Posts tagged Bioshock
In the wake of today’s Tomb Raider news I thought it would be important to talk about the word “exclusive” and what it has come to mean.
A few days ago Editor in Chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo and I had the following exchange on twitter:
His initial link points out that Rise and Dead Rising 3 were both announced as Xbox One exclusives and now they are both coming to PC. Those two announcements (two months apart) have come in the midst of the commonly used phrase “timed exclusive”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the game is exclusive to a platform for a set amount of time.
Activision has had timed exclusives on Call of Duty DLC on Xbox for a few years. It makes Microsoft happy because they get to say “we get this popular thing first” on stage at big events and the die hard fans of that franchise are more likely to buy the game on that platform.
But in the past when third party games were exclusive, they were really exclusive. Final Fantasy games were exclusive to Sony platforms for years, for example. So were Tomb Raider games.
The first chink in the armor of “exclusivity” I can remember was BioShock in 2007. The first BioShock is one of the best games I’ve ever played, won tons of Game of the Year awards, and was touted as being “Only on Xbox” – words they even printed on the box.
14 months after it came out on the Xbox 360, a PS3 version was released.
This story is become more and more common. On the one hand, I love it. I love that GTA, BioShock, and Final Fantasy are playable on every platform. It’s great for gaming, it’s great for gamers, and it’s great for people who can only afford one console.
(Yes, as long as console makers continue to publish games you’re never going to get to play 100% of games released, but you can play 95%, and that’s pretty good. At least in the near future you wont be playing Halo on a PlayStation and you won’t be playing Uncharted on an Xbox.)
But on the other hand, we’ve cheapened the word. People don’t trust the word exclusive when especially when Microsoft says it. Just look at the news about Rise of the Tomb Raider, almost every outlet reporting it casts some doubt about the length of this exclusive. Not a single report that I’ve read is certain that Square / Crystal Dynamics will publish Tomb Raider only on the Xbox. Everyone is expecting Sony to have Tomb Raider in 2016.
Microsoft has warped the meaning of the word exclusive to mean exclusive-ish, or exclusive-for-now. They’ve also cheapened the value of their console. When you look at the landscape of games coming one or two games may nudge you to choose one console over the other.
Stephen Totilo is right, “it set’s a precedent” and lying about a game that’s exclusive devalues your console and just makes your consumers upset.
It is still unclear weather the the new Tomb Raider is actually exclusive to Microsoft or if it’s just a timed exclusive. The fact that it’s been more than four hours since the news broke, and outlets still seem to be debating the definition of exclusive and what it means in this instance, is in of itself a problem.
UPDATE: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration”
Chris Plante absolutely crushes this piece about Ken Levine over at Polygon.
“Members of the Irrational team have joked about “Ken Whispering,” a talent some employees have for deciphering their boss’ ideas. Levine will give a general idea of what he wants a character to look like or an event to sound like. The artist will then go away and create that product. Ken will then examine what has been made, say why it isn’t what he wants and give further direction.
Or as Levine would put it, it takes time to find the statue inside the stone. His games aren’t a military shooter or an alien adventure. He can’t just say, “let’s make a BioShock.”
Why did BioShock Infinite take five years? How did Ken Levine arrive where he is now? What’s next? Read the whole story, only on Polygon.
Irrational Games have announced the third game of the Bioshock franchise, “Bioshock Infinite”, to be released sometime in 2012.
Bioshock 2 was fantastic, but some argued it felt too similar to the first game in many respects. Those people won’t have anything to complain about this time as Infinite has swapped the seas for the skies and Rapture for a new city called Columbia, which floats above the earth thanks to some nifty looking steampunk-ish devices. The game is set in 1912 which is before the first two but Ken Levine, who will again be involved, doesn’t want it to be seen as a prequel.
Watch the trailer above and feel free to start getting excited, two years isn’t that long.
[Joystiq] - Tom