Ask Me Stuff

Today I'm asking 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.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    How many bears could Bear Grylls grill if Bear Grylls could grill bears?

      Bear Grylls cant grill any amount of bears coz Bear Grylls was grilled by bears!

      You know, I bet he's like Zangief, and just wrestles bears just after he wakes up as warm-up exercises.

      Looks like the sun is going down.... Time to drink my own urine- Bear Grylls.

    Well, since this is an "ask me stuff"... did you receive my 'reader preview' email on the weekend to the [email protected] address? Was it acceptable? Unacceptable? Didn't get through at all?

    Do you think headslams should be in more videogames?

    Sorry, that picture is the high point in Alpha Protocol: Finally slamming that asshole's head after putting up with his crap through the game.

      "Putting up with his crap through the game"?

      That's the first (and only) time you meet Grigori. Are you sure you actually played Alpha Protocol?

        That confused me a little bit. I thought that if I had perhaps visited the cities in a different order or something then the headslam would have been more called for because I may have developed a relationship with the man.

        My headslamming was totally out of character. I didn't care and did it anyway because it was a headslam. I was very excited at the time!

        Crap, I got the headslam confused with the headslam to the Halbach guy.

        Whoops, my mistake.

    Could we have a community project, updated weekly? For example, a really small indie game to release for free with all the work of the kotakAU community and possibly (if they're interested) some corporate help?

    Also, Why do you not love me Mark? Don't you like the roses I send you daily?

      I'll offer photoshop services. I have done some vehicle skinning for various mods of RFactor (Racing game) but nothing else really... Not sure what use I would be but always happy to lend a hand!

        Oh, and i have a good idea for a game. Basically you create a world that is full of blocks of diifferent types, you have to make things out of these blocks and then fight off bad things at night. I reckon it will be HUGE! (lol)

        Serreliously, I have no idea...

      Cool idea :) I have a domain I bought for working on collaborations but haven't had time to set it up yet: . I could donate its use to something like this if you wanted? I can also provide hosting on the back of my dedicated server if needed.

      Oh, I can also do basic wordpress re-skinning a bit of php and lots of actionscript.

        Almost forgot, I can also draw and stuff like that. Fine arts training might finally come in handy for something :)

      I can offer my services as a muso, but music and sound design> :)

      I had an idea of doing this a while back, but I wasn't sure if there were enough people here who had the skills/were interested. I then thought of offering up some lessons in 3d modeling/skinning/animation to people, but again, not sure how many would be interested. Having worked for game studios in the past, I know pretty much the whole process of what's involved, and I'd be happy to offer my services. And if anyone's interested in my idea, let me know. Would be interesting to see if there's a potential audience out there.

        I aint too bad at the cartoonins, can definetly help with visual concepct design etc.

      Not very technically skilled myself but I'd be glad to help with playtesting... or dialog, plot and scripting (storyline... not AI).

        Yeah, playtesting and dialog would be all I'd be useful for as well. Having no (computer based) artistic ability counts me out of any design based aspects, lack of programming ability prevents me from coding or scripting, etc.

      Great idea! I don't get to come by and mingle with the kotaku crowd much because, well, I'm usually too busy working on small indie games. But I'd love to have the opportunity to put my usefulness in this area towards a kotaku community based project. Consider me in! Though my art usefulness resides entirely in the 2D department.

      My name links out to my humble little indie game website... albeit with no completed games :( (yet!)

      Sounds like you guys have already got this kicking! We'd totally cover this and support it.

      I've always wanted to try my hand at voice acting :)

        Caount me in for voice acting, I do a veru convincing "Web Swing!".

          I'm pretty good with accents.

          I think my yorkshire's a speciality, I does.

      I think it would be a good idea to maybe start with a small project to get things going so things don't get too overly confusing to start with. Will be good to set a testing bed for how things would run aswell. I'm thinking along the lines of something like a scrolling shooter for a start. We could easily knock over something like that in a reasonable amount of time, and if all goes well, we could look at being a bit more ambitious for the next project. Any thoughts?

        Ill just sit in the corner acting busy.

        Yeah agreed. Excitement! thistler's idea of a site I think is a good place to begin (or at least something similar), some place to round everyone up in at least and figure out who can do what exactly, and have a discussion board of some kind to begin putting ideas forward.

        First of all I think we need a forum (or some equivalent place) to scheme and collude in a more manageable environment. As for the game, a relatively simple horizontal shooter (akin to Metal Slug or even Contra) would be a nicely scaled project to try and tackle.

          yeah sweet. I made this flash game about 4 years ago: (my brief was to rip-off some other flash game that was in the metal slug style, so I gave it an obviously sarcastic name. No one noticed).
          I'm about to set up a basic forum.

