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Activision Countersues Modern Warfare 2 Execs

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the why-can't-we-be-friends dept.

The Courts 120

WrongSizeGlass writes "AP is reporting that Activision has countersued former Infinity Ward executives Jason West and Vince Zampella. Activision claims West and Zampella 'morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain and whose actions threatened both the future of the Call of Duty franchise and the future of Activision's (Infinity Ward) studio.'" This follows Activision's firing of the execs earlier this year. Legal documents indicate that this legal dispute has caused delays in the production of Modern Warfare 3. Lawyers for the two fired execs say Activision's claims are ridiculous, citing Modern Warfare 2's overwhelming financial success. Meanwhile, it's rumored that EA is seeing the whole fiasco as an opportunity.

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Weird (5, Insightful)

Jerrei (1515395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807672)

Self-serving schemers? What, Kotick was afraid of some competition?

Re:Weird (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808564)

It sounds like legalese for "we don't have a breach of contract case against them".

That, or Activision's counsel is the stereotypical sleazy lawyer...

Awesome! (4, Funny)

Guido69 (513067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807704)

I'm sure as customers we'll all benefit from this litigation. Mad props to the lawyers!

Re:Awesome! (4, Funny)

alex4u2nv (869827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807824)

Afterall, Modern warfare is lead by lawyers =)

Re:Awesome! (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811462)

Bring on the sequels: "Modern Warfare: Cease and Desist", "MW: IP Violation" and "MW: Litigious Bastards [sco.com] ".

Then again, the learning curve might be too difficult: do you call in a counter-suit or a Supreme Court appeal when your position is about to be overrun by litigators? Maybe make "Serious Sam: Lawyers" instead.

Re:Awesome! (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807930)

I'm sure as customers we'll all benefit from this litigation. Mad props to the lawyers!

Of course! Those people who make good games need to kept in check by the people who really have our best interest at heart: The people who want to milk a franchise as fast as possible! Those are the real heroes... them, and their lawyers, obviously.

Re:Awesome! (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808096)

What I found funny was the quote from the legal brief: "They morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate, self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain."

Sounds like my ex.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808676)

Ok, virgin.

Re:Awesome! (3, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808374)

I don't really have anything to say about the merits of all this. But I thought it might shape your views to know that in a situation like this (assuming the case is in federal court, or a court using something like the federal rules), Activision has to bring any countersuit that arose from the same set of circumstances that form the basis of the plaintiffs' original suit; they won't be allowed to bring it later. So, it may well be that Activision had never really intended to sue the execs, but was forced to bring the counterclaim now to keep its options open.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810826)

Sue, counter-sue. With each passing case, the US legal system sounds more like a venue for petty schoolground squabbles, instead of a place where adult disputes are resolved. Is there anyone at the helm of this vessel?

Re:Awesome! (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811716)

Then you might be interested to know the actual rationale: requiring related suits to be lumped together avoids needless duplication in evidence gathering and case management and, thus, tends to lower the burden on the judicial system over all.

Who's at the helm? In this case, the Rules Advisory Committee of the Judicial Conference, acting pursuant to authority granted them by Congress in the Rules Enabling Act (28 U.S.C. 2072).

And yes, I do parties.

Not EA, Anything but EA! (5, Insightful)

ColonelSplendid (1493243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807714)

Please guys, don't go to EA, that is like going from a semi-evil organization to the ultimate evil organization. Go work for Valve or Bungie or one of the other decent studios out there.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

cyanid3 (998026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808016)

EA is suddenly cool. Yeah, I know, I didn't get the memo either.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (5, Insightful)

Nivlheim (1024343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808062)

EA may have been the ultimate evil for some time, but Activision has recently been able to overtake them. By a rather large amount too. The former is now the diet-coke of evil, while the evil-scale has had to be redefined to accomodate the latter.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808522)

I think Ubisoft is growing up to be the new EA. EA pioneered crazy DRM schemes, and now Ubisoft has its own crazy DRM scheme.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (3, Insightful)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809438)

IMO In the Evil Pagent: Ubisoft is still winning. EA is 2nd. Activision is 3rd.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31810990)

Disclaimer: I work for Ubisoft.

I disagree with that. Ubisoft cares quite deeply about its game quality, as does EA (recently). EA realised that they had become the bad guys, and took steps to correct that. Activision has actually embraced that aspect of themselves.

Ubisoft has done a lot of wrong recently with its ridiculous DRM, but it's honestly a fairly isolated incident. Overall, they are still trying to improve the quality of their games. EA is doing much the same. And EA has realised that their DRM has done more harm than good, and they remove it shortly after release these days. (both companies have a "Lord of the Flies" corporate structure internally but externally, they do the job. Ubisoft takes the prize though, in that they are extremely reluctant to layoff employees, while EA does it regularly).

