A soldier’s perspective on Call of Duty and its ilk (interview)

It’s no secret that first-person shooters — in all their Hollywood-inspired clamor and spectacle — don’t simulate the realities of war very well. From basic rules of engagement, to gun safety (i.e., don’t flag your buddies), and the dynamics of combat, FPSs are more akin to interactive action flicks than a proper recreation of armed conflict.

Gamers held the line: Mass Effect 3 ending is being addressed

Mass Effect 3 should have been a momentous moment for gaming, truly something to celebrate; not just for the countless gamers who have deeply invested in the universe and characters for five years now, but also for the many developers who have spent eight working on it.Instead, it has been plagued by one massive disappointment after another: day one DLC, the inability to import your Shepard, the inability to properly import your decisions from previous games, greedy watered-down multiplayer, and last but certainly not least, the ending. I say ending (singular)–even though there are three–because they’re almost completely identical, and they all had the same exact effect: fans hated them.After two long weeks of thousands of forum posts and articles and charities that raised over $60,000 for sick children, all in the name of demanding a better Mass Effect, BioWare has finally–begrudgingly–admitted defeat.Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, released the following statement this morning:As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.Muzyka goes on to point out (again) that he believes Mass Effect 3 is BioWare’s best game ever (take that, Dragon Age!), and that the feedback from fans was unpredictable and surprising, given how “more than 75 critics [gave] it a perfect review score.”BioWare has previously addressed the endings by saying “We’re listening,” but not necessarily that anything was being done about it. There’s an extremely interesting read on the official Mass Effect 3 forums where a former public relations agent breaks down BioWare’s careful manipulation and damage control tactics of the ongoing controversy.But having the co-founder of BioWare step in is undoubtedly the company raising the white flag (perhaps it was all those Amazon returns?). Muzyka doesn’t share exact details, but he does reveal that something aimed at alleviating the criticisms of the ending is coming.”…the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.”Notice that the ending is not being “changed” per se, only that additional closure (or closure of any kind, in this case) will be provided. Also a sequel/spin-off and lots of DLC have not so subtly been confirmed, by the co-founder of BioWare no less. That’ll help make people forget how angry they are, right?While this is a major victory for all those who felt wronged by BioWare’s ill-conceived finale, it’s certainly not the first time a developer has accommodated fan feedback. Bethesda did exactly that with Fallout 3, allowing players to choose an alternate ending and continue their adventure through a handful of expansion packs.

Fixing Skyrim would take a lot of time, according to developer

Bethesda Softworks is undoubtedly looking at numerous game of the year awards for their epic role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but their long-running history with releasing utterly broken games continues to dampen any design achievements. While there is no end to the list of complaints, bugs, glitches, exploits, and miscellaneous issues players have experienced, the severe slowdown that’s demolished the playability of the PlayStation 3 version (see video below) has endured the recent patch intended to fix it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ships 7M copies, actual sales unclear

Bethesda Softworks, publisher of last week’s long-awaited The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has announced that its latest game has shipped seven million copies globally across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. Digital distribution platforms such as Steam also seem to be counted towards this figure.

Review: Ezio’s not the only thing getting old in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the fourth title in Ubisoft’s award-winning, multi-platinum franchise. Developed by multiple internal studios around the globe and spanning more than 400 individual team members, the Assassin’s Creed series needs to sell better than most in order to offset its undoubtedly massive production costs. But can Ubisoft sustain such an ambitious annual business model while still keeping the sequels fresh and compelling?

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Review: Skyrim is far greater than the sum of its parts

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the latest blockbuster hopeful from developer/publisher Bethesda Softworks. Following in the footsteps of the studio’s previous award-winning open-world role-playing games Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, Skyrim avoids tacked-on multiplayer and overpriced rainbow-colored launch day weapon DLC in favor of delivering the most rich and compelling single-player experience in video gaming history, a rare goal in a market dominated by competitive online titles such as Halo and Modern Warfare. Was Bethesda up to the ask? The answer is both yes and no.

Japan’s wrecked nuclear plant remade in game Fallout 3

Someone has recreated the ruins of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fallout 3, an adventure game that features the player trekking through the ruins of Washington D.C. after a world war resulted in a nuclear holocaust.