll want to play it on the new Hardcore mode where you have to find water to survive and everything - even bullets - has weight. It's the ultimate survivalist mode, in theory anyway.

            I’ve been reading up on the hardcore mode and I’m quite interested. I think if they really wanted to improve on the Fallout experience they should not allow quick travel in hardcore mode, or perhaps limit it to some travel routes like Far cry 2. I know it would take forever to get anywhere, but I like that. Some of my favourite parts of the game were just wandering around the wasteland stumbling across whatever was in my path. That coupled with the fact that you now have to eat and drink and be smart about your inventory could be the best post apocalyptic experience ever. I’d love that feeling of the unknown whenever you exit a save area. Wonder too far without enough food and you will starve, not enough ammo and you die. At least without a quick travel you would either have to live off the land, or pray you find a safe area soon.

            My only concern with what I’ve seen so far is the setting. I think having the flashing lights of casinos and the whole strip would probably take away from the atmosphere somewhat. I think it really had a profound effect on a lot of people to see the remnants of what was once a city, destroyed by bombs. Also just like every game that has some form of gambling in it, I’m sure some people will do the ole’ save and load trick to stock up on caps. Have Obsidian talked about how they will stop people exploiting the casinos yet?

              the only issue i have with HC mode is that there were some areas where due to the fact that you were coming outof the load screen from a tunnel or whatnot you spawned with a super mutant fight going on with no cover no nothing

              now in a normal mode thats all well and good but if your going for realsim surely im able to open the door and peek outside first(if you get spotted you retreat and hope you can lay a worthwhile trap while everything follows you inside

    Havey rain was the first one into my head (was lacking the caffein at that time)

    Why have games started getting more expensive on Steam for us Aussies ever since Modern bloody Warfare 2 came out? I thought Steam capitalized on the advantage of low prices on digital products. by having games on Steam the same price as retail i dont see why aussies would bother downloading them considering our shitty internet.

      I've always assumed the low prices on steam for Australians was just due to ignorance/lazyness by the publishers. Not that I am complaining at all (and for the publishers that choose to leave the prices as they are for the US, a big thumbs up!).

      In fact, I have grown quite used to ~$50 being a reasonable price point for new games now, so just like you I find it really infuriating to find that publishers are now raising the prices when they have already proved that they were once quite happy to let us have games for the same price as the US.

      Now that Steam is only $10 or so cheaper than retail for a new game, I'd rather pay the extra just to have the physical disk and save bandwidth, then activate it on Steam.

      Where it's really going to hurt me though, is when Steam does a sale and knocks a % off the price, and knowing that the US still gets the game significantly cheaper during the same bloody sale!

      I've covered this many times before, but in short: in the eyes of a games publisher, Steam is just another retailer. And publisher have to play fair across all retailers. Activision, for example, wouldn't say to retailers "You all have to sell Call of Duty at an RRP of $109.95, except for you EB, you can sell it at $59.95 RRP." Same goes for Steam.

      Yes, it costs to download a game over Steam - unless your ISP unmeters Steam content. But in every other aspect Steam is far more convenient than buying a physical disc. And, as you mention, Steam is also far more flexible in terms of pricing with its frequent sales.

      Personally, I can't see myself buying a PC game on physical media again.

        to me whats actually more annoying are the steps steam is taking to prevent us going around the system

        i assume that the publisher is getting the extra money involved here so steam really shouldnt have an issue with it either way

    are there stats on online use of ps3/360 games? nintendo usually say why bother with online when no one uses it. are there games with online that barely anyone use? does everyone just play the big ones like gow, halo, cod, etc?

      The only stats Sony and Microsoft release are the number of PSN and Xbox Live accounts users have created. The former is spurious since many PSN users have multiple accounts in different territories. The latter is often vague around how many are Gold accountsd and thus actually playing online.

      Otherwise, Microsoft publishes a top 10 most played games on Live every week, but this doesn't include any actual stats around number of players.

      It's all a bit of a mystery, really!

    I've been trying to find some PC copies of Transformers WFC but am having no luck. Perhaps you have inside knowledge on whether it is being released on PC here in AUS? Steam has a page but no buy button, nothing at EB or JBhifi, and Direct2Drive won't sell outside US, Mexico or Canada. Please help.

      Transformers PC is not getting a retail release in Australia. Your best bet is to import from the US.

        don't these companies realize that its this sort of behaviour that causes people to pirate

        the least they could do was put it on steam(in validating that it wasn't it appears it is only its only available to purchase in the states Its Digital distro surely the console versions ratings cover it)

    Regarding the Reader Reviews, do they have to be in the Love/Hate format, or can they be like traditional reviews.

      They have to be in the standard format.

    I'm probably posting this too late for this weeks 'Ask me Stuff'...

    How should I go about petintioning Nintendo to give us the option of playing right or left handed in the next Zelda game on the Wii?

      i wish i knew too. it annoys me. it doesn't feel jarring to hold the remote in your left hand and play red steel 2 say (aside from horizontal blocking), so it shouldn't vice versa. ninty mirrored all TP's assets on Wii apparently.
      we lefties get dudded everytime - look at FPS too.

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