Activision on the other hand... will milk a franchise until it dies, layoff employees for extra profit, and has no interest in making a good game.

I do not wish to work for EA. But I REFUSE to work for Activision. I like working for Ubisoft. They really try to make good games.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (0, Redundant)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811410)

Disclaimer: I work for Ubisoft.

I never would have guessed.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813784)

Yes, whatever happened to the Jeff Green from the EA.com story [slashdot.org] ?

Yes, Activision has embraced its evil status: the CEO has turned away potentially good games because he didn't see the recurring-fee model or the tweak-a-few-settings-and-release-20xx-the-next-year model (as one example). Supposedly, EA has realized its mistakes, but I'm still not seeing a lot of fan support for its popular games. (The Need For Speed series could be great, but one $50 game is only playable for so long. It's re-playability is not too good.)

If Ubisoft is really trying to correct its image, then why are they telling Eurogamer.net [eurogamer.net] "that its 'online services platform' for PC games will 'evolve and improve' and is most certainly here to stay"? (Essentially, suck it, our DRM stays.)

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (0)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808100)

Please guys, don't go to EA, that is like going from a semi-evil organization to the ultimate evil organization. Go work for Valve or Bungie or one of the other decent studios out there.

actually EA isn't that evil anymore, in the last couple of years they have released some very good games(dragon age, mass effect, battlefield bad company 2, need for speed shift etc..), even innovative like mirror's edge, it's clear that they are going towards quality rather than quantity

Activision on the other hand just opened another studio dedicated to make yet another call of duty game

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808230)

>> EA isn't that evil anymore.

Then why does googling "EA layoffs [randomyearhere]" always show them letting go of bunches of programmers in November, right before EA makes their massive X-Mas profits on the unpaid overtime those programmers' put in during their 90 hour work-weeks?

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808472)

That's because they were laying off defunct crapy studios.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810776)

Because the company was in terrible health and needed to downsize. They didn't have enough income to support as many employees as they had.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (3, Interesting)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808540)

Any company that makes numerous sequels to games and then names then in such a way that you can't immediately tell what order they came out in (Need for Speed, I'm looking at you) is Evil in my book. Of course I'm the only thing that isn't evil in my book, so maybe that isn't such a useful scale.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812866)

There's a game called "Need For Speed, I'm Looking At You"? Oh I see what you did. Well there probably soon will be.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813016)

I wouldn't be surprised if there was actually.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810606)

Yeah, go work for Valve or Bungie. There can't possibly be anything evil about two corporations that are financially dependent on Microsoft and have contributed to MS using their monopoly to leverage their position in the gaming industry.

EA certainly is no white knight, but just because you like the games Valve and Bungie develop doesn't mean they have the moral high ground. Bungie is no more than a part of Microsoft (just because they are technically "independent" doesn't mean they're not bound by contracts) and Valve is comprised of many ex-MS employees who have been hostile to supporting non-MS platforms, even when doing so would be profitable. Not to mention that Valve's intentions with Steam are highly suspect.

Activision under Kotick these past couple years has been much more worrisome to me than EA. Killing original games like Brutal Legend and Ghostbusters in favor of more Guitar Hero shovelware and then their treatment of Infinity Ward. EA takes risks with games like Black and Dead Space. Their sports monopoly may be suspect, but professional sports in America have been run by monopolies before any of us were born. That was bound to happen because that's the way the NFL likes it.

I don't feel like EA is justified in many of their business practices but ever since they got busted overworking their employees Activision has held the #2 evil spot in the videogame industry in my book. #1 of course, goes to Microsoft and direct Microsoft partners (Bungie and Valve included). I shouldn't have to explain why here.

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811280)

Bungie is no more than a part of Microsoft (just because they are technically "independent" doesn't mean they're not bound by contracts) and Valve is comprised of many ex-MS employees who have been hostile to supporting non-MS platforms, even when doing so would be profitable. Not to mention that Valve's intentions with Steam are highly suspect.

Totally agree with you man, the PS2 port of Half-Life with that exclusive 'Decay' expansion, was just Valve's way of undermining Sony by making pc gamers jealous.

The whole Steam thing is a conspiracy too. MS knows that noone wants them to control pc digital distribution, so when they create it, they use Valve as a figurehead. So noone gets suspicious, they make a second gimped digital distribution provider under their own label, GFWL.. It's brilliant!

As an aside, HL2: Episode has already been announced and the multiplayer is about to go into open beta.

*******************SPOILERS***************

  Bungie has been working on it for years. The combine are all known as the covenant. Gordon Freeman is spartan 117 (now we know why we never see their faces!). Glados merges with Alix and is rebooted as Cortanna. I can't wait to see what they do with the cowbar!