    A GT5-related question (hold back the groans, please!)...

    What's your take on the whole GT5 release delay?

    Not so much what you think caused it and when it will be out, but moreso on how Sony have handled it, implications for sales and public perception, if it's been a good/bad/ugly thing for them?

    I only mention this, because there's been much foil-hat talk about this possibly having been orchestrated from the inside, as you can't buy publicity and talk like this (at least among GT and gaming circles anyway).

      For me, GAF is turning me around, the longer they stay silent, the more I think they are doing this viral campaign. It's just too weird when you look at some aspects.

      GTPlanet is the biggest GT website out there, Sony eventually asked them to remove links to the youtube videos, but Sony didn't go after the actual youtube videos. Generally, game companies are usually quick to have any gameplay leaks removed exceptionally quick.

      They obviously haven't because the guy that is doing the videos is getting massive hits and I think his channel is in the Top 20 global youtube channels at the moment. That is a pretty good result for not doing anything.

      All the while they have been concentrating (supposedly) on getting stock ready, with a number of countries in Europe have been told November 24th (which is my birthday as well, bonus!).

      It really does suck in a customer service point of view not saying anything, but at the same time if all these Nov 24th rumours are correct, then I'm not overly fussed as it means it will be here soon enough, and it would mean it was only a 3 week delay. (which again if it was going to be such a short delay, then you would think they would know about it and have said something)

      My gut instinct with this one is that there was a genuine reason for the last minute delay, but the reason isn't necessarily that important. It happened and that's that.

      I think Sony's handled it as you'd expect them to handle it. Shut up shop and say nothing until they're 100% of the new date.

      Another missed date would be disasterous, so they're playing it as safe as possible.

    I noticed one of the responses to the industry question time, did I miss the others or has only one gotten back to you so far?

      Waiting on Nintendo at the moment...

        ahahaha that doesn't surprise me

        'oh shit we have REAL journalism questions in this email calling us on our ridiculous load of crap policies. SOUND THE ALARM'

    Hey Mark

    1. After Rockstar releases Commando: The Game, which highly regarded Schwarzenegger film should they tackle next? Please choose from the list below:

    - The Running Man (seems obvious choice but has potential. And I'm sure Rockstar would include that old lady who says 'motherf&%ker'.

    - Raw Deal (awesome final sequence, as long as they can licence Rolling Stones music)

    - Kindergarten Cop (groundbreaking mix of social relationships in gaming with kids and hot teacher combined with extreme violence)

    2. Splash Damage's Brink is game that potentially could be awesome but constant delays fill me with dread. Same with Gran Turismo 5. Is a long delay automatically a death sentence? How long must the delay be to be damaging to the game's success?

    3. What's your opionion on this situation?


        Well I hope you left enough room for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach! And break your... cussing spine

      Kindergarden Cop... but only if it includes the phrase:
      "Who is my daddy, and what does he do"?

        I've always been a fan of
        "It's not a toomur!"

      This is the god's honest truth and I'm not even joking when I say that I would love to see a predator game that was like the boss battle against The End in MGS3. For the whole game.

      Imagine squad mechanics like in The Thing game adaptation mixed with the tracking mechanics of MGS3. Sure fire hit right there.

        The first time i did that fight it took me 3 hours. And it was awesome.

        I was so bad and couldn't do it . So I used the trick where you put the PS2 clock into next year and he dies of old age.

        Classy work, Kojima.

      FFS guys!!!

      RED HEAT!!

      Arnie and Bulushi!!

      What an epic game that would be!

      What about a game version of the Expendables? Man that would just be brain dead fun and explosions.. i know arnie is only in it for a couple of minutes, but i say that should count.

    What's the latest on the Nintendo 3DS? Especially its release, especially in Aus.

      As soon as I know anything about the 3DS the news will leak from the pores on my skin directly onto the Kotaku CMS and spread througout the Australia-sphere like that Venom goo from Spiderman.

        Only the Venom-goo is actually a symbiotic life-form that attaches itself to the host. So it can't really ooze from your pores...

    Have you always been in journalism, or do you have some other creative writing background?

    Any chance you could dig around and do some features on LA Noir and Deus Ex in the next couple of months? Particularly the former - I hate (read: love) when a game comes out that seems similar to a vision you have (but will never develop) and you've been fleshing out for the last 4 years.

      I taught English in Japan for two years, did a Masters and considered doing the PhD thing, but the games journo thing snowballed and here I am!

      Can't say too much, but LA Noire stuff next week...

        What's the "teaching English in Japan" thing like?

