This Week in Games: April 28, 2012

The FPS Russia guy teases Call of Duty: Black Ops II with drones, Valve exposes itself (and talks Half-Life 3, kinda), Michael Pachter predicts the future, and a dude from Crytek says that next-gen used-game blocking is "awesome."

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We're changing the format of this a tiny bit this week, and hopefully you'll think it's for the better. Along with recapping the important stories of the past week, we'll also be highlighting the best, or most popular, comments from each of the original pieces. You'll see these under the Quoted for Truth headline after each entry. The usernames on each of these will link to that user's profile so you can follow their contributions in the future if you enjoy what they have to say.

Call of Duty Black Near-Future Drone Ops II

Early next week, we'll all be able to finally stop speculating about whatever the next Call of Duty is and return to bitching about the franchise in general. In the meantime, word snuck out this week that the new game--believed to be Black Ops II--may be set in the near future. The official Call of Duty website linked to a humorous FPS Russia YouTube video, which focused on the futuristic flying quadrotor RC drone weapon, teased for inclusion in an upcoming Call of Duty game. Earlier in the week, box art for Call of Duty: Black Ops II surfaced, displaying a November 13 release date for the unannounced project. Seems pretty credible, right?

Quoted for Truth

Superzone: "They can make it as futuristic and shiny as they want to, but if the gameplay doesn't change or do anything innovative whatsoever then who gives a s***?"

Portal 2 Editor, Half-Life 3, and a Look Inside Valve

Valve's highly regarded game Portal 2 will add a puzzle editor for the PC and Mac on May 8, the company announced Thursday. The editor--announced last October--will arrive as part of the free Perpetual Testing Initiative downloadable content. The puzzle editor will let players create, share, and download Portal 2 levels. Players can publish their creations to the Steam Workshop, where users can browse, vote on, and select other levels to try out. No mention was made of the Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC coming to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Valve was also in the news this week because a digital version of its Handbook for New Employees (the whole thing is embedded on the linked page) began making the rounds online. It highlights the numerous fascinating and unconventional ways the company works, from its total lack of management to its active discouragement of development crunch. If you're looking for the whole thing to be summed up in just three sentences, you're in luck! Consider the following statement from the beginning of the book; "Valve is self-funded. We haven't ever brought in outside financing. Since our earliest days this has been incredibly important in providing freedom to shape the company and its business practices."

"The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what's happening next."

This weekly wrap-up has been pretty Valve-tastic for the past few weeks with all the Steam Box nonsense (fingers crossed it's still on the horizon, right?), but there's one subject on which everyone has been quiet for a while: Half-Life 3. Valve has yet to officially confirm its existence, but we all know it's coming, right? Company boss Gabe Newell appears to have provided an update on the project while speaking to Seven Day Cooldown in a podcast interview. Newell said unexpected development issues have kept the studio from opening up on the game and added that Valve's silence on Half-Life is actually in the best interest of gamers. "The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what's happening next," he said.

What do you think is best? Should developers be as transparent as possible with projects? Or would you prefer it if they kept everything secret? Let us know in the comments.

Quoted for Truth

darkcomedian: "I hope it just gets released with no promotion or anything on Steam one day, and somebody randomly finds it. That would be hilarious."

Used Game Blocking Is "Awesome"

Crysis developer Crytek hopes the next generation of consoles take steps to stamp out used games. Should we just leave it there and let you have at it in the comments already?

"From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome."
Hang on, let's provide a little more context here. Speaking to CVG, Crytek director of creative development Rasmus Hoejengaard said he would enjoy seeing Microsoft and Sony incorporate an anti-used-game system in their future consoles. "From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome," he said. "It's weird that [secondhand] is still allowed because it doesn't work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well."

Quoted for Truth

vochelli: "Well Microsoft and Sony, who are you going to listen to? Your customers or the developers and publishers? Choose wisely."

Larry Fully Funded

The lecherous Larry Laffer will return. The Kickstarter campaign for a Leisure Suit Larry remake this week reached its $500,000 target, meaning developer Replay Games and creator Al Lowe will move forward developing a remake of the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Originally announced last October without mention of crowd funding, the Leisure Suit Larry remake is intended to be an overhauled version of the character's debut 1987 adventure game. In addition to modern graphics, the game is expected to feature a modern point-and-click interface, full voice work, additional jokes (hopefully brought up to date), and compatibility with mobile devices.