Re:Not EA, Anything but EA! (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810906)

EA _used_ to be evil. They've actually reformed a lot, partially through lawsuits (the EA Spouse thing) and partly through the actions of their new CEO John Riccitiello. He instituted a lot of changes when he took over, including a focus on developing new games rather than just making sequel after sequel after sequel. Unfortunately the game buying public has responded by... not buying the new games they've always said they wanted, which has driven down EA stock prices and puts Riccitiello at serious risk of being ousted and EA at potential risk of being acquired by someone who would probably be more willing to exploit their existing library rather than developing new ideas.

Plus, you've got to love their response to this current situation, which was reported in 1UP's [1up.com] and Gamasutra's [gamasutra.com] articles. Since EA was supposedly part of the reason West and Zampella got fired, reporters contacted EA's "director of corporate communications" Jeff Brown, who said "We don't have the time to comment on the many lawsuits Activision files against its employees and creative partners."

And for my own thoughts, as i said in response to an earlier Slashdot article [slashdot.org] , if the Justice Department doesn't think a company refusing to hire someone who previously worked at a competitor is legal, my gut feeling is that they won't look too kindly on a company firing someone for talking to a competitor about a possible job either. Of course i am not a lawyer, so we'll have to wait to see if Activision is actually as screwed as i think they probably are.

Punish Activision (3, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807746)

I quit World of Warcraft over this. I've never played Modern Warfare, nor do I care who made it, but it is obvious that Activision wants to milk its franchises until there is nothing left but dessicated corpses, and fuck anyone who stands in their way.

Re:Punish Activision (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807828)

I quit World of Warcraft over this. I've never played Modern Warfare, nor do I care who made it, but it is obvious that Activision wants to milk its franchises until there is nothing left but dessicated corpses, and fuck anyone who stands in their way.

Actually, that seems to be what pretty much everyone is doing these days...

We've got sequels and expansions and spin-offs of anything even remotely successful - on the big screen, in TV, with video games, and with books.

Seems like nobody wants to be creative/original anymore.

Re:Punish Activision (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807970)

I quit World of Warcraft over this. I've never played Modern Warfare, nor do I care who made it, but it is obvious that Activision wants to milk its franchises until there is nothing left but dessicated corpses, and fuck anyone who stands in their way.

Actually, that seems to be what pretty much everyone is doing these days...

We've got sequels and expansions and spin-offs of anything even remotely successful - on the big screen, in TV, with video games, and with books.

Seems like nobody wants to be creative/original anymore.

Give it a few decades.

Musicians and film artists are just now being able to really succeed free of the grips of their large respective "artist associations". There's still a long way to go, though. It's taken about 50 years for music, 80 years for film.

In 20 years, indie studios in video gaming are starting to get a real grip on the industry. Extrapolate that. So, I say, give it a decade or so. Being at the grips of some big, monolithic evil publisher won't be an issue anymore.

Re:Punish Activision (4, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808932)

In 20 years, indie studios in video gaming are starting to get a real grip on the industry. Extrapolate that. So, I say, give it a decade or so. Being at the grips of some big, monolithic evil publisher won't be an issue anymore.

Good point. Personally, I see the seeds starting now: hardware and tools are powerful enough that even without a budget, you can create a polished game experience. You don't have to code a physics engine by hand, you don't have to be a graphics wizard to create a colorful world with great draw distance, and you don't have to ration your CPU-cycles to have some sort of believable AI and pathfinding.

Since the biggest difference between blockbusters with 50 million dollar budgets and those with 50k budgets will be how many content creators and how many hair-physics creators they employ, there's a good chance that indie developers can actually be very successful. See Portal and Castle Crashers, for example.

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809734)

The original "indie" game portal was based off of was way more unpolished (including gameplay) and ugly than the final game. I realize it was a student project game, but the fact still stands. They even admit it themselves. It took them being hired by Valve (which might as well be considered a "big publisher" at this point based on their budget and market presence, and especially with the Steam platform) to turn that indie/student game into something really well polished and that really had wide market appeal. Do you think that without Valve they could have gotten the GLaDOS voice actress? John Coulton for the theme song? Or Erik Wolpaw to do the writing? Hell no. And in all 3 of those cases the game would have been worse for it (from a "quality" and "polish" standpoint). And how much benefit did the gameplay gain from the guidance of experienced designers at Valve? Do you think they'd just give that advice to an indie developer for free?