    My boss just told me he's "not cool" with me bringing books to work with me to read on my lunch break and that there is "something not right with it"

    As you can tell i obviously work in the Extreme Sports industry as a distributor.

    My question is, is my boss a complete mental-deficient?
    Should i have slapped him across the head with my 800-odd page Warhammer novel?

    Man this place give me the irrits..

      Gah! i Serrelously can't believe how angry this has made me! I'm literally shaking with rage!

        Ewrgh,is he in high-school or something! I used to get heckled all the time on the school bus for reading books no matter what the book was about.

      I loved you before, but now I ADORE you!

      Warhammer novels ftw! :D

      Also, your boss is a fookin' knob'ead! (read in a chav english accent)
      My boss is cool with me doing anything in my lunchbreaks. I even get to play the daily lunchtimewaster XD

      Annoy him back?
      Go to work tomorrow with a copy of Hamlet or something, and when he comments bellow "Good ser, doth thoust take offense to my reading of a culturally significant text that doth explore themes of blood, brethren and a delicate examination and intent perusal of a mortal man's mind melting into madness? Your person cannot see my reasoning! A duel! UNSHEATH THEY SWORD, FIEND!"

      Except, I guess do it in a way so that you don't get fired or something.

      That reminds of the Bill Hicks story of when he is reading in a diner and the waitress asked
      "What are you reading for?"
      and he is shocked that the question ended in
      His answer:
      "So I don't end up waiting tables in a diner"

        Haha! Haven't seen that one before. Good one.

      Your boss is insane. Make a point of reading in your lunch break in front of him.

      Seriously - what's he got against books?

      Tell him it's okay, then offer to teach him to read. :3

      That blows my mind Fruit Loops.

      You should hold the book next his face then punch him through it like Jason Bourne.

        This reply made my day. Can't stop laughing!

        First of all, i'm surprised that no one else has called me Fruit Loops to date - bravo sir, i like your style!

        Second of all "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

        It's a pretty thick book, though - plus it would mean i wouldn't be able to read it and i'm getting ever so enthralled in the world of the Von Carsteins...

        The bookfight scene was hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing in the cinema, even when people were looking at me funny...

    How many comments get moderated (edited and/or not posted) from these comment boxes on a daily basis?

    Are they all spambot related, or do you quite often get ass-hat comments also?

      I think one of mine got kicked last week. I was watching the Kinect launch and waiting for reviews. When the first ones were posted, I posted a link to one i read just to provide up to the minute news for the guys n gals in TAY. It got booted.

      I then realised that i was a complete tool. This site was also bound by the embargo and as soon as it lifted, numerous reviews followed. I didn;t realise that in my haste to post something up to date, i forgot what site i was actually on!! (Sorry Mike btw, honest mistake...)

        I don't remember that comment - I don't think I would have trashed it for that reason...

        I hardly kick any comments to be honest, even the ones that bag me out!

        The truth is that the Kotaku community is one of the best I've ever been involved with and rarely requires any moderation.

        I sometimes take out some swear words but that's about it.

    Force Feedback Wheel for Xbox360 anyone?
    Aside from a very expensive Fanatec, are there any new racing wheels for xbox 360 that would actually be worth using? Or do I need to roll ebay for an old logitech or MS one?

    Er, what? He takes issue with you reading books at all? All types of books? What the hell? What if it was a book about a dude who likes to bungee jump while on fire? Would he like it then?

      That was directed at Chuloopa.

      Yes, any and all books in general.

      Also, i'm sure he would have a problem with the biography of bungee-on-fire dude, as it wouldn't be on DVD or have lots of glossy color photos involving said deed, tits and advertisements for shit that you don't even knwo what it does, but 'hey, TITS!'...

    What's with the new facebook crap on the bottom of each page now? It's totally screwing with my computer, had to do a whole bunch of adblockery to stop it killing me.

      I'll ask the web guy about this, because you're not the first to mention it...

        With regards to that, I can't get the damn thing to sign me out of Facebook from here so I can post with the usual alias. I don't really care that it's my real name in this case, but I like to have a persistant persona online, and that's difficult when I can't use my alias :)

    I'm not totally sure, but I thought I caught your co-worker Seamus on TV the other night. Could have been Today Tonight, or A Current Affair. I'm not really sure. If it was, has he been strutting around the office, letting ppl stroke him all day?

      I saw that too. Was on Today Tonight, and

      I saw that too. Was on Today Tonight, and I posted something in the Talk amongst yourselves thread on Friday. Noone responded though

      Seamus is always on TV. He thinks he's so great.

      And he is.

      A king amongst men.

        I think Seamus is getting less subtle in his editing.


