Hey! Look! Listen!

HLLfinal

1:32 a.m. on a Friday night, and what am I doing?

Nothing FUN, that’s for sure. I’m at my desk, surrounded by empty bottles of cheap lager, writing an article for you fucks. I hope you enjoy it.

Actually, I hope you don’t, because that would SHOW you.

Yeah.

Anyway. Let me grab another Yuengling, and we’ll get started.

Bobby NodickActivision Vs. Zampella/West: Things are Getting Heated

You guys should pay attention to this, because it’s one of the juicier, more scandalous stories to emerge from the game industry since Jack Thompson was disbarred.

In the previous edition of HLL, I reported on the unceremonious canning of Infinity Ward’s two main men, Jason West and Vince Zampella. I also reported that Activision had filed an SEC suite against both of them, citing “insubordination” and “breaches of contract.”

Well, the (seemingly) dynamic duo of West and Zampella aren’t taking this one lying down. They’re counter-suing Activision, claiming that the company owes them royalties for work on the massively popular Modern Warfare 2, and that they were fired without proper cause. They’re not playing small-time here either: their suit demands 36 million USD in damages, as well as the rights to the Modern Warfare brand. (Not Call of Duty, mind you; but Modern Warfare.)

Said West: “We were shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we’ve been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we’ve done speaks for itself.”

Said Zampella: “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”

Said Activision: (full commented blockquoted for douchery)

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. “Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

Well. If anything’s clear at this point, it’s the question of appearances. West and Zampella look like two creative geniuses who’ve been thrown under the bus, while Activision continues to look like a grand, huge, massive, gargantuan, money-grubbing bag of douche.

And, frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if that turned out to be exactly the case. I have no proof, of course, but the pieces fit. Why the hell would Activision fire their two golden boys? Either they were doing something awful, like, say, money laundering – or Activision just wants them out of the way. Creative differences, perhaps? Arguments over what direction the Modern Warfare brand should take? Understand, as the heads of Infinity Ward, West and Zampella had complete control over the Modern Warfare subseries.

There are countless rumors and nuances to this story, and I’m not going to try to sum them all up here. It’s honestly deserving of a site feature in and of itself. I’ve given you the basic facts. Choose your side, place your bets, and we’ll see where this goes.

portal 2 - GIPortal 2 Unceremoniously Announced

I don’t care about Portal. I’ve never played it. I actually have it sitting on my PC’s hard drive somewhere if I’m not mistaken, but I’ve yet to give it a go. Regardless, a lot of people like Portal. So. All of those people can now officially get excited.

I say “unceremoniously” because rumors have been flying around for a while, and it was revealed the next month’s Game Informer would feature a Portal 2 cover story. After all of this happened, Valve confirmed it through steam.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Maybe we’ll see a reveal trailer at GDC? It is next week, after all – and Valve’s very own Gabe Newell will be receiving a “pioneer award” (whatever the fuck that is) at the show. (VG247)

dsi-xlOh Snap: DSi XL and iPad to Hit Retail Within Days of Eachother

C’mon, isn’t this at least kinda interesting? The DSi XL and the Apple iPad, two devices that a) are catered to people who like… uh… large things, and b) don’t need to exist for any reason are both hitting North American retailers within the same week. You can grab a DSi XL on March 28, and then an iPad on April 3.

All of you “size matters” people should be in heaven. Me? I’ll be sitting back and laughing at anyone dumb enough to purchase either device. Unless they’re really old and have problems seeing things properly. I’ll still be laughing then, but for different reasons.

Thanks to GamerLimit

Thanks to GamerLimit

Here, I’ll Up the Ante: Michael Atkinson is a Stupid, Melodramatic, Misguided, Fame-Seeking Fuck.

Note: I did NOT call him a crook.

Everyone other than SiliconNoob is probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Well, it goes like this: there’s this little island nation called Australia. Australia likes to ban a lot of games. They’re sensitive like that. Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the most recent examples. One of the reasons for this is that Australia’s most “mature” rating for games is MA15+. After L4D2′a banning in Australia, a bunch of sensible people decided that it might be time to introduce an R18+ rating for Australia, so we could end this nonsense of banning and/or altering games once and for all.

For the hell of it, South Australia’s Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, decided he didn’t like the idea. He’s opposing it tooth and nail. He just doesn’t understand WHY Australians crave more sex and violence in their interactive media! From a letter he wrote to… uh… someone:

“It does not follow that a game is more interesting to an adult simply because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, or highly offensive language. Indeed, with all the effort and money that goes into game development, coupled with the effects and graphics now available, there is no need to introduce these extreme elements. I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’”

Cruel sex…?