Re:Punish Activision (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810404)

"Do you think that without Valve they could have gotten the GLaDOS voice actress? "

Uh, yea. Aren't you aware of the capabilities of the SBLive! cards? Native FX processing built-in from ring modulators to flangers to pitch shifters. It would be TRIVIAL to redo the GLaDOS voice with a piece of hardware that might cost fifteen bucks today.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811564)

"Do you think that without Valve they could have gotten the GLaDOS voice actress? "

Ah, the good old days of Jagged Alliance 2. Where the credits listed "all the voice actors free pizza could buy".

Re:Punish Activision (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31812614)

If it's so TRIVIAL, than let's see you or someone here on /. do it? I always hear people say "It's a piece of cake, a 5 year old could do it". Let's see you, Khyber, whip out your SBLive! card and redo GLaDOS voice.

Let me guess, too busy ehh? :)

Re:Punish Activision (1)

esaulgd (1754886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813416)

there's a good chance that indie developers can actually be very successful. See Portal and Castle Crashers, for example.

Portal is NOT an indie game. The core mechanic was originally from a student game and the dev team was mostly composed from those students, yes, but they were employed at Valve and had the support and resources of a large corporation.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813822)

For more examples, see some of the better Flash games on ArmorGames.com or any of the other portal games sites. True, the games are short... but true, the games are mostly free to play. There are also some really quality games with a bit of story to them. (see the Sonny series: Sonny 1 [armorgames.com] and Sonny 2 [armorgames.com] , with a 3rd one coming out, hopefully soon.) Any of these, with a slightly bigger budget, more time, etc, could be made into a retail type game. Effing Hail [armorgames.com] would be a fun Wii game with a few gameplay tweaks, additions, and/or enhancements (such as twisting the wii-mote to change the air-flow direction.)

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808020)

There are a few franchises though that really benefit(ed) from expansions and sequels. Imagine Super Mario Bros if it never evolved past Super Mario Bros. for the NES. We'd get basically "Lost Levels-esque" expansions year after year instead of the superb Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World. Similarly, there are a lot of games that improve as technology improves even when the basic concept remains the same. Open-ended adventure games are one genre. For example, Fable on the original Xbox was good, but felt limited. Fable II is better (though short) and when Fable III comes out, it will probably be better still even when the basic premise doesn't change, the technology will.

Now, of course there are a lot of games that -don't- benefit from sequels and spin offs and re-releases, such as all those sports games who get people to pay $60 since the late 80s for the "best" in football, baseball, etc. But for a lot of games, sequels and expansions are great ways to improve on a great formula.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808244)

Sure, there are some very good sequels out there that certainly deserved to be made. Some of the Mario games, like you mentioned... Or the first couple of Star Wars sequels...

And I'm really not complaining about sequels/spin-offs/whatever that make sense. Ones that add something to the story... Or improve and expand upon gameplay elements...

But these days it seems like we've got a lot of folks doing nothing more than simply milking a successful title.

Look at the pile of Star Wars prequels, and then the animated TV series...

Or all the new Dune books...

Re:Punish Activision (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808490)

I actually wish that there were more sequels of the games I like a lot.

For example, I never understood why the people who put out Far Cry didn't make another half-dozen games using that excellent engine. It was fun, you really felt in control of movement and action, and it ran like a champ on a E4300 with a Radeon X1650. I fully expected that Far Cry 2 would use the same engine. All they had to do then was come up with new textures and a new story. But instead, they went to a completely different engine that was nowhere near as good.

Far Cry 2 could have been fantastic, but it was just a fair port of what was obviously a console game.

I think PC game developers are leaving a lot of money on the table even with the "rampant" piracy. Since there are already a lot of great engines out there, you don't have to re-invent the wheel, and you don't have to spend a ton of money on rendered cut-scenes. You make a great game, you put it out on Valve and ... profit!

Even without the consoles, Modern Warfare 2 made a potful of money from sales for PC, despite the fact that there was a cracked version out within a few days of release. So what's the problem, PC game developers?

Re:Punish Activision (5, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808130)

"Seems like nobody wants to be creative/original anymore."

I dunno... I heard Modern Warfare 3: Reuters' Photographer Extermination was supposed to be pretty different...

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808588)

Tou fucking che.

If I had an account, I'd mod this up for sure.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Holammer (1217422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808928)

"I dunno... I heard Modern Warfare 3: Reuters' Photographer Extermination was supposed to be pretty different..." Too soon!

Re:Punish Activision (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809478)

"I dunno... I heard Modern Warfare 3: Reuters' Photographer Extermination was supposed to be pretty different..." Too soon!

Dude, it was like three years ago.

Re:Punish Activision (2, Interesting)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809722)

Def in bad taste. Sorry.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808272)

"We've got sequels and expansions and spin-offs of anything even remotely successful"

The problem with many games now-a-days is they're story based. You get invested into a story which adds lots of value to the game.