Quoted for Truth

FallenOneX: "A remake of the original should be entertaining, I remember late nights in the computer room of the house, hoping our parents wouldn't get up to go downstairs as we tried to find a condom so we could have sex with a hooker…. Moments I want to relive as I spend late nights hoping my kid doesn't wake up and say 'Daddy, that game looks like a cartoon, I wanna watch!'"

Nexon Buying EA? Shyeah, Right

Every now and then there's a preposterous rumor from a usually reliable source about one of the big game publishers being bought about by a totally unexpected suitor. This week's? That Korean free-to-play game company Nexon (MapleStory, Combat Arms) has reportedly made an offer to purchase Electronic Arts, according to a Bloomberg video report. The report cites an unnamed (of course--aren't they always?) South Korean newspaper with the news and does not elaborate on the potential deal in any way. That should get your bulls*** detectors flapping. An EA representative told GameSpot, "Only comment here would be that we don't comment on rumors or speculation about our business." Nexon also chimed in on the matter in a similarly insightful fashion, telling us, "Nexon's policy is to never comment on rumors." Anyone want to lay odds on this one? Signs point to a big fat "no."

Quoted for Truth

IgotEpixx: "KorEA?"

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Pachter Predicts GTAV This Year

"I don't think the Rockstar guys care about a 2K game."

Never shy to speak his mind, or circulate a wild guess, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said on Friday that he believes the much-anticipated open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V will ship on October 23, 2012. Speaking on the latest episode of GameTrailers TV, Pachter acknowledged that shipping on that date would be just a week behind another major Take-Two property, BioShock Infinite (October 16), but he did not budge on his belief. "I know that's too close to BioShock Infinite," he said. "I don't think the Rockstar guys care about a 2K game." If GTAV ships on October 23, 2012, gamers will be barraged with high-profile games in consecutive weeks at the end of this year. The October-November release calendar could shape up to be: BioShock Infinite (October 16), Grand Theft Auto V (October 23), Assassin's Creed III (October 30), Halo 4 (November 6), and if rumor proves accurate, Call of Duty: Black Ops II on November 13.

Quoted for Truth

pacpuf7249: "Even though I've been on Gamefaqs for five years and always saw the GameSpot news section in the right corner, I never paid much attention to it. Since being relatively new to GameSpot, starting to read the news on December or January, when I read my first article regarding Michael Pachter, I didn't understand why so many people disrespected him. But after seeing five articles about what he says, and after reading the word "analyst" in the title, I already knew it was him. I was so excited when I read 'Oct 23 2012,' but got kicked in the nuts by GameSpot after seeing the last two words. I'm already tired of him."

Skyrim Adding Crossbows and Snow Elves?

The first Skyrim DLC will focus on snow elves and crossbows, according to information unearthed by a Bethesda forum member. Files found within a folder titled "DLC01" from the latest Skyrim patch mention several terms, including "Snow Elves," "Snow Elf Prince," and various crossbow animations. What's a snow elf? The Skyrim wiki entry points out that they were a race of mer who inhabited Skyrim long before the Nords, before centuries of underground living and Dwemer slavery twisted the race into the blind merciless Falmer.

What do you think? Is a new race (and presumably territory and associated historical quests that go with it) enough to keep you going for a while? Honestly, given the amount of time that has passed since the game shipped, we're expecting the first DLC drop to be a whopper.

Quoted for Truth

RobertBowen: "I remember my first encounters with the Falmer as a lower level character. I got owned. Needless to say I was much more wary of them after that. Crossbows are definitely welcome, and if we get some more history and questlines regarding the Falmer (Snow Elves) that's fine. But I do hope this is a large-scale DLC with a lot to explore. And I wish they would add in some more of those things that didn't quite make it into Skyrim that they showed in a video a while ago."

Speaking of Skyrim Mods, we have a weekly show for that. Here's the latest episode.

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