Anyway. The above was just a crash-course in Michael Atkinson, seeing that I’ve never mentioned him on the site before. In a nutshell: he’s an idiot. The real story is this: sometime last year, a dude named Dean McQuillan submitted a comment on an Adelaide-based website. Somewhere in the comment, he called Atkinson a “crook.”

Because the comment was “highly defamatory,” Atkinson is now suing McQuillan for $20,000.

Yes, you read that correctly. An Australian attorney general is suing a civilian for calling him a “crook” online. And that’s, quite literally, all there is to it.

Atkinson’s head must be one hell of a place to be. Obviously the guy has some serious issues of self-worth, because he seems to be doing his very best to simply be noticed – to  hell with what he’s being noticed for. But hey, I suppose we should thank him. It’s been too long since we gamers have had a public figure outside the industry than we can love to hate. (Kotaku)

shimomuraNERD ALERT: Yoko Shimomura to Score Xenoblade

What? You don’t know who Yoko Shimomura is?! Where is your nerd card, sir?

Anyway. Yoko Shimomura wrote all the pretty music for Kingdom Hearts. She’s damn good at what she does, and if Famitsu via Destructoid is to be believed, she’ll be providing the music for the upcoming Wii RPG, Xenoblade.

I’ve actually been fairly interested in Xenoblade for some time now, if only because I’m the world’s biggest Xeno-fanboy. (Xenoblade is, for the record, written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, the mastermind behind the Xenogears/Xenosaga games.)  Shimomura’s musical presence only sweetens the deal. I was actually just listening to the final boss themes from Kingdom Hearts II. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Xenoblade is set for release in North America sometime this spring.

FFXIII logoLook at All the Final Fantasy XIII Reviews

That pesty embargo for Final Fantasy XIII reviews has been lifted, so now the internet is practically swelling with verdicts on Square Enix’s first current-gen entry in the beloved series. Go to GameRankings. You might be a little surprised at what you see.

Having said that, I haven’t actually read any of the individual reviews, and I have good reason for it: I don’t want to go into Final Fantasy XIII with any more negativity than I’ve already acquired. I know for a fact that I’m going to be disappointed with some of the decisions they’ve made. I know that it’s not going to be the same as it was all those years ago, when I was young and Final Fantasy was the greatest thing in the world. But, regardless, I want to give Final Fantasy XIII a fair shake. I want to try to re-capture some of that magic that I felt as a kid, when I didn’t read or care about reviews. Impossible? Maybe. But I’ll give it my best.

As a closing thought, I leave you with indisputable proof that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is superior to the PS3 version.

Thank god for Destructoid. And to think, I was about to go buy it for the PS3! Silly, silly me.

Well. It’s now 3:19 a.m. on a Friday night. Or… Saturday morning. Whatever. Point is, I’m still not doing anything fun. I’m at this same desk, with the same empty lager bottles. Plus a few new ones.

‘Till next time!

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7 Responses to “Hey! Look! Listen!”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    -Imagine having Michael Atkinson as your Attorney General. The simple truth is that his stance against video games isn’t even the worst thing he has done …

    -Xenoblade sounds fantastic.

    -Bobby Kotick is an absolute dick!

  2. SiliconNooB says:

    Wish I could go into XIII as a virgin, but it’s much too late for that now …

  3. DarthGibblet says:

    I’ve managed to be pretty good about avoiding FFXIII information. I’ve mostly just read the digital foundry article (and all the footage there looks to have come from the same scene) and a couple extremely negative rants online. We’ll see how that works out :D.

  4. Ethos says:

    Fantastic HLL.
    And I didn’t know about Portal 2! And I either didn’t know or forgot that you never played the original! Play it, dammit! It’s one of the greatest games this generation and it’s short as fuck, you have no excuse!

  5. SiliconNooB says:

    Portal has one of the greatest senses of humour that I’ve ever seen in a game!

  6. DarthGibblet says:

    @Ethos/SN: Riddles hasn’t played Portal? Screw now knowing who Yoko Shimomura is, that’s enough to get your nerd card revoked right there!

    @Riddles: In all seriousness, it is an fantastic game. Really, even if it’s not your thing, it’s one of those games that’s referenced so much you’re doing yourself a disservice by not having played it. Especially since, like Ethos said, it’ll only take about 3-4 hours the first run through (OK, it’s a puzzle game, so the standard deviation on that curve’s probably huge, but still, my point stands). Heck, if you can’t find your copy, I’ll gift one to you on Steam. I say you play it this weekend in honor of the sequel being announced.

    Also, has anybody heard if anybody’s figured out what “dattmannh0nee” means from the Portal 2 announcement?

  7. Ethos says:

    @Darth – Haven’t even read/heard anything about Portal 2 except from this site, sooo….no!

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