FPS game are the only games that can easily be changed/unique because not being held to a story line. Any major FPS game is mostly multiplayer, so just make it fun and it's a winner. RTS/MMORPG/etc are a lot more involved and are more fun when there's a history.

Re:Punish Activision (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808480)

The problem with many games now-a-days is they're story based. You get invested into a story which adds lots of value to the game.

This is a problem? I always thought stories were a good thing...

FPS game are the only games that can easily be changed/unique because not being held to a story line.

I disagree. The fact that FPS games are more-or-less driven by their mechanics, rather than a storyline, typically makes them less unique.

In Doom I was some generic guy running around and blasting monsters... In Quake I was a different generic guy running around and blasting different monsters with slightly better graphics... In Unreal I was a different generic guy running around and blasting different monsters with even better graphics...

But in Half-Life I was Gordon Freeman attempting to escape from Black Mesa after a resonance cascade tore the facility apart and flooded our world with extra-dimensional nasties.

There's a reason why the crowbar [wikipedia.org] has become a truly iconic weapon... While the nail gun has been all-but forgotten.

Any major FPS game is mostly multiplayer, so just make it fun and it's a winner.

Fun is, of course, subjective...

But let's assume you've got some FPS title that everyone agrees is fun. And you take those exact mechanics and just re-skin everything... Say, take some Call of Duty title and turn it into a sci-fi shooter... Aside from preferring a sci-fi setting to a more realistic one, why would I bother to buy the new game if it's identical to the old one in every way that matters?

RTS/MMORPG/etc are a lot more involved and are more fun when there's a history.

I agree... But that doesn't mean you have to keep rolling out sequels. You can create the history within the game itself. Give your characters some depth and detail... Fill in the blanks in the world... Make me feel like I know the characters, the places, the villains... Give me a history, even if I've never heard of the game before.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810040)

There's a reason why the crowbar [wikipedia.org] has become a truly iconic weapon... While the nail gun has been all-but forgotten.

Generic space marine for the win here. The "BFG" from doom is legendary.
The crowbar? I wouldn't even have made the connection unless you had spelled it out.

Re:Punish Activision (2, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810094)

There's a reason why the crowbar has become a truly iconic weapon... While the nail gun has been all-but forgotten.

That's because what became Quake's signature weapon was not the nailgun, it was the rocket launcher, which is still pretty fucking iconic when you consider the relative (overall) popularity of the two game series. TF2 has an entire class built around just the Quake rocket launcher.

Re:Punish Activision (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810230)

That's because what became Quake's signature weapon was not the nailgun, it was the rocket launcher, which is still pretty fucking iconic when you consider the relative (overall) popularity of the two game series. TF2 has an entire class built around just the Quake rocket launcher.

I have to disagree. Maybe I'm in the minority here... But when somebody says "crowbar" in relation to gaming, I think of Half-Life. When somebody says "rocket launcher" in relation to gaming, no particular title comes to mind.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810430)

"When somebody says "rocket launcher" in relation to gaming, no particular title comes to mind."

Never played Doom, I see.

Cyberdemon.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811322)

"When somebody says "rocket launcher" in relation to gaming, no particular title comes to mind."

Never played Doom, I see.

Cyberdemon.

Yes, I did play Doom. And the sequels. And the recent remake.

And, while rocket launchers were handy in Doom, they weren't terribly iconic.

Rocket launchers have been around since Wolfenstein... Probably even longer than that.

If I had to pick a signature weapon out of Doom it would be the BFG - not the rocket launcher.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813362)

The Doom iconic weapons were the BFG and Chainsaw.

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811696)

I fail to see why so many people put Half-Life on such a pedestal these days. It was a fun game, but did nothing special or revolutionary.

* Jurassic Park: Trespasser was Far Cry with with Half-Life 2ish physics done in 1998. Oh and dinosaurs!

* Dark Forces 2/ Mysteries of the Sith had an involving storyline and heavy scripting a year before Half-life. First FPS to have turret sections that I'm of aware of.

* Commercial Quake mod Malice, had pushable/ pullable crates `97. It also had in engine cutscenes and voice acting (oh the horror!)

* SiN had fully controlable vehicles that you could run over people with (the physics are hilarious by modern standards). It also pioneered the guardian angel/ guide companion in JC (think Halo's Cortanna). Campy storyline. Level progression variable with mission objective completion and exit selection.

* Shogo had a storyline which would branch your campaign depending on player choices. It also had a talking protagonist!

* Hexen 2 had a hubbed game world. You could go back and forth between the maps at will (actually you had to). Too bad Black Mesa wasn't like this.