    What did you think of the Xbox original - XII?
    I just bought myself a copy of Ebay after playing it years ago. Its brilliant. But I'm not sure of the reception it received when it was released.

      I've got it on PC, but i'm still yet to play it - looks neat though.

      Ghost Master just arrived from ebay today, for he Xbox - i've bought SOOOO many xbox games recently between ebay and EB's clear out

        You and me both buddy. You may have even been beating me to the post with some bidding. I aquired myself Timesplitters 2 the other day. Now i'm looking for Timesplitters Future Perfect... NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!

        PPPS... Did I hear somewhere say psychonauts! WOOP WOOP

          I have timesplitters 1 + 2 on PS2.. still yet to get a hold of psychonauts though :(

            if i find one, i will sell it to you for cost + postage...

            actually, screw postage... because... well, because I love you.

            quick, loops, act quick. 4 left. new and sealed!

            30 bux though


      Wasd that the FPS shooter based on a European comic and looked like a comic?

      if it is, I remember hearing a lot of hype about it before it came. Even freinds of mine that didn't game were talking about it.

      Can't remember what was said after it was released though...

      For some reason I never played it! Sorry man. I remember loving the art style, but I never bothered in the end!

      I think I rented XIII on my Xbox back in the day. I loved the artsy feel. Was an alright shooter, but the art direction elevated it to new heights. Most sound effects were written in cartoon block letters on the screen somewhere, which was awesome. Especially the solid thwack-type ones when hitting someone with a plank of wood or a chair or some other such thing IIRC. Damn fun.

    How long have you been out of Scotland and how much do you miss the Neds?

    Also, on that note and trying in nicely to the subject of this blog, Oor Wullie got an Xbox from Bill Gates in the latest book. Wasn't sure if you knew that.

      Except for one 9 month period when I came back to do my masters I haven't been living in Scotland since April 2003.

      I miss the ned accent, but not their ability to sucker punch you when you're taking money out of an ATM (long story).

        We have time friend, we have time.

    Here's one. Videogames are widely regarded by consumers as "overpriced" in Australia, launch-day sales by K-Mart etc tend to be at COST price, so...

    Who are the distributors that rip up the hell off in Australia, please? Can we get interviews or discussions with them? I want to hear them justify their prices when I can import privately for cheaper :|


      There is always a question in this thread about overpriced games, but this is a good angle on it. I am truly interested.

      (one for me and one for awesome me)

      Would very much like to see what excuses these guys would pull

      I concur. I suspect it has something to do with Kmart making more money on other products in store, whereas EB, GAME etc. only have one real source of revenue (games and gaming related products) and as such the big stores can undercut the specialty stores.

      As for the distributors, I think everyone would like to know, but are they willing to tell?

      Getting people to talk about this issue is ridiculously difficult. I've been trying to write about this since the day I started at Kotaku.

      I made a little breakthrough though - so look out for a feature on this hopefully by the end of this week, but possibly early next week.

        We sincerely appreciate your efforts, Mark. It's honestly the biggest problem in Australian gaming at the moment, I think. The R18 thing is important, but not really something which affects Australian jobs, or how widely-accepted the industry is.

        I've honestly been wondering how much money there'd be in setting up a direct importing shopfront. ie: Import EVERYTHING from the US. Console, games, everything. No warranty, unfortunately, but at about 60% of the price, who cares?

    I started an EA account through Dragon Age, so it used my information from my LIVE account to do it.
    My LIVE is attached to an eMail that I haven't used in so long that it doesn't exist.I went to to ask what to do to change the email but it wants to change it by emailing the account that doesn't exist.
    I bet I'm gonna have problems with LIVE one day too.

    Is there a way to change my details with either company?(MS, EA)

    Something like that happened to me once. I recreated the email address (it was a hotmail one), and everything was fine...
    So, try recreating the email address (if possible).

    This is more of an IT issue than anything else, but I don't know where else to ask:

    The 'my home' (user profile) page keeps track of all a user's posts (at least, it does for me, maybe because of the Facebook connect), and occasionally I want to look up some old comments from quite a while ago. The problem is that the 'next page' button doesn't work; it changes the page number in the url but the on-screen list of comments stays the same. This isn't a problem with my browser and it's been going on for a fair while now. Any chance of someone from Allure looking at this? Cheers.

    Hi Mark,

    Will you be announcing the winner of the Reader Reviews from October?
    And is Kotaku still doing the Madman prize packs? I noticed you didn't mention them in the recent CoD:BO review.

    Also, with the reader reviews, I've noticed lately that some aren't adhering to the 500 word limit. So before I take this stick out of my ass, I'd like to suggest that these people be ineligible for the prize. XD

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