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Industry Update: January 13th, 2013

Bring up your browser, pull out your textbooks and grab your pencils, ’cause it’s time for another Industry Update.  This time around, we’re changing things up; now, instead of lumping together news by companies, we’ve come up with some (so-called) clever puns for titles.   Please sit back and hopefully be enlightened (and a bit entertained).

Flying High in the Sky – Activision Blizzard comes out of the gate in 2013 with pride, as the Skylanders franchise has finally surpassed the $500 million milestone for retail sales, and in record time for a “kids’ gaming property”.  This, according to a recent press release, means that the combined sales of not only the 2012 game Skylanders Giants but also the original game from 2011 – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – and the related accessories and figures have managed to quickly outsell virtually every major toy brand in 2012 (particularly, of note, brands like Beyblade and Star Wars).

When describing how Skylanders Giants factored into this milestone, the release states that Giants earned in and around “$195 million in U.S. sales”, noting that this gain was significantly greater than “domestic box office sales for each of the top holiday kids feature films” like Wreck It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians.  Toys”R”Us’ Executive V.P. and Chief Marketing Officer Richard Barry was apparently supportive throughout the franchise’s existance, commenting that “before the concept was fully formed, we were immediately taken with the charm and magic behind the Skylanders property and following the highly successful introduction of Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure, we knew that Skylanders Giants would be a top-seller in 2012″.

To put it simply, I’m astounded, but then again this is the best market to target with video games.  Kids tend to be receptive to virtually any media placed in front of them at a young age, and it largely shapes their interests in the future.  To say that Activision has just brainwashed their newest generation of consumers is an understatement; they freaking lured the kids in with candy and cupcakes.  

For A Limited Time Only – Meanwhile, Square Enix has a few tricks of its own up its sleeve.  Not long after Absolution dropped into store shelves and promptly roosted there for the remainder of Boxing Day Season, ol’ Square announced their grand plan to reintroduce Agent 47’s previous adventures with Hitman: HD Collection (containing Hitman 2, Hitman: Contracts,  Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Sniper Challenge).  To start,  an obscure website – simply titled www.WhoIs47.com –  has been launched, its depths allowing innocent gamers to submit fanart based on classic Hitman moments for a contest (the grand prize: a custom Agent 47 Xbox 360 console with game) and to purchase one-of-a-kind lithographs for $47 that will be featured – wait for it – in the Limited Edition of Hitman: HD Collection!

Yes, the existence of a Limited Edition has been confirmed, though Square has only revealed it will contain an artbook featuring “22 artist reinterpretations of classic moments throughout the Hitman series” and that it will drop in stores January 29th.  No other details emerged on what else the Limited Edition will contain, how it will be distributed or even how much it will cost.

I’m torn at the moment: Hitman‘s a cool franchise with a gradual improvement in quality over the years, but the lack of details combined with the hit-and-miss quality of other HD collections worries me a little.  Let’s put it this way – for every God of War Collection that’s refined and awesome, something like Splinter Cell Trilogy comes along to remind you that Conviction not sucking doesn’t make the earlier games any easier to play.

Bloody Hell & New Digs  –  Capcom’s still probably cleaning up after the pre-(Canadian) Thanksgiving fiasco that was Resident Evil 6, so highlighting a franchise less prone to causing fan outrage and Internet controversy would probably be bes-  oh wait, they’re promoting DmC: Devil May Cry.  Never mind then, just listen to what I have to say.

DmC will be receiving post-release DLC, according to Capcom, in the form of Bloody Palace Mode.  Free of charge, this bonus mode will unlock ” upon completion of the main game”, will feature “over 100 levels of demons and enemies, including five brutal bosses” and will support a leaderboard system for players to compete online.  While I’m not psyched about Capcom’s continuing DLC agenda (or, indeed, about the game and series in general), the fact that it’ll be free DLC seems mostly harmless.

The game also received a brand new CG trailer, which straddles the line between sleek and weird.  It features a cataclysmic earthquake, various demons and mystical entities, and a version of Dante clearly struggling with his own demonic side.  While making any assumptions about this odd little trailer may be foolish, it seems like Devil May Cry‘s love for sleek, fantastical action may be returning in full force.  At any rate, it’s available here if it tickles your fancy.

Overall, Capcom seems to be treading carefully enough with DmC.  I won’t say this new trailer doesn’t have the potential to hype up gamers, but it seems too offbeat and – forgive me for saying this – underwhelming to do just that.  Then again, this is coming from a Devil May Cry newcomer who has certain standards for hyping up action games.

You Say You Want a Revolution... – Activision’s not quite done in the spotlight yet (or probably ever).  Call of Duty: Black Ops II will be receiving the first of four DLC packs, entitled Revolution, on January 29th exclusively for Xbox 360.  Other consoles will be receiving this and other DLC packs at later dates.  The price is set at 1200 MS points ($14.99).

Revolution will contain four new multiplayer maps, a new Zombies map set in the Far East, a new Zombies mode, and a new multiplayer SMG called “The Peacekeeper”.  For online players, the Downhill map seems to have the greatest potential out of the four multiplayer maps, as it is set in the French Alps and features environmental danger in the form of moving gondolas.  Also of note: The new Zombies mode, called Turned, gives players the greatest gift of all: the ability to play as Zombies.

Normally, Call of Duty DLC just bores me and passes by unnoticed, but this is the first DLC pack that sounds even a little interesting.  I’m not likely to buy it, just on principle, but I’d advise keeping an ear to the ground about this.  Because, as we all know, shooting zombies can only surpassed by being zombies, right?

Well, that’s all for now.  Keep coming back for more info next week, and I will see what I can find (hopefully – dry spells come and go in the industry).

This is the Codex Admin, signing off.  Keep reading, gamers. 


One comment on “Industry Update: January 13th, 2013

  1. Speaking of Devil May Cry, I managed to get my hands on an early copy thanks to a local retailer. Anyways, loving the game so far. Great pacing and the action still rocks, and the “new” Dante isn’t too much of a stretch from the old. Besides a hair change, he’s still a cocky beat-em-up guy with a few new tricks up his sleeve.

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