I do love Half-Life's idle animation for the snark weapon though. The marines were hilarious (favorite example: sneaky marine blows up tracks, rail car flies off and runs over marine squad), the headcrabs are really cute, and I think I may be the only person in the world who liked the jumping puzzle sections of Zen.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811992)

Even Hexen 1 [wikipedia.org] had the level hubs you could return to. That was actually the focus of a lot of the puzzles in the game. Go to a different level to trigger something in the hub level or a different level accessible from the hub.

And don't forget about Strife [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Lunzo (1065904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812872)

For me the railgun is the iconic Quake weapon. I always preferred classic Unreal Tournament's rocket launcher to the one in Quake. Charging up 6 rockets when you only needed one or two for a kill was satisfying.

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810838)

There's a reason why the crowbar has become a truly iconic weapon... While the nail gun has been all-but forgotten.

I disagree. My friends and I remember the nail gun fondly. I just imagine that it's because of the lack of a ubiquitous internet culture when Quake came out to popularize it.

And FPSes can clearly have a compelling story (see Halo) and unique mechanics. The ease of copying a mechanic vs. a story makes them all resemble on another again, but I would posit that there were about as many groundbreaking FPS mechanics as there are compelling RPG storylines.

But I'm not particularly interested in the genre pissing war, I just wanted to defend my nailgun (and super-nailgun!)

Re:Punish Activision (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31811364)

I would posit that there were about as many groundbreaking FPS mechanics as there are compelling RPG storylines.

I agree.

And I thoroughly enjoy a good FPS.

I'm not particularly interested in the genre pissing war

Nor am I.

I don't mean to suggest that an FPS is somehow superior or inferior to an RPG or anything else. Again, I thoroughly enjoy a good FPS.

I just wanted to defend my nailgun (and super-nailgun!)

Both of which were terrific weapons - which is why I used it as an example.

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811428)

Difficult to decipher, but I think I see the Bengie's point. Multiplayer FPS offers an attraction that is completely different from the attraction of good narrative gameplay. Improving the mechanics, the maps and the rules of the game, allow for never-ending interest in a good multi-player game. For the many players who've loved counter-strike, the Halo series, Unreal Tournament and the like, time spent on the story is indeed time wasted. I think it would be fair to say if your not going to go all the way to Half-life good, skip it and just make a better Counter-Strike.

Personally, I didn't even play the campaign on Halo 3. I didn't care. But I still put more hours into that game than any other game since the Bard's Tale.

Fallout 3! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811648)

This is exactly what Fallout 3 did for me:

You can create the history within the game itself. Give your characters some depth and detail... Fill in the blanks in the world... Make me feel like I know the characters, the places, the villains... Give me a history, even if I've never heard of the game before.

There is a REASON for this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808420)

Buyers tend to reward sequels and spin-offs with their dollars, more so than they do new, innovative titles.

Big AAA games are expensive to make (we're talking between 10 and 50 million dollars) so the publishers are understandably risk-averse. If they were *forced* to take risks to make a big profit, then of course they would. However, consistently over the last ten years, innovative new games have usually met with middling commercial success (even when they are critically acclaimed), while blockbuster sequels consistently outsell their previous incarnations.

Basically: You and I may want to see more innovation, but most of the people buying these games are buying the sequels and derivative crap, so its just not going to happen! Its just like the movie industry with its summer action movies and teenage drama-comedies. For some reason, the movie-ticket-buying public just laps that shit up.

Re:There is a REASON for this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809900)

For some reason, the movie-ticket-buying public just laps that shit up.

Maybe because that's all there is?

Re:Punish Activision (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808904)

That's because being creative and original doesn't pay. Guitar Hero, GTA and Modern Warfare spawn sequels because each sequel is HUGELY profitable. Brutal Legends won't, as it maybe broke even. Furthermore, every original game that is wildly successful will spawn a sequel - guaranteed. See Portal, for example. This means that sequels, spin-offs and expansions are guaranteed to outnumber successful original games.

However, here's something you can do to help: when an original game comes along, and it might not be the bee's knees - buy it anyway. Consider it a charity donation for Developers Taking Risks. For me, I'm pretty much set on buying every Tim Schafer game there is. They are not always magic, and often have some significant flaws, but $60 every 2-3 years is worth it to give him a chance to keep making games.

Re:Punish Activision (3, Insightful)

jackbird (721605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813756)

Being creative and original paid pretty fucking well for the developers of the first Guitar Hero.

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809748)

Seems like nobody wants to be creative/original anymore.

Creativity places you outside the safety of the herd.

Re:Punish Activision (4, Funny)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807924)

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808252)

Kotick quote from about a year after that comic:

Kotick responded not by addressing any of the games by name, but by talking about Activision's publishing philosophy. The games Activision Blizzard didn't pick up, he said, "don't have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises.

source [arstechnica.com]

Re:Punish Activision (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807960)

So... pretty much standard business model then. When I saw the original story on slashdot I figured we would see more of this.

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808042)

Stuff like this is why I've never been a fan of Activision. Colecovision all the way!

Re:Punish Activision (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808128)

can i have your stuff?

Re:Punish Activision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809608)

I quit World of Warcraft over this.

LOL. Quit kidding yourself, it was the scourge strike nerf.

opportunity knocks but twice (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31807938)

it's rumored that EA is seeing the whole fiasco as an opportunity

Look for it soon! Executive Slayer, the Headhunter Edition! Can you chase down enemies, destroy smaller game companies, assassinate foes, all while managing to convince the public to buy crap products and run a profitable company? Preorder now for the 'IP Lawyer' character, which allows you to snipe your customers for extra pocket change! Bonus points if you can get them to keep buying afterwards!

The magic of words (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31807976)

When one says: "They were insubordinate and self-serving schemers who attempted to hijack Activision's assets for their own personal gain"
The other says: "They owed us salary and we tried to get them to pay it"

Coming up very soon... (3, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808086)

... EA announces Modern Company: Bad warfare 3.
Starting at three, because then there's place for atleast two prequels without having to use convoluted titles.

Sue Family (1, Offtopic)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808140)

I sue you
You sue me
We're all sue happy
With a big fat lawsuit from me to you
Won't you please sue me too

Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808218)

i recall gaming's history in between 1982-2010, and i dont remember a single case in which big corporations did good for gaming.

especially since ~1995, where gaming has started to become an industry and big players popped up. all that is being done has been producing mass produced, rehash titles, or buying small, innovative companies and fucking them up to produce mass produced, rehash titles.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808280)

Big companies are pretty much bad for quality in any market.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809178)

I don't know. I can think of at least two big companies doing it right. Namco (I've yet to hear a big complaint about a single one of their larger franchises. They usually take their time putting out a quality game.), and Nintendo (Specifically, the guys working on the Zelda franchise, and, to a lesser extent, the Mario platformers).

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809732)

two. name two more.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31809906)

Hmm... My post mysteriously disappeared. Anyway, aside from Namco and Nintendo (respective branches), I can think of... Oh, let's go with Insomniac (who have been on their game lately), and Square-Enix. Well, no, Insomniac really only has two major franchises, one of which is long dead... let's see if I can think of another... Oh, silly me, Bioware! The biggest name in American RPGs there is.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

ShadowDragoonFTW (1527831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809990)

That was me posting, and, silly me, forgot to log in. No wonder I couldn't see all the hidden posts...

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31810106)

Blizzard (at least up until Warcraft 3, I don't really like the direction they're headed now) and Bethesda?

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

ShadowDragoonFTW (1527831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810160)

I never really cared for Bethesda. All their games start to feel the same lately. Fallout 3 was just a re-meshed Oblivion clone. I get the feeling they're going to stay in that direction for a while. But, Blizzard was the obvious one, and I thought people would want to avoid them because of the whole... y'know... Activision thing...

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811762)

Interplay (Black Isle Studios, Giants Citizen Kabuto)
Sierra

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812680)

You originally couldn't think of one, he named twice the number you mentioned and that isn't enough? Sheesh, Take your handout and be happy.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31812730)

Not sure if it was mentioned:

Halo (developed by Bungee but funded and paid-for by MS)
Sims (may not be your cup of tea, but many people enjoy it; EA)
Civilization (1 + 2 = Microprose (hardly a small company back in the early 90s; 3-4+ by 2k, I think they are great games))
God of War (SCE = Owned by Sony)
Mario Franchise (Nintendo)
Fable Franchise (Lionhead Studios = Microsoft Game Studios Europe)
Gears of War (MS)
Final Fantasy (Square is far from a small developer)
etc. etc. etc.

There is lots and lots of great games that were developed by the large companies. Game development is unique in it that the big companies own small studios that output the game. Just because the name is different does not mean it isn't MS. It is a two way street, because the large companies (i.e. Microsoft) will pump money into the small studios allowing them to develop the game for the 2+ years that it takes on big titles. Remember just because your taste stopped in the late 80's to early 90's does not mean that no good games came out since. I remember my parents telling me that all of the best music came out of the 70's. Debatable, however to me they are wrong. I am sure my kids will think my taste in music is rubbish.

In many ways it is like saying that the house you live in isn't really yours, it belongs to ABC Construction Co. Well you paid for it, you hired them to do the job, the house belongs to you. Without your funding the house would not be built.

Re:Big companies = bad for gaming (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31813380)

Square Enix.

what I've learned from this (3, Funny)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808330)

'morphed from valued, responsible executives into insubordinate and self-serving schemers

Apparently these lawyers don't think judges and juries know what executives are.

They've done it to themselves (4, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808854)

I worked in the game industry for about 10 years (PS1-PS2) and I've said it here for years, game companies are putting themselves out of business. The development and production costs have gotten so far out of hand that only "safe" games can be made. Sequels, franchises, licensed crap. No one can afford to take a chance any more, and almost every great game back in the day came from risk. The great games that have had massive support and funding end up having every corner rounded off in the name of wider appeal or time/money constraints. The only games that have managed to be risky and creative are the super small indie games which I think deserve the spotlight these days. It is a steady decline regardless of the profits and numbers. In another few years it is game over and the 1980's crash will come again. Consoles will disappear instead of arcades. It's sad, it's sad to see developers and designers get screwed even more than they already were, but this shake up will knock all of the garbage out of the system and bring it back down to reality and well designed games.

Re:They've done it to themselves (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809548)

Even as Sierra became a bigger game company (up until say 1995), the games they made were somewhat risque and I think they were able to try it out simply because of the low(er) budget constraints. I won't say their adventure games were cheap to make relative to industry costs but, I think games of this sort are more sustainable than the latest 3-D shooter. Without the smaller budgets, we might not have seen games like Police Quest, Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry (don't get me started on the newer 3-D games. I love Wing Commander 1 and 2 and X-Wing fighter. I don't think any newer games I've played have been as memorable as any newer games I've played.

Re:They've done it to themselves (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810032)

mount and blade, sins of a solar empire, anno 1404, torchlight deserve a mention. just go for pc only games when buying for pc. instead of keyboardified console games.

Re:They've done it to themselves (1)

Destructo-Bot (794990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31810904)

That's just the thing though... more and more people are getting into gaming all over the world. As the population grows, the market is just going to keep getting larger. So the cost of the game can be recouped for a lower cost per unit sold in greater volumes. The higher price point will prevent many of those customers from paying for the product, resulting in either the same profit for the Developer/Publisher and a higher cost for the consumer (bad for customers) rather than the same profit for the Dev and a lower cost for the consumer (win/win).

Games may cost more to develop these days... but bear in mind that all of these major dev houses got to where they are today by operating in the days when gaming was a niche market product. Devs actually have ludicrously better tools than they had in the past, making developing and asset creation easier and faster in comparison. Games cost more because devs are trying to get by solely on AAA blockbusters, instead of also creating smaller more indie-like games that got them where there are. Smaller, cheaper games that focus on great game-play rather than pushing budget boundaries.

They miss the revenue stream that smaller easily developed games gave them, and try to substitute DLC in place. Unfortunately, DLC is 99% of the time a really bad deal for the customer, being nearly the cost of an indie game in some cases for very little actual content, on top of the cost of the original game!

To summarize: I feel major devs should take the philosophy of cheaper games to more people (the population just goes up!), along with lighter games at lower costs as a way to keep revenue flowing between blockbusters and to keep actual "game-play" creation skills sharp. Because the lighter, smaller, cheaper game can't rely on uber graphics and next gen tech and famous voice actors to carry them. And one of their lighter games that succeeds beyond expectations could become their next AAA title with a sequel and funding to match. So their potential AAA IP pool is also increase with this development philosophy.

Re:They've done it to themselves (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812628)

To summarize: I feel major devs should take the philosophy of cheaper games to more people (the population just goes up!), along with lighter games at lower costs as a way to keep revenue flowing between blockbusters and to keep actual "game-play" creation skills sharp. Because the lighter, smaller, cheaper game can't rely on uber graphics and next gen tech and famous voice actors to carry them. And one of their lighter games that succeeds beyond expectations could become their next AAA title with a sequel and funding to match. So their potential AAA IP pool is also increase with this development philosophy.

So Nintendo should keep pumping out Wii games then?

FPS game! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31808870)

First Person Suer, CounterSue!

See, this is what happens (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31809044)

When there is a lot of money involved. Just like Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. Everyone wants a bigger share of the pie. The execs should realize that it was the activision TEAM that helped produce the product, and the company should realize that the two "idiots" they are suing delivered the best selling game ever.

But no, humans are and will always be factious.

Re:See, this is what happens (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31812960)

No way, everyone knows the CEO makes the company, thats why they are paid millions or even billions! ;)

Re:See, this is what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31813430)

When there is a lot of money involved. Just like Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. Everyone wants a bigger share of the pie. The execs should realize that it was the activision TEAM that helped produce the product, and the company should realize that the two "idiots" they are suing delivered the best selling game ever.

But no, humans are and will always be factious.

Yes. That's exactly what I've been saying. Humans will always be full of facts.

Franchise Killers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31811530)

EA will destroy the franchise like they did with Command & Conquer

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